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Metta No Match for Raw Anguish?

I've been meditating on the Buddhist concept of "metta" or "loving kindness." Practicing sending it out to rings of acquaintances and the world and wishing those souls free from fear and suffering and grief.

I've also been sucked into the drama vortex that is TNT's "SouthLAnd," a gritty and grueling and marvelously written cop drama that takes place in south L.A.

In the final 30 seconds of last night's episode, officer John Cooper, played by Michael Cudlitz, collapses to the dirt at the side of the road, wailing in anguish over a lot of things. It was a release that had to come. You can't even begin to imagine what his character has been going through.  And 99.9% of the time, he is a quiet, quippy 20-year veteran of the force, tall and strong and very solid.

He is a character, but he is written from truth (ask the show's writers; they don't make this stuff up).

And all I could think was, could metta be strong enough to meet this level of pain? Could metta match up to the depth of his fear? Because it was so real, so raw, my jaw dropped.

Cooper is a television character, but that moment of art showed me what metta is up against. And how badly it's needed.

If you're intrigued by "SouthLAnd," check the show out on Tuesday nights at 10pm on TNT. Full episodes are available at the show's site and most cable On Demand services offer the last few episodes. It's Season 3 (each season is 10 or 11 shows). Earlier seasons can be Netflixed.





Bad Kitty Mommy

Have I not yet introduced Hubble to this blog?

That's a bad Mommy.

Here he is!



Mix It Up on January 25

Senator Mark Udall (Colorado) has circulated a letter to his colleagues in Congress asking Members to put aside their party labels during the State of the Union and sit amongst each other instead of on opposite sides of the hall.

When I watched the State of the Union in January 2010, I couldn't listen to Obama's words. All I could focus on was how petty and infuriating and mean and juvenile it looked for one party to sit while the other stood. And the other sat while the other stood. And the only bright moments were when, once in a while, a few Republicans would applaud, in spite of themselves. Or vice versa.

I was seething by the end of the address. How much it must have hurt Obama's heart to see that continue.

I think that Udall knows what a difference it would make to the country to see their representatives sitting together. To find it harder to pick out the things that separate us.

What a gesture ... what a "I can be better" ... what an uplifting ... moment that would be.

Udall's letter has to get signatures on both sides of Congress to have "any traction," as we say inside the Beltway. With Boehner's lame "they can sit wherever they want to sit," I don't know if it will happen. Even if it doesn't, the idea and the goal have been planted.

If you read this in time, please write to your federal elected officials and ask them to sign on to Senator Udall's letter that urges bipartisan seating during the State of the Union on January 25. Through one of my former clients, the Afterschool Alliance, you can easily find your officials and send them emails. Go to their Web site, enter your zip code in the "Contact Congress" box at the middle right of the page and your three (2 senators, one House member) will come up. Click on "Email" and then select "Compose Your Own Letter." Write the letter and provide the info the form asks for. Submit and then repeat for your other two elected officials. At the end of your letter, it's always good to thank the Member for their service.

If seeing that disheartening sight every year has started to get you down, too, please write.

This would be a welcome change that we could all celebrate.

And thank you, Senator Udall, for your service.

(Here's a link to his blog entry on the letter, which gives the entire text and an up-to-date list of Members who have so far signed on. It will really come down to leadership, so if you are a constituent of Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, Minority Leaders McConnell and Pelosi, please write to them in particular. Even if you're not a constituent, go ahead and see if you can contact them.)



Sharpen Our Instincts for Empathy

That's how we become better.

That's how we honor those killed in Tucson.

That's how we rise to our own potential.

That's how we answer the question "what can I do?"

Thank you, President Obama, for the words that put the task before us.




No Special Protection

I empathize with elected officials' call for protection, but I don't believe that my tax dollars should go towards paying for security to be with them 24-7. It would be just another layer that separates them from us, the people they serve.

Where is the protection for those "regular folk" who are equally at risk and equally killed by guns? Where is the "security" for hospital workers and police officers and taxicab drivers who are at just as much risk, if not more?

Where is the "security" for the other victims and family members of the Tucson tragedy who aren't elected officials? Are they not equally due?

Paying for security for federal elected officials would be just one more layer of separation. They already have their health care and other benefits.

Most important, if protection is put in place, no one will ever knuckle down and tackle the *real* issues at hand here, which include lax gun laws and fund-strapped mental health services, especially at the local level.  

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