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Protesting in America’s New Social Media Era

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Pexels.com

The world we live in seems to be more connected every day, but as a society we are more disconnected than ever. I have been far too silent for far too long and that ends today. In order to begin a dialogue, I am posing a hypothetical scenario and series of questions to launch the conversation. I am interested in people’s honest opinions on Protesting in America’s New Social Media Era. No, I’m not looking to start a fight, instead I want to hear how people relate to and see the role of protesters in our society, regardless of their cause, as we can be at ground zero and see the frontlines like never before.

Scenario:

You are sitting in your home and you read breaking news that a major injustice has occurred, at the national level. There is also news that civil protests have begun, and a march to demonstrate to the those in power that this injustice will not stand. This injustice strikes near to your heart and you feel the call to join in the march and you do.

Upon arriving at the march you see friends, family or coworkers and many people you don’t know but you are not alone in how you feel about this injustice and happily join the march with them emboldened by the sense of unity and continue to the end of the march where the group peacefully stands to be hear in one loud voice, “This will NOT Stand!” Holding your sign high and joining in the chorus of other like you and continue the chant.

Like most protests the city hall or courthouse or police station in which the organizer choose to focus their message is protected by a line of police in riot gear.

The chanting continues for hours awaiting a response from those in power and listening to speeches by new leaders whom are emerging as this injustice comes to light. You are back a ways and can’t see the front but the chanting and speeches continue. The lack of response from the officials you know are there is frustrating. Out of the corner of your eye you see something fly through the air over the crowd into the police , triggering them to begin an advance on the crowd to push them further from the building. The people at the front didn’t even notice the object hurled from the crowd, simply that the police are suddenly pushing them back, yell something you can’t hear over the din of the crowd and raising their guns. There isn’t far for them to retreat as the mass of the crowd doesn’t know to back up so the front line is trapped between and advancing armed force and a wall of protesters that has yet to notice what’s going on. The first group of protester, trapped, turn with hands up and are smashed against the shields and begin fight back as they are pushed to the ground by police, for not obeying their lawful order to disperse.

Seeing the front line of the protest from 200-300 feet back you can not see much of what is happening, only that there is a commotion going on that at first stops the chanting of the most vocal group and then changes to “No Voice! No Peace!” There has been no response from the government officials inside the building. “Pop, pop, pop”, you here what sounds like firecrackers then, “BAM” a flash bang and seconds later the first wave of tear gas hits you as the wind carries it through the crowd.

You have walked legally from the rally point to stand here and voice your protest but you are now subject to tear gas. You have to make a choice: abandon your right to peacefully protest and begin retreating or stay and continue exercising your right to peacefully protest risking you will get into, as John Lewis said “Good Trouble”.

Questions:

If you abandon your right to protest and retreat to the safety of your home and the injustice stands how do you feel about your decision?

Retreating you are not fast enough to stay clear of the police as they advance. Are you a protester or a rioter?

How would the police label you?

Standing your ground to continue your protest are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

If force is used against you because the pepper spray, flash bang, tear gas and rubber bullets you have come in contact with have made it impossible to comply with orders because you can’t, hear, see or breath. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

If one person out of a hundred is violent during the protest and you are present when it happens. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

The following night, if you return and still are peaceful but again someone in the protest is aggressive toward the authorities they are not addressing the grievances. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

Is it better not to protest something you believe in, out of fear and simply hope that the government recognizes its failure and corrects the injustice or is it better to risk being labeled a rioter to show the government that people are willing to stand up and endure the abuse until they right the wrong?

If you are labeled as a “rioter” after peacefully protesting, what are the repercussions of the government adding domestic terrorist to your new label? Does it fit your actions?

Thank you for sticking with me. We are almost done. There are other forms of protest that do not require your presence. For our discussion, I have chosen to focus on active physical protest. Please, understand there is no right or wrong in these answers, as they are extremely personal. There is only your perspective on your role in society and how you view others as they act in accordance with their views. Share your answers if you like or keep them to yourself but either way know, I love each and every one of you and appreciate your participation.

Now, that you have answered the questions based on whatever injustice you inserted, here is the final part of the scenario with which to evaluate your answers.

***Breaking News***

2020 Presidential Election has been postponed indefinitely.

The President has tweeted, “Due to the China Virus keeping people from voting in person and the use of Universal Mail-In Voting, 2020 will be the most FRAUDULENT and RIGGED Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. I am Delaying the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”

Does that change any of your answers? Should it?

We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to like each other’s opinions or choices. We do however, have to live, and die in the same world and if we can’t recognize that tyranny rises in the midst of a silent majorities inaction and belief that, “It can’t happen here!” We will finally be in a big boat together, and that tide which rises all boats will come in fast.

Final Question:

If those willing to fight and raise there voices despite the consequences have been silenced, while the country argues over the definition of protester and rioter in this new social media era. Will they be able to help bail the water out of our boat, as the ocean rushes in to fill the void left by our missing democracy?

Blessings and Love to All.

May Truth, Light & Love Guide Our Path, Always

~ Chris Wood

Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

No Longer, “We the People”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

This is no longer a union of the people it is a union of the corporations.

The government is no longer of the people and for the people…. and until it is put back into that formulation we will continue down this rabbit hole and the rich will get richer and the poor poorer.

The people following the “leaders” both democrat and republican and think they are working for them do not understand that unless we elect people who truly want reform- we will not improve. This Is at every level of the government not just about the president. This isn’t about Trump, Biden or Bernie- it is about true down and dirty change.

When we talk about social reform – for the police, the schools, and healthcare people become defensive because of what they have been taught to believe or think they know about how things should work.

“We the People” now work for the royal we, the government… we pay THEM to keep us subservient and “in our place” and we pay to stock pile weapons and the military (not take care of our military mind you) and we pay billions upon billions of dollars to keep the rich, rich and make them richer. The intent was that the government would work for “We the People” but we strayed from that path along the way due to greed of those who isolated the power and wealth to a few at the detriment of the many.

Our taxes should be going to make the country better – people are convinced that health care for all will be the end of our country and slip us into a socialist society and that if it is put in place they will pay more money and lose more coverage. They are constantly barraged with false scenarios of scarcity and wait times by those that stand to gain the most in the current mode. We the people do not understanding what we are paying for now in private coverage today is greater than what our taxes would be to make healthcare a right and public nationwide. Too many of we the people have lost the theme of help thy neighbor, so they don’t want their taxes going to help the poor “They (the poor) should try harder” and feel that we already do far too much for those less fortunate even as the government has steadily eroded our social safety nets for years through cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and every other program designed to feed, shelter or assist we the people.

We are failing as a society because the government has convinced us that if we work harder and smarter we to can be part of that 1%… where all they are doing is attempting to keep people who are down down- and make more people for the “working class” and between the attempts to control a woman’s body and racism – they even have the church and white supremacist convinced to do their dirty work.

I know this sounds like a conspiracy theory but look at this in the big picture- from the outside looking in…

Real change is required in our society and our government or “We the People” will be redefined as “We the Rich” and the “People” will be expendable as evidenced by the current push to open the economy.

The miracle of hearing…

I have experienced a lifetime of hearing related issues and for most of that time I suffered in silence. It’s only been over the last ten years that I have found doctors that have been able to identify and albeit temporarily at times resolved my hearing loss. The fall of 2015 after a long battle with ear infections and a cholesteotoma in my left ear I had surgery for the first time and my brilliant doctor replaced the bones of my inner ear with a prosthesis which allowed be the best hearing in my left ear of my memorable life. For the following year plus, I listened with pleasure as I heard the laghter and crying of my beautiful granddaughters, enjoyed the amazing tunes of gong bathes both as a participant and player and have come to marvel in the healing properties of the Tibetan singing bowls that I play during the deep relaxation at the end of each Kundalini Yoga class I teach on Monday evenings. In December of 2016 I got a severe cold that resulted in a fifty percent loss of hearing in both ears, negative pressure in my left ear endangering the prosthetic and a blow out of my right ear that requires reconstructive surgery to repair it.
Today, I anticipate awaking in the late morning to the wonderful face of my wife after a fully successful surgery. I can’t wait to have to opportunity to think, my grandchildren should keep down the noise for the neighbors but not really care and again hear the sounds of the ocean…


Love and Blessings to all!
May Truth, Light and Love

Guide Our Path

Question of the day:

When the Trump Administration officially identifies the Native American People and those Protestors who “Stand” with them, as Terrorists for their interference with pipeline construction, which side will you stand on? “We The People” or “The Corporation”?

~Chris Wood

Sunsets are back…in my life!

When we first moved to SoCal, I was at the beach for sunset atleast five days a week; that’s when we lived a mile away. A year later we were living four miles away and I made it at least three days a week if not for sunset for a walk on the beach. By year three we were seven miles from the beach and sunsets had become a monthly thing. I didn’t notice at first that sunsets had slowly slipped away and to be honest it wasn’t until last night that it truly hit me. See sunsets had become a big part of my photography and although I have been shooting quite a bit the beach and sunsets had had become a rarity.

Earlier this winter we moved yet again and specifically sought out a place closer to the beach. We found a place that although like many rentals was not exactly perfect, it put us in a position that meant the beach was back within walking and biking distance. Last night was the first time since we moved, a little over two months ago, we took the short jaunt to the beach. Our mission was to clear our gems and jewelry in the ocean with little thought about sunset. So, there I was standing at the waters edge, freezing “SoCal acclimated” since it was only 55 degrees, watching my wife wade into the ocean talking about life cleansing water, when I suddenly noticed a change in the color of everything.  We had accidentally ended up at the beach during the golden hour and forgetting the cold and the wet, along with my extreme displeasure of sand, I soon found myself shoes off, toes sinking into the cold wet sand while laying on the dune, immersed in the color of sunset, taking beach photos for the first time in over a year. What a rush. There is nothing like capturing those last few minutes of the world in the glow of a setting sun on the pacific ocean.

I’ve set a new goal to help rejuvenate my soul and keep me grounded. I will go to the beach for sunset at least twice a week, force myself onto the wet sand to capture as many moments radiant beauty as possible. while there I will use that time in nature to also meditate and allow Gaia and Merlin to talk to me and keep me on my path. I know it’s my duty to shine light into the darkness as the moon reflects the sun into the night sky but if I never take the time to bask in her energy I will not be a brilliant as I need to be in these dark times. Sunsets are back…in my life…let them into yours! Take a few moments out of your week to just take in a setting sun and bask in her glow. I promise, even on your darkest days, she will warm your heart, and lighten your soul.

Below are a few Sunset photos I have taken over the years. I hope you like them.

Who’s the Star of Your Life?

So many of us go through our lives with the feeling that there must be more to life than this. As a result, we periodically have times when we are in search of who we are or what our purpose is in life. I prefer to refer to this as a search for My Path.

Throughout my life, I have found myself off of My Path more often than I care to admit. These periodic diversions often leave me feeling bewildered and asking myself:

  • How did I get here?
  • Where did I step off the path?
  • What decision was it that changed my direction?
    • Was it the job change, the vacation, the conversation with my wife or best friend?
    • Was it even intentional?

This line of questioning is immediately followed by:

  • How do I get back on my Path?
  • What does my Path even look like now?
  • Does that Path even exist anymore now that I have been off of it for so long?
  • How can I tell when I am back on my Path?

I recently graduated from Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, a journey that I never would have imagined was on My Path three years ago. During my training, a teacher, Guru Singh, gave a lecture wherein I internalized an analogy he used:

We are experiencing our lives like a film, frame by frame. All time exists simultaneously, past, present and future and as time rolls past us, we watch it scroll by and interact with it.

At the time, that analogy seemed like an interesting idea but I didn’t give it much thought until this weekend when I realized how ideal that concept is for divining, “Are You on Your Path or Someone Else’s?”

Ponder that question for a moment.

Ok, now that you’ve thought about it, let’s consider this: In the past when I’ve asked myself that question, I’ve answered with great confidence: “I’m on My Path.” However, when I employ the idea of looking at my life in the past and present as a film or movie that’s passing by one frame at a time, the answers are dramatically different, especially when adding a very specific filter to my perception of the movie. The filter I began applying was, “Who is the star of the movie in this frame?” and WOW did the entire plot change.

When you are truly living your True Self, the Star of the movie is always You and the only time you are ever on your Path is when you are living as your True Self.

We have to remember that in the Movie that is our life, we must always be the Star. When someone else is the Star in our Movie, it is because we have stepped off our Path to become nothing more than the support cast, and in some cases, a character or bit actor. This isn’t to say that we aren’t a supporting character or bit actor as a part of our life, but we should only be playing those parts in the life movies of others, never our own.

Instead of asking yourself if you’re on your path or spending the time anguishing over whether or where you stepped off your path try this: Am I the Star of my own Movie? Am I the Star of my own Life?

If so, rejoice in the knowledge that you are living true to yourself and give thanks to the guru within that guides your path.

If not, rejoice in the knowledge that you can see it, give thanks to the guru within that guides your path, and give yourself permission to be your True Self.

Yogi Bhajan said, “Once you are you, all will be around you as you want. That’s the catch-22.”

 

Be the Star of your Own Life.

Be your True Self.

Settle for nothing less than Your Best

and Everything is Possible.

Soul Clann Glacier NP

Our Yogic Journey Across America – A Wild Goose Adventure following the Light of Inspiration

Sat Nam Yogis!
Welcome back to the next episode and Day 8 in our #YogicJourneyandWildGooseAdventure.

The day started strange. We got off to a late start and went into Cabella for the Heat Gear and sleeping bag we have put off purchasing specifically at this location. Cabella’s camping section looked like a scene from a bad apocalypse movie the day after the main characters have gone through, or the way the south prepares for a hurricane.

The propane appeared to be all out, the sleeping bags were mostly gone, boxes open and more than half of the display models were either missing or hanging by one corner. So after 10 minutes of looking at what was available, then another 10 to find an associate, we got what we came for, sleeping bag for us both, isobutane and our under garments and off to the bike we we strolled.

“Hmmm,” I heard Amy under her breathe. Funny thing was I was thinking the same thing. “Where are we gonna put this thing? We obviously need a complete repack.” Turning to her I asked if she could hold it until we got to the restraint for breakfast and we would figure out a solution while we ate. “Suuuure…”, she said as she turned her head and climbed onto Lady.

Minutes later we were in the parking lot of Culver, they were too busy to even entertain eating there but had to do the repack in their parking lot before going any further. What a sight, all of the gear sitting in the grass behind the bike but with some rearranging we were able to repack everything; while putting on a show for all the people sitting outside eating including the bikers parked next to us.

Now we are off and finally the Badlands are within sight as we scream onto I-90 heading due west. Oddly, just as it did the last time I was here 10 years ago, the affects of heat exhaustion crept up on us and we were not destined to see them this evening. So, again we resigned ourselves to just relaxing, enjoying the ride and following the sign and the light as it led us.

Funny thought when we read a sign advertising hotels on a distant town and both of us said at the same time “I would never stay in a town named ‘Murdo'”. Not long after we saw a sign for exit 220 and had to stop as we had run into the number a lot recently. 3 out of the last 4 hotels and decided to see if it was telling us something.

Minutes later as we meander down a small county road through South Dakota, Amy asked me to tell her a story and the background of a story I have been working on began to pour out of me. Just before the road came to an end we passed a sign, ” Welcoms to Vivian.” A name which appears very importantly in the story.

An hour later where did we end up? Yes, in Murdo at one of the places from the signs ealier. If there has been an odder place it would have been in Neverland. This place was right out of the one of Liberace’s dreams. Including the corded off living room with the gold mirrors and satin flowered couches in the lobby of the place to the rooms with the cheeta carpet and the zebra print blankets.

Come back soon for Day 9 to find out more about the Badlands, ditching our leggings and getting rained out.

May Truth, Light and Love Guide Our Path

Our Yogic Journey Across America – A Wild Goose Adventure a Cruising Day…

Sat Nam Yogis!

Welcome back to the next episode and Day 7 in our #YogicJourneyandWildGooseAdventure.

The initial days of the ride I struggled getting accustomed to “Lady” as she’s come to be called, she most definitely has a personality of her own and it’s going to take a while to fully understand her. In the meantime, I am simply respecting her power and listening to her as she takes us through corners, curves over big bumps and down sudden drops. She never lets us down as long as I allow her to lead.

When we arose this morning we decided that today was just going to be about putting on miles and closing the gap between where we were and where we intended to be by now. In setting this intent we prepared the bike, which has become quite routine and set out quite early for us.

Our routine has become stopping about every 100-130 miles. The difference for bike travel is we are constrained to much shorter durations between stops due to her five gallon tank. Loaded down and two upper are averaging about 40 mpg and without an actual gas gauge, we have to plan stops based upon her range and gas stations then, watch the trip odometer closely.

Finally, we are on the road. Heading north along the I-35  I am reminded of one of the benefits of being in the Midwest, which is that you can spot a storm miles away. Seeing the dark cloud north of us we made a sudden correction and turn west into a small four lame divided highway 30 and resolved our path to simply cruise along inatead of hoofing it as fast as possible. Next thing we knew, we had cruised our way across the state and into Sioux Falls following highway numbers on a hunch from Amy. The best part was that we just cruised for the first time. Just laughing, telling the jokes, pointing out scenery, doing some chanting  and occasional singing.

Finally arriving in Mitchell, SD late, we packed it in and missed our first day of Sadhana and the stretch pose challenge. Crap! We had the first stress free relaxing day 7.

Come back tomorrow to find out more about, following the light and yet another parking lot repacked!


Look, we found Arlo!

May Truth, Light and Love Guide Our Path

Our Yogic Journey Across America – A Wild Goose Adventure Travel Trials…

Sat Nam Yogis!
Welcome back to the next episode and Day 6 in our #YogicJourneyandWildGooseAdventure.

We have discovered on the trip, which impart was about resetting our diet and Sadhana to our previously managed yogic structure, that living on the motorcycle is not attuned to eating and drinking healthy. The plan was to once again drop the sugar from our diet, continue on our new Vegetarian/Pescatarian way of eating, while adding in more yogi tea and water.

Recently we’ve been experiencing lows in our energy levels attributed to what was thought as diet changes, they magnified ten fold with the heat and humidity in New England and the Midwest. So, the intent to improve upon the changes in our diet have turned into every 50 to 100 miles hitting the convience stores for soda, water, candy and coffee to keep our energy levels up.  This afternoon we had a  revelation,  even though the feared dehydration was a non-issue, our energy was being sapped by all weather jackets that have been fundamentally required as part of our riding gear. The heat under the four season jackets was the equivalent of either an easy bake oven or a personal sauna. This means we will be looking for some relatively inexpensive mesh riding jackets first thing tomorrow. Not sure if this will help the pace any but surely will make the ride cooler! 

We ended our Loopy Snickers day in Iowa City!


Come back later this afternoon or tomorrow to find out more about, following our hearts, the numbers and just slow cruisin’ our way to bliss.

May Truth, Light and Love Guide Our Path

Our Yogic Journey Across America – A Wild Goose Adventure Back on the Road

Sat Nam Yogis!

Welcome back to the next episode and Day 5 in our #YogicJourneyandWildGooseAdventure.

After a morning of repackage, loading the camelback with Yogi Tea and a long goodbye to Grandpa we were back on the road.

Still being on California time has its ups and downs. Downside: morning is too damn early on EST, the sun comes up too soon and well, we don’t like mornings, but I don’t guess that’s a time zone issue as much as it is that we are just night owls. So the upside is well, we can ride later into the night as our bodies tend to ignore the fact the sun has disappeared and we keep going like the energizer bunny.

Not having any concrete plans can make for  a great adventure as well as adding moments of frustration. While giving both the freedom to get up and go when you feel the need it adds a bit of uncertainty as to when you’re going to reach your destination. Bring us to today’s lesson on this adventure. Life isn’t about the destination it’s about the journey and what you experience on the way.

We had a grand plan of making 250 to 350 miles a day and that is great as a goal but sometimes we go slower than planned simply because we are enjoying the view. Then there is the problem of hitting the wall and being done for the day. Tonight was one of those nights when the only hotel in town was as good as it got. Luckily, Amy checked out the room before we lugged all the gear to that end of the hotel, because the room was far from ready and they switched our room across the building. We were so tired we pulled out the shower flops and did sadhana on cleanest spot in the room, the bed.

Come back tomorrow to learning about the trials and tribulations of our yogic diet on the road.

May Truth, Light and Love Guide Our Path