Category Archives: integral

racism: what’s past is still present

i didn’t know david duke was still around, still stirring his nasty, evil shit, but apparently he is. (for those of you too young to know of him, david duke is a former grand wizard pooba sorta thing of the ku klux klan and ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988, as well as for some local offices in louisiana at different points in time.) i found this out today on facebook when one of my ‘friends’ (who is really someone i barely knew) posted a video saying something about zionism destroying america… well i don’t know what the actual fuck the video was about because i was just surprised at seeing his name, after being quite happy that i hadn’t heard it in a number of years. i am usually quite open minded, plus i *thought* i had some stuff in common politically with this ignoramus that i deleted from my facebook friend list, so i was going to take a look at the video before i passed judgment on the vile thing. however, when i got to duke’s website, from my phone because i didn’t want to leave that history on my work computer, i was reminded of how truly backwards this man is, and said ‘fuck it, you’re gone, buddy’ to my fb contact.

the reason i was ‘friends’ with this person to begin with was because of a mutual friend who i do have a lot in common with politically – she’s quite the libertarian – and i’m pretty certain that she’s not racist. truth be told, i have more in common with tea party types (i will *not* call them teabaggers!) than even i’m willing to admit out loud. i think there are some racist elements within the tea party, just as there are in the democratic party. (democrats can’t be racist, can they?!) overall i think most people involved with the tea party movement are sincere in their desire to have the government much less involved in their lives, and i certainly second that desire. from the beginning of his meteoric rise, i saw some integral potential within obama, but i just didn’t think he was there, and that’s why i couldn’t support him – not because he wasn’t integral, per se, but because of his policies that i don’t think reflect an integral worldview, especially on the domestic side. i still see glimmers and glints of it, but he’s still not there. he keeps banging his head against a green ceiling.

as integral as i might want to be, i also want to be free to live my life the way i see fit, including dealing with any consequences (positive or negative) that i bring upon myself. it is not the government’s job to rescue me from my own folly, as it wasn’t the government’s job to rescue chrysler or aig or anyone else who fucked up on their own (and their shareholders’) dime. so yeah, i completely empathize with the tea party in that regard. don’t tread on me, yada yada yada.

anyway, this little dust up today is a good reminder to me that racism is alive and well (although i am actually reminded of this on most days). many of my left leaning friends would be like, well, duh! but it’s not just a tea party/republican thing, and just because a person dislikes what obama is trying to do does not mean that person is a racist. it just means they don’t like his policies. period. (side note: the republican party was initially founded in order to end slavery, opposing the democratic and other political parties dominating politics at that time. it was the democratic party who vehemently opposed the civil rights act of 1964, not republicans. but you wouldn’t know from the way it’s portrayed by the media today. i’m no fan of either party, because i think they have turned into two sides of the same coin, but i think making being republican equal being racist is wrong.) yes, racism is alive and well, and while tremendous strides have been and continue to be made, it’s unfortunately going to be around for some more time to come.

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a compulsive listmaker’s dream come true

via a series of click-throughs on various websites, i became aware of mighty girl’s mighty life list, which is her listing of 100 things she wants to accomplish before the end of her life. as i am moving to columbia at the end of this month (more on that in another post, i’m sure) and turning over a new leaf, i think this is the perfect time for me to compile my own version of a bucket list for all the world (or at least my corner of it) to see. i don’t have quite 100 items here, but i’m sure it will be added to over time. some things are goals i want to accomplish, some are habits i want to cultivate, and some are qualities i want to see in myself. in no particular order:

1. get serious about blogging
2. learn to build a website from scratch
3. earn m.a. in library and information science from the university of missouri
4. master microsoft office suite, especially word and excel
5. learn adobe photoshop
6. take usda graduate school basic and applied indexing classes
7. take usda graduate school proofreading class
8. earn m.a. in either integral theory or consciousness and transformative studies through jfku (depending on what sort of work i do after library school/where i end up living; integral theory is an online program, while consciousness studies is f2f)
9. become a shaman’s apprentice
10. become more knowledgeable about carl jung, dreamwork, applied mythology
11. become involved with a gnostic community, either online or face-to-face
12. buy a small house with a great little backyard
13. take part in/start (?) an integral salon, similar to this one
14. grow most of my own veggies
15. become much more knowledgeable about permaculture and its uses in an urban setting, and apply that knowledge
16. grow a small orchard in my backyard
17. raise chickens for eggs and meat
18. learn to swim
19. take a belly dancing class
20. knit a sweater that i’m not embarassed to wear in public
21. cook dinner from scratch most evenings
22. make my own wine using fruit from my backyard orchard
23. sky dive
24. make love in a cemetery
25. visit new orleans at least once a year (if i don’t end up living there), either for mardi gras or jazzfest
26. have my home featured in a tour on apartment therapy
27. do long term volunteer work in south africa
28. vacation in amsterdam
29. have a book of my poetry published
30. have an ayahuasca experience
31. write a book on true freedom
32. take a cross-country roadtrip
33. visit turkey, including instanbul (of course) and rumi’s birthplace
34. own a viking professional range
35. begin and continue a regular yoga practice
36. get a hood piercing
37. get a mermaid tattoo
38. attend burning man at least once
39. attend sxsw
40. submit a paper to the biennial integral theory conference (possibly on integral libraries, or maybe integral applications in the organization of information???) in 2012
41. learn to change my own oil
42. visit the grand canyon
43. do a firewalk
44. make a quilt
45. learn to throw pottery
46. be a volunteer at each integral theory conference from here on out
47. visit the chapel of sacred mirrors
48. earn the majority of my income through writing and doing freelance work
49. strip and refinish my green vanity
50. give 10% of my income to charity
51. save 20% of my income
52. compost religiously
52. read sex, ecology, spirituality in its entirety
53. become a reiki master (currently at level one)
54. get a professional massage at least twice a month
55. meet derrick jensen
56. remember to love on a moment by moment basis
57. host a thanksgiving dinner
58. visit new zealand – pictures i’ve seen of new zealand’s rain forest have me convinced that it is the most beautiful place on earth
59. see erykah badu perform live
60. learn to lucid dream
61. join the peace corps when i’m in my 60s
62. grow an avocado tree from a pit
63. become a confident public speaker
64. take part in nablopomo annually
65. share my life with someone who is available emotionally, physically, and spiritually to love me
66. learn not to take life so personally

this is enough for now; there will be more… 🙂

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.

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 …

caught up in the rapture of living

just wanted to post a few updates about what’s been going on lately:

  • i went to court yesterday morning regarding the ex parte against my sociopathic gentleman caller (from now on to be known as the sgc). of course he hadn’t been served yet, which is not surprising, so the court date was continued until august 4, two days before i leave town. oddly enough, this past sunday afternoon we saw each other twice (or rather, pretended not to see each other). as i was coming and going, he was sitting out on the front steps just talking away in a group of people, including two women, one sitting on each side of him. it wouldn’t surprise me if he was doing one (or both) of them.
  • i leave two weeks from tomorrow for the integral theory conference in pleasant hill, california. very excited about it. at some point during my visit i am having lunch with the head of the consciousness studies department at john f. kennedy university, plus i have a campus tour scheduled with the head of admissions at the california institute of integral studies. hopefully this is all pointing me in a new direction. otherwise, my last two days i plan to stay in the city (aka san francisco) and just run around doing things i didn’t do in previous visits, like walking the labyrinth at grace cathedral and browsing the shelves at city lights bookstore. i also plan to visit my favorite place on the planet, the sutro bath ruins.
  • at the workshop i attended on cosmic runes last weekend, i became immediate friends with a woman who was also attending the workshop. we had lunch sunday afternoon and it turns out we do have a great deal in common. it’s really neat when that happens.
  • i’m enjoying being able to read for pleasure again. i’m trying to read up on integral stuff in preparation for the conference. i just finished out of the labyrinth: who we are, how we go wrong, and what we can do about it by carl frankel. it didn’t provide anything new, but i like his perspective regarding what he calls the triad, or three areas of life all humans engage in: problem solving, relationships with other people and nature, and looking for meaning. frankel says where we go wrong is by usually emphasizing only one of those domains in our lives, instead of integrating all three. i have since found myself noticing the triad (or the lack of a fully functioning triad) in various arenas as i move throughout my days. anyway, i digress… 🙂 i need to find some decent fiction to read, something to get me out of my head and just enjoying the scenario unfolding on the page in front of me. i’m also happy about having the time to deep clean, and not just spot clean as i’ve been doing over the last few months.
  • miss sophia is still alive and well. i swear she gets noticeably bigger every time i see her (which is daily, of course). and she’s such a sweetheart (except when she’s not). she loves to sniff everything, and so the other night when i was preparing dinner, i let her sniff the onions, garlic, peppers, etc. as i was cutting them up. the way she scrunched her little face up in disgust was so adorable!
  • i miss having sex, but it’s probably for the best that i’m not having it. the sgc really messed with my head (and i suppose is still doing so) and i need to get over that before i think about being with someone else. on the other hand, as i told a friend the other day, i have no qualms about searching for interim happiness on the way to true happiness. i just shouldn’t seek that happiness with someone living in the same building as me.

will the real obama please stand up?

i’m in high procrastination mode at the moment. anyway…

check out this article by andrew sullivan that first appeared last december at atlantic.com. entitled “goodbye to all that: why obama matters”, it’s a look at the fact that obama and clinton are not all that different policy-wise, but that that doesn’t matter. what matters, according to sullivan, is that his candidacy is happening now, and sullivan goes on to give his opinion about the cultural significance obama represents.

i first came across this column a few days ago via a public forum on the integral institute website entitled “the teal revolution begins with obama”. and this is my problem: one moment i think obama is fluffy, nothing more than an empty suit, then in rooting around the integral world, i see other people’s opinions on him, basically indicating the belief that he could be our first integrally minded president. now, part of me is of the mindset that all that candidates are basically alike, and have been from the start, and it’s just been a matter of who has the most money. i’ve pretty much decided that i’m not voting for anyone this fall, because i believe nothing will change, no matter who gets into office. but then, the idea that obama actually understands that by working within our own separate groups nothing will get accomplished – that we have to take the best of what each group has to offer in order to even begin to get things done – well, that’s exactly where my head is. as ken wilber says, everyone is right, it’s just that no one is 100% right. an integral political viewpoint attempts to take the best of all approaches. obama seems to understand that idea, even without having much exposure to integral thinking (that i’m aware of, anyway). so, i don’t know. i still have yet to read ‘the audacity of hope’ or ‘dreams from my father’, both of which have been touted as being green/teal (go here for something of an explanation on ‘green/teal’ and a brief explanation of integral politics; go here for a much more thorough explanation). maybe i’ll get a chance to read one or both later in the summer (certainly not now). anyway, my point is that, i don’t know, i’m willing to give the man a chance, if i can see signs of ‘integral-ness’ in him; i guess it’s up to me to open my own eyes and take a serious look. but what i’m seeing currently, as presented by mainstream media anyway, is not a lot more than a good-looking bunch of fluff.

and, in the meantime, look at this video, where wilber discusses the idea of a ‘third way’ politics that transcends the democrat/republican dichotomy (and some of the difficulties inherent within that), which may be what obama is starting to represent.