the nest

the nest

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


2013 has been a suckish year.  I just looked over my last few posts and am tired of hearing myself complain!  I really have a pretty amazing life, but this year has been filled with grief, loss, illness and stress.  I've spent the year comforting, crying with, caring for and yelling at the people I love the most.  Each "beginning" I say "fresh start!" Beginning of Spring, beginning of summer, beginning of school... Each one has been tainted by grief.  As someone who generally dreads the shortening days, I look forward to the end of this year and a fresh beginning in 2014.

Our own personal grief and loss is one thing.  We can talk about it, process it, explain it.  People get sick, people die.  It's what happens.  All we can do is share memories and care for those left behind. It is a sad, but normal part of life.

What is difficult to wrap my brain around is the seemingly increasing grief and loss in the world.  Every time I turn on the radio, tv or computer, there's been another shooting or bombing.  Another mother is mourning.  Another father is weeping.  Mass shootings continue.  After each one, attention ramps up, but those with the guns and money are louder and more persistent and we go back to our lives while those directly affected try to pick up the pieces.  The amount of money spent on protecting the "rights" of gun owners, while we fight for every dollar for education, healthcare and even food, is outrageous.  We don't even realize how many gun deaths since Sandy Hook have happened.

We say that the bombings and massacres in the Middle East aren't OUR problem.  It's those "others."  We ignore them until it directly affects us and then we blame them, pushing us all further into "us" and "them."  Encouraging "them" to hate us.  They are DIFFERENT.  When a beautiful, smart young woman who happens to be an American of Indian descent, much like I'm an American of Norwegian descent, garners an obscene flurry of racist, hateful comments simply by being crowned Miss America, it's easy to see why the world might hate us.  WE ARE HATEFUL TO OUR OWN CITIZENS.  I'm ashamed.


I'm 45 years old and I struggle with trying to understand the hate and ugliness in the world.  My youngest is 14 and experiences waves of sadness that sometimes threaten to carry her away.  I can only assume that her personal sadness about losing Auntie Ellen and her Grandpa this year are made more intense by the sadness, grief and pain she sees in the world.  She is too old to shelter, but too young to understand. I can't explain it and I can't hide it or ignore it.


I can only choose to move forward.  We must TEACH our children to choose love and compassion.  We must TEACH them that caring for others is how they will save the world.  We must SHOW them that bullies don't win.  There is so much going on in schools around bullying, but where do we think it starts?  When do we pay as much attention to the grown-up bullies in our communities and governments?  The NRA?  BULLIES.  Tyrants and Dictators around the world?  BULLIES.
Children learn what they see and live and when they see the bullies getting the power and control, they learn that to be in charge you must be a bully too.


This Saturday, Sept. 21st is the International Day of Peace.  I will spend it with colleagues, friends, family and strangers, at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT.  From 10 am -1 pm we will be together.


We will TEACH our children that PEACE AND LOVE WIN.

We will TEACH our children that to change the world for the better we must COME TOGETHER.

We will TEACH our children that there is HOPE, but they must be STRONG and VOCAL.

We can STEP UP and be louder and more persistent about PEACE and LOVE or we can go on about our lives, shaking our heads, wringing our hangs and participating in memorials, while those with the guns and money and power allow our world to be destroyed by hate and violence.

What will you choose?

"It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Love wins

Yesterday was 9/11.  An Anniversary we will forever remember.  I was a younger mom, grateful to be with my neighbor on a terrible day.  The next day I began my life's work with my first Music Together classes and that's what I choose to remember.  I will always remember that as sad as we were, coming together in a community to sing brought joy and healing to our community.

This year was different for me.  I didn't want to focus on the tragedy.  I wanted to get on with my day and sing and dance with the new families that came to my demo classes.  I found myself feeling uncharacteristically annoyed by some of the remembrances.  Don't get me wrong ~ I will always feel the pain of that day and the overwhelming swelling of pride at how we as a country came together.

I couldn't help thinking that all the "remembrances" and "memorials" in the world mean squat if we cannot get our act together and change how we live in the world.  If we cannot create a community that cares for the least of these and welcomes people of all races and religions and orientations to our shores, we will continue to allow hate to fester.

When we are bickering at the national level about ensuring that ALL children have enough food to eat and that ALL people should have access to basic health care, we ignore that when people are desperate, they do desperate things.

When time is spent protecting the "rights" of gun owners, and "memorializing" the hundreds of thousands of people killed by guns in the US, we send a message to the world that we don't care about the weakest of our citizens.

I spent much of my life watching what I said.  I didn't want to "offend" people or hurt their feelings or whatever.   Over the last 5 years, since I hit the magic 4-0, that's been changing.  Maybe that's what it is to finally grow up.  Maybe I've just gotten tired of listening to people talk nonsense.  Maybe my filter is faulty.  I still prefer to debate and discuss.  My intention is never to offend or hurt.

But I won't keep my mouth shut anymore when I see injustice or stupidity.

Caring for others is never a bad thing.  Looking the other way is unacceptable.  Blindly following the crowd is stupid.  I prefer to live my life with my eyes open, sharing love and kindness with the world.  Love will always win.