Worship

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We built temples to house

our attraction to gods.

Worship we did not

the fish-filled seas, the green carpet laid bare,

the heat that warmed the tundra of our being.

 

Instead, we built towers to glorify

green, weigh gold.

Worship we did not,

the tears that watered our valleys,

nor the love that bloomed like a lily in spring,

the places where worship 

should first begin.

 

This work is copyrighted, 2017. Lisa Froman

 

 

Valentine’s Day, Cupid and Chemtrails

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If you scroll through your Facebook feed, be prepared to tiptoe like Tiny Tim, not through tulips but through fields of landmines. One wrong move, a comment of agreement or disagreement in this politically charged, post truth, post politeness environment can blow up in your face. Or in your feed.

I’m over it. I see Liberals, Conservatives, churchgoers, mothers, activists, planting landmines, telling convenient and inconvenient truths every day. I see discord and fear monging, hate decorated in red, white and blue; I see the left and right clothed like wolves in their sheepish righteousness.

What I don’t see much of these days –at least on Facebook and in the news–is love. Does anyone besides Hallmark or Russell Stover remember Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day?

Poor Cupid. He’s going to have to disguise himself as a drone and fly under the radar to dodge the political bombs. He’ll have to work extra hard this holiday to infuse grace back into our hearts, but I think it can be done.

With a touch of a golden arrow and some fairy dust, Cupid could intoxicate us with an opioid dose of love energy.  He could tap Donald Trump on the head and say, “Hey, sugar cup, remember you have the fate of the entire free world in your hands. Show some love. It’s not about the power, it’s about the people!”

Then Cupid could put right wingers and left wingers and media gone mad into a sugar coma. He would come to us all in our Valentine’s Day sugar-induced, chocolate coma and lecture us for over-indulging in anger. “Get up and exercise your voice, but remember, love is the highest grade of fuel. Anger is cheap, corrosive and will clog your engines, your arteries, too.”

Munching on a fair trade chocolate bar, he would continue, “put the energy of love to work, not fear. Your fear is creating chemtrails in the sky and it’s getting harder to find my way home.”

Then Cupid would dissolve into a sugary mist of white, but not before leaving us with homework. The assignment would be to answer these questions:

  • Are you bringing the energy of love or hate to your political views, discussions, work?
  • What can love make better in your life?
  • What can you create from love? Is it a healed relationship? A beautiful poem? A solution to a problem created in fear or anger?

This Valentine’s Day, let’s all do our homework.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

(Check out my book, Tao Flashes, A Woman’s Way to Navigating the Midlife Journey with Integrity, Harmony and Grace, available on Amazon.)

 

 

Ode to A New Year

Let us raise our glasses to days of ordinary.
Let us toast, I say, to resilience,
To truth that rushes out in four letter words,
And to new years fierce with longing
And daily rapture.
Let us call it all in–
Let us trumpet in tomorrow,
The sounds of dogs in discourse,
The cloudless skies, dry of rain,
And the sweet, sweet hum of ordinary days.
Let us begin.
Again.

 

(Check out my book, Tao Flashes, A Woman’s Way to Navigating the Midlife Journey with Integrity, Harmony and Grace, available on Amazon.)

Freddy Krueger, Politics and Grace–A 2016 Wrap-Up

If 2016 were a person, he’d be Freddy Krueger with a hatchet, chasing us from one dark room into another while we waited for the nightmare to end, or the movie credits to roll.

Undoubtedly, this year has been grim. It’s been a year of  loss for many. On the celebrity front, the casualty count was high. And we said good-bye to Hollywood royalty when Prince and a Princess hit the highway to heaven in a red corvette.

In 2016, cyber hacks were as common as a winter cold, or at least a virus. Politics became something “other” and more smelly than three-week-old fish gone to rot in the fridge. In 2016, the political scene was just that, a scene, a spectacle, a brutal schoolyard fight–but we sanctioned this one. We  sactioned it, took sides, and  tuned in day after day for repeated knock-downs. It became sport and along the way, we lost our sportsmanship.

Hell, some of us even joined in the brewhaha. But it wasn’t funny. Politics in 2016 brought out the worst in many of us, forcing brothers and sisters behind enemy lines.

It also shined the light on our shadows.

Between the racial unrest,  police shootings and terrorist attacks, chaos was the winner in 2016.Here in Louisiana, add torrential rains and floods and you had a gumbo of misery.

And yet, in the midst of this Nightmare on Anywhere Street that was 2016, there is something else to know.

There was grace too. Oh sure, she got confused by the retro thinking and bruised by the political chest thumping, but nobody keeps baby in the corner for long. She showed up when she could. She appeared in flood zones, not on a white horse, but in a pontoon with the Cajun Navymen in tow,  to rescue flood victims.  She strapped on a pair of boots and overalls and helped neighbors tear rotted drywall from uninhabitable homes. She slipped her way from checkbooks into envelopes to help support causes that supported refugees, and hungry and homeless people, scattered across the globe.

Grace appeared too, though in a fiercer form to protest land rights, or political policies that go against the grain of our nation’s better nature.

Beyond grace, there is more to know before we shutter this year: Chaos always precedes transformation. Rain fertilizes us for what’s next. Light transforms the darkness. It shows us the dirt in the corners and cracks, the places and institutions in our homeland, in our hearts even, that could use a good Spring cleaning.

The media. Our political parties. Race relations. I’d say, let’s start there. But in this post-truth era, here’s some truth—these institutions or problems are a reflection of us.

Because we cannot fix our political system or any problems in our country with the same mindset, the same divisiveness, the same “us against them” mentality that created it.

If we don’t want 2017 to be another frightful Freddy Krueger year, let’s transform it into something better.

Let’s start by inviting grace back to the party. Let’s have actual conversations centered around facts, not cheap rumors. Let’s learn why people think differently and be open to different points of view. Let’s live our values but work to compromise when necessary, so we don’t end up compromising the best of our country’s values.

Let’s work to connect, and not to divide. Instead of “fighting” for a cause, and bringing the energy of discord, let’s “work” to bring change.

In 2017, let’s commit to listening, loving and working for something better. Let us rise together as we welcome the new year, remembering this: a rising tide lifts all boats.

Happy New Year!

(If you are interested in more thoughts on integrity, harmony and grace, check out my book, Tao Flashes, available on Amazon.)

 

 

 

What the Presidential Candidates Say About Us

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When we look in a mirror we see our own reflection. In some ways, it is the same with the presidential race.

Blue or red, left or right, today’s contentious presidential race reflects our fears, prejudices and shadows more than our political leanings.

On the right, we’ve trumped up a small man and made him larger than life. We have confused money with value. And we have allowed a so called truth teller to spin yarns that stretch from Manhattan to Moscow.

His outrageousness makes for hysterical Saturday Night Live skits. But the reality, not so funny as Trump continues to unmask the country’s fear and or distain for women, immigrants and those who are “different,” (insert race, creed, sex, socioeconomic standing, etc., here).  He uses his power to inspire and trumpet hatred, and of all his sins, this is the worst in my book.

Trump is the disenfranchised, entitled part of us, the inner bully who doesn’t always like ourselves so we project the ugliness outward. He is the one in us who is secretly afraid of those who are different. He is the one in us who fears vulnerability, the one who blames everyone else for mistakes, the one who weighs and measures with a scarcity mindset, fearful that enough is never really enough.

He is our shadow, and he casts a long one over us, America. He is our collective disillusionment and disconnect from grace. Even if you subscribe to traditional Republican values, Trump’s shadow has eclipsed decency, morality and logic.

On the left we have Hillary Clinton, a woman–love her or hate her–whose ethics too are questionable. She brings out hatred too, mostly the shadow hatred men and women feel for powerful women.

She is as cold as December, calculating and inspires fear, too.  Much of the fear she incites is that of change; after all, a woman in the Oval Office is the ultimate glass ceiling shatterer.

She does not embody the feminine spirit (oh, how I wish she did) and if anything, mirrors the warrior archetype more than Trump.  But her resolve, power and intelligence are real; she is disciplined and capable and those traits in a female are frightening to the conscious and unconscious patriarchal wiring alive in all of us. She is shorting our circuits and for some, the shock hurts.

I haven’t written about the political race and seldom discuss it because it is a topic that divides and fractures. The rhetoric I see on both sides of the fence brings out the worst in people and I blame both candidates for that.  We are, after all, only reflecting that reality.

I am not happy with either candidate. But I am not voting for a reality star who casts a dark shadow over our country, over the  best of our American spirit. I want to be able to look at my reflection in the mirror after the election and like it.

P.S. I am sorry if I offend. I have worked  hard to stay calm through all of the ugliness of this race because I believe ugliness begets ugliness. I don’t want to add my voice to that chorus. But I am sharing my observations because I don’t want to look back after this election and know I kept silent.

(If you are interested in thoughts on integrity, harmony and grace, particularly at midlife, check out my book, Tao Flashes.) 

Always Remembering, Never Forgetting, Sept. 11

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Last year I remember seeing a billboard on the  anniversary of the Sept. 11 tragedy. It read, “Never Forget.”  As a writer, I wanted to tweak the copy on the billboard to say, “Always Remember.”

But never mind the wordsmithing. No  doubt we will never forget; we will always remember that fateful day when ordinary planes were turned into missiles and time was forever divided between before and after.

That day is etched into our national and personal psyches.

I visited the 911 Memorial Museum two years ago when I was in New York City. I walked through rooms that recorded the best and worst of humanity. Images of innocents, photos of every single victim lined the walls; I saw shoes and burnt papers that were blown from the Towers as they collapsed into rubble; I heard audio recordings of the confusion of dispatchers and first responders. I listened to a recording of a man leaving a message to a wife he would never see again.

I saw images of heroism, fire fighters marching up starways to certain death. I saw a staircase that led a fated group of survivors to freedom.

By the time I left the museum my legs were wobbling. I was exhausted but grateful I had paid homage to history. I felt it was my duty.

The next day, I mentioned to a New Yorker my experience of the 911 Museum. She told me she hadn’t been. “I don’t know if I can do,” she said, “It is still too fresh for many of us who live here.”

I understood intellectually what she was saying. But on an emotional level, I am not sure I did until recently.

After all, New Orleanians who experienced Hurricane Katrina, some who were plucked off of rooftops, or who had their houses destroyed, those who breathed the daily grief of loss and chaos for months or years after, don’t need to visit a museum exhibit or a Katrina Memorial to remember.

Just like those here in south Louisiana who have lost so much in the “The Great Flood of 2016“–homes, entire neighborhoods, cars, clothes, family albums, treasured recipes,  handmade Mother’s Day cards —and  the security of knowing the world is ordered and safe.

None of us here will need to visit a Memorial to remember the pain, the bravery, the wet air heavy with grief and disbelief. Those of us who experience or witness tragedy, disaster, heroism, compassion, we carry that with us.

For better and worse, we remember, it all.

Today,  I remember the heroes and victims of Sept. 11.  I send blessings to them–to all of us–and pray for the fortitude to carry on during the darkest of times because that is the best of us, the best of our American pioneering, gritty, compassionate spirit.

(If you are interested in thoughts on integrity, harmony and grace, particularly at midlife, check out my book, Tao Flashes.)