Deconstructing Trump Mania

For months I’ve mumbled and bumbled over the millions falling head over heels for the rants and raves of Donald Trump. How could this dark force have taken over the minds of so many? What is it he offers that makes this megalomaniacal, racist-narcissist.so attractive?

Rebbe Nachman, the 19th century Hasidic master, said: Free will means you do what you want to do, and you don’t do what you don’t want to do. Thus, these many millions, including the heretofore blustery Chris Christie, who stood silent guard this past week behind Mr.Trump while listening to him proclaim himself king in waiting, have become his willing subjects, filled with enough hate to say yes, to his every whim, no matter how heinous .

When I read Dana Milbank’s Washington Post column: “Trump’s Captain Underpants Campaign,” I got it. Milbank assigned grade levels to the candidates’ speech. Accordingly, Trump’s is at third grade level, Hillary’s at 7th, and Bernie at 8th. Thus, he’s easy to understand. No pressure brainwise. And just right for  a nation of spoiled, angry  children, stamping their feet, and run amuck.

What a Mess

This past week, a dear friend emailed me his take on this mess:

“The Republican candidates are a travesty. What disturbs me more are the many people supporting them. They represent the mindset of a great number. It seems to me that coarseness and a lack of civility is tolerated and applauded in the public square. I find it to be a sad situation.”

Yesterday, I saw the following in Richard Cohen’s column in the Post:

:“Today, we live in Kardashian country. . . When it comes to decorum, it’s always Casual Friday in America.”

 Where have refinement and manners gone?

Indeed. Coarseness has become the norm. I notice it in my own speech as well. Words I never heard from my parents, sister, brother in law, or even my friends, come out of my mouth too often. Where has refinement gone off to? Perhaps it’s just around the corner and I’m too weighed down with my own Casual Friday belief system to notice. How did it become so rare, so discredited?. I recall how my mother would question me when i started to date someone. “Is he refined?” she would ask. I thought it didn’t matter, that she was being silly. I was wrong.

Though coarseness can make what we say sound funnier, more  dramatic, the loss we suffer by giving it free rein does us in. And our careless disregard has resulted in  the full blown birthing of this unapologetic madman, who in many ways is our own creation. Can he be stopped . . . Who knows? But the one thing we can do is to start this reformation within ourselves.

Here’s an image that makes a correction I’m ready for.You may choose to use it as well. And yes, perhaps the custom of washing a nasty mouth out with soap isn’t  such a bad  idea.

 Brain Bath

Intention: To get rid of habitual, devitalizing thoughts that deter you from living a clear, refined  and balanced life.

 

Close your eyes and breathe out three time. See yourself kneeling beside a clear flowing stream. Unzip your head and carefully remove your brain. Place it gently in front of you and submerge it in the stream. See and hear the bubbling, waters surrounding and permeating your brain,cleansing it of all debris. Now find beside you a golden brush and with it scrub away anything else that may be hidden there which keeps you from being calm and clear. Take it out of the stream and dry it in the sunlight. Put it gently back inside your head. Now zip up your head and go on your way, noticing how you look and feel.Then breathe out and open your eyes.

 

A Tale of two orchids

I have no particular talent with plants. Sometimes I’m lucky. Other times not. But  I’ve developed a love for having orchids in my home. It started with Cymbidiums, those tall long leafed showy bursts of longitudinal color, that a friend turned me on to 20 years ago. Currently it’s the common strain of orchid I find at Whole Foods that fills the need. Generally they bloom for several weeks, and then go by. But over the past ten months or so, there’s been one that keeps on strutting its stuff, while its sister plant, which I got at exactly the same time and place, stands beside it, budless and bloomless. An orphan orchid. Barren. Sad. Alone.

Sisters

With nothing to lose,  I decided to experiment. I moved them closer together so their branches were touching. I told them they were sister plants, and encouraged the bloomer to teach the non bloomer its tricks. I spoke to them about loving each other and sharing their gifts (the non bloomer had beautiful unblemished deep green foliage) as I moved my hands around them — the way my mother used to do with the shabbas candles on Friday nights— and advised them to bloom in tandem. A week later, I noticed tiny buds forming where none had gone before. And lo! I now see five new buds, growing larger each day

No Expectations

Encouraging this relationship took little effort, and the results have been amazing. I expected nothing. My only intention was to give them a chance, to see what would happen. And voila! Rebirth. Resurrection. And so forth.

Heaven knows why we’re so self-centered as to believe that this is it. That we’re the alpha and omega. The peak of the mountain. The star on the tree. With our logical minds leading the way, we play the game of life, only by by our limited rules. But suddenly, here’s living proof that the invisible world exists. That there’s stuff going on unaccounted for. Beyond our ken.

Imagine

For, imagine, how it might be if we could rebud and rebloom like these orchids in whatever way we needed.. Perhaps we can. Perhaps all we need is someone to speak to us in loving tones, To remind us that we have the power, the gift, to repair and revive ourselves,—  to burst forth with new vitality. New life. Over and over again. And that this gifted magician is us. You and Me. Reclaiming ourselves in one endless loop of life.

* See my Face book page for photos

Here’s an image you may enjoy using to this end.

Close your eyes and breathe out one time. Imagine yourself as the gifted magician. See and sense your power  to co-create new life, know this power is sparked by loving words and grateful thoughts. See what needs revitalizing, both in yourself and others. Speak words of loving encouragement, and express the gratitude that is called for.  See these words and thoughts manifest as light that emanates from your heart. Notice what happens. Then breathe out and open your eyes.

Beauty and the Beast: The Ultimate Triumph of Anita Hill

Who knows what made me turn on my TV at 1 a.m. last Wednesday. I’m a night owl, but once I turn the thing off, it usually stays that way. Yet the spirit moved me. And with a flick of the switch I was transported to October of 1991, when I first bore witness to those infamous hearings where Anita Hill, a young black law professor was being quizzed by an all male senate committee about her claim that she’d been sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas who was being considered for a seat on the Supreme Court. The atmosphere was rife with testosterone. And it wasn’t long before I could see this woman was in trouble,

Justification for Night Owls

But this time I saw it all from a distance. Like a Chuck Close painting, the whole portrait instantly appeared. Painful. Yet, glorious and complete. And as I watched the documentary ”Anita: Speaking Truth to Power,” and saw Ms. Hill’s journey through the labyrinth of senatorial prejudice and ineptitude, I felt not only had she been vindicated, but so had I. And so had millions more who dared to stand up for their personal truth from that moment forward.

Risk takers beware!

Initially, it appeared she had lost, that Thomas had gotten away with his masquerade. His strategy was brilliant. The one brilliant thing I can recall him doing over these past 24 years. He claimed her testimony and the hearing was a “high tech lynching for uppity blacks.” He spewed rage; he bullied the committee into an embarrassed submission and the whole event went south. The slight possibility of Hill’s triumph was lost in Republican self-righteousness, and Democratic cowardice.The committee split its vote. The decision on Thomas’ appointment went to the Senate. And he was approved, 52 to 48 — the narrowest margin in a century. It was a blot on all those involved. One that shall remain in tact forever.

Despite this, or perhaps because of it, what a life this woman has led. Though there were calls for her dismissal, she kept teaching. She became an inspiration for those who wanted and needed her to shine a light into the darkness of sexual harassment and lead the way to freedom. Ah, freedom. Nothing like it. No bending over backward to please others, to fit in, to be accepted. And thus, she became a model of how to live this ethic for women throughout this country and the world.

In the beginning of the film, we hear a phone message from Ginni Thomas, made twenty years later, asking Hill for an apology,” for what you did with my husband.Yes. Mrs. Thomas said “with,” not “to.” A Freudian slip? A sexual slur? However she intended it, it was insulting. And ultimately unhinged.

When you deal with insanity, never say you’re sorry

Ms. Hill did not call back. No apology was made. Nor will it be. Ever!

At the end of the film, Anita Hill says that “honesty, dignity, and courage is what will always be remembered.”

I hope she’s right.

Some people tell me they don’t watch TV.  As though it’s not worth it. Not worthy of their time. But when I tune in at 1 a.m., on a freezing cold winter night in D.C., and get to see Anita Hill still standing her ground, I have no idea what they’re talking about.

Use this visualization to stand your own ground, and to become your own hero. It’s a good tool to have in reserve.

Become Your Own Hero 

Close your eyes and breathe out one time.

See and sense how it is to become your own hero. Know that you are connected to your Source. Imagine this Source as coming from above and beyond you, from the highest and most powerful. See and sense the blue-golden light of courage and truth emanating from this Source and streaming through you, from the top of your head through every cell and bone in your body. Feel this powerful light strengthening and emboldening your entire body and mind. As your own hero, see yourself overcoming the gremlins of fear and doubt, and doing what needs to be done.

Celebrate your power, and your new life. Then breathe out, open your eyes, and return.

 

Tell Me A Story

A good and wise friend recently sent me a piece about the power and presence of stories  in our lives. It reminded me how much  I love them and live by them. How I speak to the characters about their choices, their victories, their foibles. How I chastise and adore them. How I cry at their disappointments, learn from their experiences, am changed and heartened by them. These stories are more than entertainment. They are among my closest companions. They act as advisors. They influence my discussions and behavior with friends and family. They enrich my daily life and my dreams. What I would do without them, I don’t want to know.

 Where do they come from − How do they arrive?

They come in many forms: by word of mouth, in the  morning paper, in books, film, from the Internet, from stage, screen, TV, and as I walk down the street. Some arrive with more value and clout than others.  Even if I don’t consciously remember them, they carve out a place in the cells of my body, that make them a part of me.

Before I could read, I listened to the radio on Saturday mornings and fell in love with Nila Mack’s “Let’s Pretend,” with its fairies, witches, wizards, mystery, and magic, ” The fairies cast spells that, for me, were real. And then there was Lamont Cranston, “The Shadow,” who was scary, yet good, invincible and invisible. Jack Armstrong ate his Wheaties. I ate mine too. “Grand Central Station,”was more exciting than the real thing, and so it went.

Miracle on Broadway

In 1959, a few days after it’s Broadway opening, I saw “The Miracle Worker” starring Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke. Patti was twelve when she played the part of the seven year old, Helen Keller, locked away from the world and herself, unable to hear, see or speak. I had seen Patti in the hallways of  8 West 86th Street, where I lived. She was friends with our super’s daughter. A nice girl. Polite. Pretty. Quiet. I was unprepared for the hurricane force I saw onstage.

I always loved Anne Bancroft who played Annie Sullivan, Helen’s teacher, mentor, and friend. Who didn’t?  She made you a better person just by watching her. And, oh, what a story!  By the time the cast took their curtain calls I was crying so hard, I sat there, head down, embarrassed by my emotion, stunned and changed by what I had witnessed. Bodies and objects flying. Emotions going crazy. Nothing held back. And then, the Miracle, when Helen first speaks. Elizabeth Taylor was there that night. No one paid much attention. She was the side show. This story, not her’s, was the main event.

True Story

The play conveys the pain and wonder of life, of family, of love, disappointment, courage and fear, of victory and  defeat, of resilience, and despite impossible odds, of coming out of the darkness and into the light. It was a story that moved heaven and earth. Helen was real. Her trials were true. Annie Sullivan was an incredible force. a mountain for Helen to climb, and climb her she did. What more could one ask?

Stop for a moment if you will, and remember a  story of your own. One that affected and moved you —and perhaps even changed you, and (or) your life. Remember what you learned and what you felt, no matter what that lesson or feeling may have been.

And as hard as it may be to acknowledge, consider that we’re the co-creators of these stories. .And that although we can’t rewrite the past we can author new stories, direct them in a different way, and see them in a  new light.

Beyond all else, be true to these stories and to yourself. Especially if you’re a celebrity. Poor Brian Williams seems to have missed the boat on that one.

Here’s an image to experiment with. Use it and see what happens:

Story Time

Close your eyes and see your life as an open book. Look at the cover, feel the pages. Flip through these pages. Read the words. See the pictures, and allow them to remind you of what you need to know. Live and sense how this story defines you. If it’s a story you cherish, see it as a golden thread that links you to your true self, and give thanks. If not, take this moment to rewrite it, knowing you can’t change the past, but you can change your beliefs and feelings about it. Then open your eyes, and return, as you remember it in a new and healing way.

Hate Takes A Holiday

The Washington Post  ran a piece yesterday informing us that the president’s popularity soared to a respectable 48%, this week, rebounding from the longest time underwater of any recent two time president.

Gallup’s editor-in-chief, quickly attributed the upswing to the overall holiday mentality. The reasons were as follows:

Increased support among Hispanic voters, pleased with Obama’s executive order on immigration.

Happiness concerning normalization of relations with Cuba.

The improved state of the economy.

And, of course, our innate American generosity during the holiday season — a “Christmas bump” so to speak, reflecting our exceptional charitable nature.

Joy to the world! There has been a sudden White-out, regarding the Black man in the White House. Thus, hate takes a holiday. Hooray for us. Let’s see how long it lasts. My optimistic heart says to the end of his term, at least. My logical mind says till next week if that.

Here’s an imagery exercise for opening our hearts during this season of light, peace and hope, no matter how brief it may be.

Lake in the Cloud

Close your eyes and breathe out through your mouth. See yourself climbing up high to a lake in the Cloud above you. Imagine reaching inside your chest, taking out your heart and cleansing it of all impurities in these cool, crystal clear waters. See these impurities swirling away and disappearing. Then take your heart and hold it up to the sun, seeing and feeling it infused with golden light.

Breathe out and carefully replace it in your chest and feel the change in its nature. From withholding to forgiving. From hate to kindness. From resentment to love. Then breathe out and open your eyes, knowing you have repaired yourself, and have helped to repair the world.

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