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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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22 Challenge-- Stand Up to The Man

apropos of nothing
Remind me never to advertise for suggestions on January challenges again.

My own sorry butt was kicked by Tuesday's challenge of doing my future self a favor by resisting present self's idiotic/indulgent habits.  I did great (well, I did OK) the first three hours of the day.  I noticed my choices and made them intentional and resonant with my values.  The rest of the day future self spent shaming me while present self made a mess of every free hour.  Will try that one again tomorrow.

I had a few ideas for Wednesday but was uninspired.  So I put out a quick plea on Facebook for a topic at 11 pm Tuesday evening.  At 11:01, the sadistic Tristan C posted:
Tristan chilling

"Topic idea - the efficacy of personal change. Point - the scale of our world's problems outstrip the capacity of individuals (or even collective individuals) from dealing with them. Counterpoint - our lack of agency on a personal level does not imply agency on a political level. A medieval peasant might kill a king, but only the nobility could end monarchy. Courtesy of my lovely and thoughtful friends Michaela and Inspire: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.../articles/article/4801/"

The article, which I firmly suggest you read, talks about how we think we are solving problems with little individual gestures, when in fact we are merely placating our dis-ease and enabling the Larger Problem.

Just in case you are lazy and don't bother clicking to read the fine article by Derrick Jensen, here's an outtake to illustrate what I'm talking about:  

"Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide."

drone "casualties":  real people

I know--This is a little heady for what is supposed to be a month of tiny daily resolutions.  But I asked, and this came, and I will listen to Providence and grit my teeth.

We take the shorter showers, and bring our bag to the grocery, because doing something, ANYTHING, feels better than doing nothing.  But we probably are (Texas-ism #2 of this blog-- hey, I lived there 9 years and can appropriate the culture) pissing in the ocean with these tiny acts.  Yes, it's something, but it isn't going to change much.

Even though I found the article extremely depressing, it resonated.  There was a great piece in Sunday's New York Times about money as an addiction, and I've been thinking about it all week.  (Read it here).  And today, former VA governor Robert McDonnell and his wife were indicted for using his office for their personal financial gain (Rolexes, vacations, designer clothes, etc) and political favors.  Later, I spent my fourth hour trying to collect 50% of my fee from an insurance agency that sent me a "credit facsimile" requiring me to pay them a percentage to collect my own payment.  Yesterday, I read a horrific article about a man who received a personalized advert from Office Max which referenced his daughter had killed in a car crash-- somehow this data was harvested by a company that sold this info to Office Max as relevant for selling him something.  
thank you to people who take time to resist

This all connects, and the connection/Larger Problem is greed.  And the illusion that we are not connected-- that our "I" isn't part of our "We".  

Say what you will about the sometimes annoying antics of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  But they truly are advocating for the vast majority of people on the planet.  I'm not sure exactly how I will address this Not So Tiny Challenge.  Maybe call my senator, write a corporation, barter a copay, send money to a politician that doesn't seem corrupted.  I'm going to do some reading and thinking.  Hope you will do the same.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:  "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."   --Dr. Martin Luther King

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