Just words: Powerless

Mos.ru, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a POW in power. There is less in power.  It’s powerless.

I wish I could talk to this little guy in the Kremlin. And I don’t see why not. His German is quite good, I am told. Younger Vladimir learned it well in the KGB in East Germany. My Russian used to be good. I learned it at university in Russia, when perestroyka and glasnost’ were frequent words. I should dig them out for this blog one day. I wish perestroyka would have been change. For the better. Glasnost’, it’s transparency, was only budding thirty-five years ago. You helped shatter it.

That’s what I would ask that guy whose face became a meme. A meme of fame with a little squared moustache most people in this beautiful world don’t just remember from Charlie Chaplin. I would ask the guy who shaves carefully daily: why? Is it really worth it? Sending men who are still blue-eyed children west – zapad with a Z – does it make you feel better? Less powerless? You are right, you are not your brother’s keeper. You never were. Then, why did you destroy his home? Did it make you feel safer in yours, next to the mausoleum? Why do you kill his family? Do your daughters hold you dearer for it? When you will have killed him, do you believe you will live longer? What will you do in your remaining days?  You have felt paranoidly powerless, I know. Will that change in your remaining days? This is the only thing you have power over. May you find peace for your Russian soul. You have heard Tchaikovski’s Swan Lake the other day.

When talking about the ongoing war in Ukraine, I cannot really say that I am playing with words, as I normally do under Just words. This is serious. Weighing words. My thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people.

The other day, I met a young Ukrainian family here in San Diego. They established a small charity some years ago. Now their sole purpose is to feed suffering people in Ukraine. They are looking for support. Their website is https://icareministrys.org/.

Just words: Giving

“Subhuti, if someone gives treasures equal to the number of sands on the shores of the Ganges river, and if another, having realized the egolessness of all things, thereby understanding selflessness, the latter would be more blessed than the one who practiced external charity. Why? Because great disciples do not see blessings and merit as a private possession, as something to be gained.”

Subhuti inquired of the lord Buddha, “What do you mean ‘great disciples do not see blessings and merit as private possession’?”

“Because those blessings and merit have never been sought after by those great disciples, they do not see them as private possessions, but they see them as the common possession of all beings.” 

Diamond Sutra, chapter 28

Let me give you some advice. Give me a break. You have got the gift. Give it back to me. What gives?

There is a lot of giving going on here. Always. Everywhere. Each of us. Let us take time to reflect: Did I give you this to receive? Later maybe? Straightaway?  How does a gift make me feel? Is it pure joy? Any gratitude?  Oh, gratitude! Now, am I obliged to give? Give to you? When? Or to somebody else? I am sensing a debt with a forceful forecast to pay. Back. Am I chained to the gift already? What must the newly gifted slave do?  What have I given? To whom? Often? Or seldom? Too often? Too seldom? Too little? Too much? Too to many? Too to few?

And I give you the spoiler. Straight up. I have no answer for any and all of these questions. I have very few answers to give. And I give them freely. What do you mean, you didn’t ask? There is a time when an answer comes. Just like that. You can’t give it back. You don’t know where it came from.

There is a lot of giving going on here. Everywhere. Always. For all of us. We got a gift. Unique to each of us. And shared among all. The gift. Life. Don’t give it away. Keep it. Share it. We are all gifted.

Subhuti, good people have no merit and were given no blessings. You understood. Good people share and shine the merit and blessings we all possess.

I have signed up for a year-long online writing course. This is lesson 4 on ‘giving’. I am committed to the remaining 48 lessons … I am a little behind, because we are in week 5 of the year, but I believe it is going well. So far I have done the fairytale Hans in Luck, short autofiction on work, and some freewriting on ‘obstacle’.

Just words: hope

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Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well. It is the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.

Václav Havel

When I grew up in East Germany, Václav Havel was known as – what they called at the time – a dissident and as a writer, whose books we were prevented from reading, whose theatre plays I never saw. During the Prague Spring and the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies, he provided an on-air narrative on the radio and was banned from all theatres after the supression of the Prague Spring in 1968. Later he was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic.

I have nothing to add to his quote in the context of his story.

I heard this quote today in a lecture by Margaret Wheatley.

Just words: beginning

Hey, Friend,

New beginning. Always a beginner. Be. Beg. Begin. Gin. In. Inn. Inning.

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Begin is a rare word. Often used over times immemorial. It’s ancient and went through a lot. Begin is unlike many others. Belong. There is a long. Become. There is a come. Behold. There is a hold. Begin. There is only gin; and that does not even come close, only at the end. The be- is transparent. The -gin is obscure. Millenia ago, the Germanic peoples had a verb ginnan. To cut open. To open up. It must have started then. They also had – and we still do – a be-prefix. To cause or to make whatever the verb says it does. These two were merged into a rare word. To cause something to open up. To begin. To make it – cut – open. To begin.

Beginning in the second paragraph. Ing … ing … ing. Something is going on here. Progressing. Progressive. And it fossilized. A little. Into a noun. Static? No! Process—ing. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow. Always doing. Changing. Progressing. Beginning.

At the beginning of 2022, wishing you all new beginnings. Many. Fruitful beginnings. Often. And a happy ending.

Wrote this in a San Diego writers group today. The prompt was – you guessed it – beginning. I am very grateful for and to this group.

Just words: happiness

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“My life will not make me happy, happiness will make my life.”

Tonight, I watched a movie to relax a little. These were the words said when the film ended. No use going down the road of etymology, assembling the word family, or consulting dictionaries. The word happiness just stands and means. And I am grateful, I can write it down.

Just words: writing

Writing with a pencil
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Hey, Friend,

Fridays are different from the other days. I meet up and write just for myself in a group. 45 minutes each week. This less than an hour has become my lens on the remaining 165. In a week of 168 hours, I type for one and hear for two and have kept it up for four months, because the writing and the listening got under my skin. Slowly. I am in text. On Fridays.

On Fridays, I don’t use my words loosely — friends — when I write. I listen to them and get taken away to the within and the without. Gently. I am moved and don’t have to journey alone. Writing with friends, using vocabulary that I uncovered in Webster’s, some yesterday and some 25 years ago. And the words of the friends are finely woven, skillfully thrown, gracefully spun. A poem recited, a story retold, a letter drafted. I listen in awe each Friday.

Each Friday, each writes a piece each. This matters. Writing is jotting down words on paper, hammering them into a machine, scratching the surface of wood, or spraying the grey of concrete, and so much more. Many different ways, and all have one wish in common. The writing longs to be seen and heard and kept. At least once in a while for a while. For that, I am learning to read and to listen and to build. For my writing.

My writing does not make me a writer. It makes me susceptible. Some words get under my skin, and I lay down mine with more care, since I like words more than cheese. And cheese, I love. Luckily, English has more words than any other language I know of. Willingly, it borrowed and kept the spaghettis, the kitsches, the schadenfreudes, the sputniks, and the BBQs of this world for me to choose from for my writing. 

My writing does not net me money. I know I am lucky that way, not needing the gain. Instead I use the texts to have a wallet for my understanding and sympathy, so that I can take out words to pay others the respect and give them the delight that I would like to commit freely. In a second language, committing is easier, when I am writing.

My writing does construct me. I am not a writer, but I would not be the same, if I did not craft a text among people who write and listen and speak so eloquently and empathetically about a written word of mine they heard. And then I don’t have words to say how thankful I am to all who help in my construction. So I am writing on Fridays.

One word at a time.