49. Into the world, ready or not

April 21, 2020

Dear friends and fans, teachers and colleagues, fellow writers and students of the art,

My new book of essays, More About This, was scheduled to release February 15, with announcements and a bit of celebration. But the pandemic came and that was no longer appropriate. The book did release, and the paperback is available from all the usual places online and all bookstores will direct order it for you. But Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound,  and everyone else’s shipping is slower now. Worst of all, my beloved small brick & mortar bookstores are all closed down. This made me very sad.

I decided to take charge, and do it myself. First I tried to build an e-book that could be sold as a download. Three different apps failed frustratingly. So I decided to make a good PDF file and give it away, for free, to some of my friends and fellow writers. Just put it out there. After all, why do we write? If not to share whatever we have, whatever we’ve been given? Authors, like musicians, rarely make a living from what we do anyway. In both callings, rock stars are few and far between. Brilliantly talented people sing and play in small cafés and bars, but we love them even more for that.

You are welcome to read or download the entire book, 88 pages, for free. The book can be read on tablets, phones, and laptops. The link will be open from April 15 through June 1. 

Go to  http://www.darkhorsepress.com/sampler-more.html  scroll to the bottom, to “Pandemic Adjustment” and click the link to open the PDF.

No strings attached, although I would welcome and appreciate your feedback, impressions, resonances, questions, shared feelings or experiences, if you wish. You can reply here in comments, or privately to:  moreaboutthis@darkhorsepress.com which forwards direct to me. Thank you.

– Victoria C.

48. Shelter in Grace

April 19, 2020

There is a global shift going on. It’s been coming for thousands of years, and here it is. There were other world-changing shifts, like World War I and World War  II.  Times when all of us were forced to make hard choices about who and what we wanted to be as a human species. Worldwide tragedy, loss and suffering drew us closer together, heart by heart, in spite of everything. Now, that closeness is harder, but we have come too far to abandon ourselves or each other.

Our stories have created our world. What will our new narrative be? Will we still be blind-sided by techno-toy video images and “virtual” (but not real) worlds in which mass murder is casual and violence is what everybody naturally does? We have allowed some terrible things to happen. Human societies and systems worldwide are crashing and falling apart. We are now being given an incredible opportunity to rebuild our world in a a better way, a world that works for everybody, not just a few. Now as you shelter in your quiet place, there is time and space to think about it.

We will have to choose very soon, and the outcome is up to us who are not fooled, not asleep, and not hypnotized by the loud, rude, false, cheap-shot Tump propaganda we are now struggling to get thru. Wake up, get up, and get out of the quicksand of the “not me” delusion. You are making a difference one way or the other, whether you know it or not. Please know it, and choose what you want. Don’t let your world be just somebody else’s default.

47. “Now is the time, and we are the ones”

April 10, 2020

Something is happening in the universe. There’s more to this than surviving the pandemic.  I won’t propose any magic-crystal woo-hoo miracles, just common sense and principles of the cosmos. I’ll share some notes I scribbled from a Sunday service (via Zoom now.)  The speaker is Rev. Joan Steadman, the congregation is one of many new thought churches, Agape Bay Area. Her talk addressed the awesome reality of the catastrophes in our world, the pandemic and others, that humanity, is now suffering the agony of.

“The comfortable normal has been stripped away suddenly, and now an immense life energy is being released and seeking form. What will we choose to do with it?

“The field is fallow now, ripe for cultivation. Change will come, either through revolution or evolution. We make peace with it by our faith and practice. Things will never be the same after this. We have a choice now— what direction are we going to go?”

“What kind of energy do we choose to grow? Rage and greed? Hatred and revenge? Or  kindness and patience, and a general standard of decency and fairness as the primary way of life on our planet? What about those things our grandparents so courageously fought and died to give us– like democracy, honesty, decency?”

In the last 2 days I’ve gotten 34 scam emails offering to sell me face-masks! Is this who we are? Careless, remorseless greedy cheats and liars? Yes, a whole lot of us are, and frankly, most of us who do care, just turn our heads. Meanwhile they and our so-called “president” scramble to  make money, pushing thru shady deals to set up offshore oil-drilling and illegal political power-grabs while we are all focused on the global human catastrophe. He is busy turning the distraction of the pandemic into an opportunity to underhandedly grab  more power and income for himself. Have we already forgotten, that’s exactly how Nazi Germany happened? Most of the people went along for a while, they let it go, or looked away, and then it was too late, and 6 million innocent people were murdered in the most horrible ways in human history.

“We have choice, and the power to change, and the time is now.” Rev. Joan said. “The time is here, and you and I are here to make a difference. It begins on the inside of each of us and influences the conscious universe.”

“Stay firm in the truth: We are one family of God. To abandon the truth in the hour of greatest need is to prove that we do not know the truth.”

We do know the truth, but for circumstantial reasons we have too often denied, rejected, or just looked away from some realities we didn’t want to see, the “official”  lies, power grabs, and insatiable greed for power and money. We have always let these things take over the rest of the world. It wasn’t our fault, we were too busy to be aware. It was just benign neglect. Most of us didn’t want a world order of violence and death. Now, it’s our own country too. We are in an irrefutable crisis of change, just like World War I and WW II, hard decisions will have to be made. Everything hangs in the balance. What will we choose?

Reality is exploding in our faces. Not just in the pandemic, but in the “New Great America,” the lie that we have allowed it to take over, crush democracy in every form, and become our first  brutal dictator. He has shown the world his utter disregard for humanity, and his unimaginable incompetence. He cancelled our pandemic-preparedness program set up by Obama and funded by Congress, and he used the money for something else that he personally wanted. (His Mexican Glory-to-Trump monument wall?) The people of America never mattered to him. No human beings mater to him. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, he singlehandedly cut off all U.S. funding help to the World Health Organization! He claims they didn’t tell him about the pandemic! The woking class people here are the millions he now wreaks revenge upon, because we did not elect him. He lost by 3 million of our votes. (Did you know that 7 of the last 8 Republican presidents all lost their elections, but took office anyway?)

KQED (community-supported educational channel)  “Hitler promised the people everything they needed. They were mesmerized by his violent loud rhetoric, endlessly repeated simple lies, pounding them into the people’s minds.” ”Simple answers for complicated problems, he promised he could end all problems, and soon!” Undeniably exactly the same style and technique of Donald Trump. 

We never thought it could happen here, but it has happened. We have a lawless, unprincipled, unscrupulous, dishonorable, dishonest brutal dictator like so many poorer countries. Our democracy has been stolen, piece by piece. Turns out, we are not separate from the world, richer-than, better-than, more powerful-than. We are humanity too, and we have failed each other.

I have often called the human species God’s most interesting but most risky experiment. We have been given free-will and the ability and power to create and control our world. We made this mess, and now we are drowning in it. Only we can change it, and the time for stalling is over. Like my Granny would say, “Pray, but row for shore.”

It all hangs in the balance now. What will we choose? Think carefully. Wake up your mind and spirit, and be aware. This is not just a worldwide disaster, but a species-wide existential crisis. What you feel, and do, and think about, what you give harbor to in your consciousness, that’s what will create whatever comes next.

Be brave. Dare to claim what your heart knows is right, and make that the foundation of your faith, your words, and your actions in the world, even the small ones. It matters, and you matter much more than you  know.

46. Rain

December 2, 2019

It’s chilly this morning. A soft rain is falling, almost a mist, barely disturbing the surface of the puddles. The blessing of it is that there will be no new raging wildfires today like the ones that have ravaged California all year.

There’s a close and comforting quality about rainy days, as if winter has finally turned the calendar page and now we warm-blooded creatures have taken our refuge indoors, those of us who are blessed to have a refuge in the warm dry lovely safety of indoors.

I try to let go of my sadness, for a little while, for the others who don’t have this, the homeless who are camped not far away on the other side of the park. The little village there has grown to about 40 tents and makeshift shanties now, right next to the sidewalk on Broadway, across the street from the massive multi-million-dollar Kaiser Hospital’s newest and biggest complex. I think the money they spend on toilet paper every month would probably feed these people for year. But that’s not the way corporations work, and Kaiser is still calling itself “not-for-profit” and so paying no taxes on its millions.

But the homeless somehow bravely soldier-on, camped right in the faces of the millionaires and other strangers passing by in their cars, hurrying to their business and their lives. Right there on this arterial street, right next to the sidewalk, where the world cannot help but see them and be forced to think about how wrong this is.

45. The 4th Spiritual Law: Let It Be

July 7, 2019

At this point, I’ve begun a serious, dedicated spiritual practice of Deepak Chopra’s 4th Spiritual Law: Acceptance/Nonresistance, and I am committed to the practice of letting things be as they are, because my thoughts about Trump were giving me headaches, bellyaches, and sleepless nights. This is no easy task, but I have chosen to trust the honest and decent people whom he hates and reviles daily in his rabid insane tweets, and accuses them all of the crimes that are actually his, not theirs. I trust them to fulfill their calling as journalists, investigators, and Representatives, to bring him to justice.

Above all, I trust the law of Karma. Deepak says, “Karma is both the action and the consequence, it is the cause and ultimate effect, because every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind.” Jesus said it too, as “whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap.” And in more contemporary terms, “What goes around, comes around.”

Even as Trump’s horrible acts continue damaging and destroying the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people, I find myself realizing that this mortal world is one of polarities, that I can’t personally change it by raging against it, feeling victimized and helpless. All I can do to change the world is by what I am myself, and how I carry myself thru life.

I’ve never been in any danger of being like him, but as the (real) news repeatedly tells of his senseless cruelty, greed, and arrogance, I have let his way creep into my brain and put me into a rage, over and over, and THAT is precisely his power. He has an uncanny ability to cause and create hatred, conflict, and violence. That is his only skill, and he takes enormous, sick, pleasure in doing this.

Forcibly taking terrified children from their distraught parents and locking them in cages, can arouse angry thoughts even in the gentlest, kindest hearts. The world has had many monsters, but none so sick as Trump. Hitler, actually, was a nicer guy in a way, at least not as wild-crazy vicious a personally as Trump. He did hideous things too, but at least didn’t brag about them all day long in the cheapest, lowest possible media, Twitter.

And so, for my own sake, and the sake of those around me, I have stopped talking about him so much. I turn off the TV if his face appears there, I know whatever he says will gouge me in the gut with anger. I refuse to give him my attention or my thoughts. Only once in a while, when he gets so totally off his cracker. Not every time.

History will show that Donald Trump’s one success in life, his greatest dream come true of being a legendary historical figure, has been accomplished – He will be remembered as the absolutely unquestionably worst, most utterly incompetent president of any country in the world that history has ever seen, and hopefully ever will. He believes he can get away with absolutely anything, forever, and he seems to be doing so. His infantile ego is reveling in pure, sick, ecstasy of brutal power, which fuels ever-more insane behaviors, because he has got what he needs so desperately: Everybody in the world noticing him.

Think about it. And then decide to spend your thoughts on something better. When you do, as a practice, it will surprise you with an unexpected peace of mind and softening of those tense nerves and muscles of the body.

There is one thing I know with certainty: Nobody escapes their own karma. Every one of us gets as we have given, and Karma is a meticulous bookkeeper. This man, and each of us, sooner or later will get exactly what we deserve.