Monday, January 2, 2017

The beautiful IRT

Growing up the IRT was a drag. I lived by the A and the 1 and I never took the 1. It didn't go anywhere I needed to be. 

Today I chose the IRT over the A because the A is notoriously slow and problematic. These days the 1,2 and 3 are always running fast. I got  to the station and a 3 pulled in in 1 minute, not 6, not 9, not 20. When it got to 14 th street, the 1 sat there waiting for us. It didn't shut the doors just as a I got off the 3. It was so polite. I ran over and jumped on. So easy.

Before I transferred, I sat on the 3 across from the most glorious young couple. They were right out of the early 80's Danceteria scene. The woman was so soft and gorgeous and feminine with a Debbie Harry bob complete with bangs, originally dark but made platinum and then double processed a fine pale champaign parfait grey, fluffy and messy and so pretty. She had a wide flat smile with flat teeth and wide cheekbones and full lovely lips, I almost felt embarrassed by how much I wanted to stare at her. She was angelic, no hard edges even though she was wearing great style. She had on black sweat pants, a black sweater, a long dark overcoat and high tops with a hidden wedge and she had long nails painted black. Every time she smiled at her partner, I almost blushed and looked away. The guy was all about Jean Michel Basquiat. He was dark and lovely and had that same hairstyle that Basquiat wore. Our eyes met and we exchanged a big smile.

At the other end of the train a tiny old white woman screamed at an imaginary enemy, pointing cursing and accusing.  She was so angry and kept it up the whole ride. My end of the car was so good it didn't matter. The only thing that kept me from thinking I was in a time machine was that the woman was knitting, something she would have never done if it were still the 80's.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tradition and destiny

"That which remains unconscious manifests as destiny." I am not sure who put it exactly that way, possibly me (ha!). (There is also Carl Jung's version "Whatever is not conscious will be experienced as fate.") I am fascinated with the concept that seems to prove true again and again. I hold onto it with great hope to see how it will play out with the current PE. (I'm just thinking that you can't be a compulsive liar, a drug addict, a sexual predator, and/or a compulsive criminal and them get put into a high pressure job and stop being those things. You will stumble and ultimately you will fall. I think it will happen sooner rather than later.)

My family is black, Latinx and Asian and white. My children are black and Latinx. I have every reason to be afraid but I am not. Here's the thing, I have been politically active  and I have supported those less fortunate than me my entire adult life. I have always accepted my civic duty, my human duty in the world to be of service and to consider other's well being, not just my own (imperfectly, but consistently and consciously). I was a sexually abused kid with no support, so I know what it is like to be in pain and need. When you suffer, you can transform it into something positive, you can let it teach you compassion. You make a choice to become better or bitter.

This election has shined a light on the amount of people who are racists yes. But also on the amount of people who just don't care about the "less fortunate"; people who never made the choice to become better, who hold their bitterness dear; people whose parents never taught them that we don't improve our lives by stepping on others, but by helping others up as well; people who are desperately out for themselves and don't understand that throwing others under the bus actually hurts everyone, including themselves; and people who I am guessing never learned in their churches, even though Jesus is famous for saying it, "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me."  Poor attitudes around service, responsibility, basic human kindness, and respect of other humans beings repulse me to say the least but these poor attitudes still exist (in at least 28%of the voting public) so now what...

The great news is that many good people who may not have consciously and consistently been practicing their civic duties are now participating which is a powerful and glorious thing.

I come from the airy fairy school of thought that says thoughts and words matter and while I am in full reality about what is going on in the world, I refuse to mentally and verbally support a hateful future. I refuse to project doom and gloom because the truth is we have no idea how everything will play out. It's kind of like when you get bad news, like a dreadful medical diagnosis. Ideally, you get clarity on the facts and then you stay positive, envision victory, and fight like hell. I am allowed to be hopeful. I have face real (WAY TOO REAL) danger before, looked it in the eye and overcame it. We can do this.

We can do this. Say it with me sisters and brothers. IGNORE the distractions- the sideshow, the tweets, the reality TV. READ and SUPPORT legitimate news sources. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE as you envision the future you want, without projections of doom and gloom. "That which remains unconscious manifests as destiny."

I leave you with my new year tradition of posting my favorite poem. I wish you all the strength and motivation to fight for equality in the new year, the capacity to stay in reality and hope at the same time, and the ability to be the change we seek with empathy, kindness, service and gratitude. Peace on earth, goodwill toward all.

Footnote to Howl

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!

                                                                                                            Berkeley 1955

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Fear- Rage- Grief/Depression- Action - and Beyond-

Fear- Rage- Grief/Depression- Action - and Beyond-

(Note: this is imperfect, it is the best I got today)
I have been vacillating between fear, rage, grief/depression, and a meditative state of being that is beyond hate blame and judgement and closer to empathy since the election. Every one of those places is valid.

Fear: I live  in a diverse liberal place. I do not live in fear. After the election results, I was in a diverse public space and a white man started eyeing all of the lovely diverse people around me, including me, and began singing in a threatening manner,"All we are saying, is give trump a chance." to the tune of Give Peace A Chance. Then he left. I felt the fear and then the rage. I wanted to violently attack him, rip him limb from limb. How dare anyone come into my safe space, my life and threaten me. My seething rage for all things trump was unleashed. It was so subtle but it was crystal clear. Much worse is happening.

Most of you reading already know this but I want to clarify it for anyone who doesn't. Hate has been legitimitized by the election of a man who used attacking and blaming minorities to get elected. A group of people who are predominantly white, predominantly male and predominantly uneducated are feeling empowered by this election results to vent their frustrations on innocent groups of people identified by trump. They are following his lead. Hate crimes are on the rise in the few days since the election. I fear for myself and my kids, my husband, my family, and for all women, people of color, people of targeted religions and everyone in the LBGTQ community. This is not hype, it is happening and people are scared.  I am so sorry if you are being targeted or feel fear. 

This blog is about the violence from trump supporters, but I will add here that his policies are the source of their feeling empowered. His proposed policies are terrifying and again I am sorry if you are afraid or targeted.

Right here I want to note that only 27% of America voted for trump.

I also want to say that my I love men, I love white people and I have people in my life whom I love who are uneducated. I write this with love.

I have been afraid before. Many times. Two very personal and rather recent incidents include that a friend was murdered by a terrorists machine gun fire (breathe). And that a court of law decided whether I could keep my child or never see my child again (breathe. I cannot get into details on that but it was not because of anything me or my family did). Both times I chose to not give in to the fear. With terrorists I chose to be brave and not live in fear. Instead I left the house and lived in gratitude. With being in court for a year and a half not knowing if my family would be torn apart, I decided to choose love, action, and a spiritual path. I would love my kid everyday, and stay out of terror by meditating, and I would fight my hardest within that system. And there you have it. That is what I will do in the face of this election.

I will pause here to say that women, I am feeling you. The number of sexual assaults against me as a child and a teen and a young women and an adult are too numerous to go into. Another time. (one of many I am a survivor. It is so very triggering to have the president of our country, an authority figure, be an accused sexual predator who promotes sexual assault and dismisses the victims. And now by having been elected, is unintentionally giving those looking for an excuse to go out and assault. It is almost incomprehensible and absolutely unacceptable.

Thus the terror, of being victimized again (!?!?!), the feelings of grief, like someone I love has died. And the rage, which I will funnel into action.

I will fight for all targeted communities to the best of my ability and I invite you to do the same. I will stand for equality and fight against hate and harm. i have never been targeted for my spiritual beliefs, but I been victimized for my sexual preference, and my race. I do not need to have been the victim of a specific violence to still fight agains it. Which brings me to empathy...

Empathy? Empathy for haters and hurters? Motherfucker!  You are asking me to do hard work right now. Yep, I am asking that of myself. Not today, I am not feeling it yet, but ultimately. I am going there. A large part of the people who voted for trump have felt afraid, have felt the way we do now, for the last 8 years. They have felt powerless thinking that values or beliefs they hold dear was being taken away (I am working hard to stay out of judgment of their vales as I type that) or they have felt, or actually have been forgotten by the powers that be. Stephen Colbert shared a statistic from PEW Research Center saying "More than half of Democrats (55%) say the Republican Party makes them 'afraid' while 49% of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party. 

Everyone is having big feeling and feelings are messy at best and really problematic at worst, especially for people without tools. Alas, folks, that's why I work like a dog to process my feelings and keep my side of the street clean. Education is vital, so is art and support.

Deepak Chopra has advocated for meditating into the place of "being" beyond judgement and blame.  That's hard but I am trying. That was how I got through my court experience, that is the only way I got through. The truth is that hating, blaming and judging don't fix anything for me and they don't help us feel better other than for a temporary moment. The only thing that helps is empowerment. Being brave in the face of fear, standing strong with the persecuted and fighting for my family and others is my only solulution for me. I am writing this for me. If it helps you, please share it with others and let me know. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election anxiety remedy # 5: what is great

What is great in this world: mountains, James brown, cats, dogs, kittens, puppies, the film Cabaret, Lina Wertmuller, Dave Chapelle, friends, nitrate-free bacon, dairy free ice cream with dairy free whipped cream, love.

I am tired. It has been a long week, month, year. God bless us all. Do something kind, do something brave. Do something that makes you feel strong. Do something that makes you feel good. Love yourself and others. Joy to the world. I'm done. Xxxh

Election anti anxiety remedy #4: Gimme Danger

Yep, I will be able to watch it free in a few weeks or so on a TV, but we trekked to the theater and paid to see Jim Jamosch's documentary on the Stooges. I wanted to hear it loud and see it big. The film is fine, but the story and the subject are Brilliant. Shine shine shine Iggy, Scott, Ron, Dave and James. So fun to hear it told and see as much of the footage as exists. Yes, I already know the story but it was still a treat. Do fun things. Treat yourself well. Manifest your visiON! Follow your dreams, allow your genius. Be free. Help others to be free. Love on. Xxxh

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Election anxiety Remedy # 3: Circa 1972

I am writing joyous odes to life this pre election week as an anti anxiety election remedy. You are welcome to join me. I believe that focusing on the positive helps us manifest more of the same positivity and then some. Here is a new poem.

At the party, circa 1972 by Holly Ramos (2016)

Daddy, the way your creased bell bottomed slacks stick off your leg at an angle when you sit looks like an animal's beak. I can see your brown leather ankle boot and your black sock rise above it. If you sit low enough, like on the steps of the sunk-in living, or on a footrest or the floor, I can even see you thin shin and its Puerto Rican brown skin.

Friday, November 4, 2016

What's great today

those of you who know me may know about how I used to cry everyday. I did that for decades. There was a lot to mourn, feel, grieve and release. I washed away most of  what I needed to. I hardly cry at all these days. It's been a rather dry decade or so. But I cried today. I literally cried out of beauty and joy today because I saw a grandmother asleep upright in a chair at the Y holding her new born sleeping grandchild against her body. It was mind blowingly touching for so very many reasons. I could not stop staring and, teary-eyed, I touched a stranger who was also staring and we shared a moment together basking in the emanating light. Life is magnificent.

The other amazing things that happened were that I went to THE infamous Marc Jacob sample sale. I love Marc. The sale, however, was ga-badge (said with a New England accent). I don't like to used such strong language but it was. It was day 2. Maybe if you go on day one it is better. This part might not sound amazing, but it was. It was amazing to find out I was not missing out on anything. Silly, I know.

The best amazing part was that I went to my daughter's teacher conference and I was told "I don't know what you are doing at home with your child but it is like an angel dropped into the class room. She is not only focused on her work, but she helps other kids. She answers questions so earnestly. And she is above the standards in every area." That is just so very sweet to hear. I do not care if she is struggling with every subject. What I loved was that she tries, she helps, and my favorite part, she is earnest. She is so very sweet. I am so very lucky.

A few other details: getting to eat at this place we were trying to get to before it closed and never making it until today. Eating a delicious meal with my kiddos and having a laugh fest in bed as I was keeping them up extra late to get them ready for the clock change.

I am living the dream. I suspect we all can find part of the dream to live. Cultivate the attitude of gratitude, brothers and works.