A day without (white) women? Part 2


My language…
Thank you to Tiokasin Ghosthorse for giving me words for a very specific experience. I find that I am creating pain as I am stuck between the tools of the Dominator culture I was born into and the Relational Way Of Being that I strive towards.
 I really DID mean it as a “tough love” note (my blog “A DAY Without (Jewish) Women-Really?”).
I am finding it easier to apologize, than to ask permission.
And, I remain confused and challenged by the triggers/disconnects and responses I receive as I attempt to grow my Baby Elder self into a thoughtful social commentator that writes evocatively…
NOT provocatively.
And, I will continue to use Robin D’Angelo’s white fragility scale to check in on how much of this is “me” and how much if it (might be? in some Universe somewhere???) “other”.
Calling out privileged identities is hard work.
Calling out terrorized privileged identities was surprisingly challenging, and has left me with a Total Truth reality check that burns in my throat, corrosively…
Behind the big response that I have received (see comments listed at the end of my last blog for a total of over THREE THOUSAND WORDS) from two Newly White sistars, there is no way in Hell I will move forward and attempt to engage the two “older white” communities of women I hoped to query:
#1. Protestants  (who claimed to be my allies through their historical Association as abolitionists)…
#2. Catholics of Irish and Italian descent (the Irish being so unfathomable to Sigmund Freud by urban legend that Freud was quoted as saying, ‘This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever’ when referring to the Irish. However, as the Freud Museum in London points out, there is no actual evidence that Freud ever said this statement though it is mentioned in the film “The Departed.”)
And, I will let my sistar’s stew…
in a review…
of what white fragility can do–
When it shows-up
“Outta the BLUE”
(points that seem relevant to this conversation to me I have highlighted and Bolded):
In this case, the identity–rather than “white” I name “newly white TERRORIZED individual”:
Challenges to this identity become highly stressful and even intolerable. The following are examples of the kinds of challenges that trigger racial stress for white people:
Seven of her ten points seem relevant.
2. People of color talking directly about their own racial perspectives (challenge to “NEWLY WHITE TERRORIZED” people taboos on talking openly about NEWLY WHITE TERRORIZED identity);
3. People of color choosing not to protect the racial feelings of NEWLY WHITE TERRORIZED people in regards to race (challenge to white racial expectations and need/entitlement to racial comfort);
5. A fellow white not providing agreement with one’s racial perspective (challenge to white solidarity) BALANCED, BY TWO SISTERS OF THIS IDENTITY BEING ABLE TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER AT LENGTH)
6. Receiving feedback that one’s behavior had a racist impact (challenge to white racial innocence)–I DIDN’T FIND YOUR WORLDVIEW AMUSING
7. Suggesting that group membership is significant (challenge to individualism) EMPHASIZES THE TERRORIZED ASPECT.
8. An acknowledgment that access is unequal between racial groups (challenge to meritocracy) IN THIS CASE, ACCESS TO COLORED MEN AND THE CONSEQUENCES–I DON’T HAVE SIMILAR “PERKS” my sex across racial lines carried the brass ring of “light-skinned/can PASS for White children”. It has generated more contempt than empathy and admiration (what I see, when white women and colored men connect).
9. Being presented with a person of color in a position of leadership (challenge to white authority); I HAD THE CHUTZPAH TO TALK ABOUT A GROUP OF WHICH I AM NOT A MEMBER
Not often encountering these challenges, we  (“newly white TERRORIZED individuals) withdraw, defend, cry, argue, minimize, ignore…
(From “white fragility” by Robin DiAngelo)
I thank Spirit for providing me with such good cushions when moments like this show up in my life. I had just responded to this question on a friend’s social media site:
“Ever trigger someone so hard that they totally, permanently block you? Without trying? If you have, then you’re a Trigger Ninja. This superpower is not to be ignored. It certainly isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s worthy of honing, this skill…
it means you’re rocking your truth. It means you’re empowered. Keep on rocking it, Trigger Ninja. Notice the M.O.’s of the ones who fall away. Check that trait off of your self-improvement list, because when it leaves your life, it’s a clue that you’ve mastered it.
Another step up from Trigger Ninja, is the level of Love Transformer. But that one’s for another lesson…
<3 ~ Goddess Oceana”
 I am still honing my trigger ninja skills. I am still experiencing embarrassment and shame when my friends tell me that I have hurt them.So, mission ABORTED. 
Here’s hoping Wednesday’s “Day Without Women” is powerful and deep.
However you chose to engage. Or. Do. Not.
Posted in One billion Rising, Race Relations Commitment, Thirteeth Fairy Stories | Leave a comment

A Day Without (Jewish) WOMEN? Really?

from http://chcentralmich.com/?z=Jewish+Women ARTISIT UNKOWN

from http://chcentralmich.com/?z=Jewish+Women ARTISIT UNKOWN

Here’s an official website:


I want to believe that we can pull this one off; but my FEARS keep me cynical.

FEAR= False Evidence Appearing Real.

I am going to break this down, one ethnic/religious group at a time.

What groups out there have historically been my allies? Who has Done The Work, and truly represented as accomplices to me– an African-American slave descent woman, with some 27% of my blood from “somewhere else” that is European (most probably forced sexual interactions)?

Jewish women. NEWLY WHITE women.

Women who are curiously silent now, as The Apocalypse roars forward into it’s second month.

I am having the conversations. I am hearing the reasons. I am smelling the fear. I am aware– possibly even MORE aware than my Jewish sisters themselves–that they sit as the “we MADE IT to WHITE” group in the States who has been most recently silenced; most effectively scapegoated. And, this occurred almost within my lifetime; certainly within the lifetime of anyone 65 or over.

I am NOT speaking of The Holocaust. I am speaking of McCarthyism.

McCarthyism was not just anti-communist; it was anti-Semitic. And a Jewish woman and mother of two was made an example for all. This is documented painfully in “Heir to an Execution”, produced by Ivy Meeropol; Ethel Rosenberg’s granddaughter:


“A deeply personal, occasionally heartbreaking affair, “Heir to an Execution” paints a rich portrait of a devoted couple whose names came to symbolize Cold War hysteria…On June 19, 1953, Julius Rosenberg was electrocuted, and Ethel followed him minutes later. To the end, authorities offered Ethel Rosenberg an out, telling her she could avoid the electric chair by confessing.

800px-Julius_and_Ethel_Rosenberg_NYWTSPeople have often wondered why she did not do it for the sake of her sons, Michael Meeropol said.

“At the last minute, our father’s already dead, and what she would have had to do is make up stuff,” he said. “She would have had to say, ‘Yes, my husband was a spy,’ and then she would have had to lie and say, ‘I was, too.’ So now she goes to jail for 30 years.
Does she really take care of us that way

Does that really help take care of us?

“Her response was to stand by him and stand by that incredible commitment. And that way, as Ivy says in the film, we get to grow up respecting and loving them.”

(above from http://www.recordnet.com/article/20040122/a_life/301229993 )

Rosenberg et all familyHmmmm. That’s certainly one interpretation. The images stirred up in that documentary, of a nation waiting as this woman went to the electric chair and was electrocuted are more than haunting:

“Julius was executed first; he died after the first electric shock. Ethel’s execution did not go smoothly. After she was given the normal course of three electric shocks, attendants removed the strapping and other equipment only to have doctors determine that Ethel’s heart was still beating. Two more electric shocks were applied, and at the conclusion, eyewitnesses reported that smoke rose from her head.”

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julius_and_Ethel_Rosenberg#Execution)

Those images are TERRIFYING.

Ask yourselves, “Newly white sisters”, if you truly believe that a Catholic woman– sent to die with two adorable boys displayed before the public– would have been fried FIVE TIMES????


A Miracle Was Happening Then…

She would have been dusted off after the first or second shock, declared the Miracle That She Was, and returned to her children (possibly a little softer in the head, but we were using lots of ECT back in those days, and a 3/4 mom was probably better than no Mom at all…)

As an Inside Outsider to Christianity/Capitalism/ and The AmeriKKKan way, the layers of anti-semitism, internalized oppression (a Jewish judge did not stay the execution), and MISOGYNY are breathtaking…Soul-killing…Voice silencing.

Sure looks to me like Jewish women are suffering from a legacy pattern that still says “You Are Too Loud and we HATE you”.

Remember the DNC? Last week?

We just watched two born-Catholic MEN– one older/ one younger/ one browner/ one Blacker duke it out for control of the Democrats, with Bernie cheering them on…

Where are the women? I hear silence. And Deb Wasserman-Schultz is the current scapegoat and Every Assimilated Jewish Woman’s Nightmare because she F**ked up.

And there is  second part to that Shadow Work as I see it is that corrosively undermining to TRUST in Jewish women. That is a Dominator Culture trick that effectively divides us– women from men– within our ethnic and racial tribes. It’s an African Slave descent shadow pattern, too… The Dominator Culture makes sure that the property of the patriarchs–enslaved men– are humiliated another layer, by making certain that “the property of the property (that would be us women)” is never really, totally under control of the men.

It showed up with the Rosenbergs. I watched “Heir to an Execution” with a Jewish man, who couldn’t stomach the ending, and left. It is there, at the DNC Drama:

“Your Men will NOT Protect/witness you/support You…” Bernie has had no compassion; and he’s married to a Shiksa!

So when a Jewish friend responded to the Day Without Women idea by chuckling about how her boss “would keel over from a heart attack (if his all female staff struck his business!”  having no plan to participate THAT way), I didn’t laugh.

That is exactly the point. To collapse the system. And, when that Patriarchal system is seized up with it’s heart attack, we best be dis-entangled and far enough removed as to not Go Down Too…But we women are still too often “standing by our men” at our own expense.

If the Jewish women– the ones raised to see themselves as “prized higher than rubies” while their men daily thank God that they were not born female–WAKE UP, I see us actually Going Forward. But I wonder about an Abrahamic culture that still does not treasure The Divine Feminine, not matter what lip service it is giving to same.




Next, The Abolitionists, as represented by THE QUAKERS…




Posted in One billion Rising, Opeyemi's Mystery School, Race Relations Commitment | 13 Comments

Day 39? I JUST Can’t Toe That Line

“Toe The Line” defined…

”  ‘Toe the line’ is an idiomatic expression meaning either to conform to a rule or standard, or to stand poised at the starting line in a footrace. ”

Sure looks like I remain a nonconformist feral M.D.,  Occupy Wall Street Demonstrators

AND I am poised at the starting line of a new adventure.

Here’s what my last two weeks have been like and they have been truly “schizophrenogenic”. There is an Old Way. And, there is a New Way. They have been shimmering before me, like mirages. Which one is REAL???

As I began job hunting in Canada, I sent my “edited for CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL EXPERTISE” C.V. out. I got a challenging response from the conventional end of the medical spectrum, that left me sort of panicked. Good news: Canada has a program that allows internationally trained M.D.’s to “fast track” to work visas, if they agree to work in an underserved are for 3 years. Shades of my own medical background, with 4 years working for the National Health Service Corps. Good news, again: There was a medical practice not too far from where I will be living with my husband that was in crisis, losing all three of it’s doctors, over the next 6 months:


Bad news: I drove 45 minutes to the site, and had the most miserable exchange with the front desk receptionist. “I don’t think anything would work out…” this woman said to me (C.V. unseen). The entire place felt dark and depressing.   81121cowichanvalleycitizenclinic1.cmyk.lb

Was it my skin color? That’s not supposed to matter so much up here, right?  I took a deep breath, and kept on breathing…

Bad news:  the term that the British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons representative used with me was “you don’t have medical currency”; meaning I hadn’t practiced recently enough for them to even allow me to take the test.

They won’t even let me take the test?


Then I remembered passing a test in college before I had even taken the course (it’s along story)…/ skipping grades, in school/ pulling miracles out of my ass, repeatedly…It would be too much of an embarrassment to everyone IF I PASSED… Too “witchy” for the system!


Okay. But new anxieties arose…Oh dear, does that mean I am no longer considered “a skilled worker”? With all this life experience, AND medical expertise? I let the panic build, and begged the BCPand S representative (who named me “without currency”) to see what she could do…


2/17 /2017

Subject line: “U.S. retired M.D. who wants to work ANYWHERE”

C.V. attached.

Thank you for reviewing this (I so hope you can help me figure out ANY HEALTH RELATED EMPLOYMENT I might pursue, as I emmigrate from the U.S.

As you will see from my resume, I have spent a large part of my career supporting health services for women and children; currently mental health services, in a social service agency.

Now while this was evolving (or, devolving) here’s what was also happening.

THE NEW WAY:I make magic/ I speak truth

I followed the signs, and portents, during my two week Canadian scouting expedition. I didn’t just visit that beleaguered clinic, out in the boondocks. My ears perked up, when my (new) sister-in law mentioned apologetically “well, there’s a Women’s Health Center in  Downtown Duncan you might want to look at, but they’re VERY alternative…”

So I strolled on over from the corner cafe, the day before my marriage ceremony and chatted a bit with Amanda at the front desk of The Matraea Centre. She– unlike the Cowichan woman– was welcoming and friendly.

I left my C.V.

I got married, had a honeymoon, flew back to the States, then looked up the website.


And I cried. Tears of amazement, and of joy.

E-mail 2/27/2017

Subject line: “Here’s a copy of the letter I snail-mailed to you”

AND I began with “I believe in miracles and magic, when it comes to healing. Finding the Matraea Centre during my two week visit to British Columbia (I just married a Canuck who has been in my life for the last 12 years) was magic, to me.

This is my story.

I am a 60 year old African-American, slave descent woman, raised in the U.S. in an upper middle class environment by very artistic and bohemian parents. That has made me unique in many ways. I considered myself a lucky child when I was met with “so, you want to be a doctor when you grow up!” not “girls can’t be doctors; if you work hard, you can be a good nurse.”

I knew nothing about midwives”.

I went on, for two pages.

I concluded:

“Can you see a place in your collaborative for a 60 year old healing artist– moving from Vermont to Cobble Hill? Adding more services?  Augmenting existing ones? facilitating workshops? Creating monthly events? Expanding midwifery services to peri-menopausal women and women in their menopausal metamorphosis? Supporting women facing complex medical issues (diagnoses of chronic illness/cancer/after abortion procedures and miscarriages) in need of “peer support’ (that is the title of my current social service position, in the U.S.)? Supporting parents in need of support? 

 Can we open a dialogue on possibilities?”
 And here is the Response that I received. And, it is The-New Way:

Hello Opeyemi,

 Thank you for your sharing your beautiful and amazing story!  You are an inspiration!!  And thank you for your kind words.
I am one of the founding midwives of the Centre and the practice and I would love to meet you!
What is your schedule like?  I can be flexible…I am on call this Thursday and Friday which means I have more availability as I am not in the clinic.
Please let me know :))
Kate Koyote
To which I replied

“Hello Kate.

 I just upgraded my phone service here to unlimited calls for North America.
Let me know when we could talk on Thursday at a time that accommodates your schedule.
I am wide open, and should be able to connect anytime after 9 a.m. PST, up until 6 p.m.
Yours, enthusiastically–
 (Phonetics–oh pay YEH mee)”
AND, IRONICALLY, … I received this response on the same day from the representative of The Old Way

Subject line: Opportunities in British Columbia

Dear Dr. Parham,

Thank you for your email and for the CV you provided.

I have reviewed the CV and based on the CV and the information you provided to me during our telephone discussion, it is evident that you would not be able to practice as a physician in British Columbia since you have been out of practice for over 10 years, however since you are open to other opportunities, I would recommend that you review the Island Health website for opportunities close to your home in Cobble Hill, perhaps there is a position that would of interest to you. The Island Health website is – http://www.viha.ca/careers.

Getting to the HEART of the Matter...

Getting to the HEART of the Matter…

Please note that unless you already hold Canadian citizenship or Permanent Residency status, you will require a Work Permit. Island Health will have to assist with this because you cannot apply for a Work Permit on your own.

I am sorry we are unable assist you with regards to opportunities as a Family Physician.

We wish you all the best in your endeavours.

Best Regards (rep name here)

Encouraged by the RIGHTNESS of The New Way, and a sense of moving forward into Right Livelihood for this last third of my life, I wrote this, to the Representative of The-Old-Way:

Thank you for your response!
I hope you will watch my career blossom as I emmigrate to Canada.
I am one step ahead of terrible rising fascism in the U.S. I know what to do, and I am doing it; one legal step at a time.
It has been made quite clear to me that any association with allopathic medical that would give me the power to prescribe and hospitalize is no longer a part of a healthy healing arts practice for me.
I intend to work as a Healer (legally and with support of the community) in Duncan, Vermont.
And, So It Is.
 My medically oriented channel:

The BCP and S respondent was a woman.  Ayuasca Mother image

I am imagining her obtaining some sort of a consult from me, in the not too distant future. Because I am walking into my power, into my passions, and into magical realms.

And, as for the conventional practice that is losing all it’s M.D.s… Here’s a comment from their on line article that sums up allopathic medicine these days:

You can’t bring in FP/GP under a special immigration/training so they can be licensed and need to work in outlying areas for only 3 years. I have not known a physician who came to Canada under these programs and stayed put any longer than the original contract. These doctors then move to larger centres, or, in many cases, resort towns etc.”

stressed-female-doctor-portrait-33168940Yes, I imagine that they do. Because the pace of that lifestyle burns them out. They hold their noses, as they are counting down the days until the end of their obligatory commitments. I wouldn’t have been that kind of an M.D. but I can imagine how my workaholism might have kicked up again.

My way as a Healing Artist is still feral. I cannot “toe the line” in The Old Way. Picking up that stethoscope– as tempting as it was to my ego– rightfully shot down by Spirit.

And, now the wild rumpus will continue to move forward!



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To HEX or not to Hex? That is NOT the Question!

I am just completing the most magical, amazing and terrifying week, as we journey beyond one full month of The Apocalypse.

I arrived back home in AmeriKKKa from my respite/honeymoon/ scouting trip to Canada and went to work two days last week. Exactly one week ago, I met with my supervisor and was given notice that I was officially under a Corrective Action at work.

To keep to the ESSENCE of all of this, walking around for the last five months, since my quadruple whammy of Beloved Dead blossomed from four in September to five (Sobonfu Some died in January)Sobonfu well

Life has been a Fire Walk. I am seeing my own shadow work, and not just naming it, but moving forwards in some truly remarkable ways.

One corrective action—in a corporate environment that has a “two strikes/probation/ OUT” policy doesn’t feel so bad…


All skill sets for moving forward, for healing, for listening to each other, for forging ahead in areas of INTERSECTIONALITY are welcome, in my worldview.

So, one corrective action. That could be seen as “you have three more opportunities to Walk At The Edge in your current corporate environment, before you have to leave”…

Monday was a normal work day.

Tuesday, as well.

Then, Wednesday I went on a field trip with clients from my social service program to Salem, Mass. And, to The Witch Museum:


And, to the Memorial for the ones swept away, through that community’s madness:


That is only the second time that I have visited that place; the first was one I first came from the Midwest to Massachusetts, back in 1991. I remember that I couldn’t get warm—even though it was in the summer.

So much death still in the air.  1280px-Salem_witch2

All these years later, I have to say that the two forces that play against each other at Salem make for quite an interesting atmosphere. Educational opportunities, for deepening an understanding of what happens when a community loses its collective mind. “Escaped from Puritan Values” opportunities, with Salem being New England’s next best thing to a Louisiana Mardi Gras:


Then, a friend on Facebook sent me a link to this event:


I (attempted) to post it to a Pagan Community, and all HELL broke loose. TO HEX— or NOT TO HEX became the question.

Here’s what a “hex” was, originally:

  1. 1830, American English, from Pennsylvania German hexe “to practice witchcraft,” from German hexen “to hex,” related to Hexe “witch,” from Middle High German hecse, hexse, from Old High German hagazussa (see hag). Noun meaning “magic spell” is first recorded 1909; earlier it meant “a witch” (1856).

(from www.dictionary.com)

Total Truth: women of European descent must continue to DECOLONIZE THEMSELVES from a history in Europe (that followed the colonists to New England) that carries a legacy of fear of their own power.

Get sad, and find your compassion.

Let fear come forward, then move it into excitement for your next challenge.

Get angry, and move it forwards into your power. And that includes “hexing”

After a day at the heart of the New England nightmare that shut white women up for the next 200 years, I was not surprised by the reluctance/ the confusion/ about simply using all the tensions/ righteous indignant feelings/ and HORROR as we have watched Trump and his administration over the last month wreak havoc with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness here in The Un-Tied States of AmeriKKKa—to some spiritually centered and creative purpose.

I need to express my anger and pain, as I see what has already been “undone” in the last month. And the retreat of The Water Protectors on Wednesday was particularly painful. In the flow of this week, I found myself at a Black History Month event at my alma mater, listening to an African-American slave descent priest of the Yoruba tradition


Dakota Water Defenders

speaking about dreams of water and worms…

I saw the Possibilities Of What May Be Coming Next.

DAPL tragedy

I pray for the high side, and not more Fukishima/BP Oil distasters… we will need the mycellial network, and the Mushroom People, to survive this time:



Don’t forget, those Salem folks who went berserk pointing fingers at one another also had great difficulty letting in the joy, the silliness, and the FUN in their lives.

If nothing else, the idea of Agent Orange even worrying about being “hexed” by a bunch of witches really floats my boat!

Just like the fact that he might fire Sean Spicer because he can’t stand seeing him ridiculed by a woman is extra special revenge:

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Day 27? Definitely DOESN’T Feel Like Heaven

Here’s a great website where you can follow The Apocalypse unfolding, day by day:


I just returned from 16 days AWAY FROM HERE, in Canada. vancouver-island

In British Columbia, on Vancouver Island, to be exact. I am at “phase four” of a Five Point Plan.

Phase One began in 2003, after I moved from Boston to rural Massachusetts: I intended to create a community that could sustain me through Hard Times. Well, that didn’t happen so well. Still painful all these years later, but enough said on THAT for now…

Phase Two began, after I fell in love with the worldview of new friends that I met through two years of herbal apprenticeship: get your ass to Vermont, a reasonable state with progressive health practices. That part took me from 2009 through 2014 to actually make “stick”. Sometimes I would have the housing, but not the job. I finally got housing, a job and progressive health care benefits, all at once. That allows me to use a NATUROPATH (whoopee!!) as my primary care doctor. The down side? There are even fewer Black people in my part of Vermont than there were in Western Mass. A place to survive, yes. Thriving? No, not yet…


Phase Three began, as  shooters ratcheted up internal terrorism, targeting “me, and my kind”:

Women, at Virginia Tech (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/16/AR2007041600533.html)

African-Americans, in Charlotte South Carolina (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston_church_shooting)

People with different sexual preferences, in Florida (http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article83306967.html)

People who love across racial lines (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Jan_Pawel_and_Quiana_Jenkins_Pietrzak#Motives)

Health care workers, generally (yeah, we probably deserve some of this, but it’s being called “epidemic” here–https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/epidemic-of-violence-against-health-care-workers-plagues-hospitals/)

And, specifically abortionists (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/29/us/30abortion-clinic-violence.html?_r=0)

All of the above represent categories that include ME. And some identities I cannot hide.

painting by Jen Lawson

painting by Jen Lawson

I had to think, “Well, I made it to a progressive state; but even BERNIE didn’t vote for gun control legislation!” What is happening, AmeriKKKa?

Then came the election of He Who Shall Not be Named, and the beginning of The Apocalypse. Can I even begin to tell you what it feels like to know I NEED to leave my homeland? I gave myself an internal red flag that I never expected to have to use. I promised myself that I would seek a life outside of this country if I ever saw Black people arming themselves against whites, and I could see no more rational solution.

Black Panthers at CA state capitol circa 1966

Black Panthers at CA state capitol circa 1966

Phase Four was Plan The Escape.

My Canadian man married me. That allows me to slide a few of these scary identities (my bisexuality/my polyamory) back into the closet, while still maintaining them, brushing off a few of the less visible ones (doctoring) and standing side by side with a committed partner, through some of the ones yet to come (like “non-Christian religious beliefs”).

Phase Five is Escaping.

I reflect on some of the obstacles that have made it difficult to achieve my intentions. Obtaining residency and work in Vermont was a six year project. I hope getting work in Canada happens more quickly. A conversation with an immigration lawyer while I was in B.C. was re-assuring. He had seen many, many refuges seeking economic and political asylum in Canada. He re-assured me that AmeriKKKa is still fighting back against rising fascism; that things remain hopeful.

At sixty, I don’t intend to be on The Front Line, fighting for change.

Stay tuned, for work visa updates!   20170210_14210020170210_151358






Posted in feral M.D. blogs, Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness, Phoenix Rising | Tagged | 6 Comments

A Tribute to Harriet Tubman

Yesterday’s announcement that Harriet Tubman would be the face of the woman on the new $20 bill was truly something that I thought I would never see. But, here it is!  I cannot begin to describe my JOY at imagining a woman  (and one who looks AT ALL LIKE ME) on any of the currency that I am forced to use every day for transacting the business of my life.

My personal memories of discovering this AMAZING woman date back to my 30’s, when my now 32-year old daughter was in second grade year at a Waldorf School.

The second grade curriculum at Waldorf has an emphasis on the child learning how to make moral decisions  and uses Christian Saints as examples. My daughter’s Buddhist teacher wanted more cultural diversity than is represented by Christian saints to draw from for these conversations. The homework assigned all the parents was for us to reach deep into our own cultures, and find biographies of folks that fit this broader definition of Saint or Elder:

” a person who has a transformative life event,  that puts them on a path and that path emphasizes good work in the larger world”

That ‘s when I found Harriet.

cash rewards of $400 to $500 offered...

cash rewards of $400 to $500 offered…

I read about her life and was totally bowled over. I nominated her to represent for the African-American/woman part of my daughter’s heritage. Total truth: the teacher (who knew less about Harriet Tubman than I did, as we started) was initially concerned that “I didn’t really GET the assignment”. She felt that I really shouldn’t place Ms. Tubman in the same category as the likes of Rabia Basri (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabi%27a_al-%27Adawiyya) or Milarepa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milarepa). Like me as I started, she knew nothing about Tubman’s life, other than what she remembered from her high school history book.

Then we all began to educate ourselves, about this amazing woman…

How she survived, as a slave, a head trauma at age 17 that left her with unpredictable narcolepsy for the rest of her life (http://www.biography.com/people/harriet-tubman-9511430#synopsis)

How her personal life had story after story of courage, patience, and daring, as she fled slavery/ turned back when her brothers retreated/ escaped, again/ went back for her free husband (who refused to leave with her and had married another woman in her 2 year absence)/ went back and recued her own parents and made sure that they escaped all the way to Canada (as the 1850 fugitive slave act made escape north of the Mason-Dixon line insufficient)

How she rescued over 300 slaves, over 11 years, “never losing a passenger on her underground railroad”

How she trusted God, and followed her own intuition and insights.

How she was a spy for the Union Army, and became a suffragist after the war.

Harriet Tubman became that second grade class’s favorite Saint and Elder. Listen to a song telling her life story, read her biography, or just share my blog piece:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6MpN2GfBCQ  (The Song, by Walter Robinson– song by my two favorite feminist singers Ronnie Gilbert and Holly Near)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ_gRFYgXMo  (a student history project, 4 min long!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ85z9vggYM  (less than 3 min)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGO-2mPRh5A (a 30 min cartoon, for your children to watch)



http://www.amazon.com/Harriet-Tubman-Conductor-Underground-Railroad/dp/0064461815/ref=pd_sim_14_3?ie=UTF8&dpID=51oDdoKuaFL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR107%2C160_&refRID=1KPBYWRRMSPKK2GYG02T (my favorite!)


And let’s see if “they” can find a way to undermine this historic event (as happened with the “Susan B.” silver dollar–http://www.coinvalues.com/blog/susan-b-anthony-coin), the $20 bill being the most commonly used denomination of paper money!

found here: http://pre04.deviantart.net/e10e/th/pre/i/2011/256/b/0/harriet_tubman_by_graphiteforlunch-d49smtk.jpg

found here: http://pre04.deviantart.net/e10e/th/pre/i/2011/256/b/0/harriet_tubman_by_graphiteforlunch-d49smtk.jpg



Posted in Race Relations Commitment | 1 Comment


Tis the Age of Diversity where everybody wins. All for One...Won for All

Tis the Age of Diversity where everybody wins. All for One…Won for All

Okay, I think we’ve  GOT IT…

Finally, we women are ready to truly TEND AND BEFRIEND one another.

We are coming to clear communication. We are connecting, with authenticity. I just watched one of my communities raise thousands of dollars in emergency funds for a family in less than a week. We have the internet technology to instantaneously share information, the plastic debit and credit cards to move our dollars around, easily. We are moving forwards, out of a long, long, LONG legacy pattern.

Because ALL of us living here in the Untied** States of America (I left that typo in—it felt like a “spirit message”) have been TRAUMATIZED by a worldview of scarcity and NIGGARDLINESS.


adjective 1. reluctant to give or spend; stingy; miserly. 2. meanly or ungenerously small or scanty: e.g. “a niggardly tip to a waiter”


“The words niggard and niggardly are sometimes misinterpreted as racial slurs because they sound like the highly offensive word n****r. However, niggard dates back to Middle English. The first element nygg-, nig- was borrowed from a Scandinavian source, and -ard is a pejorative suffix. The English word niggardly is a modern English formation from niggard. Therefore these two words are not etymologically related to n****r.” (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/niggard)

WOW! Such a nasty sounding word turns out to be the ESSENCE of White Anglo Saxon-ism, combined with the Vikings who invaded!

Which brings me to my second learning…

We women are many tribes, even when we believe we are ONE FLAVOR. We are white/ “newly white”/ socio-economically privileged/ on scholarships/colored women/gender-fluid/sexually complicated. We can bump up against one another, and bruise each other without being aware that we are doing it. So, let us continue to move towards ongoing connection and empowerment, using UMBUNTU the way it was meant to be used:

‘A person is a person through other people’ strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. It is a demand for a creative intersubjective formation in which the ‘other’ becomes a mirror (but only a mirror) for my subjectivity. This idealism suggests to us that humanity is not embedded in my person solely as an individual; my humanity is co-substantively bestowed upon the other and me. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am. The ‘I am’ is not a rigid subject, but a dynamic self-constitution dependent on this otherness creation of relation and distance” ( Eze, M.O. Intellectual History in Contemporary South Africa, pp. 190–191).









I am ready to support women in continuing the momentum we have just experienced, with a catastrophic community event, and be prepared to create ongoing, “crowd-sourced style” tending and befriending of each other.

Forever and Ever.


Blessed Be.

May it Be So, and So it IS!

Posted in Channeling the Muse: Resources and References | Leave a comment

A Brief Encounter With An Annoying WASP

wasp 1

I got stung by a WASP yesterday.

A White Anglo-Saxon Protestant female. In my own community. In  my own cooperative (where I’ve been a member for 7 years).

Meaning, that I got “shushed” by an uncomfortable white woman. Her words (as near as I can remember) were “I’m EMBARRASSED for you… I can hear what you are saying, on your call!”

“Women’s roles within the Puritan communities were comprised …”

Say WHAT?????

This is happening at 6 p.m. at my neighborhood co-operative market, in the café section. The place where, on weekends, a group of regulars discuss everything from dinner last night to the political candidates.


So, what exactly have I done? I am sitting with a cell phone in my hand, talking with my Dominican friend in New York City (Harlem, to be exact). What is it that has made this thin-lipped, grey haired, old Yankee Stock female “embarrassed for me”?

The topic? Or, the very fact of me daring to have an animated conversation at the same volume that people would be speaking across a table, rather than in hushed tones?

Or both?

Does it matter?

finding ways to LAUGH through trying experiences

finding ways to LAUGH through trying experiences

Because what is astonishing me, is the phrasing of her intended “shut the f**k up, please”, as “I am embarrassed for YOU”.


What am I taking about is this: I am offering my Dominican friend support with a mutual friend, who is dying. A friend who was originally given a prognosis of less than a year to live, nine years ago. She has lived well, and we have all been grateful for that miraculous decade. And now it looks as though her miraculous journey is nearing its end.

This friend is dancing day to day though whatever it takes to hang in there, just a little longer. Her daughter graduates in the next two week. She is brilliant, beautiful, and seventeen. I have commented on the daughter’s acceptance at a great college of music. And about her playing at Carnegie Hall. Did I mention death? Probably; as I remember it, I was mainly responding to excitement about the prospects for this friend staying alive long enough to see these wonders with her second child come to fruition, knowing how much she could have missed. Gracious, but sad about how much is yet to come, as she holds on, while preparing to let go. My conversation with my Harlem friend is my prayer for safe presence and—when the time comes—safe passage for Our Strong Sister.

The WASP was embarrassed for ME? Well, I was embarrassed right back, for HER.

After a moderately charged (not too long) rant about cultural differences between African Americans and white Americans on self-expression, I returned to my call, shortened it (I do well, but I am NOT immune to criticism), and decided to check in more, with this woman of Northern European Descent. Because I imagine that I know this WASP’s history. There are no words for her; just those of the hierarchical groups considered below her. Nasty, derogatory words.

Irish woman pipe smoker

Irish woman pipe smoker

Biddy: informal offensive a woman, especially an old gossipy or interfering one (usually the Irish Catholic maid…)http://www.thefreedictionary.com/biddy

Scold: a person who often criticizes other people in an angry way : someone who scolds other people too often http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary dunking stool

Witch: a woman thought to have evil magic powers (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com)

All women who—in puritan times—were placed in stockades, in pillory, nearly drowned on ducking stools, whipped, had their tongues pierced with a hot awl for speaking out of turn, or were placed in gossip’s bridles


Just looking up this history and being reminded of the reasons that uptight and tight-assed white women do the things they do/behave the way they do is helpful to me, as I move through my righteous indignation.

I interpreted the look on the WASP’s face as extreme discomfort, as I forced myself upon her, for a two minute conversation (no… she did NOT just try to ignore me speaking to her; modeling the correct way to sit at a Vermont café…I must have imagined THAT slight…)

I killed her softly, with my words… About my friend, dying. About my friend’s daughter.

I thought about the cultural differences that might have made NOT listening to me speaking slowly and (to the WASP’s ear) loudly with my Harlem friend more challenging. I saw the obvious right before us both; there was an entire 10 feet of unoccupied table, directly next to her and further away from my intrusive words WHERE SHE COULD HAVE EASILY MOVED. Amazingly, I found some compassion for her challenges, coming out of 200 years of controlling behaviors designed to take white women’s voices away, and leaving them allied with their own oppressors, hell bent on “keeping the PEACE”.

Can't we all just get along???

Can’t we all just get along???

I can imagine a day when stinging Wasps and Biting Back Black flies can play together, nicely.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I have great FAITH in the Millenials

Sometimes, we Old Farts can be on our high horses, and not see the forest for the trees…

I was introduced to Nathan Schneider, a 32 year old phenomenon, through his interview with Krista Tippet in her NPR program, “On Belief”:



As I researched his background, his philosophy, and his writings, I was very much reassured. Schneider– with a Jewish father and a protestant mother– was raised, much the way I tried to raise my children. Schneider was gifted the space to create his own relationship to religion, economics, and race. Much of the time, I worry that I was “too far out ahead of the pack” as a parent. Too into being a part of a lifestyle and a commitment to a post-racial, post-gender, post monogamous relationship, post CLASS world. I made my politics very personal, modeling as best I could the practices I believed, intending to “fake it, until we made it.”

Well, clearly we haven’t “made it”. In fact, the back lash is evident, in everything from our outrageous political meltdown this season, through ongoing  repression of women’s rights, to the pain of a public waking up to the reality of life for the chronically disenfranchised in America, in Black Lives Matter, refugee status conversations, minimum wage issues, and more clarity on who gets to go to good schools, and WHY…

love_revolution 2

Listening to Schneider gives me back my hope for the flowers. Rather than believing the dominant media story that “millenials” are self-absorbed and superficial (The Atlantic actually has an article that beings with the sentence “The Millenials are the worst”), I have found my way into a world of exciting youth who are combining the skills they have developed as the inheritors of the information age with real open hearts and thoughtful soul searching as the generation cursed with an ecological crisis created by their elders.

I will continue to explore what they are doing, where they are doing it, and give them as much “Chicken Soup for their Millenial Souls” as I can pass forward. I am content that the baton is being passed to a hardy group with good intentions and fortitude.

angel quote


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Because DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES can sit, side by side…

I try to take my daily news in increments that I can digest and integrate. But the Huffington Post’s “12 Reasons this is the Most Depressing Election Ever” just really got to me:


I need to upchuck that crap.

I post a lot about being a suicide survivor. Rationality got me nothing, except a cornered position full of despair and hopelessness. Having made myself a promise that I would never again let my existential ANGST over a collapsing system of (some?) humans attempting to dominate EVERYTHING ELSE ON THE PLANET drive me to despair that way, again: (http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Beneath-Our-Feet-Restoring/dp/1556439199 see my essay “Waking From Despair”), I will believe in MIRACLES, and do my best to see that they come into being.

Towards that end, here’s an open letter, to the communities where I hope my personal stories can make a difference:

FOR THE OHIOANS out there:

When I was born, in Cleveland Ohio, back in 1957, there were only three places in the U.S. where a Black person who wanted to ACT/ learn theater arts was truly welcome. Karamu House was one of them; and where my parents met: http://www.karamuhouse.org/cms-view-page.php?page=history

Now I live in Vermont, after a rich life “out in the Real World as a Bohemian Refugee from Negroland” (meaning, raised and philosophically committed to the idea of the U.S. getting PAST race, onto other things, but from a place of real naivete and PRIVILEDGE). I left medical practice for complex reasons; I live in Vermont because I can get the kind of health care that fits my needs. My senator—Bernie Sanders—worked very hard to make that happen. While the Affordable Car Act has made life better for many Americans, it is a long way from “universal access to health care”. It is Sanders, not Clinton (and CERTAINLY not Trump or any of the other Republicans) who has ideas that can move the Democratic party forward, AND shift our priorities away from spending GOZILLIONS on the military industrial complex:  military

As for That Race Thing? The number One depressing thing about this election season, the Huffington Post says, being “racial anxiety”?

My truth: if we ARE going to continue to look at the Boomers and not the Millenials for leadership (that is a veiled hint that either Democratic candidate would do well to select someone younger than FIFTY as a running mate), can we remember where the candidates come from?

Bernie-Sanders-Arrested-in-Chicago-for-Civil-RightsSanders, in 1963:

Hillary started as a Goldwater Republican, but had switched to McCarthy by 1968. (http://www.factcheck.org/2008/03/hillary-worked-for-goldwater/ )



I was a family doctor, serving out my National Health Service Corps agreement in Champaign, Illinois back in 1984-7. I left Illinois for many reasons. Not wanting to raise my bi-racially Irish-American African –american children in that community was number one. Number two was seeing the fallout from a health care system that was unjust and frivolous. I had a patient so ill with their active tuberculosis that I mistook it for lung cancer, when I first met them. The patient was as ill as he was, because Champaign County had voted down ANY budget for the public health nurse. So, the patient had been lost to follow-up. The patient’s T.B. had worsened, without follow-up by a public health nurse. When the patient finally arrived at my clinic for care, everything went into high gear (with forced hospitalization, laminar flow rooms in hospitals, and tracking of the T.B. patient’s contacts) at a cost thousands of dollars, instead of the salary the public health nurse.

Penny wise, and pound foolish, for real.

When I heard that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had drawn a crowd of close to 4,000 for a Saturday rally this past week I was astonished, and hopeful. I mean, that community is a BIG TEN FOOTBALL TOWN…nothing trumps (pardon the pun) football on the weekends! I remain hopeful that the community of folks who used The Frances Nelson Community Health Center will recognize the vast differences between a Donald Trump, a Hillary Clinton (bless her heart, I LOVE a woman running for president, but I hope to push the democrats into open discussion of democratic socialism), and the diligent, persistent INDEPENDENT politician who has aligned himself with Democrats to Get The Job of Democracy done—MY senator and political representative, BERNIE SANDERS.


16 years ago, I gave my teen age children my vote to cast in the 2000 presidential campaign. They decided to vote for Al Gore (and NOT for the candidate that I would have voted for—Ralph Nader). I was living in Massachusetts at the time. We watched Florida returns, and we all went to bed as CBS declared Al Gore the winner, around 11 p.m. Then we woke up the next morning, to a nightmare of deception, confusion, and hanging chads. They had feared that voting for Nader would “ruin things” for Gore;  over the next few weeks we watched a velvet coup, supported by the judicial branch. What a lesson in Real Politic I had inadvertently given my children!

Dreams can turn into nightmares (and vice versa). No amount of rational thinking can get us out of the mess that has become this year’s election process. So I will cope by being delusional and irrational, and continue to expect miracles. I sit in Vermont, gainfully employed at a job that I enjoy, with good health care benefits, and growing connection to “the nicest white folks I have ever lived with”. I know WHY they are “so nice”—it has a lot to do with being embarrassed and guilty about a very sordid past with respect to race and ethnic cleansing ( http://www.uvm.edu/~eugenics/ ). Kind of like Germany now having a constitution with more human rights guarantees than the U.S. due to it’s shameful past, and post World War Two reparations.

This morning I pulled the card in the photo below, as a part of a meditative practice:

Osho Zen tarot image for 9 of clouds

Osho Zen tarot image for 9 of clouds

It’s meaning: “LAZINESS: not sitting on one’s laurels, but recognizing that there’s something AWFUL creeping up behind you..and if you just sit back and refuse to see it, it might just shatter your world…”

Don’t despair. And don’t be cynical.

A MIRACLE HAPPENED (almost) HERE. That was Canada’s election, last year of Justin Trudeau.

Miracles can happen here, too. The one I pray for today is that Bernie Sanders, a determined and steady influence on the American political scene for fifty plus years, can continue to influence the direction of the Democratic party, and therefore of America.


optimist quote

Posted in feral M.D. blogs | 1 Comment

Response to a Fan, As My Country Collapses

negrolandYes, I said a “fan”. I didn’t know that I had one!

I haven’t posted to this website since November of 2015. My last post was that sobering one about “What I’m Thankful For” — the punch line being “NOT hating white America (although I often feel entitled to feel righteously pissed off)

My fan wrote this:

“My comment has been in moderation for months now, and you haven’t posted again. We hope that you’re okay. My mate and I have been reading your blog for a long time. Chris says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. November 29, 2015 at 3:32 pm I wish that you hadn’t scrubbed your site of so many pertinent posts. Perhaps you’ve had a cyber-stalker, and wanted to protect your privacy. I hope that you have a happy holiday, however you wish to celebrate them. ”

It was worse than a cyber-stalker. Somehow someone attacked my site and eliminated many, MANY of my posts. I don’t follow my own flights of fancy, imagination and musings enough to even know WHAT actually went missing…just that lots of my writing vanished into thin air.

And that is hard on someone who writes to maintain their sanity, like me.

So, I switched over to voice memos, that I have continued to send out to a handful of friends. And, I rationalized the violation. I told myself that the timing couldn’t have been better; I had just started a new job in a more corporatized environment, so perhaps a smaller “cyber footprint” was a good thing for me. I told myself that my ego was being tamed, and that I shouldn’t be so attached to things.

Well, that was winter. Now it’s spring. Time to Rise Again, like all those other spring things: flowers…sap in maple trees…Jesus…

I’ll do my best to continue to be an observer of my (barely?) United States of America from the unique opportunity that I have, as “A Bohemian Refugee from Margo Jefferson’s Negroland:


Which happens to be my six word description of Who I Am these days, for the Race Card Project:


Thanks, Chris, for the fan mail. And, look for me soon at the “Mad in America” blog:


(in the “personal story” section sometime later this month)

vanzant quote



Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What I am Thankful for, Today

…is that I was not raised to HATE white people. Because I could have/should have been.

As I continue to wake up to the reality of the history of European Americans presence on this “New World” continent, it is so very much worse than even I had known. As I spend my Thanksgiving alone (by choice), I checked out of the library a series from The History Channel: “10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America” I was barely able to sit through the first episode. It recounts in graphic detail the reality of “The Pequot War”; which wasn’t a war at all, but a massacre by Puritan settlers and their Native American allies of the “top dog” Native tribe on the Eastern seaboard– the Pequots. Native people had never seen European style warfare– the kind where utter annihilation of “The Enemy” is the goal.

If you want more info, I suggest you find The History Channel hour, because wikopedia remains sadly biased, and I don’t intend to edit it:

Next up was a fast forward to the LAST of the 10 days chosen: June 21, 1964. It is the day that the three civil rights martyrs’ bodies where found, and the episode is titled, “Freedom Summer”. It became very, VERY clear that this would not have been a turning point, had not two of the three dead students been WHITE.

And, that is a very hard thing to bear. The pain of all of this, being American in 2015, being the product of the mixing of races, having contributed to MORE mixing, in my choices of how I live and love, is at a boiling point for me, on this Thanksgiving Day.

I am thankful that I was not raised to hate white people. Because I would be very tempted to fall into that, had I had any “help” as a child leaning me towards that rational conclusion.

But some days, like today, I find myself in need of solitude, to maintain my hope for HUE-manity.

Truth be told: every African American, every Native American, most Chinese-Americans, every Japanese-American, most Mexican-Americans, most Korean-Americans, have the rational RIGHT to decide to become suicide bombers.

Today I am thanking GOD/Goddess/ God-US for the narcotics my African Slave descent communities have been given: false promises of rising to the top…winning the lottery…becoming The Huxtables…that hold this tinderbox away from it’s flashpoint. We won’t add the drugs, and the “carcerality” issues.

Happy Thanksgiving, to any who would be open to reading this through to the end. My world is very painful these days. How is yours?

optimist quote

Posted in Race Relations Commitment, Uncategorized | 6 Comments