January Ramblings – 2019

Carol A. Hand

Sometimes my creative muse moves to the background

in order to free-up space for the critical analytical realist

making it hard to focus on beauty and hope

as awareness of the suffering of the world takes center stage

This time, the transition has been almost more than I could bear

bringing to mind other times in my younger years

when pursuing new possibilities and starting over felt possible

***

I remember the lessons my mother taught me through example:

Reflections about Time (January 9, 2019)

These days, past, present and future

seem to flow seamlessly together

in dreams and waking hours

highlighting how past actions

have contributed to precious gifts

I never could have predicted

*

My mother meeting her great grandson for the first time – March, 1999

 

Unbeknowst to me, my mother’s example

taught me a powerful coping strategy

for surviving times of adversity

that continues to serve me well

It helps to focus intensely on creating

something kind, healing, and hopeful . . .

*

My grandson’s 20th birthday – January 10, 2019

***

I remember setting off on a journey for the sake of my daughter:

I Remember … 11/10/2014

I remember other storms approaching – the wind silent but the air filled with the electricity of threat and possibility. I survived. But have I worn the grooves of hope and love deeply enough into my spirit to weather the storms that I know are coming? As I sat on my doorstep watching the first of the snowflakes begin to fall in the darkened landscape, I wondered what the winter of these times will bring. I can feel the beat of my heart quicken with a mixture of fear and exhilaration.

*

Duluth Morning – November 10, 2014

*

My thoughts are transported back to an earlier time, the first warning of storms to come. I was standing in the Connecticut cottage where I lived with my infant daughter looking out of the picture window toward the trees and down at the river that flowed past the front of the cabin. Then, as today, the air was filled with the electricity of an approaching storm. Yet in the past, I awoke from a dream remembering some of the images and insights of a guide who sometimes speaks to me through dreams. “A storm is coming,” the guide said.

“Times ahead will be hard. The earth has shifted on its axis and the polarities of the earth’s gravitational fields are changing. People will not know they are being affected by these shifts, but polarities will be amplified. Those on a path of light will glow brighter while those on a path of darkness will grow stronger in their quest for control and destruction. You have a choice. You may leave now. You don’t have to stay to face the storm.”

How could I leave an infant to face the coming storms without a mother who loved her? I certainly wasn’t a perfect mother, but I loved my daughter enough to choose to seek the light again and again. I would fail again and again, but decades later, I know I did the best I could. I’m not a perfect grandmother either, and I’m unsure what I can do to help my daughter and grandchildren prepare for the coming storms, but I trust that whatever comes, love for others and for this wondrous and beautiful world and universe are what will matter most in the years ahead.

***

Now, I feel compelled to face the reality that there are difficult times ahead. During the weeks it took me to reconfigure the research course I have been teaching from a one- semester course to a two-semester course, I remembered my mother’s example and the message in the dream I had when my daughter was a baby. I kept working despite deepening alarm about the state of the world.

As I reviewed videos to rebuild the online content for the 50/50 face-to-face and online hybrid course, I found myself wishing I could set off as I did decades ago to find a safe space for my family. To find a community of thoughtful people working together to build an inclusive community like the ones I romantically imagine my Ojibwe ancestors created.

Reviewing videos that I used to think of as anomalous examples of the cruelty some humans express, The Deadly Deception and The Stanford Prison Experiment, only brought to mind the brutality of our current treatment of migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers.

Ripping children away from their families and placing them in prison-like institutions while adults were placed in tent cities or abandoned warehouses that are reminiscent of concentration camps. I felt and feel powerless to change such obvious evil. This brutality and the inaction of those who see themselves as enlightened “leaders” cause me to wonder if the dream I had might, in fact, be true.

Several of the other videos I reviewed added to my realization that disregard for life has been and is still inextricably built into the predominant values and institutions in many nations. If you have the courage and stomach, here are links to a couple reminders that presage even harder times to come for people and the earth.

Poisoned Water:

https://www.pbs.org/video/poisoned-water-jhhegn/

Cancer Alley, Louisiana – Victims of Environmental Racism:

***

But the cruelty and disregard for life are nothing new and they’re not confined to one nation, religion, or culture. Still, looking at the super moon a couple days ago helped me find the strength to continue this sometimes heavy and lonely journey.

*

Super Moon – January 20, 2019

*

In the Depths of Winter (January 21, 2019)

In the depths of winter on a cold dark night

the super blood wolf moon is a welcome sight

a reminder of blessings beneath her comforting light

 

She reflects the sun for all whether they see her or not

inspiring me to repeat a Reiki prayer

“Just for today –

“I will refrain from anger
“I will not worry
“I will be grateful
“I will do my work diligently
“I will be kind to myself and others”

realizing the best I can do is to try to be conscious

and disciplined enough to make these choices

moment to moment…

***

Speaking of choices, I do find reasons for lighthearted laughter as I join Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes every day.  I hope some of you will join me and remember to find reasons and time to laugh and to play even in the darkest of moments.

*

Blowing bubbles – 2002

*

28 thoughts on “January Ramblings – 2019”

  1. A very thought provoking post. I can feel and share your sadness with the world and our, so called leaders. I sometimes wonder if it was ever different? If we will ever learn? I believe there is great evil and goodness in every person. Sometimes I think the greatest choice and responsibility is for which to choose for ourselves and when to fight against the other. I’ve choose wrong plenty of times. Wonderful pictures of your family at your Grandson’s birthday meal. I hope that restaurant had what he wanted! 🙂 Take care friend. Sending you well wishes across the fire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Bob, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and kind words. Fighting made me weary. Now I’m just a different kind of teacher who tries to help students find their strengths and passion to work for a better future. Please take care of yourself, too. I hope we can share stories across the fire in person some time, but for now your kind comments and beautiful reflections bring warmth and inspiration into my life.

      Like

  2. Your reflections are most inspiring. As we weather the current and future storms…and there will be more…I feel confident that we continue to move forward. We do not hear about the best of people “on the ground”, especially where the migrants and refugees are concerned. Just today I was told a beautiful story by a friend whose nephew in Texas is an attorney working hard to advocate for and support reunification of families and to facilitate the process of helping them safely into our country. These are the stories we never hear. Thank you for these reflections, dear Carol. I’m reminded of the roller coaster that life is for sensitives. 🙏🏻💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Life has always been a mixed bag, but at least most people most of the time had a moral compass which enabled them to know the difference between truth and lies, between being led and being conned. Nowadays, many who know they’re being lied to and/or being conned, can’t be bothered to even care. It’s as if the more advanced we’ve become technologically, the more amoral we’ve become spiritually.

    Oh…I almost forgot to compliment you on an excellent post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just today, I listened to an NPR report on the sea ice in Antarctica melting much faster than anticipated (of course!) and an expedition of scientists going to a remote area to study a glacier that will be contributing to significant sea level rise with current trends continuing. Like you, I was thinking about my grand children and what their world will look like in 20, 30, or 40 yrs when I am gone. Asking myself what I can do for them that will make them stronger and more resilient. I know I can’t protect them from anything that is bound to happen in the future but I can teach them some of what I know….self-reliant skills, finding comfort in nature, loving them unconditionally, instilling a social, cultural and political consciousness. Beyond that, I really don’t have a clue….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Carol, thanks for sharing your reflections with us. I, too, fear for our children and grandchildren. I hold onto hope that my sons will be ready for the coming storms. Like you, I believe that “love for others and for this wondrous and beautiful world and universe are what will matter most in the years ahead.”

    Let us laugh and play with those we love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Rosaliene. You have been in my thoughts today. I have missed reading your posts and plan to do so as soon as I let you know how much I appreciate your wisdom and kindness. Sending my best wishes to you and your family. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful, sad, and true. When our children climb upon us, all silly faces and hugs, we find our strength to hold them in the storms, to be what they need us to be, to be what the world needs us to be, so that this time, when the storm clears, perhaps something better will be found in its wake. x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I, too, often find myself despondent over world events, but a friend told me the other that that worldwide violence — as incredible as it may seem — is on the decline. But if you think about our world history, I can see how it might be true. It’s just that the conversation in the U.S. has gotten so skewed and out of hand that it colors everything I look at. But just as possession is 9/10s of the law, perception is 100% of reality. Keep looking for evidence of how you want the world to be, not as it actually is, and keep holding the light, Carol. That can never be taken away and there are others who need you to do that for them. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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