Saturday, November 18, 2006

Buddha - Thailand 1995

Walking through ruins in the midst of this lovely land in 1995, I am shocked to find this beautiful statue of Buddha. My friend and I have just spent 3 weeks hiking the Himalayas and find ourselves in tears over running water and sit down toilets.

Lessons learned along that walk:
  • You need very little to really survive (headlamp, toilet paper and a general direction of where the bathroom is)
  • We have so much more than any other population in the world
  • Walking is a good way to get empty
  • Once empty, all that arises is just the mind
  • Mind can become very loud
  • Silence can be very loud
  • I could survive without my daily dose of media (even NPR!)
  • Don't be afraid of mystery
  • Stay on the mountain side of the trail when you hear the tinkle of bells (it means there are water buffalo/goats/horses coming down the trail and you REALLY want to be upside from them, elsewhile you will fall, fall, fall off the mountain)
  • Life really is good

I spent more time up on Mt. Rainer after coming back to the US that year. It took a long time to come back and I'm sure that many parts of me are still left behind there.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Morning After

Oh what a night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These past few weeks have been reminiscent of the "good old days" of working our butts off for NO OILPORT and stopping the nuclear power plant from getting built on the Miller Peninsula.

My political activism had been put on hold as an act of recovery from the 2000 election. Many of us starting looking longingly to the north - sporting Canadian accents (eh!) and wondering if we could handle the extreme winters of the far north. 2004 rolled us over and in just a short two years' time I found some ancient glimpse of the world that I was raised to believe in.

This election year found me working on behalf of my Congresswoman, Darlene Hooley. I spent time in her headquarters phoning voters, getting inspired and even had the chance to meet Darlene. (IF you have a chance to see her on The Colbert Report - find it! Her interview was hysterical).

My next calling was to the physical offices of MoveOn.Org in downtown Portland. I was fortunate enough to live within 30 miles of the office and received "the call" to come in and make the calls to get voters to call other voters. The experience was one of a true "time travel" with palpable commitment and energy with the staffers there. I am forever optimistic about a future with these youngins at the helm! I met smart and savvy 20 somethings who fearlessly stepped forward to get this off the ground. MoveOn.Org picked up where the Democratic Party dropped the ball and mobilized people - people to people. The highlight for me was to spend a Friday night at the MoveOn.Org headquarters with my 16 year old neighbor girl - remember folks, SHE will be voting in the next Presidential election!!

As the election closed in, my next "assignment" was to serve as an Election Observer at the Office of the Clackamas County Clerk - Elections Office over in Gladstone. Each party is allowed two observers at two stations in the building. I spent Friday observing the processing of ballots - and could not IMAGINE how labor intensive this is!! (Oregon votes ONLY by mail!) Then last night - election night - I was the Democratic observer of the signature verification as well as the management of citizens who walked in with ballot problems. One of the highlights of the evening was watching a very young couple complete their ballot - referencing back and forth with the voter pamphlet, considering the issues and then casting their ballots. Democracy in action (at least, my interpretation!!). As the polls were ready to close, who rolls in but the Republican attorney's - complete with their fat cat suits and briefcases. (One of my best friends is a Democratic attorney and you would never know since she is an "understated" dresser!). I felt proud and strong to be holding the position of Democrat with those slimy bastards around me!

Since we were in the elections office, we didn't have any information about how the national or local race was turning out. What sweet victories out there for Americans!!! We can only hope that the message was sent, delivered, received by the President that we are fed up with his arrogance and fat cat policies.

Stay tuned - there's so much more to come out of this regime change!!!

Not that I'm superstitious - I'm still pursuing my Irish Citizenship since traveling on an Irish passport continues to be more appealing!!