August 25th, 2012

Butterfly

The America's Cup -

I was in the city, San Francisco, again today for a Sensory Awareness workshop.  Now, I know there is an American's Cup event this weekend which is why the bleachers and tents were being set up last Saturday.  Many years ago, I saw Dennis Connor's America's Cup boat in San Diego, but these boats aren't like that.  They boats are tiny.  A cop on a bicycle  told they look bigger on TV, which may be so, but I realized how out of touch I am with sailing technology.  These boats are adorable, very cute, and i guess they are fast.  They kept announcing they were going to start, but it was a typical August, SF day, foggy and windy, and I got tired of hearing it would start in five minutes when it didn't.  It was exciting though.  The bay was covered in boats, all kinds of boats, and the atmosphere was serene.  People sat quietly watching the bay.  

When my niece was four, we took her to a matinee performance of the Velveteen Rabbit.  It was carefully explained to the children that this was a live performance.  It was not TV, and the actors were affected by the audience, and therefore it was important that we all be quiet, and that we clap at the end.  The theatre was filled with children, and that is what we did.  We watched, listened, and clapped.  The Velveteen Rabbit is one of my favorite books, but the play was a little traumatic for Katy who was upset that the other animals wouldn't play with the rabbit.  I'm not sure she ever got beyond that to the happy ending.

Anyway, last night we decided to venture out to a musical venue in Mill Valley.  The Sweetwater has re-opened, and Shana Morrison and her band were playing.  We got there early but there was no place to sit, so we stood in the back for the opening act which we could not hear because everyone was talking so loudly.  Then, out came Shana.  She is local, so there was a huge turn-out, but even so, people did not listen.  We sat on the floor in front, right in front, and then people crowded into the tiny space in front of us, and stood, and moved in a way that they seemed to think was dancing, though it looked rather spastic to me, and disconnected from the music.  Anyway, some of these people then started talking.  They literally could have touched Shana, and they stood there, jiggling and talking.   I was mind-boggled.  There is another room at this place, and there is an outside section.  Why not stand outside and talk to your friends, rather than standing in front of a band, and a roomful of people who now cannot see the band?  What am I missing?

I know that people have gotten ruder and ruder, and Mill Valley is renowned for rudeness.  When I apologize to the checker at Whole Foods when someone before me is rude, they reply, "That's okay.  We're trained that people in Mill Valley are rude.  We're trained to deal with it."

I don't understand rudeness.  I don't understand standing in front of someone who is sitting.  One guy who pushed his way in to stand in front of me was losing his pants so I was looking at his butt crack.  Because I don't want to come back as a cockroach, I didn't put my finger up, and watch his pants drop.  I sat there doing Tonglen for people who seem unaware that other people exist.  Needless to say, it was an interesting evening if not what I expected.  My response shows how little we get out at night.  In talking to people, we learned this is the norm, and we are the ones out of step.

I can't imagine what it is to be a musician and practice and practice and then be treated as though you aren't there.  I learned that Michael Tilson Thomas stopped a performance of the SF Symphony because someone was talking.  Good for him, I say, and yet, I am astonished it would be necessary.  How have we lost track of what it is to listen, to be dropped into the experience of live music and changed?

Anyway, that is my rant.  If you have a chance to see the boats in the bay this weekend for the America's Cup, I recommend you take a look.  The boats are gems, and if you watch on TV, they might look really big.    
oregon, willamette, 1 proxy falls

Inspiration

A good friend of mine invited 40 women to gather today in her home.  She requested a sharing of creativity and inspiration.  I was astonished at what people brought to share.  I'm grateful to have been part of such a beautiful afternoon/evening.

I am going to tell you a true story.  My friend's friend Tom was brutally beaten in Oakland 6 years ago.  He was mugged by three young men, and then beaten by one of them, a "boy" sixteen years old.  Even as he was taken to the hospital, he was saying he forgave them.  He then went into a coma.  Medical recovery has taken six years, and he is still not 100%, but all this time he has been determined to meet with the three, especially the one who beat him,  and say he forgives.  There is a non-profit organization that arranges reconcilation in events like this.  They meet with the victim to hear what he wants and they meet with the one who committed the crime.  After counseling and discussion on both sides, the two meet.  It was an emotional meeting. They hugged each other, and one apologized, and the other forgave.

It seems the 16 year old lost his parents when he was young.  He was sent to live with a grandmother, and then an aunt, who kicked him out when he was 13.  He had been living on the streets for three years.  He survived by stealing, and bought drugs and alcohol with the money he stole.  This was the first time he had so badly beaten someone.   He's been in Folsom Prison, is still there, and there, he has had a chance for education and an opportunity to realize what he's done.  He is now 22.  

These two men are making plans, when the one is out of prison, and the other is well, to go to organizations and groups and tell their story.  They want to talk about forgiveness. 

Years ago I read a true story about a woman whose son was killed by another young man.  She told the killer she would kill him, and then, proceeded to visit him in prison and bring him gifts.  He changed with her care and attention.  One day he asked her why she was kind to him.  She replied that she had done what she said she would do.  The man who killed her son was now dead.  It gives new meaning to the words "killing someone with kindness".  

I don't know that I could be forgive like either of these two people, but I go to bed tonight with the prayer that I could, and prayers for all those who forgive and are forgiven.   Certainly this kind of love is the way to peace.