Take My Breath Away

The more battered I feel by the news cycle and the daily externals of my world, the more important it is to spend time in solitude, focusing inward and practicing love and trust with myself.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

(It sounds delightful, doesn’t it? So wise and functionally adult! It doesn’t read like tears; trauma; dumping feelings onto the page; wrestling with fear, despair, perfectionism, heat, humidity, housework, and (most recently) a fiery case of athlete’s foot while the garden turns into a steaming jungle outside my locked and blinded windows and the air conditioner gently roars.)

I recently reread The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. I haven’t read it in a long time, but it was next on the shelf, so I cracked it open. I came across a line I don’t remember and evidently didn’t remark on previously: “…I’d never done anything that took my own breath away …”

The speaker is a middle-aged woman and that line grabbed my attention.

We are consumed by externals. The male gaze. The public eye. What others think of our looks, our words, our actions. Is our virtue signaling adequate and prominent? Are we pleasing the right people? Are we flourishing our flags with sufficient outrage and hostility? Are our masks and identities firmly in place?

The more we focus on externals, the less we pay attention to our relationship with ourselves and the more broken we become.

Why don’t we think about taking our own breath away?

This might not seem important. After all, what’s more exquisite than the feeling of being in love? The sight and smell, sound, taste, and texture of the loved one. Every expression. Every word. Every insignificant detail, past and present, is breathtaking. For a time. How could we ever hope to compete with that feeling, that excitement?

But what happens if we never take our own breath away?

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Some of my favorite stories are oral tales about the selchies; creatures who are men and women on the land and seals in the sea. Most of the time the old stories are about a woman whose sealskin is stolen by a man; she is coerced into staying with him, often raising a family, with the promise he will one day return her skin. Though the captured selchie may love her children and even the man, as time passes she begins to lose her vitality and wither, for she is cut off from the sea, a part of who she is. She must have what she is made of to be whole.

As a young woman, I had no thought in my head beyond finding a husband, someone who wanted me and would love me. I didn’t think about the love I needed to feel for him; I assumed I’d do whatever it took to be a “good wife.”

Two divorces later, much older and wiser, I realize how sad this is. Now I know no child or lover, no matter how wanted or beloved, can ever leave us breathless in the same way we can ourselves. Not only that, when we rest all our being on external love, when the object of our love leaves and the feeling is gone we are left more impoverished than before, more embittered, more lost.

Taking our own breath away gives us something we never lose; amazement for our own courage, or determination, or creativity. We always remember that thing we did, and marvel at ourselves. We develop confidence and trust in ourselves. We know we can struggle through obstacles, defy odds, learn a new skill, finish a big project, or take a leap in the dark. We know we can face our own fears and beliefs, and challenge them.

I believe this is a big part of what a midlife crisis is about. If we don’t push ourselves beyond our comfort level we wake up one day bored and apathetic, and wonder if this is it. Is this all life is, the familiar round of work, home, family, and friends?

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

We begin to think and dream about something more, that milestone we never achieved, that place we never visited, the opinion we never expressed, the art we never created, the truth we never dared tell.

We want … something. We need … something. Typically, we spend a lot of money trying to fill our craving, but nothing works for long because we’re looking for some intangible piece of ourselves, something stolen, something lost, something rejected. Perhaps we’re searching for our own permission or courage. Our quest becomes internal rather than external because (to our shame) we have a good life, a good job, a good-enough spouse or lover, a beloved child, yet we are not satisfied.

We want what we are made of.

No one can tell us what that is. No one knows. We have hidden it successfully from ourselves all our lives, after all. If we are lucky, one day we know what to do and have the means to do it. The outcome doesn’t matter. What matters is that we do it, we leap without a net, we create in a frenzy, we open our throats and speak our truth at last.

We take our own breath away.

Moving to Maine from Colorado was like that for me. How did I do it? I have no idea. I do remember my determination, though. I remember saying to myself I was going to do this thing no matter how impossible it was, no matter what others said about it (and me), no matter how many obstacles I encountered (I borrowed money from a friend for the first time in my life), no matter how terrified and anguished I was, I was going to do it. If I had to crawl on my belly all the way, I was going to do it.

And I did (in a U-Haul, not on my belly). And it took my breath away. Still does.

In general I’m a cautious, even conservative person. (In spite of my friend who affectionately calls me a dirty hippy!) I think things through carefully. I research all the options. I consider consequences. But sometimes this longing to find and express what we are made of is so strong we can’t think about it calmly and rationally. We are compelled beyond all that, pulled helplessly by the strength of our need to reclaim and express some lost part of ourselves. We don’t care about consequences. They are less important than finding ourselves.

I wonder if it’s a human need to experience this riptide at least once, to operate only on instinct, intuition, passion, and raw determination. Maybe it’s at least as important to follow our creativity and curiosity as it is to set concrete goals and make plans. Maybe the ability to be impulsive and unreliable is as important as dependability and careful planning.

In taking my own breath away, I’ve lived with a bad boy/man, had an unplanned pregnancy, and caught an STD. I’ve learned to dance. I’ve created visual art. I’ve written 2 books and started a third. I’ve become an oral storyteller. I’ve started and later redesigned my blog and published my fiction serially on Substack. I’ve moved to Maine. I regret none of these, no matter the consequences, which in some cases were painful.

What will I do next? I don’t know. But I’m not afraid to take my own breath away.


  • What’s the most breathtaking experience of your life?
  • What part of what you’re made of are you longing for?
  • How have you taken your own breath away?
  • Who or what are you waiting for to take your breath away?

Leave a comment below!

To read my fiction, serially published free every week, go here:

Following Gods

Unusually, I’ve struggled the last couple of weeks to find something I wanted to write about for this post. At times I feel so heavily weighted with grief, fear, and despair about our world (and I mean our to include all people, all species, all life on this lovely, feverish planet suspended in the cool bed of space) and the apparent lack of sane, unified values and problem solving, it’s all I can do to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m sustained by my communities on Substack and in real life, my garden, and the simplicity of whatever moment of Now I inhabit. At this moment Now is the smell of chicken crisping in the air fryer, the cool, damp air of a July 4th morning in central Maine coming in open windows, the weight of my laptop on my lap, the feel of its keys under my fingers, and the sleeping cats. It’s a day off. I relish it.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

I don’t want to write about the state of the world. I have nothing to add to the conversation that feels effective or positive. I’m one of the silent millions, maintaining faith and courage as best I can for my own sake as well as the sake of those around me.

Earlier in the week I received a post from Dr. Sharon Blackie titled ‘Following the Wrong Gods Home’ that caught my imagination and gave me a different perspective.

Through the fog of sadness and fear a clear question rang in my mind: what would Baba Yaga do? And another: what gods am I following, and are they taking me home? And then, I can choose which gods to follow.

Sometimes I forget that.

Just like that, I was back in my power. I jotted down some quick notes and went off to work, feeling better.

Dr. Blackie didn’t mean this question in the formal religious sense, but in the metaphorical sense. Much of what is happening in the world now has to do with the gods people create, worship and follow. Not only real people but gods like money, status, technology, and power. To them we build temples, make blood offerings and human sacrifices. We worship them with our belief and our lives and place them above the law, feeding them with power, and they are rapacious.

No wonder Justice is blindfolded. I’m in complete sympathy. We should give her ear plugs, too.

Photo by Peter Hershey on Unsplash

I think a lot about gods and goddesses. I research their stories and cultures, explore their symbols, sculptures and depictions. I write about them, dream about them, and work with various card decks referencing them. I think about our consistent human propensity to reach for something larger than ourselves, something wiser, stronger, more powerful. We seek some sense of meaning, hope there is reason for all this chaos, that one day we will come back home to ourselves and our family of all human beings on Planet Earth.

Of all the gods and goddesses I’ve made friends with, I love Baba Yaga the best. I’ve written about her before on this blog. She’s Slavic, a hag goddess associated with witches (of course).

I don’t think of myself as a feminist, but the Baba is, for me, the perfect embodiment of female wholeness. She is not obedient or submissive. She is not attached to a man. She carries no shame, no guilt. She’s wild, primal, and powerful. She has feelings and expresses them. She lives proudly in her (conventionally) hideous body. (I’m sure she doesn’t shave, trim, deodorize, make up, color her hair, do her nails or dress appropriately for her age.) She cannot be silenced. She is wise and ancient beyond wisdom and years. She does not suffer fools. She pleases only herself.

A long time ago, in an audio production narrated by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, she said women were made for times like these. I haven’t thought about that in years, but the morning I read Dr. Blackie’s post I remembered it, and I stood a little taller as I made breakfast.

By Carmine Leo

Women, after all, know how to live in a desert. We know how to live underground. Like water, we learn how to go around obstacles and wear away stone. Women endure. We wait. We bide our time and survive. Individuals may be burned, or killed, or silenced, but collective female wisdom lives on in stories, skills and crafts, recipes, traditions and ritual. Women, as vessels of life, understand death. We know how to let die what must, even if it’s ourselves. We know endings are always beginnings.

These are not times for too-sweet maidens and princes on white horses. These are times for survival, clear seeing, hard choices, courage, cunning, and strength. These are times in which we must remember how to be responsible for our own safety, reproductive health and autonomy, and education. We don’t need permission. We don’t need approval. We don’t need men to take care of us. We’ve never needed those things; it’s time to recall and reclaim that truth and teach our younger sisters and daughters how to be wild and true.

We can always make choices. I have already left Ozymandias lying in the desert behind me. I will not follow fear and despair; they cannot take me home. I will not comply with repression and oppression, neither my own or that of others. I will not be silenced. I will resist. I will persist. I will face whatever comes with my head up. I will go around, or under, or over whatever or whoever attempts to control me.

I will choose which gods to follow home.


  • Which gods have you followed in your life? Did they take you home?
  • Have you chosen the gods you follow, or were they thrust upon you?
  • What sacrifices and offerings have your gods demanded of you?

Leave a comment below!

To read my fiction, serially published free every week, go here:

I Don’t Want To

In a recent conversation, someone asserted to me that ultimately everyone does what they want. I felt an immediate fury. That does not describe my life at all. I chewed on my outrage and resentment for a few weeks, simmering, until I decided to get over it and figure out why I was so hijacked.

I was immediately lost in the puckerbrush. Making choices about what we do and don’t do is intimately tied to needs and wants, and I have yet to be able to distinguish between the two once beyond the level of survival needs, or find any kind of clarity from someone else. Needs and wants are unpleasant territory I don’t want to explore. (See? There it is. I don’t want to. Yet I am, and I might need to.)

Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

Then there’s the whole actions versus words aspect. People say they want things but don’t act accordingly. If we really want something, our behavior reflects it. If our behavior does not reflect our stated wants, we’re deceiving ourselves, or someone else, or both. I deeply distrust mixed messages. More unpleasant territory and old trauma.

Choice is in there, too. Choice is a big subject and a major theme in this blog. As I’ve mused on the statement ‘we all do what we want to do’ and made notes (you know I always make notes), I’ve wondered how we can compare a parent in some war-torn place attempting to keep their starving child alive another day with a wealthy person trying to decide if they want to fly their private plane to Paris for dinner or stay in and watch a movie in their in-home theater and have their chef prepare a seven-course meal. With wine, naturally.

One person has limited choices, all excruciating, to achieve continued survival for a few hours. The other has almost unlimited choices, all luxuries. How can I possibly compare the two? Can we say the parent trying to keep their child alive is doing what they want to do? Come on! Yet they do want to keep their child alive, right?

Perhaps it seems complicated and confusing because it’s complicated and confusing.

I wound up with a page full of notes, some sobering personal revelations, and a hairball.

On an internet search, I found articles pointing out the distinction between doing exactly what we want to do in any given moment (a toddler or a hedonist) and doing things we don’t want to do in service to an outcome we do want. That made sense to me.

If we focus on wanted outcomes rather than individual actions, we must have the ability to plan, look ahead, anticipate, and understand possible consequences of our actions. We also must attempt to predict the responses and reactions of the people around us to our actions, which means we have to understand something about emotional intelligence

Photo by Manuel Sardo on Unsplash

… and now we’re back in the puckerbrush. I hate predictions. I don’t like leaps of faith. (I have a magnet on my fridge that says “Leap and the net will appear.” I don’t know why I keep it. It makes me mad every time I read it. Show me the warranty on that net. Show me the weight testing. Show me the damn net, in fact. Who will set it up when I leap? Are they paying attention or looking at their phone?) I trust my intuition, but I know I can be wrong. People are unpredictable. Life is unpredictable.

And yet we humans, including me, make choices all day long every day based on what we think will or might or could happen next. I’ve written about attachment to outcomes before. As I get older I’ve replaced a lot of my desired specific outcomes with simply wanting to know I did my best, regardless of outcomes. I may not like the outcome I get, but my integrity remains intact.

And then there are the people who don’t seem to understand actions and consequences in any kind of relationship. They choose what they choose in the moment and are hurt and/or outraged to discover the downstream consequences of that choice, especially in the context of many other choices. I observe this is a frequent divide along male/female lines. Women generally see everything as connected. Men generally see most things as discrete, in their own box. This is just one reason why I think “romantic” male/female relationships can be so devastating. We are often on different pages without knowing it.

If it’s true that we all do what we want in service to a desired outcome, what happens when my choices collide with yours? If you perceive me as blocking progress to your desired outcome you’re going to feel angry, and vice versa. We’re going to want each other to make different choices aligning with our personal desires. Most of the time, people won’t do that. We’re all attached to the outcomes we want.

A big piece of this for me is emotional labor, that hidden torrent winding through my life, sweeping away incalculable energy, time, and innocence. One of my priorities is healthy relationships. Close healthy relationships require time and attention; the ability to make choices for the good of the relationship rather than considering only our own wants and needs. This is an ongoing practice, not doing something we really don’t want to do once every six months and expecting applause. It means we have to face our own demons, learn to communicate clearly and honestly, negotiate, share power, and problem solve. It means boundaries and respect. It means reciprocity.

Having learned about reciprocity, I now prioritize my relationships to the degree the other does. I will not sign up to do all the emotional labor. I’m not interested in a close relationship like that. The price is too high. I’d rather put my energy into my relationship with myself. At least I appreciate my own efforts!

My conclusion about this ‘we all do what we want’ thing (gritted teeth – it still makes me mad), is it may be true if we consider our choices in the context of outcomes. I’ve made a lot of choices out of the clear knowledge that they were simply the right thing to do, too, choices that have been terrible for me, terrible in some of their consequences, yet ultimately still were the right thing for me to do. I had no outcome in mind. I don’t regret those kinds of choices, but they left permanent scars.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

I want to blame others for all the time I’ve spent doing things I didn’t want to do, but it seems what we do and don’t do are entirely in our own hands, our own responsibility. Our lives are built on the choices we make, big and small, every hour of every day. If we don’t like our lives, we need to pay attention. Perhaps the useful question to ask ourselves if we hate what we’re doing at any given moment is, “Why am I doing this?” If we’re focused on a particular desired outcome, we may need to stop and think about whether our actions are effective in getting us there. Spending years of our lives desperately hoping and trying to reach an outcome and doing things we hate is not effective. I know this from personal experience. Our wants and needs change over time; what we once longed for may no longer be something we’re interested in. Sometimes we need to reality check ourselves. If we’ve been trying to get loved, for example, or please someone for a long period of time, it might be time to acknowledge our goal is not attainable or not worth attaining. Sometimes no matter how hard we work for an outcome it’s not achievable.

Then there’s the flip side: None of us do what we don’t want to do. That one is equally hard for me to swallow, but that’s a conversation for another day.


  • How much of each day do you spend doing things you don’t want to do? Why?
  • What desired outcome(s) in your life requires you to do things you don’t want to do?
  • Do you see your daily choices as isolated or part of a larger context attached to your wants and needs?
  • Do you feel forced to labor emotionally? What would happen if you stopped?
  • Who in your life reciprocates your level of emotional labor?

Leave a comment below!

To read my fiction, serially published free every week, go here:

Losing Touch

My work team and I are always on the lookout for new ways to work with our pool patrons. We look for new moves and songs for water exercise classes and new ideas for working with swim lesson kids.

A few weeks ago, a team member remembered an old book she’d seen titled The New Games Book. She remembered it as a resource for non-competitive games focused on play and teamwork rather than winning and losing, and we wondered if we could adapt some of the games to the water. I was interested, as I’m notoriously noncompetitive, to the point where a competition of any kind feels traumatic. Fortunately, we have a local librarian as a pool patron; she found a copy of the book. The copyright is 1976. The Dark Ages.

It is indeed filled with a variety of games, as well as black-and-white photos of people playing.

People playing. People in parks and other common outdoor areas, people of all ages, laughing, smiling, playing, and … touching. Dogs, too. It was like looking at a different world. I paged through the book, marveling, feeling sad about how much we seem to have lost. In the end, we concluded we couldn’t adapt any of the games to the water because they all involve touching.

We can’t adapt noncompetitive, team and community-building games for kids from this book because they all involve touching. It seems unbelievable.

I don’t blame the pandemic. It didn’t help matters, for sure, but social physical contact began to diminish before that. We’ve been gradually turning away from each other to look at screens for decades now, and as that’s happened social touch has become vilified.

When was the last time you went to the park to walk your dog (or just yourself), maybe with your kid(s), your mate, or a friend, met other people from your neighborhood there, and you all (dogs, too) played a silly game, or even something like frisbee?

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Yeah. Me, too.

People play video games online together. My sons do that, one in Colorado and one in Montana. They’ve been doing it for years, even when they both lived in Colorado and could have gone to the park together.

Culturally speaking, we’ve never dealt well with touch. How could we in the context of patriarchy and rape culture? I’ve been raped, and I’ve been hit. I knew it wasn’t okay for a man to hit me, but at least it was some kind of touch. Believe me, I know how terrible that sounds, but I have always been so skin hungry because of infancy and childhood touch deprivation, even getting hit was better than no touch at all. It made me feel real. Blood and bruising are real. It made me feel alive – for a moment.

Can any of us be fully healthy without appropriate social touch? I know I can’t.

I have several friends who are uncomfortable with touch. Two were raised in the Catholic church, a fine patriarchal and shame-based system. One was sexually abused as a child.

Social touch is so complicated. How do we mandate appropriate touch? What do we do with adults who believe nonconsensual sexual contact with children is healthy and natural? How do we address boundaries, self-respect, sexuality, and family planning? What do we do about rape? How do we protect children whose parents believe physical abuse is the best way to discipline them? How do we know when it’s safe to touch someone and when it’s not? How do we incorporate the idea of consent back into our lives?

Now AI looms over us. Every day I read predictions about its influence, about those who are experimenting with it. I hear from people who predict AI is the end of all creative culture and people who believe it will support and nourish creativity.

One thing I know: No technological immersive experience, no matter how well crafted or engineered, can replace living, breathing physical interaction. Physical intimacy (not just talking about sex) is sensual – it involves all our senses, including the marvelous, taken-for-granted organ we call our skin. Human physicality is not a sterile algorithm. It’s not a porn film. It’s not filtered, airbrushed, photoshopped. A human being is a mass of contradictions, of scents, sounds, and textures. We’re unpredictable. We’re illogical. We’re beautiful and hideous, sacred and profane. Interacting in healthy, useful ways with other humans is challenging, offensive, and often dangerous. Also hilarious, fascinating and, increasingly, necessary if we want to survive. Human relationships are not fairytales, rom coms, TikTok videos, or roleplaying games.

Photo by Liane Metzler on Unsplash

I don’t believe we can make a substitute for human touch. Our bodies and perhaps our souls cannot thrive without it. Yet we are steadily eroding our ability to exchange or even recognize healthy touch, to the extent that the documented behavior of one of our most powerful political influencers is a clear demonstration of rape culture in action, and his followers, many in the top tiers of power, either don’t care or actively support his misogyny.

Touch, like climate, like food, like political systems, is unbelievably complex. At the same time, we must have a planet that supports our physical needs, we must eat to live, and unless we’re the last person on the planet we must figure out how to make decisions with others. If we don’t do those things, our species will die. Life and death as a binary are not complex at all.

If we lose touch, how much meaning, pleasure, and health will we lose from our lives? As our ability and willingness to exchange appropriate touch diminishes, are we healthier and better connected or increasingly divided and unhealthy? Note the present mental health crisis among young people. Most agree enforced isolation during the pandemic did not support our social needs, especially the health and development of children. At the same time, we deliberately and cheerfully offer ourselves every day to technology that actively and purposefully isolates us from living, breathing, face-to-face interaction with the physical world and other people without even noticing.

When I try to imagine a world without the feel of my cats, the earth and plants outside my window, supple bread dough rising in its greased bowl, the laptop keys under my fingers, a cup of hot tea between my hands, cool water against my body as I swim, the energetic little bodies of children I teach to swim, and all the other countless things I touch each day, I can’t. I don’t want to. My brain might be fooled by an immersive AI experience, but it’s hard to believe my body could ever be nourished and satisfied by one.

As I was thinking about this post, I came across an essay from a poet I follow on Substack, Anagha Smrithi, titled “In the Age of AI, Poetry Matters More Than Ever.” In it, she wrote:

“Our hands need something to hold onto. Our fingers need something to touch.”

I’m glad it’s not just me who values touch.


  • How do you feel overall about human touch?
  • Who in your life are you able to exchange healthy touch with?
  • Do you prefer your social life to be online or in person?
  • What’s a favorite tactile sensation or texture?

Leave a comment below!

To read my fiction, serially published free every week, go here:

Group Decision Making, A.K.A. Politics

I’ve always said I hate politics. In hindsight, what I was really expressing was discomfort with divisiveness and conflict, lies and deceits and power games. Talking about politics feels like pinning Jello to the wall. People throw labels and jargon around. Terms are not defined and agreed upon. True intent is obfuscated. Actions and words don’t line up. Contempt and outrage rule.

The last eight years have been brutal in the political arena. I have an internal list of words that send me into immediate flight from conversations and interactions. If I can’t flee, for example if I’m at work, I put on a neutral face and withdraw, leaving a robot to carry on until the subject has changed to vacations, or family, or gardening, or even the same personal health stories I’ve heard from patients and patrons many times before. Anything but politics.

Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash

Yet everything feels politically charged right now. Every aspect of our culture, our basic needs, our planet, our economics, our bodies and our minds, winds up in an increasingly bleak morass of hatred, violence, fear, isolation, and manufactured confusion.

Interestingly, in my own fictional work, I’ve been stuck for some time in writing about a small egalitarian community whose harmony is disrupted by a member who actively seeks more power. The de facto leader, a woman, doesn’t know how to combat this aggression because I don’t know how to combat it!

Last winter my partner talked with me about a video series he’d found on YouTube called What is Politics? Before he was finished talking I was shaking my head. I wanted nothing to do with it. The words and terms are meaningless. It’s all just hate. It’s impossible to talk sensibly about and I don’t want to know more than I know; I don’t want to wander around in a toxic wasteland during my free time. Besides, I want to read, not listen to and watch YouTube.

(Yes, I am a bit of a snob that way.)

My partner sent me a link anyway. He’s persistent like that. I was duly annoyed. For some reason, I didn’t delete the link. One day when nothing in particular was going on I clicked through and watched it.

Irritatingly, I was impressed. The presenter (I think his name is Daniel) is smart, by which I mean he’s incredibly knowledgeable, well read, well spoken, and he’s a synthesist. He understands complexity. He has a sense of humor. He was not hateful and he did not speak in jargon. He pushed no ideology. He defined every single term he used. In fact, the very first thing he did was define politics as “anything related to decision making in groups.”

That simple, clear definition hooked me. I saw at once that politics are everywhere because politics are everywhere. My perspective widened from our current shameful global and national politics to include home, school, work, and neighborhoods. When two or more people are together anytime, anywhere, politics are in play. My resistance dissolved. I wanted to learn more. I sensed I was on the edge of figuring out how to solve my creative fictional dilemma.

My partner sent all the links to the video series and I settled down to go through the videos, one at a time. I use a split screen, taking notes on one side and watching the video on the other.

Politics is about power, the power to make decisions. It’s ridiculously simple. Without understanding it, I’ve been writing about politics for eight years on this blog as I explore choice and personal power. Power is something we all need to understand and master; it’s the cornerstone of emotional intelligence and living effectively.

This series has been the most valuable piece of learning I’ve engaged with since I learned emotional intelligence, more than ten years ago. I understand now why I’ve never been able to get a handle on politics, and why I’ve been so repulsed by the whole subject. Subconsciously, I’ve recognized the language games and manipulations, and I won’t deal in language games and manipulations. I don’t trust ideology, including my own. I don’t trust “news.” I don’t trust all the “worbs,” Daniel’s term for meaningless language no one defines clearly and correctly. Just about the only thing I do trust is that following the money behind every ideology, whether it be food, climate, aspects of gender and sexuality, geopolitics, religion, or elections, invariably uncovers corruption and reveals the puppet masters.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

And we are the puppets. Nicely divided along manufactured lines. Emotionally manipulated into defensiveness, distrust, hate, and fear so any kind of unity against the powerful elites who have a stranglehold on the vast majority of wealth and decision-making becomes increasingly improbable. The economic inequality most of us stagger under, the thing we all have in common, cannot be clearly seen because we’re captivated by a thousand tempting but ultimately meaningless ways to hate and fear one another.

That’s just the way the people at the top of the hierarchy want it. We’re good little “patriots,” incapable of unifying.

I don’t usually choose willful ignorance. It’s not a useful choice, but until now I hadn’t found a clear, concise, pragmatic way to become educated about political terminology and history. I’ve never before recommended a video series. I hope you will check out What is Politics.


  • What are your current reactions to the subject of politics?
  • What aspect of politics do you find particularly troublesome or uncomfortable?
  • Do you feel more or less connected to family, friends, neighbors, and community than you did ten years ago?
  • Would you prefer to live in a political context of economic equality or economic hierarchy (our current state)?

Leave a comment below!

To read my fiction, serially published free every week, go here: