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Filtering by Tag: healing

DEAR AMERICA

Cindy Maddera

Many of us started our morning with heavy hearts. Being on the losing team is hard. It is especially hard this time around because so many of us are worried about the future of our civil rights. Many of us who are not white, who are part of the LGBT community, who are Muslim, who are different, fear for our safety. So right now, I'm just asking the other half of the country to be a little patient. We are a little tender and frankly, scared. Donald Trump may end up not being so bad. I don't know. He never really ever told anyone how he planed on making America great again, so maybe it won't turn out all fire and brimstoney. In the grand scheme of things, I am most likely to take a hit on my 401K and will have to start paying for birth control pills again. The younger generation on the other hand are going to have their work cut out for them in the future. My friends who got married last year, may have to be defending the validity of those marriage licenses. That girl who got raped by her dad may not be able to abort that baby even if her own life is danger. 

My biggest concern though, right now, is how I feel about my fellow Americans, the ones who voted for Trump. I read on someone's post that Trump's acceptance speech was more indicative of how he will be as a president and not crazy and outlandish. I wouldn't at all be surprised if it turned out that Trump's campaign tactics turned out to mostly be an act, but that doesn't diminish the fact that people voted for him because of that act. Meaning, people I know, people I thought were good people, smart people, kind people, voted for a platform based on hate and discrimination. It is hard and disappointing to discover that a basic Christian value of treating others as you would want to be treated is not a universal belief. It is hard to admit that you know people who are racists. And it is hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea that this man really speaks to you. It is going to take me a bit of time to understand why you think this man represents you and the country you want. 

In the meantime I've also got to figure out a way to teach a little girl that even though right now in this country it doesn't look like it is possible, that she can be more than a trophy for a man. I have to find a way for her to be able to continue to make choices she needs to make for her health and her body. I have to find way to express to her how hard women have been fighting for the rights to their own bodies and how we are barely hanging onto those rights. I have to find a way to teach her that it is not okay to bully with hateful remarks those who disagree with you. We fight our battles not by calling others names like "fatty" and "whore" but with facts and common sense. I also have to teach her to find empathy and compassion for those she strongly disagrees with. That is something that I also have to teach myself. 

So...give me a minute, a few days even, to come to grips with this new situation. Be patient with me as I poke and prod out answers about why. All I'm doing is trying to understand. All I'm doing is trying to find the good in this country and find a way to work with our differences and it is just not going to happen overnight. 

I AM AN AESOP FABLE

Cindy Maddera

As the story goes, Siddhartha left his palace at age 29 and wandered into the woods seeking enlightenment.  OK, it was maybe more complicated than simply wandering into the woods. He noticed people suffering which is something he had always been sheltered from. But basically Siddhartha sat in the forest not eating anything but a nut or a leaf a day until he fell into a river and nearly drowned. After this Siddhartha sought out a different path to enlightenment which would lead him to a path of moderation from the extremes of self indulgences and self mortification. After many hours of meditation, he would become enlightened and known to us all as the Buddha. The take away thing here is the part about wandering into the woods to seek out enlightenment.

The whole wandering in the wilderness in search of enlightenment has been a thing since homo sapiens have been huddling together in caves. Even cavemen needed some alone time and internal contemplation. The Native Americans called it vision questing. They'd purify themselves in a sweat lodge before heading out into a remote area in the woods where they'd fast and forgo sleep for a few days. They'd return to the village for another round in the sweat lodge and to have their visions interpreted by the Medicine Person. Sometimes drugs were involved. Sometimes it was just enough to be starving. Sometimes the weather was super hot like in the desert or it was freezing. I always imagine that they had visions of food along with the whole enlightened stuff. Like a hot dog telling you some important sage advice. But I have issues about being hungry. One day Buddha may very well speak to me through a cube of fried tofu. Or a chicken leg.

These are things that I think about when I am driving alone in the car during long distance car rides. There are sections of highway that can induce a serious meditative state such as the Flint Hills section of I-35. The highway looks so tiny as it is snakes its way through miles and miles of rolling prairie hills. As the eyes look out into the vast nothing the brain actually falls into that vast nothing and it is there where you have your moment of a vision or enlightenment. It may just be a simple word that comes to you or a note. A tone heard only in one ear (except when this happens to me, I tend to stick my finger in my ear and wiggle it around until the sound stops). This trip across the hills it dawned on me that I wasn't exactly broken. Or at least the term "broken" doesn't really describe things. It's more like I have a festering splinter. 

When my brain conjured up the whole festering splinter thing it was like an "ah-ha!" moment that sounded more like Nelson pointing and laughing than an actual choir singing but it did give me some hope. Broken is broken and you can't really fix broke. Even if you glue it back together, you can still see the cracks. But a festering splinter?!? Well, as long as Gangrene hasn't set in, you can totally fix that. First you have to remove the splinter. I have never been good at getting splinters out. I just have flashbacks from all the time a parent came at me with a needle and tweezers. Removing a splinter is never as easy as that dang mouse who pulls the one from the lion's paw makes it look. This should be of no surprise. Feelings, words, slivers of wood are all things on the list of things that I burrow away under my skin and let fester. I am a festerer. 

Yesterday I bought a new notebook to put those thoughts, words and feelings into. And a new pen. A purple one. The pen is the needle and the notebook is (are?) the tweezers. Get it? 

I hope I do.