Falling In Love With Myself/No-Self

Via cnekez, keeper of the beautiful blogspace to live (def):.

Interviewer: Isn’t love a union between two people?  Or does Eartha fall in love with herself?

Eartha Kitt: [Smiles] I think, if you want to think about it in terms of analyzing … Yes.  I fall in love with myself … and I want someone to share it with me.  I want someone to share me with me.

Seems to me that Eartha Kitt (a singer, dancer, and actress) is talking about falling in love with the whole world. Even with the interviewer — asking those leading, loaded questions.

She cuts right through his seeming innocence (or cluelessness?), mocking the true misogynistic subtext: that a woman is incomplete without a man (hello, heterosexism), and that in order to make love ‘work’, women have to ‘compromise.’ (And in this sexist, racist society, we know what that means, y’all.)

To me, this scene is a profound display of pitch-perfect compassion. As Khandro Rinpoche says, “Compassion is not about kindness. Compassion is about awareness.” She is on some next-level shit here. And she is sharing it.

What does it mean to fall in love with oneself (“for the right reason; for the right purpose”)?

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A Jury Of Your Peers

Started reading a book yesterday, borrowed from my friend Anastasia, called Detroit: I Do Mind Dying — A Study In Urban Revolution. Remembering that this year’s U.S. Social Forum (with its defensive hodgepodge of Lefty traditions) was hosted in Motor City, I’m especially interested in learning about the particularly radical, revolutionary history of the place.

Just began, so don’t have much to comment on yet, but the history of one legal case struck me something serious.

It’s a retelling — an entire prologue — of the amazing case of James Johnson: a Black auto plant worker who, in the summer of 1970, after being suspended for refusing to cooperate in a work speed-up, shot and killed a Black foreman, a white foreman, and a white job setter on the factory floor.

Remarkably, “the jury found James Johnson not responsible for his actions.”


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My mama and me, sometime around a December 24th, judging by the object of my interest

No, I’m not referring to Baby Jesus.  It’s my mama’s birthday today!  All the holiday furor tends to obscure it, of course — horrifically, I’ve even forgotten about it myself, a year or two.  And whether it’s because her birthday has always been overshadowed, or she simply doesn’t put too much stock in it (chicken or egg?), December 24th tends to be a low-key affair for her.

Today, we spent a long, sweet afternoon painting pottery with Ryan at one of those places where you…paint pottery.  Can’t wait to show you those photos.  Ryan’s mug depicts a maritime scene with sea creatures conspiring against a battleship.

For now, here are a few assorted of my time in Sacramento: the birthday present I made my mom (a real old-fashioned analog photo album of my time in college. Super cheesy, but she loves that stuff); a dinner party with high school friends (starting with Richard’s gorgeous fried chicken, from a recipe in ad hoc at home); etc.

However you interact with it, I hope this weekend finds you well, healthy, safe, and happy.

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Traditions and Rituals: Full-Moon Walk

Hey friends! Thank you for the rich discussion in the last post, on communicating with our elders. I’m always so humbled and grateful for the open, honest reflections that people share in this space. And that’s part of why this weekly practice of blogging continues.

Speaking of practices, I’m on a mission to cultivate more traditions and rituals in my life. Little anchors and measuring sticks for relating to change, and the passage of time, in a slightly different way. (Note: I love the weekly butcher-shop ritual described in this gorgeous essay by a dynamic/post-/questioning vegan; link via Napaquetzalli and Ernesto.)

One ritual that I’ve been recalling lately dates back to 2008/early 2009, when I lived in Central Square, back in Cambridge. My friend Jen turned me on to this weekly program on an independent radio station. “The Secret Spot.” Old-school and R&B jams: from Erykah Badu to Teddy Pendergrass, D’Angelo, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill, Al Green. I LOVED The Secret Spot. And on Saturday nights, I would light some candles in the living room, turn down the lights, cozy up with a blanket in my favorite armchair, and listen. Sing along, too, if the apartment was empty (which it often was — this being Saturday night, when my fellow twentysomething housemates were typically engaged in more age-appropriate activities).

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Right Speech, Right Action Among Elders and Young Feminists

Of the four commonly-cited inescapable sufferings (birth, old age, sickness, and death — sidenote: why puberty-slash-adolescence didn’t make the list, I don’t know), lately I’ve been getting acquainted with the latter three.  Dad has veered sharply and suddenly toward death in the past four months.  (Thankfully, after this most recent spinal surgery a week ago, he’s recovering well.)  And during our time in Nicaragua, I saw more closely than ever the way that my boss, teacher, friend, and a co-founder of the Faithful Fools, Kay Jorgenson, is living with her advanced and intensifying Parkinson’s.

It’s common knowledge that us kids these days in the States are generally lousy at caring for, and living with, those who are aging, whose faculties are deteriorating, and who are nearing their death.  As products of a youth-worshiping and death-denying environment, we perpetuate and acquiesce to behavioral and institutional forms of elder isolation, shaming, and neglect — from expressing disgust toward the sexuality of the old (particularly women), to casually off-loading Grandma into the iconic nursing home, eager to get on with business.

So how can we, as young feminists and/or students of dhamma, create and reclaim healthier practices for relating to elders?  It’s too big a question to cover right here, but I wanted to approach one small slice of the issue: communication around diminishing abilities, and growing needs for assistance.

A common example is driving.  We think Opa shouldn’t be getting behind the wheel anymore.  He feels otherwise.  How do we navigate this?

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Best Line Of The Year?

Hola cariñ@s! Last night we of the Faithful Fools (my work/home community center in SF) returned from the annual 2-week trip to our sister group in Nicaragua. Thus ends the Kloncke 2-year anniversary retrospective series, which I hope wasn’t too boring and redundant!

From the moment we hit the landing runway at 5pm, seems like I haven’t stopped to rest. (Evidenced in part by the fact that I’m still wearing the same clothes I was wearing last night). Doesn’t feel too hectic or neurotic, just a fast-moving stream of strange, luminous moments.

  • Seeing a show at a bar last night, the lead singer of which was my partner’s ex-girlfriend from high school (I think that among the attendees of this little concert, we had something like a hexagon of exes going on…).
  • Practicing Thich Nhat Hanh’s guides for loving conflict resolution via 2am text message.
  • Due to a BART subway delay, running late to a Fools zen sitting for which it was especially important to be punctual (and reflecting on cultural and mental meanings around lateness).
  • Assembling an outfit from my closet for a friend who lives on the streets and got kicked out of a showering facility literally mid-stream. At that very moment she happened to run into another friend of the Fools, who called me and brought over the naked girl, wrapped in a sheet, her wet hair still warm as she sat down in our living room.

I could go on. But it’s getting late, and I’m beyond exhausted. So in a bit of a non sequitur, I’ll leave you with a shard of a poem that blew me away recently, and has stayed with me over the past two weeks. It was the second line, in particular, that made something inside me sit bolt upright. Wonder what you think.

Those with dualistic perception regard suffering as happiness,
Like they who lick the honey from a razor’s edge.

By Nyoshul Khenpo, quoted in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.

K-Lo Part XII: I’m Not That Kind Of Girl…But My Boyfriend Is

[From 22 February 2010]

Ryan and I have come to an understanding on the subject of gift flowers. He’s into them, insofar as he enjoys flowers in general. Me, I like them in the wild, and in other people’s gardens or homes…but I told him if he’s ever thinking of getting me flowers, he can offer a bouquet of kale, instead. Now that would set my heart aflutter.

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K-Lo Retro Part XI: On The Day Of Mehserle’s Sentencing: A Feminist Vow

[From 05 November 2010]

[Today, former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle was sentenced to 2 years in prison, with 146 days already served, for the involuntary manslaughter of Oscar Grant. The Grant case marked the first time in California’s history that a peace officer was tried for murder.]



We as women, transgender people, two-spirit people, queers, gender-oppressed people, and allies of the Bay Area mourn the loss of Oscar Grant;

Whereas we recognize that this young man was just one of countless victims of police violence;

Whereas we understand and experience police repression, particularly in poor, queer, and working-class communities of color;

Whereas we know that police violence both enables and enacts rape, brutalization, and degradation;

Whereas police violence compounds the dangers we face in domestic violence, sex trafficking, and homophobic and transphobic hate crimes;

Whereas police enforce the criminalization of our disabilities, addictions, and mental illnesses;

Whereas police enforce the criminalization of our skin color, sexualities, style of dress and speech, gender identities, religious practices, and nations of origin;

Whereas police violently enforce our subservience to an economy that enriches elites, while slaughtering, starving, sickening, and stealing from us as workers, child-rearers, and culture creators;

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K-Lo Retro Part X: How To Stop Accepting Presents

[From 13 July 2009]

Hey friends! Hope you had a fabulous weekend.

The recent exchange with Oh Please, here on the Twitter thread, reminded me of a wonderful story that I’ve been wanting to share with y’all for a long time. Paraphrased from my meditation teacher, S. N. Goenka, who heard or read it somewhere else, it’s been the single most helpful lesson I’ve learned from him so far, when it comes to dealing with everyday situations. I hope you might find it useful, too!

Here goes.

At the time of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gotama, not far from his ashram there lived an old brahmin and his family.

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K-Lo Retro Part IX: Cositas De Dhamma Neru

From 13 June 2009]

Vipassana church bells: a Burmese hand gong

Dhamma Neru, as most of y’all know, is the meditation center in Barcelona where I was living when I arrived in Spain.

In my three months meditating there and volunteering in the kitchen and the garden, I only took out my camera twice: once in March, and once in April.

Both times, what drew my attention the most were las cositas — the little things.

Outside the meditation hall
Outside the meditation hall

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