There will be no peace, for now, as Gaza is turned into an abattoir, to collectively punish Gazans for supporting Hamas. Israel, as any nation, has a right to defend itself, but it confuses offense with defense. It is on the offensive in Gaza….
Senate progressives join unanimous resolution backing Israel, but the reaction has been different elsewhere on left
We’ve had several requests for updates on our first writing contest. The judges – Sam, Todd and Jill – are still debating the merits of their favorite pieces. There were several awesome submissions. We are hoping to resolve the impasse by this week.
We appreciate everyone’s patience. In addition…
The best part of the video may be when Jackson addresses the comments she’s heard about her daughter and sets the record straight about statements like you “wanted a girl so you turned your child into one” and “kids have no idea what they want or who they are — my kids wants to be a dog, should I let him?”
My major spiritual task is coming to terms with death. I’m not exactly sure what it is about death that terrifies me as it often seems a generalized anxiety that will manifest as a low grade terror during those moments when I witness a loved one’s dying. Then it is easy to see how vulnerable I am. In between those moments it is just a nagging anxiety in the back of my consciousness. Loss feels like something to avoid even though I know logically that I can’t.
What exactly am I scared of? Is it the extinguishing of my consciousness, which hardly seems anything to fear, or is it that I fear the process of dying will hurt? Then there is the critical voice in my head that reminds me how egocentric these meditations are. Intellectually I can appreciate that death is not the enemy, but my attitudes about dying that are. I can consider this point philosophically, which is to say detached. In more practical terms I’m afraid I’ll be Aldous Huxley, who was reported to have stayed in total denial of his end even on his death bed. I would prefer to be more open and gracious when my time comes.
Naturally, there is no end to the pithy clichés and platitudes that so-called spiritual people offer. I certainly don’t see them as wise people who have come to terms with death. After all, how do you come to terms with it before you find yourself actually facing your mortality? Recently, a much loved friend is confronting her own mortality and the brute fact that life is often too brief and indiscriminately unfair. Her terror is more honest to me then all of the supremely pompous nincompoops who have plenty of “wisdom” to dispense. Her experience terrifies me. Will I lose yet another person I love? What the hell does it say about me that I am preoccupied with my fear rather than being a comforting presence in her life? Is this empathy or egoism? Maybe it’s both.
I love her for her honesty. She is not hiding that she’s anxious and terrified. Perhaps, it will turn out to not be so dire for her. Regardless, her experience is exposing my own vulnerability. If I was in her situation I would not be nearly as brave methinks. This is an awful thing to write, but there is nothing like a friend in crisis to expose your own character flaws. I try to offer comforting words or shallow logical arguments for serenity when I should just shut up and listen. However, in my defense it is difficult to convey that you’re openly listening via AIM. I probably would be just as awkward face to face.
The spiritual nincompoops who always respond to these posts or email me privately don’t appear to be any less anxious then me. They cover their anxiety better with unverifiable personal beliefs about the afterlife. That is what platitudes do. They swat the pesky painful questions out of our sight. Some who profess an atheism or non theistic view, as I do, will strut in writing with the bravado of a Mussolini. The fear that I shall die alone is a pretty common fear. Yet, that is exactly what happens. We die alone even when our death bed is surrounded by the sad and comforting faces of those who love us. I will expire alone in my consciousness and what will come will come or not. That is what I think frightens me…those last moments before life ceases and my consciousness is gone forever. It’s the wondering that is killing me.
The bottom line for me here is that despite what we may earnestly believe, no one really knows what happens to human consciousness when we die. I admire the surety of faith that I’ve seen bring serenity and acceptance that helps ease the anxiety of dying. I have never been able to muster such faith. I’ve pleaded, cried and surrendered in all the ways that I know. Seemingly denied this faith, I want to prepare to die well. For me this means learning to face the reality in hopes that it will temper the anxiety when my time approaches. I want the stoical attitude that sees the death state as an indifferent even though it is okay and healthy to prefer life. When one is indifferent to the goodness or badness of death it ceases to have power over me, at least to the extent that it does now.
For the moment it seems to come down to this, uncertainty. I’ve learned through the process of recovery that no matter how well I plan or how well I safeguard myself life is often uncertain and unexpected outcomes occur. Learning to be comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty is the keystone of a solid spiritual practice. Learning to accept this and to affirm life as it happens despite my value judgments of good or evil of the circumstances may be the approach.
Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan personified death as a presence that stalks each one of us. He taught that when we confronted this fact then humility in life was possible and real living began. I like the imagery of death as a stalker – a patient hunter who always bags his prey in the end. We cannot win the battle with death, but we can befriend it. We can accept it. Trying “not to dwell” on death has not led me to a better quality of life. Instead it has led me to greater anxiety and avoidance when I have to deal with it in life. I completely avoided my father’s final days and his funeral because of this anxiety.
My avoidance of death has led to an inability to heal through the process of grief. My avoidance of death cheats me of life. It seems that one cannot live if one cannot appreciate death and accept it as the inevitable terminus of the life cycle.
— Jeanne Ray (via elauxe)
I can’t believe that Jessica did not win an award for this amazing costume and performance. This is the most amazing thing I’ve seen on Heroes of Cosplay yet. ~Haunted Underwood
We went to the party, and, as I figured, some of the guests laughed and made comments. One said to me, “Do you think this is funny? There are kids here. You want them to see this?” Another said, “You want him to be gay?”And I stayed calm. And I explained to them the best I could that there is no correlation between kids cross-dressing and being gay. And if he is gay, it’s not because of anything I did. It’s because he’s gay. And maybe it’s a stage. And maybe it’s not. But either way, I don’t want him to ever feel like he wasn’t able to express himself because his parents didn’t support him. And some understood. And some, trapped by religion or ignorance, gave us the stank face.Plenty of people are supportive. They’ll see my kids — Sydney with her long dirty blonde hair, and Asher with his short dark hair, and say, “I love your daughter’s pixie cut.” When I tell them he’s my son, they smile and say, “I love it.” They also apologize for confusing his gender, but I tell them, “Don’t apologize. He’s in a purple dress with sparkly shoes. How would you know?” I know there are parents who get worked up when you confuse their kids’ gender, but I’m not one of them.I get home before my wife most nights, so I was taking the kids out to walk our dog. They were dressing up in different outfits, my daughter treating Asher like her doll, as she tried various dresses, shoes, and headbands on him. And then Sydney told me she wanted me to wear a dress, too — “Oh my god, it will be so funny.”I said, “No,” but she kept begging. I said, “People will laugh at me.” She said, “If they do, I’ll tell them to go away.” And I couldn’t argue with that, as I squeezed myself into Carrie’s most flexible dress. We walked the dog on our block, and the pleasure my kids took in seeing their dad go out of his comfort zone trumped the humiliation I felt.Carrie pulled up to the house, and I saw her slacked jaw from the end of the street. She laughed. She took a picture. And she told me I better not rip her dress. And then we all went for a pizza.(My Son Wears Dresses And That’s OK With Me | Seth Menachem for xoJane)
Can I just say the fact that the little girl’s first reaction was “I’ll tell them to go away” made me tear up?
That’s a kid, at such a young age, willing to defend people. That’s a kid who, if her brother wears a dress to school and gets picked on, will run to his side in a minute, regardless of what her friends will say.
Oh god the feelings. I can’t handle it.
This needs more notes. Kudos to both the dad and his daughter for supporting the boy.
They look cute :)