Dedication: The Migrant Farmers, The Gardeners, The Land Cultivators – Those who feed us all. We must remember from where our food and sustenance come, for we are nothing without the land – we exist on stolen soil and call it private property with arbitrary borders bound to arbitrary power – we can start acknowledging from there and create a discourse together, from now on.
This is also dedicated to my best friend Maggie and my dear friend Harry who feeds our community and themselves and are exemplary humans I am honored to know and call friends.
Quote: “Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” Mary Oliver and subsequently, “When large slices of the demos feel as if their voice is not being heard, they feel helpless, impotent and turn on themselves and turn on each other… Every generation is wrestling what it means to be human and how one takes democracy seriously, and has to accent the underside of their present moment, in light of the past, to ensure that the future can be a little bit better, maybe even qualitatively better than the present.” Dr. Cornel West
Dear Humans: Today is Tuesday and I have felt like a flapping fish out of water (forgot to take my medicine… Captain Distracto… Passionate Multi-Tasker… Obsessive Student… Crazed Teacher… Mad Artist! I am teaching, was accepted into a graduate level 5-week intensive class “Teaching for Black Lives”, standing daily on the street corner with my sign, highlighting police brutality with my neighbors, falling in love with myself and my Spiritual path, doing some yoga, making friends with dedication, making art, reading tarot cards, making matchbooks and frequenting the post office. I have amazing news. On Wednesday, the 29th, I’ll be performing 2 of my songs as the virtual half-time guest of Jonathan Byrd and the Shake Sugaree Global Pandemic Live Stream. I cannot even begin to describe what an honor this is. I’ve been listening to Jonathan Byrd since I was 23… I’m 37… that’s a long time!
Love to everyone, I’d wax poetic here about everything into which I’ve been diving, but I’ll spare you and share another quote of Dr. Cornel West, “Democracy is like the art form of jazz: You better find your voice, accent your individuality in community so you can contribute to the high quality of the collective performance. Find your voice! Each citizen: dig deep into the precincts of your soul and examine the suburbs of your voice and find your voice and get it out, not just your self-interest but your voice that balances enlightened self-interest and public interest and the public good. (We aren’t just talking about votes in Florida..).” 2014, Dr. Cornel West speaks at University of Washington
This week in pictures:
Upcoming shows: Every Tuesday at 8:30 – live on Instagram and Facebook! ❤
…the day I decided to marry my Spirituality. What a charm!
Dedication: I dedicate this TuesDay NewsDay to Athene, Goddess of Justice. I intend to honor her in shining my light. There is no reason for me to hide it. I have been too concerned with worrying about others’ thoughts and less about how I show up in this world. No longer!! Athene carries upon her shoulder a white owl reflecting her clarity of vision – it can see and hunt in the dark. She was born from Zeus’ head after he tried to prevent her birth by eating her mother, Metis, Goddess of Wisdom. Can’t keep THIS one from shining her light. Nope. Her convictions are birthed from pursuit of truth and the recognition that there must be a battle to uphold truth with logic, diplomacy and creativity. Her weapons as gifts to the likes of Odysseus and Perseus always had to be used with intelligence, foresight and planning. She was chaste. She valued service over personal desire and put principles over passions – the mind has the ability to make choices upon reflection, mastering instincts. Athene blessed and “rendered valuable service to mankind. She taught the art of taming horses, and fostered skills and crafts such as weaving and embroidery. Her activities were concerned not only with useful work, but with artistic creation as well.” She nurtured warriors who protected peace. (Quoted and paraphrased from the Tarot card Justice of the Mythic Tarot, by Juliet Sharman-Burke and Liz Green) I pulled this card today in a “present-time” spread which threw my jaw to the ground and kept it there the whole time.
Song: Cakewalk – by Taj Mahal – (One of my favorite songs of all time and reflects how good I feel today. ❤ “Throw your big leg over me mama, I might not feel this good again…” (But I will. Promise)
Dear Humans: Wow. What an insane time to be alive! What a blessing to see all the ruckus going on in this world – the bravery and passion of people standing up in the streets against police brutality and racism. Bigotry of all kinds! Your time is up! Your number has been disconnected! Your mother has just arrived at the party and you’re being pulled out by your ears while drunk on the power you thought you had, but you don’t. Not anymore! It was an illusion! Of course, I know it won’t go down without a fight. The fight is coming. I feel privileged to be part of it.
I feel grateful to be a teacher in these times. I feel honored and blessed to have a voice, a platform, and musical and artful proclivities. Thank you to all of you out there who have gifted me with your love and support (financial and the gifts of your time) through all this. Musicians the world over are having to get creative, even more-so than before, to make ends meet. I’m so glad to have my teaching job (though teachers make pennies compared to the work they do).
This week, as mentioned before, is the beginning of my 30-day yoga challenge. Today is day 5. After I finish writing this, I will be doing my next video. (Yoga By Adriene – look her up on youtube. You’re welcome) I’m so proud of myself. That is not something I have said very much… reflecting on my life. I am exercising healthy boundaries, discerning what feels good and doesn’t, and exploring how to ease into things that feel difficult at first.
Have you ever challenged yourself to do something you’ve felt guilty for NOT doing for years? This time, I wrote down my dedication (see two blog posts back if you want to read it). I deduced WHY this objective and goal is important. In order to show up as the passionate and compassionate singing teacher warrior I know I can be, I have to make sure the vessel in which I occupy is healthy. I have to make sure my Spirit is healthy. I have to re-parent the little kid inside me who is afraid of failing, who is angry at injustice cause she knows how that feels, and who wants to play and make art all the time (she never got to really play and was always older than she should’ve been growing up). Right now, for the first time, there is beginning to be integration between my body, mind, and Spirit. Holy cow. The Tarot spread I had today basically described my current situation to a T. Here’s the story I read from those cards:
I amthe young adventurer on a mission with a vision (2 of Wands). The vision is the King of Wands who has mastered the power to manifest vision with creative imagination. I am supported by Athene (Justice card) and need to devote to her my honor – she is the Spirit embodying my self-knowledge. Her chastity gives birth to artistic creativity in service to the greater good and fostering peace with ethical implementation. I know who I am and have the potential to be through her wisdom and devotion to truth and justice. This vision is possibly blocked by choices of the flesh and perceived worldly power over my Spirit. (Lovers card – reversed). I am making choices in real life – at this moment I am choosing Lady Justice – my values are being tested. I have a choice between love or a sacred, creative activity at this time. I believe Love IS my sacred, creative activity now. Every time I make art, seek out truth and teach my students how, and when I work for justice, I am praying a literal prayer of activism and devotion. At this time, I must look carefully at the implications of my choices in the past. Heartache, physical pain and ill heath are old love. Creative Spirit is new love.
I must waitin my romantic relationshiprealm (The Hanged Man) and make the voluntary sacrifice for my own best interest (to see through to the achievement of this vision). After the Wheel of Fortune’s challenge of fate, I must use the lesson of the Hanged Man, understanding and willingness to put trust in the Unseen – knowing there will be anxieties yet, also knowing it will all be okay. I must marry my Spirit (10 of Cups). This decision augers ongoing emotional contentment and permanence in the realm of the heart. Psyche marries Eros; gives this creature wings to fly. I will withstand any challenge offered by Life. I no longer need to hide my Love. I can let my love light shine. Take heed, (7 of Pentacles reversed) I am making a choice. I can either reject something Divinely inspired or choose security and safety and risk mundane perpetuity. This decision comes to every person who attempts to manifest creative energy. Also take heed, (9 of Cups – reversed) REMEMBER that everything has been done up to now in loyalty to your inner feeling values. This moment is fulfillment of your wish – self-validation, from your commitment to your inner-development. Do not forget how far you have come. This is a reward for your efforts. You may find yourself underwater, but remember and be grateful, you can still breathe, magically, and despite the odds.
At the heart of my journey lies my biggest inner strengths, resilience and positivity through chosen, constructive nostalgia. (6 of Cups) Through turmoil, I have the capability to be at peace with myself. I am cultivating that power at this very moment. From hardship, there are positive, good memories for which to be grateful and from them I gain knowledge of myself. There is stillness and serenity in the lessons of the past and I choose that serenity and stillness, that solemn honoring which sprouts from life’s disappointments and pain. From those experiences, I have the capabilities to move on with resolve and reflection.
Believe in your vision enough to try, these messages say clearly. Firmly grip the fire of imagination and go forth with the hands of Spirit and Love at your back and the temple of Justice upholding you from below.
This week in pictures:
Upcoming gigs: Next Tuesday! 8:30 Livestream on Insta and Facebook (my FB anitalorrainemusic page)
White Power & How To Confront It As A White Person
I remember dreaming last night in a fitful sleep. I went to bed thinking this: things in our world are both building and deteriorating. Systemic, institutionalized, implicit, and internalized racism are coming into our White collective consciousness and there are those who are resisting that truth, tooth and nail.
On my mind are the non-violent steps being taken to combat these ills (protests, vigils, marches, social media amplification of melanated voices, removal of racist statues and the banning of racist flags, White people doing their own consciousness work, ETC) and the backlash I deeply feel is coming to meet them. There are many more people on this continent now than after the 2nd Reconstruction (after which due to White power “ultimately led to the overthrow of that democracy and decades of whites-only rule”) or during our last Civil Rights movement, only about 50 years ago. What is being highlighted right now is the incessant use and prevalence of police brutality, especially against Black and Brown people.
Dumbfounding to me is the seemingly complete and utter lack of respect and dignity for human life. Vehicles being driven through groups of peaceful people. “Shoot them in the leg.” as if that is a conscionable solution? There has been a manufactured crippling of critical thinking skills and intentional building of hatred via indoctrination and propaganda. There is a distinct and variable lack of morality — lack of care for the common good — lack of devotion to the common principle of opponents having equal worth. There is a serious and rampant deficit of concern for people or the planet or for life in general from those who would wish for things to stay as they are (or even worse, hearkening back for when they were “great”).
The depths of the aforementioned violence is not solely exclusive to the police — the hearts and minds of all who have grown up in this country are also painted with that same racist, bigoted brush. In no way is it possible to have grown up in this country without being racist, no matter how much you would like to think to the contrary. Racist history makes one either racist outright, silently, unknowingly or for Black and Brown people, racist against one’s own self (internalized). (See WEB DuBois for more on this: here.) Our history of OCCUPANCY in this country began with genocide of Native American people. Very soon and subsequently after, the economy of White, rich men (landowners/thieves/dominators — call them what you will) and their descendants, began to thrive on the backs of African bodies, owned and sold, existing in forced and disgusting slavery. What is not often discussed here is poor White people who were also marginalized — by that I mean never included in the dominant ruling class. They were however, and most importantly, pitted against their Black and Brown counterparts.
Our history has given birth to us as direct descendants who perpetuate mass violence, poverty, inequality and also silencing of dissent. Those inherited perpetuations directly injure Black, Brown and Indigenous people of color. Poor White people have been historically and purposefully convinced of our superiority and by swallowing that pill to save our own asses against exploitation and brutality, we pass that exploitation and brutality to our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. We have participated in one of the greatest fallacies in human history. Being deceived by “those in power” (rich, white, male, power-hungry executors of violence) has created harmful White violent culture and a poverty of conscience. Those of us to whom the powerful give some riches and some privileges pacifies us into submission and makes us tolerant of some racism (appeasement). We see that gatekeepers most certainly will not simply hand over stolen, unearned wealth and unsound privilege. Some who profit from this fallacy and their leaders will cling, like the great Smaug, to the mounds of hoarded gold and silver, aka toilet paper, hand sanitizer, land and powerful positions of authority. Having a divided racist class system protects the powerful. They will use the media to confuse and divide us further. What these allied classes look like however, are you and me, people in police or army uniforms, many of us never stopping to think about what it is we are actually protecting, that is, White power.
Another outfit worn by the protectors of the powerful elite are white collars and corporate suit-wearing humans, confused into thinking that a savvy tongue and piece of that pie will save them when the shit hits the fan. Unfortunately, it will not. You too will be pushed out of the lifeboat when this ship is sinking of its own burning weight in riches.
All of us manipulated gatekeepers have access to power with our White skin, but lack the insight and ability to truly question or, dare I say, threaten White power with Love and radical, sacred inclusion. We will continue to unknowingly — very well knowingly — perpetuate this cycle of violence set upon our Black and Brown Spirit siblings and, insidiously, our very own selves, unless this collective consciousness is tapped SO HARD as to turn on the light and take on the risks and tasks of anti-racism with our every action and breath. We have to give away, willingly and with grace, the privileges of our White skin in order to uplift our more oppressed neighbors of color. Then, we can start rectifying our collective cycle of divided existence in this country. This has never been done on a mass scale. There are current examples, minuscule efforts of some humble White people. Give up seats in the Senate and General Assembly. Give up board of directors appointments. Give up our seats on the bus. Give up our privileged, protected and powerful positions everywhere where that privilege keeps Black and Brown people down. That means at every level. That means in every stage.
That means in OUR hearts we must trust that we are not, in any way or shred of consideration, better than, more qualified or entitled to the opportunities in which simply our White skin has afforded us. It has never been about qualification (for those of you who are pissed about affirmative action), it’s about equity. We White people literally have to go backwards in order for our Brothers and Sisters to move forward. We have to get out of the way so that we can ALL be a part of the way, the new flowing of this rushing river. We may not be able to pay out of pocket (but we should try anyway) reparations. (Yes, I believe in reparations. The same way I believe the men who sexually abused me as a child should still be in jail and owe me some money, at least to cover my mental health costs). By giving of our own privileges, taking ourselves out of seats of power (the little power we have compared to the mega-rich and powerful), we can come together to fight the beast that is patriarchal capitalism run by rich, White men.
They certainly didn’t invent racism, violence or slavery, but they damn sure profited off the perpetuation and weaponization of it throughout our history in North America and worldwide. Exponential riches and power have been gained by global colonization and dominance, profiting from and exploiting the Earth and people of color, and so have we, regular White people, profited in our acceptance of trickle-down privilege.
White people in our own ways, in our own lifetimes, we, too, have profited and existed in a trickle-down privilege and that has to stop, NOW. Check your privilege in every moment you exist from this moment forward and ask yourself “Why?”. “How did I get this?” “Did I inherit this?” (See this and this for more on how to do this and this. Or hell, come talk to me, we can do this together.)
Next we can ask ourselves, “Who can I give this to or share this with?”. How can I, if I truly believe, as stated above, that I am in NO WAY superior to Black, Indigenous, and Brown people of color, give this up and work consciously for equality and equity?
PS: These questions above refer additionally to privileges of gender, ability… all the privileges and layers of marginalized identities which exist in this separate and totally unequal society. This means the environment, too. Mother Earth has also been marginalized.
It shouldn’t stop there — we should not stop just with White people stepping back and marginalized people coming forward in power. No, the transference of power will not appease me. Ayn Rand’s Anthem ends with the oppressed becoming the oppressor and this will not do for our future at this point. The transformation we need can lead toward a more nurturing economy led by people who understand oppression. We must begin thinking of the virtue of life itself, the virtue of a human being with inalienable rights of dignity and somehow instill an undeniable sense that there is value of life, value of difference, value of harmony in our economic structures, our political decisions and systems. Some say it may be possible that similar systems have happened before. This is our time to be an example, give a true gift to our children. What is it to both live in and transform the world we live so it can be a real, more just and equitable society? What is it that we truly need to thrive? What would better serve the planet and greater good of all living things?
What would better serve us right now is to realize that we White people inherit our privilege — our male-dominated culture dictates that one (__fill in the blank, color, gender, ability, etc__) is better than the other and that concept is, in every single way, wrong.
I say, have lofty fucking goals. Aim high. We may miss the mark and we most definitely will mess up. Forgive yourself and continue on. Don’t let fear of the unknown, making mistakes or losing friends keep you from working to exist in a world where we are all equal and Love wins, ’cause that time, is not right now, not yet. We all must make steps to get there, even if it happens after we die, we have at least worked for something greater than ourselves, for the Higher Power that is Serenity, Peace and Justice for All.
Dedication: This week’s edition of TuesDayNewsDay is dedicated to Amy Alexander and her family. Here is her obituary and HERE. We said goodbye to Amy on Saturday after she passed on last Tuesday. Last Tuesday, in lieu of a newsletter, Bruce and I did a memorial livestream on the Facebooks which you can see HERE. It is more and more difficult to speak of her in the past tense. Ryan and I had a talk about that. I have so many unutterable feelings. All I can express right now is my gratitude for her. I could never be more grateful for her presence in my life as a substitute mom. I love you Ma.
This is Amy, Loren and me:
This was us (the family of Alexanders and friends) at Thanksgiving last year:
This is Amy and her oldest son, Josh. Everyone knows him as Skip. I called him Skippo. He called me Stinkie. They are together on the other side now and to quote my post about this earlier this week: “My thoughts also drift to our brother Skip during this time. Time slows down when I think of him. There is something strangely comforting and tragic knowing that they’re on the other side together now.”
The week before last, another friend passed over the rainbow bridge, Paul Vasquez (the double rainbow guy) and I made a memorial video for him live on the Instagrams. You can see that HERE.
Quote: “WILD KINDNESS” by Jack Kerouac
“By practicing kindness all over with everyone you will soon come into the holy trance, definite distinctions of personalities will become what they really mysteriously are, our common and eternal blissstuff, the pureness of everything forever, the great bright essence of mind, even and one thing everywhere the holy eternal milky love, the white light everywhere everything, empty bliss, svaha, shining, ready, and awake, the compassion in the sound of silence, the swarming myriad trillionaire you are.”
Cat Stevens says, “Don’t be shy just let your feelings roll on by, don’t wear fear or nobody will know you’re there..” Today, as we lift our heads to the heavens all around us, it is with acceptance and grace that we move through grief and mourning those souls who have gone before. To be real as can be, this last year has gifted many opportunities for pause and reflection, gratitude and silence, reception and art, Spirit messages and an outpouring of gifts we can only begin to imagine. This may seem folly, overly light-hearted, or flippant – but please, know I say these things with extreme reverence in the midst and acknowledgment of the pain and suffering in our world right now too.
As I sit here on this magical rock, a direct connection to the heartbeat of this earth, I have no choice but to breathe and sigh, sit in awe of the moving spectacle of the water coursing through my toes, the sunlight pouring in through juvenile leaves of Summer. The Elm and Sycamore, the Box elder and Tulip Poplar are my Sacred canopy. The bees gently buzz in puddles left from the latest flood. I have been blissfully swimming in poetry and space, gifts of song and tears, all the while mourning and then once again, with dry and damp eyes, tapping into the divine through connections with others, these plants, the garden soil, growth, and my dearest buzzing, singing, trumpeting beautiful flying beings.
No, I cannot complain. Yes, there has been much loss. Yet, I am making my own type of peace simply by surrendering to what is. Supplication to blessings, even if they hurt. Nodding my head and heading in the direction to which I am called, without an ounce of regret or hesitation.
I love you all. Thank you for Being. Thank you for being there, being challenging, being real, being You.
Hey yall, It’s Tuesday. The Earth turned into the Sun again today. The clouds parted so that we may feel the warmth of that Sun too. For those things and more, I am hella grateful. Please see the passage below. I am re-reading this little book called Practicing Peace and it speaks to every ounce of what is happening in the world right now and how we can all choose to evolve through these times. Pema on Racial Injustice
Dedication: To everyone. All the people. All the animals. All the plants. All the Spirits.
Quote:Practicing Peace by Pema Chödrön. “War begins when we harden our hearts, and we harden them easily— in minor ways and then in quite serious, major ways, such as hatred and prejudice—whenever we feel uncomfortable. It’s so sad, really, because our motivation in hardening our hearts is to find some kind of ease, some kind of freedom from the distress that we’re feeling. Someone once gave me a poem with a line in it that offers a good definition of peace: “softening what is rigid in our hearts.” We can talk about ending war and we can march for ending war, we can do everything in our power, but war is never going to end as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.
What happens is a chain reaction, and I’d be surprised if you didn’t know what I’m talking about. Something occurs—it can be as small as a mosquito buzzing—and you tighten. If it’s more than a mosquito—or maybe a mosquito is enough for you—something starts to shut down in you, and the next thing you know, imperceptibly the chain reaction of misery begins: we begin to fan the grievance with our thoughts. These thoughts become the fuel that ignites war. War could be that you smash that little teensy-weensy mosquito. But I’m also talking about war within the family, war at the office, war on the streets, and also war between nations, war in the world.
We often complain about other people’s fundamentalism. But whenever we harden our hearts, what is going on with us? There’s an uneasiness and then a tightening, a shutting down, and then the next thing we know, the chain reaction begins and we become very righteous about our right to kill the mosquito or yell at the person in the car or whatever it might be. We ourselves become fundamentalists, which is to say we become very self-righteous about our personal point of view.
…The next time you get angry, check out your righteous indignation, check out your fundamentalism that supports your hatred of this person, because this one really is bad—this politician, that leader, those heads of big companies. Or maybe it’s rage at an individual who has harmed you personally or harmed your loved ones. A fundamentalist mind is a mind that has become rigid. First the heart closes, then the mind becomes hardened into a view, then you can justify your hatred of another human being because of what they represent and what they say and do.
…If you look back at history or you look at any place in the world where religious groups or ethnic groups or racial groups or political groups are killing each other, or families have been feuding for years and years, you can see—because you’re not particularly invested in that particular argument— that there will never be peace until somebody softens what is rigid in their heart. So it’s necessary to take a big perspective on your own righteousness and your own fundamentalism when it begins to kick in and you think your own aggression and prejudice are reasonable.
I try to practice what I preach; I’m not always that good at it but I really do try. The other night, I was getting hard-hearted, closed-minded, and fundamentalist about somebody else, and I remembered this expression that you can never hate somebody if you stand in their shoes. I was angry at him because he was holding such a rigid view. In that instant I was able to put myself in his shoes and I realized, “I’m just as riled up and self-righteous and closed minded about this as he is. We’re in exactly the same place!” And I saw that the more I held on to my view, the more polarized we would become, and the more we’d be just mirror images of one another—two people with closed minds and hard hearts who both think they’re right, screaming at each other. It changed for me when I saw it from his side, and I was able to see my own aggression and ridiculousness.
If you could have a bird’s-eye perspective on the Earth and could look down at all the conflicts that are happening, all you’d see are two sides of a story where both sides think they’re right. So the solutions have to come from a change of heart, from softening what is rigid in our hearts and minds.”
Song: I Want To Be Here – by Neko Case, here’s the video Bruce and I played for today with this song, recorded by my awesome roommate, Andrea. InstaVideoSongPost
The excerpt from above means a lot to me. I wish I could somehow transfer this sentiment of softening our hearts to every human on this planet. Some people know this already, but some people don’t and would never agree… so we’d have to sneak it in while they were sleeping. We could send a little whisper of Love into their ears via magic fairy dust or something they couldn’t successfully shake out or wash off in the morning. I don’t have much to say that Pema didn’t already about all that’s happening out there in the world. I wish everyone rest and a calm heartbeat. I wish everyone food in their bellies and enough resources to provide for what they need. I wish for marginalized people to have some peace of mind and heart. I wish those in power would use it for the betterment of society instead of to its detriment. I wish for people’s hearts to soften and to feel what it is that could truly save this world, Love. (and 6 feet of temporary personal space…) Goodnight y’all.