Youth in Politics

Nope, I just got something in my eye. … #Repost @michaelfranti (@get_repost) ・・・ When I got to Whale Rock Whale Rock festival the first person I met was a 9 year old girl who walked right up to me by herself and said, "Are you Michael Franti?" I said,"Yup, that's me, who are you"? "I'm Joselin and I play Ukulele and I know a lot of songs and I play some of yours". We sat under an old Oak tree and I asked her if she'd play me one and she said she knew 'Love Will Find A Way'. An excellent choice in these turbulent times. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ She pulled out her Ukulele and we started to sing it together. Her Uke playing was beautiful and her voice was confident. I was moved to hear her sing the words "This is a song for all kinds of people…the synagogue and the mosque and the steeple" and "Nobody's born hating another person, a mad world puts that poison in us… but if we can learn to hate another person, than we can learn to love a brother or sister another mother or mister". ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It gives meaning to me, when I hear my songs and the ideas in them becoming part of someone's life so much that they'd take the time, at such a young age, to learn one of them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I asked her if she'd like to sing it with me on stage that night her response was priceless, "Stage? I LOVE STAGE!!!" So we did it as a duet that night in front of 3000 people! Let me know if you want me to post the video of us singing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @whalerockmusicfestival @castorocellars winery was an amazing sold out boutique festival event. I highly recommend it. Our next stop is Saturday: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 9/23 Solfest, Felton CA⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #loveoutloud #soulrocker #soulrockerfamily #yogi #yoga #music #musician #doitforthelove #StayHuman #soulshinebali #michaelfranti #michaelfrantiandspearheadt #musicianlife #band #guitar #concert #tickets #play #song #songwriter #musically #tour #love #Templeton #whalerockfest #transformation #happy photo: @lukebyronudsen

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Considering the political fire of the Parkland survivors, I’m reminded of some words the late, great Elise Boulding wrote in her book Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2000), about youth-adult partnerships in the culture of peace.

What can we expect from the new movements in the twenty–first century? Can we envision a future in which there is a preteen and teenage member of every city council, every local citizen’s committee, every state legislature, and every national House of Parliament? Will communities of faith support teen participation in decision–making? Will school systems shift to a more community–based, apprenticeship–focused mode of education? Will families hold democratic councils? Will youth and age dance together, sing together, play together? If that is what we want, we must dare to imagine such a world, and then begin making choices about it (158).

We should not be surprised by what visionaries have prophesied. While childhood should remain a protected category (unlike the Middle Ages), the protection should not be paternalistic, but empowering. I tell my students that the shift from parents to peers as a reference group is a quite natural progression. We want them to have peers as a reference group, as they will be running the world someday, “when I’m in my dotage,” as I tell them. Given the way other adults are running this world, their future, into the ground it behooves us to partner with them. To fail to do so is to lack a quite adult concept of generativity. This is how we go on, through youth.

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O Antiphons!

Even though I consider myself “post–Catholic,” I do still celebrate Christmas, and love the anticipation of it, in other words, Advent. One of the ways I stay mindful during a season that can pull one off her or his center is to observe the “O Antiphons.” I’ve decided to do this in Instagram this year. Enjoy!

#oantiphons #backstory

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As of this posting:

O Adonai! Come, mighty one Giver of law Fire of hearts. #oantiphons

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Most reblogged ever

For some reason this quotation strikes a nerve with people. This is my most reblogged post ever on Tumblr, and the reblogging comes in waves. I posted it months ago, and every once and a while it goes through a wave of reblogging. It’s currently in one of those waves.


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21-Day Spring Cleanse

Here we go again (and we love it)!

Wholehearted Yoga

It’s that time of year again. Actually, it begins today! This is the spring cleanse I recommend for those of us living in the Northeast US. Charlotte Clews is geeky, fun, and accessible. You won’t be sorry who join us.

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Easy is right

I thought that I had this quotation by Chuang-Tzu up on the blog somewhere. I guess I have others here, here, and here.



What prompted this inquiry was the chorus of this song by Sarah Jarosz as my ear worm.

Today as snow falls outside my window, and I’m inside hunkered down doing the “administrivia” that needs attention, things are going more smoothly than I had anticipated. When one begins with the right mindset, or in this case “heartset,” to coin a phrase, such things are possible. I think it’s ultimately all a question of what aligns, and what aligns, now in this moment.

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Help, I’m Alive

From the archives: “How wonderful to be confronted with the terror of this beautiful life.”

The Considered Kula

Yesterday, I was sitting around in a café aprés yoga with some friends, discussing our midlife spiritual crises, among other things. Not the garden variety of midlife crisis, but the deeper one which impels the others. It is the one in which one realizes that one is not living one’s own life, but one provided by all of those others, from one’s parents to Madison Avenue (a quaint term for advertising for all of you millennials.

It reminds me of this truly wonderful book I’ve assigned to some of my first year seminar students, This Book is Not Requiredwhich relies partly on a “Buddhist sociology” I’ve not read anywhere but by the book’s chief author, Inge Bell. It is well–accepted in sociology, especially within the theoretical perspective of symbolic interactionism, that individuals undergo a process of socialization (not “socializing”, that’s  a form of “interaction”). As I intone…

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Equanimous Engagement: Our Students Teach Us

I’m not going to sugarcoat this because this is somehow a blog about yoga and sociology. I’m not going to pursue some path of dispassion because I think either mindfulness or social science demand it. I think that the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land is an unmitigated disaster. It’s a bleak and dark period that severely threatens the experiment that is this republic on these shores. No amount of civility of mere “niceness” will blunt the impact of this.

I’d been loathe to face students about this disaster. Previous generations, mine included, but moreso the ones ahead of mine, have saddled them with problems enough: an “armed madhouse” of foreign policy, anthropogenic climate disruption, Gilded Age levels of inequality, and deep racism. Upon this powder keg we have placed a leader with a short fuse, and as technology marches forward, a leadership which seeks to turn the clocks backward. Welcome to the Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor. My choices, which have led me to teach in a public university as adjunct faculty, hobble my efforts to offer a political education. It’s unethical, by sins of omission or commission, to adopt a stance of advocacy in the classroom. How does this professionally precarious professor offer hope and constructive alternatives while avoiding charges of partisanship? Playing safe and nice is precisely that, safe.

It’s a student of mine who’s inadvertently indicated a familiar path through this. It’s a student who’s returned me to something I know, the “influence in repose” that comes with knowledge. I’m reminded here of my post on “The Useless Tree.”

Last week I checked in with students about their feelings about the election. I mention three salient responses as instructive:

  1. One student is a dual national by virtue of his mother’s marriage to an American. “We just had a coup there,” he quipped of his country of origin, “so I’d rather this result than that.” It’s all relative, I suppose.
  2. Another student said he was grateful for the success of initiative petitions in this state. Indeed, I heard on DemocracyNow! that states had voted on over 160 initiative petitions, and that historically, such things are more common with greater inequality. We are at the highest levels of social inequality since the Gilded Age.
  3. Lastly, in response to many students expressing an attitude of “wait and see,” one student remarked, “People of color can’t wait and see. Immigrants can’t, Muslims can’t, LGBTQ people can’t.”

Today, reflecting on the student walkout where I teach, I wrote the following on Facebook:

What is salient to me in the reaction of aware students to the outbreak of hate in the wake of Trump’s ascendance is their humility. Many who spoke out at a campus protest Wednesday disclaimed their knowledge and ability to covey it. “I’m not a public speaker…” many began. “I’m just a [fill in the blank with the name of a marginal community]…” They know what they don’t know, yet they are beautifully articulate in their authenticity. I feel we have bequeathed to this generation who did not vote for him the worst mess of any of our lives. They do not disappoint in rising to this, and I consider it a privilege to journey with them. Please refuse the narrative of navel–gazing privileged young people. Please support their self–direction as surely as Ella Baker supported SNCC, and my professors supported me. They do not accept easy answers, nor should they. Please listen to them.

On “the morning after,” I wrote the following on Facebook:

The important question now is what hope to offer all whom this outcome “others,” in a nation which has chosen easy lies over hard truths. I don’t think it’s Democrats who need to do soul–searching as much as all of America. It’s not mere “division” that characterizes this outcome, but deliberate, dangerous polarization. It’s deliberate, dangerous polarization at a time we and the world can ill afford it. Perhaps it’s the same sort of hope, against hope, engaged by our sisters and brothers of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, holding by their fingernails to shreds of dignity in a world gone selfish, profligate, and mad.

I’ve waited a decade of teaching for students to become this aware. I’ve waited over thirty years since I was a student myself to see this level of activism among students. I’d rather such leadership appeared under different circumstances, but we do not choose our times. What is important is how we spend our time in what we’re given.

Do we, like my students, cultivate an awareness of the wider world, including the wide world within our borders? Do we look for opportunities for the successes available to us? Do we accurately perceive the forces arrayed against us and respond appropriately?

When politics and economics fail, civil society may avail. We who have tools to share, experiences to offer, perspectives to articulate, must do so. But we must check our privilege, and age is but another vector of privilege. Elise Boulding was prescient to suggest this in her millennially optimistic Cultures of Peace (2000) Young adults will one day run this world, inheriting a past very different from our own. Our experiences may inform, but never fully prepare for a world we could scarcely anticipate. Let’s commit to listen to them and their concerns, thus clinging to shreds of hope to redeem ourselves somewhat from this mess we’ve created for them.

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From the archives: reflecting on an all day rain.

The Considered Kula

It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon. We got a good rain on Wednesday, a long soaking rain, good for field and garden and lawn. It was so dry, no rain for a month. The ballpark grass looked dead last Sunday, the lake level fell and rocks showed in the river. It began to rain in the night Tuesday. People woke up and lay listening to it.

— Garrison Keillor, “Rain Means Life Continues in a Town that Time Forgot.” via Times Union – Albany NY. Date: Saturday, November 7, 1987 Section: MAIN,  Page: 1A Excerpted from Leaving Home, published by Viking Penguin Inc.

It is one of those sorts of summer mornings here in my town, which in some ways time has forgot. It’s shaping up to be an “all day rain.”!/drwh0/status/103068979349823488

Sometimes it’s wet
Sometimes it’s dry
You laugh–you forget
what made you cry

via Greg…

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Euthymia – Of Peace of Mind

Somehow I got on the mailing list for someone who runs one of those series of self–help courses, the first step of which is to help the presenter by buying into his philosophy, i.e., his book or online course(s). But in this case, his mailing caught my eye for his spin on the concept of “euthymia,” from Ancient Greek stoic philosophy. Seneca, in a dialog “Of Peace of Mind,” gives us an appreciation of this concept.

What you need, therefore, is, not any of those harsher remedies to which allusion has been made, not that you should in some cases check yourself, in others be angry with yourself, in others sternly reproach yourself, but that you should adopt that which comes last in the list, have confidence in yourself, and believe that you are proceeding on the right path, without being led aside by the numerous divergent tracks of wanderers which cross it in every direction, some of them circling about the right path itself. What you desire, to be undisturbed, is a great thing, nay, the greatest thing of all, and one which raises a man almost to the level of a god. The Greeks call this calm steadiness of mind euthymia, and Democritus’s treatise upon it is excellently written: I call it peace of mind: for there is no necessity for translating so exactly as to copy the words of the Greek idiom: the essential point is to mark the matter under discussion by a name which ought to have the same meaning as its Greek name, though perhaps not the same form. What we are seeking, then, is how the mind may always pursue a steady, unruffled course, may be pleased with itself, and look with pleasure upon its surroundings, and experience no interruption of this joy, but abide in a peaceful condition without being ever either elated or depressed: this will be “peace of mind.”

From: L. Annaeus Seneca, Minor Dialogs Together with the Dialog “On Clemency”; Translated by Aubrey Stewart, M.A., Late Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge, pp. 250-287



Immediately I am struck with its similarity to the yogic “virtue”of equanimity, upekśa (borrowed by Patanjali from the Buddhists). But additionally, I am struck with this advice, which is called out in the mail I received from the self help fellow.

have confidence in yourself, and believe that you are proceeding on the right path, without being led aside by the numerous divergent tracks of wanderers which cross it in every direction, some of them circling about the right path itself

So for me, euthymia will have this additional sense of belief or confidence in one’s own path. This reminds me of the advice, deduced from The Bhagavad Gita, that it is a form of violence to follow a dharma other than your own. To me this means to take the advice of others to heart, but ultimately to follow one’s own counsel. We live the truth or falsehood, and consequences of our own actions.

I don’t think this necessarily means an enjoinder to stoicism as much as peace of mind, tranquility. What couldn’t we accomplish with that confidence? How might we also engage others, with that sense of responsibility for our choices?

I’m excited by the discovery of this concept in the most unlikely of places, and I intend to meditate more upon this.

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A little peaceful warrior love

This is fun!

Wholehearted Yoga

When I reposted MC Yogi’s instagram this morning, I got props in a tweet.

I am definitely burning up my 15 minutes of fame.

It looks like he also got props from Trevor Hall, another peaceful warrior who is a favorite of mine.

But this is great because I first heard of MC Yogi from a yoga…

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