Grateful but not Proud

Tattered but Salvageable

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ~ Virginia Woolf

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ~ Coco Chanel

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” ~ Ronald Reagan

When George W. Bush was President, Barry said, “I’m grateful to be an American, but not always proud.” That’s how I’m feeling today, and I’m not alone. Alex Tanzi of Bloomberg published an article July 4th titled, “Americans Are Less Proud to Be Americans This Year.”

In fact, Tanzi says in the article that our level of pride is at the lowest point it’s ever been. Less than half of Americans consider themselves, “extremely proud” of our country. And if you ask them how they feel about the political, health, and welfare systems, only about a third of respondents say they are proud.

Since the day before yesterday was Independence Day in the U.S., many of us had a chance to reflect on how our country got started, the mistakes we’ve made in our history, and what changes we’d like to enact to make our country better.

It’s a 4th of July tradition at our house to watch the musical 1776 by Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone, based on their stage play of the same name. Now, I know, there are lots of people who don’t like musicals because they aren’t realistic, and they’re schmalzy. But this is not one of them. It shows the congress passing silly and unnecessary resolutions, John Adams and his harshest critic and opponent, John Dickinson, getting into a physical fight, and the intense struggle to even get the idea of declaring independence from England to the floor for debate. And once Thomas Jefferson has written the document, it is ripped to shreds by the delegates.

The dialogue is snappy, at times funny, and at times tragic. The songs move the story forward with the sentiments being debated among the delegates, and the personal struggles of the main character John Adams.

You may not know that Jefferson included a clause in the Declaration abolishing slavery, but, of course, the Southern delegates would not agree to ratify it if that clause was included. This debate is summed up in a beautiful and devastating song, “Molasses to Rum”, in which Edward Rutledge of South Carolina sings about how the Boston shipping companies, participate in the slave trade by trading molasses for rum, and then buying slaves and taking them back to be sold in the New World. John Adams may want the Northern colonies to be blameless of slavery, but they aren’t, and this song brings that fact to the forefront of our consciousness. Other songs, like “Cool, Cool, Considerate Men” and “Momma Look Sharp” are equally as moving in different ways.

This movie shows what a wonder it was that the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the delegates of all thirteen colonies. And it’s even more surprising that we eventually won the war against a vastly superior foe. Miracles happened, but we were born a nation with blots on our ledger and more than just the fact that we continued to allow slavery in our new country. The government promised the Native peoples things, which they didn’t keep. There was also religious intolerance from the beginning, and women, of course, were not granted equal rights.

I know that none of us get away from facing our “stuff”, the mistakes we’ve made, the wounds we have inflicted, or suffered. That goes for individuals and nations too. We’re at a critical juncture in this country. We need to address those old, old wounds that were left unresolved by the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

There are days when I’m tempted to bury my head in the sand and not deal with my part in where we are as a country. But in my personal life, I’ve worked to clear out the things that were unhealed and something about who I am can’t turn my back on the problems we’re facing in this country either.

As the last strains of the finale music from 1776 played, I said to Barry, “This movie gives me hope.” What I was thinking was how miraculous things happen against all odds when we least expect them to. But miracles don’t happen in a vacuum. We have to work for them in both big and small ways. I’m probably not going to be like the Founding Fathers, but I’m committed to doing by part in small ways.

Just writing this blog post makes me feel better. I’m still not happy with the human rights violations, corruption and dalliances with dictators of this administration, but I have to remember that this country is made up of lots of people who were fleeing TO freedom. And in the end, I can’t see us allowing ourselves to become victims of a dictator. At least, I hope we won’t. I’m praying for another miracle.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. Welcome to my new followers.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Empathy Lessons?

Heart Connection (by Alisa Looney)

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” ~ Brené Brown

There have been so many cringe worthy events in the news this week. My discomfort level was so high that I woke up in the middle of the night one night with the idea that all of us in this country could use some empathy lessons.

Joe Biden tried to make a point about how he was able to work with segregationist law makers who thought very differently than he did. His comments were taken as an insult by Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. When asked if Biden was going to apologize, he said, “No. I’m not a racist. Cory Booker should apologize to me.” When he said that I thought, “It never hurts to apologize when someone misunderstands your intention.” We already have enough politicians, and people in power who don’t apologize for their policies or their actions.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve apologized to people who misunderstood what I said or did. I apologized even when I didn’t think I was in the wrong. Being open to the fact that maybe I was wrong was a fantastic way to open a dialogue so the other person and I could come to a new understanding.

I have to say that communication by words is extremely difficult. In a way, we each have our own vocabularies, with a particular word meaning one thing to me and something completely different for you. That’s why we often misunderstand each other. I think I’m saying one thing, while the people listening to the message each have their own interpretation of the words I’m using. Misunderstandings under those conditions are inevitable.

But that’s not the whole story. Body language and facial expressions are the largest communicators. Turn off the sound on any visual entertainment and see if you can understand what’s going on just by body language and facial expressions alone. My guess is you’d be able to understand the emotions of the interaction, if not what the people are saying to each other. To me, Joe Biden’s body language indicated belligerence, not cooperation.

That was the first event that got me thinking. Then there was the shooting in South Bend, Indiana. A white police officer shot a black man. Mayor Pete tried to have an open town hall meeting to see if they could come up with solutions for the problem. But that blew up into anger, pointing fingers and blaming the people in authority.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think there are far too many law enforcement related shootings happening in this country. And it is usually people of color who are the victims. That’s a horrendous situation that we need to fix. But as Mayor Pete admitted in the debate on Thursday evening, “…I couldn’t get it done,” meaning integrating his police department. He went on to say, “There’s a wall of mistrust, put up one racist act at a time.” That doesn’t mean he’s going to stop trying, it just means as it stands now, there is still an imbalance of black to white police officers in South Bend and it’s going to take lots of work to remedy that situation.

It was after the shooting in South Bend that the idea of empathy lessons came to me. Mayor Pete is right. We have so many walls of mistrust. The poor don’t trust the rich, people of color don’t trust whites, women don’t trust men, conservatives don’t trust progressives and visa versa; it just goes on and on. People in each of these groups have plenty of reason for their mistrust. And yet, there has to be a solution to keep this horrible situation from spiraling further out of control.

Maybe the solution is empathy lessons for all of us. We could make it a requirement in schools and colleges, as part of job training in all industries, and basic training for all government officials.

But who would lead the trainings? As I was thinking about that, the story broke that there were thousands of children being held in over crowded detention centers all over the southern border. These children don’t have access to hygiene products, proper bedding, and who knows maybe even food. The investigators discovered that the children were stuffed in facilities meant for fewer people. And they were pretty much left to fend for themselves. I have to ask, how does a baby, or a toddler fend for themselves?

We definitely need empathy lessons!

The cool thing is, empathy is something almost all of us come equipped with. And with practice we can develop it to a high skill. Things might seem really dark right now, but I say, lets get empathy experts on the job. They can be pulled from lots of different disciplines, counselors, ministers, human rights advocates, actors and directors, and people like Brené Brown who study shame, vulnerability and human behavior. I’d love to teach classes like that.

Just off the top of my head, here’s how I’d do it:

Make the participants watch selected movies and discuss the character’s motivations, and emotional states of mind. Which ones do the participants relate to? Not relate to? It’s a class I already teach at my local community college.

Bring in individuals to tell their stories. I once had training in sales. The motto was, “Stories sell.” That’s actually part of our DNA. When we observe acts of kindness, or hatred, it’s as if they are being done to us. Hearing someone’s honest retelling of their story does the same thing. We feel what they experienced and gain a new perspective.

Do some role playing casting people against type. Doing that takes them out of their comfort zones. I teach acting class too.

Read books and stories about people and places that are vastly different from our own and discuss them. I’m not as good at this one as I would like to be, but I have read books about people from different cultures that changed my perspective in profound ways. James Baldwin said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” And I agree with him.

These empathy lessons have to be on going events. It will take years for our culture to change from fear based to empathy based.

However, there is hope. A theory called The Hundredth Monkey Effect states that a group of animals, or people, can evolve if a certain percentage of the group learn a new skill, or way of being. It’s based on scientific research in Koshima, Japan beginning in 1950. It’s a fascinating story about how a young Macaca fuscata, monkey learned to wash sweet potatoes left in the dirt for the family group by the scientists. The scientists observed this monkey washing the dirt off her sweet potatoes in water. They then observed her teaching her mother to do the same thing. Over several years the practice was adopted by other monkeys until one day critical mass was reached. All the monkeys in that family group began washing their sweet potatoes. But it didn’t end there, monkeys on other islands began washing their sweet potatoes as well with no contact whatsoever with the family group being studied.

If monkeys can learn to wash sweet potatoes, then humans can learn empathy and love for each other. But if we are to survive as a species, we’d better get busy learning and teaching others how to develop our empathy skills.

What do you think?

Welcome to my new followers. Thank you all for reading, liking and commenting on my posts. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

The Human Experience

Dad reading to son

“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human – in not having to be just happy or just sad – in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.” ~ C. JoyBell C.

“Studying whether there’s life on Mars or studying how the universe began, there’s something magical about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. That’s something that is almost part of being human, and I’m certain that will continue.” ~ Sally Ride

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ~ Oscar Wilde

The other night Barry and I watched The Da Vinci Code again. It’s a movie we love. The book was also very good. Watching it reminded me of the huge controversy that exploded when the book came out.

Our DVD has a bonus disc with a History Channel documentary about the book/movie and the source material that the book is based upon. You may be surprised to know that the idea of Jesus and Mary Magdalen being married and having children is not new. There are documents found at Nag Hammadi that indicate an extremely close relationship between Jesus and Mary. There are no documents stating that they were married, but knowing the Jewish practices, it would have been highly unusual for Jesus not to marry and have children.

As I recall, Dan Brown’s life was threatened because many Christians could not see Jesus as both human and divine. Some time later a similar book, The Expected One, was published and I know Kathleen McGowan received death threats. It’s story is similar to Dan Brown’s book, but it has a female protagonist and takes place over a much longer time period. It focuses on what happened to Mary and her children after the crucifixion. Through Mary’s leadership, her followers have different belief systems and practices than the church that becomes the Catholic Church, and that makes them a target for destruction.

It’s been forty years since I graduated with a Religious Studies degree. Watching the movie reminded me of how upset some of my fellow students got when they learned that all the books of The Bible were written decades after the events they relate. And that they were most likely written by anonymous authors, rather than the people who’s names are attached to them. I didn’t understand their feelings. The reason I was studying was to expand my knowledge. I expected my studies to shake up my belief system.

Some students didn’t like learning that what they’d been taught might be wrong. They had never considered that The Bible was written in one ancient language, then translated into three or four other languages before it was translated into English. Each version couldn’t help but be interpreted by a human being through the lens of their own culture and prejudices. I think what the students didn’t want to accept was that The Bible couldn’t possibly be dictated word for word by God. That’s not to say there aren’t truths within it but the concepts come through human filters.

Though I don’t remember all the details of what the source material was for each of the books of The Bible, I do remember I felt excited when I was told that the documents were written by ordinary people trying to make sense out of their extraordinary experiences. Or that they were trying to record the stories of the encounters their ancestors had with the Divine. These stories had been passed down generation to generation word of mouth and the writers wanted to preserve them for posterity. That fact made me feel more connected to The Bible. People like me had tried to understand the human/God connection just like I was trying to do. Knowing that made me feel less alone.

There is a quote from the play/movie Inherit the Wind that I love. “The Bible is a book. It is a good book, but it is not the only book.” The play is about the historical Scopes trial that took place in 1925 and much of the dialogue in the trial scenes are lifted from witness testimony.

In the play and in real life, a teacher breaks the law and introduces his students to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and is, of course, arrested for it. We’re still fighting over which is true, the creation story as written in The Bible, or the theory of evolution. Henry Drummond, the defense attorney, based on the real life attorney, Clarence Darrow, is the one who says the above quote and posits the idea that maybe both viewpoints are true. I love that idea because I think he was right, The Bible is just one example of human beings trying to understand our relationship with the Divine.

There are so many documents that are considered scripture that attempt to do the same thing. Each one has a different perspective of who we are, why we’re here, how we were created, and what our relationship to a divine power might be. I think those are the biggest questions we humans have and lots of people, not just religious leaders, try to find the answers to those questions. Darwin was just one of them.

People who pursue careers in the arts, humanities and sciences are trying to answer those same questions. They dig for information, or they do experiments, or explore, or interpret their own experience onto canvas, into dance, or they use the written word to try to understand what it means to be a human being. They aren’t any different than the people who wrote the documents of The Bible. And yet, as we grow in understanding and new information comes to light, we get an opportunity to adjust our belief systems.

I’ve never stopped being curious about how humans relate to the Divine. I’m always looking for that element in all my entertainment, in the discussions I have with friends, family and my students. When I write, like many others before me, I’m trying to understand what it means to be a human being. That quest is one of the reasons I left the church. I didn’t want to be constrained by a particular doctrine. The world is much larger than that.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate reading your thoughts. Have a lovely weekend on this Summer/Winter solstice.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Fear is the Mind Killer!

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

The title of this post is a quote from Dune by Frank Herbert. It points out something basic. Fear robs us of our ability to think clearly and it keeps us from loving one another. For some reason we humans have chosen to live in fear rather than in love. And yet so many of us profess we long for a loving world. Living in fear flips everything we do to the opposite of what we profess we want. We act to protect ourselves in all kinds of weird ways rather than leading with love.

I see evidence of humans being ruled by fear on the news almost every day. Police kill unarmed people because they think they have a weapon, politicians create laws to control groups they fear, a gunman opens fire on innocent people, religious and ethnic groups are demonized, and on any given day you can find people venting their fear on social media.

If you look, you can find the opposite, people acting out of love, but it is harder to find those stories because fear sells.

As Herbert’s quote indicates, fear robs us of logical thinking and of feeling any tender emotions. It often rears its head as anger. Many people believe if they express their anger, they are strong. But that’s not always the case. There is a difference between expressing anger out of fear, and righteous anger challenging an injustice. We need to know the difference.

There are too many instances of people acting out of fear to write about them all in this post, though in reality, they are all aspects of the same problem. So, I will focus on what is perhaps the oldest manifestation of fear, men and women.

Since the Me Too movement began there has been a huge backlash all based in fear. This is just one in a long line of gains for women, that men then attempt to roll back. One of the big battles right now is abortion rights. For a few years now, mostly white men have been trying to scale back women’s reproductive rights.

First they tried to shut down Planned Parenthood so that women could not get free or discounted access to contraceptives. The message was, “Women are not allowed to have sex outside of marriage.” It’s a new version of the old double standard. Men can behave as badly as they want and not suffer any repercussions. But women are viewed as either pure as the driven snow, or they’re sluts. There is no in between. The pure women are controlled through fear, the sluts are censured and vilified.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the continued attempts to overturn Roe V. Wade has resulted in nine states passing laws to ban abortion. These proponents in favor of curtailing women’s reproductive rights claim to be pro-life, but as Sister Joan Chittster says, “They are pro-birth, not pro-life.” If these people were pro-life they would support programs that help women and their children, or help women not have unwanted children. But they squash proposed laws to help women with the logic, women got themselves into this mess, now they must live with the consequences. In lawmaker’s minds, a woman’s dire situation is God’s punishment. Hmmm, I wonder what Jesus would do in this situation?

Men and women! I have often wondered why men try to control women. I have felt rage on more than one occasion when men have tried to control my decisions, or treated me like a piece of meat. Just who did they think they were to tell me what to do, or to assume that I was theirs just because they wanted me? The only answer I can come up with is that at some deep existential level, men fear women. Maybe men are afraid of the light in us. It reminds them of who they really are so they have to bully us. And it makes them write stories about how God created man first, and women from the man’s rib to convince themselves they are superior to women. Really? I have never bought that story!

I’m convinced that men are the ones who came up with the ideas that control is love, aggression is strength, emotions are weak, and men are the only ones who are capable of logical thinking. They convinced lots of us that we need to be afraid of the light that we all possess within us.

It’s an extraordinary man, and I’ve known quite a few, who can form a true partnership with a woman. They’re confident in who they are and don’t need to beat their chests to prove it. They lead from the back of the group, they are not afraid to show tender emotions, and they honor everyone. Spiritual teachers call this type of man someone connected to the sacred masculine. Jesus is one example of such a man. He embraced and integrated both masculine and feminine qualities within his being.

I just finished reading the book The Lost Sisterhood by Julia Ingram, a master regression therapist and spiritual counselor, in which she points out that many of the qualities we associate with Jesus are classified as feminine: gentleness, compassion, patience, caring for the sick and the poor, and the love of children. His mission was to try to help all human beings embrace these attributes. I find it interesting that so many men, and even some women, who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, have rejected these traits as beneath them. They much prefer the aggressive, vengeful god of the Old Testament.

I think Marianne Williamson, who is running for president, is right. We all need to take a serious look at our spiritual and moral belief systems. We need to engage in serious discussions about what is wrong with this world, and what we can do to make changes for the better. If we want a better world, we have some adjustments to make in our thinking and feelings about each other. The assumptions we’ve made about God’s teachings are breaking down. We got it wrong. It’s a perfect time amid all this turmoil to take a step back and reevaluate the true principles of those teachers we have revered all our lives.

Almost all religions assert that loving one another is the highest achievement we can aspire to. Unfortunately, through the centuries, we got off that path. We became full of fear and to protect ourselves we created false separations. We grasped for power and possessions thinking those things would protect us. But they won’t. They are false gods.

It’s the energy of love that will save us. Learning to love is a very personal endeavor that begins with forgiving and loving ourselves first. I can speak from personal experience, it’s not easy to give up fear and learn to love myself warts and all. There are so many days when I fall into fear, or anger, or blame. But when I can let go of those emotions and just love and accept people for who they are, I feel at peace. Feeling that way makes me want to continue to strive to see every human being as precious no matter what their outer behaviors. It’s a process I’ve committed myself to no matter how imperfectly I do it.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for your comments and likes. I appreciate you being willing to share your thoughts with me.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Change of Heart

Old Woman Lisbon, Portugal by Pedro Rebeiro Simões

“We need to hear stories from older women. There’s a wealth of wisdom and real resilience there, but they’re silenced.” ~ Hanna Gadsby

“Because you are women, people will force their thinking on you, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom.” ~ Amitabh Bachchan

For the last few years I’ve been learning to be a crone. The origin of that word has it a negative connotation, as illustrated in many fairy tales with wicked witches who capture and eat children. Baba Yaga is the prime example of an ugly, ill-tempered crone. Thankfully in the last decades, crone has been redefined as a wise older woman who has much to teach others. That’s the part of me I embrace, a woman who has experienced much, learned from her mistakes, and now has wisdom to share.

One of the big mistakes I’ve made has been to keep my mouth shut when I should be speaking out about how I view situations in the world. When I’ve broken my rule of silence, I’ve created controversy by stating my true opinion. Standing in the eye of a storm of controversy is an uncomfortable place to be. And yet, today, I’m going to change my rules and begin to express exactly how I feel about a number of topics beginning with our current political landscape.

Over the past two and a half years, I’ve felt disbelief that there are people who can’t see that Donald Trump, by his own statements and actions, has proven to be an immoral misogynist, racists, narcissist who only cares about making himself look good. He has incited hatred and violence. Investigators and reporters are discovering just how deep his corruption goes. He’s not fit to be our president in any way shape or form. And yet, I can’t deny that before the electoral college made him president, I was asleep politically and the shock of such a person rising to the Oval Office made me wake up. I firmly believe that it is no accident that he became president. Some force bigger than us is looking out for our best interests. They know we resist change until we’re forced to do so by being confronted with dark events or people.

Before the 2016 election, I thought I was becoming enlightened because I studied and listened to spiritual teachers like Marianne Williamson and tried to practice what they taught. A few years before the 2016 election, she and other teachers of her caliber, were urging their followers and students to become politically involved. The idea is that if enough of us who desire a new society become active participants, instead of hiding away from all the bad things happening in the world, we will actually be able to transform our society. That’s why she became a candidate for president in the 2016 election and is running again for the 2020 election. She wants to bring her ideas for a more peaceful and humanitarian society to the national discussion. She believes that we need to educate ourselves and not only vote, but engage with our elected officials, and possibly even run for office.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I said to myself. I hate politics because whether it’s at the office, school, or in government, it always seems to be about jostling for power, control, or for financial gain. It never seems to be about what might be best for the people involved. But as I walked through the door on election night after teaching my class and was greeted with the news that Trump had won the election, I changed my mind. My unease got worse when the news pundits said that Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump the electoral college. That wasn’t right! The electoral college is supposed to support their state’s vote count. Then stories began cropping up in the news that the Russians had interfered in our elections and that was the clincher. Marianne was right. I needed to pay attention and stop insulating myself from what I perceived as negative news.

I was finally ready to pay more attention, even though it was detrimental to my nervous system. However, I knew I could find a balance between being an informed citizen and discovering a way to release all the negativity I stored up from the seemingly never ending horror of current events.

These past two and half years of trying to find the balance, I’ve come to some important discoveries. First, I still need to limit my news intake. When I get stressed out by the day’s events, I read a book, meditate, watch a movie, or enjoy listening to and laughing with comedians like Stephen Colbert. Surprisingly it also helps to listen to more than one side of any news story. It’s difficult when my take on a situation is challenged by a pundit, or reporter, but it has helped me form a more well rounded picture of what’s actually going on.

Another thing I decided to do was to sit down and read The Mueller Report. In the past when these types of reports came out, I would assume they were written in legalese, which makes my head spin. But, when I began reading the report I was happy to find that it is in plain language that anyone can understand. Just reading the introduction and first few pages made me cringe. By accounts from people in both parties, Robert Mueller is a man of high integrity which means that as the report states, the Russians did interfere in our elections. In fact the Russians began their attack as early as 2014. Instead of declaring actual warfare, they are using information, and social media in their march to expand their influence. And it seems we’re not the only country they’ve targeted.

Another thing has become clear to me as I’ve become more aware of what’s happening politically; the Republican party has been quietly advancing their agenda for thirty or forty years by voter suppression, gerrymandering, blocking any legislation that doesn’t suit their goals, and placing as many of their cronies around the country in positions of power as they can. They use propaganda language to influence people’s thinking using words like liberal as a dirty word, calling us snowflakes, and using other nasty language against their opponents. Their tactic is to strike first, because we often believe the first thing we hear. The person put on the defensive looks weak. The leaders of the Republican party are bullies who think that if they control people and circumstances on the outside, they’ll be safe.

Here’s what I know about bullies after 48 years of teaching and observing them at work. They become bullies to protect themselves because they are deeply afraid. In reality bullies are cowards. The only way to stop them is to stand up and challenge them. When we do that, they eventually crumble. They have an opportunity to learn a great lesson from being forced to face their own fears. But as history shows, most of them don’t repent. They either destroy themselves, or they are exiled or killed by their opponents.

Now, I’m not saying that Democrats and progressives are perfect. Some are just as afraid and dictatorial as conservatives. Nevertheless, there are many more people on their side who use their political positions to be FOR PEOPLE rather than to gain power or prestige. I’ve listened to several of the many Democratic candidates for president and am happy that they are willing to address the tough questions facing our country. That’s refreshing. I’m sure there are moderate Republicans who are more people oriented than the current group in power. I hope they stand up for what they believe in. Also it would be nice if we all began true dialogue to dispel this us-VS-them mentality. I believe one day that will happen.

I wrote this post as my pledge to take my head out of the sand, face the situation in the United States as forthrightly as I can, and do something about it in ways that suit my talents. Writing my authentic feelings about the situation is one way. To be informed is another. That’s why I’m reading The Mueller Report and I encourage you to do the same. If he testifies before Congress, I’ll be watching.

But remember, I stand by your right to disagree with me. I just hope you do it as a caring informed citizen.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments. Welcome to my new followers.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

The Writing Life

“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act – truth is always subversive.” ~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.

I don’t often post about what it’s like for me to be a writer, but today Anne Bogel’s blog was about her writing life. I love her podcast, “What Should I Read Next,” and have mentioned it before. But I’ve never mentioned that she not only has two podcasts, but a blog as well. I don’t know how she keeps up with those endeavors along with social media, writing books, and being a mom all at the same time. I have a hard enough time teaching one or two classes, writing this blog once a week and working on my books. I admire people who are organized.

It’s not that I’m not organized, it’s that I’m not the spread-sheet-making-lists-ticking-every-item-off-the-list kind of organized. My organization is more in the keeping-a-notebook-with-all the-jumble-of information-in-it kind.

Many articles and books have been produced about the different types of writers. Some writers create outlines and once they’ve plotted everything out to their satisfaction they then sit down and follow that outline to the letter. There are those who do a little bit of plotting, but leave it flexible in case inspiration strikes. Other writers get ideas for individual scenes write them and then organize them later into a viable story. Then there are writers at the opposite end of the spectrum from the plotters who sit down with an idea and begin to write. They may have only a starting and maybe an endpoint but they trust that the story will appear as they write. These writers are called “pantsers,” because they write by the seat of their pants.

I’m a little bit of a “get an idea for a scene” type, and a “pantser.” Oh, I do write a brief timeline for my characters at the beginning of the process, but often inspiration leads me in other directions and the original timeline is left behind.

For me, the hardest part of writing is the initial getting the story down on paper stage. It’s a little bit like listening to a voice on a mistuned radio. I know the voice has great ideas, I just can’t hear them clearly. So, I write in starts and stops to begin with. Once I get about 15,000 words in, the story begins to take shape in my mind. That’s when I wake up with more scene ideas to add to the story.

Once I get to a certain point, which I feel in my gut, I know it’s time to revise. I love revising the various drafts, because I get more ideas in that netherworld between sleeping and waking, or when I’m doing some tedious household chore. The feeling such inspiration gives me is exhilarating. It’s that feeling that keeps me writing.

Okay, I admit the final line editing process is tedious. When we were editing The Space Between Time, it seemed as if the process would never end. Even after printing out the entire book and going over it more than once, with what I thought was great care, we still had to order more than one proof because we found so many errors in each one. That kind of detail work is just not for me.

Having written all that, I have to say that no matter what method a writer uses, to make any progress, we have to sit down and write almost everyday. If we don’t the creativity well dries up.

Also, the environment might be important. Some people can write no matter where they find themselves. As a highly sensitive person, I need quiet to be able to concentrate so I can hear the subtle guidance that comes when I’m working. If there is too much noise, I can’t concentrate.

When the fire was lit under me to commit to being a writer, I realized what had been holding me back. It was self-doubt and believing that there were too many obstacles in the way to accomplish my goal. Those are difficult hurdles to overcome. I do not blame anyone for having self-doubt staring them in the face. It takes a great deal of personal work to overcome our demons to start whatever creative project we feel compelled to begin. At least, it did for me. But now that I’ve been writing for several years, I’ve found such fulfillment that I’m grateful I ignored those nasty little voices in my head and jumped in.

Even though I’ve published a novel and a children’s book, I still feel vulnerable about whether or not they are good. But here’s another thing about engaging in any creative endeavor, you get better the more you practice. I’m a much better writer than I was when I began eleven years ago. I may never be as good as the great authors, but there’s a part of me that knows it doesn’t matter. There is something about creating a work of art that has never existed before that is important. Figuring out myself, and making my contribution, no matter how humble, is why I write.

Oh, and by the way, I will begin the audiobook for The Space Between Time, on Monday. My husband and I are uploading the ebook version to Amazon this weekend.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Welcome to my new followers. I hope you get to enjoy your weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand copy at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. You can follow her on Facebook or Goodreads. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Life’s Tapestry

Antigone burying Polynices, her brother.

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Thanks to the teachings of Buddha, I have been able to take this second way.” ~ Dalai Lama

“The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.” ~ Richard Bach

I’ve written more than once recently about how current events are affecting me. I’ve been extremely tired. Some days I feel despair that we’re going to destroy ourselves and the planet. And yet, something in my DNA turns me toward optimism. I believe each of us is part of a huge ultimate plan for a better collective life. None of us can see the big picture but I cling to the hope that we as a species are going to survive and more than that thrive, eventually.

This past semester my acting friend and I mentored an honors student for the honors colloquy. My friend suggested a fantastic historical monologue for her. She planned to give a short presentation about the historical context of the play, and then perform the monologue. As we rehearsed, we all felt like the monologue had so much to say about current events and I think we were all deeply affected by the ideas expressed in it.

The monologue came from the play Antigone by Jean Anouilh, based on the ancient Greek play of the same name by Sophocles. It’s a famous Greek tragedy and in true tragedy, each character’s fate is predetermined before they are even born. There is no escape no matter how hard they try. In most tragedies there is an imbalance in the society and the main character, usually the king, must be brought down. They usually die in their effort to set things right. Needless to say, all versions of Antigone are very heavy plays.

I’m not sure I believe in fate the way the ancient Greeks did. Yet I do believe we choose the outline of the life we are going to live before we are born, which is a kind of fate. There are lines in the monologue that resonate with me because in my mind they support my point of view and yet offer new things to consider. Here’s a section that I continue to think about. “In tragedy, nothing is in doubt and everyone’s destiny is known. … HE WHO KILLS IS AS INNOCENT AS HE WHO GETS KILLED: IT’S ALL A MATTER OF WHAT PART YOU ARE PLAYING. Tragedy is restful; and the reason is that hope, that foul deceitful thing, has no part in it. There isn’t any hope. You’re trapped. … and all you can do is shout. … you can get all those things said that you never thought you’d be able to say – or never even knew you had it in your to say.”

Sometimes I wish I were more blunt and just said what’s actually in my mind. There are things I’d love to say, but I don’t want to create more division than there already is. There is so much imbalance in societies all over the world. I struggle with what part I’m playing in what’s going on. I want to help effect positive change, but I’m often confused. Ultimately, I feel like none of the roles people play are right or wrong, they are all part of the bigger tapestry that humans have been weaving since we were created. Yet, it’s one thing to be looking back at times like these. Living in the chaos is difficult. What I take from the monologue is that we all have opportunities to shout. To say things that we never thought we’d be able to say, or even knew we had it in us to say. I struggle with just blurting out the way I see the world, or to do as I have been doing, quietly suggest new ideas for consideration.

The end of the line I quoted above helps me a bit. “And you don’t say these things for their own sake; you say them because you learn a lot from them.” I believe when I express my true opinion respectfully, others learn something from it. And maybe that’s the thing I love so much about this monologue. If we not only speak our minds, but listen to each other, especially those who don’t agree with us, we have a possibility to learn vital new things that might change the pattern of the tapestry and make it more beautiful.

I don’t agree with Sophocles and Anouilh about hope. To me there is always hope that we can create new more beautiful sections of the tapestry if we’re open to new ideas. There are people I love who do not have the exact same opinions I do about politics, or religion, or even basic things like how to do household chores. I could get angry and demand that they change to come into alignment with me. Or I could remember that everyone is as innocent as I think I am. It feels like time to stop drawing lines in the sand and feeding conflict and divisiveness. I don’t always feel courageous enough to let go of my prejudices and reach out to people who don’t have the same background I do. However, no matter what is going on in my life, I keep coming back to the fact that love and cooperation feels so much better than conflict. I believe it’s collaboration, caring and compassion that will get all of us through all the challenges we face personally and collectively.

Here is an interesting historical note: Anouilh’s play was written during the Nazi occupation of France. At first performances were banned because of its controversial nature. But in 1944 the Nazi’s changed their mind. When it was performed an interesting thing happened, the Nazi’s thought it was a validation of their quest to rule the world. While the French citizens saw a deeper meaning. Neither group knew their ultimate fate, but the play gave the people who saw it hope that maybe the Nazi’s fate was to fail in their quest to rule the world. In the play, Creon, Antigone’s uncle and the new king asserts his power without mercy. He wins his political cause but he loses the moral one. Even though Antigone dies for her convictions, she’s the moral winner. The play was Anouilh’s statement that there is no way for us to know the ultimate fate of humanity, or sometimes even the role we play in each lifetime. All we can do is to live our lives the best we can and occasionally shout against our fate. If we do, we might help ourselves and someone else understand something that was never thought of before, something vital to the big tapestry we’re all creating together.

Thanks for reading my musings. I appreciate your likes and comments. I hope you nurture hope and shout against injustices whenever you feel compelled to do so.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Emotions, Strong or Weak?

Lucinda’s Birthday with Arielle

“A work of art is a world in itself reflecting senses and emotions of the artist’s world.” ~ Hans Hofmann

Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

I’ve been thinking about emotions or the lack thereof a great deal lately because of all the things going on in the world. There are so many people who seem to be completely disconnected from empathy and compassion that it’s distressing to me. On the other hand people are emerging who are just the opposite. It’s as if we’re having actual battles between good and evil, just as is reflected in our popular entertainment.

Where did that notion come from that showing our emotions is weakness I wonder? If a person being interviewed on TV cries, or if someone shows emotion in real life, they say “I’m sorry” as if showing their true feelings is bad. That makes me sad. I know showing vulnerability is difficult. But think of the alternative. Would you rather have relationships with people who are in touch with their emotions, or with people who are emotionally absent?

This spring Barry and I have been watching the third season of Masterpiece Mystery’s Unforgotten. It’s about a team of detectives in London who investigate crimes from the past. A body that has been long buried is found and the team must try to find the murderer. This season was quite chilling. When the team discovered who the murderer was, it turned out he was a psychopathic psychiatrist. He bragged about being a serial killer of young teenage girls. The actor playing the psychopath gave a chilling performance countered by the emotional performance by the actress playing DCI Stuart. Which character was stronger? The one with no emotions at all, or the one so connected to the dead girls and their families that she could barely stand to be in the same room with the killer? I go with DCI Stuart. Her compassion for the families helped them heal years of uncertainty and pain.

As a writer I struggle with writing emotions. It’s so much easier to reproduce them as an actor because replicating body language and facial expressions help me connect with the character and audience. But when I write character emotions, I must think of how my body feels when I’m experiencing various emotions. Where does fear reside in my body, or grief, anger, or joy? And then how do I write those physiological responses so the reader feels those emotions with my characters?

Of course, what happens in the real world influences my writing. I’m nearly finished with the rough draft of Morgan’s timeline in, Time’s Echo. And all of my thoughts about emotions made me notice the holes in my character’s emotional lives. I’m going to have to do a better job of describing their emotional states. A year or so ago, I might have been tempted to rush through this book, but it feels too important to get the emotional component right. Not that I did a terrible job on the first book, but the stakes are much higher for my two main characters in this one. I want to take greater care with writing what they’re going through and how they feel about it.

Being able to write what I’ve been contemplating has done one thing for me. I’m not as ashamed to show my true emotions as I used to be. I used to be an observer. A fly on the wall rarely interacting with people I didn’t know. But over the years of acting, teaching and writing, I’ve learned to make deeper connections with those around me. That’s a good thing I think. I’d rather risk making emotional connections than be completely alone. That’s extremely sad and stressful and it doesn’t help anyone, especially me.

So, now that my teaching semester is over, I’ve got more time to do a better job of writing the emotional lives of my characters. Oh, and finally get back to recording the audio version of my first book.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Welcome new to my new followers. I hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Reading Lessons

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~ Charles W. Eliot

Reading grasped me when I was a senior in high school. We studied British Literature that year. I was enamored with A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, and Shakespeare. Everything we read opened up my perspective on history, and how the different characters lived. I knew I didn’t want to be like Miss Haversham in Great Expectations. On the other hand I very much liked Jane Eyre’s self-confidence, and A Tale of Two Cities immersed me in the horrors of The French Revolution.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t been a reader before, but we didn’t have access to libraries, except for the school libraries, in the small towns in which I grew up. The Scholastic Book Fair was always a treat and I did buy books that I enjoyed reading. But those were held only once or twice a year, and so it was often months between reading the books I wanted to read, and the ones I had to read for school.

But senior year I became a real reader. What I mean by that is that a real reader is always on the lookout for the next book they are going to read. And now that I’m semi-retired, and have more time for reading, I feel uneasy if I have to wait even a day to find the next book to sink into. That rarely happens, though, because most of the time, I have a list of two or three possibilities waiting in line.

The advent of social media groups like Goodreads has helped me up my reading game with their yearly reading challenge. For the last few years I’ve pledged to read 50 books a year. I know for some people that’s not a lot, but I like to read a book slowly, savoring and living within the lives of the characters.

I’ve tried to understand why I feel this need to sink into other people’s lives. I do it with movies and TV too. Maybe I’m a voyeur, but I think it’s because I’m just one person and I can’t possibly experience every aspect of life. Yet I have this need to understand the world from different perspectives. And when I talk or listen to other readers, they say similar things about why they read.

I secretly wanted to be a writer for many years. When I finally acknowledged that fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to write effectively. After all my degrees are not in English. But when I read a quote I believe was by Stephen King, “You can’t be a good writer if you don’t read,” that made me feel better. I am learning how to be a good writer by reading both good and bad books. A poorly written book can sometimes teach me more than great ones because they show me in glaring detail the mistakes I make, or ones I need to avoid.

On the other hand there are great books that I still think about many years after I first read them. And maybe that’s the highest praise I can give an author, to continue to contemplate their work and how it affected me. And then try to write as powerfully as they did, only using my personal experiences and point of view.

I’m grateful to be a reader. It’s hard for me to imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t read. I think it would be lots smaller and maybe even sadder. Reading about characters who experience terrible things, then grow, and even flourish as a result, gives me great hope.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Star Wars Day – Life Choices

Tarantula Nebula

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” ~ Carol Burnett

“Familiar things happen, and mankind does not bother about them. It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.” ~ Alfred North Whitehead

I love the Star Wars series. I love it because to me it’s one example of our modern mythology. The way I see mythology, the stories are created to help us understand who we are, where we came from, and why we’re here. And the Star Wars series is just one group of modern tales that attempt to do that.

If nothing else, what the popularity of the Star Wars franchise teaches us is that if we’re not open to change, we can get caught up in destructive thought patterns. Literature and movies are filled with characters who latch onto something they desperately want but can’t have, or that they fear will happen to them. Darth Vader is so afraid of losing first his mother, then Padme, that his fear left him vulnerable to the dark side. And we all know where that leads him. He’s miserable and because of that he leaves a trail of destruction in his wake, especially for those he professes to love. He’s a very sad figure. His teachers try to help him let go of his fear, but for some reason, he is unable to do so.

In a book I’m currently reading, Sidroc: The Dane, a side book in Circle of Ceridwin series by Octavia Randolph, Ingirith, Sidroc’s step mother, is so angry that she was not free to choose her own husband that it sucks not only her happiness, but that of the entire family. Hrald, her husband is a good, kind, honorable man. But she’s too filled with resentment. She can’t let go of the dreams she built up in her head. The result is that she is unable to open her heart. She can’t see that she chooses not to allow herself to be happy.

I’ve been thinking of lots of other stories with characters who blame their lot in life, or what they think is wrong in the world/universe, on outside circumstances because I’m preparing the dramatic structure class that I will be teaching next fall. Each movie I watch has characters who hold fast to their view of the world and then cause pain for themselves and others. I love teaching this class because I’m enough of a nerd to enjoy diving deep into the stories and characters to see if I can learn anything new about my own life.

Last weekend, Barry and I went to see Avengers: Endgame. (Don’t worry, no spoilers here.) Thanos, the villain, is convinced that there are not enough resources to go around for all the gazillions of people in the universe, so he devises a plan to eliminate half of all living things to right this imbalance. He sees the problem as outside himself. He’s not willing to entertain the idea that perhaps there are other solutions to the problems faced by the populations on each planet. Nope, he’s convinced he’s got the solution and nothing is going to stop him from fulfilling his plan. As a result, he wreaks havoc. He’s the only one who appears to be happier as a result of his actions. But as a spiritual teacher I follow says, “Darkness always serves the light.” And in the case of Thanos, and other fictional arch villains, that is the case. Maybe it’s the case in real life too.

I’ve got a character in Time’s Echo that is caught in a loop of destructive thinking. At first I created Morgan’s daughter, Georgiana, to show the stresses women face trying to balance care of home and family with work and involvement in worthy causes. Thanos, and Ingirith made me think about Georgiana in a new way. She was born with a chip on her shoulder and nothing Morgan and Seth do helps. In fact, their efforts to help her, cause her to dig in her heels even deeper.

I have to admit, I don’t understand people like that, however, we all know those kinds of people. Nothing is ever their fault and the world is out to get them. On the other hand, we all know people who bring joy to everything they do. When they enter a room, it feels lighter and even when these happy people are faced with extreme challenges, they manage to find the bright side of the situation.

It’s my opinion that we choose what Caroline Myss calls our “sacred contract”, before we’re born. Even though I don’t fully understand it, I think we do choose who we’re going to be in any given incarnation. And to me that indicates that there must be a reason we do this.

There is a theological system called Process Theology, developed from Alfred North Whitehead’s Process Philosophy that might explain what I’m trying to say. The main idea is that in part God grows and learns from what we experience. Which makes me think that we may be part of a huge experiment to see if we can grow as a species, or if we’ll crash and burn.

I’m fascinated by the mystery of life, the fact that we each have unique personalities, perspectives, and roles to play in each lifetime. I have to admit that if we were all the same, life would be extremely boring.

Thanks for reading my current musings. Writing fiction makes me examine almost everything that happens to me personally, and in the greater world. And then it all becomes compost for what I’m working on.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.