A Drop Becomes a Ripple Becoming a Wave

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

I was commenting on a friend’s Facebook post today, trying to put across the message that we need a little more positivity in the world and how positivity catches hold, just like negativity, if we let it.

So, here’s the deal. (Yes, I’m on the soap box again.)  I don’t post negative stuff on Facebook, or this blog for that matter. It’s a conscious choice. I decided that what I put out into the world will try to be positive and beautiful and kind. Not to say I’m not aware of the myriad of things about this country, the world, the way things are politically and spiritually and environmentally, etc., etc., etc., and on, and on, and on, that could be changed. Or frankly, need to be changed. I know there are issues. I know there are things that are wrong. I know we all have varying ideas about what those things are. I’m aware. I just choose, being the person I am on the this planet, to only put out positive energy. At least, that’s what I strive to do.

Here’s why. There’s enough bullshit out there already. There’s enough opinion and doomsday predictions and nasty words and accusations and scare tactics and bullying behavior and finger-pointing and hurtfulness to fill pages and pages for years and years. Frankly, it doesn’t really solve anything, or do us any good. It’s divisive and has about as much impact as spitting in the wind.

I believe in what comes around goes around, do unto others, being kind to our fellow humans and the planet, what you put out you get back 10 fold, I believe in being the change I wish to see in the world. And the change I wish to see in the world is that we all become kinder, gentler, less judging, more helpful, less greedy, not as self-centered, nicer versions of ourselves. We can choose to look at all that’s wrong, pointing fingers and shouting doomsday predictions, or we can look at what’s right, and build on that. We can try for understanding and compassion instead of accusations and tearing people down. Ideas, even if they aren’t yours or mine, are all valid.   None of us have all the answers. Which brings me to the thought that a little less arrogance would also be in order. Thinking we have all the answers is the first step to not getting any worthwhile answers at all. And believing we know, without a doubt, what’s best for our neighbors, our towns, our country, or the world, is crazy thinking.  Just sayin’.  No one knows everything, and the moment we start to think we do, we’ve cut off our nose to spite our face. We can only try our best, try to evolve with our problems, and try to respect each other. We all, whoever we are, deserve at least some modicum of respect. As human beings with feelings if nothing else.

So, I know there’s a lot going on in the world.  I know some of it isn’t good.  I know some of it needs to be changed.  But, I also know that there’s beauty and light and love and kindness and compassion and gentleness and giving and loving and respecting and grace out there.  People are, generally, good.  Most of us want the same things in life.  Most of us want not only ourselves but our fellow humans to be well, to be happy, to be fulfilled and to have joy.  Most of us are good people doing the best we can to get by, to have a life, to make a better future for our children and grandchildren.  We are more alike than we aren’t.

Like I used to tell the kids I worked with, “use your powers (and there are many) for good, not evil”.  You have a choice.  I choose to try to emphasize the love and beauty and light and joy in the world.  Not to say my way is better than any other way, but it’s my way, and this is my blog.  This is the best way for me.  It helps to remind me, every day, that there are good people out there and good things happening.  It helps me remember that we are more the same than different and that there’s so much creativity and goodness in the world.  If I seek out the positive, I find it.

I think of it like this… a drop of light creates a ripple of kindness, which leads to waves of joy and compassion and understanding that flow out well beyond where that one drop started.  Just think what would happen if we all got together and tried compassion and understanding and joy for change.  Think of what could happen.  Think of the huge wonderful waves that shared energy would create.  Think of how beautiful that would be.

 

On Being Better People, One Film at a Time

I have always struggled to articulate what it is about film that appeals to me so much, what it is that moves me about the movie going experience. I have always loved movies. From a very young age I’ve found the stories told by others to be wonderful, and silly, and profound, and touching, and exhilarating. Story telling, of any kind really, has been something very important in my life.

This year, during Ebertfest, a short trailer was shown before each movie. It was the same trailer every time which is, in my experience, common for the festival, but this year’s trailer struck a chord for me, every time. I was moved by his words and found and understanding there. This is one of the best, if not the best, explanations about what going to a movie, or watching one at home for that matter, can do for us as people. Listening to the stories of others opens the world in ways we can’t possibly imagine. It broadens and enlightens, provides connection and commonality.

Here is the clip. The transcript of the speech is below.

Ebertfest Trailer 2014 from Michael Mirasol on Vimeo.

“One of the marks of civilization is to be able to somehow step outside your own mind and your own experience and understand what it is like to be a person of another race, another age, another gender, another nationality. To have different physical capabilities, to have different beliefs. And when I go to the movies, I have an out of the body experience. If a movie is working for me to some degree I am that person on the screen, I forget my social security number, I don’t know where I parked the car, I am having vicariously an experience that happened to someone else, and that makes me a better person, or it can make me a better person. And I sincerely believe that to see good films and to see important films is one of the most profoundly civilizing experiences that we can have as people.” – Roger Ebert

What Makes a Marriage

I’m married.  At least K and I feel we’re married.  We’ve already had two marriage “ceremonies”.  One on a beach in Maui, just the two of us, words spoken, rings exchanged, sand ceremony, poetry read, and lots of love.  We consider that one our real marriage ceremony.  It might not, technically, have been legal, but it was sincere, honest, and full of love.  It had everything, everything we needed and wanted anyway.  It was beautiful, and perfect.  The second, not actually a ceremony, was when I walked into the courthouse, paid the filing fee, and left with a domestic partnership certificate for the two of us.  We had to certify that we’d lived together for a certain length of time, by then we’d been together for a few years.

Now, nearly 11 years later, we’re living in Illinois, not Oregon, and in June, when the Illinois marriage law takes effect, we can, once again, get married.  We find this funny by the way.  Not funny that we’ve had to wait for marriage or hope for marriage or long for equality, but funny that this will be our third time.  We joke that maybe this time it will stick.  One can only hope.

All of this has me thinking.  What makes a marriage?

In June we will take our domestic partnership certificate in to the courthouse here in Illinois and exchange it for a marriage license.  They will back date our marriage license to the date we got our domestic partnership, which is great.  It means we will be considered legally married from that date, which was like, oh, six or seven years ago.  I can’t remember.  It wasn’t THE marriage so we honestly don’t even know the date we did it.  I’m sure it says on the certificate.  And, suddenly, miraculously, we will be, after all these years, legally married.

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The thing is, we are already married.  When we made those vows to each other on that beach in Maui, we meant them.  We didn’t need someone else to sanction it, or tell us it was OK.  We just needed to hear from each other that we loved and were loved in return.

So what’s the big deal about legal.  Well, it is a big deal.  Not so much to us, or to our friends and family who I think all consider us already married as well.  It’s a big deal because we will be protected under the law.  The taxes we pay will, finally, be used to our benefit, and we won’t be paying for other people to enjoy freedoms and benefits that to this point we weren’t allowed.  We will be the same.

The same.  That’s the thing, really.  We are the same as everyone else.  I know I’ve said this before.  We laugh, we love, we have friends and go to family functions with both sides of our families.  We work and do the dishes and go out to dinner and clean our bathrooms and mow our lawn.  We vacation, collecting heart rocks on every trip, take our dogs to the groomer, and go to the movies.  We babysit our grandchildren and buy organic food and go on bike rides.  We live.  We live and yet we’ve always felt just a little bit separate.  We’ve been made to feel separate. We’ve been told we are less than.  We aren’t.  But this is why gay groups have sprung up and gay people have banded together and held each others hands and been out and proud to be out.  We’ve had to. We’ve had to in order to feel what community feels like, since the larger community has shunned and pushed us away for so long.

And now… now we will be the same.  Still ridiculed and feared in same places, by some people, but the same legally.  We will, finally, be included, be part of the larger crowd.  We will be, honestly, the same.  Which is all we’ve ever wanted.  To continue to live normal lives and instead of being gay Tam, I’ll be Tam.  I’ll be Tam and K will be K and we will be married.  Married just like my Mom was married and my grandparents were married and K’s parents are married.

We will be married.  A piece of paper does not make a marriage, but it sure makes a marriage a legal, tangible, and a real thing in the eyes of the law.  It makes it real in the eyes of the community at large, even those who would still try to deny us.  What has, and will always be, real and true to us, will be real and true to our larger community.

Wow.

Whoever Saves One Life, Saves the World Entire

Towering

Towering (Photo credit: Tj Parker Photography)

 

 

 

 

For this reason man was created alone, to teach you that whoever destroys a single soul, he is guilty as though he had destroyed a complete world; and whoever preserves a single soul, it is as though he had preserved a whole world.

— Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a

 

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Olympics Commentary, Our Way (Part 2)

Here it is, just what you’ve been waiting for, the second installment of Olympics Commentary, done our way.  Enjoy!

Speed Skating – Men’s 1000 

Shmeegle wins!  No he didn’t, he came in third.  No, he was first. No he wasn’t.  Yes.  Oh, time correction, he’s second.  He had been first.  That’s what I said.  Oh, I thought he was third and the brothers were one and two.  No.  I was confused.  Yes, you were.

Short Track Speed Skating

I love that Apolo is doing commentary.  He knows so much about the sport.  Yeah, and he’s good at it.  He is.

It’s short track, one of your favorite events.  This is crazy.  It’s bedlam out there.  Anything can happen.  Skill and luck have to combine perfectly all at this one moment in order for them to win a medal.

Ooooo, was he touched?  No.  He didn’t medal.  Sad.  Viktor Ahn, formerly a Korea member, is now skating for Russia.  He is?  Yes.  He got the bronze.

Women’s Curling

Want to watch curling?  Women’s?  No.  Ha ha ha!  OK.

Women’s Super Combined

Did you see her face?  She’s so relaxed.  Uh huh. I would look like this (grimacing and clenching teeth).  Ha ha!

I can’t even snow plow.  Ha ha ha!

I can’t believe how relaxed she looks.  They are going like 80 miles per hour.

What are you looking at on your iPad?  Just reading.  Yes, what are you reading?  Just some article on the market.  OK.  By the time you have to fly to Atlanta next week you will be so grateful to watch something else on TV besides the Olympics wont’ you?  Huh?

Now they are on the second part of the event.  Looks bumpy.

Now look at her face, she’s concentrating so hard.  Bug eyed.  Yes.  Focused.

Is she going to do it?  YES.  Awesome.  Her fourth Olympics.  Cool.

 Men’s Moguls

That’s so sweet.  That just made me cry.  So touching.  His relationship with his brother is awesome.

Oh, it’s this again.  It’s the men’s final.

Oh look, American Idol is on.  Let’s watch it.  OK. We are recording, we can come back to the Olympics.

… after American Idol.

Two Man Luge

They go down together, on one sled.

Women’s Halfpipe

Drop in.

Ooooo… that looked bad.  She’s out.

I love that shot.  Up high like that?  Yeah, it’s what they see.  Look at that.  So cool.

Listen to Weston snoring.  He’s dreaming.

Is this almost over?  It’s 11:00.  Yes.  This is the last event.  Good, it’s bedtime.

Ouch.  That hurts. That was a bad fall.

That was a big yawn.  I’m sleepy.

Men’s Speed Skating – 1500

Look at their thighs.  Wow.

I want to see the Luther twins.  You mean Muhler?  Yeah, I want to see the Muhler twins.  Luther Muhler Muhler Luther.  Oh, it’s Mulder.

He looks pained.  Oh man.

Where’s that photo of us speed skating in Lake Placid?  ha ha ha!  Oh yeah.  Let me go look.  Here’s the one of you.  Ha ha ha!  I’m posting it.

Here’s the guy.  Shani Davis.  He looks like he’s slowing.  Oh no, he’s not even going to medal.

Sochi-Olympics-NBC-2014-Images-540x303

Women’s Downhill

Ooooooo.  That’s gotta hurt.  Is she USA?  No.  These women are unbelievable.  That was terrible.

If you crashed on this course how could you even ski it again.  I’d be terrified.  I don’t know.  They are flying.

Look how steep that is. Wow. Ew.

I love the people in the start gate who are yelling at them.  Uh huh.

Speed Skating – Women’s 1000

I love this chocolate pudding with the toasted coconut.  Tastes like an almond joy.

Women’s Skeleton

Look at the bird.  Isn’t that cool?  Yes, that is cool.

Head first.  Man, that’s fast.

Nickotina?  Nickotna.

The butter on the toast?  My honey loves that analogy.  Butter on the toast.  I do.

One curve at a time.

Men’s Ski Slopestyle

I wonder if he will tap the doll?  Nope.

He has poles.  That first guy didn’t.  He has time to adjust his jacket.  Ha ha!  Yes he does.  Wow, that was huge.

… hums the Olympic theme

He cracked the egg.  Where is he from?  France.  With his dreads and huge clothes.  He will have scrambled egg.  Wait, he’s from Sweden.

Oh, he landed backwards.  OH, c’mon dude, make it.  He did.  He landed backwards again.  He’s an American dude.  That was very good.  He’s number one.  By a lot.

Nice stretch.  Sometimes a woman just has to stretch.

He touched the doll.  He did?  Yes.  I didn’t see it.  Rewind.  Yep.  He touched the matryoshka doll.  What is a matryoshka doll anyway?  I’m looking it up.  Oh, it’s one of those nesting dolls.  That must be their actual name.  Who knew.  Hmmm.

There’s big pants.  I wonder why he wears those big clothes.  More comfy I guess.  How could they be more comfy, look at how they sag down like that.

Don’t be so excited honey.

Nose butter?  Did he just say nose butter?  Yes.  What is that?  I have no idea.  His pants are falling off.  He has straps.

He’s the dog lover.  He has taken all these twitter pics of himself with stray dogs in Sochi.  He’s paying to get some vaccinated.  I love the dog lover.

Muting TV and yelling to K upstairs… Huh?  I didn’t say anything.  Oh, OK.

There’s the little dude.  He says, give me a joint and I’ll go down.  Ha ha ha!  Oh, dude, that was amazing.  He could be a pants model.

He’s not in the top 8.  Why?  Because he’s short.  They take off points for being short.  No they don’t.

Ooooooo!  That was awesome.  Watch him land.  That was so perfect.  Look at that happiness.

Different rails have different points.  I don’t know if tap the doll is more points or if it’s an easy one.  That was a pretty big backseat right there.  Honey, you know the lingo.  He looks like a girl. Don’t be sexist.  I’m not, look at him, he looks girlish.  OK, you’re right.  He does look like a girl.  See.

The U.S. Sweeps.

Men’s Figure Skating Short Program

Oh no, he had to withdraw.  He’s in pain.

Ooooo.  Wow.  He crashed into the wall.  He’s going to get up and finish.  Wow.  That was a terrible fall.  That was.  Ouch.  That didn’t feel good at all.

Nice pony tail.

He waves goodbye, smiling.  And then goes to have surgery.  Ha ha ha!

They have a lot of different things they wear.  Yeah, it’s the swag.  They get all of it when they make the team.  It’s a lot, this coat, those pants when they ski, that sweater from the opening ceremonies, and pajamas.  ha ha ha!!  They probably have pajamas with a drop seat.  It is Russia.  It’s cold.  ha ha ha!!