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Waiting for a Sign; 2014

Guiding lights
Guiding lights (Photo credit: James Jordan)

Today is a rare and wonderful lazy Sunday. I know it will be filled with great music, leftover Indian food, and much thought about the closing of one year, and the revelation of another.

2013 was a challenging year. However challenging, in true Scorpio style, I rose to meet those challenges, mostly, I think. Well, let’s just say that I got by with a lot of help from my friends.

Not one to make resolutions, last year, I made a list. A short one. A “To-Do-List”, that would most likely take a year to be fulfilled.

With only three items on it, how could I not focus on each and every one, however massive and life changing those listed items may have been?

Unlike resolutions, lists are finite tasks which are intended to be completed. Resolutions are the equivalent of the late night booty call whom we wake up to sometime in March. Only then do we realize that our  resolutions  packed their carry-ons and quietly left around January 5th, leaving us with their ugly, snoring, unshaven twin-brother.

With a grand leap of faith and some ferocious determination, I whittled my 2013 list down to one, last, frustrating item. Frustrating, because I believe that except for being open to it, it’s out of my control.  That one thing is niggling at my insides.

Trust me, I’ve tried to tame it with stilettos, champagne, adorable men-folk, and fabulous lipstick. I have waxed philosophical and tried to surrender to it.  On more than one occasion I’ve tried to tame that little niggling #3  with bourbon and writing.

Alas, it remains unsatisfied, and teases me. It whispering about the universe and her grand sense of humour and mischief. I may, indeed, have already achieved what I set out to achieve in item #3 of my 2013 ‘To-Do-List”. I may be able to check-tick item number three, but I don’t know for sure. Nor will I before the clock strikes midnight and 2014 rises like a virgin debutant, casting her blinding light over the future.

Watching the tail of 2013 slither off into the shadows of the new year is something that I’m looking forward to, even though I know it will coil up in a corner of my soul like every year has since my birth, reminding me of lessons learned, and that surrender is necessary for graceful living. Le sigh darlings. Le sigh, indeed.

Not only is the new year upon us, but it comes in unison with a new moon. My body is so tightly bound by the cycles of the moon that I’m always tempted to hide until the tides of new and full moons are over. I’d like to say that I bring out my surfboard and camera when this happens, and play in the energy. The truth is, most times, I only don a brave mask, persisting rather than surrendering.

So, as I began this post, I fall into my lazy Sunday. It’s not lazy according to the standards of most. I will begin to take down the glitter and gold that welcomes Christmas. It is my ritual, and every year I do it alone, with intent, feeling that something has ended and something new is about to begin, even though I can’t define the ends or beginnings in concrete terms. I liken it to watching the last embers burn in the fireplace, and then rise again as new fuel is added.

Through a brilliant blue streak of profanity, the tree and the ornaments will be packed away. The fridge will be purged of leftovers, and I will begin to consider my list for 2014.

It will be a gentler list, a more spiritual one since my basic needs were at the heart of what I needed to change in 2013. I will be more specific and gentle with the thoughts and wishes I put out to our beautiful universe. But I will be as persistent. I will even be grateful to the beastly nature of 2013 that forced me to birth a new life, to challenge my self-confidence, my values and my spirituality.

I wish you a lazy Sunday, or any other day. One, during which you can take stock and reframe your purpose. May your ‘list’ for 2014 be true to what you need.

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Christmas Rant: Part I

The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising ...
The War in the Vendée was a royalist uprising that was suppressed by the republican forces in 1796 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, ‘Part I’. There may, indeed, be a ‘Part II’ , depending upon how stupid things get before the new year.

Last year the grand ‘we’,  declined to see the value in the Occupy Wall Street campaign, that was staggeringly avoided by major press agencies.

We let the dreadlocked-live-our-values-over-charged-for-our-mediocre-educations-and-under-employed youth, fight it out in the streets for the middle class. The middle class, who are losing their ever crippling grip on the edge of affluence as they march to the hypnotically convincing drum of ‘The Man’.

‘The Man’, yep, that pretty much almost sums it up. Consider two facts from Joseph E. Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality;

“The top 1% earned more than 65 percent of the total national income [in the United States], ” and, ” …the ratio of CEO annual compensation to that of the typical worker by 2010 was back to what it had been before the crisis, to 243 to 1“.

While the media reports on Miley’s junior-miss sized twerking patooty, in above-the-fold-full-colour-coverage, they give about half of that coverage to reports about unions being vilified (by the powers that be), as unfairly over-compensating workers.

It doesn’t take a PhD in maths to know that the statistics mentioned above impact the majority of folks in not only North America, but everywhere on the planet.

When we treat silver-spoon born Conrad Black as a real journalist, and Rob Ford as a misunderstood ‘average guy’, we’re wrong. Dead wrong. Rob Ford’s Escalade is worth 3x that of the average vehicle (a simple Honda Civic) owned by those living in the GTA, and his assets multiply to have net value in the millions.

Toronto has a mayor who openly flaunts the rules, degrades homosexuals, women and anyone else who thinks differently than him, and uses the excuse that the press is too rough on him to get away with it all. Actually, his big bully brother does the talking. The day I knew we’d lost all dignity as a nation was the one that showed Mr. Ford and his compadres dancing like  idiots in council chambers just days after having his mayoral power stripped from him.

Only someone with the wealth of Mr. Black has the gumption to whine about being incarcerated for being a liar and a cheat. Call it fraud, bad accounting, whatever…it’s lying and cheating at the cost of everyone else who shares the same planet.

The worst part is, we let it happen. Yes, read this slowly; we allow this to happen. Instead of rioting in the street, we go to work, pay our taxes, and our over-inflated power, cell phone and health care bills.

Let me get back to the subject of unions. We’ve seen unions vilified by the Conservative government and big business, so much so that we’ve bought into this anti-union perspective.

Unions may have been gauche in the booming 80’s, but today we live a different economic and social reality. The reality is that unions are needed now more than they were needed in the past thirty or forty years. For over thirty years, the average annual income of a full-time worker stagnated, while the profits at the top have multiplied at astonishing rates.

Young adults entering the workforce are under-employed at alarming rates. Not to mention everyone one else. The days of full-time jobs with benefits that sustain a comfortable lifestyle are over. Instead, we have the majority of people working at part-time or contract jobs, unable to sustain themselves, or have any measure of security.

Besides being unable to pay their bills, folks in jobs that are not secure suffer from more illness and social problems than ever before. Economic instability feeds fear, and that creates a downward spiraling quagmire of social issues; homelessness, addiction, abuse, crime, and all of the other wonderful side-effects of poverty.

The top 1%’s after tax income reached an average of $1.3 million in the United States in 2010. That of the bottom 20% only reached $17,000. No wonder big-business-journalism and politics doesn’t like unions. Unions distribute the wealth and offer job security.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are issues with unions too. Look at the billions of dollars of bailout money that went to Automakers with no conditions to streamline their production or offer more affordable, environmentally friendly products. Despite the obvious lazy-barnacles that infest unions (they also infest non-union environments at the same rate though), I’d rather live with unions to ensure more people with full-time jobs, than with what is happening now.

Canada and the U.S.,  live in a world of performing-party-politicking that leaves us without leaders in a wild-western-hemisphere black-hole of civilization.

If we leave the world up to those with no social conscience, and a taste for greed rather than loving-kindness, there will be many darker days to come, than this, the longest night of the year.