8 Aug 2017 Finding a way to kinship with all and Pentagon commissioned report on PTSD in US military

Good morning to you.  It’s 9:16 am as I begin to write to you on this cooler, pleasant day.  I perused the news headlines and this made me think of the snippet of the dream I remember before waking up.  It was the oddest thing to dream about too!  I was standing with Brian Williams of MSNBC and he had a bunch of awards around his neck.  He seemed so happy to see me and like he knew me.  As we were talking, I saw actor Chris Pratt and some other man walking through a door and they seemed to be avoiding me lol.  I don’t know why they popped into my dreams but I hope they are doing well!

 

My thoughts about what I’ve been seeing in the headlines brought me to one of my favorite web pages.  With the second spin of their prayer wheel, this message came up.  I feel this message in my heart…..the age old questions we just need to ask ourselves to bring people and nations together instead of pushing ourselves further apart.  How are we the same?  What are all the things we have in common?  What good things do we share and how do we make the world full of more of those good things?  My dream for this world is that all of us might find a way to focus on how we are the same and less on how we are different.  Build more bridges so that we can meet one another.  Break down (and never waste the money to build) the tangible and intangible walls that keep us apart.

http://www.worldprayers.org/prayerwheel/index.html

In striving to recognize the primacy of Fire and Light,
I feel kinship with my Zoroastrian brothers and sisters.
In striving to obey the Ten Commandments,
I feel kinship with my Jewish brothers and sisters.
In striving to be kind to neighbor and the needy,
I feel kinship with my Christian brothers and sisters.
In striving to be compassionate to creatures great and small,
I feel kinship with my Buddhist-Jaina brothers and sisters.
In striving to surrender myself completely to God Almighty,
I feel kinship with my Muslim brothers and sisters.
In the recognition that wisdom flows from enlightened masters,
I feel kinship with my Sikh brothers and sisters.
In remembering that serving people should be the goal of religion,
I feel kinship with my Baha’i brothers and sisters.
In my respect and reverence for Nature that sustains us,
I feel kinship with my Native American brothers and sisters.
In feeling that these and more are all paths to the same Divinity,
I feel kinship with my Hindu brothers and sisters.
In my love and laughter, joy and pain,
I feel kinship with all my fellow humans.
In my need for nourishment and instinct to live on,
I feel kinship with all beings on the planet.
In my spiritual ecstasy with this wondrous world,
I feel kinship with the Cosmic Whole.

universal reflection – v. v. raman – cape of good hope – 1999
The report about the Pentagon commissioned study regarding PTSD in the United States military of course caught my eye yesterday.  The aversion to the taking and or loss of another living being’s life  is something most of us have in common.  Suicide is personal for me and as a medically retired veteran who falls into the category of the study, it’s even more personal!  It’s important to note the study found that the use of firearms is the most common way veterans are committing suicide.   It’s also interesting to note how old this study is 2014!  Why isn’t it a 2017 report?!  Doesn’t seem like they are really staying current on this issue to me. 

Troops at risk for suicide not getting needed care, report finds

Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY , TEGNA 4:23 PM. EDT August 07, 2017

WASHINGTON – Pentagon health care providers failed to perform critical follow-up for many troops diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome who also were at high risk for suicide, according to a new study released Monday by the RAND Corp.

Just 30% of troops with depression and 54% with PTSD received appropriate care after they were deemed at risk of harming themselves. The report, commissioned by the Pentagon, looked at the cases of 39,000 troops who had been diagnosed in 2013 with depression, PTSD or both conditions. USA TODAY received an advance copy of the report.

“We want to ensure that they get connected with behavioral health care,” said Kimberly Hepner, the report’s lead author and a senior behavioral scientist at RAND, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization. “The most immediate action — removal of firearms — can help to reduce risk of suicide attempts.”

The report, titled Quality of Care for PTSD and Depression in the Military Health System, also found that one third of troops with PTSD were prescribed with a medication harmful to their condition.

From 2001 to 2014, about 2.6 million troops have deployed to combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. Estimates on how many have been affected by post-traumatic stress vary widely — from 4% to 20%, according to the report. Meanwhile, suicide among troops spiked crisis proportions. The rate of suicide doubled between 2005 and 2012, according to the Pentagon. It has stabilized but has not diminished; the rate remains about the same for the part of the American public that it compares with, about 20 per 100,000 people.

The key intervention to prevent suicide involves talking to the service member about their access to firearms, Hepner said. It’s also one of the most sensitive, given the nature of their work and that many troops own their own guns.

“This is important for service members because suicide death by firearms is the most common method,” Hepner said. “So the provider needs to have that discussion about access to firearms. Not only their service weapon but their access to personal weapons.”

Guns accounted for 68% of suicides by active-duty troops in 2014, according to the Pentagon.

Commanders can be enlisted to put weapons out of troops’ reach, and family members may be asked to do so at home, she said. One reason that doesn’t happen more often, she said, is the stigma attached to mental health issues, and the effect notifying superiors may have on careers.

“These can be quite difficult conversations to have with service members,” Hepner sid. “Certainly limiting access to their service weapon would involve notifying their command.”

Researchers also found that one-third of troops with depression had received a prescription for benzodiazepine, an anti-anxiety medication.

“It is explicitly mentioned in guidelines for treatment of PTSD that benzodiazepines are contraindicated,” Hepner said. “We continue to see a relatively high rate of prescription for a medication we would hope would not be prescribed.”


Link to blog I wrote about subject:  https://saymber.com/2017/03/17/17-march-2017-more-distractions-from-the-affordable-care-act-fiasco-the-us-governments-latest-solution-for-paying-for-the-true-cost-of-war-and-bernie-sanders-repeated-warnings-going-unheard/

Back in March of this year, the House voted to approve a bill that would allow these same veterans easier access to firearms!  Very sad.   What their doing that said to me was they’d rather make it easier for veterans to die than to do the hard part, the funding, taking responsibility for restoring them to meaningful and productive lives!  It’s easy to pluck a 18 year old from a small town, dress them up in a uniform, put a gun in their hands and send them off to war than it is to put together that same person who is now half or less the person physically and or psychologically they were after they come back from the war zone. 

Source Internet: Quote from a past Governor of my home State SD, George McGovern,

America

House OKs Bill Making It Tougher To Keep ‘Mentally Incompetent’ Vets From Buying Guns

Enlarge this image

A House-approved bill would require a court hearing before a U.S. veteran is deemed mentally unfit to own a gun. Here, rifles are seen at a gun shop in Merrimack, N.H., last year. Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption

Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

A House-approved bill would require a court hearing before a U.S. veteran is deemed mentally unfit to own a gun. Here, rifles are seen at a gun shop in Merrimack, N.H., last year.

Dominick Reuter/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

The House has approved legislation that would make it harder to keep veterans who are “mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent” or prone to blackouts from buying guns. Critics of the bill say it could raise the suicide rate among veterans — a rate that has risen in the past decade.

At least a dozen Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill, which was approved by a 240-175 vote.

The legislation would add a new hurdle to the process of blocking a veteran whose mental competence is in question from owning a gun. While the Department of Veterans Affairs currently adds the names of veterans it deems unfit to own a deadly weapon to a federal background check system, the bill would require a court hearing before that determination is made.

“About 170,000 disabled veterans are deemed mentally incompetent by the VA,” NPR’s Quil Lawrence reports. “A VA-approved guardian makes some medical and financial decisions for them. Their names go on an FBI list so they can’t purchase guns — House Republicans sponsored the Veterans’ Second Amendment Protection Act to change that.”

Backers of the bill, such as Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, say it would help veterans avoid being caught up in a bureaucracy that can make it tough to remove a negative label. Roe also cited the importance of “removing the stigma of mentally ill people — that because someone is mentally ill, they’re a danger to themselves or others.”

On the other side of the issue, Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md., said, “When a determination is made that a veteran is mentally incompetent or incapacitated — for whatever reason — that determination is made to protect them, not to punish or deprive them.”

Critics of the bill include retired Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army. Speaking to Quil about why he opposed the bill, Chiarelli said, “Every single study you can read on this shows you that people in crisis — because suicide is such a spontaneous event — when they separate themselves from personal weapons the incidence of suicide goes down tremendously.”

The House legislation will now go to the Senate. It would change U.S. law by adding this section to sections governing veterans’ benefits:

Conditions for treatment of certain persons as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes

“In any case arising out of the administration by the Secretary of laws and benefits under this title, a person who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness shall not be considered adjudicated as a mental defective under subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18 without the order or finding of a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others.”.

7 Aug 2017 Dream and the act of “Adulting” (Abandoning Adulthood My Official Letter of Resignation piece by Maureen)

4 Aug 2017 – we are so grateful for Spot. She is an active dog and because of that she helps keep us more active. She’s our family athletics coordinator! 🙂

Good morning, it’s 8:16 am as I start to write.  We had a storm come through last night and by the looks of things, we got a bit of rain.  Very grateful for that and grateful that the severe thunderstorm warning we got before bed ended up only being a warning!  It’s so funny with thunder.  I was almost asleep and then it was like, “We now interrupt your sleep for these 30 seconds of thunder.”  (Kyle’s words there). Sleep all through the night remains elusive for both Kyle and I.

I had some interesting dreams last night, I remember snippets of them.  I dreamt about being with some old men and one of them telling/saying to me, “Do you want me to tell you how old you are?” I said something like, “3,000” and the man said, “try 5,000.” Other dreams were of being in an old parlor or Victorian type of settings.  I remember men sitting on the deck of a ship.  My mind must be sorting through a bunch of stuff I’ve been looking at in my waking world like the Victorian Trading Company catalog, the Aspern Papers film set posts from Jonathan Rhys Meyers and other stuff.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers To Star In ‘The Aspern Papers’

I don’t believe the person I am is that old but what do we know of our souls?  The energy our flesh encapsulates?  The flesh is just a suite, a covering for the soul.  The soul can be as old as time itself because there is no such thing as time in the unseen realms….for any other beings but humans is there such a thing as time!  The dream realm in me obviously knows that.

Another conscious Key that may have unlocked last nights travels could have been this awesome post, Abandoning Adulthood, from my friend Ally.  I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately!

Source: Internet/aka friend FB post: Abandoning Adulthood by Maureen

She was looking for something about adulthood, and found it.  Ironically, just yesterday morning Kyle and I were trying to figure out why we were so crabby and irritable and realized it was because we were having to be adults or what we call “Adulting.” We had made an appointment for Link to have his back left leg looked at and didn’t want to take him even though it was the right thing to do.  We had barely dropped him off and were getting groceries when the vet called to come back for him! Yay!  We dodged the almost $200 x-ray expense that is conveniently not covered under the Wellness plan we have both the dogs on….sigh.  What the hell is insurance of any kind really good for?!  It never covers what you need it to even though you are paying enough for it to cover everything!  Anyhew…we didn’t get away without spending money on an anti-inflammatory and in a couple of weeks we’ll see what’s going on oh yeah, he’s “obese”….sounds like he’s a little old man not a dog right?!

6 Aug 2017 – Link relaxing before Vet visit. He doesn’t look obese to us but apparently he is.

On the way to the grocery store after we initially dropped him off, we were in the car bitching about EVERYTHING!  I realized we were doing the thing we try very hard to avoid doing and that’s focusing on what’s wrong and not what we want to be going on instead.  While President Trump it seems like  like he’d rather be golfing instead of dealing with world issues and appears to be throwing away every opportunity put in front of him to make the world a better place,  it’s not entirely his fault America is the mess it seems to be.  A secret part of me thinks, is hoping, his being President and what he’s been doing is just some sort of epic reverse psychology experiment!  I wouldn’t want to be President or any form of government official these days!  It’s so easy to solve the worlds problems from the seat of our cars, kitchen tables, video game chat and social media forums but quite another to actually be the ones who have to sort it all out!  Anyways, Kyle and I finally talked ourselves to where the source of the anger was and it came back to us.  We decided we would rather be doing anything else but what we had to do….goofing off!  This process we went through is something I learned to do in AA with the acronym HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) and doing a self examination before blaming others through the day and just before bed for things when your angry or upset….making amends.

Anyhew…..it’s Monday again….time to get on with it.  I hope that wherever and whenever this finds you, you have everything you need inside and out to be fulfilled.  I hope you know that even if it seems like nobody cares about you, there are people all over the world, myself included, that say a prayer of love and thanksgiving for you every day.    

 

27 May 2017 No more pictures, cell phones and todays message from Streams in the Desert (letting go and letting God – true faith)

Good morning to you – it’s 5:59 am as I write.  I have come to an impasse with this blog – my picture allowance is maxed so just words and existing images.  I will say that I was going to share a picture from Gateway to the heavens – pages 104 and 105 and the meditation I did last night 1007pm that involved a drawing I had done earlier with the fragment of purple chalk….a Goddess and the Prussian iron cross.  What happened is I was burning a red cinnamon candle in the darkness and it kept going out so I thought to pour the wax out and was lead to pour it on the drawing in the lower abdomen part – this happened twice which matches the number of times I was operated on for fibroid cyst removal by two separate doctors, two years in a row.  I was pretty upset after I realized this is what I was seeing was about and tried to turn off my phone.  Well as I did a voice activation feature for the phone came on and for some reason it wanted to call my broker of several years, Seth Peritzman!  I thought that was very strange.  When that happened a very small flying insect flew itself into the hot wax of the candle I was burning and died.  Why couldn’t I just turn off my phone?  Then I started looking at the features of the phone and realized all kinds of tracking elements had been activated on it and that was interesting.  I realized if something were to happen to me, if someone were trying to find me, a tracking feature would be useful.   Cell phones can be very useful but as with any tool, only if used for good reasons.

The message from Streams in the Desert resonates with me on many levels and it puts to words beautifully a message I have tried to share in so many ways, through the years.  People like me don’t always get listened to.  People like me – middle-aged house wife with “labels” and no children who live in the lower middle-class income bracket.  I have been speaking, writing, drawing and attempting through my crafts to share so many things that if only had been acknowledged long ago could have helped so much.  I do not expect today will be any different than any other day in this regard but I have faith in the God who has walked with me thus far, through all things, that may today will be different.  I also have Hope – not the child….the daughter….the vision and spirit of the future I want for all creation.   Much love to you today wherever and whenever this message finds you.

9 years and going strong! Happy snap to note the special occasion 🙂

Streams in the Desert message for the today that is also tomorrow:

May 28

“I will not let thee go, except thou bless me…and he blessed him there.” (Gen. 32:26, 29.)

Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.

We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father’s neck in clinging faith.

What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessings by force from God? It is never the violence of willfulness that prevails with god. It si the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, “Not my will, but Thine.” We are strong with God only in the degrees that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we can the blessing. – J.R. Miller

An incident from the prayer life of Charles H. Usher (illustrating “soul-cling” as a hindrance to prevailing prayer): “My little boy was very ill. The doctors held out little hope of his recovery. I had used all the knowledge of prayer which I possessed on his behalf, but he got worse and worse. This went on for several weeks.

“One day I stood watching him as he lay in nhis cot, and I saw that he could not live long unless he had a turn for the better. I said to God, “O God, I have given much time in prayher for my boy and he gets no better; I must now leave him to Thee, and I will give myself to prayer for others. If it is Thy will to take him I choose Thy will–I surrender him entirely to Thee.’

“I called my dear wife, and told her what I had done. She shed some tears, but handed him over to God. Two days afterwards a man of God came to see us. He had been very interested in our boy Frank, and had been much in prayer for him.

“He said, “God has given me faith to believe that he will recover–have you faith?”

“I said, ‘I have surrendered him to God, but I will go again to God regarding him.’ I did; and in prayer I discovered that I had faith for his recovery. From that time he began to get better. It was the ‘soul-cling’ in my pyrers which had hindered God answering; and if I had continued to cling and had been unwilling to surrender him, I doubt if my boy wold be with me today.

“Child of God! If you want God to answer your prayers, you must be prepared to follow the footsteps of ‘our father Abraham,’ even to the Mount of Sacrifice.” (See Rom. 4:12.)

————–

This Kyle and I did on 27 April 2011 with our cocker spaniel Samuel and God’s answer was to let him go to God. God didn’t abandon us in our grief…..we surely thought so! But we waited and through love, patience and friendship we were blessed with Link who came to us along with two brothers on 9 Dec 2015. When Sam died, it was like Kyle and I had lost a child. I went looking everywhere to get him back – screaming in the field down the street that was my sanctuary, my church that has been turned over and made into houses for profit. In 100 degree temperatures I walked that blooming field and stood by it’s waters begging for Sam to come back….screaming at the air….the God of my understanding in all things and all it seemed I got was more searching. Then came the day I found the first part of a Christmas ornament in that field and the other at the entrance to the neighborhood. I thought it was to tell me my friend Erin was going to have a son as she is part Choctaw because the ornament was from a Choctaw Casino.  But  no…..she and I were to be blessed with Link and his two brothers. Two women not able to have human children but having maternal instincts to care for all God’s children whatever their form.

God answers your prayers, God is always listening, God never fails – it’s just that you must let go of YOUR plans, YOUR timing, YOUR expectations of how those prayers will be answered. As I have learned to pray and have shared many, many times all through this blog:

“Whatever is for the greatest, most loving good for this (person, place or situation) – not as I would have it but as you would have it. I do not know what is best for my sight is limited to this moment and what has already been and you see all directions of time and space….all possible outcomes and you know what is best….you see the big picture.”

Then LET GO! Stop holding on, “clinging” to your prayers because when you do that is not faith….that is using God like a wishing well. God doesn’t require your monetary homage to answer your prayers, God needs your faith, hope, praise and trust. Let go, Let God – learn acceptance as a path to peace.

 

26 May 2017 Link and Pen and Ink Meditations “with a couple of Kooks”

Good morning.  It’s 3:30 am as I begin to write to you, woke up a little before 3.  I am pretty rested as I took a nap yesterday afternoon when I felt I was getting too tired.  We had to take Link to Banfield Animal Hospital yesterday to have an itching problem dealt with.  We were blessed and fortunate that Dr. Haydn was there and she charted a course for him.  She’s the first vet we’ve had in a long time that Link has completely trusted – didn’t even mind getting his temperature taken!  This is because she held him like a child and with love!  We are starting with an antibiotic/anti-itch shampoo and spray and see if that does it.  We also found that organic apple cider vinegar works well too — used some on several bites that have appeared on me again recently.  We aren’t sure if what he is experiencing is an allergic reaction to something or from messing with the possum that is trying to take shelter under our bandstand.  He and Link don’t like each other very much but I don’t have a problem with the possum being there.  So much territory around us has been dug up or farmed for development that beings like Possums, squirrels, mice, rats, ants, wasps and others need homes.   I try to find way to peacefully co-exist with them.  The fire ants and mosquitos and I are still working on boundaries lol.

Anyhew.  Last night I went out with pen, ink and paper and just let my thoughts go.  One of the songs that came up before I really delved in was and comforted me was Kooks by David Bowie.

What I was musing about was the fusion of numbers that is Kyle and I, what are we (star cars) and how the trucks and cars we make, sell, buy and own are often reflections, like most things, of who we are.

 

24 May 2017 Spirit walk this morning (sound and vision – Cygnet Committee David Bowie) and The Vibrations of Conflict (Kenneth Cloke, Daily Good Feature Article and Meditate.com)

Hello to you.  It’s 9:52 am and taking a break after a pretty intense spirit walk/meditation session this morning.  I can tell I’m working through more things I need to and it’s good.  The song by David Bowie Cygnet Committee felt like listening to him talk to me directly.   I know it’s not really so, but that’s how it felt! I had never heard it before today but it is certainly timely and resonates with our current days.

David Bowie – Cygnet Committee

Cygnet Committee

I bless you madly,
Sadly as I tie my shoes
I love you badly,
Just in time, at times, I guess
Because of you I need to rest
Because it’s you
That sets the test

So much has gone
And little is new
And as the sparrow sings
Dawn chorus for
Someone else to hear
The Thinker sits alone growing older
And so bitter

“I gave Them life
I gave Them all
They drained my very soul
…Dry
I crushed my heart
To ease their pains
No thought for me remains there
Nothing can they spare
What of me?
Who praised their efforts
To be free?
Words of strength and care
And sympathy
I opened doors
That would have blocked their way
I braved their cause to guide,
For little pay

I ravaged at my finance just for those
Those whose claims were steeped in peace, tranquility
Those who said a new world, new ways ever free
Those whose promises stretched in hope and grace for me”

I bless you madly,
Sadly as I tie my shoes
I love you badly, just in time,
At times, I guess
Because of you I need to rest, oh yes
Because it’s you
That sets the test

So much has gone
And little is new
And as the sunrise stream
Flickers on me,
My friends talk
Of glory, untold dream, where all is God and God is just a word

“We had a friend, a talking man
Who spoke of many powers that he had
Not of the best of men, but ours

We used him
We let him use his powers
We let him fill our needs
Now we are strong

And the road is coming to its end
Now the damned have no time to make amends
No purse of token fortune stands in our way
The silent guns of love
Will blast the sky
We broke the ruptured structure built of age
Our weapons were the tongues of crying rage

Where money stood
We planted seeds of rebirth
And stabbed the backs of fathers
Sons of dirt

Infiltrated business cesspools
Hating through our sleeves
Yea, and we slit the Catholic throat
Stoned the poor
On slogans such as

‘Wish You Could Hear’
‘Love Is All We Need’
‘Kick Out The Jams’
‘Kick Out Your Mother’
‘Cut Up Your Friend’
‘Screw Up Your Brother or He’ll Get You In the End’

And we know the flag of love is from above
And we can force you to be free
And we can force you to believe”

And I close my eyes and tighten up my brain
For I once read a book in which the lovers were slain
For they knew not the words of the Free States’ refrain
It said:
“I believe in the power of good
I believe in the state of love
I will fight for the right to be right
I will kill for the good of the fight for the right to be right”

And I open my eyes to look around
And I see a child laid slain
On the ground
As a love machine lumbers through desolation rows
Plowing down man, woman, listening to its command
But not hearing anymore
Not hearing anymore
Just the shrieks from the old rich

And I want to believe
In the madness that calls ‘Now’
And I want to believe
That a light’s shining through
Somehow

And I want to believe
And you want to believe
And we want to believe
And we want to live
Oh, we want to live

We want to live
We want to live
We want to live
We want to live
We want to live

I want to live
I want to live
I want to live

I want to live
I want to live
I want to live

Live
Live
Live

Songwriters: DAVID BOWIE
© EMI Music Publishing, TINTORETTO MUSIC
For non-commercial use only.
Data from: LyricFind

There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met. William Butler Yeats

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/05/24/the-vibrations-of-conflict/

How strange the change From major to minor, Every time we say goodbye. Cole Porter

The Vibrations of Conflict

May 24, 2017— “Cole Porter clearly got it right. But what exactly is it that changes from major to minor when we say goodbye? What permits music to express and stimulate our moods so precisely? How does it ignite or dampen our spirits, make us feel romantic or cynical, lighthearted or blue? Why do simple sequences of musical notes or complex symphonic strains cause us to weep with sorrow, waltz with elegance, march in disciplined military formations, or swirl sensuously across a dance floor? And what does any of this have to do with conflict?” Kenneth Cloake specializes in mediation, negotiation and the resolution of complex organizational, interpersonal, and public policy disputes. He shares more in this thought-provoking excerpt. (1969 reads)

http://mediate.com/articles/cloke3.cfm

The Vibrations of Conflict

Kenneth Cloke August 2003

The Vibrations of Conflict [Excerpted from Kenneth Cloke, The Magic of Mediation: A Guide to Transforming and Transcending Conflict (to be published) © 2003]

How strange the change From major to minor, Every time we say goodbye. Cole Porter

Cole Porter clearly got it right. But what exactly is it that changes from major to minor when we say goodbye? What permits music to express and stimulate our moods so precisely? How does it ignite or dampen our spirits, make us feel romantic or cynical, lighthearted or blue? Why do simple sequences of musical notes or complex symphonic strains cause us to weep with sorrow, waltz with elegance, march in disciplined military formations, or swirl sensuously across a dance floor? And what does any of this have to do with conflict?

The Music of Conflict

In a brilliant comedic sketch on the 1950’s “Your Show of Shows,” Sid Caesar and Nanette Fabray pantomimed a marital spat to the strains of the Overture to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. Words were wholly unnecessary, as music gave the audience everything it needed to recognize the flow and commiserate with the futility of their argument.

It has often occurred to me, sometimes in the middle of a mediation, that even the most prosaic conflicts have a subtle musical quality about them. In the first place, there is the explicit music of the parties, reflected in their contrasting tempos, pitches, inflections, timbres, and tones of voice. There are solos as individuals hold forth, duets as they discuss, and dissonance as they argue and interrupt each other. There is fortissimo, pianissimo, diminuendo, and crescendo, mirroring the stages of their dialogue and transporting them from fear and rage to forgiveness and reconciliation.

Second, there is the mediator’s calming, measured, propitiating, yet hopeful tone, using tone of voice to draw the parties together. There is the refusing of invited counterpoint, the offering to each side of a solo or aria, and the prompting of a duet or chorus. There is the soprano of injury and distress, the baritone of bitterness and injustice, the bass of hopelessness and depression, and the tenor of optimism and resolution. There is the interplay of score and libretto, moving toward a single harmonious and satisfying finale. Throughout, there is the mediator, trying to orchestrate and harmonize the diverse instruments and blend them into a single symphonic whole.

Third, there is the emotional attunement of the listener to the music that transmits the emotional experience of the storyteller, allowing the listener to resonate, and thereby empathize and approximate the experience of another. Empathetic resonance allows the music to vibrate inside the listener, who experiences secondhand what the speaker experienced, and thereby discovers internally what it might have felt like to have experienced it firsthand.

Historically, it has long been recognized that music stimulates intense emotions. Plato distrusted the emotional power of sensuous music and saw it as dangerous enough to justify censorship. Schopenhauer recognized the deep connection between human feeling and music, which “restores to us all the emotions of our inmost nature, but entirely without reality and far removed from their pain.” Nietzsche described an Apollonian-Dionysian dichotomy in music, representing form and rationality versus drunkenness and ecstasy. For Nietzsche, music was the sensual, Dionysian art form par excellence, which could be used to convey all the emotions for which words would never be enough. Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva declared that “The heart: it is a musical, rather than a physical organ,” and Austrian Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein maintained that “Every word strikes an emotional tone.”

These observations help us recognize that every emotion, attitude, and mood in conflict possesses a signature frequency and amplitude, a unique rhythm that is communicated as much through tone of voice, pitch, pace, and timing as through verbal description. These unique emotional frequencies are also communicated through body language and gestures, choice of words, and the narrative structure of conflict stories to listeners who are asked to resonate, empathize, evoke, and experience what happened to the speaker within themselves. The mediator or facilitator in this scenario can be thought of as a tuning fork, grounding the conversation in a tone or musical theme with which everyone is asked to resonate, and, if possible, combine into a single all-encompassing, harmonizing melodic strain.

It is clear that different musical rhythms evoke radically different moods. There are rhythms of control, as with marching music; rhythms of exploration as with jazz; rhythms of sadness as with the blues; and rhythms of devotion as with gospel. Each style of music evokes a different set of emotions, memories, and spiritual or energetic responses. Can we then use rhythms of speech to elicit sadness, anger, or fear? Can we counter these dusky tempos with lighter, upbeat rhythms in order to elicit joy, affection, or courage? What are the qualities of vibration that impart these special, substantive meanings? What, for example, is the vibratory quality of a sincere apology as opposed to an insincere one? And how do we know the difference between them?

We appear to decide these issues by combining sensitive, even subliminal information from multiple resonating sources, including inflection, body language, eye contact, auditory signals of stress, and other signs that are often too faint to distinguish consciously, yet are perceived subliminally. Much of what we think, feel, and do in conflict is grounded in these microscopic, subliminal, nearly unconscious messages that are often beneath the level of conscious awareness. In one experiment, for example, volunteers were shown a video with peaceful visual images punctuated by a car crash that produced a characteristic stressful response in the brain. Researchers then sped up the video so that none of the subjects could recognize that there had been a car crash, yet their brains continued to respond as though they had.

The vibrations we receive from others tremble, sway, and oscillate subtly inside us. The consequence of this internalization is that all our conflict responses, from rage to reconciliation, take place within us, and do so at a level that is below that of conscious attention. We routinely make subtle assessments, such as whether we feel respected or discounted by the other person based on the vibratory quality of their speech, or their posture, attitude, or quality of presence as these resonate within us. We make these assessments by paying attention to how we feel when we are with them. As the Sufi poet Rumi wrote:

‘What if a man cannot be made to say anything? How do you learn his hidden nature?’ ‘I sit in front of him in silence, and set up a ladder made of patience, and if in his presence a language from beyond joy and beyond grief begins to pour from my chest, I know that his soul is as deep and bright as the star Canopus rising over Yemen. And so when I start speaking a powerful right arm of words sweeping down, I know him from what I say, and how I say it, because there’s a window open between us, mixing the night air of our beings.’

Indeed, there is rhythm and refrain, euphony and cacophony, not only in music, but in sight, touch, smell, taste, and thought, which are subtly present in every conversation. Unfortunately, we spend so much time and energy focusing on the relatively superficial literal meanings of what people say that we miss much of what they really mean beneath the surface of what they are saying. If we discount the words and simply focus on facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, and the ways their conversation affects us, we may gain a far better understanding of what they actually mean. We know that music strikes people in different ways, so while these effects may be experienced and encouraged, they cannot be predicted or calculated. For this reason, it makes no sense to think of conflict as being created by others without our active participation. When we describe conflict as a tango, we suggest not only that a dance partner has selected us, but that we have selected them, and agreed to sway together to an agreed-upon piece of music. Yet this fact implies that we can stop the dance or change the music whenever we decide to end it, or respond to a different strain of music. Science as Metaphor

Once we recognize that every conflict has emotional, energetic, and spiritual overtones, we can go deeper, and explore the subtle, invisible, vibratory lines along which it, and much of reality, runs. By paying attention to the music of ordinary communication we can discover a hidden fulcrum that can be used to nudge a conflict from impasse to resolution. We can use scientific understanding as a metaphor to find this fulcrum, and consider, for a moment, the part scientists believe may be played by vibration in the universe as a whole. Since Einstein, physicists have been clear that our universe consists of matter and energy which translate directly into each other, and are therefore simply different expressions of the same thing. Matter, which is merely energy moving very slowly, behaves at a quantum level like a wave. Energy, which is matter moving very rapidly, takes the form of a field whose invisible lines of force are revealed, for example, through patterns that can be seen in iron filings sprinkled on a sheet of paper covering a magnet.

Without digressing too far from our topic, many physicists now believe that all matter is composed of vibrating 10 or 11 dimensional strings or “branes,” that vibrate at different frequencies to produce all the known elementary particles. A super-symmetrical unification of all known forces and particles within a single vibrational framework would tell us that the universe does not consist simply of lumps of matter separated by vast reaches of empty space, but of a constant translation of matter into energy and back again, that is expressed through vibrations, waves, fields, “spin” and similar qualities that have no discrete corporeal existence. Particles, which we usually think of as matter, are a tiny part of the universe, separated by unimaginably vast distances. To illustrate, if a proton in the nucleus of an atom were the size of a tennis ball, its electron would be circling two miles away, and the strings scientists theorize would have the same size compared to an atom as an atom has to our solar system. Yet our focus and attention are attracted to particles, or by analogy, to the substantive issues in conflict, with little dedicated to the energetic or vibrational fields created by polarization.

If these speculations by physicists are correct and we live in a world that consists not only of particles of fixed matter, but waves of vibrating energy; if we ourselves inextricably express that world; and if our emotions and spirits are partly explained by thinking of them as wave-like, vibrational, and energetic, we are drawn to consider how our view of conflict and efforts at resolution might shift by treating them as vibrations or waves, rather than as static or particulate. There are many deep and profound issues related to the physical nature of the universe that have had a significant impact on how I think about and respond to conflict. It has been useful to me in mediation, for example, to recognize that I cannot pin down someone’s position and at the same time be precise about their momentum; that my uncertainty about them imparts a kind of structure to the mediation process; and that there is a complimentarity to conflict that allows it to be both fixed or particulate and flowing or wave-like. It has been my experience in mediation that if anything vibrates or resonates, it can be tuned to less adversarial and destructive frequencies. I have found it useful to recognize that in mediation, as in physics, there is no absolute or fixed frame of reference for the perceptions of parties, and when I am able to open heart-to-heart communications, previously hostile combatants merge to form a new, unified, collaborative state, much like a Bose-Einstein condensate in which, at temperatures near absolute zero, individual atoms lose their distinctness to form a single integrated whole and a new state of matter out of thousands of otherwise discrete parts.

I have sometimes found it useful to adopt a geometric analogy that views the parties perceptions of time and space as relative, elastic, and warped by their gravitational attraction to some emotionally massive invisible black hole of pain, around which they rotate at rapid speeds; or to think of impasse as a vacuum in conflict space, and not empty, but seething with polarizing energy that I can borrow for an instant to create something new. These diverse, seemingly inapt physical perspectives have helped me improve the way I think about and articulate what I do, and in the process, led me to new techniques that draw on these understandings.

While these physical examples are metaphoric, they point to underlying unities and relationships. Thus, if I begin with Einstein’s proof that space and time are part of a single equation; that mass bends the shape of spacetime, and that this elastic geometry of spacetime tells matter how to move, I can predict that the greater the density or mass of emotion surrounding a conflict, the greater the distortion it will create in the relational spacetime geometry that connects and separates people, and the greater the gravitational tug, which may result in their going into continuous orbit around each other, or fall more rapidly toward its’ center. Following this line, it helps my understanding of conflict to shift from linear, particle-like, mechanical theories of causation to complex, wave-like, relativistic fields with multiple interacting causes and effects. Developing a field theory of conflict will allow us to recognize its’ complex movements and energetic fluctuations at different points of time and space. Similar changes in our understanding take place when we shift from assuming conflict is regular and predictable to seeing it as chaotic, self-organizing, and sensitively dependent on initial conditions.

Geometry can also be used to enhance our understanding of relationships, since conflict is above all a relationship – not only with others, but with ourselves, the past, present, and future, and the environment in which it occurs. Space, then, translates into relative qualities of distance, angle, and trajectory, while time translates into relative qualities of speed, frequency, and direction, and the angle by which one approaches or examines something. Examining the angle of our speed and position relative to others can help define the meaning of our conflict.

Similarly, we can learn from evolutionary biology and computer algorithms about the competing and collaborating elements that are responsible for the evolution of conflict as a complex self-organizing system. Just as gravity was reduced by Einstein to the flexible geometry of spacetime, so species differentiation was reduced by Darwin to the adaptive process of evolution, in which birth and death, competition and collaboration, change and conservation combine to produce a continuously fluctuating natural selection process that carries useful lessons for conflict resolution.

Using evolution as a metaphor allows us to see that people in conflict face environmental pressures from their partners, families, cultures, organizations, and societies that subject them to the unpredictability of non-equilibrium conditions, and require them to learn and adapt in order to survive. Conflict can then be seen as a series of competitive environmental or ecological crises that require ever more advanced levels of skill and collaboration to resolve.

In these ways, nature provides us with metaphors about symmetries, forms, and patterns that can be used to analyze and affect conflict behaviors. We may then recognize that nature is not “out there” but “in here.” We are nature, perhaps constituted out of vibrating ten dimensional strings, but certainly made up of wave-like quarks, gluons, protons, neutrons, and electrons, all obeying the laws of physics. We are living, evolving organisms composed of organic compounds, bacteria, and diverse collaborating cells. We are primates with a capacity not only for rational thought, self-awareness, and strategic thinking, but irrationality, blinding emotion, and self-destruction. Every part of nature is manifested through us in countless ways that can help us understand how and why we behave as we do when we are in conflict, and lead us to newer and more powerful methods of resolution.

Orchestrating the Vibrations of Conflict

Adopting a vibrational metaphor for conflict allows us to develop our skills by treating communications as though they were waves rather than particles, and working with their elements at a more subtle level. For example, waves possess both amplitude and frequency and can be cancelled by equal and opposite waves, or amplified and increased by adding waves of a similar frequency. We can use tone of voice to stimulate others to increase their empathy, or communicate emotion at a deep level of authenticity, or acknowledge a willingness to settle, or let go of grief and rage. All this can be done not merely by using words that convey precise meanings, but by tone, pitch, frequency, and modulation.

We can stimulate awareness through intentional acts and rituals as by shaking hands, through body movements as by nodding, through tone of voice as by whispering, through repetitive phrasing as by summarizing, through timing as by process intervention, or simply through the vibrational quality of who we are as by spirit and heart-based communications. Each of these, if used with the right person at the right time can create a sense of spiritual connection, relational synergy, emotional resonance, and sympathetic vibration without words. As Rumi also observed:

There is a way between voice and presence where information flows.

By thinking of emotions as waves or vibrations, we can consciously de-escalate our conflicts by lowering or deepening our tone of voice, slowing the pace or frequency of our comments, softening our pitch, using repetitive, modulated phrasing, and emphasizing vowel sounds as opposed to harsher sounding consonants. We can release pent-up emotion by leaning forward, nodding rhythmically and repetitively, taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly, using caressing gestures while not actually touching the other person, or using a gentle touch or pat to produce a calming effect. All these vibratory acts intersect, resonate with, and direct the attribution of meaning within the listener.

At a deeper level, it is possible to change the rhythmic patterns of our words. We can significantly alter what is communicated, for example, by repeating key words or phrases, slowing down, or using rhythmic emphasis, as was done to great effect by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy. At a deeper level still, it is possible to make peace and tranquility so powerful within ourselves that without any of these interventions, others intuitively understand that it is unnecessary to act aggressively toward us.

I frequently use vibrational qualities of voice, body language, metaphor, pacing, liturgical repetition, and my own clear, committed, heart-based intention to calm parties in mediation and induce a sense of trust and comfort in the process. To do so, I expand my awareness of what is happening in the present moment and do not get stuck in the past or the future or worry about what I am going to do next. Sometimes, as in deep meditation, I experience a subtle, background vibration that is extremely calming. This vibration does not occur as thought or emotion or body sensation, but transcends them. The phrase that best describes this state of mind is an ancient Zen definition of enlightenment, which is: being available for anything at every moment. When I am in this state, others may become calm effortlessly. In truth, conflict is inherently chaotic and so sensitively dependent on initial conditions as to be unpredictable, making it impossible to plan in advance how to respond. It has been my experience that when I have a pre-set plan it often goes awry because I cannot move naturally, in concert with what people just said or did. On the other hand, when I am able to sense the vibratory, wave-like quality of what is occurring in the conversation and am completely open, present, and available for whatever others may say or do, I am able to respond in creative, unimaginable ways that are far more effective than the best prepared strategies. This does not make strategy or planning irrelevant, but provisional and secondary to experience.

How We Attribute Meaning

The more we listen to our inner voice, the more clearly we can hear the voices of others. Indeed, when we consider how sense impressions are processed, the entire distinction between self and others begins to unravel and dissolve. It is clear, for example, that all our sensory perceptions are based on a combination of unreliable factors, including external objects that produce or reflect waves or vibrations which strike specialized sensory detectors, which transmit electrical signals through neurons to the brain, where synapses are arranged in patterns based on previously experienced patterns stored in memory, which result in our attribution of meaning. Minor errors in any of these maneuvers will result in radically distinct meanings.

Vision is a coordinated, even collaborative relationship between an object, light, the eye, nerve cells, the brain, and patterns of meaning created by our prior experiences. What we see is therefore not actually outside us, but a relationship between what is inside and outside. Light waves of specific frequency and amplitude are reflected off objects at angles that render them perceivable by the eye, but perception necessarily includes the attribution of meaning, which takes place inside us. This does not mean the things we see are not also seen by others and therefore, according to convention, objectively exist. It means that attributing meaning is highly personal, based on individual prior experiences, dependent on multiple variable inputs, interpretations, and choices that can be altered to create equal and opposite meanings. Thus, it can be argued that the people we love and hate are only a complex set of externally triggered internal vibrations we have imbued with special meaning based on past experiences, and that these meanings exist only inside us due to our unique history. While others may experience something similar, it is clearly impossible to say anything about anyone else without simultaneously describing ourselves.

Every attribution of meaning is therefore a combination of sensory perceptions and individual experiences, intentions, personalities, and innermost nature, all of which are communicated through wave-like interactions. As a result, we can chose at any time to interpret our perceptions differently, or recall and amplify a set of experiences we previously ignored, or interpret events differently. We can design fresh experiences that cancel previous wave patterns, recognize that we have selected from a mass of perceptions only those that fit a predetermined emotional pattern, discover the source of this pattern within ourselves, and consciously dismantle it. Attribution of meaning is therefore not fixed or static, but open to change and constantly evolving, as revealed in the following case study.

No More Teachers Dirty Looks – A Case Study

Several years ago, I mediated a dispute involving Rose, a teacher who was being fired for yelling at three other teachers and using what might be considered “world-class” swear words in front of children during school hours. Rose had been chair of the union at her school for twenty years and a strong advocate for teachers. The incidents that threatened her job all began six months after she stepped down as head of the union.

At the mediation, the three teachers angrily described what Rose had said and done to them. Rose responded defensively, first by denying that what she had done was so serious, then by attacking the other teachers for having provoked her, and finally by quibbling over details in their descriptions of each event. The mood was one of entrenched animosity, unyielding blame, impasse, and shared recrimination.

Sensing the determination behind her resistance and at the same time being aware of its’ utter futility, since the Principal had made it clear that without a full resolution Rose would be terminated, I did something I had not planned or thought about in advance. I stopped her mid-sentence in one of her defensive counter-attacks against her accusers, and said: “Excuse me, Rose. Can I ask you a question?” She said “Yes,” and I asked simply, softening my tone of voice, lowering my posture, and leaning towards her until I was at the very edge of her personal space: “Has anyone ever thanked you for what you have done for this school?” Her mouth dropped open and she burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably. I decided to deepen the spiritual opening created by her response, and after a moment of warm, sympathetic silence, I turned to her accusers and asked them if they would each tell Rose directly one thing she had contributed to the school, and thank her for having done it. Now they all began crying, and as they told their stories about Rose’s dedication to teachers and the school, the defensive “vibrations” and atmosphere of impasse were totally transformed.

After the teachers finished and Rose stopped crying long enough to speak, she apologized profusely for what she had done. She said she cared so much about the school and about the teachers and children, but didn’t know how to show it, and was desperately unhappy about how useless she had become. Her “accusers” supported her by saying they knew she cared about them and about the school, and apologized to her for becoming accusatory rather than reaching out and helping her make what must have been a very difficult transition. Together they decided there was something they could still do – not merely for teachers, but for the school as a whole, by helping everyone learn from what happened, work more collaboratively as a team, and develop new teacher leaders.

I suggested they might start by letting people know how they had resolved their conflict, and asked what they wanted to do to communicate to others what they had decided and help the school heal. Rose said she felt she needed to apologize to the entire faculty and staff, and would start by asking to be put on the agenda for the next all-hands meeting. The other teachers said she should not have to do this alone, and wanted to join her in apologizing for their role in the conflict. Everyone began crying all over again, but this time with joy at their newfound solidarity. I suggested that they go together to ask the Principal to put them on the next agenda, and that they each describe at the meeting what they learned from this conflict about teaching, teamwork, and solving their problems together. They readily agreed.

I again decided to do something unplanned and push the opening just a little wider. Rose said she had gone to one of the teachers after yelling at him, apologized, hugged him, and asked him if she could take him to lunch to make up for what she had done. The teacher said it had shocked him at the time because Rose was not known as someone who hugged people or invited them to lunch. Riding this wave of collegiality, I asked them if they would all agree to hug each other each time they meet, and go to lunch as a group at least once a week between now and the end of the semester. They enthusiastically agreed, and I asked Rose whether she would agree to invite others who also had problems with her to join her for lunch, and find out what they could do together to improve the school. She agreed.

I later heard from the Principal how shocking and transformational it was to see Rose, the tough-talking union advocate, hugging everyone and inviting all her former enemies to lunch. He said the faculty meeting at which they apologized had transformed the culture in the school, triggered a profound conversation about how the faculty and staff needed to care more for each other, and actually resulted in better teaching and fewer disciplinary problems with students.

In retrospect, it is clear that while Rose was thoroughly defended against insult, isolation, and attack, she was utterly defenseless against compliment, inclusion, and acknowledgement. Her toughness was a barrier erected to protect herself against her own vulnerability, which collapsed at the slightest push in the right direction. Analyzed in vibrational terms, the gentleness, kindness, and open-heartedness that were contained in the question I asked regarding acknowledgement conveyed a vibrational frequency that spoke directly to her heart and touched a deep chord that released her pent-up emotions. What allowed me to discover that question was not merely a sense of intellectual futility about the way the conversation was going, or a sense of emotional frustration over her lack of ownership, or the depth of understanding in the teachers’ stories, or even a physical discomfort with the stress-filled accusatory/defensive dynamic that filled their argument, but a spiritual, energetic, vibrational sense of what must lay beneath those layers of defensiveness and rationalization.

By going to my heart and asking a question that came directly from the vibrational quality I wanted to elicit, I was able to touch her heart in ways I could not have done by asking a question from intellect. Although it happened very quickly, the question flowed from intuition, empathetic resonance, and my willingness to place myself in her shoes. From there, I asked what would have made me do as she did, and was able to find a question that would reveal whether my intuition was correct.

These moments of “sublime mediation,” or what is sometimes called “crazy wisdom,” represent a kind of “peripheral mind,” which, like peripheral vision, consists of paying attention to the background rather than the foreground, and empowering one’s intuition. In this state, it is possible to notice the subtle vibrational differences between anger and caring, defensiveness and pain, and within myself, between judgement and empathetic resonance. Intuition is not infallible, and for this reason should take the form – not of an answer, but of a question that might be asked by a three year old. If my intention is clear and I have no judgements, agendas, or stake in the outcome, I may be able to combine innocence and curiosity with directness and honesty in a simple, disarming, heart-based question that suddenly exposes the nucleus of the conflict.

 

Biography

Kenneth Cloke is Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution and a mediator, arbitrator, consultant and trainer, specializing in resolving complex multi-party conflicts, including community, grievance and workplace disputes, organizational and school conflicts, sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, and public policy disputes, and in designing conflict resolution systems for organizations. He is a nationally recognized speaker and leader in the field of conflict resolution, and a published author of many journal articles and several books, including Mediation: Revenge and the Magic of Forgiveness and Mediating Dangerously: The Fontiers of Conflict Resolution . His consulting and training practice includes organizational change, leadership, team building and strategic planning. He is a co-author with Joan Goldsmith of Thank God It’s Monday! 14 Values We Need to Humanize The Way We Work, Resolving Conflicts at Work: A Complete Guide for Everyone on the Job, Resolving Personal and Organizational Conflict: Stories of Transformation and Forgiveness; The End of Management and the Rise of Organizational Democracy, and The Art of Waking People Up: Cultivating Awareness and Authenticity at Work. His latest book, Journeys into the Heart of Conflict will be published in 2015.

He received a B.A. from the University of California; a J.D. from U.C.’s Boalt Law School; a Ph.D. from UCLA; an LLM from UCLA Law School; and has done post-doctoral work at Yale Law School. He is a graduate of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. His university teaching includes law, mediation, history and other social sciences at a number of colleges and universities including Southwestern University School of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law, Antioch University, Occidental College, USC and UCLA.

23 May 2017 My spirit walk at home and Combichrist – Get Your Body Beat

These pictures are the result of my spirit walk at home today.  The rain stopped and the wind blew enough to dry off my canvas to do it.  For me, what a spirit walk is about is allowing myself to flow and process, without question or examination, what comes to me.  This is my daily practice.  What comes may be confusing and off-putting so some or crystal clear to others.  I’m just passing things along as they come, as I feel I am supposed to do with this.  Nothing belongs to me and if I can help even one other person, albeit it just be me, than so be it.  As you will read in the lyrics below, I have given up on giving a fuck what anyone else feels, thinks or believes about me.  All that matters is what I am doing, thinking and feeling.  I do censor myself with what I share here and anywhere else for concern of others to a certain extent, but not to the point it obstructs the overall message.  What is here is in no way to imply that I am anything other than just me, Jackie.  Just one of 7 billion plus “channels” for which information of this nature can be sent and received.  Mindfulness, awareness and paying attention – this is what you must practice each day and I am trying to do that.  What I have come to realize for myself is the image I am developing of the God is a being of energy made up of each one of us as part of the one.  It’s partially why things are not going so well right now — imagine there being 20 of different versions of you in one room trying to solve a problem?!  One of you is Christian.  One of you is a Jew.  One of you is an Muslim.  One of you is Black, White, Brown, Yellow or even Gray skinned.  One of you is an artist.  One of you is an car mechanic and so on but all still the one You.  This is why “group-think” like governments, religions and other organizations like major corporations frequently experience discord, in-fighting and literal division of the “cells” and factions.  We are biologically incapable of perceiving the world all of the same way!  There must be learning to agree to disagree….compromise….being willing to walk in another’s shoes.

My prayers go out to every living being on this planet today like they always do – especially the folks in Manchester.  As always my prayer is for whatever is for the greatest good of all which I hope doesn’t include the caning, maiming, abuse, neglect and murder of anymore people that can’t help being who they were born to be.   People can’t just “stop being gay, straight, or otherwise.”   They can make choices about their religious, political and entertainment which is part of the direction perspective can go with being “gay, straight or other – LGBTQ.”  Fear is at the core of most wars whatever the battlefield.  I’m sick, tired and frankly bored with wars, the perpetual “loops” aren’t you?!

This song was playing on my Ipod shuffle when the battery suddenly failed.  I went to my phone that also has my playlist on it and the song was next along with  “Live from NY radio…..”  That will make sense to some of those who know me.  Just passing things along as they come.

Combichrist “Get Your Body Beat” Music Video

 

http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Combichrist:Get_Your_Body_Beat

Combichrist:Get Your Body Beat Lyrics

1,908,746pages on
Get Your Body Beat

This song is by Combichrist and appears on the album What The Fuck Is Wrong With You People? (2007) and on the Soundtrack album No Redemption (2013).

Trick your brain to set the score
Can you take the pain at all?
I try to understand you girl
But you gotta earn it
Fuck it up and let it go

Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow

Doesn’t matter what you say
Never understood at all
Don’t give a fuck what people say
Glad your piece is just for show
Grab its neck and don’t let go

Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow
Get your body beat
Let your blood flow

Get your body be-at

Uploaded on Jun 10, 2006

Get Your Body Beat, Combichrist’s new single released in the summer of 6/6/06 following the music video containing clips from the movie “The Gene Generation”

 

19 May 2017 Resentment, Duplicity in Human Nature and Pharmaceutical induced suicides (Chris Cornell suicide)

18 May 2017 – I drew this trying to work through my feelings about Chris dying. Shadow on the Sun is just one of his many songs I have enjoyed over the years.

Hello to you this morning. We are up early again….Link and his bug bites! So we got up and I read in the headlines that they have ruled Chris Cornell’s death a suicide. This not only made his death for me even more sad but stirred a restlessness and very old ache in my heart. Evoking the “I don’t know what to do with these feelings” restlessness. He had struggled, as I had for a time, with addiction to alcohol (also drugs for him). After finally sitting still with Kyle for a bit I was lead to my bookshelf, and my copy of Alcoholics Anonymous. In particular page 63 which was from the last time I had visited it.

Page 63 Alcoholics Anonymous

we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter, We were reborn.

We are now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him*: “God, I offer myself to Thee–to build with me and dto do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”

*For me God has no gender, just energy

Page 64

Resentment is the “number one” offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick.

———————

Anyone who has been or is still involved with a 12 Step program like AA or NA, knows that part of our creed is to pay it forward, to share our experience, strength and hope with others in recovery. I have adopted that creed with themes here in my blog and life to carry the message beyond to those who may not have reached their bottom yet but are on their way. I want to reach those who “turn their lights on” or put on a mask to the world but are in darkness inside….live in duplicity. Living a life of falsehood to our true self creates resentment which on page 64 is at the root of addiction and further still…spiritual sickness.

Even though we may not drink, drug, have sex, shop, and or work too much…”act” like or even truly believe we are recovered, as Chris has shown us, we may still not be entirely recovered in our core….in our spirit. Recovery is an inside to outside job and for most of us, it is a life-long venture with constant vigilance required.

I hope wherever his heaven, he has found peace and my prayers and love go to those he left behind. My mother committed suicide when I was barely a year old, not old enough to truly “know” her and it ripples through me still. I can only imagine the agony an older child facing such circumstances. I hope there is and or will be a great support systems to help them navigate through this.

 

It’s interesting to note that we have yet another very public death with pharmaceuticals. How many people who aren’t famous have also taken their own lives under these conditions? Is this being studied and if so, what can be done to reverse this disturbing trend?

He was apparently taking Ativan: : http://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/music/chris-cornell-dead-possible-suicide-was-guiding-force-grunge-music-n761476

Cornell’s wife and lawyer issued a statement pushing back at the notion that Cornell wanted to die. The lawyer, Kirk Pasich, said that the singer was a recovering addict and was taking an anti-anxiety medication that may have contributed to his death.

“The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions,” Pasich said, noting that his anti-anxiety medication, Ativan, can cause paranoid or suicidal thoughts.)

 

17 May 2017 The Final Problem (Sherlock BBC), Streams in the Desert message for today and some headlines in U.S laced with hypocrisy

Good morning to you. It’s VERY early for me to be up, 3:51 am, but Link decided we weren’t sleeping in today! I think the mosquito biotches neither of us are fond of have bitten him in very inconvenient locations and he just can’t sleep the night through. I know how that is, they got me on my toes lol. Now that we are all up, he goes back to sleep LOL! I hear children do the same sorts of things! Unlike children, dogs are harder to reason with about these sorts of things.

Well at least somebody got to go back to sleep!

Last night Kyle found out Netflix had the last episode of Season 4 Sherlock (BBC) available to watch (http://netflixlife.com/2017/05/15/sherlock-season-4-now-on-netflix/) so I decided we were watching it! Kyle more than I wasn’t sure he wanted to see it, but I had watched a synopsis a week or so ago and was curious. It was pretty much as we expected. Kyle gave it a 3.5 out of 5. He feels Steve Moffat might have been more focused on wrapping Dr. Who than this episode but that is speculation on his part of course. I would rate if about a 4 out of 5. For me, once again, it was seeing just how Ben and Martin’s chemistry on-screen has changed from when they first began. Their performances were both stiff and just not as amiable as they have been in previous seasons. They both seemed just tired and I didn’t feel them in their parts. The adding of the sister and how that unfolded at Sherrinford didn’t evoke much feeling from either of us other than feeling we were watching a less bloody Saw movie – Eurus versus Jigsaw. I am glad I saw it and got official closure on the series!

16 May 2017 – I drew this about 5:20 in the afternoon, not knowing we were going to be watching the final episode of Sherlock. After we watched it, I realized this map kind of looks like Sherrinford lol!

He didn’t win the BAFTA for Leading actor for (The Hollow Crown – Richard), but he is a winner to me no matter what!  From what I’ve seen of his work, I don’t think he does it for the accolades.  What I have seen is he just genuinely seems to love the work – may be to a fault?! (the fatigue I saw in Sherlock).  What better award can there be than that?  Getting to do what you love for a living?!

Streams in the Desert reading for today that seems to follow quite well and could have been written for Ben lol:

May 17

“And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wildnerness….an angel of the Lord….saying…now come, I will send thee into Egypt.” (Acts 7:30-34.)

Often the Lord calls us aside from our work for a season, and bids us be still and learn ere we got forth again to minister. There is no time lost in such waiting hours.

Fleeing from his enemies, the ancient knight found that his horse needed to be re-shod. Prudence seemed to urge him on without delay, but higher wisdom taught him to halt a few minutes at the blacksmith’s forge by the way, to have the shoe replaced; and although he heard the feet of his pursuers galloping hard behind, yet he waited those minutes until his charger was refitted for his flight. And then, leaping into his saddle just as they appeared a hundred yards away, he dashed away from them with the fleetness of the wind, and knew that his halting had hastened his escape.

So often God bids us tarry ere we go, and fully recover ourselves for the next stage of the journey and work. –Days of Heaven upon Earth

Waiting! Yes patiently waiting!

Til next steps made plain shall be;

To hear, the inner hearing,

The Voice that will call for me.

Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting!

With hope that need not grow dim;

The Master is pledged to guide me,

And my eyes are unto Him.

Waiting! Expectantly waiting!

Perhaps it may be today

The Master will quickly open

The gate to my future way.

Waiting! Yes waiting! still waiting!

I know, though I’ve waited long,

That, while He withholds His purpose,

His waiting cannot be wrong.

Waiting! Yes, waiting! still waiting!

The Master will not be late;

He knoweth I am waiting

For Him to unlatch the gate. – J. Dawson Smith

 

Some headlines laced with some hypocrisy:

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/17/528665024/man-arrested-for-threatening-u-s-rep-telling-her-your-days-are-numbered – it is sad people are stooping to the same levels the opposite side of the fence have already done to this point. Violence is never the answer! I understand what’s going on though. This is the seed that has been sown by our current administration in Washington. They have sown a very hostile orchard.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mcconnell-calls-for-less-drama-from-donald-trumps-white-house/ar-BBBcNZK?OCID=ansmsnnews11 – Do you think?!!

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/comey-memo-says-trump-asked-him-to-end-flynn-investigation/ar-BBBdmgu?OCID=ansmsnnews11 – no surprises here! Hypocricy and deceit yet again.

The New York Times

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation

WASHINGTON — President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo that Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The existence of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

Sign Up For the Morning Briefing Newsletter

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence an ongoing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of the memo to a Times reporter.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. “He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey that Mr. Flynn had done nothing wrong, according to the memo.

Mr. Comey did not say anything to Mr. Trump about curtailing the investigation, only replying: “I agree he is a good guy.”

In a statement, the White House denied the version of events in the memo.

“While the president has repeatedly expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” the statement said. “The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”

In testimony to the Senate last week, the acting F.B.I. director, Andrew G. McCabe, said, “There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date.”

A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment.

Mr. Comey created similar memos — including some that are classified — about every phone call and meeting he had with the president, the two people said. It is unclear whether Mr. Comey told the Justice Department about the conversation or his memos.

Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey last week. Trump administration officials have provided multiple, conflicting accounts of the reasoning behind Mr. Comey’s dismissal. Mr. Trump said in a television interview that one of the reasons was because he believed “this Russia thing” was a “made-up story.”

The Feb. 14 meeting took place just a day after Mr. Flynn was forced out of his job after it was revealed he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of phone conversations he had had with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Despite the conversation between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey, the investigation of Mr. Flynn has proceeded. In Virginia, a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas in recent weeks for records related to Mr. Flynn. Part of the Flynn investigation is centered on his financial ties to Russia and Turkey.

Mr. Comey had been in the Oval Office that day with other senior national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing. When the meeting ended, Mr. Trump told those present — including Mr. Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to leave the room except for Mr. Comey.

*Alone in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump began the discussion by condemning leaks to the news media, saying that Mr. Comey should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.

Mr. Trump then turned the discussion to Mr. Flynn.

After writing up a memo that outlined the meeting, Mr. Comey shared it with senior F.B.I. officials. Mr. Comey and his aides perceived Mr. Trump’s comments as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret — even from the F.B.I. agents working on the Russia investigation — so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.

Mr. Comey was known among his closest advisers to document conversations that he believed would later be called into question, according to two former confidants, who said Mr. Comey was uncomfortable at times with his relationship with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Comey’s recollection has been bolstered in the past by F.B.I. notes. In 2007, he told Congress about a now-famous showdown with senior White House officials over the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. The White House disputed Mr. Comey’s account, but the F.B.I. director at the time, Robert S. Mueller III, kept notes that backed up Mr. Comey’s story.

The White House has repeatedly crossed lines that other administrations have been reluctant to cross when discussing politically charged criminal investigations. Mr. Trump has disparaged the ongoing F.B.I. investigation as a hoax and called for an investigation into his political rivals. His representatives have taken the unusual step of declaring no need for a special prosecutor to investigate the president’s associates.

The Oval Office meeting occurred a little more than two weeks after Mr. Trump summoned Mr. Comey to the White House for a lengthy, one-on-one dinner in the residence. At that dinner, on Jan. 27, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey at least two times for a pledge of loyalty — which Mr. Comey declined, according to one of Mr. Comey’s associates.

In a Twitter posting on Friday, Mr. Trump said that “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

After the meeting, Mr. Comey’s associates did not believe there was any way to corroborate Mr. Trump’s statements. But Mr. Trump’s suggestion last week that he was keeping tapes has made them wonder whether there are tapes that back up Mr. Comey’s account.

The Jan. 27 dinner came a day after White House officials learned that Mr. Flynn had been interviewed by F.B.I. agents about his phone calls with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak. On Jan. 26, Acting Attorney General Sally Q. Yates told the White House counsel about the interview, and said Mr. Flynn could be subject to blackmail by the Russians because they knew he had lied about the content of the calls.

Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman contributed reporting.

Get politics and Washington news updates via Facebook, Twitter and in the Morning Briefing newsletter.

*I feel this is hypocritical in light of what he recently did

http://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/trump-says-he-has-absolute-right-to-release-terrorism-info-to-russians/ar-BBBcSUz

American presidents have the power to unilaterally disclose any material — even the most secret intelligence — without going through any kind of formal process, or worrying about prosecution. While Trump is correct to say he has an “absolute right” to share any information he wants, experts say that strategy can be risky — especially because allies could lose their trust in the U.S. ability to keep secrets and might stop sharing valuable intelligence with their American counterparts.

11 May 2017 A Woman’s Spirit (Hazelden Meditations) and Dreams

Good morning to you. I hope your today is going well for you. Last night before bed I decided I wanted to pull out a devotional my first AA sponsor, Monica, had given to me to see if there were any messages for me there. Ironically, I had received the devotional from her in this very month 15 years ago! Timely right?! The messages for yesterday and today spoke to me and also speak to what I see with the folks running our Government right now. What isn’t mentioned here that I feel is going on is a whole lot of holding on to a soul-eating levels of Pride. It would take letting go of this cancer of the soul in order for us to move forward as a country and as a people. It shouldn’t matter “who gets credit” for greatness – it’s supposed to be a team effort! When people work together for a common, positive purpose, everyone wins!

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness. Seneca

I hope something here resonates with you whether your a woman or a man:

May 10

Life is for enjoying, it is not a race to see how much you can get done. – Jill Clark

Before we quit using alcohol and other drugs*, we wasted precious hours, days, maybe years. Consequently, we feel we must make up for lost time. We make promises and commitments we don’t have the time or the energy to fulfill. This is a normal response to hindsight. After all, we missed many wonderful opportunities when our focus was on getting and staying **high.

*Drugs – there are many types of drugs, to include the quest for and the keeping of power.

**High can also mean position or place

Making up for the past is different from making the most of each twenty-four hours. It’s not how much we accomplish in life but how we treat others along the way that counts. We can accomplish our daily tasks while being kind to other people. But choosing the latter as the more important action will bring a far greater sense of well-being than succeeding at “moving mountains.”

_______

I will get done everything I really need to do today if I focus on being kind to the women and men who cross my path.

 

May 11

Once conflict has arisen, we are kidding ourselves if we think it can be ignored. – Linda Richel

Conflict is ordinary, some may even say necessary. And it generally makes us tense, but that’s primarily because we want to “win” every disagreement. Through our role models in this program, we learn that feelings should not be stuffed or ignored, but they don’t have to be resolved immediately either. Simply sharing with someone that we are angry about a situation is often enough. Doing more often escalates a minor conflict into a major confrontation.

Choosing to be peaceful, rather than right, isn’t copping out, even though it may seem so at first. rather, it’s opting to put our energies into positive exchanges with others. Remembering that every relationship is given to us by design, not accident, gives us reason to pause before stepping on the toes of our “teachers.” Honoring them with love and acceptance diminishes our need to be right. *2004

___________

Letting go of my need to be right today will truly give me peace. *2017

 

Dream before woke up this morning:

I was watching black women singing on tv and singing along, sounding the same. Then my ex-husband Ken walks in wearing a brown suit with a top hat and clown make-up on. He said he was going to be in a picture with 28 people and then I tried to get up and there was a ghost in the room and I told her to get out. It was the ghost of an old woman from what I could make out.

 

8 May 2017 Walking uphill together

Good morning to you. Today is Kyle and my 9th year wedding anniversary and we both find ourselves very grateful for this day. It hasn’t been an easy walk together, especially since we moved here to Texas but our shared garden still flourishes. A relationship is much like a garden populated with delicate flowers that need tending each and every day!

9 years and going strong! Happy snap to note the special occasion 🙂

We don’t have any specific plans for today – just doing what we value most and that is being together. That is special enough to us.

This is the reading from Streams in the Desert for today and it is perfect:

May 8

*my note – 8 May 2008 Kyle and I married

“Walking in the midst of the fire.” (Daniel 3:25.)

The fire did not arrest their motion; they walked in the midst of it. It was one of the streets through which they moved to their destiny. The comfort of Christ’s revelation is not that it teaches emancipation from sorrow, but emancipation through sorrow.

O my God, teach me, when the shadows have gathered, that I am only in a tunnel. It is enough for me to know that it will be all right some day.

They tell me that I shall stand upon the peaks of Olivet, the heights of resurrection glory. but I want more, O my Father; I want Calvary to lead up to it. I want to know that the shadows of this world are the shades of an avenue- the avenue to the house of my Father. Tell me I am only forced to climb because Thy house is on the hill! I shall receive no hurt from sorrow if I shall walk in the midst of the fire.- George Matheson.

“The road is too rough,” I said;

‘It is uphill all the way;

No flowers, but thorns instead;

And the skies over head are grey.’

But One took my hand at the entrance dim,

And sweet is the road that I walk with Him.

” ‘ The cross is too great,’ I cried –

‘More than the back can bear.

So rough and heavy and wide,

And nobody by to care.’

And One stooped softly and touched my hand;

‘I know, I care. And I understand.’

“Then why do we fret and sigh;

Cross-bearers all we go;

But the road ends by-and-by

In the dearest place we know,

And every step in the journey we

May take in the Lord’s own company.”

Our song:

A Perfect Circle – The Noose (Live) {HD 720p}

The Noose

A Perfect Circle

So glad to see you well Overcome and completely silent now With heavens help you cast your demons out

And not to pull your halo down Around your neck and tug you off your cloud But I’m more than just a little curious How you’re planning to go about making your amends To the dead To the dead

Recall the deeds as if they’re all Someone else’s atrocious stories Now you stand reborn before us all So glad to see you well

And not to pull your halo down Around your neck and tug you to the ground But I’m more than just a little curious How you’re planning to go about making your amends To the dead To the dead

With your halo slipping down Your halo slipping Your halo slipping down Your halo slipping down

(With your halo slipping down) but I’m more than just a little curious (With your halo slipping down) how you’re planning to go about making your (With your halo slipping down) more than just a little curious (With your halo slipping down) how you’re planning to go about making your (With your halo slipping down) more than just a little curious Your halo slipping down To choke you now

Songwriters: BILLY HOWERDEL, MAYNARD KEENAN

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

 

Another man who has been climbing uphill and has done so with great courage. It was good to see him again and I could see it has been an exhausting climb. Thank you for all you tried  and succeeded in doing for this country.  Doing what right is never easy but it is lasting:

Source Internet: President Barack Obama receiving Profile in Courage Award

Profile In Courage Award Ceremony with President Barack Obama

http://news.googply.com/2017/05/08/obama-receives-profile-in-courage-award-speaks-out-about-health-care-debate-npr/
Former President Barack Obama urged Republicans to be guided by a personal standard of ethics and integrity, not political avarice, as they forge ahead with plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act — his signature legislation.

Obama had refrained from weighing in on the bitter health care battle, but he broke his silence while accepting the Profile in Courage Award at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Sunday night.

“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential. But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm,” Obama said.

He also had these words of caution for members of the Senate, who will be taking up the repeal-and-replace plan next: “I hope they understand that courage means not doing what is simply politically expedient, but doing what [people] believe in their hearts is right.”

Don’t Count On The Senate To Save Obamacare, Or To Save The House

Obama never mentioned President Trump by name, but he did say that despite valiant efforts by many leaders who had come before him, health care overhaul had failed because “it was hard,” adding that it is “easily subject to misinformation and fear mongering.”

He commended the members of Congress who voted to push through the health law that came to be known as Obamacare in 2009 and 2010, saying they did so at great political peril to their own careers. Several lawmakers lost their seats in the following midterm elections.

“These men and women did the right thing. They did the hard thing. Theirs was a profile in courage,” Obama said.

Further reflecting on his first term, Obama recalled the brief period when Democrats and Republicans worked together to stave off a series of national crises. Amid the financial chaos that followed his inauguration, Obama said, the two sides enacted laws that kept the economy from free fall and saved the auto industry.

In addition to the words of advice he doled out to elected officials, Obama also shared words of encouragement with the electorate at large. (After all, he’s one of them now.)

“Everywhere we look, we see the risk of falling into the refuge of tribe and clan and anger at those who don’t look like us,” he said. “At such moments, we need courage to stand up to hate.”

Clinton Blames 2016 Loss On Comey Letter, Russian Interference — And Herself

The Kennedy Library bestowed the award on Obama for securing health coverage for millions of Americans, a cause that was long championed by Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who died in 2009. Caroline Kennedy, the senator’s niece and daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, presented Obama with the award.

“Today, when many doubt the integrity of our elected leaders, this award is more important than ever,” Caroline Kennedy said. She was followed by her son, Jack Schlossberg, who praised Obama for inspiring millions of young people like himself to become politically active.

“Without President Obama, I might still be sitting on my couch eating Doritos and watching sports,” he said.

The Obama-Biden bond appears to still be strong: After thanking the former first lady, Michelle, Obama also took a moment to note the former vice president, “the best VP this country’s ever known — Mr. Joe Biden!”

Obama is the third president to receive the Profile in Courage Award. Gerald Ford was honored in 2001 for “making a controversial decision of conscience to pardon former President Richard M. Nixon.” George H.W. Bush was a recipient in 2014 for the 1990 decision to raise taxes, despite declaring in his 1988 campaign, “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

JFK Library via
YouTube
Read the full text of Obama’s speech:

Hello, everybody. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please, everybody have a seat. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Well, first of all, thank you so much, Jack, for that really kind introduction. And I like the socks.

I also want to thank you and Rose and Tatiana and your dad for sharing Caroline with us the past few years as America’s ambassador to Japan.

Caroline, you, true to form, did your country proud, and I’m sure your father and mom would have been proudest of all. I sure was proud, and I’m grateful for your friendship.

I want to thank Ken Feinberg for his service as chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation these past 12 years. He also rendered outstanding service to my administration when we were dealing with the BP oil spill, 9/11. He has rendered public service again and again and again. We’re very grateful for him.

It is wonderful — it is wonderful to see Senators Markey and Senator Warren; my dear friend and former governor, Deval Patrick, and his lovely wife Diane; governors and members of Congress; Cardinal O’Malley; one of the finest secretary of states ever to represent America around the world, John Kerry, and Theresa; and the best vice president this country has ever known, Mr. Joe Biden.

I also want to thank Michelle Obama for after the presidency sticking with me because I think she felt an obligation to the country to stay on. But once her official duties were over, it wasn’t clear. I love my wife. And I’m grateful for her. And I do believe that it was America’s great good fortune to have her as first lady.

So I am humbled by this evening and to be honored by a family that has given this country so much, a family that’s challenged us to ask what we can do for our country, to dream and say why not, a secret cause that endures and to sail against the wind in its pursuit.

That’s what this family has done for America. And to all the members of the Kennedy family that are here tonight, thank you.

I could not be more grateful to the Profile in Courage Award Committee for this honor. I’m also grateful that, unlike the Nobel Prize Committee, you waited until I was out of office.

How fitting that we gather here this month, the 100th anniversary of President Kennedy’s birth. I was born the year he took office, which makes me 55 years old. Had he lived to finish two terms, he would have been just 51. And he remarked on that possibility once. “It has been suggested,” he said, “that whether I serve one or two terms in the presidency, I will find myself at the end of that period at what might be called the awkward age, too old to begin a career and too young to write my memoirs.”

Now, I hadn’t seen this quote when I wrote my first memoir at 33. I’m now in the middle of my second. Moreover, I expect to be busy if not with a second career then at least a second act. But it is true that I’m at the age, at that turn in the road, where one looks back as well as forward to remember one — where one has been, so it’s better to chart where one is going.

And one thing I’m certain is that I was lucky to be born into that new frontier, a new world, and a new generation of Americans. My life in many ways would not have been possible without the vision that John F. Kennedy etched into the character and hearts of America.

To those of us of a certain age, the Kennedys symbolized a set of values and attitudes about civic life that made it such an attractive calling. The idea that politics in fact could be a noble and worthwhile pursuit. The notion that our problems, while significant, are never insurmountable.

The belief that America’s promise might embrace those who had once been locked out or left behind and that opportunity and dignity would no longer be restricted to the few but extended to the many.

The responsibility that each of us have to play a part in our nation’s destiny, and by virtue of being Americans, play a part in the destiny of the world.
I can see truthfully that the example of Jack and Bobby Kennedy helped guide me into politics and that the guidance of Teddy Kennedy made me a better public servant once I arrived in Washington.

I have to imagine it would give them great pride to see a new generation of Kennedys, like Joe, carving their own proud paths in public service.

For whatever reasons I receive this award, whatever the scale, the challenges that we overcame, and the scope of progress we made over my presidency, it is worth pointing out that in many ways the times that President Kennedy confronted were far more perilous than the ones that we confront today.

He entered the Oval Office at just 43, only a few years after Khrushchev had threatened to bury America. Wars raged around the world. Large swaths of the country knew poverty far deeper and more widespread than we see today. A young preacher’s cause was just gaining traction against a land segregated not only by custom but by law.

And yet in that volatile tinderbox of a time, President Kennedy led with a steady hand, diffusing the most perilous moment of the cold war without firing a single shot and forcing the rights of young black men and women to study at the university of their choice. Unleashing a corps of young volunteers as ambassadors for peace in distant corners of the globe. Setting America’s sights on the moon precisely because it was hard, unwilling to consider the possibility that we might not win the space race because he had an unwavering faith in the character of the people that he led: resilient, optimistic, innovative, and courageous.

It’s worth remembering this, the times in which President Kennedy led us, because for many Americans I know that this feels like an uncertain and even perilous time. The forces of globalization and technology have upended many of our established assumptions about the economy. It provided a great opportunity and also a great inequality and uncertainty for far too many. Our politics remains filled with division and discord, and everywhere we see the risk of falling into the refuge of tribe and clan and anger at those who don’t look like us or have the same surnames or pray the way we do.

And at such moments, courage is necessary. At such moments, we need courage to stand up to hate not just in others but in ourselves. At such moments, we need the courage to stand up to dogma not just in others but in ourselves. At such moments, we need courage to believe that together we can tackle big challenges like inequality and climate change. At such moments, it’s necessary for us to show courage in challenging the status quo and in fighting the good fight but also show the courage to listen to one another and seek common ground and embrace principled compromise.

Courage, President Kennedy knew, requires something more than just the absence of fear. Any fool can be fearless. Courage, true courage, derives from that sense of who we are, what are our best selves, what are our most important commitments, and the belief that we can dig deep and do hard things for the enduring benefit of others.

And that’s why JFK’s first inaugural still rings true. That’s why Bobby’s campaign still means so much. That’s why Teddy’s cause endures and we still love him so much.

Because of the tragedies that befell each of them, sometimes we forget how fundamentally the story they told us about ourselves changed the trajectory of America. And that’s often where courage begins, with the story we tell ourselves about who we are and what’s important and about our own capacity to make a difference.

We live in a time of great cynicism about our institutions. That’s one of the few things that Democrats and Republicans can agree on. It’s a cynicism that’s most corrosive when it comes to our system of self-government, that clouds our history of jagged, sometimes tentative but ultimately forward progress, that impedes our children’s ability to see in the noisy and often too trivial pursuits of politics the possibility of our democracy doing big things.

Of course, disdain for elected officials is not new, as many of you in the room can tell others. 60 years ago President Kennedy quoted a columnist in “Profiles in Courage” who had written, “People don’t give a damn what the average senator or congressman says. The reason they don’t care is that they know what you hear in Congress is 99 percent tripe, ignorance, and demagoguery and not to be relied upon.”

Which is perhaps a little harsh. 99 percent seems high. 85?

But President Kennedy also wrote that “the complication of public business and the competition for the public’s attention have obscured innumerable acts of political courage, large and small, performed almost daily.”

Innumerable acts of political courage large and small performed almost daily. And that is true. I’ve seen it. I’ve witnessed it.

I’ve been thinking on this notion of political courage this weekend, in particular about some of the men and women who were elected to Congress the same year I was elected to the White House. Many of them were new to Washington, their entire careers ahead of them. And in that very first term, they had to take tough vote after tough vote because we were in crisis.

They took votes to save the financial system and the economy, even when it was highly unpopular. They took votes to save the auto industry when even in Michigan people didn’t want to see bailouts. They took votes to crack down on abuses on Wall Street, despite pressure from lobbyists and sometimes their donors.

And they found themselves in the midst of a great debate, a debate that had been going on for decades, a debate that the Kennedy family had participated in and helped lead: a debate about whether a nation as wealthy as the United States of America would finally make healthcare not a privilege but a right for all Americans.

And there was a reason why healthcare reform had not been accomplished before. It was hard. It involved a sixth of the economy and all manner of stakeholders and interests. It was easily subject to misinformation and fearmongering.

And so by the time the vote came up to pass the Affordable Care Act, these freshmen congressmen and women knew that they had to make a choice. That they had a chance to insure millions and prevent untold worry and suffering and bankruptcy, and even death, but that this same vote would likely cost them their new seats, perhaps end their political careers.

And these men and women did the right thing. They did the hard thing. Theirs was a profile in courage. Because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance who didn’t have it before.

And most of them — and most of them did lose their seats, but they were true to what President Kennedy defined in his book as a congressional profile in courage: the desire to maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than the desire to maintain office, the desire to maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than a desire to maintain office, a conscience, personal standard of ethics, integrity, morality that is stronger than the pressures of public disapproval or party disapproval, a faith that the right course would ultimately be vindicated, a faith that overcame fear of public reprisal.

It was a personal sacrifice. But I know, because I’ve spoken to many of them, that they thought and still think it was worth it.

As everyone here now knows, this great debate is not settled but continues. And it is my fervent hope and the hope of millions that regardless of party, such courage is still possible, that today’s members of Congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth even when it contradicts party positions.

I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential. But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm, those who often have no access to the corridors of power.

I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what is politically expedient but doing what they believe deep in their hearts is right. And this kind of courage is required from all of us. Those of us who consider ourselves progressives, those of us who are Democrats, we’ve got some soul-searching to do to see what kind of coverage we show. We have our own dogmas.
Those of us not in elected office have to show some courage. And we’re prone to bestow the mantel of courage too easily on the prominent and the powerful and then too eager to wrap ourselves in cynicism when they let us down because they weren’t perfect.

We lose sight sometimes of our own obligations, each of ours, all the quiet acts of courage that unfold around us every single day, ordinary Americans who give something of themselves not for personal gain but for the enduring benefit of another. The courage of a single mom who is working two jobs to make sure her kid can go to college. The courage of a small business owner who’s keeping folks on the payroll because he knows the family relies on it, even if it’s not always the right thing to do bottom line. The courage of somebody who volunteers to help some kids who need help.

When we recognize these acts of courage, we then necessarily recognize our own responsibility as citizens and as part of the human family to get involved and to get engaged and to take a stand, to vote, to pay attention.

I’m reminded of a story that Teddy once told me about his experiences many years ago when Teddy, Junior, now state Senator Ted Kennedy, Junior, was sleeping after one of his cancer treatments.

And Ted would wander the halls of the hospital and talk with other parents, keeping vigil over their own children. These parents lived in constant fear of what might happen if they couldn’t afford the next treatment. Some calculating in their own minds what they might have to sell or borrow just to make it for a few more months, some bargaining with God for whatever they could get.

And right there in the quiet of night, working people of modest means and one of the most powerful men in America shared the same intimate and immediate sense of helplessness.

And Ted could, of course, afford his son’s treatment. But it was that quiet dignified courage of others to endure the most frightening thing imaginable and to do what it takes on behalf of their loved ones that compelled Teddy to make those parents his cause, not out of self-interest but out of a selfless concern for those who suffer.

That’s what the ordinary courage of everyday people can inspire when you’re paying attention, the quiet sturdy courage of ordinary people doing the right thing day in and day out. They don’t get attention for it. They don’t seek it. They don’t get awards for it. But that’s what’s defined America.

I think of women like my grandmother and so many like her who worked their way up from a secretarial pool to management and in the process pushed the glass ceiling just a little bit higher.

I think about people like Michelle’s dad who, despite MS, got up every single morning. Had to wake up an hour early to button his shirt up and put on his clothes and take those two canes he used and go to work every single day to make sure that he was supporting his family, not missing a dance recital or a basketball game.

I think of the troops and the cops and the first responders that I’ve met who have put themselves at risk for strangers they will never know. And business owners who make every kind of sacrifice they can to make sure that their workers have a shot. And workers who take the risk of starting a new career, retraining at my age. Kids in the Peace Corps working to build bridges of understanding in other nations and spread the same values that helped bring down an iron curtain, banish the scourge of apartheid, expand the boundaries of human freedom.

I think of dreamers who suppress their fears to keep working and striving in the only country they’ve ever called home. And every American who stands up for immigrants because they know that their parents or grandparents or great grandparents were immigrants too, and they know that America is an idea that only grows stronger with each new person who adopts our common creed.

I think of every young activist who answers the injustices still embedded in our criminal justice system not with violence, not with despair, but with peaceful protests and analysis and constructive recommendations for change.

I think of the powerless who crossed a bridge in Selma and discovered they had power. Those who gathered at Stonewall and discovered they had a voice. Those who marched on Washington because they believed that they, without an army, without great wealth, could somehow change the very fabric of the greatest power on earth and kept on until they stretched the lofty ideals of our founding to encircle everyone.

Every citizen inspired by that history who dips their toes in the water of active democracy for the first time and musters up the determination to try and fail and try again, and sometimes fail again and still try again, knowing their efforts aren’t always rewarded right away, because they believe in that upward trajectory of the American story, a story that nobody told better than John F. Kennedy.

That very Kennedyesque idea that America is not the project of any one person and that each of us can make a difference and all of us ought to try. That quiet sturdy citizenship that I see all across the country and that I especially see in young people like Jack and Rose and Tatiana, Malia and Sasha, and your kids.

I don’t know whether President Kennedy’s aide and friend, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., was right when he wrote that history unfolds in cycles, but I do know that it doesn’t move in a straight line.

I know that the values and the progress that we cherish are not inevitable, that they are fragile, in need of constant renewal.

I’ve said before that I believe what
Dr. King said, that “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice,” but I’ve also said it does not bend on its own. It bends because we bend it, because we put our hand on that arch, and we move it in the direction of justice and freedom and equality and kindness and generosity. It doesn’t happen on its own.

And so we are constantly having to make a choice because progress is fragile. And it’s precisely that fragility, that impermanence, that is a precondition of the quality of character that we celebrate tonight.

If the vitality of our democracy, if the gains of our long journey to freedom were assured, none of us would ever have to be courageous. None of us would have to risk anything to protect them. But it’s in its very precariousness that courage becomes possible and absolutely necessary.

John F. Kennedy knew that our best hope and our most powerful answer to our doubts and to our fears lies inside each of us, in our willingness to joyfully embrace our responsibility as citizens, to stay true to our allegiance, to our highest and best ideals, to maintain our regard and concern for the poor and the aging and the marginalized, to put our personal or party interest aside when duty to our country calls or when conscience demands.

That’s the spirit that has brought America so far and that’s the spirit that will always carry us to better days.

And I take this honor that you have bestowed on me here tonight as a reminder that, even out of office, I must do all that I can to advance the spirit of service that John F. Kennedy represents.

Thank you all very much. May God bless you. May he bless these United States of America.

Thank you.