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Sporadic photos and notes from a Psyche-midwife, cheerleader, anthropologist--aka clinical social worker in therapy practice. Photos are usually mine except for those of historical events/famous people. Music relevant to the daily topic is often included in a web video embedded below the blog. Click on highlighted links in the copy to get to source or supplemental material. For contact information, see my website @ janasvoboda.com or click on the button to the right below. Join in the conversation.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fixing a Hole Where the Rain Comes In

It's been some week here in the heart of the valley.  When I first moved here, I would clip choice selections from the Crime Watch column of the newspaper and send them to my folks:  "Zucchini thrown through window of home.  Both zucchini and window complete loss."  "Caller reported an unwrapped birthday cake had been placed in her mailbox."  Things haven't changed too much over the years.   Here's one from this fall:  
THAT’LL CLEAR THE FLOOR: 3:11 a.m., Peacock, 125 S.W. Second St. The head of security reported that at about 2 a.m., someone set off a “stink bomb” on the upstairs dance floor, clearing the bar and alarming customers. The “bomb” was foul-smelling oil wrapped in foil, with “Fart Bag” written on the outside. 

But this week, our town received national attention when an Oregon State student was accused of plotting a bombing at a crowded Portland holiday gathering.  A 19 year old US citizen of Somalia birth,  Mohamed Osman Mohamud allegedly wanted anyone attending the popular event "to leave either dead or injured" and expressed no concern about innocent children and others being hurt.  He has been branded a terrorist; and if reports of his attempts to ignite the bomb he thought was in place are true, he truly tried to earn that title.

But nearly as troubling are the comments on news websites from viewers, quick to leap on Mohamud's Moslem identity (and his immigration status).  Many readers immediately blamed the religion, saying Islam supports and encourages such actions. Within a day of the news breaking, our local mosque was hit by an arsonist.  Some of those same readers applauded this hate crime.

To be sure, some individuals use their religion to support violence and oppression of others.  But this is a bastardization of religious intent.  Mohamud is no more representative of Islam than Fred Phelps is of Christianity-- or Hannibal Lector is of meat eaters.
Every major religion has a variation of the golden rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; and want not for another something you would not want for yourself. 

The Bible tells us: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."  The Qu'ran specifically forbids any "compulsion toward religion" and invokes God as the perfection of Loving-Kindness.  Passages in either holy text can be cut and pasted to support individual perversions of the universal Law of Love and encourage violence of many kinds.
It's time we stand up for love, and each other.

If you are in or near Corvallis Tuesday, Nov. 30th, join our community in a vigil of love and against fear.  

 As Mahatma Ghandi said,  "An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am grateful for clementines and critical thinking, for lichens and literature.   For slow food, good friends, meteor showers, clean water, beautiful Oregon with its valleys, mountains, woods and ocean.    For time with those who passed on.  For my family, the best teacher I ever had.  For history and for the present moment.

For the small, the huge, the concrete and the abstract, I give thanks.

I am so very grateful for community.  Thanks for being part of it.
What are you grateful for?

Friday, November 19, 2010

OLA, baby!

Time to revisit the OLA philosophy:  let's all be the One Less @$$hole we want to see in the world.

It's been a hard week here in Lake SunBeGone.  Cooler temps and the retreat of daylight seems to have some people listless and some more pretty darn cranky.  I find my patience and my trust in the general goodness of others waning.   

But then tonight an old colleague posted the following quote on her Facebook status:
"Just don’t be mean. Being mean never works. Never. So that’s the only rule I can think of that’s worth following in life: don’t be mean." ~ Kate Bornstein

OK-- we get to be part of the problem, or part of the solution.  We can give in to the dreary, join the naysayers, roll up our tender little hearts and tuck them in our pockets, looking out only for Number One Is the Loneliest--

Or we can remember Plato:  "Be kind.  For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

Love it up,

Song of the day: