Keep on the Sunny Side

Life

Yesterday evening I gathered with some friends for our monthly Women’s Group dinner. As we chatted about current events, the conversation came around to what had been happening yesterday, the way Trump shockingly and quickly signed executive orders for several controversial things.  This circled around to me saying, “It’s so scary.” My friend quickly corrected me: “Don’t say it’s scary. Don’t invoke fear because fear is paralyzing. We need to stay strong and empowered.”

This was a great reminder, and I’m writing it here so I can remind myself when I eventually go back down the path of fear.

One of my friends brought this amazing lemon pie, and she formed a happy, sunny face on the top of it. As she made the pie she thought of the following song. She decided that before we ate the pie we would sing the song together. It was a fun release of energy. Here are words:

Keep on the Sunny Side
June Carter Cash

Well there’s a dark and a troubled side of life
There’s a bright and a sunny side too
But if you meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way
If we keep on the sunny side of life

Oh, the storm and its fury broke today
Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear
Clouds and storms will in time pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way
If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life

Another thing we talked about was our unique ability in our day and age to share our moments of subversiveness and resistance. My friends remember the protests in the Sixties. There were many protests in D.C. that happened that never got reported. We are in a unique time when we the people can do the reporting. We can film and get it out to our friends who might need need to be empowered and encouraged. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see photos from the Women’s march in my feed from so many friends all over the world. It was empowering. So don’t stop sharing those moments. As my friend Marisa has said, it is important for us to document. And it it is important for us to share.

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“This is the essential difference between ordinary anger and wrathful compassion. Ordinary anger is motivated by fear and aversion; wrathful compassion is motivated by love that has the courage to confront people for their own sake. Anger seeks to protect the self, or one’s own self-righteousness. Wrathful compassion seeks to protect all others, by challenging what harms them. The difference is quite clear.”

–  John Makransky, “Aren’t we right to be angry?” from Tricycle Magazine.

 

 

Just came across this article. I spent half of the weekend full of anger and I am not sure it really did anything good except make me feel miserable. The love and connection I felt on Saturday felt much stronger and more powerful.

Just some thoughts in my on going struggle to cultivate equanimity.

The fruitlessness of anger

Life

Women’s March: Sandy, Oregon

Life

Friday morning started normal enough. I crawled out of bed poured my coffee and opened up the New York Times app on my phone. 5:55 am. That is the exact moment reality hit me like a ton of lead. In a few hours Trump would be sworn in as president. This was really happening.

I think that I’ve been living in denial for a long time. The reality of this man as our president has been too bizarre to wrap my head around. But when the reality hit me I couldn’t hold back the tears. I cried all day long. It was hard to even find something to keep my mind off of it. I had this weird compulsion to go online so I could connect with my friends and talk to them about this, but at the same time the online world was not doing anything for my mental health.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling a sense of dread. I searched my mind to find a reason to get up. A reason to be happy but I came up short. Several of my friends were going to the Woman’s March in Portland on that day but I couldn’t go because I am a Saturday Librarian.  I honestly wasn’t super excited about the women’s march, to be honest. Again, I think that denial caused me to not care about much of anything. I think I felt powerless and not seeing the point of protests. I didn’t even knit a pussy hat, and I’m an avid knitter! But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get excited about it.

Regardless, I learned a few days ago  that my small town was having it’s own women’s march. My schedule worked out that I was able to take an hour off to check it out. I thought, if anything, It would be an opportunity to shoot some film.

I am generally very shy about doing social things by myself and I was so tempted to just not go. But something deep inside compelled me to get away from the desk and start moving in the direction of the meetup spot. I honestly didn’t expect much because I live in a conservative town. I thought maybe 25 people would show up. But as I started walking I noticed small groups of women with pink hats walking in the same direction I was. My heart started beating faster. I found myself smiling a little bit. As I walked closer a small, pink headed crowd was gathered in the square.

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I was instantly heartened by the positive vibes and the crowd waiting to start. As I walked up I saw the faces of a few good friends. We hugged and talked about how happy we were to be able to march together in Sandy. We talked about how difficult the day before had been. And to see all of these people here, ready to march, seemed to have the same effect on all of us. It woke us up and empowered us a little bit.

Love is Patriotic

More and more people gathered and when it came close to 10:00 my friend said, “Gloria Steinem is doing a minute of silence at 1:00 in DC, we should do that here!” So the organizer quickly made this happen.

Moment of Silence

Then we were off! As we started marching I saw more and more friendly faces. My heart filled with so much joy. I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it was to march with my fellow townspeople, these people I have known and served at the library for 7 years. And we were all part of a much bigger thing. But we didn’t have to travel outside our town to be a part of it. I was in awe of the moment, as my fellow marchers were. And I was so grateful that the Universe conspired to get me to this place, despite my best effort to not be there. I needed this moment desperately. As I watched the news over the rest of the day and saw all of the women march in solidarity all over the world, the millions of women who came together, well, I am speechless. I have tears in my eyes even thinking about this and writing about it now. It is truly awe inspiring. We are powerful together.

It was a peaceful march. Around 200 women, men, and children marched. We stayed on the sidewalk and even waited for the light to cross streets. Many cars honked encouragement as they whizzed by us on the highway to Mt Hood. A few people yelled, “Trump” out the window but you know what? They weren’t aggressive and they were expressing their opinion. It was all good. Generally really good energy. I can honestly say it was one of the best hours of my life.

Here are a few more iPhone photos from the march. I also brought an Olympus Trip and took several portraits. I will post them when I develop the film.

Women's March on Sandy

Love Trumps Fear

Women's March on Sandy

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun damental Rights

In Our America Love Wins

The Winter of my Discontent; on having negative emotions

Life

Lately I am finding myself annoyed with our cultural tendency to shut down negative emotions. Or worse, pretend like they don’t exist. I feel like there is pressure to constantly be happy and positive all of the time, when sometimes being happy isn’t necessarily appropriate for the moment.

Ironically,  books and articles that touch on this very subject are crossing my path. What perfect timing!

And I am remembering that I have written about this before.

So I suppose this post is my annual reminder that it is totally OK and completely appropriate to have negative emotions. It is a process of the human condition. It is samsara.  In order to have happiness we must experience unhappiness. So when you are going through something that is not pleasant, embrace it. Just go with it. It is OK.

Currently I am kind of pissed off about the weather. It has snowed almost everyday for a month. I can’t drive my car because it is too icy and I haven’t been able to travel more than a 5 mile radius from my home for weeks. I have had to cancel a number of plans. Walking around outside on the skating rink we are calling streets is completely frightening. It sucks. This is my emotional response to the snow. Maybe yours is different. That is OK.  We are two different creatures who experience life in different ways. Both of our experiences are valid.

Also, in a week a narcissistic psychopath with the brain of a 12 year old will take the office of President of the United States. I am afraid. It is affecting my outlook and maybe even my mental health. This emotional response is appropriate and valid.

The idea that we are supposed to be happy and positive constantly, even when we don’t feel like it, is unhealthy. If you are happy be  happy. If you are sad, be sad. If you are pissed off at the world, be pissed off. Experiencing the negative feelings make the positive ones better and more authentic.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books that touches on this point well:

“Enjoyment is always greatest when you have enough contrast to measure it by.”

M. Wylie Blanchet, The Curve of Time

 

Thank you for reading my annual rant against winter. Back to your regularly scheduled photoblog. 🙂

Sick Day self portrait

Photography

I am confusing myself. I have two “one such and such a day” projects going on two different blogs and I kind of forgot which photography project I was posting on this one. I think I will post something from my One Pinhole A Day project.

Here is a pinhole photo from the day after the election. I was actually sick that day, and not because of the results. I decided to pinhole myself taking a nap. while I was napping a friend texted me to cheer me up.

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Geeky Bits
Camera: Zero 2000
Film: Portra 160
Exposure Time: 21 minutes 45 seconds
Date taken: November 9, 2016