Friday, May 22, 2009

Zen Activism

There is a part of me that seems to be holding onto a great amount of regret or guilt about my becoming less active in the Peace Movement.

There is a part of me that wants to experience a normal, calm, happy life.

There is a part of me in which the fight or flight response is always active. Years of living like this created what I think of as burned out circuitry that is partially responsible for my chronic depression.

I stepped back from activism and writing last autumn after the election in order to give myself some time and space to figure out what to do in the next phase of my life. Health concerns then entered the picture.

Deciding to focus on becoming healthy and just being happy is one of the most selfish decisions I've ever made. I confess I feel some sense of guilt about "abandoning" the peace movement. I will deal with this and come to a place where I feel satisfied with what I have been able to do and what I may be able to do in the future when I am healthy and have a renewed vigor and sense of purpose. And I still have the virtual world in which I can promote the message of peace.

Being on the front lines of the peace movement is stressful. I've had so much stress in my life that the addition of constant awareness of the world's pain, physical threats, traveling and being away from home pushed me over the limit of my tolerances.

As a mother I consider the examples that are set by my choices. I wanted to teach my daughter to be politically active and to believe that individual actions make a difference. I wanted to show my daughter that even though my mother was not always the best mother in the world that I chose to be the best daughter I could be at the end of my mother's life when I moved into her home in another state and cared for her as she left this life. And now I hope I am showing my daughter that I do what is necessary to take care of myself even if it means totally changing my way of life in order to become healthy.

One of these days I will be able to do these things for myself, but for now it is okay that I do them for her.

SRI medication has helped me live a somewhat normal life this past decade. Unfortunately this past decade is also the one in which my personal belief system required me to act, protest, and write whenever I could to help build the grassroots efforts to restore our country to some semblance of a democracy.

some of these
So how does one weigh the actions that are so different? I have taken steps toward creating a virtual meeting company, I am working on a book about living well and being positively focused as a healing strategy. I enjoy a part time position that allows me to play with computers in a calm and healthful environment. I am sometimes at less than my best and have pain associated with my liver disease. We are just now finishing what has turned out to be a 10 year progressive remodeling of our home.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Repurposing This Blog: Build Peace

Over the last six months I have given a tremendous amount of thought to starting a new blog that better reflects my current take on "life, the universe and everything" than my build peace blog.   Everytime I would find the perfect domain name for a new venture  and begin to build a new whirling mass of me-ness in cyberspace I'd find that I missed this blog into which I had put so much energy for so many years.   Please allow me to be a bit self-reflective here and a bit self-reflexive too as I deconstruct my thought processes about writing and blogging about inner peace, world peace, paths to peace, tools of peace, tools for peace, and... well you get the idea. 

I have to admit I heaved a huge sigh of relief the evening of the election, Tuesday November 4th, when I gathered with a couple thousand other Tucsonans to watch the returns come in at the University Marriott.  I will never forget standing next to a long retired colleague of my husband who came to the U of A after being booted from the California University system during the highly political days of the free speach civil rights era turbulence of the early 1960s and who helped establish ACLU to this Old West enclave.  As McCain was conceeding defeat I happened to see this man's face as complete and utter joy washed over it.  

At that time I decided that I was going to take a couple days off for R & R.  I ended up taking off six months.   Long story, short version:  I had continuing pain after a bout with the stomach flu and ended up finding out I have Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  After my esteemed scientifically-gifted genius research professor husband (he might read this, lol) looked at the literature, we think that the combination of anti-depressants I've been on for many years could have contributed to the development of this condition as well as my being significantly overweight.   It could relate to the invasive and often toxic medical tests and treatments I underwent as a child.  I never had hepatitis nor am I an alcoholic.

I don't do well with being ill.   It makes me depressed.  I have been working on, and off -- a lot of off, some on -- on a book about my childhood experience on the receiving end of my mother's instability that I have come to realize falls into the range of behavior that has been termed Munchause Syndrome by Proxy.  At least partially due to being "sickly" and kept out of school and shuttled from doctor to doctor when I was little so that it was not uncommon for me to miss up to 100 school days a year during my primary education. 

My journals during the teen years are painful to read but allowed me as a middle-aged adult to see that my isolation during my childhood coupled with being thrust into the socially topsy-turvy, psychedelic and sexually liberated world of the 1970s as a totally naive, socially incompetent, pathologically shy human being were the primary factors that contributed to multiple rapes, exploitation, and emotionally abusive relationships, and less than wise choices that pretty much characterized my teens and young adult life.  

Writing helped save my life time and again when the blank page or screen was the only tool through which I could communicate - even if that communication was basically just me talking to myself.   I became fairly good at this apparently, and the winning of a state-wide writing competition in High School allowed me to win scholarships that made it possible for me to attend college.   Writing continued to be my main communication channel with the world as I wrote essays, exams, reports and post-graduate research reports and theses. 

Then the internet evolved into the web and I reached out through words and found that while I was a social mutant (and mutations can be a very good thing that allow the process of evolution to happen) I was also thinking things and making observations that other people found interesting and sometimes even amusing when I wrote about them.  I was blogging long before a thing called a web log existed.  

Then CODEPINK and I found each other.   This blog, Build Peace, has been the most consistent and meaningful body of my writing to date.   It allowed me to enter the BlogHer community of women's online voices. 

A few days ago I was talking to a Second Life friend about my dilemma of attempting  to shift my peace activism and writing from a broader and more tempered perspective than I had in Build Peace.  She said, "Repurpose the blog."  Initially I thought, "Ugh,  corporate speak. Yuck.  Ptooey."  But then, trying to live the  peace and be the peace I write about, I decided that I can continue writing/blogging about info that helps me build my own peace and share that with others that is the only way peace in our world will ever be built - person to person, one word at a time.... and with my bias showing I will further state that a sustainable peace must be built by women talking to each other and creating the world we want for our children.  


Words like emergence, energy work, calmness, spiritual, belief, attraction and the like will be far more common here than in the past.  I will talk about my struggle to lose weight, the challenge of shifting to an empty nest at home, and about healing.  Politics will undoubtedly creep in... I've been political since I was about 10, but I will try to mediate my outrage and use  words like Fascist and F**k far less often and perhaps not at all from this time forward.  Maybe I can even get the Huffington Post to end their ban on links to my site in their comments.   Purportedly this is because of profanity.   We'll see.  

Anyway, consider this blog repurposed.  The appearance will change dramatically.  The content may too.    Peace to you all.