Brookyn Barangay Joins The People’s Climate March!

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Getting ready to make some art with DAMAYAN, Filipino Domestic Workers group!

This Sunday, September 21, Brooklyn Barangay will be joining the 100,000’s of people expected to march in NYC to show the world that we DEMAND our world leaders to act now on climate change.

We March because Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm to ever make landfall – in the history of the PLANET.

From pics taken in our province of Aklan, Madalag, Philippines, after Typhoon Haiyan.

From pics taken in our province of Aklan, Madalag, Philippines, after Typhoon Haiyan.

We March because the Philippines, our home, suffers from energy poverty, has contributed a tiny % of the green house gases that causes climate catastrophe and YET is one of the countries most at risk for the havoc caused by climate change.

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DAMAYAN’s Banner Clean up! FIGHT Corporate Plunder.

But Marching is not enough. We need to start to act like we are in a climate catastrophe – because we are.

We Need to Fight For Community and Worker Control of our Energy Systems. We must understand that the companies who are the worst polluters : oil and coal will literally let this planet burn for profit. They have manipulated science, public discourse, laws, in order to make a buck KNOWING that they are destroying the world. The very definition of Psychopaths.

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We Need to Fight For a Different, Sustainable Economic System Because: CAPITALISM Is UNSUSTAINABLE. 

527639_10150918412181178_1664081966_nSee You on the Streets!

A Meditation for Too Many Worries, To Get Ready For Monday

this could me!

Worries!

My daughter is a worrier. More than a worrier, she is terribly anxious. I came up with this as a visualization for helping her get to sleep. But really, maybe, we could all use this visualization to help calm down our monkey brains! Let me know if you try it and find it helpful!

Visualize:

You are on the beach. In front of you is huge pile of sand. You have a shovel, and you start digging. Underneath the sand is all your worries – terrible things that might befall you.

You dig and get the first worry in your shovel and you place the worry behind you, near the water. You watch the ocean come up, and take the worry and dissolve it into the ocean. It just swirls up with the foam and waves and sweeps away. Take a breath while you watch the white foam, sand, and thoughts swirl and then slide back into the vast ocean. Thank-the ocean.IMG_1492

Now turn and look at your pile of worries again, now with one less. Visualize all your friends and loved ones coming to help you. Everyone has brightly covered shovels. Everyone starts to dig, shoveling the worries, one by one onto the beach where the waves meet sand. Each one dissolves, swirls, and is carried back into the ocean, swiftly sliding down the sand, bubbling, glistening back into the ocean. Take a breath and notice that each worry, is transformed, and becomes beautiful in the water. Take a breath and sigh of relief that the worries disappear into the water. Thank the ocean.

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Now thank your friends and loved ones for helping you dig. Notice that at the bottom of all those worries that are now in the ocean, you see something shining under the sand. Reach for it, and pull it out. It is a diamond, it shines and glitters. It is yours.  It has been there the whole time, buried beneath your pile of worries. All your friends and loved ones admire it. Slip it in your pocket.

Take a breath. Thank the ocean for taking the pile of worries, thank your friends and loved ones for helping. Put the diamond in your heart. It is your true self.

Take a breath.

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The Geeky kid(me) Finally Discovers the Benefits of Exercise! (After Years of Disdain)

I started a New Blog about rowing and fitness because you may or may not want to hear all my details about my heart rate training, etc!

RowBaby

IMG_1387I was always the geeky, tiny kid in PE. The smallest, with glasses, and long, unstyled hair. I was picked last for every team and the only “sport” I excelled at was dodgeball because I was swift and tiny! I compensated for this amazing deficiency in physical prowess by making fun of jocks and all forms of exercise. This-while satisfying,-did nothing to help me get stronger or healthier. My strategy worked out ok for me through my 20’s. Naturally petite (I know, I suck), I stayed weak but skinny, plus working all the time and drinking coffee seemed to help too. But as I careened toward 40, I acquired a whole new set of body aches and pains, I was tired all the time AND I got a bit of a pot belly. (Boy did my mom laugh).

I tried and promised myself to get on board with exercise from…

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Nervous about Being Happy, Our Impending Death & Our Mutant Brains

IMG_1588I have this nagging twinge of nervousness. It stays with me, this little nervous voice drives me to spend hours contemplating applying for a job I don’t want or spending hours re-working my resume. I am home, full time with the kids, and I absolutely love it. And I am grateful that money isn’t so tight that for now we can afford losing almost half of our household income. (We knew my lay-off was coming and saved up). Yet, I am nervous, I think, “I am only 40, I have 25 years at least before I can stop working.” I worry I am wasting my law degree, even though I loved going to law school (yeah, who loves law school? I am one of those geeks who did, plus it was CUNY Law = amazing activist professors and students). Oh, do I worry. And yet –

A few months ago, I participated in a workshop, where we first identified the three things most important to us. Then we closed our eyes and imagined ourselves as recently deceased. We had to then visualize the funeral, listen to hypothetical speeches, imagine who would attend, feel any regrets. Human existence is such a complex bundle of contradictions! We are so self-aware, it’s almost embarrassing! We are unable to just soar on clouds like birds or glide through water like fish – if we are did equally amazing feats like that, we would have to blog, document, and worry weather we are doing it right. Rarely, can we just experience. Kurt Vonnegut, in one of his novels, likened our huge, self-aware brains to a dangerous mutation. I see what he means, because our big brains have managed to build this brutal, global system of over-consumption and inequality to the point where we could destroy the whole planet. On the other hand, our brains have enabled us to accomplish, great, small, and large acts of beauty – music that shakes our insides, visual art that stops time, acts of compassion and love that transcend the brutality of capitalism.

But back to my impending death. Impending? Yep, all our deaths are impending. As much as we cling to out big brains and big thoughts and big plans, we are all a moment from death. Our lives are that fragile. It is hard for our self-aware selves to really live with that, with death as our constant companion, so we put false walls and barriers between us and death. And we tend to live like we have our time given to us as a right of birth. I worry about the next 20 years as if they are bricks, already laid down in front of me.

So anyway, I was sitting there thinking of my life right now – parent of two beautiful, healthy children, loving, supporting partner, great family that I live with, and excellent chosen family and friends, a home that we can afford to (and do) open up to any friends and family in need – and it all looked very good. No regrets, except of course not being alive for my kids. Not once, during my visualization did I feel regretful that I am home full time with my kids. I identified family as being the most important thing in my life so my choice, right now, reflects that value. I DID identify my work as 2nd most important, but what I defined as work was not my wage labor. Rather, it was the work of resisting capitalism, no matter how small of a resistance. For me, that means sharing of resources, fighting white supremacy, building democracy at work so we can resist as workers, fighting for our planet, building compassionate thoughtful, freedom fighters in our children. Actually there is so many ways to “do the work” but of it doesn’t involve a high powered career!

So I struggle to remind myself that I am happy. That right now, today, we are lucky to be living our life. And who knows whether I have 20 plus years at all, much less wage labor.

If I died today, I would die with very few regrets, but rather with a life fully lived. I am grateful and today, it is enough.

Summer is Over & Time Continues to Bend

IMG_1554The Barangay is reunited! The kidlets all went back to school yesterday. Nephew returned with Auntie from a full summer in the Philippines. There, he lived a life that most kids should experience – jumping off of bridges into a clear, cool river with coconut trees lining the shore. Eating fresh rice harvested by his grandparents, playing indiscriminately with fire and smoke, riding bicycles down dirt hills.

My kids has a Brooklyn summer. In July, we went to the Metropolitan Museum, the American History Museum,IMG_1392 kicked a ball around Central Park, smelled herbs in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, roller skated in DUMBO and watched and listened to amazing opera (free!) in Long Island City with the East River behind us. Oh, AND we went to Coney Island, ate Nathan’s hot dogs and rode rides.   

IMG_1388In August, we had another quintessential NY experience and joined friends at the queer friendly community of Cherry Grove in Fire Island. For those who don’t know, Fire Island is off the coast of Long Island NY, reachable by Ferry for us plebes and private yachts for those with means.  No cars are allowed at all on the whole island, you get around by walking on these raised boardwalks that crisscross across the island. Our family had a total of 6 kids with us, we were quite a scene tromping around the neighborhood.

We also went to the Northern shore of Lake Michigan. For us, this was a first and it really DOES look like the ocean! Incredible. The sand dunes and dark greens of the evergreens reminded us of the Pacific Northwest. IMG_1437

Overall, It was a summer of friends and family. It went by like a bullet train but the kids all seemed to have gotten a foot taller and waaayyyy older. The bending of time, I guess.

Till Next Blog.