Monday, November 28, 2016

Why I still love Christmas

 Image result for christmas snow ball fights

Let me state at the outset that my love of Christmas has nothing to do with religion. My views on religion are clearly stated in my books, Waking God: The Trilogy.

This is not say that I don't like the "spirituality" that Christmas represents. In fact, that's a big part of what I like. Keep in mind that Christmas was really a pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice and the returning of the light. It was co-opted by the Christians.

I grew up in a blue collar family and money was often an issue. However, my childhood was happy and somehow my Christmas' were great. Always got that one big present that that made the day despite family financial constraints. Guess being the youngest of five had its privileges.

I lived in a neighborhood that had lots of kids of varied ages. It was fun. The holidays brought snow forts and snowball ball fights, sledding, indoor game playing, and just an overall good time. Christmas day involved dinner at Nana's where all the aunts, uncles, and cousins converged for more presents, good food, and overall mayhem.

Colored lights and Santas where everywhere, shopping in Boston was usually an interesting experience, and Christmas music displays, and TV shows were in abundance. In the teen years there was the hunt for the "perfect" gift for the latest girlfriend, and there were also times of sadness if there was a breakup and the cold and darkness of the time of year seemed never ending. The trip home for the holidays from college was a welcomed respite from the rigors of finals and a time to re-connect with family and friends. Christmas was not always a time of comfort and joy, but it was always a time remembered.

Christmas in later years when the kids were young was a time to go broke, in a positive way, and we continued with old traditions of family gatherings. Sure, we bought into the consumer culture and bought the newest and latest for the kids. It was fun and it made me feel happy. And that's the bottom line: Christmas makes me happy, nostalgic, and I still get as excited as I did when younger.

All of the spiritual reasons aside, the joy and warmth of Christmas is simply a brief moment on the calendar that I will always cherish.

Blessing of Peace, Love, and Light to ALL people everywhere this holiday season-May the joy be with you.

Solar Flares Rising, Sun/Climate, Extreme Weather | S0 News Nov.28.2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Trump is not to blame, however ...

Image result for implicit bias

Donald Trump is not responsible for racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, or any of the other biases held in secret by many people. However, he has made those biases socially acceptable to express.

It is clear that American have implicit biases.
"What is meant by implicit bias?
Unlike explicit bias (which reflects the attitudes or beliefs that one endorses at a conscious level), implicit bias is the bias in judgment and/or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes (e.g., implicit attitudes and implicit stereotypes) that often operate at a level below conscious awareness and ..." (Google search). In other words, they are biases held secretly and usually not expressed openly.

From the moment we experience consciousness, parents, society, and the media begin to instill us with biases. If all three are in play, the biases become worse and may openly be expressed. This should be more obvious with respect to racism and anti-Muslim attitudes. It is the "us and them" attitude. They aren't like us so they must be bad, or suspect, or feared, or shunned. Religions are big on this. But when a mother pulls a child close when an African-American or a person in a headscarf passes by, the parent passes on a bias. Many biases stay hidden/latent and may never be openly verbalized.

However, when a major personality openly expresses and even endorses these biases and phobias, the door is open for such attitudes to become socially acceptable. Further, when said personality encourages action upon these biases, what was once socially suppressed behavior now becomes acceptable.

Perhaps it is good to know the extent and depth of these biases. Hidden fears and emotions can burst at the most inopportune times and can even be the cause of disease. Once exposed, maybe they can be discussed and  and even dispelled.

What is sad is the extent of these implicit biases and what is scary is that an individual, even in America, can make these biases acceptable.

CME Approaching, Flood, Tornado, Sinkhole | S0 News Nov.8.2016