I have this vision of the Oval Office having “FUCK FUCK SHIT FUCK”s bouncing off the walls like molecules pinging in boiling water.
It is not uncommon for that now-golden-hued room to hear expletives, but I’m betting that as the days unroll with the word “Russia” in each sentence, the “Shit, fuck, damn’s” have been accelerating and getting progressively louder. (And amusing side note: When searching “trump White House expletives,” the suggestions at the bottom of the page all had Bannon’s name in them. Hilarious… and expected.)
For 100 days, I cried and wrung my hands in terror that someone in the White House would accidentally (or on purpose) hit The Red Button and our world would be annihilated.
During those first 100 days, with every stroke of the president’s pen that removed women and children’s rights, that signed away our natural resources so the rich could get richer, that created enormous doses of xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, ordering the confiscation and deportation of people struggling to stay alive and on and on and on… and with every bizarre cabinet appointment, my heart broke and despair settled in.
I was directed by my doctors to stop watching the news because all it did was submerge me deeper into depression. I was joined by millions of others who had the new PTSD diagnosis called President Trump Stress Disorder, our nation’s leader now holding the distinction of being the first president to have an anxiety disorder named after him.
An epidemic is sweeping the nation, causing sufferers to experience feelings of hopeless doom, certain annihilation and cataclysmic collapse. It’s an existential plague manifesting itself by enveloping the stricken in a black cloud of despairing suicidal thoughts. The malady that is striking down innocent citizens left and lefter is … the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. It is literally making people sick.
But now, with the variety of Russian headlines intertwined with you all in that Oval Office, I am glued to the TV, the real news, (what you call the “fake news,”) and I sit on the edge of my seat waiting for the next delicious morsel of information.
My beautiful cub, as you read through this and the articles I’ve shared, one of the most important things is to breathe and let go of any stress/tension you feel building because of the instructions. You do not… WILL not… be doing everything at once, so allowing yourself grace for the learning and ongoing practice (the Be-ing) of Mindfulness is really good for your spirit. Even I work at Mindfulness. Even Buddhist Monks practice (the act of learning a new skill) Mindfulness. There is no “end” to show you have completed the task for the rest of your life, no test at some tangible end. It is an ongoing experience like breathing. Seeing it as the waves in the ocean can help a lot… they come and go, unbidden, but in a rhythm that does not cease.
So it is with Mindfulness.
There are several avenues to Mindfulness. It seems each teacher has a different way of explaining how to do it. What ends up happening is we take bits and pieces from the ones that resonate, creating our own unique style. If one person’s description makes no sense, look at the next and see if that adds to your own need for information.
The Path to Mindfulness…
There is no Mindfulness without Meditation,
nor is there Meditation without Mindfulness.
Even as I said there is no end goal, there are pieces that are required (and that word can be stressful, but you will see in a moment it does not need to be). I could have put any number of these pieces together in another order, but it makes no difference as I explain because they super-impose themselves onto each other. So, in no particular order:
The “Goal” of Meditation (the Definition of Mindfulness)
The purpose of a (Stillness) Meditation session, one path into Mindfulness, is to empty one’s mind, bringing your thoughts directly to your breathing. Sounds like such a simple concept, but takes a lifetime of practice that never ends (like the ocean’s waves).
It is this attention to breath that we do in our private Meditation sessions, that we also do when we are walking down the street, when someone annoys the crap out of us, when we are scared or anxious or angry. Or when we are changing a diaper, showering ourselves or sitting and reading a book.
While it can seem like its own activity at first, taking a lot of concentration while ignoring the actual life activity at hand, it quickly becomes a soft hum in the background of our waking lives.
Even doing it (as we learn) for a very short time gives immense relief from difficulties going on around us. It brings us back to “our Center”; that which is Divine in us all. For you, that might be Allah.
Note: As you read, you will see there are a variety of types of Meditation. Typically, new folks concentrate on Mindfulness Meditation and Stillness Meditation… mostly those two combined. There is another you might find helpful that I love, and that is Guided Meditation. When I struggle with doing a solo practice, Guided Meditation often helps me to let go of the pain. There are an endless supply of Free Guided Meditations both in regular Google searches or on YouTube, Amazon Music, in Amazon Prime (tv) and Netflix. Do not think too hard on the other kinds of Meditation at the moment, just the 3 I mentioned above.
Non-Judgment is a main cornerstone of Mindfulness. Being in a high stress profession, I am sure you have a certain definition in your mind about what non-judgment entails. With Meditation, it takes on a broader meaning.
As you Meditate (which I will elaborate on in a moment), you’ll find your head filled with thoughts. THIS IS NORMAL! We all have our heads just stuffed full of thoughts, feelings and plans. Do not ever ever ever berate yourself for having random thoughts floating through your mind as you learn, try and practice meditation. We all have them! Forever. There is never a time thoughts are not flowing through our heads. Not even for the most practiced of Monks, ALL of us have this experience when Meditating.
Especially in the beginning, people can get very frustrated with this phenomenon, this “intrusion” of thoughts, disturbing our practice of Meditation.
The opposite, however, is true; without the thoughts, one would not have the Meditation to practice. Recognizing them is exactly what is supposed to happen! The moment you recognize a stray thought, that is the exact moment you have become Mindful. It might only last that second, but you have, for that fleeting moment, been Mindful. So beautiful!
When you recognize the random thought in your mind, instead of seeing them as annoying or terribly distracting, it serves us much more to… see the thought/feeling… say hello to it… even hold it for a moment if you need to… and then set it free to float away once again. I see the thoughts as clouds or soap bubbles floating around, some coming closer, others stay far away. As they come into my direct attention, those are the ones I admire, then release, returning to my breath.
You will, as all of us have, sometimes spend your entire Meditation session in thought. Thinking, planning, saying, “When is this over!?” to yourself. I encourage just shaking your head and laughing about how intrusive your thoughts have been and try again in a awhile.
It is the ebb and flow of thoughts, their presentation, your recognition, then their release, moving back to breath, that is the very definition of Mindfulness Meditation.
Time to Practice
You will read in most places that your Meditation should be at least 20 minutes long. 20 minutes can seem extremely daunting at first, so just shoot for 2-3 minutes and gradually, at your own pace, work your way up to 20 minutes. It could take a year to get there. Who cares!? This is your walk, no one else’s.
At least once each day, you will set aside a minimum of 10 minutes, even if you are only doing 3 minutes, setting the scene in your body and mind walks you towards the actual breathing. Those minutes are without the tv on, without answering your phone and hoping you have no one knocking at the door. If there are interruptions you have no control over, just start again when you can. No judgment, no getting angry at the interruption or person who knocked. A gentle thought of love towards them moves your practice forward.
Making time for Meditation can seem daunting at first, but if you are able to recognize the ritual as a great few minutes of Self-Love, you will soon grow to welcome the time apart from your harried life.
Timing Your Session
I’ve found several wonderful free apps for Meditation Timers. Most are bells, chimes or gongs, but there are some with music as well. Googling “Meditation Timers” brings up many choices. I have one on my computer and one on my phone.
An amusing, pretty universal, action seems to happen, especially as we are learning our way around these practices. We all seem to be intensely curious about 1) how long we have been doing the Mindfulness (thereby dragging us right out of it!) and 2) how much more time we have before we are finished. Time either flies or is interminably long. While non-judgment is important, do your best to recognize the urge to open your eyes to see the time as one of those stray and passing thoughts. This does get easier with time.
I found removing my watch and turning the clock around helpful at first, depending only on the timer. Otherwise I was half inside and half with one eye on the clock. Not so peaceful.
Where Are the Benefits Already?
In the beginning, many, many, if not most, of us find great resistance to practicing Meditation. We often look for any distraction we can find to avoid it. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NORMAL and, I believe, a required part of the process.
Recognizing the resistance, chuckling to yourself, then doing the Meditation, is an enormous success and one to be very proud of. Each time you cross this hurdle, you remove some of the future struggle towards practicing.
Just like there is no end to practicing, no end to the intrusion of thoughts, so too is there no delineation between practicing and Mindfulness having an effect on your behavior and life. The first time you sit quietly, breathing, you have already created a monumental shift in your Universe. There may be moments of recognition (“Oh! I breathed instead of wanting to throw a book at the wall!”), but more often, the effects are subtle and cumulative. One day, you will realize things have shifted and you will probably think, “Wow! When did that happen?”
It happened when you sat quietly that first day. It’s happening this very second as you read through what I have written!
I will share a couple of articles about HOW to actually do the breathing and practice Meditation. Those are the technical parts. I wanted to share with you my own learning curve specifically so you could see what the possibilities were, but mostly, that this is an amorphous experience and to not expect any concrete outcome. Ah, but those things along with monumental changes in your life.
Does this make sense? I would be shocked if any of it did!
I love you so very much. Have fun with your new activity, your new thoughts, your changes in behavior and allow utter confusion to wash over you at times. It is absolutely normal… you are absolutely normal… well, actually, I think you are absolutely amazing!
If you ever have questions or want to share your thoughts or experiences, feel free to talk or write to me.
I am nearly immobilized by the events happening right now. 45 is trying to kill us all. Just because he is at the end of his life and has a good bunker to hide in doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to die for his ego. I have horrible thoughts I wish I could purge, but they come unbidden sometimes. That man is evil. Just pure evil.
(And people felt this way about Obama?!? He never came close to killing us, much less in the first 3 months of office.)
Kinky Exam Room
Work is slow for me which is frustrating considering I am still in the hole from the manic donations to Syria relief. I have been writing some really good pieces for my work blog, but one of my best, about Medical Fetishes, was pulled because I used forbidden words (pee, shit, toilet, bathroom). Sheesh, I just wrote about peeing in a cup at the doctor’s office! But work is very PG13 and even though it wasn’t golden showers related, it was yanked. Now I am lost about how to continue the series.
I want to write just basic: This is the exam table with stirrups, This is how an enema works, This is the speculum, This is the gown, This is the syringe… you get the gist. All regular normal things that loads of folks fetishize. Having been a midwife for so long… and being twisted… I am able to make each of those topics highly sexualized and fetishized.
Only twice as a care provider did I think anything sexual about women in my charge. One was Zack when he was pregnant and laboring; we became lovers soon after. Then there was another woman I had a sexually visceral reaction with (she felt it, too) and I removed myself from her direct care and became her doula. We never acted on the feelings, but they were most certainly there.
Life with my cub is delicious and fun. He is amazing… is having some psych issues, but I’ve been able to nudge him into therapy and that will, I know, help lots. It has to be an enormous challenge being Muslim and kinky. And that’s just the off-work life!
Things between him and me, however, are in a self-sustaining/maintaining place. Just a delight being with him, talking to him, having sex with him. So so much fun! And I just realized, because he told his therapist, that I am TWICE HIS AGE! Fuck, I am old. We’ve been together for almost 18 months and I just figured this out?! (Where have I been?!)
I don’t think I told you, but I found a Feminist Porn site! We’d been looking for one for quite a while because standard porn is a big ol’ yawn to me. Fake fake fake and just weird what with the girls wearing stilettos to bed and tromping around the pool in heels and giving the stupidest blow-jobs ever.
Googling “Feminist Porn” brings up several for-pay sites and someday, I hope to be able to use them, but Syria has the bulk of my money at the moment so finding a free Feminist Porn site was quite the coup!
Bellesa (https://bellesa.co/ – NOT .com) has culled free porn from several free sites, including PornHub which is one of the largest regular porn sites out there, but have screened the videos before bringing them to Bellesa. Even so, some of the screened ones don’t make my cut.
I cannot abide by women faking pleasure. They squeak like mice and no matter what position they are in, they act like they are having a clitoral blast. Can you see me rolling my eyes? I’ve been screening the videos before my cub and I watch together (today I had him screen) and any squallering garners a thumbs down from me. (I keep a Word Document with the names of the videos I like and don’t like, besides the Star rating system on Bellesa.)
I will not watch a video if anyone has bruises that are not explained in the scene. I love kinky bruises as much as anyone else, but unexplained ones, especially if they look like they were made by hurting someone without their permission, squicks me.
I am not 100% sure, but would probably not watch one that had the girls in shoes on the bed. That is just so fake and ridiculous. Fuck, you’ll rip the sheets!
I am still obsessed with Hamilton: An American Musical. I listen to the music 15+ hours a day sometimes. I love the Hamilton Mixtape, too, but right now am on a continuous loop of the original cast album. If you’ve not yet discovered the music, do yourself an enormous favor and immerse your Self, too.
Because of the musical, my cub and I read the original book, Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. It was amazing, too. After we finished that, we read Washington: A Life, also by Chernow. I actually loved Washington even more than Hamilton. I had no idea George Washington was as incredible as he was. Chernow brought him to life.
I loved American History in junior high school, considered being a History teacher at one time, but then just lost interest over the years. Hamilton has reopened the passion I once had for American History! While I think Chernow is a fantastic researcher, his other books don’t really interest me. So, my cub and I have moved on to Lincoln, jumping right into the center of it all with Lincoln: Team of Rivals. We’ll be starting it later this week.
Okay, time to sign off of here. My cub and I have a date to watch the 3 porn videos he found for us to watch together. Woo hoo!
I do have to laugh a little at his saying how much more discerning he is with porn now, which is amusing because he’s watched it for about 18 years now. Hey, if I can convert a regular porn user to feminist porn, my day is complete!
“45” is what I call POTUS, the 45th president of the United States, that horrid man who squats in the White House tweeting (LYING) about random topics to divert our attention from the fucked up bullshit he does that will, PLEASE GODDESS, get him impeached.
(For some amazingly strange reason, this post cannot be formatted correctly, no matter if I work in WYSIWYG or HTML; I have tried for 2 days to fix it, to no avail. I apologize for the bizarre lack of paragraph breaks/doubling of paragraph breaks.)
I have a theory (that has surely already been discussed in other places) that the new administration has an entire strategy to create as much turmoil as possible, knowing there would be protests (because the Women’s March on Washington was planned well in advance of the Inauguration), then seeing even more protests with each Executive Order, their idea took on greater and greater maniacal glee.
You learn activism by doing it, they said. One of the main obstacles to activism is the idea that you have to be an expert to do it —
Because there are so many causes to fight, it can be challenging to protest everything one feels strongly about. Surely, the administration is having a field day cheering that fact.
I see people in my own life swirling around, grasping at causes willy-nilly, protesting 1 one day and another, 2 days later. This frenetic energy cannot possibly be maintained. Speaking up, living in crisis mode, changing one’s life patterns, even for a short time can exhaust someone, causing Outrage Fatigue.
Every morning, we wake up to a fresh Trumpian outrage, as the orange one’s fat little thumbs have tapped out the latest vitriol via Twitter before we lift our weary heads off of the keyboards we fell asleep on because we were up past midnight planning how to block his Cabinet, or save ACA, or get to Burr and Tillis, or, respond to Russian hacking. Is it any wonder that some of us are experiencing outrage fatigue?
As the Day of His Ascendence (formerly known as Inauguration Day) approaches, the more the sense of impending doom and inevitability grows. After the election, outrage and disbelief propelled many into passionate, but ultimately quixotic pursuits. Flipping the electors. The Jill Stein recount. As those prospects faded away, and the names and hideous bios of Trump’s Cabinet appointees came out, many geared up to protest and block that odious pack of cronies, capitalists, and cranks from running the country. Lists of committees were drawn up, scripts written, action plans mobilized. The GOP then ganged up on ACA, as Trump fanned the flames. No, no, protest that! many online cried. Russian allegations exploded; Trump kept tweeting. Crooked media! Overrated Streep! All-talk John Lewis!
As sure as I am sitting here, the White House and even much of Congress are devising ways to wreak havoc on America and betting “libtards” will be out en masse protesting within a couple of hours. They are counting on it. So far, we are not disappointing them.
But with the passage of time, people become numb and mute, collapsing with exhaustion, creating an open, wide and clear, path for the “president’s” coup to complete itself. (And I do believe we are in the middle of a coup!)
Long-time protesters each speak about outrage fatigue, previously called burnout, in their stories. ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) movement and even the LGBT(QAI+) (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual, Intersex, etc.) all find themselves teaching younger generations how to avoid the outrage fatigue that comes with long battles, ones we are surely just beginning with this “president.”
What I Can Do!
I have Bipolar Disorder and struggle with depression and must be hyper-vigilant to not become overwhelmed with sadness and pain, something that’s been quite a challenge the last 6 months or so, increasing each day. I’m also physically disabled, unable to go out into the streets to protest.
But I can write.
Since the Inauguration, I have been sitting back and pondering… considering what cause resonated most with me, which one I would be most effective battling.
What bubbled to the top was Censorship.
As a writer/blogger, I’ve been censored several times, from Blogger slamming my blog shut for having nude women (giving birth and breastfeeding!) to my midwifery licensing organization strong-arming me to “edit” one of the most important blog posts I’ve ever written. (I did and deleted the original, something that still brings tears 9 years later.)
Government censorship has always made me crazy, but it’s been over there… you know, in other countries.
Until this “president” brought it front and center in the United States.
I could enumerate so many examples, but the loudest and most obnoxious recently came from “president steve bannon” when, on January 26, 2017, in the New York Times, he said:
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while….”
You can imagine the response.
From shock to hysterical laughter, CNN’s Jake Tapper gave the best answer of all; an emphatic, “NO.”
My Strategy to Avoid Outrage Fatigue
I have chosen to focus on that one strength of mine… writing… and the topic that most resonates… Censorship.
This way, I will be able to pace myself. During the couple of weeks with this new strategy, I’m finding myself able to see-and-toss the non-censorship posts, news pieces and videos, but am seeing, quickly and clearly, the pieces that relate to me specifically. This prevents news overload, which pulls me down towards depression. It is, sometimes, challenging to ignore the information on the periphery, but as I do, I find myself more and more at peace.
By focusing on my life-long writing skills as my major protesting mechanism, I am able to keep my interest level high and will have long-term focus on the censorship issue.
One last strategy is for me to connect with other writers, especially those who focus on censorship. Companionship fosters support and support can manifest in many ways including encouragement, reminders of the mission at hand and backing each other up when conflict gets nasty.
I’m hoping that as I send this out over the airwaves, it will find other like-minded people, but especially writers. I could use the support and suspect you could, too.
I have often said here that I have a Muslim (Internet) lover/boyfriend, my cub. With all these horrific Islamophobic things happening in America, I’ve seen my saying this in a totally different light.
You know how it sounds when someone says, “I have a black friend/boyfriend/partner,” and are saying in parenthesis, “So I can’t be racist,”… how racist that sounds… how racist it is? It is the same with my making loud declarations of having a Muslim boyfriend. I am clearly professing, “See me? I’m not Islamophobic, but I am a really progressive liberal atheist who can sidle up to a person that much of the world wants to destroy,” making it All About Me.
I find that really disgusting.
I know very little about Islam and discussing it with my cub has taken us into really uncomfortable territory. We’ve pretty much abandoned the topic because my atheism is so contrary to his deep beliefs. I have Googled and read about Islam, sharia law, the different ways to be Muslim, Islam in the United States versus in mainly-Muslim countries and, the really tough part, Islamic extremists and why violence is so important to their causes.
Islam is an incredibly complex and varied religion, much more so than Christianity or Judaism, both religions I know and understand pretty well, having been both in this life. I’ve been told that it can take many years and a plethora of scholars to explain the Qur’an. How does a heathen learn about Islam when it is such a pain in the ass to understand?
Just looking up “Moderate vs. Radical Islam” images for this piece brings intense emotions for me because the hate in the photos and comics are so, so despicable. (Is my cub considered a moderate? A liberal?) I don’t even know what to believe anymore. Is Islam a cruel religion that does not delineate between a Muslim here or in Syria? Are all American Muslims really potential terrorists given the right circumstances and their anger level at how they are treated by Americans? (This is, I have found, one of the most common beliefs and it is excruciating for me to even utter it because I know how my cub is going to hear it.)
For fuck’s sake, how brainwashed am I? Where did it come from? Islam is a brand new experience in my life comparatively. The horrible things I’ve learned have all been based on violence against others… against the LGBTQIA+ communities, women, American journalists, random strangers who’ve made life difficult for the killers… really skewed pictures and stories that have clearly imprinted in my mind.
How do I counter these negative beliefs? I am not sure where exactly to look because the information on the Internet is widely contradictory and, I have learned, laced with radical ideas the murderers use to recruit marginalized Muslims. When I’ve asked my cublet for help, things devolve into major discomfort so we just agree to let the topic go.
A woman being sent back to Chile instead of being let into the United States tried to kill herself on Friday at JFK airport in New York City. She was found and Narcan administered, saving her life. She is at a hospital in stable condition.
Today, folks from the countries that evil man listed, were detained at airports around the world, many sent back from whence they came. Families were separated, some people arbitrarily allowed into the United States while others sent away.
Thankfully, around the country, people came out in droves and protested at major airports.
JFK New York City
JFK New York City
Lawyers also came out, pro bono, to help folks get into the country, stationing themselves at all the major airports and working, sitting on floors, in fast food restaurants and wherever they could find to help those that needed it so badly. Goddess bless lawyers!
Then the ACLU initiated the fight against the executive order and “a federal judge granted an emergency staySaturday to bar deportation of people with valid visas who landed in the U.S., following chaos and detentions after President Donald Trump’s executive order related to immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.”
Absorbing the Pain
Today is only Day 8 of that evil man’s reign in the US and I already feel immense despair. I do not watch the TV news or even look at video of the news on the computer. I get all my information from Facebook and Tumblr feeds, reading the articles posted there. I am not supposed to listen to the news… my psychiatrist and therapist have both forbidden it because of how it affects me.
As the day wore on, I felt more and more despondent, falling to a very low place about 10pm. I talked to my Muslim lover, each of us sharing our own sadnesses… and then feelings of hope at how things were playing out around the world as the hours passed.
I’ve had some really horrid thoughts about that man in charge of our country today. I am not a violent person, do not visualize mean things happening to anyone, but out of nowhere, really ghastly thoughts manifested all day long. I tried not to judge my random thoughts, but just allowed them to come and go without holding onto them too desperately. (A Mindfulness skill.)
My Own Despair
What was disconcerting were my own feelings of not being connected to my body, my mind floating around without having much control over it. I wrote “Immigration Ban Horror” trying to get some of the pain out of my body, but the distress actually grew instead of diminished.
I’ve thrown up several times, wanting to purge the awful feelings inside.
When I was talking to my cub (my Muslim love), I confessed I have been having thoughts of such despair I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it through the night.
My cublet was very loving and gentle with me, reminding me of all the reasons I must stay here on the earth (kids, grandkids, my mama, for him… and to write). Just sharing with him released enough of the pressure, the near-compulsion, that the urge has passed.
(And yes, I know enough to go to the hospital if it gets too bad again.)
What distresses me is I am not even Muslim, a refugee or someone who is being targeted with being kept out of the United States, yet my emotions have been so strong.
I can so relate to the woman from Chile who tried to kill herself on Friday; I understand her desperation intensely.
I need to figure out how to moderate these feelings or else just get off the computer altogether for the next 4 years.
I feel helpless to do anything. The only thing I can do is write and most of what I am writing is news already out there or my responses to the news. I don’t feel like I have anything new to offer, nothing of real substance, just my emotions as I react to it all.
My cub said my writing has joined the chorus of support for Muslims and disdain for the horrid man in charge, that my voice is important to the message. That was soothing.
Writing has drained me. I am going to go lay down and try and sleep. I have Hamilton on (it’s been on all night) and I’ll probably leave it on… I love it so much!
Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
thinking nasty thoughts about that evil person in DC that would make tomorrow better