Stay soft.... and radiate

The thing we are being pushed toward is fear.  Whether on the right with the fear of terrorists, ISIS and the "other" as the root of societal woes, or on the left with the real or perceived threat of looming authoritarianism and possible totalitarianism.  

We are aggressively and constantly barraged with messages inciting our human fight or flight response. 

We must not engage. 

We need to stay soft.

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I am not saying there isn't a need to protest or stand up. Let me be clear about that. What I am speaking to is our inner posture. 

My sense is that continuing in the road of "them/us" and seeing our adversaries as inhuman, we will only play into the hand of the chess-masters further. They WANT our hate, they WANT our anger. 

We cannot afford to give it to them.  We need to stay soft.

If we are hard, then our energy gets trapped in us, alongside our fears and anxieties. We lose our potency and connectivity to one another and the earth and Spirit.

When we stay soft, we can build bridges, we can find a common ground with our adversary, we can LOVE OUR ENEMY and overcome evil.

Think of how Harry defeated Voldemort and you'll be on the path. 

Evil begets more evil.

Hate begets hate.

Only love, even SACRIFICIAL love can save us now.  This is what we were all made for and the only way we will get there is by staying soft. 

It is possible to be fierce and soft.

xx

Sam

To you, my fellow American,

I have been grieving for the past few days, or longer even.  Before you assume why, hear me out.

I've seen a lot of people both posting about why they marched yesterday and also asking why people marched in the first place. I've seen defensiveness about not marching. I've seen derision for the marchers and assumptions about their motives.

For me, the need to march was to signal the start of my get-off-the-screen-and-into-the-street participation in our great political experiment: democracy. 

At 35, I feel like I'm standing in the gap between generations, seeing the wild passion of the younger set and their idealism, and also the wisdom of those ahead of me, whose life-knowledge spans more history, both cultural and personal, lending them credibility of a different sort.  

The trick is, we need BOTH. 

For too long we've bought into this polarizing "us/them" language, finding refuge and identity in having a team.  But that divisiveness hurts us as a nation.  It's true that there have always been differences and political parties. As humans, we see myriad solutions to the problems we face as a society. That's a boon, not a bane. 

But it is woefully dangerous to lose sight of that yin/yang power to move us toward progress. By warring AGAINST one another, we lose the ability to fight TOGETHER for the ISSUES we all know need our utmost attention and smarts, like Education, and Poverty.

There is a Buddhist teaching that anger is the same energy in our body as higher intelligence.  We must learn to funnel that energy to the issues at hand, rather than at one another.  Our need for team rallying is best kept for organized sports.... think: March Madness!

The political reality is that we need each other to make this democracy thing work. 

Are you a stay-at-home-mom?  We need you!

Are you a single-dad with 3 jobs and too much on your plate? We need you!

Are you an immigrant, excited to be here and proud of what you can offer our country? We need you!

Are you a minority, feeling threatened or oppressed? We need you!

Are you a teacher in a city with a classroom as diverse as a rainbow?  We need you!

Are you a teacher in a suburb with a classroom that's more homogenous, but full of bright, beautiful children? We need you!

Are you out of college and working a decent job, but facing a decade of student loan payments? We need you!

Are you a white male? Guess what, we need you too!

See where I'm going with this?  It's our differences that make us best able to find creative solutions to our social problems, solutions that one viewpoint couldn't possibly see.

In her book Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott puts it like this... if each of us is standing on a colored stripe of a beach ball, when you ask us what our reality looks like, we'll reply "red" or "blue" or "yellow"... and the truth is, the world IS that color for us. The failing comes when we can't acknowledge that another person's reality may be an entirely different color because they are on a different part of the beach ball.

We have to hone our ability to LISTEN to one another when our realities clash.  When our reactions are always defensive, judging, name-calling, derision, bullying or whining, we will continue to widen the chasm.

We CAN be better! We MUST be better.

Most of us know that real life, off Facebook and Twitter, it isn't "left" or "right" but compromise, integrity, and compassion.

I marched because we need to work together and I'm honestly frightened about the direction of this country. Not because I happen to disagree with the GOP platform, but because we seem UNABLE TO WORK TOGETHER. 

The tenor and tone of politics is angry, bullying and divisive, from both sides.  We sneer at those with whom we disagree.  We are more like a wrecking-ball than a plow.  Both machines have to tear things up a bit, but one is out for utter demolition, while the other is doing the work to grow something that nourishes.

No matter how you felt about the election, or the marching, I implore you, my fellow American, to take up the mantle of unity. We have a wonderful, beautiful nation, but we are not without problems and difficulties. Let's face the ISSUES together and SOLVE them. 

Let's get out from behind our screens, out from behind our sides of the fence and get to know people that have differing view points. Let's share a meal, a coffee, a beer.

Take a vow to stop clicking on or reposting things that are full of hate-language and name-calling. 

Let's take a stand where we must (not calling on anyone to abandon their convictions) but let's do so with fierce compassion, not hatred.

Our nation was founded to foster and celebrate our diversity and we are entrusted with the responsibility to work together for our communities. We cannot allow our different realities, back-grounds, colors, orientations, religions, income-brackets, or anything else to become an excuse to slide backward into tribalism.

Let's LISTEN to each other, SPEAK with integrity and kindness and UNIFY. We will still disagree, but let's restore a sense of respect and manners to our discourse.

To make this democracy thing a success, we MUST compromise and find that hard-won, blood-stained, freedom-claimed COMMON GROUND that has always and WILL ALWAYS be what truly makes America great.

 

Love always,

Sam Wedelich

Sewing projects

I've been wanting to make more of my own clothes, mostly out of a desire to remove myself from the current consumer fashion culture, but also to hone a new skill and ultimately to make great fitting pieces that will last me a while.

 

The Pearl Shift Dress from Green Bee Patterns by Alexia Abegg.  I made it a size or two too large (mainly in the shoulders) so I may re-visit this, but I LOVE this pattern.  Also, I learned how to make pockets, so that was great!

The Pearl Shift Dress from Green Bee Patterns by Alexia Abegg.  I made it a size or two too large (mainly in the shoulders) so I may re-visit this, but I LOVE this pattern.  Also, I learned how to make pockets, so that was great!

The Owyn Pants from Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday style with a few modifications in the leg shape and length.

The Owyn Pants from Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday style with a few modifications in the leg shape and length.

Slow Fashion

I want to write a longer post about why I have a conviction about fast fashion and the pitfalls of our consumer culture, but so many have already said it well (see here, and here).  

Instead, I want to show you my sweater and say that I'm enjoying stretching my patience (notoriously in short supply) by working on a long-haul project.

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Sag Harbor Trip

Our annual beach trip was delightful in unexpected ways.  Going before the season really started meant we had the beach to ourselves, though the weather was poetic and moody, rather than sunny and balmy. 

We lounged, ate fresh strawberries with juice running down our fingers and faces, splashed in the pool and tried (and failed) to count stars.  Bedtime was completely ignored and dips in the pool counted as a bath most nights.  It was total relaxation and it was perfect.

We had a few sunny days and we ran as fast as we could to the beach, to make the most of it.