Episode 71 – Gratitude

Oh, the divine elixir of gratitude. It makes us healthier, happier, and more optimistic. It makes our relationships stronger, it improves our energy levels, complexion and our sleep quality. Really, there isn’t much it can’t do and it’s so easy to practice. Just a few minutes a week thinking about the people and things we appreciate raises our happiness levels. Even the most difficult times provide an opportunity for gratitude, possibly the most profound kind.

Keeping a gratitude journal, making a gratitude list or writing a letter to someone you love, thank you notes, even a quick text or a phone call make a big difference. Being mindful and living in the moment give us pause to be content and free from wants and desires. It all adds up to a greater quality of life.

We are truly grateful for our listeners and guests, thanks for tuning in!

And big thanks to the usual cast of characters Cass, Kim, Doug and Quinn

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Thanks Freaking Giving

In conjunction with Thanksgiving, Cass and I will explore gratitude on this this week’s podcast. As I started to muck around in the history of Thanksgiving and the idea of gratitude, a few things came to mind. Most of us know the story of the first Thanksgiving we learn in elementary school is less than accurate and portrays the event through the rosiest of rose colored glasses. Why do we cling to this visage of happy Indians and gracious pilgrims eating turkey and pumpkin pie together when we know their tumultuous and violent relationship resulted in years of war and unrest? The post-feast ritual of Black Friday sales are also curious, although logical enough in our consumer centered culture. But a greed fest right after a day of a national day thanksgiving? Really?

Walk into any American kindergarten classroom in mid-November and you’ll be faced with oodles of handprint turkeys stapled to the walls, corn shaped connect-the-dot worksheets strewn about and a mini sweatshop of six year olds busily assembling their pilgrim hats and paper bag Indian dresses with brass brads and glue sticks. This is how they learn the story of the first Thanksgiving, and the story goes like this: When the Pilgrims came to America from England they didn’t have any food and they were tired and didn’t know how to do anything. Squanto, chief of local Indian tribe showed up and said they would totally stoked to teach the pilgrims what they needed to know to survive. They planted corn together, caught wild turkeys and built houses together. In the Fall of 1621 the pilgrims harvested their crops and invited the Indians to the feast. The Indians brought food and they all sat down together, said a prayer and ate. Then they played games and took a nap. The end.

A lovely vision of charity, unity and gratitude but missing a few important facts. The Pilgrims actually called themselves separatists, and harvest celebrations have been happening throughout the world FOREVER. The one in 1621 didn’t happen in November but most likely late September or October. The homestead the Pilgrims and Indians worked together to establish was actually the remains of a Wampanoag village, Squanto’s home. After he had been captured by the British and sold into slavery, a smallpox epidemic (courtesy of the Europeans) wiped out the entire population. Squanto learned English in order to escape slavery and upon returning home, discovered his village had been commandeered by the Separatists. Some Wampanoag did attend the feast in 1621 but their relationship with the settlers had always been a bit unstable and eventually deteriorated. In 1637, the settlers accused the Wampanoag of killing one of their men. In retaliation the settlers attacked a neighboring Wampanoag village killing hundreds of men, women and children and burning it to the ground. When the battle was over, Plymouth’s governor, William Bradford marked Thanksgiving day as a celebration of the victory. In 1789 George Washington designated November 26 as Thanksgiving day. In 1863 Lincoln made it a federal holiday in an attempt to unify a divided nation during the civil war.

The imagery and story we are familiar with today was Lincoln’s contribution and it still resonates. We share home-cooked dishes, sit together and eat, talk, tell stories, laugh. Turkey plates, gravy boats, weird jello salads, potatoes, pumpkin pie. Grandma’s silver, a toast to those who have gone before us, all bound together in the spirit of gratitude. Then we clean up and anxiously await the next holiday ritual – Black Friday.

Full bellied Americans venture out into the dark, wee hours of the morning after Thanksgiving to do battle for door busting deals on electronics, cordless leaf blowers and TVs. So. Many Deals. Teetering masses coming off of a thankful bender, crash though store doorways pushing their fellow shoppers, yelling, shoving items into their carts, eyes bulging with raw greed. Black Friday has become associated with violence. Last year, Reviews.org published the article “These States are at High Risk for Black Friday Violence”. Here are some highlights:

  • Arkansas wins top place for the highest risk of Black Friday violence, Tennessee is second and West Virginia third.
  • 57.1% of incidents happened at Walmart.
  • Incident types and percentage of total: Trampled 30%, Shooting 26.7%, Car 16.7%, stabbing 13.3%, pepper spray  6.7, and fight 6.7.

Wikipedia notes that there have been 117 injuries and 12 deaths since 2006 attributed to Black Friday shopping altercations.

It seems more is never enough.

Merriam Webster defines Thankful as “conscious of a benefit received” and Grateful as “the state of being grateful: Thankfulness”.

When we are conscious of benefits received and truly grateful for them, we experience a kind of peace that leaves no room for greed, envy or jealously. We are full, satiated in spirit, connected to our fellow humans and environment. This is the sentiment of elementary school celebrations, a parable of gratitude set on the stage of American history, however bastardized. It is an ideal worth donning rosy shades for, a lesson far more valuable than any Black Friday sale has to offer. Especially at Walmart.

The old narrative is alive and well; the desire for more at the expense of others versus the peace and connection that gratitude affords. One an insatiable, bottomless pit, the other a never ending harvest.

May we sow our seeds with gratitude and discover that enough is more fruitful than more.

 

Episode 70 -Salvaging American Democracy From the Dimwitted Narcissists at the Edge at the Earth.

This past week we heard testimony from some of the top witnesses in the impeachment inquiry of president Trump. Each day of questioning solidified what many of us already suspected and brought new information to light. Meanwhile, the republicans, who obviously have no viable defense, stuck to their bizarre strategy of deflection, projection and conspiracy theories.

We made a cocktail in honor of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch who we admire for her strength and resolve, not only in her service to our country but also on the stand. While she was answering the committees questions, Trump attacked her via twitter in real time. He also went after Lt. Col. Vindman as he testified. WTF? Nunes came off as aggressive and disorganized and the defense lawyer seemed to be bored and under-brained as he sat slouching and rolling his eyes during testimony. It is clear the defense is  playing to the republican base and has no real compelling facts to offer. Bully tactics 100%.

Other bits from this week:

  • Barr spoke to the Federalist society, slamming democrats and accusing them of trying to dismantle our democracy then Marco Rubio tweeted, “And the children of Israel did EVIL AGAIN in the sight of the LORD and the LORD delivered them into the hands of the philistines for forty years.” Judges 13:1
  • Roger Stone was found guilty of all 7 counts against him. His daughter asked Trump to Pardon him on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox then showed everyone the tattoo of  Vladamir Putin on her back.
  • David Nunes sold his soul to the devil. Again. This time reportedly for a chance to win a weekend at Mar a Lago and an afternoon tending to Trump’s “bone spurs”.
  • Elise Stephanik whines on twitter that she was denied the floor during the hearings (she was out of order and knew it) which results in public fact-lash and her democratic challenger Tedra Cobb raises 1 million dollars in 3 days from small donations. HA HA!
  • Virginia, Kentucky and Louisiana go blue.
  • Trump took an unplanned trip to Walter Reed hospital, reportedly for a phase of his annual physical which is due in February, so that’s obviously bullshit. Many speculate that he needed emergency hair plug adjustments, his bone spurs were acting up or his new Putin back tattoo got a little red and ooozy.

Check out our chat here:

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Edits – Cass

Mics – Doug

Music Quinn

Blog – Kim

 

Episode 69 – Stupidstitions

So. Many. Superstitions. From black cats to sneeze salutations, we are steeped in them for good or bad – or maybe just for fun. Most of the superstitions we share are bits of ancient lore passed down to us from our parents who learned them from their parents who’s grandparents learned them form their parents who, well, you get it.  Many superstitions have roots in religion and despite being disproven by science the allure is alive and well. Superstitions make us feel like we have some control over unforeseen events, that we can control our luck by behaving in certain ways; avoiding cracks in the sidewalk, knocking on wood, lucky charms and the like.

Beck and Abi join us tonight to talk about some of our fav’s: black cats, wood spirits, sneezes, numbers and other random bits. Doug also shares some top secret info about what’s REALLY up with the missing 13th floor in high rise buildings. It’s where all the leprechauns keep their gold, four leaf clovers, lucky pennies, and albatrosses. No, that’s a lie.

Maybe.

Put your lucky underpants on and join the fun!

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  • Editing – Cass
  • Mics – Doug
  • Music – Quinn
  • Blog – Kim

Episode 68 – The Venn Diagram of Fear in Politics and Religion, a Love letter..

Awe, sounds so romantic, huh? A ménage a trois of evil functionality. It works for the greedy and depraved but everyone else gets screwed.

Fear is an age old device used to control people. It’s a simple, wildly effective tool and politicians, people in power and religious leaders use it so very, very skillfully. We are taught to be afraid of eternal hell fire, the wrath of god, other nations, cultures, religions, politicians, political parties, windmills, pit bulls, strangers, genders, etc.

This one goes places. Don’t be afraid! Join us on all your favorite podcast delivery services.

  • Editing – Cass
  • Mics – Doug
  • Music – Quinn
  • Blog – Kim

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Episode 67 – #FEAR!

So, what are you afraid of?

The dark? Snakes? Heights? Rats? Shady politicians with inflated egos, bad hair and a penchant for lying?

There’s plenty to be afraid of, right? Maybe not. This week we dive into the deep waters of fear and learn a few things about this innate yet learned emotional response. One of the cool things about fear is that it’s done a great job keeping humans alive for thousands of years. One of the not so cool things is that as our society advances and our habitat becomes more and more technically appointed and congested, our fear response has gone off the rails. Oh, hello anxiety.

Fear effects our body in profound ways and although it might keep us alive in a moment of danger, prolonged or frequent fear response does bad things to our bodies and brains. With a little self awareness and some healthy habits we can beat fear and help keep our bodies and brains on track.

We talk about evolution, common phobias, pheromones, emotional contagion, telomeres, the Hell Bridge of Long Beach, death, Marie Antoinette, meditation, fluorescent lights, and the ol’ “guinea pig in the freezer” trick. I know, it’s a lot but don’t be afraid, join us as we laugh in fear’s face. Muuhhaaaahaaaa!

Also, fuck you, spiders.

  • Editing – Cass
  • Mics and lights – Doug
  • Music – Quinn
  • Blog – Kim

Check it out on all your favorite podslingers –

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Episode 66 – Cheers!

We’re baaaaaaaack!

Cass and Kim share about their adventures. It was a nice break from the political poop storm in America but we talk about that too.

The world is a big place, it’s essential to our mental and emotional wellbeing to explore it. Different cultures and expectations of behavior remind us that the U.S. is NOT the greatest show on earth but merely a piece of the biggest puzzle imaginable – humanity. Traveling is a lesson in humility and grace; noticing differences while also acknowledging the commonalities we share and finding the sweet spot in between, a place where we can appreciate connection fostered by difference. What a freaking gift. It’s hard to come home though. All that wonder and adventure seems like a sweet, distant dream when confronted with the ho hum doldrums of everyday life. BUT the wonder doesn’t go away. In fact, it festers like a beautiful boil filled with wanderlust and a heart desire to go – which we will undoubtedly do again.

Join us while we drink the cocktail of wanderlust!

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Editing – Cass

Music – Quinn

Mics – Doug

Blog – Kim