Browsing through my Facebook feed this morning, I noticed a little pattern starting to develop. A story on Donnie. A story on how Donnie’s supporters reacted to the Declaration of Independence being tweeted out by NPR. A story on how world leaders are reacting to the G20 summit. In other words, much like the Brady Bunch manta – politics, politics, politics. I like to read about politics from time to time, but really there seems to be no end to it. And Facebook’s news feed algorithms certainly seem to emphasis this. Either that, or my Facebook friends are so ate up over politics, that they seemingly cannot post about anything else. A statement that I know isn’t true.
So, a few minutes ago, a I posted the following status update for myself….
So…let’s ditch the politics to the side for the time being….anything that is catching your eye for the moment?
Like, what are you reading, if anything?? I’m currently reading a historical opinion text on the “Troubles” of Northern Ireland. I’d started this book some time back, and then had set it aside. Now, I am picking it up again, and continuing on. I’m always fascinated by historical perspectives – particularly those that touch on a story line that I remember pieces of from my youth.
Or perhaps music?? Currently, I am listening to Dead & Company shows from the last two years. I am quite fascinated by how John Mayer’s guitar playing and singing has evolved over the last two years.
The idea is to get people to talk about the stuff that they are enjoying in their lives. You know, using Facebook for more than just being a political activist. And there’s nothing wrong with being a political activist, but I like the idea of Facebook as an environment where we can share what we are doing, and what we are exploring and experiencing in our lives. You know, instead of just a place where we can bitch and moan about the President of the United States or whatever politician who seems to have wandered into our political cross-hairs for whatever reason.
Everyone knows my love for the Grateful Dead and the various derivatives that exist. Currently, I am exploring the past two year’s of concerts of Dead & Company. Their music makes me chair-dance and sing along, as well as becoming melancholy about aspects of my adventure called “life” against the backdrop of scenery painted by the lyrics of Hunter, Garcia, Weir, and many others. Much of their music is a pick-me-up tonic for the beat-down that I get in daily mundane life. Plus, finding out that people like Senator Al Franken are dead-heads too, and listening to their shared memories of life experiences with the Grateful Dead as a backdrop make me smile. Its a helpful reminder to me that my tribe is much more than just Pagans….its people. We have our differences, but we all live here together. If we could only get a lot more folks to understand the “Be Kind to One Another” mantra that Mickey Hart speak so often of….what a world it would be.
…and then there’s reading. I have slacked off on my book reading. So much so that I have two shelves of physical books on my to-read list, along with a majorly longer list on the Kindle app on the iPad to read. David McKittrick and David McVea’s “Making Sense of the Troubles” is my first stop. Well, actually its my third. I picked up John Beckett’s “The Path of Paganism” first, and followed that on with Rachel Patterson’s magnificent “The Art of Ritual”. But I have a major ton of pagan books on the to-read list, and a handful of History texts as well…so I am trying my best to intersperse the two topics – so that I don’t burn out too much on reading. I used to read at least 50 pages a night. Now, I’m lucky if I read 50 pages in a week…and a lot of that comes from being tied to the computer on a daily basis. So I am undertaking the process of making time away from the computer (and away from the TV) to read. Essentially to rediscover my first love for my imagination and my knowledge. At this point, I am just starting back…but am loving every second of it.
The point with the Facebook post was to take a break from politics, from the barrage of news story after new story that gets shared and passed around that decries the end of the social experiment that we call Democracy. Sure, the politics stuff can be important, but keeping our foundations of what we are is just as important – if not more so. Our foundations of who we are, what we are, how we are — that’s what helps us to keep our sanity in a world that is seemingly spinning out of control. For me, the music let’s me focus my mind on topics that I am thinking about…the reading entertains me, educates me, and allows my imagination to stretch its legs from time to time (all dependent on what I am reading at the time). My polytheistic self reminds me that the Gods and Goddesses are real and part of the existence to which I am connected with. My Paganism brings me closer to people that I count as tribe, family, relations that matter. And all of that added together, with a lot of other things I am leaving out, provides me with the assurance that each day begins a new step on the adventure I call Life. And that each step brings new experiences, new lessons, new friends – and its all relevant to who I am, what I am, and how I am – regardless of the politics that seem to creep into daily life.