Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/11 and our culture of fear: Let's say NO to fear and YES to Living with Joy and Passion!

There's a sadness to today, the seven year anniversary of the terrorist attack on the USA, the deaths of so many innocent men, women, and children - straight and gay - in New York, in Pennsylvania, and in Washington, D.C.

It's a good idea to pause for a moment, in respect.

New York City Skyline,
without the Twin Towers,

and what they looked like before the attack...

It's also a good idea to think about how the fear that we all felt then is being used every day now to manipulate us and world events - from politics at home to global wars and international profiteering...

Fear is what terrorists hope for.

Fear is what cynical politicians and others in power use to wedge us apart and take more power and amass more money.

You cannot live your life if you're consumed by fear - you can only survive it.

And life is for more than just surviving!

"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"

-Mame, played by Rosalind Russell

Okay, read the book

and netflix, rent, or borrow from the library or a friend the movie- "Auntie Mame" - it's a classic... But THIS one, not the musical with Lucille Ball (unless you're feeling very, very brave!)
Trust me. The Rosalind Russell version is the one to see.

Though now that I think about it, if we're talking about conquering fear, perhaps getting through Lucille Ball trying to sing IS a good idea. See if you've got the stuff:

Okay, go ahead and see both.

Back to what I was talking about: let's not be taken over by fear.

Here's my favorite quote on fear, from Frank Herbert's amazing "Dune" (my favorite book when I was a teenager.)

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

Frank Herbert, Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, "Dune"

Yeah, "Dune." Here's a HUGE recommendation - it's not gay, but it is great!

And even though it's not gay, the main character Paul feels different, and turns out to BE different - and that had very satisfying parallels to my growing up and accepting how I am different, too. (Though I don't have a messiah complex. Really.)

Each of us has the power to say NO to a life of fear. To say NO to a culture of fear. (and I don't mean in a stupid I'm gonna ride my BMX down the ski jump ramp to fly up 70 feet and then land on a rocky mountainside without a helmet way...)

I mean we can each say YES to standing up for ourselves and each other.

We can stand up with pride and say YES to hope, and to plans for today and tomorrow!

We can stand up and embrace our lives and let each of us, ourselves, be

beacons of light,

beacons of hope,

beacons of joy...

That's the best way to honor those we've lost. The best way to fight back the fear and the fear-mongers.

Shine brightly.

Be ourselves.

And enjoy the blessings in our lives.

"Living Well is the Best Revenge"

- Gerald Murphy

Some thoughts for today, and, I guess, for everyday...

Namaste, (the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you)



Anonymous said...

Have you seen the NYT article on Maurice Sendak that appeared on September 10, 2008?

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

it is a BEAUTIFUL article, and very poignant.

Here's the link:

As much as I love his work, it's extra sweet that he's coming OUT as a gay man now.

And I laughed at loud at his lamenting that he only had a triple bypass heart surgery rather than a quadruple: "you feel like such a failure."

Great article. Great artist.

Thanks for sharing this!


Elise Murphy said...

The cultural of fear in our country is a mighty thing to struggle against. But struggle we must. For me, that means a mainstream media blackout!

Anonymous said...

A powerful post, Lee. Much to think about this coming week.