Author Archives: Lola Georg

Nightmerica

This poem was written in 2014, but it’s just as poignant today.

Nightmerica by Tyler Pugliese

I imagine it was hard to begin,
200 plus years ago with a dream and a pen,
Where to start, how to be free
Of never sun-setting British Tyranny.

We the people, in order to form a more perfect union . . .

Have now been overwhelmed by political campaign contribution.
A dilution of moral resolution and lack of spirited revolution,
Speaks to me, as I find myself without patience,
Pledging allegiance, to the United States of Corporations.

What I have is the foreboding fear,
Of being stripped of those freedoms we hold so dear.
I declare these neglected truths to be self-evident,
As I dare defy myself, my government, and our president.

I reminisce about the faith I used to have in the Constitution,
Which is feeling more like a con, solicited by a corrupt institution.
An administration without my best interests in mind,
With incentives to bribe politicians and keep pockets lined.

I don’t have an expectation, just a political sensation,
That my meager donation can’t match a SuperPAC Foundation.

This is the realization of the future, of our generation,
Student loans, foreclosed homes, and tear-gassed demonstrations.

How to confess the agonizing distress,
When violence is used to suppress civil unrest.
Why is saying, “I’m angry!” grounds for being oppressed?

Yet I’m afraid. How’s that for a confession?
I feel powerless in a not-so Great Depression.
If I can’t change myself, how do I grab their attention?

They think they can buy our rights, auction off our elections?
Our democracy is not another monetary transaction.

We face a threat from within, a new form of tyranny.

This is Nightmerica, and you’re here with me.

We are citizens of liberty, against a tax exempt corporate entity.
We have a problem, they have a lack of accountability.

They own blackmail, white houses and grey ethics.
We are poetic, pragmatic academics.

They break laws of exchange, write blank checks and sow dissension.
We deal in cold hard change and the masses want back their pension.

We are a revolution of passion, we value only retribution.

Hi, We’re the people and we’re here for our Constitution.

Taking Care of Ourselves

Well, it’s been a difficult couple of months for many people. Some people are exhausted, frustrated, annoyed, and dismayed; myself included. So what can we do in hard times to take better care of ourselves?

First, we need to recognize that taking care of ourselves is not only good for us, it is vital for our mental, physical, and emotional health.

One of the things I wanted to share that has been helping me a great deal of late, is ambient music written by Moby, which he offers as a free download from his website. The album is over four hours long, and helps to soothe my frazzled nerves.

 

Another thing that really helps my is to get outside. The weather in Philadelphia has been unseasonably warm (or maybe this is the new normal?). Last weekend, my partner and I walked to the diner for brunch instead of driving. It was so refreshing to get outside, and have a great walk and talk. I felt so much better afterwards.

Finally, I’d like to mention that being active in the world can also help. Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post has a great article on How to Get Out of the Cycle of Outrage in a Trump World. It’s a great read. There is also a great list of ways to Strengthen our Spirits to Resist and Thrive by Finding Steady Ground. You should check it out for some more great ideas on things to do every day and every week.

If you Could, Would you?

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Here is a great poem for today, the days of our past, and the days of our future. If you could, would you?

I am reminded of a quote by Frederick Douglass: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it  never will.”

 

If You Could, Danny Bryck
I know, I know
If you could go back you
would walk with Jesus
You would march with King
Maybe assassinate Hitler
At least hide Jews in your basement
It would all be clear to you
But people then, just like you
were baffled, had bills
to pay and children they didn’t
understand and they too
were so desperate for normalcy
they made anything normal
Even turning everything inside out
Even killing, and killing, and it’s easy
for turning the other cheek
to be looking the other way, for walking
to be talking, and they hid
in their houses
and watched it on television, when they had television,
and wrung their hands
or didn’t, and your hands
are just like theirs. Lined, permeable,
small, and you
would follow Caesar, and quote McCarthy, and Hoover, and you would want
to make Germany great again
Because you are afraid, and your
parents are sick, and your
job pays shit and where’s your
dignity? Just a little dignity and those kids sitting down in the highway,
and chaining themselves to
buildings, what’s their fucking problem? And that kid
That’s King. And this is Selma. And Berlin. And Jerusalem. And now
is when they need you to be brave.
Now
is when we need you to go back
and forget everything you know
and give up the things you’re chained to
and make it look so easy in your
grandkids’ history books (they should still have them, kinehora)
Now
is when it will all be clear to them.
—Danny Bryck

What it is

rainbow1Friends often tell me that I say, “It is what it is.” I love this poem by Erich Fried because it shows us there are two ways of looking at the world, one through our ego and one through the eyes of love. I hope you enjoy it!

What it is by Erich Fried

It is nonsense
says reason
It is what it is
says love

It is calamity
says calculation
It is nothing but pain
says fear
It is hopeless
says insight
It is what it is
says love

It is ludicrous
says pride
It is foolish
says caution
It is impossible
says experience
It is what it is
says love

What a Difference a Year Makes

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“It’s easy to waste time, but hard to be generous with it.”
Mildred Binns Young

 
Recently, I’ve been thinking about new beginnings. I guess that’s common with the start of a new year. I’ve also been thinking about how much can change in any give day, week, month, year, or decade.

In my 50+ years on this planet, I’ve only been able to figure out a handful of things. One of them is that time will pass, and another is that things will change.

 

I’m reminded of a quote by Arnold Bennett:
“The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, the next hour
are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.”

 

So, if time will pass and things will change, do we have the ability to influence time and change? Well, according to Bennett, we can turn over a new leaf every moment of every day, and how we spent our last few days, months, or years does not determine how we will spend the next hour.

This viewpoint gives me much hope in our troubled times. We can change ourselves and our world by envisioning the next hour, the next day, the next week, the next month as something very new. This moment IS new, and it will never come again. As Dan Millman says, “There are no ordinary moments.”

As 2017 dawns, we find ourselves in a rapidly changing world. Time will pass – this day, this week, this month, this year. And so I am reminded once again that change will come as time passes. Let us turn over a new leaf, and begin again to create the relationships and communities that we want to populate our lives in the days ahead.

 

Handling Holiday Stress

holiday-stress-fbThe holidays can be a stressful time for many people. Our jam-packed schedules are augmented with holiday get-togethers, family obligations, shopping, work events, children’s events, and concerts. Plus there are all the items we add to our to-do lists, such as baking, gift wrapping or making holiday greeting cards. With all of this extra doing, who isn’t stressed? So what can we do to handle holiday stress? Here are some ideas:

Look at the ‘shoulds’ on your holiday list: Maybe you feel like you should bake cookies, but you don’t really want to. How about letting that go? Ask yourself, what if I didn’t do this thing I think I should do? What’s the worst that could happen? If the consequences are minimal, perhaps you could leave it off your list. Consider saying ‘no’ to things that add to your stress level.

Resizing: If you think that you can’t take something off your list, how about reducing how much you do. For instance, if you really want to send holiday greeting cards, how about sending 10 instead of 50? Or if you are going to bake cookies, maybe you can bake two dozen instead of four?

Friends and Family: Most people say that spending time with friends and family is the most important part of the holidays. So how about doing that? Instead of buying another scarf for a friend, how about taking them out for a cup of coffee or tea? In our face-paced world, we don’t often have time for those who are most important to us. Spending time being together is more rewarding and reduces overall stress.

Ask for help: Perhaps there are things on your list that others could help with, such as wrapping presents, or decorating. Doing things together can add to the joy of the season by converting a stressful task into a bonding experience.

Slow down: The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can seem like fun, but it can also increase our stress levels. Finding time to relax, read, meditate, walk, journal, or listen to music can add peace to our lives if done at a leisurely pace instead of a hectic one.

Here are some other great resources for reducing stress during the holidays:

The Keys to a Happy Holiday by Margarita Tartakovsky

Three Things You Can do When You’re Alone on the Holidays by Sharon Martin

Home for the Holidays by R. Morgan Griffin

Tips for Parents on Managing Holiday Stress by the American Psychological Association

Wishing you and your family a low-stress holiday season.

Self Care

The election of Donald Trump earlier this month has upset manyjapanesemaplependlehill people. It may have seemed like a surreal episode of Survivor. When the votes were finally tallied, many people felt bewildered, confused, angry, blind-sided, frustrated, hopeless, betrayed, and fearful, while other rejoiced.

What should you do if you have overwhelming feelings? The simple answer is to take care of yourself, in the short-term and decide if there is any action you want to take for the longer term.

Today I want to provide some resources for Self Care.

Annie Wright offers 101 self care ideas for when things feel overwhelming, or 11 small ways to take care of yourself, such as:

  1. Acknowledge and feel your feelings
  2. Connect with others
  3. Limit social media and television
  4. Use healthy coping strategies
  5. Stick with your regular routine
  6. Exercise
  7. Express your feelings through art, dance, movement, song, or writing
  8. Ask for help from friends, mentors, clergy, or counselors
  9. Get involved in your community
  10. Host or join a conversation group
  11. Pray

Jasmine offers Self Care for People of Color where she advocates for:

  • mindful isolation by disconnecting from anything that might trigger you,
  • connecting with community,
  • exercising to discharge energy,
  • asking for help from others, and
  • taking care of your well being.

Jennifer offers 5 ways to use your journal for self care, including:

  1. exploring your feelings,
  2. clearing your mind,
  3. writing a gratitude list,
  4. forgiving yourself, and
  5. indulging in your dreams.

Another great resource for self care comes from the University of Buffalo School of Social Work and their Self-Care Starter Kit.  Here you can find work sheets, assessment tools, exercises, activities, and tips for creating a self-care plan.

During this month of Thanksgiving and gratitude, I am thankful for all of these resources and ways to take care of ourselves, and in taking care of ourselves we are better able to care for others.

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