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Archive for the ‘15. Miscellaneous Writing’ Category

Intro: This is an older piece, written years ago, inspired by a friend of mine in Nepal.  He taught me about a concept he calls “Monkey Mind”, and as a way to fully comprehend his story and apply its lessons to my life, I personified that Mokey and gave him a name.  I figured that if I could “see” that monkey, I’d have an easier time putting his little ass on a leash! *LOL* – I’m posting this today in honor of the Higher Consciousness Fairy Oracle I drew this morning.  She was inverted, so she let me know that I’ve slipped, or have been on the verge of slipping, into Monkey Mind and need to remember and honor my True Spirit and its divine wisdom.

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Rabnab is what I call him. He’s male, but he wears a pink vest, pink shorts, and a cute little pink cap… all sequinsed. He carries a drum in his hands, wears bells on his shoes, and has a party blower in his mouth. Noisy little bugger, he is… and messy, too. He loves nothing more than to climb shelves, break glass-wear, disorganize cupboards, and demonstrate his one-monkey band loudly in the process. When I see Rabnab, I know I’m in trouble. It’s time to leash the monkey.

Rabnab used to be a constant presence in WendiLand, harping up at all the inopportune moments, forcing me to think thoughts of arrogance, instant gratification, self-pleasure, and egotistical authority – if not depression and hopelessness. If it wasn’t done exactly the way I’d envisioned it, Rabnab would start his song and dance of destruction.

It took a long time to learn to leash the monkey, and even still, he occasionally pounces in to my environment demanding recognition, credit, respect, and adoration – or feelings of sorrow, dread, regret, or lack of faith. Silly monkey, those tricks don’t work here anymore. Well, that’s not entirely true, but instead of reeking havoc in the environment of my mind, he now serves as an alarm mechanism that warns me when I’m getting out of control.

I hadn’t seen Rabnab for months. My arrogance had waned, humility was learned, anger was forgotten, and rather than wanting to be noticed, I learned to prefer life in the shadows. But sure enough, when I least expected it, Rabnab came busting through the doors of reality today and gave me a rude awakening, sucking me into the past and challenging me to either sink or swim.

For about 30 minutes I allowed him to control and dictate my mood. I remembered what it felt like to be bitter. I went back to the pain of being scorned. I felt a need to shout out demands, if not curse words, toward all those I felt had done me wrong. How dare they? Who do they think they are? Oh, silly monkey, come let me pet you and calm your nerves.

They are reflections, these images I’m angry at… mere reflections of my own worst traits. Let them have their limelight… we’re fine right here where we are. They don’t empower us anymore.

Still Rabnab was not out of tricks and pulled another from his sleeve, reminding me that the pain endured was no one’s fault but my own. I am the one who chose to invest time, energy, talent, and money while in search of fame and fortune, recognition, respect, and glory. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been so blind?

Oh, dear Monkey, do not try to push me down. I’ve learned not to try to swim upstream or panic in rough waters. Instead, I’ve learned to lean into the all that is and flow along the currents. Your tricks to bring me down will not work.

And so Rabnab begins to get that sleepy-child look in his eyes, yawns and stretches, laying his head in my lap, his symbols silenced.

Yes, rest, little monkey for when you wake, I shall teach you new tricks and alternative adventures that don’t bring about such chaotic, nerve-racking consequences. Be at peace.

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Intro: This, too, is an older piece written as a writing exercise, but fitting to repost today in honor of the “Environmental Awareness” Fairy Oracle drawn in this morning’s Daily Dose.

“Let There Be Light”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2001

“The bright light is lying down – the earth and the sky and the sea. It is at rest with the ocean – and the days go by. They go into the seas that have no shores – haunted by that same closed door. Looking up at skies on fire, leaving nothing left of us to discover. And the planets of the Universe go their way – not astounded by the sun or the moon or the light of day. You and I will simply disappear, out of sight, but I’m afraid soon there’ll be no light. No doubt no pain come ever again, well, let there be light in this lifetime – in the cool silent moments of the night time.”
~Stevie Nicks: an exert from Planets of the Universe, Trouble in Shangri La~

When I lay down at night to go to sleep, I try not to think of how badly damaged our earth is. I try not to think about all the “heavy” subjects like politics, religion, education, sex, relationships, chemicals, war, drugs, violence, greed, murder, rape, betrayal and bigotry. I try, instead, to think of something positive, like walking barefoot through a meadow towards a waterfall, in which all my worries and fears will be washed away with the currents. While I’m sleeping, I try not to dream of reality’s responsibilities – bills, errands, parenting, laundry, groceries and appointments. Instead, I try to dream peaceful things in pastels, like fanciful tall tales of being a princess in a palace of peace. But, then I open my eyes in the morning to a crumbling world with sleeping adults and waking children who have questions that no one can answer.

During my days, I do what I am able – I try to live my life by good moral standards. I try to be an understanding person, compassionate, dedicated and true. I use the resources available to me to make a difference in the condition of our world. Through my writing, I express my ideas and concepts on how we can reverse the damage done to this earth and restore balance before we self-destruct.

We worry about the style of our clothes and hair. We worry about our careers and social status. We worry about our bank accounts and retirement. We worry about disease and we worry about political conflict – yet, as a whole, we live each day in complete denial of the truth. We use our aerosol cans and we eat the animals, we pollute the waters and we destroy the ozone layer. We pour toxic waste into the ground and we shoot up our meat products with chemical growth stimulants. We hunt for sport. We walk with shut eyes past the homeless, hungry and abused. We have lost respect for ourselves. We have become comfortable with self-indulgent behaviors. Yet, we wonder why we’re not happy. We wonder what we’re missing. We wonder why we feel like life is closing in on us.

Through reading a special book (Ishmael by Daniel Quinn), I have learned that one of the problems with humanity is that we feel like the earth was put here for us, we assume that earth was made for man – and since we feel as though it belongs to us, we feel like we can treat it any way we wish. My only question is, why did we choose this way?

I’m afraid.

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Intro: This was originally written back in 2000 as a writing exercise. The idea is to draw a quote, any quote, and write either 400 words, or for 20 minutes.  I’m pulling this old writing exercise from my archives today in honor of the “Environmental Awareness” Fairy Oracle drawn in this morning’s Daily Dose.

“Our Only Legitimate Hope of Survival”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2000

To cherish what remains of the earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.” -Wendell Berry-

I took it as a compliment when a co-worker branded me as a “hippie-chick.” Never could I have been more flattered than when someone else called me a tree hugger.

Saving our earth is important for obvious as well as not so obvious reasons. If we destroy the ozone layer, we’ll perish. If we demolish the rain forest, we rob ourselves of life preserving essentials. you wouldn’t set your house on fire, would you? We shouldn’t rip apart our environment, either.

Aside from the protective barriers and nutritional growths of the earth, there is a silent, unseen energy that she exhales. People of every religious venue have sought from nature a spiritual experience. When we leave the pressures and familiarities of our daily routines and find time for nature, we emerge from the experience feeling energized, revitalized, clarified. We emerge from nature feeling whole, confident, connected, determined and ready to face new challenges.

We are inspired by landscapes, sunsets, ocean waves, mountain peaks, vivid jungles, steep cliffs, serene forests, spring gardens, rushing waterfalls, chattering animals, twinkling stars and weather phenomena – and yet, despite our fascination with her many faces and functions, we disrespect and destroy her daily, polluting her waters and air.

We feed from the earth, drinking her juices and enjoying the flavors of her fruits – and yet, we starve her of the attention, respect and gratitude that she deserves.

She shields us with her protective wings, keeping us out of the chaotic realm, lacking oxygen and gravity, called space – yet, we disintegrate that barrier with our chemical creations and arrogant, spoiled needs.

It would be such a blessing if our society could remember the earth. It would be a salvation if they could respect and protect her.

If we destroy the earth, we destroy ourselves. The dinosaurs didn’t have a choice in their extinction. We do.

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Intro: This was originally written in 2001 for RITRO.com, a volunteer Web community based on Real Insight Through Raw Opinion. I’m pulling it from my archives today in honor of the “Environmental Awareness” Fairy Oracle I drew this morning in today’s Daily Dose.

“Environmental Health: Our Ozone”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2001

In a daydream, I picture myself laying on my back in a green meadow, gazing off into the infinite blue that stretches across the sky. Looking at little white puffs floating by, I imagine all those things imaginable when looking at the clouds. I look beyond the clouds thinking about flight, freedom, fresh air. Beyond that, I think about the heavens – the stars, the gravity-absent blackness that surrounds us far past where our sun shines. I think about the protective barrier around our planet, the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Fearful, I think about the destruction being done to that protective barrier. Uncertain, I question the severity of the claims of a hole in the ozone layer, wondering what the effects of such a hole might be. I reflect on my own behaviors to see if I’m contributing to the damage.

According to an article called Under The Ozone Shield, found at Ozone and UV Radiation Research, “Ozone is a molecule in the Earth’s atmosphere. As much as 90 % of ozone lies at heights of 10-50 km above the Earth’s surface. An ozone molecule consists of three oxygen atoms. Despite the fact that ozone forms only a small fraction of all the constituents of the atmosphere, it is still an important factor for the continuity of life on planet Earth.”

By visiting Beyond Discovery and viewing the article called, All About Ozone, one can read, “Ozone is a relatively simple molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms bound together. Yet it has dramatically different effects depending upon its location. Near Earth’s surface, where ozone comes into direct contact with life forms, it primarily displays a destructive side. Because it reacts strongly with other molecules, large concentrations of ozone near the ground prove toxic to living things. At higher altitudes, where 90 percent of our planet’s ozone resides, it does a remarkable job of absorbing ultraviolet radiation. In the absence of this gaseous shield in the stratosphere, the harmful radiation has a perfect portal through which to strike Earth.”

Without the protection of our ozone layer, 95-99% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation would strike the earth. This biologically disturbing, high-energy radiation is said to cause skin cancer, impairment of the eyes, damage to the immune system, and upset the fragile balance of an entire ecosystem.

Researchers now know that chlorine creates the hole in the ozone layer by destroying ozone molecules. The source of the chlorine: human made chemicals called chloroflurocarbons (CFC’s) that have been used in spray cans, foam packaging and refrigeration materials.

Refrigeration materials are partially responsible for global warming? Figure that out!

According to this Ozone Index at Environmental Database for use in Schools, “chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were invented in the 1920s. They are a compound of carbon containing chlorine and fluorine. CFCs are man made chemicals, so we call them synthetic chemicals. Since their introduction CFCs have been used as refrigerants in refrigerators and air conditioning units, propellants in aerosol cans, foaming agents in the production of packaging, cleaners used in the electronics industry, and fire extinguisher chemicals.

CFCs are well suited to all these applications as they are non-flammable, non-toxic, have high chemical stability and the chemicals properties are well suited to the applications given above. CFCs are also relatively cheap chemicals compared to some alternatives which is always a good reason why a particular chemical is popular in industry.”

Developed during a search for a new, nontoxic substance that could serve as a refrigerant, these substances or chemicals all fit the bill. However, CFC’s are carried by wind currents 10-30 miles up to the stratospheric ozone layer. Ultraviolet rays then break down the CFC’s, releasing the chlorine atoms to dissolve the ozone, remaining active for more than a hundred years.

In September 1987, 24 nations, including Canada, pledged to reduce the use of CFCs by 50 percent by 1999, and to freeze the use of halons by 1992 at their 1986 levels. This agreement, the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, was the first of its kind and set a global precedent. Since then, the Montreal Protocol has been ratified by over 70 countries. The Protocol now calls for the total elimination of ODCs by the year 2005, according to an article titled, It’s Your Health.

Knowing that changes are being made on the large scale, we still need to ask ourselves what we as individuals can do to make a difference. Without the ozone layer, we will not survive. Each of us must do our part to preserve the planet we inhabit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides useful tips on what you can do to make a difference in the struggle to save the ozone layer.

Fact: If all ozone-depleting chemicals were eliminated, the ozone layer would, in time, heal itself.

In a daydream, I picture myself laying on my back in a green meadow, gazing off into the infinite blue that stretches across the sky. Fearful, I think about the destruction being done to that protective barrier. I begin to reflect on my own behaviors to see if I’m contributing to the damage.

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Intro: This was originally written back in 2001 for RITRO.com, a volunteer Web community based on Real Insight Through Raw Opinion. I’m re-posting it here today in honor of the “Environmental Awareness” Fairy Oracle I drew this morning.

“Environmental Health: A Look at the Rain Forest”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2001

One who experiences the diversity and indescribable beauty of the rain forest may be impressed with its plant and animal variety on a strictly visual and audio basis, but the rain forests are essential to human life, providing medicines, foods and climate control.

Rain forests have provided enormous contributions to human well being through food, climate control and drugs obtained from, or based on, plants from the rain forest; including Rosy Periwinkle, a plant used to battle Hodgkin’s disease and child leukemia. It is estimated that the Indians in Amazonia used no less than 1600 pharmaceutical plant extracts. Amazingly, it is probable that there are at least 10,000 plant species worldwide that have not yet been identified. In addition, as food crops, we only use 7,000 of about 75,000 known edible plants.

Unfortunately, for all the beauty, life, life-saving foods and medicines the rain forest has provided humanity, our way of saying thank you has left much to be desired. While some may chop down the forest for purposes of logging; some clearing it for agricultural purposes and indigenous peoples who cultivate the land through lack of choice, humanity is setting itself up for certain disaster.

Each year, up to 54,000 square miles of rain forest are destroyed and 500,000 trees are cut down every hour. Due to the removal of trees, we lose 20,000 to 100,000 species per year and may lose 20% of all species on the planet within the next 30 years.

The immediate causes of deforestation are logging, shifted cultivators (indigenous peoples forced from their natural homelands into the rain forest, of which they have no knowledge, understanding or appreciation), cash crops & cattle ranching, firewood, large dams, mining & industry, colonization schemes and tourism.

Underlying causes of deforestation are development & over consuption: The basis cause colonialism, exploitation by industrialized countries, the debt burden and the role of poverty and over population.

As a result, tropical rain forests are reduced to less than 6% of the world’s surface. Before we destroy that as well, let us remember that the 6% of rain forest left contains no less than one half of all the world’s species of plants; one of which is currently being researched as a potential cure for AIDS.

While the rates of destruction are overwhelming, there is something you can do to help. The Tropical Rain Forest Coalition has provided the following list of things you can do to help save the rain forests, therefore saving ourselves:

1. Write, email or call your representatives in government.
2. Make changes toward a less environmentally harmful lifestyle.
3. Support human rights of indigenous peoples worldwide.
4. Do not buy products that cause destruction of the rain forests.
5. Donate to organizations that save rain forest acreage.
6. Learn more about the rain forests.
7. Spread the word to others on the importance of rain forests.
8. Help out or form a local club or social group that supports rain forest preservation.
9. Sponsor a school study program educating about the rain forests.
10. Learn more about The Rain Forest Coalition’s “save an acre” program.

Deforestation threatens to change climates and accelerate global warming. Deforestation eliminates food and medical possibilities, creates soil erosion, floods and destroys the life of plants and animals. To learn more about the rain forest and what you can do to help save them, visit the Tropical Rainforest Coalition or the Rainforest Information Center.

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Written by:
Wendi Friend
March 2005

Women in history have made a powerful difference world wide –through their political movements, charitable causes, and inherent talents and traits for caring for others in need. Women have served society in countless ways – and in many ways, created history in the process. But women need not be historic heroines in order to have made a difference in the shaping of our world. In fact, many of the phenomenal energies contributing to the shaping of society as a whole will forever be nameless. There are endless numbers of women who offered words of support, encouragement, and strength to others – others who may have, in some way, played a “larger” role in history. Women have birthed world leaders, raised humanitarians, and mothered philosophers, scientists, and doctors.

As a woman, I’m honored and grateful for the rights established for me by my ancestors, but I’m not such a liberationist that I feel a need to compete with men. In fact, I don’t want to prove my equality to men. I appreciate the differences between masculine and feminine, and the ways in which they work together. I’m grateful for freedoms existing now that were causes to die for in times past, but not so removed from my femininity that I can’t appreciate a gentleman opening a door for a lady.

We’ve come a long way in history – and a lot of that is wonderful! But for all the changes and “equality” we’ve established, I still concern myself sometimes over whether or not equality has come at the cost of sensual femininity. Women have become too strong to cry, too cold to care, too aggressive to nurture, and too capable to accept help – even when it’s needed. We’ve gone from the repressed conditions of ankle-length dresses and no skin, to belly tops and mini skirts. We’ve gone from bold and determined to stubborn and brittle. Nonetheless, I’m still proud to be a woman and I’m still grateful for the roles of women in history.

I’m still not sure why we haven’t seen a woman president. I’m aware of the continuing struggles for women in the work place regarding equal rights and pay. I know there are still chauvinists out there who feel a woman’s place is to be at home taking care of the household duties – and this is what brings me to my next and final point.

Women – women of today – you, right there – we ARE women in history. Harriet Tubman, Abigail Adams, Dorthea Dix, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller – they’ve done their parts!! They got us from the past to present, paving the way through blood, sweat, and tears for a better world for the women of today. Now, it is up to US, the women of today, to continue the cause for our daughters of tomorrow. It’s up to us to continue making notable history in regard to women.

Which of us will tomorrow’s daughters remember in history, and for what shall we be remembered?

 

Note: Read the poem that was written following the writing of this piece.  The poem is entitled, “To the Women of History

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August 2005

She was lying, I knew it. Jealousy was her motive, I figured – but nonetheless, I didn’t consider her at all to be telling the truth. Maybe she just wanted her youth back and chose to live vicariously through me. Then again, maybe it wasn’t jealousy at all. Control is an equally considered suspect. She may have felt like she didn’t have any control over anything else in her life, so she had to show dominance with me. She wasn’t an expert on anything in my book. After all, what did she know about fashion? Her clothes were out of style; her hair was not flattering in cut or color, and she didn’t seem to know anything about the world in which I lived – so why should she have assumed she knew what was best for me? Besides, I’d already learned she wasn’t exactly “obedient” in her youth either. You can imagine my shock, then, when I realized fifteen years later that she wasn’t just “right”; she knew from experience and was trying to save me from reliving her mistakes and feeling her pains. What do you mean my mother was right?

My mom isn’t the only one who shares advice or warnings. All moms of all ages, grandmothers and aunts included – have that instinctive need to dish out advice – and we all know that when we’re fifteen, we feel immortal, invincible, and smarter than everyone else on the planet. How in the world did our parents, or the rest of society for that matter, ever survive before us? I don’t know about you, but when I was fifteen, I was telling my mom how to do her hair, how to wear her make-up, and as if she were only four, I’d try to pick her clothes out for her if ever I was to be seen anywhere with her. I even tried telling her how to drive. Obviously, she couldn’t know what she was talking about when giving advice to me! So, I basically ignored her, thinking her a fool.

Grandma was more of the physical warning system, always preaching to my siblings and me about watching what we eat, brushing our teeth, pushing back the cuticles on our fingernails, washing our faces with Noxzema, not popping our knuckles, and standing up straight so we don’t have future back problems and grow up to be hunch-backs. Mom, on the other hand, was warning us of more of the emotional and spiritual upheavals and pitfalls. When I’d pop off at her in my arrogant juvenile way, she’d not get really angry, but more spiteful and say, “You just wait. Things will look a lot different when you’re thirty and have kids of your own.” In fact, she kept a magnet on our fridge that read, “Avenge yourself, live long enough to be a burden to your children.” When I’d do things really hurtful to her or say things to her that were mean, she was hurt, of course, but she knew in her heart that I was just being a rebellious teen, and looked at me in such a way that said, “You just wait ‘til your kid does something like that to you.” You know what I thought to myself in reply? I bet you do. Try this on for size, “My kids will never talk to me or treat me that way because I will be a much better mother and my children will love and respect me and be my best friends!”

Sound familiar?

Just when I thought I had life all figured out and was on top of the world, everything came crashing down because I realized that every thing my mother, grandmother, and aunts tried to warn me about was coming true! The wall paper of my reality began peeling away in front of my very eyes. My own teen-aged son (at age fifteen, to be ironically exact) also found that the only way to find his independence was through less than kind separation. I started having flashbacks of all the mean things I ever said and did, and found myself wanting to call my mother and apologize. She was right; it did hurt and I do understand now that I have my own kids – whom, by the way, try to tell me how to dress, how to wear my hair, and how to drive. To make matters worse, fifteen-fillings and six crowns later, I realized Grandma may have been onto something when she said all that sugar and soda would be bad for my teeth. They were also right about the whole world changing when I was thirty. Suddenly, the candy bar and soda I had for lunch started hanging around on my backside and the size four jeans began cutting off my circulation. Crows feet found their ways to my eyes, just to the sides of the bags that had formed. My kids began speaking in a language I no longer understood, saying things like “tight”.

I remember the first time I heard that expression. My kids and I had gone shoe shopping; each of the three of them needed a new pair. The boys, being older, were instructed to find their size and try on a pair they liked. Meanwhile, I was looking for something that would fit my much younger daughter. My middle son came to me with a happy face. He’d found what he liked and it fit him. Then the eldest child returns with a pair and says, “Mom… I like these; they’re so tight!” Who could blame me, then, when I replied, “Then try on a bigger pair.” Not only was I out of style and out of the communication loop, but I could no longer identify (or enjoy) the most popular tunes on the radio. To top it all off, I seemed to forget how to program a VCR, remote control for the television, or my new computer. That’s right; I had to ask my kids for help! How did I ever survive before they were born?

They say all women turn into their mothers. You’ll never know how valiantly I resisted and rejected that concept. Maybe all other women turned into their mother, but not me. But, alas, time tells all tales and I realized that they were right. I had become my mother, and it seemed to have happened while my head was turned the other way. Now that I have three children of my own and am “thirty-something”, I’ve lived through some of the experiences and hardships that shaped my mother, experiences that did give her wisdom and make her an expert with my best wishes in mind, I realize how naïve and difficult I was. I think I’ll continue apologizing for many years to come.

Evolving and becoming one of the grown ups has changed many of my perspectives. Knowing what my mother went through with me and with life’s general challenges, I’ve learned to forgive many of the grudges I’d held with me, not realizing it was time to let go of the past, forgive mistakes, and not be so critical of a judge about what kind of a mother I thought she had been. As it turns out, she’s the best mother I could have hoped for – and I’m proud to have carried some of her traits, and then pass them on to my own daughter.

My kids may think I’m an alien who doesn’t understand much, but just wait. They’ll be thirty… some day. Then, they’ll be the ones asking, “What do you mean my mother was right?”

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