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Posts Tagged ‘Identity’

“Dear Martha:

“I just listened to your Insta video, or podcast, whatever. I always loved your columns in Oprah magazine. Unlike Dr Phil, who can be off-putting, your brand of self-help-psycho-babble resonated with me. But dear Dr Beck, this time you lost me.

“You lost me at meditating for an hour (OR MORE) every day. “‘I meditate for an hour every day,’ you said… even though you were unbearably “itchy” at first.

 “I’ve tried meditating for 10 minutes at a time. That is if the mail person doesn’t come to the door to regurgitate lots of paper through the slot onto the living room floor which causes Ms Bean to bark herself silly. She hates the mail invasion almost as much as she hates squirrels.  

“But I enjoyed listening to you this morning, because Bob was in the shower and because after all it was The Martha Beck talking in her Gathering (virtual) Room about “How to Hang in There When You Feel Like Giving Up!” https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/v=720387682089216&ref=watch_permalink”     Thanks for listening!

In a nutshell, Martha Beck talks about how every atom in the universe is in a constant push for growth. There’s a “push/pull” happening all the time; which made me think of Bob making sourdough bread. Two gorgeous loaves have just popped out of the oven. But I digress – Beck was talking about feeling overwhelmed in the middle of a pandemic. She had two solutions for us:

1) Let Go when there are a lot of expectations and competing forces in our lives. You don’t have to be in charge of everything all the time. Problems will be solved if we can stop and breathe – expand and contract our lungs. Great Grandma Ada would say in Yiddish, it will all press out.

2) Let Go of Yourself! Obviously the world will not be the same when this virus has run its course, and neither will we. If you used to ride the subway to work, maybe you stay home. Or ride your bike. But we must accept that our identity is fluid, or as Ada tells me, “Everyone is in crisis mode!” The tide is either coming or going.

Now to me, this all sounds nice, but it also sounds like giving up! What if somebody stole your car, and you don’t know whether your kid’s school is going to reopen next month. Or maybe your husband is working in the Covid ICU, and your nanny gets sick? It’s easy to be Zen-like, but somebody has to deal with the insurance and the nanny agencies.

My semi-quarantine world isn’t quite so complicated. Sometimes I’m competing with Bob for space in the kitchen – my zucchini bread vs his sourdough. And why does every Zoom exercise class I want to take, happen on Tuesdays? Overall, we can’t complain. My Covid/travel fantasy life is happy watching the PBS show “Escape to the Chateau.” https://thechateau.tv/ A couple with two young children buy and restore an 18th Century Chateau de la Motte Husson in France. They put in an elevator, and build a geodesic dome on their moat.

They’re eccentric Brits and I adore them! Angel loves taxidermy and collects stuffed, dead, wild animals and Dick can cook or fix just about anything. Who doesn’t love a good mid-to-later life crisis? When we built our VA mountain house, I thought that was IT for me. I’d moved South, something I thought I’d never do, we built our dream home and didn’t get divorced; I expected to leave that house feet first!

But here I am, finding my way in a city I love. Hosting a socially distant, bring-your-own cocktail party on a 90+ degree night for friends in the garden, because we all have to give up one identity, in order to grow into a future one.

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When I was the Rocker’s mini-league soccer coach, my brother Mike told me that soccer will never take over American Football in popularity. Of course wrecking cranes were tearing down the Berlin Wall at the time, and nobody would have predicted that either. However, the 2018 World Cup fever was electrifying and made me wonder just how viewership compared with the Super Bowl.

My whole family was cheering for France to win, and when they did “Mon Dieu!”

Then I happened to see a clip of the Daily Show where Trevor Noah, who is South African, congratulated “Africa” on the World Cup. I thought it was pretty funny, which is the point, but Oh La La, that hit a nerve in France. The French ambassador to Washington, Gérard Araud, wrote to the network saying Mr Noah had “misunderstood” the cultural model of his country. Well, either that or Mr Araud has no sense of humor.

Immigrant or first generation, like Great Grandma Ada who was born in Brooklyn to parents fresh off a boat from Russia, when is it OK to identify oneself as an American, or a French man or woman for that matter? In light of Mr T’s latest ploy, reminiscent of McCarthy era tactics, to denaturalize American citizens, to eliminate birthright citizenship and ship these children off to their parents’ countries by executive order, it would seem to be a timely question.

Declaring a person stateless isn’t really new; it was initially how the Nazi government was formed by stripping “certain” people of their rights.

In 1922, Albert Einstein said in a speech in Paris: “If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/23/world/europe/mesut-ozil-germany-soccer.html?module=WatchingPortal&region=c-column-middle-span-region&pgType=Homepage&action=click&mediaId=thumb_square&state=standard&contentPlacement=5&version=internal&contentCollection=www.nytimes.com&contentId=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2018%2F07%2F23%2Fworld%2Feurope%2Fmesut-ozil-germany-soccer.html&eventName=Watching-article-click

This morning I read about a German soccer player who quit his national team because of racism. Mesut Ozil had the bad judgement to pose for a picture with the Turkish leader, President Erdogan, and then performed poorly at the World Cup. He wrote on Twitter, “I’m a German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.” Ozil was born in Germany.

Let’s not forget that Mr T got his start in the game of politics by questioning President Obama’s citizenship, and by fomenting fear of immigrants. He tweets absurdities about NFL players who choose to take a knee on their field of dreams.

My midsummer night’s dream is to register as many new voters as I can, naturalized or otherwise born in the USA, in order to reverse our country’s slide into the MAGA dustbin of history. Great Grandma Ada made this necklace with carved African totem beads, Russian amber, and turquoise from the American Southwest – our diversity can only enhance our politics, and our sports teams!

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