Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Moment of Truth & Beauty

Yesterday, I raced in the door at T.K. Salon for my standing every four week haircut and chat with Noelle, my wonderful stylist.  Each month I walk in looking like I have a shrub on top my head and walk out looking like a Human Being with an individual sense of style.

My short, bed head hair and the fact that I've decided to embrace my white/silver color is not the choice most or many would make.  But, it is me.  And, well, for me it works.  As far as I'm concerned, a good stylist is nothing short of a miracle worker.  A visit with Noelle means that at least a few minutes each month, I feel better about mySelf.  A few minutes when I think I can still see that I was pretty.

In my hurry to catch up on the bits of news since my last visit, it barely registered that there was an elderly woman getting her hair washed while Noelle and I chatted.  I smiled at the other people there, but didn't pay close attention, save that it is rare to see an elderly woman at the shop.  I sat in Noelle's chair and my cut commenced.

The older woman was now seated next to me having an ongoing conversation with her daughter with an occasional comment to the stylist.  Daughter said, looking up from her magazine, "Mom, Danielle Steel has a new book out, have you read it?"  Mom replied, "No, I haven't even caught up with the last two she wrote.  Why don't you buy them for me?"

Daughter replies, "Mom, I don't even know the titles of her last two books!"  And then a bit later, "Mom, you should use some product in your hair that will help you keep up with this new do of yours!"

Mom to Daughter, "Okay, (side comment to the stylist, "I assume you sell that stuff here?" Affirmative nod from the stylist,) you buy it from Theresa here and I'll use it."

Noelle and I looked at each other via the mirror and both smiled.  Mom is no slouch!  Not going to use here money on frivolity, but if Daughter with her bright ideas wants to contribute, out standing! Go Mom!

It was a few moments later that we heard the first exclamation that stopped our chat, "Oh Theresa! Look at it!  Oh look!"  Noelle looked over and smiled.  The old girl was smiling really huge looking at herSelf in the mirror.  I said very quietly, "Wow, she really seems to like it!"  and Noelle smiling said, "Yes!  It's so wonderful when that happens."

A little while later the New Old Girl said to her daughter, "Karen!  Just look!  Isn't it wonderful?!  Oh!"  Major affirmation from her daughter, "Yes indeed, Mom, you look beautiful!  Great job, Theresa!"

It occured to me that I was paying witness to one of those rare moments of Beautiful Truth.  The moment when we see the truth of who we are, when we can stand in agreement with ourSelf instead of picking at our faults; or accepting with a sigh the things we so dislike about ourSelf.  The moment when we feel, PRETTY!  A moment when we can actually see what others see!  A moment of positive affirmation.

That  rare sort of feeling is contagious.  Everyone around gets to remember that possibility.  That joy. That beautiful truth.  The moment when we do more than accept our shortcomings or the things about ourSelf that we don't like but have learned to live with.  A moment when we actually see ourSelf in the mirror instead of glancing to make sure we don't have spinach in our teeth and then quickly away because we are disappointed in the reflection.

A divine moment when the authentic beauty that is inside spills out so you can see I AM!

Noelle said, "That right there is why we do this job.  The chance to make every person who sits down feel better.  To feel pretty!  But that doesn't come very often so they're special when they do."  We sat quietly as we realized that the woman was hugging Theresa and even crying.  She repeated, "Oh look at the color!  It's perfect.  Theresa, it's just perfect!  Not bad at all for an 80 year old gal!"  We all totally agreed.

When I got up to leave, I passed her and said, "You really look so pretty.  Can I give you a hug because you made my day!"  She put up her arms and we embraced.  "Thank you," I whispered, "I'm so glad I was here today."

I met up with her daughter paying at the counter.  I said, "I am so happy for her.  And Theresa, how wonderful for you to have this moment.  You gave her the chance to remember that she isbeautiful!" Her daughter, all smiles said, "I know, it's really something isn't it?!"  I nodded.

It certainly is.  A moment of beautiful truth.  We are never too old to be reminded.  Never too young to wonder.

May you find your moment of Beautiful Truth.  Even if it is for the briefest of moments.  May you be reminded how beautiful a creation you truly are.  Because, trust me, we all can see that about you every time we look at you.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Went For a Haircut But Got So Much More

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Incremental Death of Racism

Today, Donald Stirling, owner of the L.A. Clippers has received a life time ban from the sport of basketball and a 2.5 million dollar fine for some blatantly racist remarks he made in a private conversation with his 'girlfriend', 30 year old V. Stiviano, who proclaims herself  half  black and half Latino.  From this point forward, he cannot even attend the games and practices of any NBA team.  The NBA also wants to force him to sell his team which he has owned for 33 years; as of this posting, Stirling is adamant, his team is not for sale.  The 2.5 million fine is the maximum that can be levied.

Previously, Stirling had received a Life Time Achievement award from the NBA; that's been stripped.  And this whole thing is really nasty business.  What the man said to his 'girlfriend' is terrible.  But, not unexpected from an 80 year old man.  Let me remind you, this is an 80 year old gazillionaire dealing with a 30 year old girlfriend who, like most of her generation, puts all her life on Instagram and other social media sites.  Like most of her generation, she seems to have no concept of the difference between personal/private vs. public life.  What started the fight was Stirling, getting all sorts of communications and gibes from his friends asking if he was aware of what she was posting.  He insisted that she stop posting pictures of herself with men all over her pages. The fight turned truly ugly when he made reference to her taking pictures with men of color and posting them. One of the black men in the photos is Magic Johnson.  Let me just say, that if I had a chance to post a picture of myself with Magic Johnson who is adorable, I'd do it in a heartbeat regardless of who did or didn't like it. 

But, I am not the kept woman of an 80 year old gazillionaire whose money, in all probability, supports her lavish and large L.A. Lifestyle.  Nor am I the 80 year old man who most likely thought he was having an argument in private with his 'livin' la vida loca,' girl-child-friend.  More than being worked up over her having lots of photos with men of color on her walls, I really think that Stirling was too proud to simply tell her that he's totally jealous and doesn't want the public and his friends to see pictures of her with any guys- period!  He wasn't willing to come clean and say that he's not happy with her having pictures with other men or bringing them to his Clipper games, or any of it.  After all, he is supporting her. Sadly, he didn't say his truth. It became about being in pictures with black guys.  His awful words got him in a world of hurt.  Does he deserve to be sanctioned for it?  What do you think?

What he said in the recording is pretty awful, unfortunate and makes one cringe.  But, I'm going to go on record to say that, it's not out of the norm for Stirling to think or feel as he does.  His generation did not live with inter-racial dating, marriage, or significant association or friendships with other races as part of their cultural norm.  In fact, it was pretty much frowned upon and kept secret.  And, while as a business man Stirling has been wise enough to keep his personal biases to himself, this time, those biases have become so public as to really be a case of how, "Racism ruins lives."  It sure has ruined his.  I don't condone what he feels or said, I'm simply saying it is reasonable to expect he might feel as he does.

I certainly don't know the man, but my guess is that he isn't one of those warm, fuzzy, and gentle men. I don't think I'd like to spend time with him, and when he was an attorney, I'm betting he was a total shark.  As an 80 year old with all kinds of stupid, "F You Money," who is used to being powerful and obeyed, his tolerance for his 30 year old girlfriend's behavior and her unwillingness to comply with his directives, had come to an end.  So, they had a fight. The brat recorded it, which, if she didn't tell him she was doing it is against the law in California.  Somehow it ends up being released to the media.  Racism rears its ugly head again.  This time the response and action taken to counteract it is swift and serious. This time, it couldn't be ignored or hidden and was swiftly addressed.  

However, no matter how swift, racism will die a slow death in tiny, incremental steps. Slower than any of us hope.  I will come clean here:  just the other day, before all this mess with Stirling, I happened to be watching television when a gorgeous black man came on the screen.  I immediately identified him as very handsome and appealing.  I'm not sure why, but the next thought that came was being a bit disappointed in mySelf because I am fairly certain when I was young and dating, I would not have had the courage to date a man of color.  I'd like to think I would attempt it if the opportunity had presented itself, but I honestly don't know if I would.  Now that I'm older- comfortable with who I am, and my father and family gone, I believe it would be a none-issue, but I'm not certain.  As much as I never judge my interactions with another Human Being on something as weak or unimportant as the color of skin or race; as much as treating anyone as fairly and respectfully as I can... I am still a child of the 50s.  I grew up in the race riots, civil unrest and fear in the 60s.  I am blessed to have formed my moral compass during the turbulent 70s...but I am who I am, and I find that I can only stretch so far until....  well, until, I have consciously question mySelf, "Holly are you doing all you can to accept each Human Being you meet?"

Like it or not, we are hard wired to stay within our own clans.  To stay with those who most think, act, look as we do and be suspicious or hostile to those who don't.  It's our old reptilian brain, the part that deals with survival, unconsciously driving our comfort levels in terms of race, culture, and norms.  Since it's old brain stuff, it's constantly, subtly running in the background, and it's only when we have new experiences that we get to consciously weigh them against that old brain thinking.  It's through those experiences that we begin to  change our thoughts and comfort zones. For many of us of a certain age and arc of history, we have learned the rightness of being color blind, but we cannot totally close of our life experiences.

CNN recently released an article that shares how black children cement their racist ideas about white people about the time they are 13.  Why is the story of interest?  Because it's about black, not white children. Yes, racism is not just a white man's burden.  All races have racism issues.  ALL of us.  Racism may not be overtly taught like it was when I was a child, but trust me, it's still being taught and it's the subtle ways that it is taught that can be the most difficult to identify and halt. What frustrates me is that, in our current ridiculously politically correct world view, the only form most often broadcast seems to be the examples of white racism and that's just wrong. The only way we will continue to make progress is if all of us, not just white folk, admit it's a Human challenge and stay on guard.

The only thing I can think of that might solve the problem is for everyone to stay vigilant.  For everyone to constantly check ourSelves to make sure we're stretching as far as we can in the right direction while we wait for older generations, including my own, to die off.  Because, thankfully, with each generation that follows, racism should become less, and less, and less of an issue until it is finally all but gone. Bill Maher, talk show host said it best, "Donald Sterling is 81. You know what will cure this type of racism? The flu."  He also contends that he shouldn't be forced to sell his team, "Calm down, being an asshole is still legal in America."  I don't agree with Bill Maher on much but I do agree with him on this topic.

Will racism ever be gone totally?  One can hope.  And pray.  But not unless we have open and honest discussions about it, and not until everyone, not only white people are held accountable for racist behavior.  And as far as kept young women behaving like brats while putting their stuff out in public and being sneaky and going public with things that are said in private?  Along with the discussion of 80 year old men thinking having a 30 year old girlfriend is a great idea-  Those topics will have to be taken up in subsequent posts.  But, then again, I'll probably leave those topics alone because we all know, even though I am Queen of the Universe, even I-  can't fix stupid.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Fights The Good Fight With HerSelf.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Silent Sermon Sunday

This week, may you have the opportunity
to be reminded just how large and grand 
our Earth is,
And do your part to respect and support Her.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Photo taken by My Annie's friend, Kari, on their recent trip to the Bahamas to study the coral reefs~

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How Things Are Worded

I've been absent from my blog for awhile for a variety of reasons, most of them just general life craziness, and being ill for the first few weeks in the new year...but here it is March and I'm just a slacker.  Clearly, I can't multi-task like I used to; but I digress. I need to thank one of my readers, Joan, who sent me an message to make sure things were all right and let me know she still comes looking for blog posts.  That made me feel really good, Joanie, so thanks for that.  I'd like to tell her that it was her comment that got me back here, but I'd be fibbing.  While it did remind me that I've been remiss and make me cringe a bit, it was a disagreement I had today with Michael that brings me to the keys.

He was saying that he is distressed about a story he heard today on the news about how some of the NHS hospitals in England are placing, "still-borns, and (spontaneously or deliberately,) aborted fetuses in their incinerators, even importing them from other hospitals, and in efforts to stay in compliance with green energy mandates, using them to heat the hospitals."  Well no wonder he's distress, that's absolutely terrible and appalling!

And, I got my back up totally, too.  But, perhaps not for the reason you might think. I got angry because the story is, excuse the pun, totally inflammatory!  Let me explain why....

You all remember that I have been the spokesperson and Public Relations Director for a couple of hospitals, right?  Most large hospitals have incinerators on their campuses.  It is a way to stay in direct control of the refuse, garbage, and other waste material that hospitals generate.  It is a way to keep things that may be contagious, contaminated or problematic out of landfills .  But, mostly, it is so the institution stays in direct control of things that are no longer viable or necessary- such as amputated limbs and tissue samples. Hospitals have a moral responsibility to care for the disposal of these Human remains, and most do not take that responsibility lightly.

Now, before you go all crazy, let me tell you that these incinerators are highly maintained and in most cases even exceed the EPA regulations about particulate matter that is released, etc.  The heat is so very high in these incinerators that the burn turns into vapor and the particulate is almost none existent.  If the hospital with an incinerator belongs to a health system that has smaller hospitals as members without incinerators, it's not uncommon for those to transport their medical waste to the incinerator for burning.  There are a great deal of local, federal, and general approvals that must be acquired for this to happen, but it's not unprecedented.  Using their own resources is a cost control issue for the health system, being less expensive than hiring a contractor.

Why do I know this?  Because one of the hospitals in which I worked, was built smack in the middle of many neighborhood communities.  It truly is a community hospital.  And, when stories would hit the media about incinerators and other horror stories, I would have to refresh my knowledge of current EPA regulations and our incinerator's specifications, and be ready to respond to the concerns that our neighbors would have, yet again, thanks to the Media stories.  Not that I blamed them for their concerns, and to be honest, I totally enjoyed dealing with these sorts of scenarios.  We actually invited them to come in to see it if they wished.  When our health system considered using our incinerator for some of the waste of our member hospitals, we gained legal approvals, but met with so much resistance from our local communities and neighbors, that we did not pursue it further.

Now with Green Energy regulations taxing the resources of  most companies to remain or even meet incredibly tough regulations, it's not surprising that institutions are looking at the energy they expend to run their incinerators, their facilities, their plants, their operations in order to see how it can be recaptured in terms of benefit to the facility, in this case the hospitals in England have put in place a mechanism to heat their facilities from the heat the incinerator generates.  I say it sounds like an excellent case study in re-cycling!

But while Mother Jones or Greenpeace might find that sort of recycling story of interest, I can tell you the general Media will not.  There's no there, There.  It's a non-story.  But, talk about using babies in your incinerator to heat your building ?  You cruel, unfeeling bastards!  Now that's a story!!!!!

And, that's also crap.  Does the Media care that a gangrenous leg is placed in an incinerator for disposal?  How about a biopsy sample?  Or tumors? Or an appendix, or a ruptured spleen?  NO!  That wouldn't grab your attention.  But fetuses and babies?!  Now we're talking!!!!

Use those words in your story and you get images of sweaty goon-like men standing around tossing Hansel and Gretel into an oven...or tiny defenseless children into the flames of hell!  Worst of all, those poor innocents are simply, uncaringly tossed in with the left over salad from patient trays, and cardboard, and other junk that no one needs or wants.  It's the stuff of concentration camps.  And all to keep your sorry, insensitive butts toasty warm.

All of it- not true.  The people who run incinerators are specially trained.  They know that they are supposed to treat the Human parts with respect.  Most are not burned with the general waste.  They are held until there are enough for a separate burn.  Can I guarantee that Human remains aren't mix in with other refuse to be burned?  No.  I can't.  But, I do know what I know.

At the Catholic hospital for which I worked, the priests preformed a blessing over those parts and remains before being burned.  I always loved that additional reverence, but even at the non-faith-based institutions, the requirement for respect is still there.

At all hospitals, when a woman loses her baby, she is immediately offered professional support.  The labor and delivery staff don't treat those sad cases as less than a baby.  That lose is a baby, no matter what month it happens.  Generally the mother is asked if she would like to have her baby prepared for burial.  Many choose that option, and I might also add that most funeral homes offer their services gratis in those sad cases.

But if a woman undergoes an abortion, or if the parents do not wish to bury their baby, how would the remains be handled?  By the hospital; in their incinerator; with respect.  Even though this is something the average person wouldn't even think about until the Media decides to sensationalize a normal part of back room operations into a horror story.

Or would you and the Media prefer that the hospital simply ship it off to a landfill?  How about those amputated limbs?  Those breast biopsies?

I can't speak for how health care is delivered in other countries.  I can only attest to what I know from my own experience here in the United States.  But, I will say this...most Human Beings who decide to make a career in health care, despite how difficult it is becoming, continue to go in each day to make a difference and bring comfort to those who are in need and suffering.  Do they succeed every minute of every day?  No, but they certainly try.  They do not for one moment, take death lightly.  Do they see it all the time and become hardened to it?  Perhaps, but not when it comes to labor and delivery and the lose of one of those babies.  I don't accept that version of this news story.  And, neither should you.

How we word something changes it from something to ponder into something to horrify.  And, with all the harsh things in this world, does the Media really need to make it worse?  NO!  But, then again, I'm not in the Media and worried about my bottom line, the viewer numbers, advertising revenue, and market share.  However, you need to be aware, that those are the criteria that drive all of their stories...not, as you might think or hope, informing you about the world around you.

And, as it relates to this post, there is a reason we say, "You don't want to know how the sausage is made."  There are many aspects to running complex operations that you have never considered or even thought to wonder about.  Perhaps that's all for the better.  But, when the Media brings it up, it's best to always remember The Media has an agenda for putting forth a story.  Always.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Silent Sermon Sunday

This week,
May you know that
Each new day holds

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Hopes

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Silent Sermon Sunday

This year, may you discover deep in your Spirit,
the courage of the Magi
And follow your star.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Seeks

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