I CAN’T TAKE CREDIT FOR THESE PHOTOS   8 comments

Now to begin sharing some of my fabulous India/Nepal adventure with you, as I did with a wonderful group of people on a busy,strenuous, well-worth-it Smithsonian tour of India with a few days of Nepal added.

I’m starting with these amazing photos taken and shared by Richard Buchen, our librarian member. I asked his permission to include them here because they are beautiful in themselves and they tell so much.

In Varanasi we witnessed Diwali at the height of its glory and beauty from a boat on the Ganges. This Hindu celebration of light, representing the victory of good over evil, shines like a combination of Christmas, New Year’s Eve, The Fourth of July, and every other holiday we honor in the U.S.  It also brings out the crowds that vastly outdo most of those we might expect in the States.

These two photos shared by Richard are alive with the spirit as we floated down the river in the brightly lighted night as Ganga, the living goddess of the Ganges. ruled over the scene.

To her right reigns Shiva, the destroyer of evil and the transformer, responsible for change through destruction and new creation.

Richard invites you to enjoy some of his other photos.

And I’ll be back with more words and photos.

“WHATEVER YOU DO AFTER SHE SAYS ‘NO.’”   7 comments

I’m finally up and running, so to speak, ready to fulfil my intention of apologizing for my absence and beginning to share my report of a fabulous trip to India and Nepal.

And yes, I do apologize to all who have hoped for and expected a response from me at the various sites to which I’m connected. I did indeed take an almost total vacation from all that as I enjoyed a life changing, life-enhancing trip to India and Nepal.

But something more urgent has come up that I need to comment on. I am both sickened and heartened by the tsunami of reports on sexual harassment. Maybe this time we’ll leap toward a more respectful culture.

I hope, though, that we won’t allow ourselves to think these things are going on only among certain groups of powerful people. This time, maybe we’ll be able to push our awareness back to the source – at least as far back as Junior High.

Maybe you’ll respond by telling me I’m lost in old fashioned issues that no longer prevail. If that’s true, then I’ll take some belated credit for the work we did in the women’s studies programs back in the 70s.

Let me explain by telling a couple of stories.

There was the day when a student in the back of the class asked me to define “rape.” “It’s whatever you do after she says ‘no,’” I said, always preferring the short, provocative answer. “Then I guess there’s a lot of rape going on in the High School parking lot on Friday nights,” he sneered, to affirming giggles of those around him.

I know he wasn’t far from wrong. I know the culture reflected in my own behavior at my 35th high school reunion when we were greeting each other with friendly and respectful shared kisses until one classmate thrust his tongue into my mouth. I didn’t go “Ugh, gag, gross!, ichy.” No, I discreetly wiped my mouth and went on with the conversation – couldn’t hurt his feelings and make a scene, you know.

Or the colleague celebrating his promotion who came into my office, closed the door, and grabbed my breast. Gently, so as not to embarrass him (It was a stupid thing to do, after all) I removed his hands and proceeded with conversation.

In neither of those cases did the offender have any kind of structural power over me. It was culture at work.

Just as it probably was at the same time with the teenage girl in the high school parking lot uncomfortably accepting the guilt when her date complained about her teasing. “You can’t stop now after you got me all worked up.”

The writer’s rule is “show, don’t tell.” But I’ll bet we could have a great go-round discussing the complexities involved in those stories.

Now, as they used to say on SNL, “Discuss among yourselves.”

My hope is that today’s issues will promote another leap forward in the honoring of respect and honesty.

ONLY 99 CENTS   Leave a comment

I just noticed that amazon.com is selling “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses” Kindle edition for $0.99. Now’s the time to grab a bargain. You might even like it well enough to tell a friend, or write a review.

PLEASE DON’T CALL ME A CHRISTIAN   6 comments

Yes, I belong to Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior, MN, and I sing in the choir at Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska, MN. Maybe I’m really a Unitarian in heart and mind. Basically I try very hard, with only moderate success, to be a follower of Jesus.

But please – for now, anyway – don’t call me a Christian. Not since the term has turned Jesus into a political icon standing for hate, prejudice, and cruel exclusions, so far from the universal love preached by him and for which he died a terrible, cruel death.

Come December, I will recognize the winter solstice by wishing folks a “Happy Holiday.”

I will not cheer for the idea that the only politically correct thing to say is “Merry Christmas,” in spite of a lifetime — until now — of thrilling to that greeting.

 

 

 

 

 

“…THE LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE   Leave a comment

How beautifully and inspirationally our National Hymn ends.  Like the best of hymnody, it invites solemnity, submission, and supplication.

Too often, as with many memorized recitations, we forget the depth of meaning: a call to submission to the lofty ideals the words express and the invocation of prayer that we might make our country ever more worthy of what we proclaim.

There is such beauty in the sight of physically powerful men – and those who join them – in the attentive position of kneeling – the very meaning of which is submission and prayer.

I am grateful for the inspiration.

 

Forgiveness — Thanks to Jean Budge   6 comments

I owe so much to my friends. Like the most recent addition to my web site — a very moving account of forgiveness where one might think it impossible. I hope you’ll take the time to click on “my web site” and watch it. I think you’ll be glad you did if you haven’t seen it already, and even if you have, a second viewing might be worth it.

Posted October 8, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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PLEASE FORGIVE ME; TRAVEL MADE ME DO IT   2 comments

I’ve had to remove myself as a follower of many interesting blogs because I’ve discovered real problems with e-mail when I’m away from wi-fi for a long period of time. I hate to miss you all, and it’s fine when I can check in daily, but with close to 300 e-mails a day, it doesn’t take long when I’m away for the limit to be reached and then no one can get to me.

I hope you’ll understand.

Thanks,

Mona

 

Posted September 28, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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