My favorite King quote is something he wrote about a year before his death:
“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”
That’s powerful stuff coming from a figure whose politics have been defanged and whitewashed into a cartoon of “peace” and “equality.”
I also try to remember that when King was assassinated, he was in Memphis, Tennessee, to support striking Black sanitation workers.
But one of my favorite King ideas is a metaphor he borrowed from a socialist Methodist pastor.
“I’m sure that many of you have had the experience of dealing with thermometers and thermostats,” King said in a sermon he gave many times early in his life. …
Since the white supremacist attack on the Capitol, I’ve been looking for ways to process what happened.
Turns out, what I needed most was poetry. More on that in a second.
The first helpful thing was realizing that what happened was traumatic.
Even though I’m white and experienced it by doomscrolling social media, it triggered my nervous system. Stress hormones flooded my body. My breath shortened. My muscles clenched for protection.
But there was no one to fight or run from. There was nowhere for the stress to go except gnaw at my insides.
“I know many people who feel exhausted, reactive, depressed, hypervigilant, sleepless, cloudy/dazed, and super raw,” tweeted therapist and meditation Ralph De La Rosa. “These are common traumatic reactions.” …
One of my favorite stories comes from spiritual teacher David Deida. At a party, he saw his mentor’s wife enjoying a conversation with an attractive man.
“Aren’t you jealous?” he asked his mentor.
“Yes,” his mentor responded. “But the fact that I’m jealous isn’t bothering me.”
In other words, the mentor was aware of how he was relating to his jealousy. Instead of making the emotion a problem, he was allowing it to just be there.
I love that story because I make everything a problem. When I’m sad, part of me says I should be happy. When I’m exhausted after work, part of me says I should still be working. (Thanks, capitalism.) …
I recently turned 35 years old, which feels like a big deal.
That’s the same age Siddhartha Guatama — the ancient spiritual master who inspired Buddhism — became enlightened. He was well on his way to starting a worldwide religion that now has over 500 million followers.
I’ve been wearing sweatpants every day since March. Take that, Siddhartha. One day, I might even make it a whole week without forgetting to floss before bed.
But here’s the counterintuitive thing about the Buddha’s life. The takeaway isn’t to strive and fight and claw your way to enlightenment, the good life. It’s about letting go. …
There’s no getting around it. This winter is already horrible, and it’s going to get worse.
Not sure how much more I can take. The constant death, the social isolation, the widespread unemployment, the closing of my favorite small businesses.
What’s hardest, though, is watching people I love struggle. Seeing them cope in unhealthy ways. Worrying about their increased drinking and drugging, their fake “I’m fine’s”, their unraveling relationships, their closing off and going inward.
Sometimes it’s like I’m all that’s keeping them from jumping into a black hole.
Sometimes I just want to shake them, yelling “Wake the fuck up!” …
I’ve been singing for over 20 years. Since I was a pop punk-loving, skateboard-riding high schooler. But only recently have I started liking my voice.
That’s because of meditation teacher Stephen Levine. His “soft belly” practice is refining my singing voice. It’s also helping me during hard, uncomfortable conversations. It’s even helping me relax on dates.
“When the belly is hard there is holding,” Levine wrote in his book “Guided Meditations, Explorations and Healings.”
“Some degree of fighting or posturing is resisting and hardening to the moment, attempting to control.”
Maybe where you tense up the most isn’t your stomach. Maybe it’s your shoulders, chest, or forehead. …
Ten thousand votes in Arizona. Barely 0.03% of the vote in Georgia. Joe Biden’s margin of victory is — as my West Virginia-born dad says — skinny as a mosquito’s peter.
It really does feel like half the country likes having a racist, misogynist reality TV show star as president. Or they’re willing to tolerate him to “own the libs.”
But are Trump supporters really all that different from me? More on that in a second.
First, here’s what I’m trying to remember when I feel hopeless.
Half the country did not vote for Donald Trump. Around 30 percent did.
More than a third of eligible voters didn’t vote. That’s 78 million people. Some were disenfranchised by restrictive voting policies. …
Donald Trump will soon be gone. But the conditions that fueled his rise aren’t going anywhere.
Right-wing nationalism is intensifying. The wealth gap between the rich and poor is growing. The percentage of Americans in unions is plummeting to record lows. The Democratic Party is doubling down on moderate, uninspiring politics.
All that makes me feel helpless. Like a trillion-pound weight sits on my chest. Like the problem is beyond my lifetime. Like nothing I could ever do could make a difference.
It never feels like I’m doing enough. There’s always some perfect, more strategic protest I should’ve gone to. Some more accurate and inspiring book I should be reading. …
I hate Trump supporters. Especially the working class ones.
The white dudes I grew up with who work in construction alongside Latinx people but who want to “build the wall.” The family friends on Medicare who celebrated Trump’s tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy.
I want to punch them in the face. I want to hold them down and force feed them the awareness that the rich and powerful are swindling them.
But that feels shitty. Not because it’s wrong of me to want to do those things.
Because hate burns. It tenses up my shoulders and my gut. It makes me forget to breathe, to feel my feet on the ground. …
Next week, the world will change. Or will it?
However the election goes won’t change that the three richest Americans — Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg — own as a much as the poorest half.
That police violence is a leading cause of death for young Black men. That veterans of the war in Afghanistan are now watching their kids deploy to the same war. That this week an already-scorched California faces its highest fire risk so far in 2020.
That a plague has taken over 225,000 American lives, left millions unemployed, and closed nearly 10,000 small businesses.
Getting Trump out is crucial. …