Friday, December 31, 2010

OPINION: The Government is Just Plain Embarrassing

Magdalena Potluck
By Margaret Wiltshire

We are not victims. We are the US in USA. We have never been perfect but we have always been worthwhile. Shock and Awe isn’t just a military experience. No matter what your politics are or have been, chances are our government has embarrassed you sometime in the past few years.
We let things slip by in Washington for decades so we are responsible, as well. We’ve been enjoying the kinds of comfort that are just not good for you, or anyone.
While 9/11 First Responders waited almost a decade for a real thank you, our government began two wars killing many more of US. Even in 2010 our government had such little respect for those who represent the best of US that they held their health care hostage right up to the holidays.  
There are some miserable souls in this world. Their goal is to make someone else miserable. It’s a lack of power they feel and have to deny to others. They are bullies. Bullies can be found anywhere from playgrounds to government offices and everywhere in between. 
Unfortunately there is often – not always, but often – a real trickle down effect. Yes, and one that works. Abusers create abusers and one street gang creates another. Tit for tat.
I guess we showed Saddam Hussein who can commit war crimes and who can’t; who can use weapons of mass destruction and who can’t. The Nuremberg War Crime Trials once got our full support, and so did our manufacturing. Times change, bullies don’t.
We are not the first people to have a government go sour on them. We can survive.
We knew in the beginning that a government would not represent individuals individually. What we demanded was that they respect us individually.
Later, we agreed to pay taxes for state and federal services. We hire these people to service us. Now they’ve got a better offer from multinationals. I am not going to wander through this maze. I just want to suggest that honing our survival skills might be a good idea.
First, decide and commit to survival. Second, become aware of your surroundings and situation. Do that without lying to yourself or getting overly emotional. This is not the time for wishing or feeling, it is a time to be objective. The ego is not a great help here. This is true in battle, it’s true in a VA hospital and in a cancer ward.  It’s true at the kitchen table with the bills in front of you. It’s true in a job hunt. Wishing, hoping, begging, and self-deceit will work against you. Know what your problem is and know what you are. These are tools.
Be curious. Situations may be similar but never forget they are always unique. Be fully aware of the now, this situation, this moment. Knowledge or intel is a tool.
Be flexible. Consider all possibilities. Surviving often means forgetting about rules. Holding on to patterns, habits, traditions and personal values and bias may bury you. Be willing to break some rules, even or especially if you wrote them.
Surviving is not about the ego. Keep the ego for R and R or at least ‘til you get to a safe place and you can say, “Did I just survive that.” (That’s not a question, that’s an assertion.)
Look at your take on a situation, up, down and sideways, as if you were evaluating someone else’s idea.  This is where being partisan can do you in.
If you can’t look at courses of action from every angle it can be worse than tunnel vision. The other person might have a good idea, if you can’t see it, you lose.
When in doubt, trust your gut. Einstein said, “The only valuable thing is intuition.” It’s because your mind and body want you to survive and all you have to do is ask, and listen. Don’t wait for a traumatic event, practice, practice, practice. It’s like fry bread, you’ve got to get a feel for it. If your gut is tough and tight, you are not there yet.

Here’s to your Health
You are what you eat.  If you are eating, you are alive and need to keep moving. Your health is your real social class, as in, you are as good as you feel. Sometimes we need help but help works better if we help ourselves as well.
Good for you food is not boring. White flour and white sugar are boring. I know I’m suppose to say that about white rice too, but just can’t bring myself to say it. I love white rice; I’m not eating it anymore (not very often).
Seriously, if you haven’t found a way to eat your vegetables, keep looking. We now have access to recipes from all around the world. Explore. The truth remains that most veggies are best pretty much as is. Some need a little cooking.
We nurturing adults are weird with our offspring. When they are at an age when they believe everything we say (2 to 5), we teach them to not like vegetables and to prefer junk food. Like, if you eat your vegetables, you can have soda, dessert, whatever later. We don’t count the wisecracks we make about vegetables. Like, I’m President now; I don’t have to eat broccoli.
I experimented with my daughters. I was excited when I put vegetables on the table. When I offered dessert, soda, I said nothing.
My first born just turned 41 and never wanted – or would accept – a birthday cake and still won’t drink soda. This complicated sleepovers.
There are well over a hundred foods, herbs and spices that are good for you. Many are believed to be life extenders and to fight disease.   
Tomatoes are full of lycopene, an antioxidant that mops up free radicals. Cooking actually concentrates the nutrient. Tomatoes are believed to reduce the risk of lung, colon, breast, cervic and mouth cancers. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, men who ate 10 servings of tomato-based foods weekly slashed their risk of prostate cancer by 45 percent.
Check out the website It has a wonderful article titled “Cancer Fighting Foods/Spices”. Avocados, chile peppers and jalapeƱos are listed. This is the website of The Cancer Cure Foundation. Its extensive list of foods and descriptions will be familiar to many of you, but I’ll bet you’ll find a few surprises, too.
Many like to be macho about foods that are good for you and laugh them off. My baby brother (he’s 60) has been one. His idea of eating at a golden age has been to eat as often as possible at the golden arches. He’s been having small heart attacks in the last few years; a few days before Christmas he had another. When he got to the VA hospital they discovered that he also has leukemia. Now he has a two against one battle on his hands. Good food is nothing to laugh off.
In my family, four people have battled cancer in the last few generations. Two were smokers. All four avoided vegetables and would decline a cup of tea.

Love is a verb; Happiness is a choice
You can’t buy them, inherit them, own and possess them. That only leads to flirtations. You can’t expect them. You can’t match up with them like matching clothes. You can only do them and that’s a trip.
If you think you are giving out a lot of love and not getting any and your miserable, then you are working on bad intelligence (about the situation). Love and happiness are important to our survival. It’s not treason to be objective about ourselves and our others.
Happiness and love are wonderful motivators. The best part is they are always available. Having a sexual partner may not be always available. Having someone to share responsibilities and income may not always be available. Love and happiness, they are always available.
“Find somebody to love”, that’s how a song went and it is not that hard. Love is an ability, an action. It’s a matter of use it or lose it.
If you are available, perhaps lonely, don’t go without. We have a universe and planet full of things to love.  Open your eyes; be in the now, this moment.  Not only are you pretty neat but you are surrounded by neat people, plants and animals. Develop a relationship with good foods, good ideas and this good earth, and don’t forget music.
People say, “I see other people are so happy and it makes me so sad and lonely.” Drop the jealousy.  Jealous people are into power, not love.
See happiness and be delighted. See sadness and be concerned. See a respectful caring love and be moved.  Be there. Choose to join this universal group. You’ll be delighted at how much company you’ll find just waiting for you.
Disclaimer: I’m not a professional on any of this. I often think of myself as a slow learner and even slower practitioner. Everything I write is OK’d by me on a gut level. I have learned to love my intuition.
New Year Promise: I saw this tag at the end of an e-mail: Don’t dream it, do it. I’ve decided that’s my “byline” for this coming year.
Yes! Magdalena’s Recycling! Contact Laurie Ware at 575-854-2529, or e-mail for the details. A tip of my hat to Laurie and friends, who have worked so hard to make this happen. 

Know a way to get problems solved? Write me at

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