Kellyanne

There has been no shortage of cringe-worthy moments on display since Donald Trump began his reign in January. It’s only natural, considering the current administration is big on optics and short on substance. It’s inevitable, when photo ops are used to paint a picture of a benevolent leader, a fairy tale that insults the intelligence of the American people. It’s embarrassing, every time #45 opens his mouth and destroys the image his people are trying to construct. And it’s infuriating, because this is the American president!

The brand-builder-in-chief is surrounded by people who indulge him, like the nannies of a spoiled child whose messes they’ll gladly clean up. Trump was their ticket into the White House, where they can plump up their resumes, feed their own egos and, in the case of Steve Bannon, carry out their own agendas simply by whispering compliments into their boss’s ear. While this dynamic isn’t new to the world of politics, the blatant lying that is commonplace within the Trump administration is. We’re now used to “alternative facts,” a phrase coined by Kellyanne Conway, who caused a stir recently when she gave a “free commercial” for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. (All was swiftly forgiven, since conflict of interest is a cornerstone of the current administration.)

Kellyanne is back in the news, this time thanks to photos of her that are trending on social media.┬áMaybe no one will scold Donald Trump, but after seeing these photos, I have a few words for Kellyanne. I’m usually quite tolerant of harmless behavior and am by no means a flaming United States patriot, but for some reason, these pictures set me off. Maybe it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back; like many Americans, I’m processing anger and disillusionment on a daily basis. I’ve added an evening session of meditation to my schedule, in order to safeguard my sanity! Obviously, there are many more important issues that deserve attention and they certainly have mine. So, please, give me a few minutes with Ms. Conway and I’ll move on.

You’re now a member of the Trump administration, Kellyanne, in a role that keeps you close to the President. Pictures will be snapped and your conduct will be on display. You have the privilege of working in the White House, the home to your President’s predecessors. This beautiful and historic building has stood proudly throughout history and it’s residents have hosted great leaders, thinkers, artists and heroes, from not only America, but from around the word. Within these walls, important legislation has been signed into law, critical decisions have been made and the integrity and intelligence of every president has been tested.

Perhaps the significance of the West Wing hasn’t eluded you, Kellyanne, but you need a reminder. The White House isn’t one of your boss’s hotels, where you can romp through the halls and play in the elevators to your heart’s content, like Eloise at the Plaza. The photos currently making the rounds capture an event that honored the distinguished men and women who preside over our country’s African American universities. During the proceedings, you’re casually hanging out on a sofa in a less than graceful position, snapping cell phone photos and looking like a teenager on “Take Your Daughter to Work” day.

To be fair, your boss hasn’t exactly been an stellar role model. The somber significance of the “Wall of Stars” completely eluded the President and cameras captured a man more focused on the size of the crowds he drew, instead of the sacred space where he stood. As I look at these images and the conduct they illustrate, one thing is clear. You and the Trump administration have disrespected the spaces you inhabit and, frankly, it disturbs me.

Road Trip!

A dark cloud of sadness can descend when we least expect it or it can envelope us during a time of suffering that traditionally produces a heavy heart. Although it is often a joyous revelation or a sunny spark of gratitude that makes us seekers, foul weather is often the ideal time to start a spiritual journey. The dark secrets and whispered utterings of a bruised soul are more readily seen, explored and understood during these times. Ancient and frightening memories hidden in the corners and crags of the brain are brought into the light, where they’re less powerful and can be challenged by a brave spirit. Like so many things that would be of service to our deep and often fragile selves, if we wait for optimal conditions before staring a spiritual journey we may miss a golden opportunity for growth. Or, even worse, we might never step on the path that can lead us to healing and happiness and the love we all deserve to find for ourselves, within ourselves. If the spirit nudges you, take a chance! Put on you galoshes or your sunscreen, pick a bunch of flowers or squish through the muddy places you discover. It’s never a bad time for an inner road trip!

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Present

I will practice being present in each moment.

I will allow myself audacious dreams for the future!

I will no longer be intimidated by those who judge my personal experiences and emotions.

I will say “Thank You” each morning and evening, until the gratitude inside me floats around my aura like fireflies on a warm night or dew glistening in the morning light!

Let Me See

When I find myself in times of sadness,
The quiet mind brings tears to me.
I’m waiting for the lesson,
Let me see…

And though we may be parted,
In so many ways, you’re here with me.
Help my through my sorrow,
Set me free…

Let me see,
Set me free.
Let me see,
Set me free.

There’s wholeness deep within me.
Let me see.

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(Thanks, PM.)

Radio Cancer

As usual, the dawn is breaking when my eyes flutter and open softly, taking in the grid of the window panes before me. I can tell by the shadows and masked objects in the room that it’s time to greet the day. Before that thought is complete, my heart begins to beat faster, begging for my attention. My thoughts start slowly, then begin to race, as the unbidden fear that has become my companion emerges from it’s slumber.

Radio Cancer starts to play in the distance, as if to say “I’m still here…” It’s changed it’s form in the aftermath of treatment; no longer a tumor that can be seen growing inside me, it’s a state of mind that I fight with tightly-fisted hands and all the will I can muster. Or not…I often do the opposite, surrendering to this new reality of hard edges and cold surfaces and the icicles hanging outside that have come to represent me, no longer flowing with life’s rhythm, but frozen in a state of mind that is delicate, brittle and vulnerable.

There is grace in my surrender. I’m not giving up the fight, but allowing a force greater than I am to take over as I let go. There is kindness in my surrender. I stop scolding myself when my feelings paralyze me and I lose hours and days that are so precious to me, especially since I’ve become a survivor. There is hope in my surrender. I know from experience that a challenge can seem impossible, but if I have faith and love myself right now, imperfect as I may be, miracles can occur.

I’m fighting a new battle born from cancer, which dropped a seed into my consciousness before it left. When I wasn’t looking, the seed sprouted into a thought, “I am not safe.” So now, beginning my day includes the ritual of morning meditation, when, for a few minutes I feel peaceful, protected and calm. With practice, I know a new seed will grow and the fear will eventually fade, as time passes and sweet comfort takes root. Radio Cancer may still inhabit a place deep inside me, but someday soon it’s frequency will fade and the music of my spirit will begin to play, stronger and sweeter than ever.

Dedicated to Melanie St. Ours