Reflections – January 5, 2022

This morning I awoke remembering a dream I had many decades ago. To be honest, I don’t remember where I was living at the time, but for some reason, it feels as though it is associated with the years I spent living on a commune. That’s another story, part of which I shared almost eight years ago.


Queenie January 2022 2


My memories of the dream were probably triggered by a Netflix movie I selected for my parakeet, Queenie, last night. He sang and chittered merrily as we watched a children’s movie together, “The Guardians.” It’s not the story that resonated with me. It was silly. But the vibrant moving colors that transformed darkness and fear, creating the possibility for hope and joy, made me wonder again about the existence of forces beyond what we can easily measure objectively.



By The original uploader was 14jbella at English Wikipedia. – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 1.0,


In my old dream, I gazed up at a dark sky that was filled with moving, morphing shapes of vibrant colors, similar to the Aurora Borealis pictured above. The guide who has been present in my vivid dreams throughout the years told me, in thoughts more than words, that color and shapes have the ability to affect people’s emotions and energy in powerful ways, frequently outside of their conscious awareness.

As I write, I wonder if the dream came around the time when I was the “light show” coordinator for a mobile disco during my years on the commune. Or perhaps it was after I was served as an assistant for the commune video crew hired to record a Yes performance in Boston, Massachusetts. (But those are other stories, too, that I don’t believe I have written about.) I digress…

The movie and memories brought Edward Bernays to mind again, and the power of images to manipulate emotions to control “the masses.”

The Century of the Self – Part 1: “The Happiness Machine”


Present day media provide many examples of the technique for fomenting divisiveness and fear. Yet I also think of the images Louie Schwartzberg shares that have the opposite effect.

Gratitude – “Happiness Revealed”


As I prepare for another semester, I am contemplating once again how to weave these messages together to show the contrasts. Both realities coexist. It’s important to know both. How else would we realize that we all have a choice? We can decide to critically assess alternative perspectives and actions in challenging times like these and work toward inclusive, peaceful, consensual solutions. I hope I can encourage my students and others to consider how to model and share alternatives that help individuals and communities strengthen connections to each other and to the earth we all share.

25 thoughts on “Reflections – January 5, 2022

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    1. Ah, dear Trace. It is always a gift to hear from you. I meant to thank you for your lovely card and holiday message the old fashioned way via snail mail – envelopes, paper, and stamps spread out on my table. But I had to change plans when family and work responsibilities intervened. Thank you for your kind words here and throughout the years. Sending gratitude and love to you and Herb. May the new year bring you both many blessings. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love your dream and your contemplation of choices in life. I too believe we can move beyond thoughts and beliefs and into dimensions that create a deeper understanding of who we are and our ability to move through life in timeless wonder! There is so much to learn and how wonderful you are able to open up these discussions with your students. Many blessings for the year ahead. 🥰

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  2. Wonderful post! You would think it wouldn’t be that difficult to get along considering we all have the same wishes to be happy and keep our children safe. Change is a slow process. Some things take more than a few lifetimes, meanwhile we can honour nature or the gods by paying attention to the light. In my experience the more you look the more light you find. Those are beautiful photos of Aurora. Dreams are often where I find clarity. Take care.

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  3. I like the idea “we tend to protect what we love” from the TED talk. It shows the way to widen our web of empathy throughout the world: by loving all that we see & take in by senses. Which is close to what infants do, I think.

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  4. Thank you. I do think that these days, the essential ability to shift perspective is seen as wishy-washy at best and hypocritical at worst. Yes, we need to see all sides in order to recognize what each of us most sees (and then can choose) as beautiful and good. Thank you for the stunning images you share in your post. And I love that you shared imagery with Queenie, regardless of whether she saw exactly what you saw.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Astute insights about the challenges of considering issues from many vantage points, Diane. It’s not an easy thing to do or suggest to others as a way to resolve misunderstandings and conflicts. I don’t think there has ever been a time in history when it was valued Thank you so much for your kind words and always thoughtful comments. 💜


  5. Glad to see you found that excellent documentary The Century of the Self; lots of great info there on how propaganda is used even in peacetime to mold a populace to the rulers’ agendas. Another great source is the 1965 study by Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes. Once you read that it’s easy to see through the current Covid propaganda in the media.

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    1. It’s so good to hear from you, Art! It is a gift to be able to share the video with students who have never heard about Bernays or considered the ways in which we have all been programmed to unconsciously accept the legitimacy of corporatocracy. The media COVID campaign is troubling on many levels, as you rightly point out.


  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!.. I am sure you will find a way to give the students the path they need… “The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” (Kahlil Gibran)… 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comments, Dutch. I agree that Gibran’s advice to educators is so important. We shouldn’t tell people what to think, but rather, we should focus on providing opportunities for them learn how to be observant, reflective, and responsible for thinking for themselves.


  7. What’s so weird is that I think everybody knows–if not consciously, at least on some level– that divisiveness and fear just don’t work. I’m so glad your students will be receiving your brand of understanding and inclusiveness. It makes me feel like there’s hope–if not for my immediate future, at least someone’s future. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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