On Negative Posts on Facebook

It has happened only a couple of times since I began blogging that I began a response to a comment and decided that the response is a blog. This blog is one of these. The person who comment was kind. She was concerned that I was taking negativity too personally, messing with my own sense of peace. If you want to see what she said, look at the comment section in yesterday’s blog. Here is my response to her:

Thanks for the constructive suggestion. The fact is that I am not personally bothered by the kind of posting I talk about here. If you note the topics I choose to write about on my blog, you can see that I am very interested in politics and religion. I don’t even mind extremist views. Extremists actually help me think. I ask myself questions like “Is there some truth in their position?” or “Why are they so angry?” But extreme and negative statements like the ones I cited in my blog fail to solve any problems. They only push people to further extremes because they are on the defensive.

The really strange thing is that often people have no clue they are doing this. They see a post that is a bit sarcastic, maybe funny, and post it. The problem is that they may be bashing people that they actually like in their day-to-day goings-on. I read over and over again statements that demonize liberals. I mean, DEMONIZE. I am a liberal. I think I am a nice person. Those who know me might even say that I am a loving person. I just have a particular opinion on ways to solve some of our social problems. To me that is what liberal and conservative or libertarian is about…problem solving.

In my blog writings, I often address the issue of extremism, usually launching from a particular situation. I do this a lot during campaigns. As we gear up for another election, i anticipate a lot of hate speech to fly around again. I try to use my writing as a way to make people think about what they are actually saying. We need to be conscious of the words we use and who they hurt. This time, I thought I would just tackle a whole bunch at a time. I want people to see what they are doing when they post things that demonize others. Just because they are wrapped in humor or pictures of animals or babies doesn’t mean they can’t be used to reinforce hatred and fear that is festering in peoples’ hearts.

Some of the people who post these kinds of things are dear friends or relatives. Often I don’t respond at all. Occasionally I comment but try to be as respectful as possible. I do my best.

The New Year

When I neglect my blog, it locks me out. The little “edit” option disappears from my page and I have to go through the process of seeking out my administration page and proving to WordPress that I am who I say I am and not some kind of blog robber. My blog guru son as finally taught me how to do this for myself. Oh, he taught me many times before now but he finally got the process through my thick skull.

Christmas was the distraction. My blog is not the only thing that suffered neglect. So did my eating program, my exercise regime, my sewing, and any other of my usual life activities. Yesterday, Bernie and I took down the Christmas decorations and today threw out the tree and vacuumed up the pine needles. The house looks a bit naked after all that dingle-dangle stuff draped on the beams, banisters, and window frames, the little ceramic Santas and angels on end tables and book cases, and holiday towels on racks in bathrooms and kitchens. It seems we keep adding stuff each year. I prefer naked, at least as far as my living space is concerned.

About a week ago I bought a new 2019 calendar and spent a couple of hours bringing forward events such as birthdays and all my weekly and monthly meetings. I complain a lot about how busy my life is, but in doing this meditative activity, I realize I rather like the things I do, my daily routine of reading and writing, the groups to which I belong, and the family events including holidays and kids concerts and sporting events. At 74, I still get around pretty darned good.

So I made a promise to myself that in 2019 I will complain less and try to walk through my days with an attitude of gratitude.

Happy New Year.

My Life is Raw Material

When I run out of books to read, I find myself going to my own bookcase and searching for the ones I bought with good intentions but never got around to reading. A few days ago, I pulled from the shelf Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I bought it about a year ago after a friend commented that he was reading Emerson. It is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics collection. One can get it inexpensively through Amazon. A while back I read Varieties of Religious Experience from this same series. It is easy to see why these are considered classics. They speak universal truths. I find myself penciling a sentence in just about every paragraph and writing my story in the margins.

Having complained about how my life seems to get into the way of my passion, I find this morning that this is a universal problem for artistic people. Emerson offers comfort as he shows how important life experience is to the artist. I love this quote from his essay, “The American Scholar”:

Only so much do I know, as I have lived.

Simply put, if I don’t live my life, there is nothing to write about. I believe this applies to all artistic expressions including visual and performing arts. Watching the The Kominsky Method on Netflix last night, lead character/drama teacher, Sandy Kominsky, made this exact point to his drama students. Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way, says the same.

More Emerson wisdom:

The world, – this shadow of the soul or other me, lies wide around me. Its attractions are the keys which unlock my thoughts and make me acquainted with myself…I do not see how any man can afford, for the sake of his nerves and his nap, to spare any action in which he can partake. It is pearls and rubies to his discourse. Drudgery, calamity, exasperation, want, are instructors in eloquence and wisdom. 

Gads, Ralph! You have been reading my blogs from your heavenly place and noting my constant complaining about having so much to do that I can’t get around to writing! If I were George Bailey you would be my Clarence.

I guess I should say, “Thanks for dropping by and helping me to appreciate my life as…

raw material out of which the intellect moulds her splendid products. 

Today I go to watch my grandson Jackson’s Christmas concert. Raw material at its best.

Welcome Back

That welcome is for me, not for you. I have been away from my blog for a long time. It isn’t that I haven’t had things to write about. Rather, I have been working on finishing and publishing my first book. As an older adult who has a dysfunctional relationship with my lap top, Beavers Pond Press has been a perfect fit. I will be sure to let everyone I know on the planet when it is published and how to get a copy.

Meanwhile, life goes on without my commentary. I am not sure what a difference it would make, but I do have a voice and every voice is important. Since I no longer have to  put “work on book” on my list of duties each day, I plan to put “blog” on the list as I once did.

I chose for my blog the title “My Thoughts on Peace” and challenged myself to write every day for a year. I learned a thing or two during that year and in those that followed.

  1. I am a pretty good writer, but I needed some serious polishing.
  2. I like looking deeply at matters. It is on the surface that we see our differences and to focus there contributes to division, not unity.
  3. I am extremely passionate about some things but that passion does not have to translate into meanness. Being respectful contributes more to peace than any logical argument.

Today is a beautiful day in the neighborhood. (Happy birthday, Mr. Rogers). I won’t be getting into religion or politics today, but I am sure that will come. Meanwhile, welcome back to me…and to you. If you are interested, there is a way to sign up to get an announcement when I release a new blog. That way, you don’t have to keep checking.

Thinking Time

First day of a new month, a good time to start anew. I have decided to shift my schedule. In my effort to put exercise up on my priority list, if have found myself giving to the local health club the best hours of my days. All of their senior exercise programs are in the morning. Most of the participants really like this because then they have the rest of the day to do laundry, gardening, or whatever is on their list of things to do. But mornings are my best thinking times. In fact, mornings are the only times I still can think reasonably well at all. Mid afternoon I begin to get dim witted and even befuddled. If it weren’t for the lists I am always making, I wouldn’t know what to do after 3 pm.

Writers need brains that can do thinking activities: pondering, studying, reasoning, questioning, remembering, and brainstorming. Add to this the creative brain activities of being open to new thoughts outside of one’s own realm, making connections, and being able to select words and construct sentences that communicate ideas in a pleasant, understandable way. It is important. And for me at 73, it is vital as I consider the few years I have left to write.

My first book is about to be published and I am already forgetting the names of my characters and the details of the research I did putting the stories together. It is scary to think of myself speaking to a book club in Iowa and not being able to name Peter’s mother-in-law or the territory where Jesus met the woman at the well. Yikes! I am already embarrassed.

So I have chosen to alter my schedule and prioritize my time so that I have my mornings to write…like now as I write this blog. If there is time later this afternoon, when my brain is starting to go numb, maybe I will head over to the health club to walk the treadmill or peddle the bike. I will miss the old folks (like me) at the a.m. classes but I may return another day when I feel I’ve done too much thinking and need to readjust my schedule again.

 

Getting Holy-Holy on Facebook

I wanted to comment on a post on Facebook today but my comment sounded so holy-holy I had to pass. I don’t feel comfortable slathering my religious thoughts all over the place. The golden rule: don’t do things on Facebook that I get irritated when other people do it.

But my blog is another thing. I feel a special privilege here where I get to have the first and last word. I get to slather my religious thoughts all over the place because this is, in essence, my journal. It contains my personal thoughts. Those who read my blog understand from the get-go that it is my territory. They can visit or not and they can comment or not. I welcome comments because my guests often find holes in my thinking or they offer a perspective I haven’t considered. But they understand that it is my territory much like a column in a newspaper to the columnist.

Occasionally I will do the religious thing on Facebook. Sometimes the impulse is too great, especially when someone posts an image of God or of the servant Jesus that is so screwed up as to lead others down a dangerous path. (My own interpretation of danger).

Anyway, I needed to say this.

Jung Reflections

I purchased a book for a buck a few weeks ago that is old, its pages yellow and brittle: Memories, Dreams, Reflections by C.J. Jung. Because of its condition, I resisted reading, afraid it will fall apart before I finish it. But this morning, I ventured into the introduction written by Aniela Jaffe’, who interviewed Jung and did the primary writing of the book. I could see in a short time that this is a perfect follow-up to The Varieties of Religious Experience by Willaim James that I completed a while back.

I realize that my failure to blog in the past year has been a priority issue. I tend to read in the early morning when it is quiet and then move into my day when things start to bustle around here. When I wrote regularly, blogging was the second task of the day and often the subject of my blogging was something I had read and found meaningful to my own self or to whatever was going on in the world at that time. Since the world and I seem to change so rapidly, the thoughts pass by and are quickly  replaced by others. I have decided to fix that. So here I am, sitting in my pajamas ready to take what Jung offered me today and pass it on to whoever has the time and interest to read this morning.

Jung wrote to a young clergyman in 1952, “I find that all my thoughts circle around God like the planets around the sun, and are as irresistibly attracted to Him. I would feel it to be the grossest sin if I were to oppose any resistance to this force.” Eleven pages in and I have been hooked. This has been my own experience, thoughts of God always tugging at me like a child trying to get my attention or like the little people of Whoville shouting into the ear of an elephant, “We are here! We are here!” God, that unseen force that has all the answers but keeps them a secret because if He* gave them away, no one would seek Him anymore. Such an insecure God! I will write some other time about the many ways that God tries to get my attention.

Jung was a scientist and, as such, would speak of his religious experience as though he were talking about anatomical structures. He does this by choice and with awareness. Speaking of his own experience as a youth, he writes, “At that time I realized that God – for me, at least – was one of the most immediate experiences.” In his work as scientific, he seldom spoke of God, but he used the term “the God-image in the human psyche.” For him this is not a contradiction, for one is subjective based  on his own experience; the other is the objective language of the scientist.

Jung rarely spoke of his subjective religious experiences and this book promises to share some of these. There is reason for his hesitancy. “His subjective statements will be acceptable only by those who have had similar experiences-or, to put it another way, to those whose psyche the God-image bears the same or similar features.” I can relate. While I yearn to share my own experiences and to hear of the religious experiences of others, I find that people who are willing to listen and share are most often people who have at least some common thoughts of spirituality, religion, and the divine. When sharing with others about my experience of God, I usually begin by putting my toe in the water to test whether there are places of common seeing. At one time, if doubted that anyone out there could possibly understand how I felt about things spiritual, but I was wrong. That sense that one is unique in all the world and no one could possibly understand is the mischief of the ego for it leads to separation – and loneliness.

  • Please forgive the use of the word “He” for God. Jung, writing when he did, used the masculine and it is sometimes hard to loose myself when I am discussing an older work. I can wrestle with a sentence for an hour trying to speak of God as other than human, which He is. (Oops – I did it again.)