Recently I made an experiment. For the first time ever I posted what I thought was just an obviously funny, but true-for-me, comment about the recent “symbolic” meeting between Pres. T and that guy from North Korea. Usually my offerings on social media are designed to either be upbeat, arty hearty, offbeat, or inspiring, but always intended to counterbalance the flow of negatives I see so prevalent everywhere these days, especially in the media. I guess I hadn’t figured on how many people’s sense of how things are, in general, is so pained these days. As a self-proclaimed spiritual activist I focus on inspiring others. My mission as an artist/writer/activist is to help uplift my fellows human beans, so our joined experiences on planet Earth is for each of us to know life’s unlimited possibilities (to help outstretch the wings of our spiritually awakened selves). I believe each of us can unfold our wings more easily, more freely, more … joyfully, if we help each other!
Well, was I in for a shock about this particular, first-time political post of mine! A deed never to ever be repeated, let me say right here.
The negative response to my (to me at least) funny and provocative but inspiring post (funny photo with provocative hashtags and uplifting comments) stunned me. Innocently, I’d been prompted to post this particular photo by the ridiculously inappropriate gesture that Donald Trump is giving his smiling companion, Kim Jong Un, a man who, to all appearances, has been portrayed as the biggest threat to the free world — the most dangerous of America’s longtime Communist enemies due to his father’s and grandfather’s regimes’ previous refusals to embrace the world’s demands for nuclear disarmament.
All I meant by posting this comical (to me) scenario, was to show the ludicrous, game-playing, insincere nature of politics. But, amazingly!, people thought I was seriously supporting Trump, just by the mere fact that I didn’t criticize, judge, or label this post in any negative manner. Astounding, how I was called out by one person for being judgemental when I mentioned I thought another’s response was “pessimistic” … as if it’s a bad thing to call attention to others’ name-calling (in this case, “calling Kim Jong Un a child murderer”). And thus, I was called judgemental.
Instead of people seeing that I was sharing an (again, to my mind) upbeat, positive viewpoint of what to others is obviously a very negative, very scary threat — I was spoken to as if I didn’t care. As if I were ignorant of the facts. As if others knew but I didn’t. Culminating with one person accusing me of “being in an bubble of optimism.” Instead of defending myself, getting engaged in prolonged and public argument (what some mistakenly call “a discussion”) … I announced the conversation “ended” after the insults got too weird, too nasty, too mean.
I’m not going to re-post that Trump/ Jong Un image here. If you wish to look for it and the lengthy discourse on my Facebook feed, that’s up to you. Suffice to say it drew more wrath than I’d ever dreamed possible, from my original intention. But I’m not regretting having posted it. Everything we do, everything that happens, leads us up to this present moment. Even the pain of knowing I was misunderstood, even maligned, earned me a much-needed lesson, dear friend, one I’d apparently missed in my sexy-ten years here on planet Earth.
And that is: Even if it’s a flippant post on social media, when I say something, I must always be willing to die for it! Or else don’t say it. Or do it.
Yes, I am willing to die for my beliefs. I feel that strongly about what I say with my words, and with my art. Are you willing to die for your beliefs?
I first felt this sensation of being tested — “Lay your life down” for exercising my right to the Freedom of Speech — right after September 11, 2001.
I was in a small space with many others, listening to my spiritual teacher via a satellite satsang. The talk was about the responsibility of each and every one of us to live within our own hearts, to always come from a place of love, and to remain focused on our own inner connection to the Divine … especially in a time such as then when everyone’s fears and anxieties had intensified a million-fold, and all we wanted to do was blame, or strike out, or focus on something else besides our own inner, and for me, hard-earned “bubble of optimism.”
As I close my eyes today, I can feel that sensation once again. Knowing that Yes, I am willing to die for expressing my belief that each and every person, regardless of their race, religion, or culture, has the right to know freedom. Because freedom is what we, as spiritual beings here in human form, have within our very own selves, our hearts, our own inner experience. No matter who we are, where we’re from, whom is doing what to us, or under what horrific hardship we happen to be subjected to — it is our life’s basic right to experience the unlimited freedom of Self Love.
As my heart fills with the knowledge of this fact, that I am willing to die to speak my truth, that I would take a bullet, or be incarcerated forever, or be chastised by others — to help spread the truth of who and what we are, spiritual beings in human form — ever speaking this truth, shouting it, whispering, writing, or arting about it wherever however I can, not letting naysayers shout me out or put me down. My role here, as spiritual activist, is to raise high the hope that we, all of us, will experience the Divine within our hearts on a moment to moment basis, even if we’re tortured, treated badly, thrown into prison, or are refugees, or haven’t got any food, home, or loved ones, shunned by fellow humans for whatever reason.
I knew that day, back in 2001, just as I know today — that Love is the only thing worth living for. And it’s worth dying for, too.
Love is another word for God. God has many other names to many other people. Some have a religion or a book to help them define this relationship between their humanity and the Divine spark within us all. I honor all people, all religions, all expressions of the Divine.
Yet I didn’t figure how angry people are, that day I decided to post the silly picture of Trump, with his weird grin and even weirder thumbs-up at such a weighty meeting as his and Kim Jong Un’s was in Singapore that week. That meeting came right after yet another political stink-bomb T threw at the Group of 7, a sore spot politicos were still smarting over right alongside the disturbing news of harsh treatment, unforgivable, and immoral and inhumane, about the ongoing refugee crisis, this time about children being separated from their parents. It’s only natural that people are disturbed about political events. I meant well, but I had forgotten that just because I don’t subscribe to the overall importance of politics, in comparison to developing a strong spiritual reality, that most people do. And the media only adds fuel to the fire of misinformation and sensationalism when it comes to political events, especially anything surrounding Trump’s administration.
Maybe I don’t get so disturbed by the next-and-next-yet political horror because I used to. When I was in my twenties I left America because I used to be so angry during the Vietnam crisis. I spent the entire seventies living in the most remote spot, far-from-war place I could find — the idyllic Caribbean islands. Where, surprise surprise, I found myself, ironically some might say, victim of a real dictator. Not just a fake-news one, or an imagined one, or a puppet one that a disgruntled political party is making claim to in wake of their losing the heated, close battle for America’s highest office of the land.
Maybe it’s because my life, back then, had been really terrorized, by grass-skirted young black men on this island I lived on — who had somehow decided that all white people should be killed … for no other reason than they were white and, in those misinformed young black West Indian men’s minds, all white people treated black people like wild animals. When my stateside friends thought I was crazy to stay on this island where so many whites had already been killed, I told them:
“I’m not worried. I treat each and every person equally, fairly, honorably. People can see this in the way I act, the words I use with them, and how I treat them and all others. Those people who were hacked by machetes in their homes had, reports say, treated the islanders condescendingly. It was told to me, in fact, by islanders I know personally, that they were mostly Canadian retirees who’d come to the ‘cheap and exotic Caribbean island’ to enjoy their golden years. Apparently, rumors said, the retired whites, living in their fancy homes, didn’t know how to treat a humbly born person other than as a personal slave.”
I was on this island in the Antilles working to help organize the peasant-style agriculturists (I use this word on purpose, to dignify their occupation of small-plot farmers). My business partner and I knew there was a terrible dictator at the time, one who didn’t want the farmers to be organized into regional co-ops, who didn’t insist on young children getting proper schooling, a shameful tragedy especially in light of the fact that this dictator named Patrick John, had himself once been a schoolteacher before he discovered the monetary rewards of “being the boss of the country.” He never enforced truancy, and when it came time for Dominica’s sham elections he’d pass out free, mind-altering white rum in every remote village and town street corner, getting the entire island-country as drunk as possible on the eve of the election. Thus he ensured his sweeping, ridiculously one-sided, brain-washed (with rum) win over the opposition party.
Eventually, it was the leader of this opposition party who, after two decades of steadfastly plotting the dictator’s downfall, took over the island’s political leadership, Miss Eugenia Charles, a neighbor of mine, and a business associate (her family’s estate grew lovely citrus and avocados and mangoes, as most land-owners on Dominica do) became internationally famous for several reasons:
- After dedicating her legal career to politically save her fellow citizens, returning to the Caribbean after earning a law school in London, she became the first democratically elected official of Dominica, after generations of depressing hardships and downtrodden conditions there: first as a neglected colony of the U.K.; then, decades of Patrick John’s iron rule.
- She was rumored to have been aware of the plot to overthrow her country’s newly elected winning party by mercenaries, hired by the ousted dictator Patrick John. The paid would-be invaders were apprehended by U.S. officials as they boarded a loaded-with-ammunition boat in New Orleans. Patrick John was convicted of heading the conspiracy, but saved from mandatory hanging (for treason) by Miss Charles, and jailed for years, in the same country where he once ruled with no regard for anyone else’s freedom.
- Most famously, Miss Eugenia was the woman standing by U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s side, seen on every American’s television when the announcement was made that U.S. Army troops had been forced to invade Grenada to suppress a Communist uprising after Miss Charles personally had made the trip to White House to inform Reagan about that island’s dire situation.
- Lastly, and in my book, most importantly, she was one of the world’s first woman leaders of a democratically elected government. Having known Miss Charles personally, having shared cups of homegrown coffee with her and her elderly father on the outdoor porch of their neighboring estate to the one I rented while living in Dominica — I can attest to the fact that she too, like I am, was willing to die for what she believed in. And that was that every single human being has the right to live in freedom, no matter what their circumstances are.
I feel blessed that my life has brought me the teachers, the experiences, the lessons that I have had. And now, with this latest lesson resulting from some unpleasant words, back-and-forthing on a dumbass FB post, getting some criticisms even from friends, some from acquaintances, it’s taken a perfect stranger’s intelligent question put forth to me that has prompted this LordFlea post about how it feels being called out about … “put your money where your mouth is.”
This Facebook “friend,” a stranger, a man whom, like many on my personal page, became connected through one of the various interests I have — meditation, Eastern mysticism, Vedic scriptural study, disciplines of yoga, documenting the Divine in art and literature, sharing inner and outer adventures, connecting with independent book authors, filmmakers, activists of all sorts — all of whom are people like myself. In order to reach out and find my “audience” for the work I do (including this blog! and now my two currently published books, with two more in the works for near-future publication) I must have, and appreciate the responsibility surrounding a public persona. My role as spiritual activist makes it absolutely necessary to have a social media presence.
This complete stranger (but as a FB friend, he’s a “friend” as well, and as a person, he’s of course my spiritual brother) asked me in this discussion: “But are you willing to give your life for what you believe and stand up for the rights of others who are not so fortunate as a white privileged person who lives in a bubble of optimism far from the pain and suffering of those not so fortunate?”
Perhaps this unknown friend does not think me worthy of posting my personal opinions about politics, without me offering some credentials. I have nothing personal against him. I think anybody would want to know “By What Authority Do You Have the Right to Speak?” … BUT … really … don’t we ALL have “the authority” to just speak what’s in our hearts? Without having to justify who we are, what we do, what color we are?
I wonder what you think about this? I’d love to hear your reaction to what I’ve shared today. I consider each and every person’s remark a worthy offering to this most important of discussions. Not about politics in specific, or even exercising the right of free speech, but …
WHAT AM I WILLING TO DIE FOR?
For me, I’ve known since that day so long ago, sitting listening to my spiritual teacher right after the attacks of 9/11, that Yes, I am willing to die to help my fellow beings, of all species, be free to experience the kingdom of God within their own heart. Even if they are in prison, even if they are unfortunately in a refugee camp, or worse, subject to an oppressive government at this very moment. Even if they are trapped within a narcissistic ego’s limited human existence. Even if they are experiencing a privileged white girl’s life in a what others might call “a bubble of optimism.”
I send my love and prayers of a fulfilled moment to each and every person who reads this. Please click on this link if you’d like to read my latest book, about girls in prison who learn to feel as free as a bird, right within their heavily guarded prison walls: “In the I: easing through Life-Storms.” is available as ebook, paperback, or audible (narrated by Yours Truly).
I love you! We are ONE!
teZa aka LordFlea