This, Too, Shall Pass

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Dear son,

As you know, I firmly believe in making the best use of a bad situation, so I decided to use the time to write down some of those “life hacks” I’m always talking about.

1. Everything happens for reason, and it’s a good reason, and you don’t need to know what that reason is right now!

I’ve lived by this rule for many years, but sometimes I still shake my fist at the universe, screaming, “No, you’re wrong! There can be no good reason for this to be happening to me right now!”

But eventually – and sometimes this can take years – I am forced to take those words back.

I guess it’s kind of like what people call “faith“ – but for me, “the universe” or life or however you want to call it just kept proving my little pea-brain wrong. Mama’s been through a lot of hardships, but I can clearly see now how all of them have made me the strong and capable person I am today. Every rejection and failure put me on a path I’d never have taken otherwise. Eventually, that path led to me being your mama! How could anything have been wrong if it brought you to me?

There is a sense of peace and calm when you resign yourself to simply being in the moment, no matter how terrible. Trust that the bad times will pass, learn from them, and vow to only remember the good.

It reminds me of a Buddhist story about the time he “gained enlightenment” while sitting under a bodhi tree. We saw those kind of trees in Kauai, remember? The horrible storm of wind and rain and snow and fire swirled around him, but he just sat there peacefully in a goofy yoga pose. There’s paintings of him you can probably find online. His face always looks so serene, no matter how bad the storm was.

Now the “younger me” thought that this was all a bunch of hippie nonsense. When I found myself in those proverbial (imaginary) storms,  I really thought I could beat Mother Nature! As I grew older, and especially during my walk – I realized that the only thing I’m really afraid of is Mother Nature. Since we humans share the planet with her, we’re a part of that. You have to have a healthy respect for the forces of nature, and the same goes with human nature. You have to know when you’re in a fight that you can’t win. No matter what you do, you can’t outgun certain storms. That’s just the nature of bad storms – to destroy without thought or care. All a person can really do under such conditions is stop standing around in the rain like a jerk, get under that tree, and wait for the storm to blow by. It always does, just as Winter never fails to turn to Spring.

Now, you can sit and cry and scream while you’re waiting it out, but that’s really just a waste of energy. The storm passes, no matter how you act. Now does that mean I can sit and wait for it to go by with a smile on my face? Of course not. You gotta practice at it. I think that being cool in the face of adversity (hard times) was the lesson that he was trying to pass along.

Accept the punches, and don’t lose your cool. I don’t mean take sucker punches – I mean sometimes you get into a vulnerable position, and you’re left open to them. Maybe you weren’t prepared, and you should’ve been. Plan better next time, and no one will be able to even land a punch. Keep speaking your truth, and be the best person you can possibly be. There are people out there who are incredibly kind and will give you the shirt off their back, and then there are others who would take your very life, and enjoy doing it.

As an example –  I don’t know if you’ve heard about this “Tax Bill” that’s going down soon, but it’s got people like me very worried. It’s like 600 pages long, nobody got to read it before they voted on it, and it was written by 6000 “lobbyists” who are people employed by corporations to influence politicians. It’s going to cut healthcare for 13 million people, hurt a lot of veterans, senior citizens, disabled, women, and children. The only people benefiting from it are the richest people, who really don’t need the money. It’s like a nightmare! Some days, it feels like they are doing everything they can to destroy their own people.

That is not hyperbole (an exaggeration). There are thousands of innocent folks out there who will die in less than a month if they don’t have their insurance for medications and treatments. They are freaking out! I will be OK for a while, but don’t I always tell you how important it is to use your privilege to help those who have less than you? As bad as things are for me with my disabilities, I know that it is so much worse for many others… and I’m super-old, so I’ve seen “bad”! We have to help our most vulnerable. Many of us are trying very hard to change things, but it’s difficult to be in this particular storm. Most of those who are trying to help have so many problems of their own. We all have to dig down within ourselves to find that extra strength and determination.

 

The power that these wealthy politicians supposedly have over us is an illusion, and I think they know it. They’re no better than us, and they have no right to pass laws that hurt our most vulnerable just so they can make their friends richer. When all of us working-class folk and disabled and college students and farmers and artists and food stamp-recipients start looking at these horrible people – who are clearly not representing us – as the heartless tyrants they are, what will happen? Why, they will know the game is over!

Are we there yet? Heck, no. Maybe that is for your generation, though personally I think this could all change in a day if we were organized enough. Part of my job as your mama is to teach you how to organize, and get engaged in the sort of civic action necessary to turn this mess around. I want your future to be as bright and beautiful as all your hopes for it.

When you get to the age when you can make a difference, be kind to my generation. We were up against a massive army of the generation who came before us, who cared only about acquiring wealth for themselves. They were very selfish, made the laws to protect profits over people, broke our unions, and gave all of our power to the almighty Corporation. I’m afraid that by the time many of us from my generation came of age, it was too late. There were so many more of them than there were of us. Fortunately for you, most of those old geezeer politicians are retiring, and the Millennials are moving in to take their places. I, for one, am very glad for that! These horrible laws can be undone if we get people in office who actually care about the citizens of this country, and I mean all of us!

That’s my lesson in politics for today. Many more to come. To me, politics is everything! It’s the air that we breathe, the food we eat, and the earth we love.

Gotta beat the mailman. Love you sooooooo much!

– Ma

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