not the only one…

“Embrace your inner girl”

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I’m so happy to have women in the world like Eve Ensler dedicating her life to ending violence every day. (If you are reading this post in your email, go to my blog site online to see the video of Eve I posted.)

Women like Eve inspire me. I hope to find the self-confidence to be my true, emotional, compassionate self. To be comfortable enough with vulnerability that I am able to be loving and compassionate to every person I know, everyday. The temptation to be “smart” and “strong” all the time so I can fight against the stereotype that “women are meek and mild” is exhausting. I want to just be free enough to be myself on any given day without feeling like I have to “hold it together” or I have to “not take it personally” or I have to “fake it till I make it.” I want to be my authentic self more by allowing myself to be more emotional, more humorous, to take in and enjoy the world, more. To be less serious, less concerned with being always a “smart, strong, leader” of a woman, and just be me. Be more outspoken. Yes, more! Be more open about who I am and what I need and want. Listen and hear more. Respect others for being human. Love people, animals and plants more. I want to be me, uncensored.

Gandhi says, “we must be the change we want to see in the world.” I want everyone to be their true, vulnerable, happy, curious, funny, loving selves. Because it is only when we make ourselves happy and fulfilled, will we make the people in our lives happy too. Love yourself so you can love the world, and the world will love you back.


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love & community w/o religion?

Today, I responded on facebook to a local pastor at a liberal church who was talking about why he thinks christian liberal churches are in decline but conservative churches thrive. His answer: christian liberals have given up and conservative churches simplify their message so much that it provides a safe haven in a world that is often overly-complex.

Here is my response:

Hi [pastor], I was raised as a member of the UCC 1st congregationalist church of Bellevue and I share your world view, and that of the church, that life is good and so are humans. I still have respect for all UCC and liberal churches. I have thought about returning in recent years (its been about 12 years since i’ve been involved) because I believe that community and love are missing from our world, missing from local communities and missing in everyday interactions. But there is something keeping me from re-engaging with a church. I work for social justice in my non-profit job everyday and volunteer for several organizations working for justice, dignity and equity for all. I would like to push back against the idea the “christian liberals” have given up, and instead offer the idea that liberals are dropping the title of “christian” because it no longer resonates with them. So many horrible things have happened in the name of organized religion, that, for me, I would like to find a new way to express love and community to the people around me. A new path to justice that welcomes all people, but is not rooted in a dedication to any deity. Instead, to work toward justice, peace, love and community because they are well worth fighting for on their own. In peace, Natalia

I am happy for this opportunity to express my views in this area because I have been recently struggling with the idea of returning to a church, but something is just holding me back. I am very interested in the idea of finding truth, peace, love, community and justice without having to under-pin this work in a faith that is rooted in a man-made persona, named god or jesus christ.

I believe there is a strong spiritual force in the universe that surrounds us and I believe that nature is a powerful force. I believe that if we listen closely and pay close attention to the present, we will learn much about the pulse of our world. There is so much happening every second. If we are too loud or distracted or focused on the tiny material details of our consumerist culture, we miss so much beauty, truth and love. I believe that putting our faith in the universe and acknowledging there is a force running through us and everything surrounding us that is much, much larger than we are is necessary if we are ever going to find peace as a society. In this sense, what Christians call “prayer” is a powerful force, because it is a recognition that something larger then us is pulling the strings. Writing is a form of “prayer” for me. Its my way of putting my concerns into the universe, letting go of my anxieties so I can slow down and realize all the beauty and goodness in my life. And, I do talk to the universe too. Christians would say, we are all “blessed.” Seculars like me say, we are “lucky.”  I believe we are addressing similar phenomena but just in different, and often separate, paradigms, complete with separate language.

I realize I have been speaking in a “christian context” because that was the context of my interaction above. But I would like to acknowledge all religions and wish for all religious and secular people to come together to realize that one way is not better than the other. We are all on this planet so we should do our best to enjoy each other and make our world the best we can for everyone. To me, we are put here to learn how to trust and love each other — and, it can seem like at every turn society is trying to block this from happening: stereotypes, competing religions, corporate profits valued over people, classism, hatred, war, fear, and our constant desire to divide ourselves by groups (gender, race, sexual orientation, class, ethnic origin, age, ability, religious affiliation, political party and on and on).

My wish is for people to slow down, get to know each other better and learn to love each other more because of our differences as well as our similarities. After all, humans are much more similar than we are different.


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love is complicated

a life lived simply is the best?  is it?  I’m want to believe it because I often take the more challenging options in life and I often find myself suffering for it. I usually oppose the status quo. I’m queer, I work for a non-profit, I try to talk politics and money with strangers. I’m working for the freedoms conservatives try to take away:  access to birth control for women, access to safe abortion for women, affordable healthcare for the poor and middle classes, affordable housing options for low-income families and people struggling with homelessness. I’m against the status quo.  I want more love in our world. Empty the prisons, stop caging people of color and poor people, tax the rich and corporations, end tax giveaways to the oil industry that pollutes the earth, campaign finance reform so the 1% cant buy elections,  overturn citizen’s united, do not discriminate and instead have love for trans members of our world, have love for the poorest among us. Do not hide your money in off-shore accounts where you cant be taxed and therefore cannot give back to the country that birthed and reared you. Do not ship jobs overseas where labor is cheap and workers are exploited and abused.

Be kind, more gentle to one another, regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, income level or political viewpoint. Do not judge each other by the clothes or adornments we wear, do not judge each other. seek to love each other first. In a world where we are taught to judge and compare, win or lose, succeed or fail, the job of loving first is very difficult. We must help each other to love more and hate much much less.

A simple life forgets how complicated our world is, how diverse it is, how different our backgrounds are. We live in complicated times and we must embrace this. It is not enough to have an equal society anymore, we must strive to be an equitable one. An equitable world understands that life is diverse, people are diverse. We all come to adulthood by very different paths and circumstances. An equitable world view recognizes the difference in our backgrounds, our cultures, our religions and chooses to acknowledge and accept difference instead of presuming we have the same backgrounds and will reach the same conclusions, and take the same actions in the face of conflict or in the time of decision. We are all different and we all contribute in valuable ways. The more we open up and allow this diversity of culture, of class, of race, of gender to exist and to thrive the more perfect and complete our world will be. The more we can learn from one another, the more our world will progress as the brilliant, diverse, resilient, complicated place that it is. Choose the complicated path in life. It will not be easy, but in the end, the experience will be rich, beautiful and enlightening.  Love many people everyday.


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livin the dream

why not? It occurred to me today that I and friends of mine often say we are “livin the dream.” Its said in casual conversation as the reply to the common question, “how are you?” It seems like a quick, fun, way to answer a worn out, yet sincere question, but I started thinking yesterday… could it really be true? I used to always laugh when others said it. And then I started saying it because, honestly, i love to make people laugh. I love to entertain. But while I said it the other day to the grocery store clerk, and he and the pretty old woman in line behind me laughed with big, broad smiles, it made me genuinely happy. It was like I had “made my own day!” And it hit me, what if I really was “living the dream?” And living my OWN dreams? How amazing would that be? How wonderful would I feel each and every day?

So, why haven’t I been living my dreams? I’m not sure, and its probably not very important or interesting. Probably some lame reason like fear or insecurity or self-doubt. BOOO! HISS! I’ve had enough of fear and self-doubt. I’m breaking free. I’m going to start living my dreams.

I want to write and learn and study social change. I want to make the world a better place. I want to make people feel good, I want people to be happy and to love themselves for who they are. I want everyone to be present and focus on today. I’ll plan for the future, but I dont want the present to pass me by.

I want to write a book by the time i’m 40. I want to get my phd. I’m going to do it and I’m going to succeed. It is decidedly so. I need to dream, need to envision my dreams and then take action to achieve my dreams.

I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.