City of Roses
As y'all may have noticed, though I have ended my recent hiatus from Passions In Poetry several months ago, I have barely made a presence in here since then, and though at the time I returned I couldn't quite think of why that was, I now believe I know why, and wanted to share what's on my mind as I think it ties in well with the somber political climate we're in.
As most of you are well aware, I've been known to voice my opinions very strongly and forcefully here. That was especially true from the time the War in Iraq began on through about 2007, where I was fiercely critical of our government's foreign policy, as well as the increasing theocratic and neoconservative leanings of the GOP establishment and its departure from its core party roots in particular, among other things.
While I do believe I was absolutely justified to protest what I still firmly believe were wrong policies on my part, I also, in retrospect, wasn't proud of how heated my addressing of the issues could be and how that at times allowed ego to get in the way and cause disharmony in the community. I ultimately concluded it was unhealthy to allow this kind of commentary to keep spiraling like this, because I felt I was increasingly losing a spiritual component of my life through this, as much as I do enjoy the company of everyone here and of conversation, so I needed to break away from this forum and reclaim that spiritual touch.
And that's what I feel is sorely lacking in our cultural dialogue right now. Rather than constructively focusing on and addressing the broader issues that directly impact our lives in a broad community-minded sense, it's aggressive comments made from the likes of Joe Wilson and Adam Grayson that have overshadowed the conversation and have only intensified the anger and cognitive dissidence on both ends of the spectrum. And while there have always been fringes on both ends, I sense now that they have consumed a considerably broader scope of our national discourse than in much recent memory, and I am saddened by that..........and now that I reflect back on the past six years or so, I realize I fed into that manic maelstrom as well, even while I believe my intentions were always good and I had rational grounds on which to dissent.
I suppose what I'm trying to say, is that this year has been a very transformative year for me on multiple levels, and after having a major emotional breakdown late last year during a historic snowstorm after silently suffering from social alienation, self-possession and compulsive pseudo-prudence, I realized I was spiritually bereft, that I finally was able to observe my inner-thoughts in the stillness of my loneliness and accept that I had been in denial, I had been angry with myself, I had gotten so hard on myself, I had harbored so much regret..........and had relied on the past in identifying myself and had used the future as a crutch in the hope better days were ahead while not taking constructive aims to let the present determine the future............and that I HAD to not merely change, but transform my life...........and so started volunteering intensively through the non-profit agency Hands On Greater Portland, which helped me re-connect with many different communities, then from there started regularly volunteering at local rescue missions like the Union Gospel Mission, the Blanchet House and the Julia West House, the Cherry Blossoms Loaves & Fishes and artistic coalitions like the Zimbabwe Artists Project, among other groups.
In effect, I discovered even more social outlets which further helped me integrate into the broader community and keep me more grounded in the present, including spiritual/personal development groups like the dance gathering Ecstatic Alchemy, and from there I've gained a more holistic appreciation of life than I've ever felt, and with that I feel only faint remnants of my past discomforts and feel no baggage within!
For those wondering why I share this anecdote in this particular thread, I guess what I am saying is that, now that I reflect back on my own experience, I realize that I, or anyone for that matter, who lives with feelings of scarcity and absence in their hearts, is capable of one day waking up and finding one's self in a "festering fringe" of sorts.
If I was in the same place I was two years ago, I would react here in agreement with Ebert in anger. But while I may disagree with the intentions of at least some of Obama's fiercest detractors, I can't be angry with them all the same..............because I now realize then I would only allow the anger to consume me, and simultaneously I realize many who live driven by unchecked anger and are part of this so-called "festering fringe" are NOT monsters. They are NO LESS human than any of the rest of us and I've also come to realize for the same reason that this notion of a "festering fringe" is illusionary. Perhaps some of those vocal voices, for instance, bear scars to this day from the past that might even be as political as they are personal and thus react to certain parts of our cultural psyche with more ardent emotion than others. And while I would disagree with what it is they're doing, or even the grounds on which they base their opposition, that doesn't make them "wrong" or "insane" or "despicable". They're just trying to find stillness in their own lives, many probably no less frightened than I was for a while leading up to early this year.
That said, I hope this will be my last post in this forum............not because of anyone in this forum, nor because I don't enjoy talking with anyone in this forum.............but because I just feel, inevitably, discussions will get heated here.........and I guess I've lost heart in this specific forum because I don't want to feel that way anymore, and I don't want to make others angry all the same.
Hope y'all understand, and I offer y'all my kindest regards!
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"