Raze The Temple

Simplicity

I’ve been thinking about destruction. Sometimes before we create something new and beautiful, we have to annihilate what’s taking up space.

“If I am what I have, and if I lose what I have, who then am I?”

Erich Fromm

When we plant a garden, for example, we remove the existing plants, upturn the soil, add fresh medium and then plant anew. When we rid ourselves of what’s there, we launch into new terrain (pun intended).

Recently, I talked about a curious storm, which turned out to be a harbinger of several others. Phrases like lives were destroyed have been repeated like mantras. A few actual lives were lost but lives were destroyed was generally used to describe the loss of accumulated possessions and of course, people’s homes.

debris pile htx 2017

Those who experienced these losses remark on what they’ve gained: The outpouring of support by friends and strangers alike; a sense of excitement as they contemplate how they will remake what their lives are about; a renewed faith in their fellow humans; and a needed break from political happenings, to name just a few.

A buddy and colleague of mine who’s starting from scratch said “This is an amazing place to be in my life!! I’m very grateful.” This, after she and her husband lost their beloved home of many years, their cars, their cat and virtually everything else they owned; after being helicoptered (I can’t even – the dangling in air) to a quickly appointed area shelter and spending weeks sorting through soggy, molding debris. They still have a long road ahead to rebuild, but seem struck with a sort of giddy anticipation in spite of it.

“Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness, possesses you. And in this materialistic age, a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.”
Mildred Lisette Norman

Many of us are realizing that who we are isn’t about what we have. We are deciding to just say ‘no’ to the rampant consumerist mindset and yes to fuller lives with less to bog us down. We are also concluding that the new generation is way ahead of us and truly doesn’t want our stuff either. There’s a lot of momentum and inspiration if you want guidance, want to find like-minded people, The Minimalists can help you light the fire.

If given only minutes to decide, as so many of us have these past few weeks and months, what you cannot do without, how heavy is your load? You serve as the beast of burden to your accumulated belongings. Consider shaking them off and running free.

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Division Is Tearing Us Apart

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pass it on

To be silly, and because I adore a good truism, a term which purportedly was coined by the clever Jonathan Swift, i.e., May You Live All The Days Of Your Life;

I posted the statement Division Is Tearing Us Apart on some of my social media accounts. It stirred something in many people, and one, even got the haha I had intended when I wrote it – or did I? Maybe my defense mechanism, humor, kicked in by way of this axiom, to reveal the frustration I was feeling very deeply.

In the U.S. and around the globe, the divide is growing at a voracious pace, consuming our sanity. The safety of our online distance, the protection of the automobiles we ride in, seem to have the effect of removing our common decency. We’d almost never attack one another in person the way we do sitting behind our keyboards or steering wheels. The Golden Rule, which exists in every religion in some form, or the guidance of a good elder as we are growing up, teaches us decency, civility, manners – or at least that’s how we have created workable societies.

We are not only disagreeing anymore; we are figuratively ripping out one another’s throats. I’d like to blame the media or the leaders but we take their bait, we drink their kool aide. When we choose for entertainment, abhorrent subject matter, and imbibe it so often, we lose every standard of decorum. I have a test I put things to in my mind/heart: Would I say/do/watch this with my grandmother? If the answer is no, well, it is not aligned with who I am or who I aim to be. No exceptions. This said, I am far from practicing what I preach here. It is more of an ideal for me. The fight or flight response can be strong and physically and literally dumbs down one’s brain. Learning meditation or other ways of operating more often from one’s Parasympathetic Nervous System instead of the Sympathetic Nervous System, a breath or moment at a time, is a start.

So, help me spread this truism Kindness Never Hurt Anybody, in the hope that it will take hold, become a “thing” and help us become our better selves.

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I leave you with the best truism, from one of my favorite writer/humans, Sir Master Knight McSweeney Pirate Dave Eggers

You Will Not Be Disappointed. Unless Of Course You Are Always Disappointed.

In Which Case This Will Be Yet Another Disappointment For You.

I use this Eggerism with absolutely no permission but with the urgent request that you tattoo it on your chest, immediately.

 

Harvey To Be Humble

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Houston hasn’t a problem. At least for now we don’t.

To some extent, we’ve temporarily stripped ourselves of political scuffles, race and gender biases, and economic castes. The wealthiest and the poorest arrived by boat and helicopter and ate the same oatmeal, slept on the same quickly constructed cots in the convention center, et al. The difference now, days after our Hurricane Harvey, is that those who started without much have no where to go, while the rest are beginning to rebuild their lives.

In the thick of of the storm, heroes were born and then sprung into action. Daredevils were living their dreams, taking greater risks than they should and loving it. In the days that followed, people who had never worn a pair of work gloves, donned face masks and began pulling down drywall, insulation and demolishing cabinets. Bands of teenagers and adults went home to home to help anyone who needed it; others went home to home passing out food and water. As my friend, extreme volunteer and Facilitator of the Houston Minimalist Chapter put it “You could tell who was gathering supplies or donations if they were buying 10 brooms.” While many of us have returned to work and volunteer only on our off time, she is picking up the slack. With any extreme event, there is an outpouring of support in the hell and high water of the moment and then people move on; the hard work and dire need do not stop there.

Spread the word: Climate Science is Not Political. As I write this, Irma Jose and Katia asked me to mention this.

Any Guru worth her siddhis will tell you “Don’t think you can put one over on Mother (Nature). She will show you when she’s tired of your arrogance.”  The way we danced around in funny glasses to watch the eclipse less than two weeks ago, remember? That thing nature fixed to scar your vision, a hint maybe? If Medusa asked you to turn around to see her newest hairdo…..? Okay, now you are wondering about me (you should). We modern asshats know everything, just like teenagers! Earliest humans had respect and fear of such events. Perhaps our new Director of FEMA should scout for hurl-able virgins.

Now: I am hard on myself and I can be very tough on others; you know who you are, so watch it! Therefore, being less judgmental is the bane of my existence. I work to achieve, practice and to become, Grace. I believe wholeheartedly that this can make our life experience so much more wonderful. I am nowhere near there but visit from time to time.

As such, I can state the following things that are biting me about the Harvey Experience.

  1. Persons who try to sell their not damaged/flooded off casts – because they could donate the items.
  2. Persons who complain that their recycling service is disrupted – because the less vocal neighborhoods cannot get their hazardous debris removed.
  3. Persons complaining about traffic, which is horrendous – because these folks are simply trying to get to work (or ?) and the roads they normally traverse are under water.
  4. Lastly, persons who parrot negative reviews of the Red Cross – because they are repeating, re-posting dubious information and are not acquainted with the facts.

Quit complaining on social media and actually Be the Change!

Within this time of material loss is an opportunity to discover what is meaningful. My daughter (another tireless volunteer) asked if I need help at home during the storm. The water was all around, my roof leaking, but I was really good, comparatively. I replied that the heartbeats (she and her bro) were safe and the only thing I needed to evacuate besides me, was the purple folder (PF). Incidentally, if I lost the PF, no one would die and the world would not end. The PF has the paper things: family birth certificates, passports, property records, et al.

I know wonderful people that have kayaked back into their Atlantian homes to retrieve important stuff, putting themselves and first responders in perilous situations. I have also been excited to hear others talk of streamlining their lifestyles. Embracing a less is more existence.

We are baited to be more and get more (our culture, media). We are imprisoned by the culture of get more – do more and lose our moment to moment connections with one another, with what has meaning.

I don’t care how you get here…..my wish is that we will define and get to what is important. Working together, despite our differences, to the things we can agree on and tabling the rest. Get here if you can.