“Stay Right Except to Pass”

I caught up with some blogs this morning. Shimon Says has an unusual metaphor for measures of success and our involvement in the lives of those who are struggling—highways.

He questions assumptions often made by fellow travelers with What are you thinking?.

I’d like to say I have this figured out; I do not.
—My grandfather was taught to leave the slow lane for those merging onto the freeway or attempting to exit. To him, it would be a courtesy when driving on a multi-lane highway.
—In Oregon and Washington it is illegal to use the fast lane for anything but passing. Signs on the highways read, “Stay right except to pass.” Two-fold, this allows emergency vehicles to reach their destination without risking a fatality themselves, and staying in the right lane allows vehicles to pass on the left as Shimon expressed, which is what we are taught is safe and an assumption for many of right-of-way when on a highway.

Shimon’s observation of societal fast and slow lanes is new to me and apt. I worked in an industry that addressed homelessness and poverty; this topic is dear to my heart. True, I have experienced these for myself while working two jobs and sharing expenses with another individual who also was working.

What if you could help?

Wikimedia Commons: Maryeoriginals

If we are offered a method to assist others that does not require our time—often a rare surplus when we are working a six-figure salary job—many will step up. Consider Ebola and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s and the Bill Gates Foundation’s recent donations that resulted in increased contribution from members of the general public. An avenue, or lane, of involvement opened in people’s minds. Helping became less overwhelming.

To align our actions with our values, consider the following options in case you’re not a multibillionaire:

  • Support a cause by purchasing from its donation solicitation efforts only what you would normally purchase. That is, shop at a themed thrift store. While breast cancer awareness is at a peak, it has become a brand and logo around which corporations sell the pink ribbon logo; I don’t find anything commendable in furthering company sales at the expense of consumers who likely wouldn’t purchase a pink shirt otherwise.
  • Assemble from your own surplus a care package for someone who is moving from a group setting to living on their own. You may think of victims of domestic violence right of; however, there are other worthy recipients. Going back to a life of crime may feel like the only method for a former inmate when they cannot find a job paying more than minimum wage and, when they do find a place to live, the basics of soap, towels, flatware and sheets are more than they can manage. Your donations needn’t be new to be of use.
  • Words of encouragement are inexpensive and carry a value beyond anything money can buy.
    • Thank someone for something they do anyway, even if it is part of their job.
    • Send a postcard to a stranger’s child (postcard so it isn’t creepy) addressed as “the young man in residence, care of the family at [address]”. Alternately, a postcard to an elderly or disabled person would be just as welcome.
  • Drop off unneeded magazines to the office of your local school for use by teachers in collage and other projects.

I hope these ideas spin off into other ways to support community in ways that align your values and actions.

Prepopulation Control

Please also read past the signature.

We can sustain humans in anti-gravity, in a space station overlooking all of Earth, 230 miles above a seemingly peaceful and colorful world.

Today we have a volunteer process of donating organs that makes ghastly the turn of the 19th century exhumation practice of freshly buried remains for research and teaching.

In a clinical setting, we can collect data from human cells reacting to any number of threat and remedy the living can apply.

Our own beings, seen as lesser in myriad ways, have benefited and been poisoned without their knowledge and then also without their permission.

We have used lesser creatures, non-beings, to test every cause from here to vanity.

Still, we want our paté plentiful. We demand our beef tender, our milk in variety and quantity, our butter in any form—including test-tube varieties. Pork products shall be juicy and laden with plentiful, well-marbled bacon. Chicken had better come cheap and eggs always on the shelves. “There’s always more fish in the sea,” right? Why not farm it like everything else?

Speaking to farming ways, there was a blemish on that apple and oranges are too difficult to peel. Can’t they do something about that? How big does a turnip get, “If you cut it down, you may never know….”* Cheese and nut butters used to be a food commodity for the poor. The poorest life ever seen is in all the world is the now the soil.

They’ve been poisoning the corn? Since when? That long. Wow. Fowl, bovine, porcine—as well as fresh and salt water food sources—have come down to a reasonable price, don’t you think? Still I wonder how all the diseases are exponentially rising. Hormones! Caged? In their own filth without fresh air or fresh water? Antibiotics! Cannibalistic? They feed these creatures their own kind?

And I saw the most heartwarming video today. Eight, five-year-old Beagles used for research—known only by the number tattooed in each dog’s ear—they were so hesitant to leave the only space they knew, those crates, and I cried, just cried to know they had never known the touch of grass or sunshine. Don’t miss it. Here you go.

 

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©2014—Sandra R. Davidson
*Credit to Disney’s Pocahontas song for this bit.
This is not to discourage any person or group for improving and combating injustices, however small or large. Every positive molecule we can release into this atmosphere has the potential to bump into more and neutralize some negative ones. 

Bucket List or Picnic Basket?

January always brings goals setting.

A bucket list is a popular way to capture what your heart would like to experience before the end of your days. Often these fantasies are unlikely to occur, though a creative person can accept slight changes– such as location–to cross off a bucket list item.

The basket concept (http://kathyssoapbox.blogspot.com/2013/04/bucket-list-or-picnic-basket.html) includes recent, current and near-future experiences. A basket holds your past adventures, calculates changing needs, abilities and desires for a more flexible and attainable reality.

So I can’t go jogging. The experience is carefully lifted from the basket to be slotted in past memories. I can walk the dog along the riverside park pathway. Add a bit more of those trips to the mix. Find some state park events on the easy list and experience more than just camping.

Baskets. I imagine I’d have a few to keep, swap and even eliminate.

See what you think. Drag that bucket out and realize there is much practicality can transform.

(C) 2014 Sandra Davidson

Confused Selves

Confusion and division will slay the finest and fiercest of troops.

I haven’t said much recently; nothing’s really been worth saying. I agree with:
We Need To Be Ashamed Of Our Confused Selves. | DEPRESSION: my muse.

I love my sisters and my nieces and nephews. They each struggle to their own degree to know who they are without the interference of all the voices around them saying who they should and shouldn’t be, what it means if they choose A and that they can’t have it both ways.

My sister, V, she’s got it now. You don’t choose: You have it all. Her babies, she holds them by the hands, barely keeping up with their tugging in each direction, but she does.

Those two boys have the world in the palms of their mother’s hands as she brings them up with her gentle laughter and I-ain’t-gonna-brook-no-**** seriousness. They’re beautiful, bold, polite, inquisitive. They stand together, they two, because she stands with them—not between them or beside them or behind them.

When you become confused, divided, told to choose—raise your beautiful eyes to the clear vision of a child. It doesn’t matter which child, whose child. Watch them for guidance as much as they watch you for the same.

©2013 Sandra Davidson

A Voice of Resilience

I’ve become fond of a WordPress blogger because he finds profound truth in simple images that evoke a deep resonance. I may not agree with every post; I don’t have to in order to appreciate his writing.

“…long sessions of ruminating is [sic] a virus”
“We are islands by mistake…”

And he finishes with a line of hope, a line of perseverance.

http://depressionmymuse.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/the-wind-carries-my-wailing/

Time Outs

My time is running out «. Fantastic post from a new-to-me writer. She touches on a topic that drives me, has driven me my whole life.

Her post elicited my (edited) response below.

I have been too aware of time’s passage since about the age of three, before the hands on the clock meant anything. I tried to wear a watch and gave it up before junior high school. With the addition of microwaves in homes, I grew impatient with myself for watching the seconds count down. My home has no clocks; it needs none. There are time keepers on my computer, cell phone, microwave, oven. My husband has the alarm clock for moments when it is necessary.

It is an urgency. For me it is a questioning of myself. Am I giving more than I’m taking, in all sense of the word—resources, ideas, perspectives, understanding, love, compassion.

Writing is frightening. It should be. With everything we write, we open ourselves to a little more transparency. I’m terrified of being known in this way but I cannot stop the flow. I have only the choice of whether my words appear or hide away someplace. More are hidden than revealed, I confess.
©2012 Sandra Davidson

The Stone I Am

Love is a story about two people kept apart, as all love stories are, really.

It was all I could do to breathe. Those words felt like drops of water onto a dry stone, spreading over the surface of me, revealing beauty and complexity I had forgotten.

I blame Christmas eve, the walk down to the river, me, turning over large rocks to find the tiny river stones beneath. I brought two home, very small.

Their beauty is lost beneath the dry surface until they are again wet. So, I have a small, round dish. The pebbles sit in it and I dip my fingers in a glass so the water drips from them onto the surface.

I didn’t realize until today that we (or I) go through life so long, so many years…it becomes easy to pass over a stone and not see it, especially river rock that is meant to be wet. We are dry and we become used to it. We forget what it is like to feel wet, forget what it looks like when the rain falls, when intimacy spreads across our surfaces and someone sees the beauty that we have forgotten or never knew existed.

©2006 Sandra Davidson