Obergefell v. Hodges OR Dear Jude…


I didn’t think I’d see equality in my lifetime.

Imagine that.  Thinking you’d never be equal under the law.

And now we are.  I have nothing political to say except that equality and justice are my goals, now and always.

But I do have something to say.  Does this really surprise anyone?  Maybe only me, that this is how I want to mark the day.  The personal made political, once again.

Dear Jude,

When you came back into my life in 1987, I had just gone to my first Pride Parade.  Maybe that opened the door to the gift of you.

Because there I was, coming out of the closet yet again as bi-sexual, terrified of the consequences of being out–I’d seen my mother’s closeted relationship destroyed by homophobia and had been gay bashed and sexually harassed.  So I was self-hating and ashamed…and just ignorant, the way only someone who had never fully entered the gay community could be ignorant.

And there you were, so butch that standing next to you outed me.  There you were, taking my hand gently in yours as we walked down the street in the 1980’s, so not afraid, so proud to love me.  It cracked me wide open, and if that wasn’t enough, when I said, “I’m too scared to hold your hand right now.”  You said, “Okay, just let me know when you’re ready.”

When I said, “I don’t know if I’m bi or lesbian,” you said, “Well, we know you’re not straight, and that’s good enough for me.”

The tide of gentleness coming in to hold my fear without judgment, without any demand or push that I be better, without complaint for how it must have made things harder for you…the funny thing is, it made me better.  In the truest way.  I am the queer daughter of a lesbian mother who hid what made her happy.  I have a stepmother that not one of my siblings would admit parented us.  You reached into that hurt place and told me I could be exactly who I was…and that let me look at you and see pride and what pride had to offer.

I came out to my classes, I came out at church, I spoke publicly, and that was the gift you gave me.  To stand up and claim myself and my part in our struggle.

When we got married, you came over to hold me the night before, remember?  When we got married, you talked about the challenge of our then ten year relationship in front of all our friends, and how in spite of everything, we have always been able to laugh.

There is no unequal in loving you.  There is only how grateful I am for the way you give me back to myself…and the irritation at the very same thing (yes, I’m not going to stay all sweet much longer as you well know).

Today we are equal under the law.  You always seemed to know that we deserved it.  And so I unlearned my mother’s tragedy, and learned my own freedom.

If I could marry you again today, I would.  And tomorrow, and the next day, and then next.

Thank you for being my big-hearted, passive-aggressive, neurotic, gentle, out and proud renegade

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spouse.

And no, you can’t remind me I said this the next time we argue.

I love you madly,

Me

Part 2: Ayn Rand and the Person Practicing Buddhism


I live in gratitude for meditation and Buddhism.  Because of Buddhism, I noticed this:

  • I wrote a blog about a writer I loved when I was 17-22.
  • This was very controversial.  People wrote comments.
  • I had to go meditate, because some of the comments were personally insulting.  Or at least I constructed them that way.
  • I watched my mind.  How when someone disagrees, or argues, my mind starts arguing back, trying to prove I’m right, trying to win.  My body floods with adrenalin and I get all racy.  It’s not pleasant.
  • Then I decide to write a blog about watching my mind go nuts and my body flood with adrenalin.  Of course, while I’m deciding this my mind is still plotting how I’m going to slip in insults and witty comments and prove I’m right.  Because that is what a mind does.
  • I start to think about why bipartisanship seems impossible, and how a controversial blog shows that once the mind decides a disagreement is an attack the body floods with adrenalin and no one learns anything because they are too busy defending ideas they had in the first place.
  • Of course this is also my mind saying how much more enlightened I am because I am noticing my mind being crazy even while I’m still being crazy.  Ayn Rand’s not the only one with elitist tendencies (as in, I still think I’m smarter than everyone, and I notice this because I practice Buddhism and besides it’s pretty obvious.)

As it turns out, I am a person practicing Buddhism whose life was saved over and over by books, among other things.  Little Women, when I was about nine.  To Kill a Mockingbird, when I was twelve.  The Fountainhead, when I was seventeen.  Another Country, when I was 20.  I am still, in many ways, nine, twelve and seventeen.  I still remember vividly the moment those books gave me, and the permission to be myself.  I am grateful to the writers, and I love the feminism in Little Women, and the character of Jo, the compassion in To Kill a Mockingbird and its rage against racism. I love the passion for individual freedom and expression in The Fountainhead and James Baldwin’s profoundly complicated understanding of how all our prejudices intersect even as we try to reach each other, exemplified in Another Country.  Right now, in this moment, I am focusing on my personal experience of these books, and the need I had for their ideas, for their images and rising song.  I am doing this on purpose, because I do have an idea I want to explore here, and the idea is that all our ideas come from personal experience, and nothing is objective (sorry Ayn Rand).  Perhaps that is why we defend our ideas instead of questioning them–it is so, so personal.

One of the commenters on my last blog wrote about Ayn Rand’s ideas of personal freedom and integrity as adolescent; he said that freedom and integrity must be connected to community, and the complexity of community must be reflected in the morality of the individual.

I don’t really know what he means.  It’s a philosophy I’ve been reading and hearing about–this idea of caring about your community and your place in it, about making your decisions with this larger picture in mind.  About developing your self with this larger picture in mind.  I’ve been interested in this philosophy because I can tell it comes from a life experience I haven’t had, and that always makes me curious.

And so, it comes to the personal.  Ayn Rand was obsessed with communism and its dangers, enough to testify for HUAC, not against individuals, but against a movie that had, in her opinion, communist propaganda.  Oh, how we become what we hate.  That HUAC would do more to violate rights of free speech and to destroy that lives of innovators, that its legacy would be the Hollywood of today (with its plastic values and oversimplified stories), makes her testimony a complete act of self-betrayal–and she was a champion of individualism and individual integrity.  I can only imagine how blind she must have been on the subject of communism, how angry she must have been at American communists, who had never had her experiences of deprivation and oppression.  She believed in the individual because of what she lived, saw, breathed.  Because of what it did to her psyche and soul.  Betrayed by a country that destroyed lives, how would an Ayn Rand develop a philosophy based on group anything?  (And when she developed a community, she had to dominate everything about it to feel safe…so totalitarian.)

It’s personal.  I have listened to the Obamas, to their life stories, to their ethics; I admire them and envy how deeply loved they were by such decent people.  But much of what they speak about is foreign to me (minus A More Perfect Union, I get that).

I grew up bullied at school, oppressed by my religion as a girl and a queer person, oppressed by my country as a woman (the ERA failed when I was still in high school).  At home the oppression was more personal, with as few personal choices as they could give me–and the oppression of the religion showed up as a philosophy of self-sacrifice…meaning that I was to sacrifice myself for everyone in my family, as well as anyone who asked, with no hope of return (because that would be selfish).  Then I escaped, and found that I was queer, and that the world wasn’t really having it, and I might get fired, and I couldn’t get married.  I turned to the queer community, but bisexuals weren’t exactly popular there, either.

Intellectually, I have come to understand that community is important, but my experience, right up through my twenties, taught me that groups of people were not to be trusted.  Like Ayn Rand, my experience didn’t lead me to a philosophy based on making decisions based on altruism (which I understood, as she did, as a tool for manipulation because that is what it had been in my life).  I didn’t base my way of seeing the world on a larger vision of community, either.  Frankly, I was like, “F785 these people.  Get me out of here!”

At the developmental time of life when we decide what we believe about other human beings and life (adolescence, as it so happens), I decided that morality was about being true to self, not true to family (they treated me poorly) or community (just as poorly) or even country (female and queer, a 2nd class citizen).  I defined true to self against what I saw around me, not in emulation of it.  Honesty was and is the center of my value system, because growing up in the bourgeoisie, I saw only false values and people who lied to impress others.  I didn’t think about being loving or kind then, even though I often was, mostly because I loved my siblings and friends so deeply.  I did start to think about those things, eventually, and when I did I realized that I could never consider lies to be loving or kind.  I’m not talking about walking around confronting people (though I did this as a teenager and then some).  I’m talking about telling the truth about my inner reality as best I understand it as a form of caring, instead of telling white lies to make people feel better.  It can be said that I hate any pressure to take care of people’s feelings.  I’d rather know them, tell them the truth, and trust them to be honest with me.

So I’m intrigued by this intersection of morality and community, because I hope it’s not the same old song and dance about how I should sacrifice my life to make other people feel better or more comfortable.  I don’t quite know what to make of it.  I know my own well-being has to factor in; and I’m certainly not interested in oppressing anyone else because I see that as about as contrary to my own well-being as pretty much anything on earth.  So what are people talking about?

If I want to defend myself, I can say that some of the hardships and oppression in my life made me capable of seeing life differently, and some of them deeply hurt my ability to participate as someone with less oppressive experiences might be.

But here’s the thing–the person with Michelle or Barack’s experiences of community and love–that’s not the only world.  That’s not the “real” world.  The real world holds their experiences and mine and Ayn Rand’s and the survivors of the Holocaust and Kosovo, and people of privilege.  Whose view is idealistic?  Or negative? Or correct?  All our experiences come from the same world; we just live in different parts of it.

In Buddhism, no view is any of those adjectives.  Judgment is removed, and one looks at what is.  How can we put the many views into conversation?  I mean, we’re human, it will be construction of reality rather than the real thing, but if we can step back from aversion, craving and “I’m right,” we might construct a more accurate mosaic, or at least one that offers the possibility of peace.

Ayn Rand’s deepest mistake, for a person believing in freedom above all things, was forgetting that all voices should be heard.  Buddhist or not, I believe that.  I believe I may figure out why someone might trust a community, when my own experience tells me that’s insane.  If I listen.  If I let the adrenalin drain out of my body, and just consider.

Because, hell, Buddhism or no Buddhism, thinking is really FUN.

Knocking on the Door of the Yoga Sutras


Last night in yoga teacher training we spent time on sutra 1.33, which is:  By cultivating an attitude of friendship toward those who are happy, compassion toward those in distress, joy toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity toward those who are nonvirtuous, lucidity arises in the mind (the mind retains its undisturbed calmness).  (Incidentally, this is called the 4 locks and the 4 keys.)

And yes, I pay money to read language this stilted.  But beyond that, I have to say that I’m glad I’m such a heretic/rebel and instead of really working on my homework I spend a ton of time doing related reading in Buddhism.  Because this sutra DRIVES ME OUT OF MY MIND.  (Not, admittedly, that I’m in my mind most of the time, but hey, meditation says that’s a good thing.  Hah!)

And, my class is to consider the last of the 4 locks and 4 keys–equanimity toward the non-virtuous.

I HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT THIS!  And, of course, I have to practice step up/step back in class and not do a 40 minute lecture on the nature of evil and the dangers of holding ourselves to standards of perfection.  So, here I am, blogging away.

The first thing to say about sutra 1.33 is that the sutras, as part of Hinduism, can be a little like the 10 commandments.  They are gentler–they say, if you want to be calm, do this.  The commandments threaten hell and damnation.  But outside of that, it’s all about rules for behavior.  And I don’t disagree with the rules so much except for the fact that the minute someone lays down a rule I want to rebel in some way.  I mean, I don’t want to covet, lie, steal or kill…or, with the sutras, give myself over to jealousy, coldness, condemnation, etc.  But I know this–I can’t pretend that my fears, jealousy, resentments and withholding don’t exist.  I mean, me, personally, I’m really good at pretending about a lot of things, but not about this.  And it’s good, really, to be in reality about the nature of being human.  It’s mistake with these kinds of teachings to repress, deny, and bully ourselves into trying to have good behavior when we just want to get homicidal or at least bitchy.

This is why I’m glad I’m a heretic/rebel.  My latest book on Buddhism is called Living with Your Heart Wide Open, which I bought because I thought my friend Don had such an open heart, and I truly want to learn to be more like him.  And thank whatever/whoever, the book contains all these mindfulness practices for being with your jealousy, judgment, self-hatred, shame, etc.  It teaches you to live with them in kindness to yourself.

What scares me about the sutras, over and over again, is the idealization…that we are somehow capable of being all happy for people all the time with no envy, or capable of witnessing evil without real pain.  The sutras contain a potential for disowning what is broken and hurt in me and I know, as deeply as I know anything, that disowning is a recipe for disaster.  It causes shame and feelings of not being good enough, whenever I try to meet impossible standards.  And in trying to be perfect I build a strait-jacket that I then must escape…and the internal pressure means the escape is likely to be desperate and not very pretty.

Like I always say, it’s much better to just say I’m f*&(ed up… and enjoy it.

And so, part 2, we now come to the 4th lock and key, having equanimity with the non-virtuous.  The teacher of the training asked us to think of what this might mean, other than utter denial.  She asked us to think about non-virtue…or evil.

And I have been thinking.  Remembering.

I’ve been an activist since 1987, first as a volunteer, and then as a professional working with women through Family Planning.  The first issue I worked on was stopping violence against women and children.  In my position as a counselor and community liaison at Family Planning, I joined SECAT, the South Eastern Child Advocacy Team and became the secretary on the executive board.  This led to some networking (with the Nashua Rape Crisis Center among other non-profits) and I organized a supportive protest at the trial of Jessie Murabito, who had taken her children into the Underground after a jury found her husband not guilty of felonious sexual assault against her six year old daughter Bethany.  (Bethany had testifed against her father. )  I was in the room when the judge found Jessie Murabito guilty of abducting her children and took away custody.  I had heard about the social worker who independently decided that Mark Murabito was a good guy and made a unilateral decision to give him unsupervised visits–and then, after his ex-wife found guilty of abducting the children, he was given custody.  (In the late 80’s and early 90’s this was how it went when women took their offending husbands to court…especially if their husbands were white and upper middle class.)

I don’t have equanimity about this.

But the story–mine at least–doesn’t end there.  Two years later I was teaching creative writing and one of my students won a grant to go into the New Hampshire prisons and interview sex offenders, some of whom were part of an in-prison rehabilitation, and some of whom had refused to participate.  She interviewed 10 men, then wrote their stories in the first person, so the reader had the same experience she’d had, of listening to a man’s life.  She asked me to edit the book.

She’d done a brilliant job.  With each man–and these were serial rapists who’d raped 40+women, multiple offender child abusers–I entered the story of their painful childhoods, and I saw them as boys, being hurt.  And inevitably, as they became teenagers, I could feel the line approaching, the line they crossed…at 15, 16, 17, when they offended for the first time.  In my mind, reading, I’d be saying, “no, don’t,” even as I knew that they would, that they did, that they had been incarcerated for just this.  But I was enough on the side of these men that I wanted them not to cross the line–not only for the horror of what they did to their victims, told in detail, but the horror of what they did to themselves.

Reading that book made me want to scream, but it ripped away any ability I had to judge without mercy.

This morning, following last night’s class, I have been thinking about this…about my life as an activist, about evil, about women and children, about all the men I watched die of AIDS while Reagan refused to do what he could have done to halt the epidemic, about my witnessing of racism, about my own experiences of discrimination as a woman and queer person.  My yoga trainer wants us to come up with a way of understanding equanimity about evil, or another word that might express this sutra.

My words are spiritual fortitude.  Because while I can’t, in the particular, think of Jessie and Bethany Murabito without crying and wanting to scream at the injustice of their lives, I can, in the universal, hold what I know about humanity.  It must be held, all of it; it must be held by me, because it has been given to me to be up close and personal with evil.

How do I hold it?  This morning, I’ve used the mindfulness practice–I have to do this first–and I’ve sensed into my body, into the emotions, into the particular grief of the Murabito story and my connection to it.   But there is a larger awareness–all the women who came when I put out the call to support Jessie, the heroism and kindness I’ve seen in my own life and that I’ve read about, the people who fight, and those who love.  I put that with Mark Murabito getting custody of his daughter, with Ronald Reagan’s homophobia, with the cops with their hands on their billy clubs as they kicked my African-American friends out of my apartment in 1978.  I put it against the Holocaust, I put it against Rwanda and the Sudan, and then I grow bigger, bigger, bigger, in awareness, in the depth of my own heart.  I open.  It isn’t comfortable or easy–it’s a very painful stretching to just know and hold to knowing:  this is all of who we are, there isn’t anything else, the war and the palm against a cheek, the outstretched hand and the knife.  This is who we are.

I call this painful stretching spiritual fortitude.

In Stephen Cope’s book, The Wisdom of Yoga, he describes a character who he calls Rudy, a man who, Cope says, is the closest to enlightened of anyone he’s ever known.  Rudy is at peace, but it is a peace edged with sadness.  Rudy does not deny the world, or its terrible and beautiful reality.

Sometimes, these days, I approach that kind of peace.  For a minute, or an hour, or half a day, I know it.

I believe I am beginning to be able to hold the death of my friend Don, his tenderness and kindness that is not here any more, and yet is, if it lives in me, if I can find it in myself and give it away, over and over again, as he did.

Spiritual fortitude.

Metta for Bethany and Jessie Murabito, wherever they are.  May you be well, may you be happy, may you be safe and protected, may you be at peace with what is.

As hard a thing as that is to achieve, in the life you have been given.

 

If you’d like to read more about the Murabito trial, go to:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1928&dat=19880701&id=XgcgAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8GQFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1322,384372 (About the decision to let Bethany Murabito testify)

http://www.apnewsarchive.com/1989/Two-Say-They-Were-Molested-by-Man-Cleared-in-Alleged-Attack-on-Daughter/id-9deb442e3cd075d27a0b714228b5d02b.  http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1914&dat=19890826&id=SvUpAAAAIBAJ&sjid=L2UFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4184,5130150  (Other accusations against Mark Murabito.)

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-03-12/news/vw-1222_1_underground-railroad  (Brief article about parents using the underground to protect their children)

There is also a TV movie, starring Meg Tilly, based on cases from the late 80’s, called In the Interest of the Child.

Revenge


When my partner and I got heavy into meditation, we turned off the television and didn’t watch it (except for So You Think You Can Dance) for the summer.

However, I got sick this fall and went on a binge, catching up on all the episodes of the Closer I’d missed.  Then I started watching this sick soap opera called Revenge.  I’d call it a soft revenge show.  So far no one has killed anyone.  Which, frankly, allows me to enjoy it all the more as the bad guys get what’s coming to them.

I have surrendered to the fact that we, as human beings, as a whole race, are just not all that evolved.  Our brains require revenge fantasies if not the actual thing, and people like Mother Theresa are just mutants, or else they have private undiscovered aggression that is so secret no one knows about it.

I LOVE REVENGE FANTASIES!  And television revenge fantasies, accompanied by ridiculous wealth, privilege and good looks…well, it’s Dynasty all over again.  We love it.  The meaner the better.  Revenge is ALL THAT.

So, in blog after blog of reaching for the light, meditating through pain, suffering mightily through couples therapy, I am now taking a break to have some revenge fantasies of my own.

I imagine actually turning the Sheepdog into a sheepdog.  Slowly.  First legs, then torso, then a very underachieving tail, then front paws, one after another, leaving her with just her head, only the mouth a dog’s mouth with only dog sounds.  Or maybe a human body with a dog head.  Or maybe everything changing and changing back again, over and over again.

See?  That makes me feel so peaceful.  Obviously my unevolved brain needs these things.

The therapist who fell asleep on me?  She’s turning into an infant.  In fact, I am now a witch, and that’s the spell–every time she yawns, fake nods, makes fake therapist sounds, PRESTO CHANGEO and she’s a little baby.  But with her own cat’s eye glasses and nervous tics.  That is obviously extra cruel.

I think I am experiencing nirvana.

Think of it…a life with actual consequences for the wicked.  (I don’t count myself among the wicked because my fantasy life, while now somewhat public, doesn’t count as action.)  Every life contains miscarriages of justice.  If you’re minority, or a woman, probably more than if you’re born into privilege.  My unevolved brain needs to plot revenge to balance the scale, to feel that I am fit for survival.  I’m saying it is a biological imperative to indulge in revenge fantasies.  If you don’t, you either develop mindbody syndrome, actually go for revenge, or take out your anger at the injustice of life on the unsuspecting innocent…in other words, your family.

Think of it.  Our brains could develop further.  We could become more capable of enlightenment.  And idealist or no, I also have a German pragmatic streak that tells me to deal with what I’ve got.  An unevolved brain.

Why do we lie to ourselves about this?

We tell the truth in what we create, in which people get what’s coming to them.  We tell the truth in the myths of religion, the avenging as well as loving God.

Revenge fantasies.  Good for the soul.

I am NOT kidding.

Pride–If You’re Writing About Humility, You Might As Well Take On Its Opposite


Fault #6:  Pride.

This one is interesting.  Because I have a lot of pride, but some of it is about dignity, and holding onto myself under pressure, and the refusal to back down when I truly believe in something.  Pride can be about refusing to be victimized or humiliated.  It can be self-respect.  I have a commitment to act in ways that are congruent with my values, and I can be intransigent about that, and yes, proud.

There’s the danger of rigidity, of absolutism, and I am an ex-Catholic, so seeing the world in moral absolutes pretty much comes with the territory.  But I also am so curious, interested in different ways of seeing things.  Just don’t try to get me to condone, enable, or support prejudice, cruelty, violence, dishonesty, etc.

The other side of pride is the unwillingness to ask for help, to admit to your weaknesses, to admit you don’t know, don’t know how, are just as confused as everyone else.  A person suffering from this kind of pride might, you know, benefit from writing about her faults for seven f&*^ing days in a row.  It might soften her very stiff spine, the walls in front of her very tender heart.

Not that I’m speaking of anyone in particular.

When I was 17, I had this incredible experience.  I had been fighting with my parents, with whom I distinctly did not get along, and who weren’t exactly treating me very well.  I’d been a rebel in high school, but then I thought that skipping school and failing French and Biology was hurting my future and giving my parents way too much to blame me for, so I promoted myself to the college level classes and started making honors.  I was still an outspoken atheist in an all girls Catholic school, but I was now a successful atheist, which does, believe me, make a difference.  My parents kicked me out of the house twice that year, and both times the disciplinarian of my high school took me in.  The second time, she just had me stay until school ended.  The nuns knew I was an atheist (I mean, come on, this is me, EVERYONE knew I was an atheist), but they were all excited about mothering me through my graduation.  The disciplinarian came to my convent room with a pair of white gloves for me to wear at my baccalaureate mass.  There was so much love in her face.  And I said, “Sister, I’m not going to the mass.  I’m an atheist.  I don’t do mass.”

I was 17, and I felt my integrity was at stake, and I still feel, now, that to go would have been to do violence to my sense of self.  There was pride in my answer though, because of course I couldn’t tell her that in spite of my overwhelming and painful gratitude, accepting her help cut through me, because I wanted to take care of myself and not need anyone.  I couldn’t tell her how painful it was for me that the nuns had a glimpse of the trouble I’d been struggling with all during the four years they’d known me.  I hated being vulnerable.  Promoting myself to the highest level classes in school and then excelling–that showed strength, and strength was what I wanted to show.  Vulnerability, at that point in my life, had gotten me exactly nowhere.

This kind of pride keeps people at a remove.  It is, in a way, dishonest.  I mean, we are all vulnerable, we all need help, we are all, at times, needy, scared, confused, young.

But oh, to drop the wall of pride and stand in your unclothed humanity, willing to be seen, known, to risk rejection, judgment…pride is easier.

If perfectionism is the ultimate expression of shame, then perhaps pride is the ultimate expression of fear.

What does it mean to be truly brave?  I can tell you that running with the bulls, or tubing down the Gila River in flood season, or free-climbing in the Alps or skydiving aren’t really about being brave.  Standing up for someone, yes, but even more than that, bravery is being still in the moment in which you connect, in your utter vulnerability, with one other human being.  To tolerate the nakedness, to hold onto your sense of worth, to risk not being welcomed or sheltered or loved…that is bravery.

I wonder if the couples therapist knows this.  I wonder if the DSM IV has a catagory for  that includes the ability to be vulnerable with whatever you have inside you.

I have too much pride for pathology or diagnoses, because I can tell you right now, they are judgments, dehumanizing, allowing the practitioner to pretend that she doesn’t have the same struggles as her clients.

I love the moments when we come to each other, and something pure happens, something beyond the daily detritus of living.  I teach an acting technique that fosters this in the realm of creativity, and it makes me so happy when people find that moment, when they forget where they are and just stand in connection.

I will give up my pride for this, but not all at once.

Because contrary to even my own opinion, I am not completely and totally INSANE.  I mean, this world isn’t so safe that you want to walk around all the time that naked.

Give me my sword and my pen.  Give me the Light itself.  Give me love, that I may know how to live.

Lovingkindness for you, especially if you are reading this on Labor Day Weekend.

Zen Again


I did four one-on-one consults at the Filmmakers Collaborative conference yesterday.  You’re only supposed to get to do one, but you can wait list yourself for others, and then show up; and every time I showed up, someone else had not shown up, so I did four.  This is cosmically over-fair in my direction, I suppose.  To make up for it, I wrote a whole blog on this subject already… and it disappeared.  Meaning, I wrote it, published it to the wrong site (don’t ask), copied it, deleted it, but when I pasted it, it was gobbledygook.  Oh well. I am being non-attached about this and writing about non-attachment.

I am, of course, concerned with kharma, because I am obsessed with Buddhism in a way that is actually attached.  Yes, I have crossed the line.  BUT, and this is very good news, I’ve learned that it’s called bright faith and does not, in fact, qualify me for some 12 step program called Obsessed-with-Buddhism anonymous.  Of course, bright faith isn’t quite the correct term since I don’t really believe in anything yet.  But I’m trying it all out.  I like trying things out.  Countries, continents, careers. (Look at that alliteration!  That was without even trying.)

I have already been called out once this week on saying that I was good at everything.  I am actually quite non-attached about being good at everything (except the things I pretend not to be good at so my partner has to do them).  Think of this:  being good at everything means you have to do things you don’t even LIKE.  I am very attached to finding a way to stop doing things I don’t like.

Obviously I am in an obnoxious, not-very-Buddhist mood today.  I did neighborhood clean-up of Urban Wild space today for over two hours, sneezing and/or blowing my nose the whole time, so I may be entitled.  To this mood.  Or something.  Or would that be attachment?

Because guess what?  I really like the idea of non-attachment.  Like, how’s this?  I really love the story of this film.  I keep feeling I’m supposed to make it.  Even though I’ve never had any ambition to be a filmmaker.  This lack of ambition makes beginner’s mind very easy.  And frankly, I’m learning so much it’s like being a kid.  I get to go to cool conferences and talk to very smart people…and then think about everything and try to figure out how to make fund-raising work, and I get to be non-attached about the right people showing up to help me, and I get to investigate the experience of getting to know the right people in a non-attached way that is gently curious.  And I get to act very professional, which I might actually be, in a zen kind of way.

That’s my question.  Again and again.  Can it be in a zen kind of way?  I really hope so.  I really hope you can be sane and do hard work.

On another subject, I should report on doing the It Gets Better video.

It was really hard.

I had forgotten than injustice doesn’t just make me angry.  It breaks my heart.  It is in the lives lived, the ones that could have been happier.  Father Paul says the best sentence in the Bible is this: “God is love.”  The Buddha says that suffering is the nature of human life.  Dhuka is.  No one escapes it.  The purpose of meditation and the Eightfold Path (which outlines the very principles by which the protagonist of my film lives) is to overcome suffering.

It is the way my heart breaks at injustice that brings me to Buddhism.  And to the making of this movie.  It’s not political.  It is in the lives lived, and the desire to end suffering where it can be ended.

In a non-attached way, of course.