A season of darkness

We are entering a season of darkness. I was born into this world during this season. I do not fear the dark nor do I despise the gray. I have great respect for the dark, for the power to heal and the power to conceal.

Although we are coming in to a season of dark, I have been blessed by the miracle of light. The mild depression I was feeling has lifted and I have many lessons to harvest – some to share, and some for my personal consumption.

Today’s harvested lesson is about ego and letting humility be the royal cloak which grounds you. The ego is a powerful ally, when married to humility. A beauty and the beast kind of partnership. If ego is not allied to humility, a person can turn into an uncharitable and vulgar creature, consumed by the insatiable desire for high station, comely appearance, and constant praise. Humility brings to the relationship the grounding of “you’re important but you ain’t all that” and the insatiable desire for station, praise and baubles disappears into the ether.

Ego is a trickster, though. Make no mistake about it. Ego is an aspect of our personal sovereignty, the piece that makes the essence of your uniqueness in this world, in this time. So, ego is important. If one isn’t careful, those golden ropes of personal sovereignty can become chains so very quick. It’s important to be strong in knowing when to cut ego down. This is where community can be so helpful. A loving community of witnesses, who can help remind you when your ego becomes too powerful, but does it in a way that doesn’t shame you into despair or self-hatred.

Who is in your community? Who are you in your community? What role are you playing? Are you able to help others overcome their ego in a good way?

This season of darkness is THE time to ask these questions, to become self and situationally aware. Make good use of this time. The fire, the grey, the fog, are good allies from our more-than-human relatives.

Facing the facts

Earlier today I took a professional survey to gauge whether or not I am in a depression. It confirmed something I have felt but have not wanted to face. I have gone to great lengths to avoid facing this, to my disadvantage. Life slips away in the moments and too many moments have just zoomed by.

I’m very grateful for this opportunity to face up and hopefully start to deal with this. It has become clear that meditation and diet alone aren’t the answer.

The world is a hot mess right now and it’s hard to find the space to admit that we are, indeed, affected by the drama, intrigues, and assaults on our health. Ignoring these impacts won’t make them fade away.

I likely won’t be visible over the next few months but hopefully I will emerge in a better frame of heart, mind, and soul soon.

Shifting gears

We live in a universe that is in constant motion. The interactions between stars, planets, dark and light matter, and galaxies are gorgeous, perfectly timed, and affect life on earth, whether or not we can perceive these interactions.

gears of universe
Gears of the universe (https://wallhere.com/en/wallpaper/724427)

 

I subscribe to the space-time vortex theory. Where there is a center, and around that center, the path of life spirals up and down around the center. The center is constant. Meaning, life’s lessons come back to you during the course of your life, and hopefully you have grown since the last time you attempted to ace the life lesson. If you know the mechanisms of the universal vortex, and have a good heart, you can shift gears with grace and ease.

The last week, I have relieved myself of all social media distractions by removing them from my phone. I have attempted this before, several times. THIS attempt has been a smashing success. The proof was evidenced this morning when allowing myself some time on the platforms, and recognizing the anxiety and stress in my gut and brain after only 10 minutes of having been ‘plugged in’ to only one platform.  

I can’t completely walk away from social media, and I’m not against using technology. In fact, the time away from social media has allowed me the space to create a platform for a new venture, a podcast, and a support page for that work. I have, however, realized that I cannot continue to allow social media to consume me. I must be responsible to my spirit and manage the time that I spend in the throes of these platforms.

Over the last few months, I have ascertained that blog reading isn’t necessarily a thing. At least not what I write. So, I’m going to give podcasting a shot. I am claiming compliments on my voice, that have been granted in the past, as a foundation upon which to build. I have assured myself that it will feel wonky and wobbly for a while, but to keep a focus on spreading truth in a good way, be patient, and see what can transpire. I’m a seed planter, after all.

So, if you are inclined, you will soon be able to find me at anchor.fm/nidebwe. Facebook Profile Picture

Learning

I am over a half-century on the planet and embarrassed to admit that I have never really learned how to cook. I’m embarking on a new learning experience to connect with the bounty of the earth, to learn how to build a truly reciprocal relationship through the art of cooking. It has to be more than just sustenance for me…so this is the mantle I adopt as I begin this journey.

I am hoping that this is also a hidden obstacle to my inability to lose weight. All the holistic and scientific actions I have taken have not yielded an acceptable result, and I was thinking about how much my body changes whenever I went through a break up…the emotional impact on the physiologic, a powerful reminder that it’s not just “calories in, calories out”.

I hope to break through some things. The first thing is to remind myself that no learning is exact and perfect at the first go…not if it’s authentic learning.

Here I go….

A season for everything

A new full moon is waxing into our energetic sphere and it has me contemplating the seasons of life. Who am I kidding? I’m that nerd that contemplates the seasons of life fairly regularly. But, oblige me this moment to consider life as it is unfolding for me right now….

I don’t go to a lot of actions/events these days. If I’m not invited, I am not likely to go. I’ve been in a season of deep introspection and trepidation. I’m horrible at shallow conversations, and getting into deep conversations with people who don’t ‘get me’ is painful. But there’s this odd dichotomy – the people who ‘get me’ – I’m not calling them like I used to. I just don’t have words for them. This season is really weird, and I’m hoping that this loosens up as I come into my sun and moon times.

napatree

I call upon the energies in the earth and the water, as they are influenced by the stars and the moon, to help us all walk into a new reality with grace and ease.

Re-imagining a Local Press

At a recent forum titled “The Future of Our Local Press”, hosted by Tacoma City Club, residents were provided an opportunity to contemplate the current and future state of local press in Tacoma. Sitting on the panel were esteemed members of local media, representing different media outlets, including print, electronic and radio.  In recent years, the role of the press, more commonly referred to as ‘the media’, has seemed to change drastically.

journalists tools

Hoping to get some insight and encouragement since I have become disillusioned by the tone and tenor of reporting, especially on environmental issues at the local level, I made it a point to be in attendance at this forum. The bias and outright vitriol that has been allowed to be printed in our local media outlets, touted as ‘reporting’, has profoundly jolted my journalistic sensibilities.

Going in to the forum with high hopes for meaningful discussion about how to restore the “4th Estate” in a good way in our community, I am sorry to report that I came away most disappointed. In fact, I was fairly furious at what was being said during the presentation. The locus of the conversation radiated around money, with the gist of the conversation focused on the question of how do we finance and support local media?

Not being an idiot, understanding that the finance piece is a fairly important piece, it still is mind-boggling to think that this is the first place where we have to direct the conversation, understanding that the quality of reporting is so damaged and broken.

Take a little time to educate yourself about media literacy and the 4th estate and it won’t take long to find yourself down a pretty deep rabbit hole. There is the idea of a 5th estate, composed of bloggers and armchair journalists, a population to which I guess I belong. In the rabbit hole, I started questioning the validity of this idea that the 4th estate is an additional pillar  of the medieval idea of the three pillars that maintain society . It onlyl took a few hours of critical analysis to realize that, at one level, it makes absolute sense that the 4th estate would eventually be completely subsumed by the elite, aka the nobility.

It is common practice for me to try to think with my Indigenous critical thinking skills. This takes me to a completely different way of viewing the world, even though my traditional ways of knowing and thinking weren’t passed down to me formally. They still live in my cells. I often will find myself questioning Indigenous elders or peers to get their insights and wisdom as I try to navigate a wicked problem.

From there, came the question: what if we stopped thinking about the “4th Estate” and instead thought about community empowerment through media literacy and critical thinking workshops? What if we restored an Indigenous way of reporting what is important to our communities? Would we find ourselves not needing the normalized and ingrained media outlets? Would we find our ways to community-based knowledge sharing and knowledge-gathering? One of the presenters at the Forum brought up Block Club Chicago – a grassroots movement to report out on the happenings, block by block, which seems to be a version of this idea.

This is a very interesting platform for communities to consider, especially in an age where media are demonized and subject to lawsuits. 

In Tacoma, we are desperately lacking valuable press outlets. And rather than waiting for the current outlets to right themselves, or for the “angel donor” of lore (which is a bad idea, to my mind) to come finance some start-up, we should all come together and put our own press / newsroom together.

The first step is to find people who are interested in building this community resource, in a good way. Who are the writers? The creatives? The Visionaries? The Connectors? Where are the people whose stories are burning to be told? What do we need to do to connect everyone? Who can teach about media literacy? Who wants to participate?

I put these questions to you, random reader, because I definitely do not hold the answers. But I know they are out there. And maybe you have some of the answers.

What are your thoughts and feelings on this?

While you’re thinking about it, mosey on over here to Civil and have a look at their constitution. Pretty exciting stuff.

Doctrine of Public Trust Part 1

Foundations of Public Trust

“The concept of the public trust relates back to the origins of democratic government and its seminal idea that within the public lies the true power and future of a society; therefore, whatever trust the public places in its officials must be respected.” Wikipedia

To my mind, there are additional elements that define the doctrine of public trust and most politicians/representatives of agency totally fail at upholding them.

To be a good steward of the public trust one must:

  1. Know what you are doing.
  2. Do the work with integrity and due diligence.
  3. Listen to all the people, to understand.
  4. Understand and value the fiduciary responsibility of being a guardian of the public commons.

In 2017, while citizens of Tacoma were fighting expansion of fossil fuel projects in the tideflats at the Port of Tacoma, a council member encouraged the citizens to propose a buffer zone amendment to the City’s planning commission. This was a huge undertaking by several citizens, who diligently researched the process, gave their own time, and prepared a substantial case for an increased buffer zone between port industries and residential neighborhoods.

Two years later, a committee is finally formed, and we see that the committee is so stacked with industry one would be hard pressed to believe that this whole effort was started by citizens. Two years later, the draft recommendations of the committee are being considered. The way that the “outcomes” are written gives one great pause. It appears that the intent is to maintain the status quo of unbridled development of industry at port and easy paths through city hall, to continue the status quo of industry infiltration and degradation of port lands, without the oversight and input of the people.

The trust that was placed with the councilman and the other representatives for the government of the city of Tacoma was threadbare to begin with, but now it is gossamer.

Here are the parts of the DRAFT Tideflats Subarea Work Plan that we should pay really close attention to, because industry and agency have already shown that they work together, and they don’t work for you.

Item number 1 on the plan states: “The Subarea Plan will protect the fisheries and shellfish resources that are essential to the tribe both culturally and economically and shall support continued growth of the regional economy and the currently estimated 29,000 existing family-wage jobs in the maritime, manufacturing and industrial sectors, the provision of infrastructure and services necessary to support these areas, and the important role of the Tideflats area as an economic engine for the City of Tacoma, Pierce County, state, and the region while protecting the livability of the surrounding areas.”

Good lord. So much to dig into there. First of all, that is one sentence!! One sentence and it’s so garbled and awkward that it would be really easy to get lost in the meaning. Which, to my mind, is intentional. There’s a lot of talk about “economy” and preservation of the economy for City of Tacoma, Pierce County, the state, and the region – NO MENTION OF THE TRIBE – even though they start the sentence by talking about the tribe AS IT PERTAINS TO FISHERIES. As if the Puyallup Tribe of Indians has no other economic stake or interest in the tideflats being a sustainable area aside from their constitutionally guaranteed treaty right to fisheries. And only once do the citizens of the ‘surrounding areas’ get mentioned. We must all only care about money. Not about anything else. /sarcasm/ Pay attention to how this gets handled and who sits at the table at every meeting. Pay attention to what they talk about.

Item number 3 states: “The Subarea Plan will establish environmental improvement goals for Commencement Bay, including providing for greater bay-wide diversity of ecosystems, restoration of historic functions and improvement of physical conditions to protect and enhance environmental and cultural resources.”

I’m very concerned that the focus of this environmental statement centers on Commencement Bay, and doesn’t really say anything about the Puyallup estuary nor the streams and creeks that flow into the estuary and then out into Commencement Bay. I am very concerned the potential that this means that environmental efforts will be intentionally focused away from the estuary, rather than acknowledging and honoring the fact that the estuary is a vital organ of Commencement Bay, and therefore the Salish Sea. It is very critical that this item does not get lost in the shuffle.

Item number 5 finally addresses health and safety. After all the talk of the economy, we finally get to the health and safety of the people. Remember Wikipedia’s description of the doctrine of the public trust? “The concept of the public trust relates back to the origins of democratic government and its seminal idea that within the public lies the true power and future of a society…” the health and safety of the employees and residents should not register at number 5 on the list of priorities.

There are more items to address so say tuned for follow-up reviews.