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Halloween

…also known as The Post Wherein I Ask You for Some Stuff in the Spirit of This Holiday.

“Forget about the senior prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute. ”

Frank Zappa has been on my mind a lot lately. I really love the guy and as I continue to obsess over Occupy, I wonder what he’d have to say. I mean, I certainly don’t think he’d be on the street at Occupy Hollywood since he was a stay at home and work a lot kind of genius. But I do think he’d have some insightful comments and he’d figure out a way to deliver humor, which has been in short supply since this all began on September 17th. Frank was weird, he was brilliant, he was scathing, and the man was funny. I think this young lady channeled him a little when she made her sign.

From the Occupy Wall St. Facebook photo album

…I like her slightly mysterious smile too, by the way. Don’t you?

There’s really no point in bellyaching about how preoccupied so many Americans seem to be with vapid annoying celebrities, or even with interesting celebrities. But it is what kept me from Twitter for so long, since I had naively assumed that the main point of Twitter was to keep tabs on your #idols. But now that I’m on and even tweeting a bit, I see that I was wrong. So, uh, let’s not rush to judgment.

Halloween is upon us, with 2012 on the horizon. Robin Hood and Guy Fawkes figure prominently in the news of the day while Scott Olsen lies in Oakland’s Highland Hospital, a bloodied, breathing symbol of a world turned upside down. This is the time of year, according to ancient knowledge and tradition, when the veil between the worlds is thinnest. What worlds, you ask? The world of the seen and world of the unseen, of course. It’s okay if you don’t believe in anything that you can’t see with your own two reliable eyes- if you’re lucky enough to have two. But whether you believe that there’s more or you don’t, may I suggest that you take some time in the next few days to acknowledge all in your world which you have found to be mysterious or inexplicable?

Because after all, isn’t the situation we’re in right now somewhat inexplicable? Well, not the how we got here part. That can be explained, basically by following the money. In fact, a nice video that you can watch in four and a half minutes explains the banking piece. The back story is all fairly evident, but the now part, the wow part, well- that’s something to be reckoned with. You got Arab Spring, you got Twitter and the whole world watching, and you got a big pile of Americans (and people worldwide who are on the bus with the Americans)- with nothing to lose, or almost nothing. But still, but still… despite all that, who really thought change would come?

Many people have been beating drums of resistance, drums of patience, drums of frustration- for a long time without really expecting change. It’s a commitment one makes to the process, right? Non-attachment to outcomes. You do your thing and you let it go. There’s a lady whose name I can’t remember… she’s been out at the Windmill in Eastham every single Saturday for 22 years holding a peace vigil. Stop the wars. Bring them home. Peace, please. Can you dig that for twenty two years, this woman has not given up- even though we keep finding ourselves in stupid new wars, all the time?

But I believe, and I hope you do too, that change is upon us. You don’t have to ascribe it to 2012 or Samhain or anything mysterious- as I might, hehehe- but please, give it a chance. And if you’re sitting somewhere as part of the Occupy Movement, please, I beg you: stay there. Stay positive, stay calm, stay non-violent, stay human. But above all else, stay. Chris Hedges got interviewed at Times Square a few weeks ago and he said quite a number of heartening things. What I took away from it was that we need to hold steady.  “Sthira sukha asanam” is what the yogis say.  If you like that, look it up. And I’ll be with you while you look it up- because we are all one, even the one percent, my brothers and sisters. (And you already knew that too.)

One more thing. If you consider yourself to be on the bus, please check in with your local Occupy and see what they need. Blankets, water, coffee, peanut butter, whatever. Ask them and they will tell you. Then help them get it.

That’s my Halloween rave and since I did ask for a trick from you, here’s a treat in return. Please enjoy David Bowie, circa 1975, saying it: STAY.

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Since You Asked

After a challenging pose, my yoga teacher used to say “Now close your eyes and feel the effects.” This was, for me, very good advice- for life on and off the mat. I forget to do it almost all the time, but when I do, I’m so grateful to her. I try to keep my teachers’ lessons in mind to guide me when I’m feeling lost or scared- or even jubilant.

And I’ll admit it, I’ve been jubilant (that’s right!) over the Occupy movement, stupidly you may say. But I went to Zuccotti Park and I’ve hung out a little at Occupy Hyannis and Occupy Eastham… and feeling the effects of those experiences has been something special. I mentioned it recently, saying it felt like standing up to the class bully. ‘Cause let’s face it: we’ve always had him outnumbered… it’s just that we forgot.

There’s a big zen teaching (the main one, I think) about non-attachment. It’s a hard one for me, so I work on it a lot. I don’t think I’m really getting any better but I keep practicing, and hey, I need to let go of worrying about improving, right? But still, keep trying- that’s the delicate dance we do here in zen-yoga-now-land. So it’s embarrassing to admit this but, well, I have a confession to make: I can’t detach from Occupy. And actually it’s gone way beyond that. I’m obsessed.

I’ve had a couple of weeks off from work and I spend hours every day reading Twitter tweets and poring over the videos and articles gushing forth from this glorious moment (please just let me thrill to it, please). And damned if my ENTJ brain (even while thrilled) doesn’t keep working its way around to demands. Not results… I’ve learned better- hahaha- but really what would I ask for? You know how some people like to wonder: what would you do if you won the lottery? Well here’s the new one: what would you say if someone asked you to articulate demands, in the name of the 99 percent?

I know, I know, the movement is deliberately and uh brilliantly avoiding coming up with demands. Those adbusters kids (and those #Occupy kids and lots of other kids, young and old) are pretty sharp. If that part of the one percent that wants to keep all the cash is writing these kids off, well they are just plain stupid. But back to the demands: mine, that is. Here’s what I have to say to Barack Obama and my other elected representatives as well as all of our elected reps and also the Supreme Court justices. Since you, er I, asked.

  1. Get out of the wars, quickly. Bring ’em home and take good care of them.
  2. Legalize weed. Let all the people busted for marijuana out of jail. Tax it.
  3. Absolutely place a 1% tax on all financial transactions: robinhoodtax.
  4. Make excellent education accessible to all, including reasonably priced state colleges.
  5. Single payer health care. Everyone is covered. Preventive everything. Say you’re rich and you want the surgeon that worked on Tom Brady? Go ahead and pay for it; nobody’s stopping you. Designer medical can be the new status symbol.
  6. Tax everyone appropriately. No free ride for the corporations or the wealthy. Simply stated by Elizabeth Warren (at 0:55 for the impatient).
  7. Get progressive with personnel policies. Example: start folks off with 2 weeks’ vacation and work up to 6 weeks per year. Roll it into the cost of doing business, for everybody.
  8. Undo that bullshit about corporations being people. They’re not. Make corporate leadership answerable to all stakeholders, not just stockholders. That includes their employees and their communities.
  9. Disconnect politics from big money. Campaign reform. Politicians need to serve the people. Elect them by popular vote, pay them well and let them do their real jobs.
  10. You know that Eckhart Tolle stuff which is really that Ram Dass stuff which is really old Hindu stuff about getting into Now? Put it into elementary school curriculum. Oh, and Media Literacy too. And don’t forget to also fund art and music and earth studies, for all kids.
  11. Get serious about climate change and the environmental holocaust we’re committing. Enforce the Clean Air and Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts for a start. Companies’ expense sheets need to cover doing things right.
  12. Tax luxuries. If you really want four houses, five cars and a Humvee plus a pile of $10k wristwatches, go for it. But it’s gonna be just like Monopoly: luxury tax. And hopefully when you’re bitching about the luxury tax, your children (or grandchildren), who will have mastered Being Here Now at seven, will straighten you out.
  13. Capital gains are income. Period.

Since I began to write this, my good friend Dianna has asked the #occupycapecod people to articulate one demand. You’re probably thinking “Why didn’t she just give us that to begin with?” Well, I didn’t start writing a blog to give you just one small nibble. You’re here, so let’s enjoy the whole meal together. But since you asked (or not), here’s what I came up with:

MONEY OUT OF POLITICS.

I’d like to deeply feel the effects of that.

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