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*Sacred Order of Bodhisattvas, Buddhies, Beatniks, Bohemians, Bards, and Bozos

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Mother of Mother's Day


Julia Ward Howe (May 27, 1819 — October 17, 1910)
Mother of Mother's Day
Although I plan to honor the various mothers who have graced my life this Mother's Day, I'm beginning to recognize that one of my pet peeves is seeing how often our holidays have morphed into highly commercialized social events that seem to be completely divorced from their historical roots as powerful celebrations of the human spirit.

I've already Rambled On about Labor Day here.  At some point I'm probably going to rant about Martin Luther King's Birthday and the pervasive whitewashing of his views on war and economic justice in a capitalist society by the mainstream media each year.  And don't even get me started about the Birthday of the Prince of Peace and the Annual Blue-Gray All Star Classic college football game with Blue Angel fly-overs.  (I'm gonna take some long, slow breaths and sit still for a few moments before I continue. LOL)......

So, here's the deal on Mother's Day:
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Four Dead in Ohio: The Shootings at Kent State

(I wrote this piece last year on the Anniversary of the Kent State Shootings--but it never made it to the Rambling On Blog.  It's hard to believe that a year has passed, let alone 43 of them since I walked into the teacher's lounge at Wauconda Middle School as a first year teacher to hear a colleague proclaim, "those kids got exactly what they deserved. "  I shuddered at the time.  I shudder as I recall that memory.

As the pundits search for answers to the Boston Marathon tragedy, the shootings in Newtown or Aurora, how often to do they address the glorification of violence that lies deep in the fabric of our own cultural values? A society that continues to support capital punishment and the use of drones against distant villagers; a society that entertains itself with violent video games and countless media heroes with blazing guns, a society where Donald Trump would be seriously considered for the office of President, need not look any further for the answers. -----Brother Lefty ) 

Originally Published, May 4, 2013 

Lest we forget--or never knew--on this day in 1970 four students at Kent State University were killed when national guard troops called into "maintain order" opened fire on the unarmed protestors.

I hadn't realized the anniversary was today until Jenny, my friend and Yoga Mentor mentioned it this evening after class.  She was amazed that when she had mentioned to a 40 something year old friend earlier, she had never heard about Kent State--or Crosby Stills Nash and Young for that matter!! The true history of the quest for peace and justice--and the violent reaction to it--is so often lost in the noise and distractions of daily life in this hyper-capitalistic society today.  It's easy to forget.  I did today--twice.
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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanks -- and No Thanks
Some Personal Reflections on Thanksgiving Day
Originally Published, Thanksgiving Day, 2014


"Oh, Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me, I am small and weak,  I need your strength and wisdom." -- from a prayer
by Lakota Chief Yellow Lark, 1887
(Entire Prayer)

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." 
-- Ancient Native American Proverb

The three day feast that brought together 90 Wampanoags and the 50 surviving Pilgrims to a feast at Plymouth Plantation in 1621 has become part of the Mythology of American Democracy.  

Unfortunately, this idyllic tale doesn't portray the stark reality of the Holocaust that ensued as European colonists descended on this continent bringing with them a harshly judgmental Christianity and the European concepts  of Private Property and Capitalism.

Although the set of Democratic Ideals set forth in the Preamble to the US Constitution reflect humanity's universal quest for a just society, "our forefathers" also brought forth on this continent disease, death, domination, and the destruction of a Way of Life that understood and honored humanity's relationship to Mother Earth, to the Great Spirit and to the Circle of All Life.   The Indigenous People's practiced a more advanced Spirituality, an Ethos of connection and sustainability. Our forefathers brought with them, instead, the Unbridled Greed buried in the belly of Capitalism, and the myopic worldview of fundamentalist Christianity with its mindset that reinforces our separation from one another, from the natural world, and from our spiritual connection to all that is.  Through force of arms (including germ warfare and the power of "law"), the bad guys won.

Unfortunately for Mother Earth and her myriad beings, they still are.
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My Humble Take on the Real Deal

I believe that the movement for peace, economic democracy and social justice is a Spiritual Quest. No mean feat, what is called for is a True Revolution of the Heart and Mind--and it starts with each of us.

This revolution has to be Peaceful. The Hippies (and Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King, et al) had it right. It really is all about Peace and Love. Besides being a total drag, violence just doesn't work. It keeps our wheels spinning in fear, anger and pain. Who needs that?

Besides some hard work, I think the Revolution also calls for dancing, plenty of laughter, and some sitting around just doing nothing. (Some folks call it meditation.)


As Stephen Gaskin, proclaimed years ago:

"We're out to raise Hell--in the Bodhisattvic* sense."

Doesn't that sound like some serious fun?

(*The Bodhisattva Vow is a set of commitments made in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It basically says I vow to get my act together and figure it out well enough to really help out--and I ain't gonna stop until everybody is covered.

I've found that doesn't necessarily have to happen in that order. It's best to try to help out even before you have it all together! Like right now.)

-----Brother Lefty Smith, Founding S.O.B*