Archive | Sacred pop culture

Believe Us

 

A bloody, red background with the words "believe women, believe brown people, believe black people, believe poor people, believe disabled people' across it

[Did you really think I would not say anything about the news this last week?]

 

And for all the white men who read this, particularly you mediocre motherfuckers:

You have the least prohibitions on you.
You are not fettered or hurdled by the things the folks listed above are.
You have very few forms of systemic oppression limiting you and your choices.

Your life is 99% your own.

If you don’t like where you’re at: that is on you.

No one is your savior.
No one is your excuse.
No one is your reason.
Not me, not anyone.

Where you are is a result of your choices.

You choose to be influenced? That is on you.
You choose to behave poorly? That is on you.
You choose to listen or not listen? That is on you.
You choose to be a coward? That is on you.
You choose to blame others? That is on you.
You choose to be an asshole? That is on you.
You made a life you don’t like? That is on you.
And so are all the consequences and outcomes.

Everything is a choice. Everything.
[You are free to choose to do or not do anything, including breathe. There are consequences for choices, including falling unconscious and having your vital systems force you to breathe. But you choose everything. Everything.]

So if you don’t like what you have, that is not my problem or anyone else’s.
You are your own damn problem.
And you have the most freedom to change.

STFU and change if you don’t like where you’re at.
I am tired of white men’s bullshit, especially you mediocre motherfuckers.
And I have no time for it anymore.

Believe women.
Believe brown people.
Believe black people.
Believe poor people.
Believe disabled people.
Believe LGBTQIA people.

 

 

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Paris [from New England]

I went on vacation to Paris, my friends. It was amazing in a lot of ways. The food (!!), the art, the history, the cultural differences (some of which were awesome), and just getting out of town were all fabulous. I also learned a lot about myself because…wherever you go, there you are. It was a good trip in many ways. I’m still chewing on some of the inner work I chose to look at while I was there; I’ll post about that later. For now, just some fave photos.

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Of course, let us start with le Tour Eiffel. This was taken from next to the Museum of Architecture, which, not high on the list of most tourists, was actually really informative and interesting. They took casts of some of the important buildings in Paris (i.e. the upper reaches of Notre Dame) so that you can see the details up close.

The Eiffel Tower is enclosed (after the terrorist attack of 2015), so you have to get through security to go up, but it’s worth the time and effort. The science and architecture is amazing, as are the views.

 

Rooftop gardens seen from the Eiffel Tower.

 

A view from the Eiffel Tower, looking at Sacre Coeur church on the hill in the distance.

 

We opted to stay out of the Louvre (if you go, either plan to be there for three days, or pick what you want to visit beforehand and focus on that), and instead we visited the Musee D’Orsay. I had my fill of Impressionists (Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas); it was fantastic to see the paintings from my Humanities courses in real life. For me, the Art Nouveau section was the best, though. The skill of the crafting of that era always blows me away. I wept for the beauty of it.

 

We also visited one of the largest and most famous cemeteries in the city: Pere LaChaise. Many famous people are buried here, not the least of which is Oscar Wilde. The mausoleums were incredible. Rows and rows of tiny, ornate, gothic structures dedicated to the afterlife. It was beautiful and macabre, which I love.

 

 

There was even a famous broad from Boston there.

 

This is actually a fountain on the backside of the Museum of Architecture. There are a lot of fountains around Paris. Not all of them this grand.

 

The “Lock Bridge” is no longer, but that doesn’t mean lovers don’t find ways to keep up the tradition. We saw this on a walk along the Seine. (We also saw a couple fighting about their lock at another place. Ah, the City of Love.)

 

We did not visit Montmarte, an area well known for its artists and the location of the Moulin Rouge. But there was plenty of street art to keep us interested. We saw several works from Invader.

This was not the whole of our trip. There were other museums, boulangerie’s, many cafe’s, and lots of just walking around and noticing Paris. We stayed in a neighborhood called Les Lilas (The Lilacs) in a spare, well organized apartment inhabited by someone who won the French version of a Tony (called a ‘Moliere’) for her work in costumes. She had the most amazing library of fashion books. We learned how to ride the Metro – always wear your Resting Bitch Face, because nobody smiles (in fact, it would be considered flirting to smile at someone). I had one of the most tasty meals of my life and also a lime sorbet I will never forget.

Paris was a delight for the senses. I can see why they call it the City of Love, but it’s just a place where, if you are from out of town, you can be utterly stunned on a regular basis. Which is pretty cool. Paris was not necessarily a place I felt at home (in the way I do when we go to England), but it was most certainly worth our time and money and I will visit again. Paris changed small things in me; it was beautiful in every way.

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Love from the path,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Nightswimming

For whatever reason, this time of year, I get nostalgic for my youth. My early adulthood. It’s the quiet nights and the return of the dark, I think. Summer is ending and so is the summer season of my life.

Last night my husband played the R.E.M. album Automatic for the People at dinner. We usually listen to 70s Lite Rock or the k.d. lang station on Pandora. But he put on that album instead. And “Nightswimming” came on. For whatever reason, I was 15 again, and taking my first swim at dusk. The sun setting, a fire near our campsite, my friends and I in the water. Sometimes splashing, sometimes quiet. I watched the stars come out floating in the water. And then changed into clothes, listened to Van Halen by the fire, and stayed up waaay too late laughing and flirting and talking shit.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

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|| “Nightswimming” by R.E.M. ||

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse
Still, it’s so much clearer
I forgot my shirt at the water’s edge
The moon is low tonight

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
I’m not sure all these people understand
It’s not like years ago
The fear of getting caught
Of recklessness and water
They cannot see me naked
These things, they go away
Replaced by everyday

Nightswimming, remembering that night
September’s coming soon
I’m pining for the moon
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe nightswimming

You, I thought I knew you
You I cannot judge
You, I thought you knew me
This one laughing quietly underneath my breath
Nightswimming

The photograph reflects, every streetlight a reminder
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night, deserves a quiet night

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It’s time for a night swim again, I think. My 43 year-old self needs it. The quiet. The water. The stars. As an adult, friends have pools and waterside homes. But there’s a lake around, too. I just need to sneak in. At dusk. Nightswimming.

Love from the path,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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The book of ‘Nanette’

I have believed for many years that sacred truths which serve the best of our humanity will continue to speak even if it seems that we have no scribes or bards or druids to hear them, remember them, and pass them on. And while it may seem that we don’t have these guides in this modern age, I believe we actually do. Justin Bieber’s song writer did it. Britney, Christina, and P!nk have given us a fresh rendition of the Divine Feminine. And in this post I shared three writers who are carrying on the tradition of sacred truth, even in the midst of political chaos and no culturally guiding principles except fame and capitalism. These days I would add Alexis Morgan of the Church of St. Felicia to the mix; she tells the truth and gives no fucks, goddess bless her. The truth tellers are out there. The truth will live even if there are no traditional sacred places or people for it to emanate from. New ways will be found, new ways will be made.

I also believe that lots of things can be a Bible. Many books and TV shows are completely capable of being guides for good behavior, handling bad times, and providing us with archetypes for how to live our life. I am partial to Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Wars, among others.

Like a lot of people, I watched Hannah Gadsby’s ‘Nanette’ (on Netflix) a couple of weeks ago and was deeply moved by it. She said new things. She validated the experience of a lot of women. And she told a lot of truth.

Ms. Gadsby turned the trauma necessary to comedy on its head:

“Punchlines need trauma, because punchlines need tension and tension feeds trauma. I didn’t come out to my grandmother last year because I’m still ashamed of who I am. Not intellectually, but right here [points to heart], I still have shame. You learn from the part of the story you focus on. I need to tell my story properly.” 

And also this:

“I have built a career out of self-deprecating humor and I don’t want to do that anymore. Do you understand what self-deprecation means when it come from somebody who already exists in the margins? It’s not humility, it’s humiliation. I put myself down in order to speak, in order to seek permission to speak, and I simply will not do that anymore, not to myself or anybody who identifies with me. If that means that my comedy career is over, then, so be it.” 

 

She spoke very clearly to men who feel uncomfortable in the MeToo era:

“Pull your socks up. How’s that for humiliation? Fashion advice from a lesbian, and that’s your last joke.”

 

Her words on public (and social media) interaction are wise and so very needed:

“This is about how we conduct debate in public about sensitive things. It’s toxic. It’s juvenile. It’s destructive. We think it’s more important to be right than it is to appeal to the humanity of people we disagree with.” 

 

For many women I know, Ms. Gadsby’s words about rebuilding ourselves after hardship (whatever it may have been) resonated deeply:

“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”

[Blessed be, blessed be, blessed be. Which is how pagans say ‘amen.’]

 

And this, which is for all of us who are broken:

“To be rendered powerless does not destroy your humanity. Your resilience is your humanity. The only people who lose their humanity are those who believe they have the right to render another human being powerless. They are the weak. To yield and not break, that is incredible strength.”

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I do not believe that just because something is popular it should be made sacred (far from it). ‘Nanette’ isn’t just popular, though. It speaks truth. It pulls back the curtain and shows the truth- bloody, messy, awful. But it also gives hope in the form of truth- that we can be kind, that we can rebuild ourselves, that we can be resilient and in that resiliency find our strength.

Ms. Gadsby’s words deserve a space in the modern sacred texts, a book in the modern ‘Bible.’ They are sacred because they are true. And true, perhaps, in a way we haven’t understood before. Or rather, true in a way we haven’t understood because these words were not allowed to live in the light before. Yes, that is why they are sacred- they tell a story that has always been true, but just not allowed to live openly.

Here is to your own sacredness and resiliency and truth.
Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Sunday Prayers

Hello, fellow spiritual travelers, my broken-but-working-on-it peeps. Life has been changing and things are delightfully good, and I’m so glad to be who I am, the age I am, and where I am (holy shit, yes!). And I am going to sink deep into this feeling, because it doesn’t come around often.

Where my heart is at these past few days…

 

“Tantra says sex is very deep because it is life. But you can be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons. Do not be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons, and then you will not feel that Tantra is dangerous. Then Tantra is life-transforming…

It has been asked, ‘what is the central subject matter of Tantra?’ The answer is you! You are the central subject matter of Tantra: what you are right now and what is hidden in you that can grow, what you are and what you can be. Right now you are a sex unit and unless this unit is understood deeply you cannot become a spirit, you cannot become a spiritual unit. Sexuality and spirituality are the two ends of one energy.”

Osho

| I’m not sure that I’d agree with all of this, because I believe our sexuality and spirituality nourish each other- that’s been my experience. But, yes, you are the central subject matter of Tantra. |

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“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.”

Terry Tempest Williams

| This is how to have faith, and also to be alive. I think being alive is its own act of faith. |

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Life on Earth

Wild Horses

A Youth Written in Fire

| Snow Patrol’s new album is really different. And I like it. Gary Lightbody – former priest and current poet – hits some very deep places in his own psyche. It’s quite beautiful to listen to. |

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Images from my ‘beautiful’ board are inspiring me and keeping me grounded lately. Summer’s passion is finding it’s way into old frescoes and fields of poppies. When the humidity rests atop my skin, I pull my hair up from my neck, sweat with a smile in the shade, and dream of Paris in the Fall.

::: ::: ::: :::

Big love from this gorgeous, hot day and my happy heart,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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