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Focaccia Fasting and Dialogue

Posted in Adventures With Humans

Earth, our lovely Shanghai la

I’m fasting for a couple days. One of the reasons I’m doing this is because I’ve become really good at making focaccia bread. I make it thin and crispy, and cut it up into cracker sizes, then put it in the freezer like that’s going to slow me down. I don’t have a sweet tooth, but focaccia is my guilty snacking pleasure, so it’s good to take a pause. I also didn’t like the way menopause treated my body. I don’t know where my skin went, but menopause replaced it with some kind of reptilian joke suit and I can’t find the zipper to get it off. Every now and then I look at the skin on my arm and think, “What the hell is this garbage?” Fasting can help that too, but I suppose that the main reason I’m fasting is to break myself out of a mental rut; the world has been feeling more and more unfriendly, as if life has become a reprimand instead of a flume of potential.
I wish I could simply ignore climate change, war, and a divisive political zeitgeist, but it seems it’s in my DNA. I remember sometime in the early 80’s, while still in high school, pulling into the mall parking lot in the town near our house, and noticing an older man picketing with a cardboard sign. The man was my father protesting the war in El Salvador and he was all by himself. I was embarrassed by him then, an attitude that embarrasses me now. Then, I wanted a normal father who maybe went fishing, or cheered for some team; I wanted the relationship with him that was my birthright. To be clear, it’s the parents’ job to guide and develop what is the most important relationship in a human life, that with the mother and the father. Instead of me getting guidance, it often seemed like they were looking to me for it themselves. I was left to magically figure out the world. If I had had a decent relationship with either of my parents, perhaps I would have been there picketing with dad. I would certainly be there with him now if he were protesting the war in the Middle East which I know he would be if he were alive.
Dialogue: Nothing positive happens within any group of people, from family scale, all the way up to society and the collective without dialogue. One trick is to look at any relationship as the third child in the room. All parties have a responsibility to that child and their own particular connection with it. Central to its’ thriving is the question, “What needs are not being met?” It’s as simple as that; parsing realms such as safety, peace, health, and love. My opinion is that if you’re bringing God into the mix, and abdicating the ability for your own soul to make decisions, well this is where we are in the Middle East. The whole region should be ashamed for letting it come to this through terrible leadership; that even one child died is unforgiveable.
Of course, the other element, demonstrated by Putin’s war has nothing to do with God, or a soul, but instead an inflated ego. Here, if you think parenting isn’t important, consider the mystery around ‘ Putin's Mother.’ Don’t get me started on Trump. Plato said that philosopher kings are the only people that can be trusted to rule with complete dedication to the common good. This makes complete sense to me, worrisome as I don’t see any wise philosophers in positions of power now. I do see dangerous protests far from the Middle East war zone, by emotionally adolescent men, targeting people not involved. I don’t hear any wise voice decrying this and readying a framework for peace.
Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, objected to the way the dogma of religion got in the way of the religious experience. To me, it is just this–the ability for one person to be present, heart open to himself and another for nothing other than soul’s sake, because we are on this planet together. The moment when you might realize that the story does not serve you and you can free yourself from it, then you are awake not only to yourself, but to the broader loving universe, to what matters. The planet is a Shangri la that we are killing. Once we stop justifying our abominable, arrogant behaviour, we might still have a chance but someone special is going to have to step up. I wish I had more hope than I do.
This is no fun. I’d rather write about my fabulous focaccia recipe, but I can’t look away from the global mess.