Imagine with me for a moment this scenario. 
     One day you wake up and you realize with unfailing certainty that this will be your last day of being. That all the tomorrows were never going to be. That your long term goals and dreams have been whittled down 24 hours – 1,440 minutes – 86,400 seconds. Similarly, the chance to see or talk those people important in your life had become a splinter of time.
     What would you do? Who would you reach out to? What would you say?
     Of course, I hope that this scene from a fictitious movie doesn’t become reality in my life, nor in yours. But it makes me, maybe you, stop to think. About the time I spent procrastinating instead of doing. 
      Time I spent idling while the world in its joy or sadness, its beauty or ugliness, its dignity or disgrace swirl around and past me. Times when a mere ‘how are you?’ which we use instead hello in most instances, could have been extended into a 10 or 15 conversation of substance and reality instead of the rote, ‘good, how are you doing?’ Time spent resenting or in envy, spent being angry or bearing a grudge. Time I spent trying be so lost that no one could find me.
       Time that is gone like an eyelash in a tornado.

       Make a list of people. Don’t think hard and long. Think spontaneously. 


       As I recently read, in the end the ‘p’s – prosperity writ large, property, position, power – do not equate to peace. Are irrelevant. Who you love and care for and how you do this, is real crucible in which life is measured. Profoundly simple yet so often low on our list of priorities. Perhaps, it doesn’t even make the list.

       In reality, today is the last today you’ll have. Until tomorrow blooms as another today and this day fades to the memory we call yesterday.
      If you agree with the premise or idea, the question is simple. Even if you think this a bunch semi-spiritual, new age malarkey, the simplicity of the question still may resonate.

      What are you waiting for?

 
 
     As many of my loyal readers (all 53 of you) know, I've spent much time on this blog considering, thinking, ruminating and trying to put into action some kindness, mostly as it turns out, in small ways. ways that are significant nevertheless. Trying to understand what kindness is, where real kindness comes from, the worth of the artiface of kindness and how do we judge these things. Is one more genuine than another? Does kindness need to come from the heart or spirit to be true kindness or is the gesture of kindness as good. Coming to a conclusion, still somewhat under debate, that a genuine kindness comes from somewhere within and spreads outward like a ripples in a pond.
    Kindness is a shifty thing I think. Hard to define, but you understand when you see it. Show me, don't tell me.
    In an odd and shaking turn of events, I have found myself on the opposite side, the receiver rather than the giver. After suffering what can best be described as a meltdown of the brain, that huge organ we use little of, I am the one looking for kindness, needing that hand doing what some hands are meant to do: reaching for mine, when my hand was limp and exhausted, frightened and hopeless. And I found those, or more truly, those hands found mine in a place I didn't expect to be. 
     Frankly, there is a difference between a kindness from the spirit and a kindness from a sense of duty or even the belief 'in doing the right thing.' While the former does lift my own spirit somewhere beyond the physical, I'm happy to accept both. Both are welcome, needed and appreciated but it is the more genuine, from within kindness, that benefits in an holistic way.
    If I didn't believe in magic in this world, in a kinship of humanity, I do now. And I believe, more strongly than I have, that it will be this sort of spirituality, that goes beyond any organizations or religions that will bring about the deep needed change that many are clamoring for. A spirituality that is personal yet universal, something you can't touch but in amazing, bewildering moments you feel its presence, simply know it's there.
     Perhaps, true insight into a question must come from looking at or experiencing from both sides, from the front and back. At least for now, this feels like I'm pulling on the right string, finding its strength and residing in that strength. 
 
 
  Quick, two words associated with occupy. How about Facebook and YouTube.
  You tube has become the media of choice for those who feel that the established news media is biased against their ideals, philosophies and actions. That the media doesn't give an accurate reflection of the reality of the events.
   But what of YouTube. Let me be clear, I’m not debating if the police use too much force, if there is a more peaceful way to handle confrontation or the protests or who attends. I’m talking about YouTube.  
   The clips are widely shared on the internet, particularly after protests or environmental disasters, most of which, depict corporations as anti-environment – don’t do enough to clean up oil spills or chemical dumps – and the police are inherently violent and paramilitary. They march into a crowd of protesters with batons and pepper spray and use them at the slightest provocation, a chant or comments or rocks being thrown at them. Those elements of stories are common on YouTube, yet we rare;y see before and after.
   It’s time to start to considering the biases of those who post these clips, sending them to large chains of followers, some of which get more than 2 or 3 million views. That rivals audiences of all news networks. On April 4, Fox News averaged just over 1.3 million, while CNN and MNBC together didn't reach a million.
  Look at these at these clips from the protest at the University of California Davis - same time and place.

posted by asucd
views 1,655,661
posted by wax pancake
views 156,114
posted by timasu
views 23,314
   I won't comment on the content of the videos, intelligent people can draw their own conclusions. I will say a couple of things. 
   First, these images are taken primarily from smart phones (not just these three), which are ubiquitous and have good video capabilities. These videos can be quite easily edited - hey if I can do it... Anything you can edit can reflect your beliefs. 
   Second, I would guess, with a strong certainty, that in every large protest there are incidents where protesters are approached by police in full riot gear. We hear and read protesters hurl insults at the police like ‘fuckin' Nazis.” That is about the most offensive epithet you can call somebody.
   Certainly, the potential for violence is around every corner for a police officer. They are doing a job. I imagine if a protester had their home broken into, a call to the ‘fuckin’ Nazis’ would be immediate. They provide a level of safety in our society that is unfortunately needed.
   Third, the videos are rarely sourced. Wax pancake is credited for a video. At least, state your name so that if a reporter or anyone else wants to know more you can be found. But it's safer under a psuedonym and calls into question reliability. In fact, YouTube itself has become an ersatz source. I wonder how execs at YouTube feel about that. 

   We are expected to believe without context, without a named source, with conflicting depictions of the same event. Which is most frustrating. I don't care about your bias, but at least come forward to a small degree. 
   I believe these videos and the thousands more demonstrate my original proposition. We now need to regard YouTube as a quasi-news network. It does not ask for proof from contributors who can bend a story or images to prove their biases. As far as I know, it has no intention of changing this policy. It does have a guideline that states - "
Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don't post it." 
    Are these images graphic, yes, or gratutious, debatable. But I don't hear any debate.
 
 
Recently, I wrote a post about Mindfulness and its relationship to kindness, which generated close to 6 times the usual visits. Which inspired me because I have had my own struggles with my resolution of being kinder. Essentially, kindness inward becomes kindness outward. Certainly this sounds like a nice play with words, the idea is quite fundamental - if you aren't genuinely kind to yourself, how kind, and for what reasons, will you be kind toward others? Much like the idea if you don't love yourself, how can you love someone else? 

This is not to say that any kindness is not worthy. Kindness is kindness after all. Simply, that the more genuine the kindness, the more genuinely it will be received. So kindness isn't a moment, an hour, a day or a weekend. It becomes part of you. To offer wisdom much greater than any, if any, I possess, these are the closing remarks from the Dalai Lama in the wake of the tragedy of Twin Towers in New York, more than a decade ago, and the death of so many people:

They are looking to you for guidance, for help, for courage, for strength, for understanding, and for assurance at this hour. Most of all, they are looking to you for love. My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. 

His remarks were aimed at the living victims. But I'm struck by two things. First, if you remove the scale of destruction, bring it down to the person-to-person level these are universal needs and desires, perhaps not even recognized by people. Second, 'My religion is kindness.' I interpret this as me saying 'my life is kindness' which, after 4 months seems like the core of my thinking. 
So on this weekend, special to many, may you be happy and safe, may you be healthy and unafraid. And may you keep in mind this  from the Dalai Lama:

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.                                                                                                                                 

peace and light - Jack and Hank
 
 
                                  Words of power.
                     The power of words. The power of poetry.

   The Enpipe Line – a collection of poetry, some 70,000 kilometres long, of resistance to the Enbridge pipeline, 1,700 kill-ometres long. If built the pipeline will cut its way across Alberta and British Columbia so tarsands  oil, can be shipped overseas, so streams of pollution are unbroken. A collection from poets and from people who perhaps have never written a poem in their life. Each voicing with different eloquence and array of views their revulsion and resistance to this pipeline, “this boon to our economy.”

   What were the issues Canadian media covered on the weekend when I learned of this project. This from the Ottawa Citizen, Sunday, April 1. The first page, top of the fold, Justin Trudeau's farcical boxing fight with a photo covering at least 2/3s of the most seen part of the paper. From the opinion page, a long article entitled ‘There’s no democratic quick fix,’ which explains why we must proceed cautiously. Ironically, I would imagine that those involved in the Enpipe Line would agree with the title.


This is a quote from a poem by Steven Collis, Dear Goldcorp (1707.14 km) about as rough and true as you will read.

This is how the
Big boys do it:
Form a "carbon disclosure project"
A "biodiversity project"
Talk sustainability
But pollute the shit
Out of it
Move people and profits
Around like plastic Risk pieces...





My
own response 

A Line

Bisect this country, criss-cross it with veins that steal
harmony of animal, human lives with steely lines to move
the cruelist of oil. Pollute the reputation of this country.

Advertise this country to tourists as pristine, untouched.
Tour them down pipelines, let them gaze at barren mountains.
Then invite them back.

I urge you to learn more about the Enpipe Line project - read the poetry and out of fairness look at Enbridge's take on things. Tell, write, paint, resist - add to this 70,000 kilometre voice.