Monday, April 17, 2017

The Super Hero Pose: Or how I learned to have the last word.

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A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. - Bob Dylan

François Rabelais
“I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”
François Rabelais

John Green
“Francois Rabelais. He was a poet. And his last words were "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." That's why I'm going. So I don't have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska

    People who don't know me tell me that what I share is perceived as ranting.  People who do know me, and know me well, tell me that they, these inner circle people, understand that what I share are my thoughts and perceptions.  Not directed at anyone specifically.   
    Sometimes I vent, which is not the same as ranting.  Venting is blowing off steam so I can continue to try and deal with life, and all people, and circumstances attached to it, with as much compassion, patience, love and kindness as I can muster.  Thank you to the handful of friends and family who understand this and have my back. Ranting is constantly complaining and never have any intention of making a change. Recently a old friend entered and left my life attached to this value I keep and taught me something about myself that I want to pass along; once again in hopes of helping who ever reads my humble little blog.
   Periodically I make a Facebook post that is about a paragraph long, sometimes shorter, on a perception that I have had.  A couple of weeks ago I made a post that basically shared that we all get tired, we all feel that we have hit a brick wall.  We all feel the need to get away from it all, but its not always possible to do so.  My solution was, and still is, to take time to be in the moment.  Stop take a deep breath, meditate (what ever form it is for you) read a book, hold a hand, give get the idea. 
   This old friend replied to my post, and this is not a direct quote but you'll get the jest, "You are so lucky, we live such different lives."  I replied that luck has nothing to do with it.  She disagreed and I left it alone.  But one of my inner circle friends replied that happiness, especially optimism, is a choice.  Which I completely agree with and told her so, complimenting her on her insight.
   I didn't want to call this old friend out on Facebook.  I personally don't like engaging, and causing conflict, in general I prefer to confront respectfully and compassionately.  So I messaged her and shared my perception of why I chose to post what I did. 
   Admittedly, looking back I really did not need to do this.  Realistically I know that I have no control over how anyone, but myself, chooses to perceive anything.  But there will always be a part of me that wants to try and ease someone's suffering, no matter how big or small that suffering is.  I am hard wired for this; when I try not to help in anyway that I can I feel lost, unfulfilled, sad and angry.  Feelings I personally don't like to subscribe to.
   People who don't know me have tried to imply that I am a control freak and need to have everything my way.  People who know me say I am always trying to do good, and to just set up appropriate boundaries so I don't hurt myself.  Which is usually what ends up happening.  I get hurt, not because I tried and failed, but because there is someone in the world who not only chooses to live a life filled with suffering and immerses him/herself in it, but because they made every attempt at trying to not only bring me into their suffering but to make me understand that living with suffering and living within suffering are the same thing.
   I am condensing the story, but I hope you can read between the lines.  The old friends reply to my share was, "I can see you still need to have the last word."
   Honestly this enraged me, and looking back now I think she new it would. (and shame on me for feeling the anger that I did)  I had forgotten about this ploy, this attempt that is used by some people to get someone to stop talking. It didn't work; I did reply but I went to a dark place and momentarily thought, in the end, who really cares what she perceives?  Then I remembered...I do. 
     I don't care what she perceives about me, in the end I continue to do what I know and feel to be right for everyone.  I strive to be selfless in everything I do not selfish. I choose to listen to the people who try to keep a positive outlook no matter what challenge the universe gives them.  And I choose to not let anyone diminish me.  These choices I make give me strength to help people who perceive that they are diminished.  No one should ever feel less.
   When I have the last word it is because I genuinely feel that their is another perspective that someone, even myself, has not considered.  That perspective should be talked about, and thought about.  That perspective neutralizes everything.  It doesn't give anyone the edge or makes winners or losers.  It brings understanding for everyone.
    So here's The Pith of the Matter.  No matter how hard it is.  No matter what your feeling; whether it is fear, sorrow, anger, or doubt, or all of them combined.  You have every right to be brave; share the last word when that word is kind, respectful, loving and compassionate.  Say what you have to say honestly then just back away from it.  Never stop fighting the good fight.  Look at the person trying to diminish you and/or life in general using the super hero pose.  Head held high, hands on your hips, a confident content look on your face, a slight compassionate smile, cape flying in the wind and use the super power we all have.  Your voice.  Someone somewhere will be listening.
Emaho  Namaste Peace out

Brodi Ashton
“Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.”
Brodi Ashton, Everneath
tags: choices, heroes, paths

Czesław Miłosz
“In a room where
people unanimously maintain
a conspiracy of silence,
one word of truth
sounds like a pistol shot.”
Czesław Miłosz

Monday, March 27, 2017

Drop the Story Line

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“THE GOOD LIFE requires that we take pleasure in new things; A GOOD LIFE requires that we take pleasure in moments.

To enjoy THE GOOD LIFE we have to get ahead; to enjoy A GOOD LIFE we have to make the trip worthwhile.

THE GOOD LIFE is not supported by feeding our pocketbooks; A GOOD LIFE is supported by feeding our souls.”
Steve Goodier
Orna Ross
“If you can't change your mind, you can't change anything.”
Orna Ross, After The Rising
“Optimists think badly, but live well.”
Marty Rubin
       A bit of truth about myself.  I have days where I actually don't like people, which is why I am choosy about who I let into my life.  When I'm feeling pessimistic I too feel, like all of us, that people in general are pretty stupid. (I include myself in this thought.) They are full of hate, anger and many other emotions that I find very hard to deal with.  So I choose to live my life surrounded by people who promote, to the best of their ability, love, kindness, compassion and optimism. 
      There is a part of me that morns deeply when I cannot get along with someone.  I know it takes two to have a relationship so, being wired as I am, when a relationship fails, for what ever reason, I question; why can't we all just get along?  Why does life have to be so hard?  
      I have been told and called various things when I feel like this.  I have been told that I am throwing a fit. I have been told that I am unbalanced.  I have been called a Pollyanna. Some have said that I need to just let it go, get on with my life.  Thoughts and questions gifted to me for a reason.
      The universe has been throwing me challenges as of late in the form of learning to deal with persons who are, quite frankly, extremely hard to deal with.  I am not blind to the fact that, one- our greatest challenges will be our greatest teachers and; two- some people you just have to detach from for what ever reason.  This is the nature of things.  
      The people who cant be dealt with, compassionately, kindly, who insist on arguing, being angry, trying to change who you are, who constantly show, and feel, disappointment in you will be the ones you don't need in your life.  As my sister so eloquently put it, "They are not major players in your life."   But they are their to teach you something, about yourself. 
      These persons will be the ones who make you see, and or feel something that you don't like feeling.  Not just once, but every time you spend time with them.  Angry, sad, embarrassed about who you are, insecure.  These are the persons to say good bye to, not to spend your time trying to convince that what you choose to do with your life is worthy.  Some of these people may not come straight out and be so obvious about their displeasure with you.  These are the passive aggressive's.  Everyone knows someone like this.  The person who always throws out those comments that leaves you wondering what the hell did that mean?  Making you question, well, everything.  Sometimes questioning is good, but if it leads to, "Too much mind" then time to drop the story line and move on.
      Too much mind means that thinking has gotten out of control to the point where we allow thinking about anything to become destructive to ourselves, and sometimes those around us.  The thinking has stopped becoming constructive, and compassionate.  When thinking becomes this it is time to stop, take a deep breath, and drop the story line.
      The story line is something many of us do. It is all the what if's, the why's, that we ask about anything and everything.  However, the story line can be self destructive.  It can be addictive to a point.  The person who loves drama will build countless story lines and be in an almost constant state of too much mind building anger, hate, blame and resentment.
     There is balance in thinking.  There is balance in feeling.  But when both of these are allowed to rule you instead of you ruling them a persons perspective on life becomes unbalanced.
      We cannot change how someone else chooses to perceive our lives.  We can only change how we choose to respond to these people.  Some people will automatically walk away from someone who challenges their lifestyle.  I'm not so sure this is wise.  If everyone, and every situation, we meet and come across is there to teach us something why would we choose not to learn? 
      I personally go into all relationship's as best I can with an open mind and open heart.  Which is why perhaps I mourn a loss when they fail.  But here's the thing.  I need to know that I have tried everything that I can to get along with someone and if they choose to continue to treat me badly, to not try to understand, or if they can't understand at least be respectful of my choices then that is not a reflection of me, it is a reflection of the mirror they look into.  That is what I learn.  That is my challenge.  To know when to step back, to let go, but never stop trying.
      Even though we all try to make the world a better place.  To try and go out daily and make it a better place even if it means just smiling at a stranger.  Sometimes it will not be enough.  But we persist not because we like feeling bad, but because when a connection is made it feels good not only to ourselves, but to whom ever we touched. 
      The Pith of the Matter is this. A good life is not achieved by having stuff, more and better cars.  Bigger houses filled with stuff. Doing something doesn't mean keeping yourself busy to the point where you can't think anymore.  Mindlessly going through your days, the same routine, with out stopping and listening to the birds chirp, kids laugh, people smiling, the breeze on your face.  It means being in the moment and fully being aware of that moment.  With that said I will continue to go out and save the world in my small little way every day.  Even if that day is blogging, making optimistic Facebook posts, smiling at a stranger, making my husband a great dinner, hugging my grand daughter, telling my kids how proud I am of them; because maybe doing these simple things will encourage someone to go out and pay it forward.  We all do the best with what we have and that should always be enough. 
Peace out Emaho Namaste
Maya Angelou
“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”
Maya Angelou
Oscar Wilde
“Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary.”
Oscar Wilde
I love mankind ... it's people I can't stand!!
I love mankind ... it's people I can't stand!!”
Charles M. Schulz, The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Blame Game: Or How A Horde of Orc's Changed My Life

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       We all do it at one time or another don't we?  Play the blame game.  The bad experiences we have, and the feelings associated with those experiences, must be some ones fault.  I mean we must feel this way for a reason and Buddha forgive that we hold our selves accountable for our own feelings and actions.  Recently I read something about blame, "If blaming is a game then why doesn't it feel more fun?"
         I believe I have blogged some where before that I feel that blaming is part of human nature.  Unless we have been taught from an early age how, and when, to be humble blame just kicks in.  The people who know how to be humble are more often than not perceived as being victims so people associating with the humble have a tendency to try and take advantage of them, or dismiss their feelings and opinions.  Blame appears to be much more empowering to many; but not really the brave option.
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        I don't think I need to point out the many different ways we as a society blame each other.  Ill leave that all up to your imagination and personal experiences.  What I do want to point out is this.
       Blaming handicaps us in all areas of life.  It causes a stand still to change and progress both as a society and as individuals.  We have a tendency to become so mired in the negative fall out of blame that we are blind to its consequences.  The people who most often suffer are those closest to us. 
       Over time I have spent more time than I can count working with persons who are stuck in the blame game.  They keep on rolling the dice and coming up with critical failures.  They don't understand why they keep on feeling so crappy.  They've identified what they think is the source of the blame yet they keep on getting 1 on the dice.  Maybe some more wrist action would help?  Maybe a new set of dice?  A set with better Juju.
     If it is our goal in life to spread joy, love, compassion then blaming goes against that basic human nature.  Blame supports being a victim, not being brave.  It keeps us from taking the kind, loving, compassionate path.  It wont matter what dice you use or how you role them.  I know I know I just wrote that I feel that blame is part of human nature.  This is where it gets interesting.
      In every spirituality, including science, there is always a reference made to duality, heaven and hell, yin and yang, atoms, protons, neutrons, and electrons.  A path with a fork in the road...supposedly.   I don't believe in the fork, I just believe in the path.  There is good and evil in everything making it work, or not work, the trick is realizing this so that we can become balanced.  Traveling the path while gaining wisdom and experience from the good and bad.
      Becoming balanced takes work.  In Dungeons and Dragons some of the hardest role playing scenario's are those that take place on planes that rely and function on balance.  The game player can be neither good or evil, they must find the middle ground to finish the quest.  How ever in order to have balance you must have good and bad.  Does this mean the whole party, each individual in it, becomes balanced?  Or does it mean that you rely on the good and bad inherently in each person and have confidence that in the end everyone will do their job to ensure a success in the end?  So here's how it works. 
     Shit is happening and you feel like what is happening.  Instinct tells us to blame, and who we usually blame is the one closest to us.  That reaction, not response, is a red flag that we need to stop, think and even feel.  Trust what we feel. 
     Why are we angry?  Is it really the other persons fault?  Or are we angry at ourselves?Did we take an active role in what was going on?  Did we some how fail to communicate our true feelings over the situation and just went along for the ride?  Did some one not validate how we felt and was that some one who you went on the ride with?   Was there enough praise given to everyone involved?
     I always think of my hubby when faced with blame for a few reasons.  I will do this by telling a story about D&D.  Years ago we played in an adult D&D game with some friends.  It was a fun cheap way to spend regular time with each other and other people who's company we still enjoy to this day.  My husband is not a gamer he did this for me.   How ever my hubby is a very good role player and a very mischievous one.  He's one of those people who, while everyone else is going this way he is going that way.  Games really do mirror reality sometimes. 
      So we are in this town, cant remember why.  What I do remember is while we were going this way, he went that a way and next thing we know he is being chased by a horde of angry Orc's that far out numbered us.  A lesson imagined by our Dungeon Master to teach hubby a lesson.  It didn't work.  He found the whole thing hilarious.  Still has pride and a big shit eating grin on his face when ever some one talks about it. 
       Cant remember what the out come was but I can tell you that he was probably to blame for something bad because almost 20 years later the whole party blames him...for something.  That's the thing about blame, you hold on to it long enough with out addressing it properly and eventually you can't remember why you blamed who ever for what ever anymore.  Unlike the D&D story how ever its not so funny in real life.
Image result for horde of orcs running down a street
     Eventually we become so comfortable with the anger associated with the blame that it just becomes second nature.  Then it becomes hard to let it go because, well it must have been important right?  Why else would we feel so strongly about it?  So we look for other things to blame, some one else to point the finger at, just so we can hold onto that feeling that has become so important to us.
      If we let go of the blame and anger what would take up that portion of our lives?  What would fuel us on everyday?  Make us feel what we assume is passion and motivation?  Or worse what, and who, would we blame for our lack of passion and motivation?
      At some point you just have to stop and say, "OK, next time we play D&D if you run down that ally we are not going to save your ass, you will be alone in your decision."  And then just let them think about that for awhile. 
      Just like in D&D in real life we are all suppose to work as a team.  Towards the same goal.  This takes compromise, a lot of compromise, constant get the idea.  If you feel over compromised to the point where you feel you need to blame some one then you need to fine tune your skills of communication.
      So once again, stop, take some time to feel and think, ask yourelf why you feel that way.  Journal what you are feeling, come back to it, re read it, does it sound like you?  Does it sound like who you want to be?  Talk to some one you trust.  Some one who you know will give you a straight answer no matter what and still love and respect you, and you them.
      Another reason I always think of hubby is because of something he said to me once when we were "compromising."  He implied that he was not responsible for how I feel.  I looked at him with a "pardon fucking me" look but there is some truth to what he said.
While we are ultimately responsible for our own feelings it is near to impossible to let some one we love struggle alone.  Hence the reason for the great Orc rescue.  It is with in everyone's right to say, after wards, that we need to do that differently next time because I am not happy with the out come. 
     The Pith of the Matter.  We very often do things for the ones we love with very good intentions.  We try to be unselfish, loving, and compassionate.  These extraordinary deeds should be praised.   It does no one on either side any good if we don't speak the truth of how we feel about the whole situation before, during and after.  While speaking our feelings this should be done with a tone of respect and love. 
      In my 34 years with my hubby I can tell you there has been plenty of blaming on both sides from time to time.  But looking back I can tell you a couple of things.  We wasted a lot of time on blaming that could have been better spent.  Ultimately we both played a part in the out come of every situation so the blame never rested on just one of us.  We were both very unhappy while playing the blame game and so was everyone around us.  When we finally let go of the blame we were happy to find happiness.  In the end, we are wiser for all of it.  Now I look back on that horde of Orc's and praise hubby for a fun filled adventure.  We rolled the dice in the game of blame and in the end rolled a critical success.  Not a fun game to have played while playing it, but looking back now I smile.
Emaho Namaste Peace out

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Shannon L. Alder
“People that hold onto hate for so long do so because they want to avoid dealing with their pain. They falsely believe if they forgive they are letting their enemy believe they are a doormat. What they don’t understand is hatred can’t be isolated or turned off. It manifests in their health, choices and belief systems. Their values and religious beliefs make adjustments to justify their negative emotions. Not unlike malware infesting a hard drive, their spirit slowly becomes corrupted and they make choices that don’t make logical sense to others. Hatred left unaddressed will crash a person’s spirit. The only thing he or she can do is to reboot, by fixing him or herself, not others. This might require installing a firewall of boundaries or parental controls on their emotions. Regardless of the approach, we are all connected on this "network of life" and each of us is responsible for cleaning up our spiritual registry.”
Shannon L. Alder
Steve Goodier
“An important decision I made was to resist playing the Blame Game. The day I realized that I am in charge of how I will approach problems in my life, that things will turn out better or worse because of me and nobody else, that was the day I knew I would be a happier and healthier person. And that was the day I knew I could truly build a life that matters.”
Steve Goodier

Monday, November 21, 2016

Religious Freedom

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       I have blogged often how in our family we have many different perceptions on religion, God, and spirituality.  When we have talked about this with others, especially those persons in some kind of field of social work, I.e. counselors, economists, etc., they are surprised that it works.  Our family is the exception, not the rule in America.  Why is that?  I use current events to explain my point of view why I perceive this mind set towards our family confusing for many.
        Right now we all seem to have opposing mind sets concerning the mandatory registration of Muslims.  There are two minds sets.  One is that Muslims, but honestly if you do your research you know that what I am going to share next is not exclusive to being Muslim, supposedly are responsible for much of the terrorism going on in the world right now.  Many Muslims entering many country's around the world are not family's, they are males, many single, and put up a red flag of a possible invasion.  All governments of any country pay attention to this kind of activity, and rightly so.  It is their job to keep citizens safe.
       The other more well known knowledge is that insisting that Muslims register is some how a violation of religious freedom, at least in the United States.  Perhaps.  On the surface, when not given any thought, this could be true for many.
      Persons who are driven by anger, hate, prejudice, and fear could certainly perceive it this way.  In my opinion, and personal conspiracy theory, there are probably some high ranking officials who believe that by promoting these negative feelings, and connecting them to religion, they will easily be able to get what they feel needs, and should, be done to protect citizens.  There is another mind set how ever.
      I remember the Dali Lama speaking recently on terrorism.  Basically what he said was that Muslim terrorists, Buddhist terrorist, are an oxymoron.  All religions at their heart promote peace and unity.  Anyone who does anything harmful in the name of religion is not really subscribing to their religion and should be treated as suspect.
      We need to stop saying that Muslims are being forced to register based on religion.  What is happening to them is a basic human rights violation.  If one of our freedoms is freedom of religion then, as Americans, we must assume that what our government is doing is violating human rights.  The mistake that our President Elect made was insisting that this registering should be done at a place were freedom of religion is taking place, or was it a mistake?  (Hence support for my conspiracy theory.)
      To support Muslims we should be insisting that this has nothing to do with religion and point out our history of internment camps during WW2.  Moving Native Americans off of their land and slavery.  Technically all of these had nothing to do with religion.
     A couple of friends, whose opinions I greatly respect, pointed out that much of this history was done in the name of religion/Christianity.  And I agree with this.  BUT here is my question for you.  If we truly oppose anyone, including our government, using religion in any shape or form as means for change and to supposedly make the United States, and other country's around the world, safer are we not we being hypocritical, and actually supporting this idea by arguing that what is happening is a violation of religious freedom?
      Native Americans rights were violated because of land.  African Americans rights were violated due to race and greed.  Japanese and German Americans rights were violated due to fear brought on by a war.  Religion, because it is fundamentally so personal to everyone, was the catalyst that made many people blindly support human rights violations. 
      Everyone needs to be accountable for their behavior right now.  If we ask Muslims to register then in my opinion so should other organizations.  Hate groups of all kinds have participated in terrorism of some kind.
      While this definition does include acts of violence it does not say that it is subject to one specific group of people.  It does not include race and/or religion.  The reason is simple.  Because it includes everyone.  Anyone who attempts to make a change connected to politics using fear, hate, and/or anger, and in doing so causes harm to anyone, is technically a terrorist. 
      Once again supporting my revolution of peace I encourage everyone to watch what they say, how they say it, what they post on Facebook, and what you write.  If you are promoting and supporting equality that includes all of us.  Don't promote fear, anger, hate.  Speak for all of us.  One family who truly believes in peace, compassion, and understanding. In our family it works because we choose not to separate our selves from each other due to freedom of religion.  There is a lesson there for everyone I think.
Emaho  Namaste Peace out

Aung San Suu Kyi
“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear

To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level.

Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.

Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.

Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.

And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem