Category Archives: ruckusmaker

Time to Wake up

I spent two hours this morning sitting in the lobby of the local high school, ostensibly there to sell tickets to the upcoming musical production. We’re new to the school, new to the drama department, new to all the volunteer requirements requests.

I manage our home life quite often rather like a single parent. There is no other choice when the other parent is out of town, out of state, out of my time zone, out of the country. Volunteering for evening things can be very tricky with a small child who needs to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Rather than complaining, this is simply how I see my availability and responsibilities.

15 minutes into my shift of two hours (!!!), I realized that the someone who had decided selling tickets this way would be a good idea had a different idea than I as to what it a good use of my time. So, I learned today that I will volunteer elsewhere.

Watching the students walk by me in ones and groups, I had another realization about the truth of the “generation gap,” as they used to call it. It’s not just that the clothes are different, and the mores are different, and the language is different. It looks to me like the level of autonomy, direction and self-empowerment have gone way, way down since my time in high school.

Of course, I never watched the students in my own high school through my parent’s eyes, or my grandparent’s eyes, so I can only surmise that things have changed.

Perhaps it is the juxtaposition of being in the high school today with being in a room with 40 men yesterday who were checking in with a judge in drug court. Hearing their conversation before the meeting, and then observing them in the meeting.

What do young people count on these days? Where do they get their moorings?

I read the news story about the Phil Robertson story about murdering and raping an athiest’s wife and children and how the atheist would have no justification for proclaiming this to be wrong. I was dumbfounded. People actually think this.

I wrote a song when I was in my “christian rock” band in Australia. “Don’t be a simple mind who gives simple words to questions that are anything but simple.” No, not a Top 40 hit anywhere ever, just an early expression of my conviction that critical thinking is one of the most essential characteristics we can have.

In the school system, are they teaching critical thinking? I can’t speak for every class and every teacher and every school system, but in our very highly regarded system, critical thinking seems to be low on the priority list most of the time.

In our religious systems, are they teaching critical thinking? Not in my upbringing and church experience. Critical thinking seems to be one of the things that lead people to leave their religion, so it isn’t always recommended or encouraged.

In our court system, are they teaching critical thinking? Not from what I have seen. They are teaching criminals and the accused to follow the rules, jump through the hoops, give the right answers, and not get caught.

Where do people go to take off their masks? A brave few take them off anywhere and everywhere, but most of us have several masks we wear to prevent anyone from discovering who we really are.

There are pockets of hope. Marianne Williamson is hosting the SisterGiant conference this weekend (in person in LA and online here.) Your political leanings need not fit in any particular box. The topics are universally applicable.

Please join me for the next SISTER GIANT Conference on March 28-29, in Los Angeles and/or via livestream. (This one is for all of us — women and men too!) We’re going to have a deep conversation that weekend about conscious citizenship and political change. From getting the money out of politics to racial justice and mass incarceration, from the corruption of our food supply to how to build a more peaceful world, from spiritual enlightenment to political transformation, we’re going to spend a weekend digging deep and flying high…in our minds, in our hearts, and hopefully in our country.

Will you take the time to look at this link? Will you be someone who considers the possibilities of conscious citizenship and political change? I’m registered for the livestream of this conference. Please join me.

Celebrating my Schweet Report Card Today

I stay at home a lot. Maybe it’s because of all those years when I was homeschooling all the kids and there was just a lot of sensory stimulation coming at me all the time. Although I really miss some things about those times, I do treasure quiet time in my home. Until this school year, I didn’t get more than a few hours per week. Now that my 16yo is in public school full-time, and Kepler is in school all day, I do have more opportunities for solitude.

In The Year of the Heroin, I said no to many, many events, often at the last minute. It made sense at the time, as my energy and attention were completely consumed with the emergencies that I was facing regularly, and the worry that consumed me the rest of the time.

Since I have been blogging daily (36 days now), I have seen a huge internal shift happening. Because of blogging my grade standards the other day, when an event came into my awareness today that I had previously said maybe to, I acted on my inclination to say yes.

The event was a party with a huge group of families who have children with Down syndrome, autism, and other special needs. Having made the commitment to go, I decided to do the most that I could. I walked up to person after person at the party and introduced myself, learning their names and their children’s names, and investing in connecting with the people who were there. I was willing to look stupid by asking someone their name again two minutes after I had met them.

I’ve let my forgetfulness stand in the way in the past. Afraid I would forget someone’s name, I would rather not try to meet people. But in this, The Year of the AssPanther, I figure it’s worth it to try and fail, and try and succeed, rather than not try at all.

I have used the introvert excuse many times. “Oh, parties drain my energy.” And, indeed, about 90 minutes into the party, I noticed my energy was going down. Instead of retreating, I decided to STAY and ENGAGE. 

A couple and their child was sitting along the edge of the room, alone, and I went and plopped down next to the mom. I may have asked all the wrong questions, and had the wrong look on my face, and just done it all wrong, but I tried.

Interestingly, today I did not in any way see myself as better than or less than anyone else. Typically, I have had to see myself in some sort of hierarchy with people. But not today. I really stood eye to eye with everyone I spoke with.

And, of all things, I realized about an hour into the party that I had not even checked my phone once.

Finally, I went up to the musician and asked her a bunch of questions. Turns out we have several connections I was unaware of. She’s in a small music group that plays at coffee houses. As I have been wanting (for apps 20 years since Australia) to be in another band, I asked her if they need any back-up singers. She invited me to come along to one of their shows and come up and sing on a song or two.

Besides the party, I prepared a care package for my away daughter, put my things away as soon as I got home, made my bed, took steps toward overcoming set-down disease, looked people in the eyes and asked about their lives, processed email for 20 minutes,  and blogged daily. 

Today I danced, sang, moved, reached out, risked, said yes, loved the now, gave of myself, and had a ball in the process. Sweet.