Monthly Archives: August 2008

why i’m not voting in november

“The — the reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.

“I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.”

when i heard lines such as these (courtesy of http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/us/politics/28text-obama.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all ) during the brief portion of obama’s acceptance speech i listened to last night (chiefs football was on simultaneously), i remember thinking to myself, ‘well, fuck, obama’s integral.’ he certainly seemed to have a lot of support from my fellow attendees at the integral theory conference earlier this month. and while i see definite flashes of integralism in his talk, for some reason, i just can’t get on board. maybe it’s simply because i don’t trust obama, i feel as though he’s hiding something, or that he is in fact making himself out to be a savior by promising this and that, and i’m a firm believer that, as individuals, we can only save ourselves. we can’t look to someone from the outside to do it for us, whether that person be a jewish carpenter who supposedly lived 2000 years ago, or world citizen barack obama in 21st century america. if we do that (which i believe most people have already done), we’re only giving our power away, but i digress…

this morning i had a somewhat enlightening conversation with a friend about last night’s speech. she is so fired up by it that she’s thinking of volunteering here locally for obama’s campaign, and i’m happy that she feels passionate enough about it to take time out of her busy schedule. she mentioned to me that she overheard a conversation here in which one coworker was telling another that he wasn’t going to vote at all this fall, that he is just going to sit it out. surprisingly to her, i replied, ‘so am i.’ i think she was genuinely shocked first of all that, as a person of color, i am not an obama supporter, and secondly, that i’m just not voting. she went on to tell me that people died for my right to vote, which is of course true, but i can’t believe those people would want me to vote for someone i can’t believe in, which is true out of all possible choices this season. (i usually vote libertarian, and i can’t even see myself doing that this year.) and it’s not like i’m not voting out of apathy. i truly do care about what’s going on around me, but voting for someone just because they are on the ballot to me is doing nothing but perpetuating the problem. so, i do what i can in my sphere of influence, which ultimately i hope will provide more positive change than teaching people to depend on the government. i did tell her that i was considering writing-in a candidate, which she discouraged, saying that i was taking away from legitimate candidates, which doesn’t even make sense to me.

at any rate, the main reason i’m not voting this fall, in addition to not really feeling any of the candidates, is simply something i’ve said before: i don’t think it will make a difference. no matter who wins, mccain or obama, any ‘change’ is either going to be surface or token, or *if* significant change does take place, i think it will only speed up our country’s escalation downward.

yes, i realize that it is quite significant that obama is the first african-american presidential candidate for a major political party and i’m very pleased about that, and the fact that it occured in my lifetime. this country has come a long way (and still has a ways to go, which i think can only be dealt with by a change in consciousness, which is happening). still, a few months back i said to a friend that obama probably will be the first black american president, but he will probably also be the last for a long time. i think his policies will be quite detrimental to this country, and americans, with their inability to look past the surface on so many things, will look back and blame the black man for what he did to this country, even though his skin color will actually have nothing to do with it. i hope he enjoys his day in the sun.

wtf

here are the lyrics to the song that has been in my head over the past few days (courtesy of http://www.lyricsmania.com/soundtracklyrics/weeds_2_soundtrack_lyrics_1020/fuck_was_i__jenny_owen_youngs_lyrics_15938.html ):

Title: Fuck Was I (Jenny Owen Youngs)

Love grows in me like a tumor,
parasites bent on devouring its host.
I’m developing my sense of humor,
till I can laugh at my heart between your teeth,
till I can laugh at my face beneath your feet.

chorus:
Skillet on the stove is such a temptation,
maybe I’ll be the lucky one that doesn’t get burned.
What the fuck was I thinking?

Love plows through me like a dozer,
I’ve got more give than a bale of hay,
and there’s always a big mess left over.
What did you do?
What did you say?

Skillet on the stove is such a temptation,
maybe I’ll be the special one that doesn’t get burned.
What the fuck was I thinking?

Love tears me up like a demon.
Opens the wounds and fills them with lead,
and I’m having some trouble just breathing.
If we werent such good friends I think that I’d hate you.
If we weren’t such good friends I’d wish you were dead.

Oh it’s so embarrasing
I’m this awkward and uncomparable thing,
and I’m running out of places to hide.

What the fuck was I thinking?

y’all can probably guess one of the reasons this song is in my head (the sgc), but let’s just say i don’t write about everything going on in my little world.

going to hell in a bucket, regardless…

this is one of the few times over the past couple of years that i’ve wished i had a television. i have no intention of voting for anyone, but still have quite an interest in the political conventions. i know i can watch clips of the different speeches online, but it’s not the same. i want to watch mrs. clinton talk live about john mccain is her friend and colleague, but who will ‘rape your grandmother and sell your first-born son into slavery and put arsenic directly in our drinking water’ if he gets into the white house. of course, such rhetoric will probably also be commonplace next week in st. paul, when we get to hear about obama bringing his muslim family over from kenya to have the run of the newly renamed black house.

okay, so i exaggerate a bit, on both sides. however, honestly, at this point, it seems to me it’s just the two sides trying to convince us that the opposing side is taking america to hell in a handbasket. and, at this point, i believe each side is right. things will keep going the way they are going, no matter who wins the general election this fall. nothing is going to change, and we shouldn’t even be relying on a new person occupying the white house to determine what that change might be, in the first place. without some major shift in consciousness, we are going to hell in a bucket. to paraphrase from a grateful dead song, i hope we’re enjoying the ride while we can.

california dreaming, part 3: love

the trip last week to the bay area was my first since 1997. back then my world was a much different place. my mother was still alive, as was a favorite cousin who lived in fairfield, located in the east bay. that last trip i also made with the man i still thought i was in love with at the time, and i was hanging onto any little shred of hope that he might not be gay. we had made the trek to the city the previous two summers, having gone through a lot as our relationship morphed from friendship into a romance into some sort of fresh hell. the previous year we had voluntarily gotten bumped from our flight, which allowed us the tickets we used the following year. i had wanted to go to alaska, but he wanted to visit san francisco one more time (perhaps this should have been my clue that he was irrevocably gay :). if this had happened in 2008, i would have just said fuck it and booked the next flight to anchorage by myself. however, this was in the mid to late 90s and i had no sense of self and even less self esteem. so here i was in the city once again, because i didn’t know what else to do. fortunately i loved the city, but still because of personal circumstances, it was a strained nine days.
my trip last week was so very different from that last visit, or the two visits before that. i wonder if i could have made this most recent trip if i hadn’t made the previous trips, which gave me a vague familiarity with san francisco. maybe, but i don’t know. yes, i’ve traveled alone before, but with this particular trip, there was something different in the air, something that was – i hate to say this because it sounds rather cheesy, but it was paradigm shifting for me. i feel like a different person upon returning home, more so than from any other trip i’ve ever taken. i’m not sure if i can pinpoint why this is, other than, first of all, attending the integral theory conference, which in itself could be considered paradigm changing. and then doing the informational interviews, which i had an inkling beforehand that they would likely result in my making monumental changes in my life, and now i’m seeing the ongoing results: i am in fact making plans to make a huge transition in my life over the next few months.
also, and this is not to diss kansas city, but when i compare the two cities, there is no comparison. the trips in the 90s, when i returned home to columbia, well, columbia is a college town that knows it’s a college town. i didn’t compare the two places, because what would be the point? i was happy to return to a slower, sleepier pace. however, kc would like to think it is a big city. it’s a medium-size city that has some big city amenities, but it ain’t big (the sprawl notwithstanding – kc is the 36th largest city population-wise but the 13th largest when it comes to square mileage.). i compare the hustle and bustle of san francisco to kc, and i feel like i’m in a one-horse town now. apparently i’ve turned into a city girl at some point. 🙂 i love kansas city for what it is, and i’ve certainly grown by leaps and bounds having been here. however, i feel like i’ve accomplished what i came here to do, and my trip out west confirms that for me.
san francisco and i have a history, and this trip was also about revisiting that history and then moving on, whether that possibly involved my living in kc indefinitely, or actually relocating to the bay area, or something altogether different (i’m also in the midst of a love affair with new orleans). a couple of years before my mother’s death i was able to bring her along on one of our trips to san francisco, something i am so very happy now that i was able to do back then. i remember her saying that she was thrilled that she was getting to see things she never thought she’d ever see, such as viewing the golden gate bridge from the vantage point of being on the bridge itself. so, on this recent trip, while i never even got a glimpse of the bridge’s orange towers, i did make a point of visiting at least a couple of the spots we had seen together during the 96 trip.
one of those spots was ocean beach, pictured above now in august 2008 and also as it was in august 1996, with my mother trying to keep her pant legs dry. what was really odd for me was when i first stepped onto the beach this time, and looked down to my right toward seal rock and the cliff house. it felt so familiar, like i’d been there all along, and yet it was a bit of a shock, like “am i really seeing this?” it made me really happy though, walking along the beach, my thoughts being drowned out by the waves, but still being able to replay memories of my mother, and my older cousins who lived in the area but are no longer living, and the relationship that first brought me to this place.
upon my return, i told a friend of mine that this particular trip was like visiting a friend that you had lost contact with over the years, but now you were reunited and after a few awkward moments (such as my noticing that there were police everywhere, something i had not noticed in previous trips), it’s like no time at all has passed. that’s exactly how it was for me. i fell in love with the city all over again. and i don’t know what’s going to happen with us this time. i mean, i am planning to work towards a doctoral degree there, meaning i’ll likely be there at least 3-4 years, but what will happen after that? new orleans, perhaps? ultimately the answer to that doesn’t really matter because i’m just going to let the universe play this all out while i watch. however, i’m going to do my part, and not let san francisco slip from my grasp this time. i’m running towards it, and fully believe that it is going to meet me more than halfway, and then some.

sgc news

actually there is no news to report, and this is just an update saying that. i just returned from the jackson county courthouse and the sgc still has not been served and so i have one last continuance before the case is dropped. i’m debating whether or not to even bother going to the final court date, because i don’t think he will ever be served. sigh. my psychic did tell me the other night that he’s not done with me yet. he’s just biding his time. he knows something is up but is not sure what, so he’s just waiting for another moment to mess with me. so, okay then, fine, i’ll go to the final court date, but this whole thing has been quite draining for me emotionally. if i weren’t moving out of state soon, i’d just go ahead and find another place to live now (actually i would have done so awhile ago), but that’s not a practical option. so here i sit, waiting for this thing to play itself out and maybe really just fade away. yeah, that’d be nice.

california dreaming, part 2: zen in the city

i had scheduled two infor-mational interviews with john f. kennedy university in pleasant hill and california institute of integral studies in san francisco as a part of my trip. i thought both interviews went very well, and i honestly would feel very privileged and would gain a great deal from attending either school. however, i definitely felt more of affinity with one as opposed to the other, and made the decision as to which one i will primarily pursue almost immediately after the second interview.

the first interview was with the head of the dream studies program at jfku, and it actually went wonderfully. i felt like she and i got along very well and that in some ways i would be a perfect fit in the program. my major here would be in consciousness and transformative studies with an emphasis in dream studies, and the classes look wonderful: e.g., paradigms of consciousness, shamanic traditions, archetypal mythology, etc. if i could manage to get a job at the university, most likely in the library, their tuition reimbursement program would pay for three hours every quarter, which could effectively cut my tuition bill in half, depending on my course load per quarter. it seems ideal, and yet, even before the interview, as i was on campus a great deal for the conference, i kept asking myself how i felt about the campus. and i wasn’t feeling it. it’s a beautiful campus, to be sure, but at the same time, it felt to me like a very bland sort of business park. other than a walking labyrinth on one side of the building and the stream of consciousness out back, it really felt rather generic to me. part of that has to be because they offer business and law degrees as well, plus my professor told me that one of their big foci is on clinical licensure within their various psychotherapy programs. in addition, i was told by a current student that jfku is about to merge with a nationwide university that focuses on programs for returning adults, and she and members of her cohort are a bit worried about it changing the nature of the holistic studies department. at any rate, i’m guessing that appearances aren’t all that important to them, and they aren’t to me either, at least i didn’t think they were. but there’s a vibe that was missing, at least from my point of view.

and i think i found that missing vibe at ciis. (the above picture is taken at the zen garden on the rooftop of the ciis building.) the interview with the admissions officer was actually more formal than the other interview, yet i felt more of affinity with the place, despite the fact that i like jfku’s emphasis on preparing the student for life after graduate school (i.e., ways to get paying work to pay off those enormous student loans). that just doesn’t seem important on the surface at ciis, and i did ask about that aspect during the interview, and was told that a lot of networking is done between alumni and current students, and there are ways to get that sort of training and/or help that don’t involve classroom time. still, i just liked the atmosphere better. it was decorated more ‘holistically’, if that makes any sense. plus it’s located in a very gritty, urban area of the city, which might scare some people off, but i liked the feel. and it’s close to the main branch of the san francisco public library, which i would try my damndest to get a job at. anyway, we talked about the degree in philosophy, cosmology, and consciousness, but after doing some further reading and research on the website, i think i may be better off majoring in east-west psychology. besides, some courses are cross-listed and i can take electives from the other department if i so choose.

so, does this mean i’m simply shallow or did i pick up on a distinct difference between the two (both of which regard each other as sister schools, which means i could pick up an occasional class at the other if i felt the need to)? it’s probably a bit of both, but it doesn’t matter at this point. ciis is currently my number one choice, and my current intention is to apply for january 2009 admission (which means i need to get my ass in gear), and deferring that to fall 2009, if need be. i spoke to my psychic about all this last night, and it’s not like i needed her to give me a green light; i just needed a somewhat neutral sounding board on all this. however, she gave me a green light. 🙂 (she told me than in a previous life i lived in the big sur area, working with women, and so this would be a return home for me.)

for the record, library school is on the back burner; it’s not a major focus at the moment, but it’s still on the stove. moving to cali will be a financially costly proposition, one that i feel is absolutely worth it to pursue, but if for some reason i can’t make it work right now, there’s always librarianship and taking this up again once i get that degree done. but that is plan b/c. plan a is relocating to san francisco, by early summer 2009 at the very latest.

california dreaming, part 1: big mind big money

(i want to post about my recent cali trip, but i have so much to say the post would be way long. therefore i’m dividing it into three parts. part one will be on my thoughts and experience at the integral theory conference, part two will be my “thinking aloud” so to speak about the two schools i interviewed at, and part three will be my feelings about my return to ‘the city’ after last visiting 11 years ago.)

i’m not sure where to begin here, except to say that maybe there are not a whole lot of words that could describe my feelings about the conference. sure, at times i felt out of my league (many of the attendees either have doctorates or are doctoral candidates), but this fact alone probably helped to raise a few of my own developmental lines, especially the cognitive. at the same time i felt like i held my own, because i’ve studied at least the basics of integral theory as much as anyone else there. and, because of that fact, spending three and a half days with others quite intimate with integral theory felt like coming home. it was wonderful being around others who ‘speak integral.’ all the little second tier inside jokes that would go over like a lead balloon in everyday life just absolutely warmed my heart. but more importantly, i was well fed by most of the workshops and panels i attended, which were often led by authors whose books i’ve cherished for a number of years.

some of the workshops i attended were ‘merely’ quite interesting, such as ian blei’s ‘accessing multi-perspective consciousness using the enneagram’ or paul helfrich’s ‘the channeling phenomenon: a multi-methodological assessment.’ they were good, but there were others that for me were much more applicable personally and/or where the speakers were just more engaging. michael raffanti and toni gregory did an outstanding, politically incorrect presentation, ‘toward a post-conventional understanding of diversity dynamics.’ toni is a gorgeous african-american woman who believes that in the diversity wars, white people have been given a bad rap and are just as much a part of the puzzle as other so-called people of color. this is something i have thought for awhile, but it’s not really something you can just say out loud. i’ll go into my take on diversity in another post at some point in the near-future, but i’ll just say that i’m in total agreement with her saying that diversity is a problem that will never be solved, especially at the levels that the problem is occurring at. the only way it can be even successfully approached is from an integral point of view, which will be seen as politically incorrect, especially if green has anything to say about it.

i also loved giles herrara’s presentation ‘the fate of homosexuality: an integral catastrophe.’ he explained how christianity was the first major world religion to denigrate same-sex love, and how through some distortions and repressions as shown in the aqal model, homosexual behavior has been reduced, via christianity, to being strictly about behavior, taking out the individual, cultural, and social aspects of it. homosexuality is starting to take its rightful place once again in other quadrants outside the upper right, but christianity is still a quite strong influence in trying to repress those expressions.

my other favorite individual presentation was emine kiray’s ‘integral politics: the islamic movement and political crisis in turkey.’ one reason i liked it so much was that she was the only presenter i saw that chose not to use powerpoint; her presentation was strictly lecture and it was so much more conversational and engaging than any of the others. i think that it also allowed her to be more passionate in her expression instead of having to wait on slides to load. in addition, her subject matter was a fascinating look at islamic (and islamist) politics functioning within a secular state, and how green, orange, and amber are going through their various machinations.

both panels i attended, integral spirituality and integral feminism, were simply wonderful as well, but the latter one was in a league of its own (no pun intended, in reference to the movie of similar name about some awesome women). it was 90 minutes of discussing the meanings of masculine and feminine and whether or not those terms should even exist. at the transpersonal levels, they don’t exist, but here in the manifest world they do, and each person has some of each within, and then there’s the notion of confusing gender, which is in one’s head, and sex, which has to do with one’s biological makeup, and wow, it was an intense 90 minutes. cathy, you would have loved it. 🙂

there’s so much more that could be said, but this is so long already. i feel so privileged to have been able to hear roger walsh, suzanne cook-greuter (well, maybe not… she is a brilliant researcher, not so brilliant though in the public speaking department), and then to have done a big mind session led by diane musho hamilton. diane (who was also on the spirituality and feminism panels) just has this wonderfully sweet aura around her, yet there is an underlying fierceness. the big mind process (click on the earlier link), well, maybe it just reminded me of what i already knew, but it brought home that all these little separate parts of me (the controller, the protector, the innocent child, the lover) are actually not me, my ultimate self; they are merely aspects of my ego.

okay, enough already… i’m sure i’ll make plenty of references to the conference in the days and weeks to come. the next one is scheduled for 2010, and i’m already there. however, i have to mention the wonderful people that i volunteered alongside, and especially the volunteer coordinator, carissa. she truly did a wonderful job in training us and helping things run smoothly overall, including an uncanny ability to nip snafus in the bud. it was a true pleasure working under her guidance and with the more than 30 other volunteers from the bay area, across the country, and even from around the world. i look forward to working with everyone again in two years, at which time i *may* be living in the bay area, which segues so nicely to the upcoming part two of california dreaming …