78 and counting….a new year awaits us

The giant prayer wheel at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple in Singapore

December 31st and January 1 are not so different…just 24 little hours apart…unless you are the kind of person who likes to make new beginnings. I am one of those people. I am 78 and counting. I feel a sense of urgency about my days. I want substance and meaning, purpose and progress in the time I have left.

When I have a clear ending to one period of time and the immediate, clearly defined beginning to another – a clean slate – a white canvas – I see it as a challenge and an opportunity. I feel the need for some creative thinking concerning what will be different and new in the coming year. My desire is that the new time period should improve over the previous one. That should be easy in the year 2021, since 2020 sunk to a deep new low in my own personal experience…and I imagine you might agree. We have nowhere to go but forward and higher in our aspirations.

Now we must rise up, pull ourselves up and out of the doldrums and the muck. We must thrive and prosper.

Thirteenth century poet and spiritual guide Rumi says, “But listen to me; for one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.”

He writes next:

“Last year, I admired wines. I am wandering inside the red world. Last year I gazed at the fire. This year I am a burnt kabob. Thirst drove me down to the water where I drank the moon’s reflection.

It’s the old rule that drunks have to argue and get into fights. The lover is just as bad. He falls into a hole. But down in that hole he finds something shining, worth more than any amount of money or power.

Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street. I took it as a sign to start singing, falling up into the bowl of the sky.

Hard to believe that an Afghan mystic from the thirteenth century can be so relevant today. I have taken these phrases from the book The Essential Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, and I have left some lines out to give you the abbreviated essence of what he is saying. I urge you to read more. Every subject you might imagine is covered in splendid stories and ancient rhymes.

You do not need a magnificent prayer wheel, such as the one pictured here, to send your hopes and requests out into the universe. Just sit down and meditate. An enormous collective wish from planet earth will reach the right places if we all hope for the same things. I am wishing for a better year with a better chance for peace, for love, for hope and for an end to the suffering of so many people. Expressing our gratitude for the blessings we do have is always a good place to start…

On January 6th, the Day of Epiphany, a particular favorite of mine, we all have a brand new chance to discover, in a brilliant flash of truth, what it is we would like to accomplish in our privileged days remaining. It is a day of manifestation and revelation. It has the potential for opening a door in your mind that will lead you on a journey of new beginnings.

Let us welcome 2021 with a resounding embrace and a promise to do great things. Listen to your heart and go where it takes you.

Jo Ann Brown-Scott

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Preoccupied with Concern

The pretty images above were all taken in Singapore, several years ago. Singapore is a lovely, orderly country where there is literally no crime or corruption, where people respect the laws of government and place a high value on history. Singaporeans exist peacefully with each other and their neighbors. The locale is heavenly, the food is fantastic, the architecture is stunning and the people are quite curious about America. The pictures were placed in this blog as eye-candy in hopes that you will read down to the following text.

But these days I am preoccupied with thoughts of destruction. I tried very hard to write something else today but I could not control my seething fingers. I have become so distracted, so preoccupied, almost oblivious to the memories of the way things used to be in our lives, before he was elected. All I see in my future is conflict. I am embarrassed and ashamed of my country for the poor choices we are allowing to be made for us and the new set of despicable values that have become the norm in Washington DC. We have lost our honor, America.

America, bless its ignorant heart, is killing itself. We have become suicidal.

I thought we had become better educated than this. I have become sadly preoccupied with watching America self-destruct as it unfolds in the daily news. There are not enough hours in the day for every single thing that needs our “powerless” attention and our hollow “hopes and prayers”. In a miniscule period, equal to one ten-millionth of the blink of an eye in  the universal scheme of Time, we have lost our democracy to an uninformed, poorly educated, narcissistic, sociopathic, immoral lunatic who takes sick delight in chaos and hatred.

Our fragile world is fish-tailing across time, bobbing and weaving under the pressure of the increasing number of internal negative elements whose common purpose is to take us to our knees and render us helpless to change anything. The path of destruction widens daily as new levels of insidious corruption and malfeasance reveal themselves. Things have always been dicey on this planet; no consistent certainty of which side is winning during the time of our existence. But now… these days, it seems clear that the good side is losing. Before I was preoccupied, I woke up optimistic about humanity. Now a disproportionate portion of my waking hours are spent in terror of what is unfolding right before my eyes.

I am ashamed of my government. It no longer stands for the greater good. It is infested with greed and corruption and hunger for power in epidemic proportions, destroying our foundation in methodical precision. As if by hoards of ravenous grasshoppers on a rampage, we are being chewed down and eaten alive by our elected officials, leaving a barren path of nothingness; devoured by politicians who are getting fat and sick on rage, revenge and the new Republican mantra of apathy toward the people who elected them. Do these people in Washington not have children and grandchildren? Where is their vision for the future? What sense of responsibility do they have, other than to their own egos? For all this their dark legacy will be remembered; they are the destruction-ists.

If you are a person who cannot see it, you are more than just blind; you are self-absorbed, in denial, numb to the truth, ignorant of past history or too lazy to care. You are not preoccupied enough with the current state of affairs. You must fortify your courage and read about this phenomenon. You must be informed. You need to know what we are losing on a daily basis and define just what it is that you personally believe is worth fighting for, not abstractly but in the bloody trenches. Do not remain blind, deaf and dumb to history being made in the daily decisions of ignorant fools.

Major accomplishments that have taken decades to put in place are being vaporized right before our eyes. Not only basic human rights and privileges for every human being, but environmental protections critical to our planet’s survival. Water and air are becoming more and more contaminated but clean water and fresh air are no longer considered a basic human right. Education loses and guns win. Poverty and hunger remain as ostentatious military parades are planned. Parks and national treasures are being destroyed and dismantled for the sake of more oil and minerals. Walls are built and fear is mandated. Does this sound like it could be a description of North Korea or Russia?  Germany during WW II? Hell yes it does, but it is happening here in America.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that a handful of treacherous men and women in high places have taken it upon themselves to promote, follow and enable a warped and perverted leader in the process of accomplishing his murderous agenda.

How can we allow this to happen?

What is wrong with us?

Must we allow everything to be torn down in order to see the light again?

History is always our teacher; nothing good can come from this.

 

 

The Creative Epiphany – HAPPY NEW YEAR, WORLD!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE USA!

Photo courtesy of santabanta.com

Here we are – the year had to end somewhere and today is the day. Are you ready for a NEW ONE? Up to the challenges ahead of us?

We will all be in it together, cringing at the ridiculous, saddened by the tragic, laughing at the humor of life, being disgusted by the actions of some, proud of others, and taking in the joy when something actually goes right. Those of us who are champions of humanitarianism and innocent with eternal optimism want to end world hunger, save the whales, cure cancer, clean up the planet, end terrorism once and for all, bring about peace, educate all children, and care for the homeless and those who are suffering as we love one another. That is a tall order, but we continue to do whatever we can. And that is driven by eternal HOPE.

I have no resolutions for the NEW YEAR other than to continue what I have been doing – laugh more, be grateful for every day, practice random acts of kindness, tell the people that you love how you feel about them and if there is any good that can be done, then by all means do it.

My thanks go out to all of you for caring enough to follow this humble blog, allowing me to spout off about whatever spontaneous observations cross my mind. What an honor and a privilege that is. I am fortunate to live in a country where speaking out is encouraged – and I wish the same for you. I know who you are – those of you who do not enjoy that same freedom of speech. I agonize for your loss of freedom. I wish for you a better condition.

The best to all of you! Let’s hope the New Year brings about positive change for all.

bliss

mixed media painting by Jo Ann Brown-Scott copyright 2013