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Originally we were immigrants. When Columbus met the Arawak people of the Bahama Islands, he and subsequent European explorers noted that they were remarkable for their hospitality and belief in sh…

Source: I’m A Descendant Of Immigrants

Originally we were immigrants.

When Columbus met the Arawak people of the Bahama Islands, he and subsequent European explorers noted that they were remarkable for their hospitality and belief in sharing.  A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants were left on the island as a result of forced slavery and the search for gold.

Originally we were immigrants.

In New England, the elite of the Puritans wanted war but the ordinary Englishmen did not and often refused to fight.  The Indians certainly did not want war but they matched atrocity with atrocity.  When it was over three thousand Indians were dead.

Massacres took place on both sides.  The English developed a tactic of warfare: deliberate attacks on noncombatants for the purpose of terrorizing the enemy.

Ultimately the Indian population of 10 million that lived north of Mexico when European explorers first came to the Americas would ultimately be reduced to less than a million. All this because of the desire for land and resources.

I’m a descendant of immigrants.

When I read Howard Zinn’s The People’s History of the United States, I was appalled at what took place when we first settled this country.   These immigrants were my ancestor’s ancestors.  As a descendant, are my hands not stained with blood?

I don’t believe that by characterizing a whole group as terrorist, we will solve this problem of violence.  I look forward to a time when we do not vilify a whole group of people based on the actions of a few.

Perception is what you think and feel, but may not be fact.  Our perception is tainted by our experiences, culture, outside influence, etc.  If we interpret the world through the eyes of a racist, homophobe or extremist, it will be our truth.  If we interpret the world with eyes of kindness, compassion and optimism, that will be our truth.

 

 

 

This is not a usual blog post, but one I feel compelled to write.  It’s an open letter to the person who backed into our car at SUNY Oneonta and didn’t leave a note.

Dear Seems-to-Lack-Integrity Hit And Run Person,

The damage you did to our car cost us.  It cost us time and inconvenience, as we had to wait for the campus police to assess the situation and submit an accident report.  They determined this to be a hit and run.  We had to fill out an accident report for New York State and make sure it was submitted within a certain period of time.  It cost us time as we reported the accident to our insurance company.  We lost more time from our lives having the damage assessed and will suffer the inconvenience of not having our vehicle for two days while its repaired.  And it cost us the amount of our deductible, $500, as the damage exceeds that amount.

All that considered, I think this incident cost you even more.  It chipped away a large piece of your integrity, the foundation of character.  Integrity is the value that guarantees all other values.  Even if you feel justified in leaving the scene, deep inside your psyche, you’ve done damage.  Allowing this type of behavior to be your modus operandi, will result in your good karma looking like Swiss cheese.

I understand that you may have felt fear or embarrassment, causing you to flee.  But allowing those feelings to be your life compass will only make you weaker not stronger.

But the most significant damage may not have directly impacted you.  If you were there to watch your preteen daughter play basketball, you’ve demonstrated to her that it’s okay to lie by submission.  You’ve taught her that when one no one is looking, it’s okay to not own up to your mistakes.  You’ve taught her that other people’s property does not matter.  You’ve taught her that fairness and integrity is inconsequential.  You’ve now constructed a faulty compass for her, that will weaken her as she navigates her way through life.

This has cost you much more than we have suffered.

My Valentine

Source: My Valentine

My Valentine

It didn’t start out as a love affair. I took everything you offered and seldom thought about what you needed. We were never apart. You’d think that would mean I’d have more awareness of you. But for so long, I took you for granted. I abused you. I tortured you and asked more of you than you could easily give. And yet you rose to the challenge.

In the beginning, it took you awhile to do what I asked. We floundered together. Trial and error. Bumps and bruises. Until finally, we were off and running.  Together forever.

I was often ashamed of you. Yet I never took responsibility for our relationship. I was envious of what others had. I began a campaign to change you.

I starved you and denied you. I didn’t listen to you. I ignored your voice in favor of the transformation I so longed for. And yet, you stayed with me. You made your best effort to be what I wanted you to be. But always, we’d end up back in the same place.

Eventually, you began to let me know that you needed something different. At first I resisted the change. I knew it would be hard and after all, I get to choose how we journey through life. You may have your little ways of letting me know what you need, but that didn’t scare me.

Then your warnings magnified. No longer little hints that surfaced occasionally, now every day and often, your message was delivered.

I need love!

I need nourishment!

I need protection!

I need to move!

I need attention!

Your cacophony made my head swim. Your twinges, restrictions and throbbing could no longer be ignored. I began to realize that, while you’d never leave me, you could certainly make life more painful and difficult.

I started paying attention to you. I’d notice your hot buttons. I’d notice how you reacted when I put something inside of you. I’d notice how you got even when I didn’t take you out.

I decided that we did indeed, need to make this a love affair. If I want you to be your best, I have to help you. I promise to nurture you. I promise to walk with you. I promise to fill you with what you need. I promise to be gentle with you. I promise to love you as you are and not try to change you.

I am so grateful for you and the places you take me.

Happy Valentine’s Day dear body.

 

Source: Christmas Memories, story by Linda McKenney (ME, DURING THE HOLIDAYS Poetry and Prose Series)

Imagine

Today is the anniversary of John Lennon’s death.  And as I read commemorative pieces on the internet, I can’t help but think about how meaningful his song Imagine is right now.  Yes, we’re afraid, for ourselves and those we love.  This is the time of year we generally are feeling the love.  But that’s not the case for so many of us.  What seems to be emanating in the world is hate and suspicion.

I’m not advocating for an abandonment of prudence, but we can balance that with compassion.  There are terrorists that we cannot reason with.  But they are in the minority.  Throughout history there have been senseless killings in the name of some religious belief.  But those are distorted beliefs.  I hold on to the belief that we are more alike than we are different.  And in this time of fear and suspicion, we need to find our commonalities and an end to senseless violence and death.

Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer

But [I hope] I’m not the only one

“Merry Christmas!”

“Light the candles and be blessed.
Get a wish and hope that it will be given.
Happy Hanukkah!”

“Habari gani”

“Umoja”

“Kujichagulia”

 

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