Playing Politics: And Being Very Afraid

Twenty years ago in the film,”The American President,”  Andrew Shepherd  made a speech that described the opposition as being interested in just two things: “Making you afraid, and telling you who to blame.”

Twenty years later,.the fear and blame strategy continues to dominate right wing politics. And the speech made by the fictive President Andrew Shepherd, written by the prescient Aaron Sorkin, and played by the too charming Michael Douglas, might well be given today by our current president, the besieged Barack Obama.

Be Afraid, Be very afraid!

Right now we’re being told to be afraid. Very afraid: Of Ebola, of Isil, of the Affordable Care Act, of a higher Minimum Wage, of Leaky borders, and of the “Fake Science” of Climate Change. Above all, we’re told to blame our twice elected president (whose birth certificate is still being contested  by the reality challenged Donald Trump), for all of it.

Yesterday I saw a You Tube clip of Bill Clinton being interviewed by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, several years after he left office.  Clinton spoke, adamantly about his pursuit of Osama bin Laden.He left no space, not a second’s worth for Wallace to comment or ask a question.  He said that although he had failed, he had not given up as had his predecessor. Soon after that “failure” and a sexual scandal that had the hounds at his heels for over a year, the public forgave and forgot, at least mostly. Like Monica, we found him irresistible. And Clinton’s popularity soared.

Clinton Failed and Gained, While Obama Succeeded and Lost

But where Clinton failed and gained, Obama succeeded and lost. He got bin Laden and passed comprehensive health care reform, without a whiff of personal scandal. Yes, they screamed Benghazi., Benghazi , Benghazi. But it barely crossed the blood/brain barrier before it frittered away into the ether. Today his success is rarely mentioned. By anyone. Hardly ever!  If McCain had won and had done the same, we would all be wearing little McCain lapel pins with bin Ladin’s head stamped on them.

We live in a young and naive country. We overlook our errors and hype our successes. Our need for comfort trumps our desire for knowledge and truth. We’ve never lived with the reality of that knock at the door that threatens destruction of ourselves and our world.  

That’s How you Win!

There is no outside solution to this dilemma. The dilemma starts and ends with us. Not the president. The Right is right about this one: it begins with being afraid and ends with blaming others.

As Mr. Sorkin informs us in his film, ”That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”

I’ve included the You Tube clip from  “The American President. I found it worth watching. Perhaps you may as well.

That’s Not Okay: A Patient Loses Patience

I don’t like to complain. I prefer to stay positive. To smile and give the benefit of the doubt. But the inefficiency, lack of compassion, greed, and ignorance of the medical profession is not okay. I refuse to cut them slack for being on overload. When have they done that for me?

Granted, I recently moved and am still getting my bearings. But my bearings are fine, on all fronts but this. They say time heals. But whom does it heal? And when? And How? And exactly how long does that take? Less time than these mistakes and mix-ups I hope.

While I lived in New York I found my way to the best and the brightest. The ones who were brilliant, compassionate and kind. But right now the best and the brightest elude me. Still, I try to keep the faith.

Meaning Well Means Nothing

The notion that one means well means nothing; it can’t condone bad behavior. The secretary at the new internist’s office admits that, yes, they sent me documents with the wrong date, time, and name on them, yet she can’t understand why I don’t agree that it’s just an everyday error. She hangs up on me instead. That’s not okay!

The first internist I interview has a five star rating on the internet sites, yet is so full of ego I wonder how he gets his head through the door. Clearly,the danger of ratings abounds. He examines me so roughly I’m tempted to smack him. He threatens me with a rectal exam on the spot, if I don’t immediately agree to make an appointment with a gynecologist. One he recommends, of course. When did he gain dominion over my life? Who gave it to him? Treatment like this is not okay!

The imaging center forgets to schedule my test. They also forget which test I’m getting. When I arrive I explain their error. They smile; they  nod. According to them it’s no big deal. They tell me to return tomorrow. That’s not okay

My patience has hit point zero. Waiting six to eight weeks to become a “new patient.” Then waiting two hours once I finally get to the office is not an exercise in patience. It’s rudeness taken to the nth degree. That’s not okay!

 Portals Aren’t People!

Dealing with recorded phone prompts. Needing to communicate through a “patient portal.” Failing to provide caring human interaction, is standard in this new world of doctor/patient relations. That’s not okay! Never has been. Never will be.

For many years I’ve been my own authority. Now is not the time to stop, but to push forward. To speak up and speak out. To find a healing path that suits me and healers who are willing to travel it with me instead of trying to squeeze me into their standardized molds.

Now That’s okay! I will accept nothing less. Why should I? And why should you?

If you require some steel to stand up and be counted, in your doctor’s office or anywhere else, try the following image:

Become Your Own Hero 

Intention: The Hero is an image we usually attribute to another. Here you empower yourself by tapping into your own natural courage and heroic energy. That other part of yourself that you too often forget exists.

Close your eyes and exhale one time. See and sense how it is to become your own hero. Know that you are connected to your source of power.Imagine this source as someplace within you, or coming from above and beyond you. Feel this power strengthening and emboldening you. See the job that needs doing.

As your own hero, see yourself overcoming the gremlins of fear and doubt. Doing what needs to be done. saying what needs to be said. Celebrate your accomplishment.  Then breathe out. open your eyes, and return.



Emergency Prep: When Less Is More

Early this morning I got the answer to a question I’ve avoided most of my life: What would you do if there was a fire (or any emergency/disaster) in your building? Actually, the question is two-fold. What would you do and what would you take if you awoke to what might be a life threatening event at the uncommon hour of 4 a.m.?

My first reaction was to think it was the the alarm in my apartment. That it had worn out its battery, and with nine foot ceilings I had no way of turning it off. How would I deal with this ugly ear splitting sound for  the next three hours until the maintenance staff arrived? It took me barely more than a minute to realize this was not just me, but a building wide alert. When I opened my door I saw people leaving their apartments — No one knowing if the alarm was false or real.

I put on my coat and shoes and I left. I took nothing with me. Once I knew I was not to blame, I walked away unencumbered and relatively calm. Every  person I saw,those on their way out, and those gathered in front of the building, held a cell phone, and the women carried purses, which of course, made sense. What I had done did not. But “making sense,” is not always my number one intention.

So I had my answer. What would I do? Get out fast. What would I take? Nothing. How did I feel? A bit discombobulated but fine. 

For years I’ve studied,and shared the concept of detachment. At this particular moment, I had lived it out. And it felt amazing. All I needed was me. No wallet, no pictures, no phone seemed important.  Kind of like the contestants on those TV reality shows, finding their way through foreign lands without backup.

People’s reaction to my choice reflects, of course, where each one stands, detachment- wise, as well as his or her nature. I used to think I would scurry to get my photo albums. That I chose not to was unsurprising. But the fact that I left without a phone, wallet, bag, or I.D., was.

I am glad I did what I did. It shows me where I stand on the “spectrum.” But next time, having already proven my point to both myself and the universe (Were you listening universe?), I would bow to the basics, and take my purse and my phone. Should the emergency turn out to be real, I see no reason not to be prepared.

Here’s an imagery exercise to experiment with in this regard:

The Awakening

Intention: To become awake, and aware; and to let go of what you no longer need so you can lighten your load, and move on.

Close your eyes and exhale one time. See and sense how you are awakening from a long, deep sleep. Find before you a bridge that you are now ready to cross. Notice what it is made of, how it’s positioned, and what it connects. Cross this bridge now, bringing along to the other side, only what you want and need.

When you arrive, say goodbye to whatever you have left behind, and release it with forgiveness and compassion.

Once you have done this continue to move on in a new direction.

Then breathe out and open your eyes, knowing all is well..