Writing today, April 11, 2015, in my journal with a new friend Brene’Brown.
On Wednesday, April 8, I found myself reading a letter from my state representative here in Ohio. It was rather early, still dark outside and I had returned from being outdoors with Mr. Handsome, Chesapeake Bay retriever Ernie Dog. Lisa, my partner of 24 years and Hillary Cat were still slumbering. Little did I realize that the day’s events would change me significantly?
I scratched around as I often do in the mornings, getting Ern’s water bowls filled, and heating water for my first cup of tea. I reviewed “Kath’s Daily Shit List” (something I usually complete the night before) and was reminded this was to be mostly a writing kind of day. That always makes me feel good, I love to write; it is fun, invigorating, and an opportunity to educate myself and others on things that matter.
Sadly, I’ve not done enough writing and journaling these last months; after Cedar Dog passed away on May 22, 2014 she took me with her for 6 months, maybe more. I am still learning about grieving. For my new friends in Ohio, online and places overseas, Cedar Dog and I were linked in a very special way. While I was her book transcriber, an honor few humans have, we walked a path of vibrancy around matters of the earth and caring for it, caring for each others health and well-being, taking action and teaching others to do the same! The joy we shared was remarkable. Here at her blog one can get a feel for her impact.
For those who know me, after my graduation from The Ohio State University in 1970, two issues have dominated my life: treating persons fairly and equally, particularly around GLBT matters and caring for the earth. Having grown up on the farm, it seemed natural to be passionate about the animals and saving the earth. After reading Rachel Carson’s books I understood our job. Both pursuits, if taken seriously required becoming civically involved. Several years into it, I learned another essential, self-development.
Sitting here today it is clearer than ever, if you don’t know who you are, where you’re going and what you stand for it’s going to be harsh. Most especially will you be able to play effectively and full out? Can you endure and make things better in your community? Even enthusiasts have limits.
The bigger question are you committed to learning new skills, and more than anything committing to the change that may be required? Times change and so do the people. Today’s work in changing hearts and minds is exceptionally important. That gets me back to Brene’Brown, kinda of but one more note first!
So I am sitting at my desk writing and viewing this pathetic letter from my State Representative and asking, how did this person get elected to public office? I was sad. I believe if we don’t have the best, we can’t be the best. Translated that means, how can we expect proactive public policy when we have leaders who act clueless and who focus on questions from the past? I’m sure that’s an opinion, and to my defense, you can learn a lot by reading what a state house member writes.
I ask myself an incredibly important question, am I empathic? Where am I on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the high end)? My answer was about a 7, pushing to 8. Interesting I thought; my empathy quotient has grown stronger since I moved back to my homestead here in Ohio. Do I practice it, some days better than others? Do I have more to learn, without question? I said to myself, politics these days (as wretched as it is) is about having more empathy and less loathing? So I began a word search on empathy!
Now enter Berne’ Brown! Brene’ believes Theodore Roosevelt’s talk changed her life; a speech in 1910 in Paris, France. In fact she said it led her to penning Daring Greatly and thinking, “This is vulnerability. Everything I’ve learned from over a decade of research on vulnerability has taught me this exact lesson. Vulnerability does not know victory or defeat, its understanding the necessity of both, it’s engaging. For me it is being all in.”
THE MAN IN THE ARENA Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship in a Republic" Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….”
This next recording has exceptional value.
Update: June 4, 2015; I can honestly say, this Brene Brown “chick” (a totally endearing term) has utterly “kicked my ass and redeployed me.” What that means; I had taken a respite; after all the 4-leggeds in our lives are such gifts, they are focused on love, fun and being zealous. And since the author Cedar Dog passed on, I let up! That’s not me, that won’t work! Ernie Dog, Hillary Cat and I have had many heart-to-hearts. If you have 4-leggeds you know what I mean; it’s those “full-out times when hugs, loves and kisses just keep on giving.” Ernie Dog has been by my side continually, Hillary Cat just knows when to show up; they are hard wired to being “fully present,” always cheering their people on and just “down right loving us.” It is a "sacredness" like none other; as we like to say in our house; 4-leggeds have evolved, their human companions still have work to do.
Update: Writing on Tuesday, late night, June 9, 2015 in Celina, Ohio. In our local “women's political chicks” group tonight (here in “ultra conservative and bright Reds-ville County” where nearly everyone has recounted to me over and over again that the views of progressives are unwelcome) I introduced Brene's work. The message these local women have gotten for years, when they activated in politics, campaigns etc. was “sit down and shut up." The bad news, it had worked, people became disengaged; the reality shaming and blaming works. When countless numbers of obnoxious bench warmers hurl “tired old slogans” it paralyzes folks; hurling judgment, misinformation, hateful and mean lies is damning! People say, enough, they cut themselves off to protect. I say, “Enough already, don’t tell me we don’t deserve better; we each have the power to change it!”
My question back, do we have the "will." For me, I will initiate dialogue on how it is that Daring Greatly & Brene’s new book Rising Strong can lead us to a brighter day civically. Brene' says, we also cut off when our leaders aren't keeping up their end of the social agreements. Politics and religion are great examples of social contract disconnects. I like to share this
By now you know I value who I am, as well as what I want to achieve. I also value the community and the people who live here. My belief has and continues to be empathy and social responsibility. I ask myself, why the great divide between so many these days? Just talk to one another, I say listen calmly and patiently. Don't hurl back insults. I've learned that spiritual connection is about loving, belonging and opening emotionally. Be authentic. We must also support one another and inspire with great heart! Brene’ reminds, “Being perfect and bulletproof are seductive; they don’t work in the human experience.” Instead embolden; “Walk into the arena full of courage and willingness to engage;” strengthened by “transformations in the way we live, love, parent and lead?” That’s her work.
So, I determined to join her, to lead and engage in the arena where I live, “Reds-ville County” and yes, be politically active, where I’ve always been, my entire life. Bark Out in Massive Action as Cedar Dog wisely guided all of us to do. I call upon you to join me, be it where you live or here, with me! In case you missed it, the question is ARE YOU IN? For the record, I am and yes, “I’M All IN, ONCE AGAIN" Email me, let me know, are you READY, and ALL IN too: Kdeitsch@petsgonegreen.com,
Thank you Brene'. A question for the Future. Right now, I am still left asking, how and where is “ultra conservative extremism" born? Are people ordinarily that hateful? I think not; I do know life experiences can embitter us; and I know that certain political platforms wayward many by instilling fear, especially those Americans who don't pay attention; stoking the fires of anger and discontent for it's own gain has been and is alive and well today. I have created a PowerPoint presentation on the historical background and build out of the ultra conservative right; i.e. the Heritage, ALEC and others who have taken us "far right." It's short; a starter for you to "build your awareness and stop giving them consent to do what they want to our Democracy in America, Voting, Privatizing Education, Repealing Labor Rights, Immigration, Corporate Prisons" to list a few. Update: Tuesday evening, June 16, 2015 Today, I committed to meeting Brene' in Nashville August 22nd. A day-long interactive event and collaborative panel discussions. Yep, I am gonna spend time with this "shit stomping sister" who "teaches us to have the courage to rumble, Rising Strong and Daring Greatly."
What a day, Saturday, a whole day August 22, 2015, with one incredible woman. Here we are, Stomping, "Reckoning, Rumbling and Rising Strong." This is all you need to know to join in; get her books and read them, Daring Greatly & Rising Strong; "Recognize the power of emotion, don't be afraid to lean in to discomfort." Watch the videos I've listed above, Begin Now, "Create a Revolution in your life! Cultivate Wholeheartedness." Then call me! We can Rumble together and Bring on the Revolution! On Monday, September 28th, 2015 I heard her Roar, Very Out-Loud! The Revolution is beginning! A Living Brave Semester, two courses, one semester. This isn't any old course, this is the beginning of something BIG!
Stay tuned, contact me anytime. Kathy Deitsch, Kathy@PetsGoneGreen.com; 303 520 2624 Celina, Ohio