Close the Sky.

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It stays with me day and night, this plea for help from Ukrainian president Voldoymyr Zelensky.

Close the sky.

It says everything in three words. Protect us. Save us. Defend us.

The endless vastness of the sky that was the only space we saw, that free air, germless air, a refuge from claustrophobia, was a savior through years of sheltering in place against Covid 19.

The sky was heaven for a lost congregation and a cathedral of prayer.

Now it is too big, too formless, too ethereal a canopy for the civilization below.

Death can reign from the sky.

Close is a familiar word to the world now.

Close the schools. Close the office. Close the mask over your nose.

Close the sky is disturbingly beautiful to me. This plea born of terror, of agony and despair should not be beautiful but in its simplicity and strangeness I find it so.

If it was not beautiful would it not be so powerful?

The sky cannot be closed. It is a place without borders. This is what makes it so magnificent and fearsome.

And impossible.

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Ukraine

There’s a distance of ten thousand miles between my sweet steaming coffee and the fuming television screen this morning. Russian artillery fire smolders as an endless stream of raging grey tanks move toward Kyiv. My coffee tastes like ash.

How weird a world where one sits in the privilege of home and comfort watching another existence violently crumple. It’s like watching a murder while eating pastries. It feels a bit sociopathic though to turn away is its own lack.

Endless stories of crying children and frightened mothers, of bravery and treachery blaze across the airways as the onslaught escalates, as journalists relate pleas for help, as the Western world contemplates and discusses measures to halt the destruction in slow motion as if a country isn’t being eaten alive while they prevaricate.

Watching Ukrainian President Zelensky I’m reminded of Patrick, one of the beloved characters in the series Schitt’s Creek because they look alike and because the characters of both are simply beautiful.

Admitting this impression feels guilty. I have the luxury to think these shallow thoughts though I will defend to the death the usefulness of lowbrow television as a way to know the mind of the culturally  average, which to be redundant, is most of us who engage in a world beyond our villages or want to.

These images of Putin’s war are not unlike a T.V. series as we become no less horrified or heartbroken but maybe a bit numb by the regularly scheduled sameness of it all.

How fucked up is that?

Everything on this planet is interrelated. When the web pulls anywhere it affects us. When a soul suffers we suffer with it. When pain is inflicted in another we wince.

Why do men provoke war? What women say in real time to each other is that they are morons. Is it a woman’s job to stay their hands? Could they when the ire is raised in self righteous lies they tell themselves?

There’s no need to lash out as I want to and no easy answer when dealing with detente and madness. The black and white that defines absolute always becomes grey when it sits in the atmosphere but it doesn’t feel that way today.

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Man Advances While Nature Plots

Vertigo plagues me. Motionlessness, I feel the planet hurl through space.

I considered the story line of Corona 19 as a malevolent, intelligent intentional predator oozing through a dying earth’s portal. I imagined animals exhausted by human destruction agreeing to host the virus on a symbiotic sentient mission to scour humankind with a fearsome plague.

In a fit of communal self loathing my fury at the state of our complicity grimly assures me we had it coming.

Killer viruses color the paper masked days.

I looked up data on the intelligence of viruses.  They possess a vague consciousness. They are parasites that mutate via hosts. Their mission is life everlasting.

Predators are a foundation of the animal kingdom. It’s nothing new that one survives by the demise of another.

It’s about dinner or dominion.

But humans are different. Our predatory patterns are not of a natural world but more complex.

Our idea of dinner can involve a world of hurt before we inflict the final blow to be packaged in plastic.

Our need for dominance involves excess.

The earth’s disease didn’t start by blood but desire.

Desire at its root is the same for all mankind. It’s the inhale. The inhale says yes. I want life.

To hold the inhale or to grasp it before the exhalation’s absolute emptiness disrupts the circuits. It is a sign of dis-ease. You can feel it in hyperventilation, indigestion, pelvic disorders, and jaw pain. This lack of ease is the first imbalance.

The virus comes for and by the inhale.

Such dark poetry but delicacy is for easier times.

Two steps forward and one step back is our nature and an antidote to the barrenness of a linear life.

The curve can endure more force than a straight line. Still, under force it can curve too much. The integrity of the whole breaks down.

The forces of ignorance or incompetence or incapacity are reeling us in.

Though in so many ways life is made easier than ever we’ve staggered backwards more than a step this time.

That is the vertigo. That is the wobble.

Imbalance begets disease.

The selfishly toxic politicians and talking heads, the abused environment, and the under-served ignorant public are the malady.

Disease is not the end but the beginning of our pandemic.

Salvation is not simplistic in a complex and confused society that fights it.

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Thin Blue Veil

Star Trek Captain of the Enterprise, William Shatner exited Jeff Besos’ Blue Origin rocket at the age of 90 overwhelmed by the revelation that the minuscule five foot wide thin blue veil surrounding earth is all that separates us from destruction.

Distance and space shed light on this slight protection as well as the perspective of a combined humanity who will live or die together.

The illumination defies the fact that we see ourselves as unrelated tribes speaking unrelated languages, living individual lives.

It defies our aversion to amend bad habits despite worry for the planet.

All that separates us summons the greeting Namaste.  The light in you recognizes the light in me. The suggestion is I see you and I see you are like me though we mostly don’t see or believe that.

The words thin blue veil stay with me.  In this post quarantine Pandemic infused 2.0 life I see that veil hanging like a pall between what was and what will be. The atmosphere feels toxic and beyond repair. The dream of the greatest nation a spec in the bygone distance.

The prevailing text of modern yoga states at the outset that the goal of yoga is to lift the veil of ignorance about our true nature. At this moment of cynical denial of undeniable truths, the veil prevails as evidenced by the current social civil war.  I once thought yoga could save the world but it seems only to have become another distraction.

This veil is a fog of confusion. Should this veil dissipate might we come to recognize the true nature of ourselves in concert with our environment? Would the release of one veil not protect the one surrounding the planet? Would the emptiness of the word us become instead a construct of social reform?

The veil between courtesy and contempt is a porous shroud blowing in the breeze of moodiness.

The veil between health and sickness is a moment that changes everything.

The veil between friend and foe is fickle and self serving.

The veil between comfortable and destitute is always uncertain.

The veil between fact and opinion is a wall.

The veil between Liberal and Conservative an electric fence.

The veil between the boomers and whatever letter this generation is, is language.

The veil between relevant and discarded makes no sense.

The veil between male and female is full of holes.

The nature to watch for disaster is hardwired. To look at life with optimism takes work and practice. The right environment makes it easier but that environment is not prevailing. Everything is in question now.

What will we give up for the love of the earth and her creatures?

What can we buy that has no plastic?

What can we eat that hasn’t harmed a person or animal?

How should we build our home to not over extend?

Buy our clothes?

Invest our money?

How will we make the least impact on the fragile blue veil?

What can we pretend is not our problem?

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The Social Contract Breaks First

Don’t Tread on Me

Trump’s last year set on the field of Global Pandemic in a battle between Left and Right unmasked incompatible ideas of human rights, personal freedom and truth.

The quarantined  constant chatter about the intractable, unreasonable, myopic and ignorant human condition , one side furiously judging the other  had dampened bitchin yoga’s fire and spoiled my appetite for the rant. 

Recently the phrase “social contract” came up in conversation and stirred the curtains. Social contract is the foundation of modern yoga and social contract is the glue that holds this country together.

From Hilary Lindsay Rebel Yogis 2001 Calendar

~The social contract of yoga is self centered.

~The social contract of Judeo/Christian ethics is founded on love for others.

~The social contract that founded America was designed to protect us from each other’s worst impulses.

In the “Yoga Sutras” which is the seminal work of modern yoga, the author offers a system to manage man’s weaknesses with a check list to determine the outcome of the process.

Don’t harm or steal or overstep. Don’t covet or lie. In unspoken theory, if you follow those rules the outcome is a shiny spirit, a fire in the belly for work, a desire to learn including knowledge of one’s self and the recognition that there’s something greater than the sum of one that dictates the energy we share. And we are humble.

The outcome will be a better society but not because we are concerned with society. We are managing our composure to ensure personal peace.

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In the biblical teachings we are asked to love our neighbors as ourselves and the Ten Commandments share some of the tenants of the Sutras. The intention attributed to Jesus is love.  Love others and things will go well.

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The social contract that founded America was derived largely from the philosophy of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes who posited that conflict is inevitable in nature and men left to their own selfish devices will need government to restrain their passions. Paradoxically legal restraints are a necessary measure toward individual freedom. The alternative is vigilantism. Hobbes called this a war of every one against every one. Madison and Hamilton concurred and put safeguards in our Constitution.

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Now citizens who mistake anarchy for liberty are emboldened by Donald Trump’s new Republican leadership.  Don’t tread on me has been exhumed from the American Revolution to serve as a battle cry for the Libertarians and Tea Party enthusiasts who seemingly have no concept of American civics. The ignorance and subsequent violence are causing the wounded country to hemorrhage. The January 6th insurrection was no anomaly but a peek beneath the sheets.

Today is July 4th, the day Americans celebrate the notion of freedom by firing off explosives. In theory it’s an awesome and glorious display of light and power, a show by the people for the people.

Here in the buckle of the Bible belt as they used to call Tennessee, personal fireworks are banned but if anyone pays that heed I haven’t noticed. Fireworks begin weeks before the fourth terrorizing the dogs and horses at the nearby agricultural center where we gather each day to walk with friends.

Where these days simplicity allows for constructs of Black v. White, Left v. Right, Gal v. Guy, Straight v. High, the behavior around gunshot blasts of explosives in neighboring yards now blurs those lines as anyone can disprove the position of love your neighbor as yourself. 

Not to be a total buzz kill, this American past time is beloved and brief.  Though I have given up seeing fireworks to stay home with my quaking dogs, I am a fan. And because I know when the local displays begin I am able to manage my animals.

The things is that though social networks reveal the widespread terror our kids and animals face each year in the face of neighbors randomly setting off explosives for weeks prior and on the 4th from their own yards people who know the law will not be enforced  do not mind how they affect others. They are entitled. The line is drawn there.

Entitled is the new norm. Freedom may be the most misunderstood word in the dictionary. The social contracts are breaking down. Yoga is not excluded.

What is the sound of freedom ringing?

This is a blog and so I’ll leave it there. You can fill in the rest as you see it.

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Buried Alive

February 2021

We lie but do not rest in peace beneath a white shroud. Sea to shining sea, there is no footing in this block of ice though human footprints soften in drowning snow.

The sound of my own thoughts is the only sound I hear.

Snow is a quiet that’s not the absence of sound but a sound itself.

Different than the hush that keeps spiraling in a year of tornadoes, floods, fires and quarantine.

Perhaps it’s the lone balance for the chatter of political dissent that roared ceaselessly across the airwaves, on twitter, the internet, our conversations, that kept us in touch.

Eleven months after global quarantine, we shelter in place once more.

Nature’s shots keep pace with shots in arms. Her power is a fury.

Blessed be the tired earth as it slays its inhabitants again.

The virus persists but the people weary of worry laid down their guard and rushed to work and habit.

Lack of discipline or protection sent us back to life marked at dawn ringing alarms.

Alarm. What is that? How is that a word to wake up to?

Alarm is the ringing bell of my awakening.

How long must I hide out because others will not?

Their habits prolong my prison sentence as they excuse themselves from the table.

How will I get to my ailing parents?

What use am I to anyone here in the confines of my home asylum.

Every day the same day. Every thought the same thought.

Buried alive.

But now the snow melts and rain moves toward us on the scent of spring.

The nature of man is undeniable.

Even as we ready for floods, warned again,

We rise from the burial ground like ghostly shadows

And reach for the light.

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Sensory Yoga In Hair Raising Times ~Namaste

February 2021.

Soft hands belie a commitment to hand sanitizers as the Pandemic forges onward.

Corona Easter Bunny 2020 by Hilary

Those souls whose sensory overload comes quickly in the best of times are quickest to notice the rawness of skin now washed in a constant acid bath of battle. No lotion soothes these scoured parts, the instruments of giving and receiving for too human bodies.

The skin the world sees, the skin of the organs, the skin of the breath and even the mind is chafed and chapped and twitchy. We are fragile and too tender for the fight.

Being thin skinned takes on a sharp meaning when the thickness of ones skin implies protection.

In a world where beauty certainly isn’t only skin deep, at a time when we are forced to the surface hourly in an attempt to come up for news that is the air defining our days, we live on the surface.

The yoga teacher urges the student toward the down under. Seek the quiet beneath the surf for answers to your urgent question. Who am I? What’s happening? What is real?

One might see living beneath the surface now as denial or detachment or worse, disassociation.

Underground is a dirty word aligned with other words like the “dark web”.

The underground rises to the surface again and again. It is blind and desperate for a light. It will not be ignored. On the surface it crashed the nation’s Capitol in a murderous rage. On the surface it is a violent virus burning holes in the skin of lungs.

But in yoga we encourage the students to visit the dark. We tell them with our salutation of namaste that here we are all together. Here we are one.

We are all the same beneath the skin. I see your true self. The light in you shines a light on me. I recognize myself and yourself without ego. We all shine like gold beneath the skin. These are a few of the ways yoga teachers express the meaning of the word Namaste.

At times like these it is a helpful band-aid for the wounds of the skin. It allows the surface of all who hear it to let down the guard, to receive the rarefied air of potential collective kindness.

It assumes what it doesn’t see but is spoken to be true until the words wear off like chipped paint.

For the sensory over-dosed yogi a solitary trip to the darkness shines light on sensations that over-load the circuits. The protective shield of namaste is not enough to ensure safety for the organs of the senses as skin, eyes, ears, mouth and mind reel in the hurricane force of lonesome clarity.

Layla

A sensory over-loaded yogi has the challenge of managing the organs of the senses without the warm blanket of Namaste. Naked and alone, that person has to be the nurturing balm for oneself applied hourly as the glow of a yoga practice fades when weathered by storms.

Unfiltered the organs of the senses get clogged with contaminants of memory and fear. That exposure brings sickness.

Yoga is a filter and searchlight at once but not all yoga fits all people.

Sensory yogis should move lightly, breathe softly as downy feathers floating in the wind. Sensory yogis do well to marry yoga to Tai Chi and dance. The dance should be like the I Ching taking them down the path where the souls’ dowel directs them.

Sensory yogis don’t hold your heads beneath the water forcing down that which is desperate for air! Rather let the skin soften and spread into other. There’s no room for the universe in you. You are too full. Let yourself bloom into the universe.

Gently.

And when eyes close and the skin presses down let your meditation begin, this too shall pass.

Hilary.

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Light Peeks Through the Cracks of Our Broken Home

The Inauguration of Joe Biden 2021

Spring air teases the forsythia and bluebirds forward. The white cold light of winter still shines slantingly through my Southern facing windows this early dawn. It will soon shift to the northern side of this house and morning will be less of a call to attention as the days drift on for hours, eventually bleeding into night.

On this day that Donald Trump departs he will take despair with him. He will carry the crushing weight of hate away on the country’s helicopter. His departure will unclog the suffocating sludge of contention that has sucked the oxygen from our people.

It will feel that way for some of us. Some of us will follow the fumes kicked up by his dust, hoping to stay in his reality star story. Some will choose lies but most will roll over with exhaustion hoping for an unbroken rest now that he’s been replaced by a human being whether it be in defeat of their vote or victory.

Will we emerge from the bunker rolls of toilet paper and paper towels to wonder at our prison walls? Will we stare in confusion at the storehouse of swabs, sanitizers, soaps and wipes stuffed into corners?

Will we ever look at a communal bowl of food without horror? Will we find the old friends waiting and pick up the pieces as if they’d never broken?

What do our jobs that were lost mean now? Were we necessary and is there a place for us? What do the jobs we’ve done from home feel like when we take them back to the circle of others? Are we glad for the company of others or too tender from our quiet time in solitary?

Who do we trust?

I know yoga but yoga has not saved me this year. Love has been buried beneath fury, joy subjugated beneath fear.

It took most of the year but on insurrection day January 6th, that news overriding the daily death toll that remains consistent, it seemed hopeless and forever that I’d live in a wasteland after so many wonderful years in this beautiful country.

Trying to put myself into the shoes of those I disagreed with sent shivers through my soul. Spending time in their skin sickened me though I did try to sympathize or make excuses for them. From this, this yoga teachers’ circuits are fried but not irreparable.

The mother board is undergoing a systems analysis. The memory will be rebooted, the dust blown away, old programs discarded, the hardware upgraded.

Could this moment seem so potent if not for the last four years plus of trauma?

Perhaps the breakdown, the degradation and shame of our collective national consciousness is for a moment, the pathway to equity, community, and yes, love.

Let’s stay here in this moment. Draw it out with feathery breaths. Soak in the possibilities, breath out the past.

Love, Hilary

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Post Capitol Hill Combat, Corporate America Replaces a Republican Conscience 2021

Corporate America is fleeing the corpse of the Republican party on the heels of international horror as American democracy unraveled at the hands of the empowered, entitled and greedy.

Donald Trump, his family, followers advisors and sycophants hammered home the message they shoved in our faces for four years plus. Morality is what they say it is, truth is what they say it is, ownership of the government is what they say it is and they finally declared it was theirs with a war cry to their red hatted army to seize it.

It might have gone by as quietly as every other injury visited on America but for the public display of destruction it wrought on January 6th at the Capitol.

Finally this was too much to dismiss as it’s just Trump, he doesn’t mean it.

Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett Packard, famously declared in the run for presidency 2016 that corporations were people. That’s because they have to answer to their investors.

Corporations fund political campaigns. Corporations bank on who will fill their coffers. Politicians bank on who will fund them.

Corporations are pulling financial support from Republicans who stood with Trump against the 2021 elections results. World opinion matters to business. World opinion is that America is a shit hole country. Still one worth investing in for now but big money is hedging its bets.

Republicans are pivoting as fast as they can to denounce the support they gave publicly days before in order to save their political skin. Without corporate money they have no chance of keeping their seats.

The public outcry for campaign finance reform has been loud and ongoing though no inroads are made because they would have to be made by politicians who don’t want them.

Corporate political sponsors are on the right side of history now for a minute when almost half the country doesn’t know truth from fiction. Nearly half the country is complicit in the ongoing domestic terrorism that Trump fomented with his first public statement that Obama wasn’t a citizen culminating in the cry for a violent overthrow of the government as his reign of terror comes to an end.

What does it say that the next onslaught of news: revolution, corruption, violence, unmasked Covid spreading Republican congressmen is a relief from near a year of killer virus facts and fiction?

What does it say that this man told the bloodthirsty murderous mob that they were “very special” people who “we love..” and people who voted for him just weeks before have no remorse that this was their choice as they tsk tsk he went off the rails.

Somehow they didn’t mind the bullet train he was steadily driving into the heart of America from the first campaign stop. Until now, when things started looking really bad for them.

Money worship is the obscene idolatry that fomented this moment. The Republican party continues to fall in line.

Welcome to the Civil War.

Hilary

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Your Emotional Response is Not Your Response

Trump, his family, his lawyer, his Chief of Staff, his Senate and House coat tail political aspirants, enabled by a complicit Republican party incited his base to surge the Capitol in protest against the 2021 election results.

And they did. The scenes on television were horrific. People were terrified and so shaken that at the last moment of a four year assault on truth and fellowship, a purposeful fracturing of a country for personal gains and before that a methodical discrediting of the Black president and then the cruel dismembering of every one of his political opponents in the race for the Presidency, so shaken that for almost a day they ditched support for the creature they co-created.

And then they started spinning stories, about themselves, and this man who went off the rails as if he was on any rail from the moment he grabbed the political spotlight.

Why be so arrogant that you can’t admit you turned your head against his racism, audacious lies, thievery because you liked what he could do for you? Because it was easy and it didn’t directly affect you? Why feign shock at the culmination of what was the only possible outcome of this sociopath turned psycho?

Why defend the political party that two days after the siege shows only a 27% rate of concern that this was a huge deal.

The fringe splintered and seems to be dragging the Conservatives with them.

Look how Mitch McConnell has rushed to recess the Senate until the day before Biden’s inauguration so they can’t vote to impeach or remove him. Listen to the spin to blame left wing conspirators. I’m sure they would have blamed Black Lives Matter as well but it was hard to find a black or brown face in the crowd.

The RNC quietly renominated the puffy powdered Trump smitten chairwoman in a cozy meeting that worried not about the events of days before.

Why defend yourself as a member of a soul sacrificing fractured group that Trump’s advisor and son in law bragged openly is no longer the Republican party but the Trump party! You have not platform, no party, no ideology now. You have spent any good will years ago as the party of fiscal moderation or independence.

Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you aren’t capable of admitting you got it wrong. Maybe you like these protesters carrying your secret fury for you. Maybe you are them.

Maybe it’s convenient to ignore or dismiss your indifference. Like the outrage after every mass murder shooting shown on television after a few days you realize it’s not your problem at your door and easier to forget about it than do something about it.

Everyone knows what a nice person you are. Good parent, provider, neighbor, friend. You’d do anything for the people in your circle.

And that’s where it stops.

Kids in cages stolen from their parents, foreigners seeking asylum stopped at borders,abused animals, starving children, workers doing three jobs to keep their homes, wildlife sacrificed for deregulation, health care costs insurmountable, it’s not your problem.

Smug, you think, I did what I have to do to take care of my own. Keep your hands off and get yours like I did.

No nuance for you.

I wrote about the feral morons who stormed the Capitol but that wasn’t all of them. Yes the visual was Duck Dynasty but millionaires flew in private planes for the event. Middle and upper class educated people attended the insurrection, Duck Dynasty beneath their discount designer labels.

They were radicalized by the internet.

Shame on educated people to be so gullible. A villain with mind control just had to stoke the flames. His followers kept them burning.

Shame on you. I am particularly offended by descendants of Holocaust victims who shrink from the idea of asylum seekers or people who want a better life from entering this country. Trump surrounded himself with the most corrupted of them. More opportunity for Jew haters to find scapegoats as the tide turns and the mob turns its bloodshot eyes toward Mike Pence with cries of “Hang Mike Pence” for not doing Trump’s bidding as his term of bag-man comes to an end.

Trump will slink away from Twitter’s locked doors and take his place in the underworld on the dirty web.

You’ll pay no attention until your television explodes again.

And you’ll blame someone or something else.

But never yourselves.

Hilary

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