In January or February, I am changing the focus of my blog. My remaining clients have asked me to stay as long as I can. I feel a responsibility to one particular client as she is becoming a lone voice in the political wilderness for fact-based reporting and truth rather than blithering punditry and second-guessing. We are living in extraordinarily dangerous times when one political party is taking on the mantle of fascists rhetoric, protecting a would-be dictator and allowing the accelerated dismantling of democracy. The new buzz word for our global community is tribalism: evangelical tribalism, progressive tribalism, alt-right tribalism, feminist, conservative, red state and blue state – you get the idea. And the result of tribalistic thinking is “counting coup” on opposing tribes. It’s not productive.
This causes me great distress and my stress levels are too high. My job, in addition to negotiating client contracts, requires staying on top of the political, economic, judicial and tribal issues while being vigilant to the nuances of their work environments where to the untrained eye everyone gets along but to the experienced eye knives are hidden and poised to strike the backs of the more successful. It’s in a look, a turn of phrase and my ninja mind must see it coming before the knife has been unsheathed. It is up to me to stop that trajectory and hope that I have sensed it correctly in order for my clients to focus on “free speech” reporting that is becoming more essential and important for politician accountability. It’s heavy-lifting that requires I read opposing views, commentaries and watch opposing TV to sharpen my skills.
Media and dissemination of news became politicized in the 1990’s when the FCC allowed Fox News to have more than one media outlet in a market. It is controlled by corporations whose intentions may have been pure and filled with democratic principles but the bottom lines are what motivate them now. Fox propaganda (not news, not ever) became a cash cow for conservative, corporate interests. NBC, CBS and ABC had a tradition of disseminating truth and fact born from the greatness of great journalists like Walter Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley, John Cameron Swazee and so many more. Bottom lines were sacrificed on the altar of truth and responsibility. As a result, the networks have tried to carry on that tradition in the face of mounting odds. The rise of fascist media – and I use that term knowingly – Sinclair Broadcasting, Fox News and the impending take over of Meredith Broadcasting by the Koch brothers will irreparably change the cultural landscape of a country I once loved because it was a country of principle – no longer.
I am staying engaged because my clients are almost the last of the great journalists and they know and appreciate that I am different from other agents. I am tenacious. I don’t fear the bullies. I relish disarming their misogyny or condescension by meeting energy to energy. I play the long game and I am probably one of the better negotiators in the business at these high levels because I know negotiation is an on-going process requiring patience and vigilance and degrees of fearlessness. It doesn’t end when a contract is signed.
But there is a cost and the past year has showed me it begins with small declines in the body. I don’t accept that getting older means falling apart. Stress at any age is the chisel. I never imagined that at this age, I would be in the middle of the cultural issues defining who we are as individuals and as a country. I never imagined that I would be trying to craft contractual equality and parity with those who refuse to acknowledge it exists. When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, women were second-class citizen. I never bought into it but it took rebellion, anger and years of defining my self-worth through trial and error to get to this point. And there is a cost.
To hold the devil at bay, I have been trying to find equanimity within. I have raged internally against those who fell for the fake news plants during the last months of the 2016 political season. Those who voted for the likes of Jill Stein who was funded by the Russians, cast treasonous votes because they lacked knowledge, they bought into their basest emotions skillfully manipulated by Russian operatives. For god’s sake people, she was sitting at the table with Putin and Mike Flynn in Russia – the now infamous picture focuses on Flynn, but Jill was there as well. There are plenty of people who will find fault with this but too damned bad. I have done my homework.
So, as I rage within because what I know and have experienced, though less dramatically or life-threatening, is what Bruno Bettelheim learned during his time in the concentration camps – 5% of human beings will consistently do the right thing and the other 95% will pander, pretend, deny or evade doing the right thing due to fear of being thrown out of their tribes. On a one-to-one discussion these are good people at heart but their fear is greater than their goodness and they will acquiesce to their tribe.
I know what percentage I am. I am road tested, I have traveled that path most days of my adult life. Though it has come at a cost, it has also come with great reward as I live the life that I want. I have been pissy, lied when necessary but I have never in the end not done the right thing. The only tribe I belong to is the human tribe who loves this earth and whose heart breaks because most human beings are hell bent on procreating to the detriment of this earth and to the detriment of other human beings in order to increase their tribal numbers.
Thus, to hold the devil at bay, to soothe the anger, to protect my heart, to relieve the stress, the earth is once again calling me. There is a swath that I have studied for 18 years behind the house. I have wondered over it. I have been told nothing can be done there as it’s rocky and dry. It is the perfect metaphor for the rocky, dry brittleness I feel toward my external world.
When life seemed hopeless, when I hit rock bottom and looked into what I thought was a dark abyss, there always appeared ghostly figures holding books, working with my intuition, fingers on the buttons of creativity, tickling my depression into laughter and action.
What we came up with this time is creating a garden from the rock and dryness behind the house.
I am not a religious person. Religion is humanity’s war against itself.
I am a spiritual person however. I have read the gospels, I have studied the philosophy of Tao, dabbled in Buddhism, read the Upanishads, immersed myself in the rituals of shamanism not unlike the rituals of Catholicism but it’s the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life mysticism that speaks to my soul. My reducing stress test is to figure out how to create the mysticism of the Kabbalah Tree of Life into a garden from rock, dry grass and manzanita. When I read that Shekinah is the female face of God, I knew exactly where to start – and that is what my blog will be – I engage a world I cannot change …..
With a journey into the palace of Adam Kadmon guided by Shekinah to penetrate beneath the surface of every day reality that creates this stress and anger, exploring the influences of my ghostly figures, my spiritual helpers as we work with a willing piece/peace of earth.
As we enter a new year, I wish for myself, everyone I know and those I don’t, not peace on earth, but peace within!