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It’s always a challenge to decide whether
one should ignore or name the elephant in the room.
So I’ve taken a kind of middle way
this morning after the whatever-one-would-call-that-event-last-night.
I have been scrolling through quotations about elections –
hoping for something funny (no luck) –
and stumbled on this one:
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”
The speaker is American drama critic and publisher,
George Jean Nathan.
Let’s exercise our rights and responsibilities.
Sometimes the strangest people evoke self-reflection.
I was startled to hear Donald Trump announce
that he was spending $100 million of his own money
on his campaign for the Presidency.
[Okay, I confess, my first thought was, ‘I sincerely doubt it.’] Moving right along, though, my second thought was a question,
‘If I had $100 million in spare cash, what would I spend it on?’
[And to put your mind at rest, a bid for the Presidency
is nowhere on even my most whimsical of lists.] $100 million is not enough to run a small country or a large city,
but it isn’t chump change, either.
So, I ask you: How would you use it?
My game, so my rules.
Giving it away for someone else to make the decision is not an option.
You can give it away, but you need to give it to specific causes or people
in specific amounts for specific purposes.
Write it down so you are actually being accountable.
($100 million may not go as far as you think it will…)
Now what would you do with $10 million? How about $1 million?
Pay attention to where your values start to shift.
Late last week I got my flu shot.
I do this for myself – to be sure –
but I also do it for the folks who
cannot take the vaccine for whatever reason.
When enough of us do this,
it provides immunity to the whole herd.
So, today, I began to wonder whether
there is or could be such a thing as
herd immunity to prejudice or violence or abuse or fear.
What would happen if enough of us stopped
incubating anger germs or bias germs?
Would it work to create an immune response
to hatred and anger and disrespect in others?
We would probably need to accept that
just as there are people who cannot process a vaccine,
there will be people in the herd who will not process compassion.
But if the herd as a whole doesn’t get sick,
isn’t that what matters?
Are you willing to try it with me?
What is truth?
In his article, ‘Fake News and Real Lies’,
Danny Duncan Collum says this about Roger Ailes:
[He] helped give us a world in which people are entitled
not only to their own opinion, but to their own facts.
And it is hard to see how we will ever recover from that.
I confess that I can’t think of any quick fix, either.
But here is what I can do:
I can be brave enough to say, ‘I think…’ or ‘I believe…’ or ‘I hope…”
(and accept responsibility for having the opinions I have).
I can respect other people’s opinions so that
they can feel brave enough to take responsibility for them.
I can care enough to learn the facts.
I can be willing to say, “I don’t know.”
And I can say, ‘I made a mistake’ rather than lying
or pretending that I never ever said or thought such a thing.
It may not be much, but it is something.
Everyone I know
is complaining about a lack of energy,
and an inability to stay focused on the task.
(Given what is happening in the country at the moment,
I’m surprised that any of us are getting
out of bed in the mornings…)
I thought these words of Don Marquis
might at suggest an alternative to
feeling guilty about spinning our wheels,
Procrastination is the art
of keeping up with yesterday.
[The painting is The Beginning by Sonia Getchtof (1960), a reflection on the work of Giotto and her own interpretation of creation. It was part of the Women in Abstract Expressionism exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.]
Yesterday was the 950th anniversary of
the Battle of Hastings…
which is an amazing event if for no other reason
that almost everyone can tell you when it happened
(even American citizens who cannot tell you
the dates of the (American) Civil War –)
To an artist, it is extraordinary for another reason:
it was the catalyst for the stunning Bayeaux Tapestry
which is not a tapestry at all, but an embroidery.
And the Bayeaux Tapestry inspired the D-Day Tapestry
which inspired the Great Tapestry of Scotland.
Generations building on generations,
stretching the boundaries, unfolding beauty.
Artists understand well that we owe our creativity
to those who have gone before us.
No one creates in a vacuum.
Who is your inspiration?
Have you thanked them today?
Apparently psychologists have actually noticed
that there is a spike in anxiety in the United States at the moment.
A sizeable and statistically significant spike.
While I am sure we are all breathing into being
a non-anxious presence,
my own humble opinion is that some chocolate is never amiss.
So here is The Two-Minute Chocolate (almost Lava) Cake Recipe
that I cut out of a magazine, but I can’t remember which one:
3 T milk
3 T neutral oil (canola, vegetable)
3 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
3 T semi-sweet chocolate chips
splash of vanilla extract
Into a microwave safe coffee mug,
put all the wet ingredients and stir well.
Add the dry ingredients (through chocolate chips) and mix thoroughly.
Add chocolate chips and vanilla. Mix again.
Put your mug into a 1000 watt microwave for 2 minutes.
You can watch it do its magic. It will puff over the top of the mug.
Do not get anxious.
When done, eat it straight from the mug with whipped cream.
Or tip it onto a plate and add vanilla ice cream.
Split it in two if you are in a sharing mood.
Maybe it won’t eliminate all anxiety, but feel free to repeat
as often as necessary – at least through November 8.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2015, 2016 Immram Chara, LLC