A number of people have told me that music has had distinct and healing effects on them during times of great stress. Others have mentioned that music helped to get them through many of the rougher transitions of life. It doesn't seem to matter what sort of music, although longer pieces (orchestral, choral, operatic) seem better able to work their magic than shorter pieces. It's a matter of what speaks to the individual at the time. Think of the teenager with earbuds who seems to need music to get through his day. Since music is clearly a healing modality (as well as a pleasure, a delight, an inspiration) why do we use it so haphazardly? Why don't doctors seem to know about it? Why do they give us pills and ignore the experience of harmony that is so readily available? Why is music barely taught in schools?
The pictures speak loudly to those of us who weren't there: Young(ish) white men on one side, women and men and even children of all different colors on the other. What we must remember is that the Far Right is really very small. They love the publicity and they want to feel powerful -- the one thing they aren't. They do this by getting ready for "battle" - just look at the stuff those guys carry! Then they fight and prove themselves stronger, at least in their own minds. Women and men and children want to protest injustice; they want to break heads. So - what does one do? Protest is good, because it gives them push-back and a reality check. But it needs to be overwhelming protest, as in 50 to 1, or they'll simply see it as an offer to fisticuffs. The Brown Shirts were especially coercive when roaming groups of 30 or so would target two or three citizens, or hurl rocks at shop windows. Can you imagine if they'd met Gandhi-like waves of non-violent resisters?
The other day a man who'd seen one of my Youtube videos about manifesting wrote to me to ask why, since he loved sunny weather so much, he couldn't manifest more of it. I laughed at his good humor, of course; yet behind it lay something that's worth considering. You see, he was facetiously saying that manifesting doesn't work because he can't change the weather. The fault was therefore with manifesting. Yet perhaps manifesting can change everything if we look at it differently. What he seemed to want was sunny days ready to order. But the truth is he could manifest good weather at any time by moving to a different location of his choice. He might have to manifest some money, first, and then take action, but he could get what he wanted any time he set his mind to it. The core of manifesting is that we have to take action and use what the universe sends us. We can't be passive. We can't wait for someone else to make it happen. If you truly want sunny weather or snowy slopes or whatever, then set your intention. Declare that this is what matters to you. Then take action. The Universe will manifest along side you. But if you focus on how lousy the weather is, and how much you hate it, then the universe will hear that you've placed all your energy on bad weather -- and obligingly will send you more of the same. You'll be manifesting there too, but it won't be what you want.
My granddaughter Zoe (4 1/2) likes to make up names for dolls and the small figures she plays with. She's come up with some beauties, I must say. Philantria, Dasenda, Vernaya, Pantria, Ferindria - among others. Unusual. (Yes, I know: try getting that lot past auto-correct and you'll see what I mean). I've no idea if I've spelled these correctly, by the way, as Zoe can't read yet. So a couple of days ago we were looking at the wild rabbit that comes to sit on the lawn each day and I asked her if it had a name. She gazed at it for a moment and then, in a clear voice, said, "Steve". Steve the bunny seems OK with that.
Sometimes people ask me about the whole motorcycle thing. What's the grey-haired guy doing with the old bike, they ask. So here it is: if you travel in a modern car, with all its comforts, you may as well be sitting in a hotel lounge gazing out at the world beyond the glass. Nice, but a bit like TV. On a motorcycle (especially an old one you've restored yourself) I'm aware of everything around me. Yes, it's a bit dangerous; yes, it's uncomfortable; yes, it's exhilarating. And as such it allows me to be present, to be in the experience of travel.
I quite often go the thehistoryblog.com. Today I read about a display of quilts made by soldiers recovering from the effects of World War 1. Quilting, we learn, was encouraged as physical therapy because soldiers needed to concentrate, had to coordinate hand and eyes, and it could be done easily by those in bed or wheelchairs. It also created useful blankets, and was cheap to administer. And yet, behind all this, I feel, lurks something else - that shattered lives and bodies needed a way to piece themselves back together, one fragment at a time. At a psychic level this was repair work for the soul.
The legend of Scherazade tells us that each night the sultan would marry a new wife, bed her and in the morning have her executed. This bizarre story may in fact be a powerful metaphor. The Sultan's fear of betrayal shows him to be at a level of behavior where he has not yet learned to cope with an unreliable mother with whom he is angry, and whom he distrusts. So this leads him to project his distrust and anger onto all women, and have his brides killed. That way they can never betray him - but alas he can never become a father. That's surely a metaphor for his creativity. So he's stuck in an infantile narcissistic pattern of destruction. What changes him is Scherazade's story-telling. Listening to her he learns to trust that she will be there the next night, with more stories. He listens to her. He hears the tales and empathizes with the characters, and so he grows his ability for compassion and, ultimately, love. Trust, empathy, love. How do you grow these qualities? By listening to others; by reading stories that open the heart; by paying attention.
I seem to spend less time on my website than ever. If I post something it's usually something I duplicate on Facebook, but often it just goes straight to FB. Is FB the most effective model to follow? I don't know. I can only say that as a writer I work gently, often comparatively slowly, and I try to write from place of peace. When I am in this space the writing tells me what it needs me to do. I can't do that if I'm constantly fishing around to "keep my site current" and add things I think will amuse or divert people. This second place is not a place of peace. For me it's full of ego and striving of the most basic sort. What it is for others I don't know, all I can say is that for me it's not authentic. I was watching a street magician a while ago, here in Cambridge. He had his little table and a top hat and he did some fairly standard card tricks. He was pretty good - he even produced a white rabbit from that hat, much to my delight - but it all seemed a bit rehearsed and conventional. Then he said he'd do one last trick. I was a bit complicated and involved cards being wrapped in handkerchiefs and so on. Then as we were starting to get a tad restless he reached forward, his sleeve rolled back to show he had nothing concealed there, and in front of the nose of the woman who had chosen the card, he spread his fingers -- and the card popped into view. I swear, we all gasped. I'd never seen anything like that before, and I've never forgotten it. That "trick" - closer to a miracle - was surely one that came from the heart. It was authentic and beautiful and utterly moving. I still feel shivers thinking about it now. When I write that is what I hope will happen.
Readers of these pages will know about the six archetypes. Let's see how this applies to our President. Of the six, Trump is clearly the Orphan. He needs to be liked; he will tell lies to make himself look better; he is a bully; he operates within a strict structure that involves putting money first - since he believes money is prestige, and status is what he wants. He loves seeing his name everywhere, since that reassures him he's real. The Orphan is about the least developed of the archetypes. It is a stage that has to be learned from so that the individual can grow. Alas! The negative orphan doesn't always want to grow up. The trouble with this negative aspect of the Orphan archetype is that it's a bit like having an unruly 7 year old at all times. Such a child can do a fair bit of damage if it feels neglected and angry, and it feels that way all the time. The negative Orphan has to win at everything. Sounds familiar? When faced with such an archetype most of us will stop and ask, what the heck is going on? This is a good question, but it temporarily brings us to Pilgrim archetypal stage. We need to understand before we can act. The better way forward is to stay in Warrior-Lover archetype. This is the balanced and sane, peaceful fighter for what is true and good. This archetype does not waste time by asking what the President "means". We know he means destruction, mayhem and greed. The Warrior-Lover will take action to stop the destructive Orphan. This is what I urge you to do.
I used to wonder at Trump's policies and ask myself: "What on earth is he thinking?" It's clear to me now that he isn't thinking, as most people understand it, at all. This is a man who merely reacts. His reactions are based on various unexamined and crass prejudices such as: little people don't matter; I am always right when I shout; compassion is for wusses; pussies are to be grabbed; global warming is a hoax; money is the only thing that matters. This way of seeing the world has its advantages. Everything becomes very simple. That is - until you run up against rather complex situations like, for example, the Middle East, or China, or the American public. Oh, and Global Warming. If Trump really were able to think then he'd be only too aware of the future problems he's creating for himself (and the world) if only in terms of the lawsuits waiting for him for the rest of his life. But he cannot see that far. Like a small boy stuffing cake into his mouth, he doesn't realize that he'll throw up later.