December 26th, 2011 by Magdalena Tabor
She speaks seven languages
And sings like an angel,
Though I love her as much
When she is silent
Standing in a corner of the room
In the shadows
With a glint of sunlight
That plays off her belly,
Rich and round
As her voice.
A drumming of rain
That breaks into thunder and sunlight
All at once.
The delicate rays
Off shimmering snow capped mountains.
A drip, drip, drip.
Like a finger
On the soul.
He’s no beggar
With his house open
A shadow of himself
Oh, the strains of his voice
Fill the crowded vestibule
With images of lands
You’ve yet to imagine,
That hints of the gypsy
December 19th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
It is clearly understood that if Newt Gingrich were to become our next president, it would certainly be any true democrats’ worst nightmare but my question is do republicans really want this man as our leader of the freest and greatest country on the planet.
The United States is in the process of clawing its way out of the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression (1929 – 1941) and it is understandable that the right wants leadership party change in the worst way, but Newt Gingrich? This man, the very same unspeakably unethical hypocrite who was the loudest and most obnoxious critic of the then President Bill Clinton for having inappropriate sexual relations when he himself at the very same time was having an affair with a young woman while his first wife (first of three wives…so far) lay dying in the hospital? Wow, the republicans never cease to amaze me how low and vile they can become.
Even if utilitarianism is the republicans calling card and they freely dismiss ethics and morality utterly (oh, sorry except for fetuses which have not developed consciousness and mature nerve endings to know and feel pain), Newt Gingrich was an absolute failure as Speaker of the House. Here are the facts:
1. Newt Gingrich did not deliver on what he promised with the notorious “Contract of America” ; he managed to bring all 10 issues to vote within his 100 days but he failed to enact most of it into law on his watch. (Easier said than done Newt! Next time a republican criticizes Obama, keep in mind that we live in a democracy and there is a partisan congress with which every president must deal.)
2. As part of the ‘Contract…’, Newt of course included the attacking of the poor and needy by trying to reform welfare. (When was the last time Newt missed a meal? I would love to see Gingrich spend a week on the streets, in the ghetto, in the projects, in a shelter with no money, waiting on a soup line for an hour as his distended [in Newt’s case it wouldn’t be distended from lack of food but rather gluttony, e.g. pizza, donuts, and beer or just excess]stomach churns with hunger, etc. It is so easy to pick on the poor and call them lazy. Although there is certainly a very small percentage of people who are truly “lazy leeches” but more often than not there is a larger picture i.e., what is to be done with an illiterate stutterer who is poor and was raised in a dysfunctional family with no structure?
3. As part of punishing the unfortunate poor and destitute, Gingrich suggested that we as a society force these lowly folks to work for the meager subsistence wages. I was shocked to discover that “Fat Newt” was a former history teacher. Didn’t he ever hear of the Poor Law in 1834, which resulted in the horrible “workhouses”? Charles Dickens wrote at length about the horrid conditions of workhouses and the impossibility of breaking free of them once a person got locked into them. A more humane and practical solution for the poor would be to educate them,; teach them real and tangible work skills, etc.
4. Another promise, which Gingrich promised but failed to come through on, was the balancing of the budget of 1996.
5. The portly, paunchy, pot-bellied republican glutton with 3 chins (one chin per wife), also insisted on implementing stricter conditions for food stamp eligibility – nice guy!
I can certainly write another few thousand words about how profoundly Newt Gingrich failed and how terrible a person he is but I think I made my point. So now it’s your turn – WhaDaYaThink ? What do you think ? Is Mitt Romney your choice or do you want to see the bloated buffoon be the republican nominee. I think the wisest choice would be to stick with our current great president – and re-elect Barack Obama and let him work his magic.
December 5th, 2011 by Michael Tabor
I have been a student of eastern philosophy for more than three decades and I am delighted to see that the practice of Mindfulness is very much in vogue today. One doesn’t even have to concern oneself with the historicity of Mindfulness nor even be remotely interested in Buddhism out of which this very simple, though at the same time very difficult and yet prodigiously effective practice sprung. As a matter of fact many psychiatrists and psychologists have recommended Mindfulness to their patients as a way of reducing stress, anxiety, and dealing with depression.
Many people have stated that Mindfulness has dramatically changed his or her life for the better; whether it is practiced by someone who suffers from some anxiety and mild depression to very serious psychiatric afflictions such as paranoid schizophrenia. (Last week The New York Times profiled a man who was diagnosed with having schizophrenia but was able to cope and function as a productive solid citizen, he is currently employed full time as a computer programmer, with the aid of medication and the daily practice of mindfulness.)
So what is Mindfulness? Is this something for you? Can you incorporate this sort of practice into your life and busy schedule? The answer to all three of these questions is a resounding yes. Mindfulness in a sense is a form of mediation, one doesn’t have to set aside a half – hour or more and sit in the lotus position counting one’s breath. Mindfulness is actually a way of life and a new way of looking at the world. Ideally, a person ought to be mindful every waking moment. The best definition for mindfulness is simply (it’s actually very hard) bringing your attention to the present and paying careful attention purposely and in a particular way to the present moment; the particular way is to be nonjudgmental and to except what is true and real without any pre-conceived notions or delusions. This is the reason a Zen Buddhist very often refers to this “state of mind” as Beginner’s mind or experiencing life as if for the very first time. One can be an eighty-year-old man with a lifetime of experiences and memories and still live almost child-like in terms of being curious, open, and accepting what you perceive to be the absolute truth – life is exactly what it appears to be, nothing less and nothing more.
Although Buddhism has been around for 2500 years, the concept and idea of cherry – picking, so to speak , the utilitarian down-to-earth nuts and bolts aspects of how to live a good life without adhering to and embracing the philosophy and religion of Buddhism, was put forth by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded the Minfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts to treat the chronically ill. This was a hugely successful and clearly effective way of maintaining good health physically, emotionally, psychologically, and even spiritually combining western medicine and the eternal truths from the East (from the East but they’re truths that are eternal and universal) about the human condition.
So tomorrow morning when you have your morning cup of coffee, experiment with mindfulness. Drinking coffee or tea is a good way of beginning your Mindfulness training. There are actually scores of books written about Zen and not only drinking tea but also the preparation involved which is sort of a ritual for many Easterners. (Now Westerners too, thanks to the proliferation of Zen and Mindfulness). Say to yourself, “This is the beginning of a new and wonderful day; this particular day has never happened before and never will happen again. Be mindful of this and be grateful. Smell the aroma of the coffee before taking your first sip, feel the porcelain touch your lips, take note of the weight of the cup, let all of your senses open up, and come to life. Nothing else matters at this particular moment and time but you and your cup of coffee. Be at peace and be totally present. If a thought, worry or concern crops up do not dismiss it, simply acknowledge it, accept it and gently bring yourself back to drinking your coffee or tea. Thoughts, feelings, awareness of your surroundings is all normal, the key is to be in the present and greet each feeling and sensation with curiosity, openness, total acceptance and feel the connection and relationship you have with your cup of coffee and ultimately with everything that exists and is in the universes. Yes, life is good and for these few minutes, there is nothing but this. You’re as close to the truth as the Dali Lama is as he meditates to greet the morning. “
So WhaDaYaThink ? What Do You Think ? This seems like a very simple exercise in Mindfulness but I can assure you, invariably a multitude of unwanted thoughts will permeate you being – just let them come and go, eventually you will be the master of your thoughts and you will be more peaceful, more at rest and yet more alive than ever. Peace on Earth.
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