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What would you create?

Around the pond at Breezy Acres (in northeast Ohio, last week).

That’s the trouble with people. their root problem.  Life runs alongside them, unseen.  Right here, right next.  Creating the soil.  Cycling water.  Trading in nutrients.  Making weather.  Building atmosphere  Feeding and curing and sheltering more kinds of creatures than people know how to count.

… If your mind were only a slightly greener thing, we’d drown you in meaning.

~ when the trees speak in The Overstory by Richard Powers

In the morning light. (Trees here on the Eastern Shore, yesterday.)

A month or two ago, I watched a series of interviews with a variety of people who participated in the Honor {Don’t Appropriate} Yoga Summit.  Included was an interview with Charlotte Nguyen.  Her bio includes “a transformational coach, spiritual adviser, activist and the pint-sized daughter of Vietnamese refugees.”  She asked a question that I have been pondering since I heard it:  “What would you create if you didn’t appropriate?”

A walk by the pond where the willows and hemlocks we planted years ago are becoming giants.

I did the Ancestry DNA testing last year.  Whenever I’d see an advert for it, I’d pipe up, saying I’d like to do that sometime, just out of curiosity and so, M gifted me with a kit.  I am mostly Irish followed by a mix from England, Scotland, and Wales.  The other about-a-third of my ancestry comes from Eastern Europe and Russia, the Baltic States, with a tiny bit of DNA from Sweden and Germany.  There were no real surprises here (I knew I was a mutt or a mix of European) other than finding out I am more Irish than I thought I was.

Enjoying a second spring with the daffodils in northeast Ohio.

I am extremely white, in other words. As someone who rejected the culture she grew up in (white, Catholic, plenty bigoted), I’ve long been interested in other cultures and the question of appropriation has been one that I have asked myself about frequently as I study other spiritual practices.  Years ago I had a Native American friend and teacher, and I felt uncomfortable learning the practices he was teaching because it didn’t feel right to be stealing from a culture that my ancestors had abused, even if those teachings were freely offered.  I switched to studying pre-Christian Celtic spirituality for a while which is probably more appropriate given my ancestry.  In some ways, that suited me and there are aspects of it I still carry with me or practice in some way.  I truly am a pagan at heart.  Or perhaps animist would be a better word for it.

Crabapple tree blossoms.

I came across an article (I’m sorry, I can’t find it now) that mentioned how white folks who came to the U.S. were, over time, forced to choose between their own culture and assimilating into U.S. culture which was defined (in the article) as a patriarchal white supremacy culture.  The claim is that with the loss of their own culture, people have had to appropriate practices from other cultures.  I don’t know if that’s true.  I know plenty of people whose ancestors came from somewhere in Europe who celebrate and pass on traditions from their culture.  I think the article may have been another excuse or attempt at justification for what we’re seeing here in the U.S. lately in terms of bigotry and xenophobia.  But that’s just my opinion which probably isn’t worth much (not even a cup of coffee).

How amazingly lucky I am to experience two springs!

Appropriation from other cultures has been going on for a very long time (the Romans and then the Christians were really good at it).  I have lots of confusion and questions, but no answers when it comes to cultural appropriation.  All I can do is listen and learn from others who have knowledge  and wisdom from experiences that I’ll never have.

The dogwood dreams.

I have thought a lot about Ms. Nguyen’s question while out on my walks lately.  I have thought a lot about it while I continue my yoga and meditation practices.  What would I create if I didn’t appropriate? I don’t know if it would be possible to create without appropriating from someone or something.  I don’t think there is such a thing as a pure anything anymore.  Art, music, religion, dance, education, poetry, and more all borrow something from someone.

Stars that fell to earth and learned to live as spring flowers.

Our destruction of biodiversity and ecosystem services has reached levels that threaten our wellbeing at least as much as human-induced climate change. We have a closing window of opportunity to act, and narrowing options.

~ Robert Watson, Chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (if interested, there is a short summary of some of the IPBES report here)

People aren’t the apex species they think they are. Other creatures-bigger, smaller, slower, faster, older, younger, more powerful-call the shots, make the air, and eat sunlight. Without them, nothing.

~ Richard Powers, The Overstory

On the subject of creating, one thing I have considered lately is what I, and what we, might create when it comes to the future of politics.  There is something called the Tipping Point for the spread of ideas and the rule of a minority.  I’ve read about it in a couple of places now and find it fascinating.  According to this article, it only takes ten percent of the population with an unshakable belief to spread that belief to the majority of the population.  Ten percent.  Imagine, that.  When more and more people become convinced that change is needed, and ideas begin to spread about how that change can be accomplished, change starts to happen.

Beautiful dreamers.

If I were an outsider looking in on the U.S., I could easily be convinced that the people of this country value guns and gun rights over lives.  They value guns and gun rights over the health, safety, security, and well-being of their children.  They value whiteness over diversity.  They value cheap and disposable products over the health, safety, security, and well-being of the planet.  They value their own convenience and conveniences over leaving a healthy planet for those who come after us.  They value immediate gratification over long-term planning.  They value money over everything else.

What would happen if ten percent of us started to give voice to our unshakable belief that these are not our values?  That we are not separate from nature?  That we do care about future generations?  Surely there must be enough of us by now to create some kind of tipping point.

We need new stories, I think.  A new mythology.  Maybe a new kind of spirituality.  We need to become indigenous, to recognize that we are not separate from nature.

Daffodils in the woods, telling each other stories.

I donated to Marianne Williamson’s campaign.  I don’t believe she’ll manage to get the nomination, but I wanted to donate to someone whose policies and platform are as close as I think I’ll get to what I believe.  Just her stand on food issues alone is enough to make me vote for her.  She needs 1,296 more separate donations in order to be included in the DNC debates.  Even $1 will do.  I am not suggesting or advising anything.  Just putting the information out there.

Out for a swim with their mum.

That’s enough from me for one day.  Thank you so much for stopping by, reading, and looking.  As you can tell from most of the photos, I recently spent some time in the Bogs (NE Ohio).  M and I were visiting with our children and grandchildren.  M also did a lot of the landlord type stuff (repairing the roof, fixing the drain in the pond, and about a thousand other things).  It was wonderful to spend time with everyone.

It’s been getting rather cloudy this afternoon but you never know what will happen by sunset.  If it looks good, let’s go to the Point.  I haven’t been out there in a while.  Sunset is scheduled for 8:00 PM.  On the nose.  (Sunrise this morning, by the way, was exactly at 6:00 AM.  On the nose.)  It’s very warm today.  Shorts and t-shirt kind of warm.  You’ll need insect repellent, too.  The small black flies, deerflies, and mosquitoes are all converging at once this year.  The breeze by the water might keep down the attacks.  It usually does.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

This happened while I was away. I was surprised to see them blooming already since they were just buds when I went a’traveling.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,061) The strong sense of interconnectedness I’ve been feeling lately.  It makes life feel richer, more layered.  1,062) Time with family, always.  1,063) A second experience of early spring.  1,064) Cherry jellybeans.  1,065) Peonies, irises, and roses, all blooming here now.

Delicate beauty.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

43 thoughts on “What would you create?

  1. There’s so much noise with media, activist for one side or the other or just ones stirring the mix, it all looks pretty grim – yet turn that off and mingle and chat and most people are nothing like what the noise says the world is.
    I wish people would stop focusing on guns – so many items are dangerous and destructive. There have been school bombing since I was in school, teachers shot by angry kids years ago – I took a gun away from a child and broke up fights right out of college.. My uncles and father as principals took aways knives, and all sorts of weapons for years (those were all disabled/broken and buried in deep holes on the farm at the end of each school year).
    Until society is interested in the real problem: the heart and soul – going back to the reverence of life, the value of a living thing, the place and role of humans among other creatures and nature, nothing will change. You already see this.
    It starts as soon as a child opens his/her eyes and the critical instructional period runs from month to around 7 years old. That’s when so much is set for life. Communication skills, compassion, appreciation of nature and creatures.
    But that’s bothersome. Isn’t there something easier…we’re so busy…
    There are solutions. A good start is actually talking face to face and putting down smart phones and computers. Notice the other person. As that kid said in my Monday’s post, “Can’t we listen with ALL our faces?”
    Good post. Hope many listen
    (Williamson went to my high school – I was just checking up on her last week. People think outsiders don’t have a chance, but they can have a steering impact – and make a difference.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with much of what you wrote, PhilosopherMouse. It’s true that we need to put more of a focus on heart and soul. If we did, there would be fewer problems with guns. That said, it’s been shown that in countries with tough gun laws, there are fewer problems with guns. I understand that this is not an entirely new problem and didn’t mean for this post to concentrate strictly on guns or the issue of guns. A family member was recently threatened, children I know and love have to go through lock downs because of possible threats, and the excuse that “we went through this” in some form (I’m thinking of the nuclear bomb drills — duck and cover — that my generation grew up with, not something specific you wrote) does not, in my opinion, justify having to raise up another generation in fear. I think much of that came through when my focus was meant to be the environment.

      I do believe our priorities are skewed. Look how fast New Zealand acted. Yet we go through mass shooting after mass shooting with little more than thoughts and prayers. I’d like to send the government thoughts and prayers instead of tax money, but doubt I’d get away with it. 😉

      I believe you’re right about Williamson and steering impacts. I hope that’s the case.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hard to compare apples to oranges. NZ is a small island – lovely and people there pretty much all obey the laws – all laws.
        The US is very large and part of a continent. The southern border backs up to strict gun law country, but MX is lawless with the drug cartels pretty much running a narco state murders, kidnappings, beheadings, hangings from bridges…and more. It is not safe according to friends with family in central MX that is unsafe to travel to. The US has a very broad group of people, more diverse than most places, and people here do not obey laws – just about any law – and the penalties are not a harsh deterrent; many technicalities and excuses let violent people avoid punishment – and on top of that, people no long shun those who do brutal crimes – those people are often looked up to – in movies, in music, in games, in sports, in celebrities, and in neighborhoods. Often crime and violence is glorified. The thing people don’t want to think about or address is the majority of these events were caused by unstable mentally disturbed person that was known to be a danger and had given signs of increasing danger ( other than the nightclub in Florida and the office in CA which were people angry others had different beliefs)
        If you actually study the data, removing guns makes things worse. Do the research rather than repeating what others say. Even in the US, Chicago, DC, CA, Aurora…all gun free zones.
        Thank goodness law enforcement has realized someone must run towards the danger to neutralize it. Saved people in Santa Fe, and again this time in Denver. Courage and bravery – sacrifice for others must be taught and admired again.
        I don’t like it either. I don’t like the fact that women are the largest group gaining gun skills for protection. I don’t like authorities do not intercept stalkers or do anything to make a difference with victims of domestic violence. (Like you, experiences with family/friends facing those force me out of a nice snug safe spot to learn about gun laws, stalking laws, protective orders (a joke) in multiple states – including the federal, state, county, and cities’ laws. You’re pretty much on your own, so if you don’t want to protect yourself, fine, but do not take the back to the wall last chance to live option away from others. )
        I won’t criticize the “thoughts and prayers” flowing comments as it’s simply a stock phrase for most who haven’t a clue of what to say. Priorities are skewed. People have got to stand up and say “murder is wrong.” “Do not kill” and follow through with locking up guns. In addition everyone has to go back to constantly saying “Do not touch a gun. Guns are for killing.” As they did when we were kids.
        (I remember those drills, too – but was never afraid at all – people were scared? We are so close to Cuba here and a prime target with the metro chemical plants and ship channel, yet…it was pretty much” it will happen or not – here’s the plan” – and families had plans. Fear, however is how nature keeps living things alive, right? Mother of invention, that fear)
        Today’s violence by adults – which children- mimic has to stop, too. It’s on display everywhere. Anti-social behavior used to be frowned upon and not tolerated. A return to that would be a start?
        Guns aren’t the only weapon. Just the easiest one to point to.
        Now let’s all take a deep breath and go outside. Maybe the world will fade away for a bit of peace once in the woods…even for a little bit, OK? Still friends? Take care. Onward to a better future

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Of course, still friends. 🙂

          I’m not advocating banning guns, and I have done my research several times over. I imagine we could both come up with links and data to support our arguments. I have a friend who set out to prove the good guy with a gun theory and ended up on the opposite end of things (lots of stats out there that debunk this theory). As for Chicago, that argument frequently gets pulled out in gun debates. About 21 percent of the guns used in Chicago come from the neighboring state of Indiana where the gun laws are lax (no permits or license required). Chicago’s gun laws have been whittled away at by the courts, thanks to the NRA, so they are no longer as strict as they once were. New York city, in contrast, does have strict gun laws and their homicide rate has been steadily declining. Same with Los Angeles. As for women, here in the U.S. approximately 52 women are shot to death every month by an intimate partner and any access to a gun makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed. A sensible law regarding guns and those who commit domestic violence might help with that although, as you pointed out, people don’t obey laws. That seems to come down from the top lately.

          Thoughts and prayers are nice, but they’re not effective (which is why I brought it up in relation to paying taxes; thoughts and prayers are not an action when it comes to paying taxes and are not an action when it comes to the need for sensible gun laws). I would also point out that I am required to take two tests, present a ridiculous amount of paperwork to establish my identity (seriously… the state of Maryland is nuts with the ID needed), get insurance, and have a license to drive a car. Why is it easier for me to own a gun than it is for me to drive a car? I can easily kill with a car, too (which is the all the rage now, unfortunately).

          Of course there are all sorts of other variables. That’s life. But we have to start somewhere. There’s a middle ground here. I see it. I wish those who so vehemently want to defend the right to bear arms would see it, too.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. As lousy, statistics and data are always subject to question. (At one time Houston was caught only reporting the solved murders – not all the ones that happened, so the city murder rate looks d very low. Great.)
            People live in different environments with different levels of threats and violence – and hard for each to completely identify with the other. Most disturbing is that each state has such different gun laws – and what has to happen before anyone gets a gun – that’s why I am a strong advocate of each state reviewing and strengthening their law to protect the public. Ours are much more strict than most – even at gun shows (which are so weird, aren’t they?) no one gets to take gun without the cops at the table at the door completing background checks and making sure all the paper work is in order.
            A bigger concern is that we already have laws. Laws agains murder. Laws against stalking, stealing, domestic violence, assault – and people are not obeying the laws that exist. Worse the cops/authorities are not enforcing the laws. To top it off, courts and parole boards are letting violent offenders slip through with just a slap on the wrist.
            Local police, trusted and reassuring when we were kids, are no longer trustworthy, honest, and often individuals who have no business in law enforcement – it is far worse here than you can imagine. It is not that way everywhere.
            One reason I push for people their state legislatures for commonsense laws (Like mandating all guns in homes be secured and locked up – a law, but enforcement?) – faster and easier to get stuff done on a regional/local level than try to get any thing done with those clowns in Congress.
            We do have to start somewhere. And Most people want some peace and to not worry about their kids. It’s going to take a grassroots groundswell and everyone on board. The killing has to stop.
            (Right to bear arms? Those poor people in Venezuela only having rocks against tanks(we have friends who escaped)…the government there collected guns “for the children” and the government promises to keep you safe and protect you….so I can unfortunately see why some people here are concerned)

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  2. I think at bottom, a lot of what we appropriate (and I’m so glad we appropriated various kinds of foods) is something that communicates what we didn’t quite get in our own culture. There have been times when the penny dropped for me on a Christian concept while I was reading a Buddhist writer. We all incorporate things and make something new and move forward. I think appropriation is more like stealing–when a white artist, for instance, tries to sound black to get more money. But sometimes something speaks to a person and they have to move in that direction–as someone I once knew who had been raised Catholic and was drawn to Islam in Tunisia. But I think we want the same things and more or less teach the same things, so if someone needs to understand a concept outside their cultural context, then I say take that path. Who knows where it will lead on the journey?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said/written, Lisa. 🙂 I’ve always thought of appropriation as stealing, too, but it became quite confusing during the yoga summit. I could be wrong but I think a lot of it boiled down to the way yoga is represented in the Western world (especially in the U.S.). It reminded me of when I used to subscribe to Yoga Journal and every month there was a letter from someone about the cover always featuring a well-toned white (often blonde) woman, asking why all bodies weren’t being represented.

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    2. Just a note, saying ‘sounding black’ is racist and doesn’t exist (said in a friendly informative tone). All creative persons gain inspiration and often “steal”. Steal Like An Artist talks about this! 🙂

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  3. Cultural appropriation is a topic that confuses me, probably because I know so little about it. I don’t understand why it should be offensive if I find something in your culture that enriches my life and so I use it, so long as I’m respectful of it. The values of a great deal of our society now worries and sickens me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a lot of it had to do with respect for the culture, Carol. One example was using sacred symbols as tattoos or on t-shirts. Honestly, I found it all very confusing. At the beginning of the summit, I was wondering if I should quit practicing yoga. By the end I came to the conclusion that I need to practice with more awareness so that I am not being disrespectful.

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    2. Did you know that many times when someone chooses a drip or a drab, and smooshes it with something they already new, they reframe it and water it down? In doing so, many individuals latch onto a bit or part without the cultural understanding that goes along with the concept and make what they took a lie, that is then believed and passed forward until it is a monster or vanishes completely.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s the important part, I think, Elisa — learning the cultural understanding that goes along with the concept. Otherwise, it’s probably being used out of context.

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      2. No, I had not thought of that – but if the group whose whole culture it is practices it the way they always have, isn’t that what really matters? They’re still passing it on to their generations. For instance, Yoga and Meditation both originated in India, yet we have adopted/adapted both for use in our lives – probably not in the exact same context as the Indians, but certainly as a benefit to our lives, much like we have Americanized versions of Italian and Mexican foods, but the original versions still exist in their countries.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a lot to think about in your post. Different cultures, appropriation, gun issues, food policy, politics. I’ll go look at Marrianne WIlliamson. If I can I’ll donate to her campaign. I think everyone should have the opportunity to debate at least once.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I overloaded this post, Dawn. That’s what happens when I take unintentional long blogging breaks. Everything comes out at once. 🙂 I think everyone should have the opportunity to debate at least once, too, and I don’t understand the rules that say otherwise.

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  5. Culture is a difficult thing isn’t it? And with intermarrying and immigration to other countries, a family’s culture is diluted as they strive to adapt and assimilate in a country that is not of their own.

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  6. Nice to see a post from you. I’ve missed seeing your lovely photos and today’s are outstanding. I really love the closeups of the bluets, one of my favorite spring wildflowers. And you got to have two springs, how wonderful is that?
    We’re still having cool weather (no complaints), but not a lot of sun (plenty of complaints!). Sounds like you are having summery weather. I hope ours doesn’t turn hot overnight. I’m enjoying the long-lasting tulips and daffs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 I love how you avoided the controversy I stirred up and honed in on what’s important — spring, the flowers, the weather, and Mother Nature’s beauty. ♥♥♥

      The bluets are one of my favorites, too. I keep thinking I’ll bring some back here (they do have them on the Eastern Shore but we don’t have any on our property), but I enjoy them so much where they are that I’ve decided to leave them as a treat for when we go back to visit the Bogs.

      I envy you the cool weather. I think it’s been pretty cloudy and rainy most places this spring. It’s not been good for the farmers.

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  7. I had an inkling the pics where from the Bogs. 🙂 I enjoyed this post very much – your spiritual journey, your ancestry, and other related thoughts. In the Rick Steves book I read, he made similar conclusions as you did when comparing US to Europe. Well done, Robin.

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  8. Such a thoughtful post, Robin–and so much here. I did an ancestry test years ago–no surprises either. I, too, think it’s hard not to appropriate to some extent, and yes, of course everything is appropriated, if we go back far enough, just as all of us come from immigrant backgrounds. 🙂 I kind of follow some food scholars, and there’s been discussion of food culture appropriation. I guess sometimes it’s a fine line between appropriating and honoring.

    I hope ten percent can turn things around here fast because it’s really beginning to look like dt and associates want to end our system of government. Did you see he said he thinks he should have two more years added to his term to make up for the investigation?

    But—there are flowers and the sound of children’s laughter and birds. . .and your beautiful photos.

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    1. Thank you, Merril, especially for the reminder that there are flowers and the sound of children’s laughter and birds. I’m with you — I hope the ten percent act quickly. I find myself wobbling between hope and despair, hoping we can do a course correction in 2020 yet fearing we might not get the chance.

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  9. Robin, this post is rich with thought provoking perspectives, thoughts, and of course comments by readers. I had initially written a long comment and it disappeared before I could hit the “reply” button. The essence of my comment was my curiosity about cultural appropriation as a concern. I see things differently than most…so I’ll leave it there. Thank you for providing another opportunity to view objectively, the different ways so many perceive themselves and others in our collective humanity. 🙏🏻

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    1. Thank you so much, Carrie. 🙂 I wish the gremlins hadn’t lost your initial comment. I’d love to read what you think about cultural appropriation and how you see things differently.

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      1. Robin, the essence of my original comment had to do with questioning the premise of cultural appropriation (or misappropriation). We all come from backgrounds which are rich tapestries of many countries, cultures, practices, etc.

        In our human-ness, we seem to have a need to name/label ourselves and others. This, as we see clearly today, doesn’t always serve our peaceful collective existence on this plane. We are all a part of the same entity. If I love and embrace one culture’s beliefs, practices, habits, foods, etc., and I don’t adopt all of what I’ve been told I “should” be doing, how does that make me anything but authentically me. I loved the original question in this important post…”What would you create?” We are each different and have the power and the evolutionary imperative to be our best selves. By definition, being ourselves is a creative process. Why? Because we are constantly changing. Didn’t mean to go on…thank you, again for this post, Robin.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you so much, Carrie, for coming back and recreating your original comment. I’ve wondered about that aspect, too. The labeling and the way we make things our own. A group of us with cameras could all photograph the same scene (or artists could draw it or writers could describe it) and we would all see and come up with something different. Why should it be an different in other areas of life? And why would that be a disrespecting or dishonoring?

          If we are each unique, as they say, then why wouldn’t our beliefs and practices have some uniqueness as well? (This is probably not exactly the direction you were going, but it’s where my mind decided to go.)

          Thank you, again, Carrie. Especially for giving me more food for thought. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Robin…you are right where I was…and yes, I agree, it applies to everything. You’re so right about the camera. That’s why I enjoy art of many kinds. From photography to painting, sketching and pottery and on and on; the same raw materials in the hands or eyes or ears of another will always be different. How awesome is that?

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  10. To me, it all comes down to a lack of empathy. And that’s getting worse. Many people only think of themselves. That’s how anyone who is different becomes and remains “the other.” I discarded the same things from my upbringing that you did. The Other are so interesting. Twas just having a conversation today with someone about the indian (native american) lands we’re on, and how all were stolen. Not much has changed, here in America. Unless our mythology changes, as you suggest, then nothing much will.

    p.s. Lovely photos, as always. Love the lil’ floating family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tara. 🙂 I wonder how much the internet has contributed to the lack of empathy. It’s so easy for some to be mean (to put it mildly) when they’re anonymous. The internet has opened up the world, but it seems to have paradoxically closed it, too. Or closed some minds and hearts.

      The writers and creators out there need to get working on that new mythology. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. I wrote an essay, back when I wrote essays that were published in newspapers, all about how technology was great but also dangerous and this is why. My editor didn’t run it because he didn’t think it was true (2004). I would LOVE to talk with him about that now… … …

        Yes, we do. And we shall! 🙂

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  11. I submit there is NO ‘White’. Your DNA shares what your genetic history contains. You shared that you are: I am mostly Irish followed by a mix from England, Scotland, and Wales. The other about-a-third of my ancestry comes from Eastern Europe and Russia, the Baltic States, with a tiny bit of DNA from Sweden and Germany. There is no country of genetic origin called White. Part of not using it, is knowing it’s improper in the first place, and putting in what is.

    My response to the question is: it isn’t a question, it’s a wake up call that all that came before me, and all that is in my experience and in my perception–which is often flawed, creates who and what I am. Nothing is original, everything is taken, stolen from something and someone else. For me there are layers of that stealing and using. For me, I tend to use the word appropriation to mean i take a small bit of someone elses religion, spirituality, culture for my own use, out of context, sometimes so my ego can say, I practice ….fill in blank. Watering down and disrespecting what was never mine to begin with.
    Interesting post thank you!

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    1. OOO OO OO ty ty I was inspired to create a morning trip! I take back part of my answer, The Ecstasy of Curiosity is original (even when i borrowed his a ha and the words to describe it!)

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    2. That’s probably true, Elisa… that there is no white (even in coloring, very few people are actually the color white — more like pink or peach or any number of hues). I used it to define myself as other than a person of color because that is the term most often used.

      I’m not entirely sure that combining bits and pieces of other things is necessarily a disrespecting or watering down. I think it depends on how you do it. Sometimes taking those bits and pieces and combining them in new ways creates something entirely new (or possibly recreates what it was intended to be before men came along and made it into something they could use to control others).

      Really enjoyed your morning trip and The Ecstasy of Curiosity. 🙂

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      1. I am smiling at your comment and your freely sharing your, i thinks. For more thought, i’ll reframe it again. There is this person that considers that it is just fine to grab pussies without asking and taking because he thinks/believes this is fine or normal. The one being taken from isn’t asked permission nor for input. In my experience, I found out that I used the words, as long as i respect it, not knowing at all that by taking without asking, without instruction, without context that very act is/was said disrespect.

        I love discourse, so, I am NOT committed to having you change your view, just walking alongside sharing experience. Whew! I haven’t been moved to wish to engage in such discussion on a blog in a long time. 🙂

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        1. lol! Yes, I’m good with the “I thinks” and “perhaps” and “maybe.” I don’t feel particularly authoritative on any subject so I hedge. My views have changed so much over time and conversations that I don’t want them to appear set in stone. I love discourse, too, so it’s all good. 🙂

          I see what you’re saying about the pussy grabber. Which is why I qualified what I was saying as depending on how you do it. For instance, learning from my Native American (Lakota) friend. Was that disrespectful? I don’t think so. He was freely sharing his culture and knowledge. I felt uncomfortable with it for my own reasons (which is my own problem), but he was perfectly happy teaching people for whatever his reasons were. As for the pussy grabber, he has no real awareness of others outside of himself except as seeing them as people he can take from because he feels entitled to do so.

          My yoga teacher’s lineage goes back to Desikachar and his father, Krishnamacharya. Is this important? I don’t know. Krishnamacharya and Desikachar shared freely with the westerners. Does this make it okay? I still don’t know.

          Another part of my confusion is this: If it’s wrong to practice something from another culture, does that mean I am stuck with being a Catholic? Must I go back to a religion and culture that I left behind even though I disagree with the beliefs and the system? Am I limited to what is considered my culture?

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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