>> Wednesday, April 22, 2015

...sometimes i realize that if i sold illicit substances you might actually visit me more and i think that's really pathetic.


A note on Israel/Palestine

>> Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When you say these things, I don't respect you:

1. Referring to what's happening in Palestine as a 'conflict.'
No, it's mass murder.  It's genocide.  It's disgusting.  And your tax dollars are subsidizing it.

2. "Both sides are wrong." 
And what sides are those?  An armed superpower that is systematically strangling an entire people (Israel), and a crippled nation that is struggling for basic human rights to water, electricity and their own land (Palestine)?
Or are you referring to Israel (see above), and Hamas, the leadership of a portion of Palestine?  Would you like, as a citizen, to be held accountable for every action our own government took?  And what if the form that accountability took was in your, your parents, and your children's blood?


3. "My [parents, siblings, partner, etc.] are Jewish. It's their homeland."
I appreciate the connection to land and history. And it is also the homeland, for generations, of Palestinians whom are being brutalized and murdered right this moment.  Even when they aren't in the throes of one of Israel's bloody operations, they are denied access to natural resources, to their holy sites, to their family members, to their right to live at times.
Also, we must separate Zionism from Judaism.  So many brave Jewish leaders have been exceptionally clear in this.  Israel's political actions are not sanctioned religiously.  They just aren't.  We mustn't allow the framing of this in religious terms to cloud our judgement, because that's what they want.  As long as it's a religious issue, we have little say about it.  But it's not a religious issue.  Even if there are roots in religiousity, it cannot inform the US political policy, anymore than we can allow someone stateside to murder or brutalize a person because they say it's related to their religion.

4. "It doesn't involve me."
Actually, it does. We send over 3 BILLION dollars directly to them every year, and around another 12+ billion in indirect services (loans, 'scrapped' military equipment, etc.) every year.

From's tracker, in a 10 year span (2007-2018), here is what WASHINGTON STATE gives to Israel*:

Military aid: $731,757,769.64
Affordable housing: $8,885.00
Green jobs training: $12,147
Early reading: $21,636
Primary healthcare: $592,612

If we just look at Thurston County, and just considered military aid (what I find the worst!) the breakdown is like this:
Military aid: $26,202,295.40

In Olympia:

In Lacey:

In Seattle:

*Go to their website and they'll give you a breakdown of how they gathered this data

I'm sure there are many, many more things you could say in ignorance, naivete or in just plain bigotry or hatred that would make me not respect you, but these top my list so far.

[I can't go into the Rapture theology that supports this kind of upheaval over there right now, because that would take several hours for me to parse out for y'all.  Just suffice it to say that Rapture theology is in support of this because they are literally interpreting metaphorical biblical texts and also just plainly taking them out of context.  But to have our foreign policy informed by this is just terrifying.]

If you are interested in resources--say you really would like to educate yourself,  Jewish Voice for Peace has a really concise video 101, as well as some written text about it.  Go here.


CS Lewis, Daniel Linehan & holistic recovery from illness

>> Monday, September 16, 2013

I just wanted to share a few not-related thoughts I've had over the past few days.

1. Friday night, after attending Daniel's show at Velocity, I came home feeling extremely sick. Excruciating headache, dizzy, light-headed, and nauseous (from the dizziness and light-headedness). It was bad all through Saturday, almost felt like an extreme caffeine headache + other seemingly random symptoms. Add on my ear infection(s?) and you'll see I was miserable.
Since then I am mostly better; what remains (aside from my ear stuff) is light-headedness when I stand or move too fast.
I've ascertained that what's going on is not just one thing, but a co-mingling of things and how the interact with one another. Adrenal fatigue, suppressed immune system, extreme anxiety brought about by changing life circumstances and meeting up with old dear friends, dehydration, and exhaustion. And my ear stuff being a symptom of a wider fungal infection.
The remedy? Lots of sleep. Compassion for myself. Caffeine (yes, I said it.). More whole foods (I'm already on board with this). More time spent in silence and journalling. MORE WATER. MORE YOGA. A rigorous anti-fungal herbal and homeopathic regimen. Continuation (as funds permit) of my adrenal tonic. Snuggling with Owen. Letting go of my attachment to any particular outcome at work.

2. Being able to hang out with old friends on Friday night was pretty awesome. And watching Daniel perform Not About Everything was even more so. I'm so impressed with this piece, and can't believe how poignant it is. I'd try to describe it here, but I know it wouldn't make any sense. Being present with it is the only way to truly experience it; the youtube videos do not do it justice.

I thought during the first piece, holy shit I like performance art. I remember in undergrad I tried so hard to understand, to enjoy contemporary dance or performance art, (especially during my feminist art programs; remember Mary Kelly's "Post Partum Document"?) and I just couldn't. Try as I might, I could not give a shit.
Even during my first year at Evergreen studying modernism, I was repulsed. I could get on board conceptually/intellectually, but my visceral response was horror. Just remembering Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, or God forbid, Martha Graham's performance of Appalachian Spring is enough to give me shivers.

But as an adult, I am moved beyond words. I've literally spent hours on youtube watching Marina Abramovic videos, blown away. And Daniel's piece is like this. I was moved to tears, and I haven't yet found the words to express why.
There is one thing I am sure of: Daniel is the real deal. His work is a big thing, and I am convinced future students will read about him in textbooks.

3.  This morning I was compelled to read some of On Grief, a series of excerpts from the works of C.S. Lewis. I was so moved by this, I wanted to share it with you all. The following is excerpted from "A Grief Observed" in the collection:
I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the love-making, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace...It is a part of the past. And the past is the past and that is what time means, and time itself is once more name for death, and Heaven itself is a state where 'the former things have passed away'...

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand...Reality never repeats...That is what we should all like. The happy past restored.

And that, just that, is what I cry out for, with mad, midnight endearments and entreaties spoken into the empty air.


Behind Israel's Permanent War on Gaza

>> Friday, March 15, 2013

Last fall I attended a talk at Traditions titled "Behind Israel's Permanent War on Gaza" in an attempt to do something, anything about the recent war waged on the Palestinians at the Gaza Strip. I'd promised to do a full write up on the event and haven't made that into a reality yet.

Now, I have a video of the entire event here for you--much better than my hastily scrawled and reinterpreted notes! Please comment and let me know what you think.


To Remember

>> Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This morning I was sitting on the couch drinking my cup of coffee as Owen was (for once!) occupying himself on the floor in front of me, playing with his wooden crate and block set. After a couple of minutes I checked in with him, looking up and seeing him play. I smiled and said, "You having fun, baby?" and he ignored me, as he should at this age. I was filled with such a rush of overwhelming love.

I watched him match the shapes of the blocks into the holes in the crate. I watched him maneuver the top of the crate into the correct position, watched him slide the lid into place. I smiled again, blown away that just a few months ago I'd helped him figure out how to slide the lid on. See, you put the star on this side, and it goes in. He mimicked me, the star on this side, and fumbled much more than I had, until finally it slid into place, and watch it go in!
And now he was managing this feat so well.

He probably doesn't even remember that incident. The incident that I hold so dear in my memory.

And then I realized how lucky I am to be sharing these beautiful, precious moments with him. How I am blessed to be witness to his becoming himself. And right on the heels of this realization came the next, sobering one. How he is so present with me, how these moments define him, shape him, but he won't remember any of it.

And I thought of myself. I have no memory of my toddlerhood. Is it hard for my mom, to know the years she spent with me, the years that she was absolutely everything in my life, that she must remember so vividly, that I have no recollection of? She could have been sitting on her couch--just like me--enjoying a precious, special moment with me--not of, but with me, and over time it ceased to exist for me.

What do we do with memory? And where do the memories go when we can't recall them anymore?

I am that person who holds onto each memory I have, carefully and with a white-knuckled grip. When I was young, I used to compulsively record everything important to me in journals, and I have volumes of them tucked away even today. I guess I was afraid if I didn't record them, they'd vanish. If I couldn't look back and recall every detail that some day those moments would just vanish. And then what would be left?

What is my life if not a collection memories?

And what happens to those of us who succumb to dementia? Alzheimers? Who are we? Our loved ones hold the space for the person we once were, but we clearly are no longer them, as is evidenced by the deafening discomfort we experience in ourselves when being in a room a loved one who has this condition. More evidence is the number of dementia and Alzheimers patients whose family has slowly trickled away until they are all but abandoned to a nursing home or equivalent facility.

Again: who are we, what are we if not a series of remembered moments? And as our memories fade away what do we become? How do we cope with this?

I don't want my baby to not remember these cornerstone moments we've had together. I want to share them with him for years to come, laughing with him, looking tenderly over the time period that he was obsessed with The Raccoons, the time period that he called all construction machinery snorts (an ode to the book Are You My Mother), the time period he wanted me to sing to him 'the sat nam song' every night before bed.

But he won't remember. And many would tell me that it's okay. I get to keep these memories. But maybe I don't. Maybe one day they'll fade away. Maybe I won't get to have them forever. And that near-literally breaks my heart. If I couldn't remember my precious baby boy, what on earth would I do?

The grasping-at-straws idealist in me wants to succumb to/create a complex spiritual practice and belief that comforts me in this:

When I die, I'll be with all my memories. 
When we are all gone, we will all be together forever. 
Energy can't be destroyed so our molecules will linger together forever. 
I will part of I AM and thus will be part of All.

But really, who knows. And the comfort is hollow. Life is suffering. GOD is suffering. And to suffer is to hold this terrifying uncertainty to my chest.

Breathe into it, Brandy. And know that for now at least, you exist.


Goddesses and Archetypes

>> Saturday, October 20, 2012

I just finished reading (for the first time) Jean Shinoda Bolen's Goddesses in Everywoman, a superb book written nearly 30 years ago. I'd avoided reading it for years because at first glance it seems to oversimply a very complex concept, but I was wrong. It is a Jungian book in every sense of the word, and Bolen makes it clear that the goddesses referred to in the text are only forms given to a deeper, undifferentiated energy that we unconsciously tap into. And it was a welcome to see these energies represented by the Greek pantheon, beloved of myself, personally.

Bolen uses three main categories when talking about these energies: The Virgin Goddesses (by 'virgin' she means 'seperate' or 'untouched,' not virginal in our contemporary sense of the word), The Vulnerable Goddesses (think vulnerable as opposed to the untouched nature of the Virgin Goddesses. Vulnerable because of their need for relationships, whereas the Virgin Goddesses can (and do) stand alone), and the Alchemical Goddess (only 1 goddess is in this category, the lovely Aphrodite).

The reality, according to Bolen, is that we are often influenced by multiple energies, or Goddesses, throughout the course of our life, but usually 1 or 2 predominate while others come in and out. Ideally, we have 1 archtype/Goddess from each category, and they then can balance their energies nicely. We must work at not allowing the most formed energy to rule our lives.

My list: Artemis (the feminist), Hera (the wife), and Aphrodite (note that though Aphrodite is in a category of her own, I actually identified really strongly with this energy. I sense this is not often/always the case with many women).

Hera & Aphrodite predominate my psyche. Artemis runs a close second, and Hestia, Demeter are pretty significant players as well. What I believe I do need to cultivate, to mellow out my Hera and Aphrodite energies, is the Athena energy--that of rationality and deliberation. She does not come from an emotional place, and this would help the hyper-emotional Hera & Aphrodite energies follow something other than their volatile emotional states.

Athena, Aphrodite and Hera

May I gently add a bit more Athena into my psyche.



>> Monday, August 6, 2012

Okay, I'm cheating here, but whatever.

I just wrote a new post (the first in almost a year) on my 'family' blog.  Go check it out at

Blessings to you all.


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