GNL number 61

a report of doings at meeting #61, Sunday, June 10, 2012
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends

INVOCATION

The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital.  The live green earth is transformed into dead gold bricks, with luxury items for the few and toxic slag heaps for the many.  The glittering mansion overlooks a vast sprawl of shanty towns, where a desperate, demoralized humanity is kept in line with drugs, television and armed force.
—Michael Parenti

Man, I’m high off life. Fuck it, I’m wasted!
—Jay-Z


THEME

Before we began this conversation on Drugs, and many other things, we heard reports on those missing.  Gail, having ups and downs in her knee-surgery recovery, was not feeling up to coming today. Cynthia and Ron had just received the print version of their son’s review and were expecting daughter Tina to join them to discuss the possibility of appealing one part of it. Vijaya had had unexpected company from India. And within the same couple of days, Adair called to say she’s planning a trip back here next month, and hopes to join us at Skippy!  So we’re hoping to see them ALL next time. (And do a Drugs Part II meeting another time down the road.)

This meeting on a sunny, summery day, was a small and wonderful one held under a big and wonderful tree in Sue’s back yard. (Followed not only by a lovely lunch, but the most delightful tour of her gardens!)  Since there were just four of us, these notes will probably be small too.

We started with memories of personal history involving drugs, and this soon brought us into family and relationship territory and other side-trips. As it turned out, two of us had personally experimented with drugs, and two had not at all.

Sue said she had used some years ago, noting that her experiences with psychodelics had been good; and she observed how in the old tribal societies, such plants were part of sacred tradition, and apparently not abused. More recently, dealings with her brother had reminded her of how families can get caught revolving around one troubled member, and that she needed to find and observe boundaries. And Sue remembered how through all the years and relationships, writing has been such a help to her—and sitting among all the beautiful plant life—she added, and so has gardening.

Ann too spoke of trying LSD and peyote, but these were not good experiences, and she said she’d smoked cigarettes for ten years but quit cold when she needed to. She also remembered life as the youngest of four quite different siblings, in a family affected by the alcoholism of her dad. In her current life, she said she’s concerned about a dear elderly friend who may be caught in trying to do the kind/right/only thing by putting up with another elderly friend who’s verbally abusive, instead of drawing boundaries. And like Sue, Ann said she’s found the garden is a fertile ground for oneself too.

Anna said she hadn’t tried any drugs, even smoking. But she had a vivid, one-of-a-kind, memory as a child, of one evening when her dad, a newspaperman for the Brooklyn Eagle, came home from a party at work quite drunk, and how angry her mother was that no one had brought him home. She also remembered how different she and her only and much older sibling were in temperament—her sister the very serious academic achiever and Anna the artistic adventurer. And about writing, she was again glad to have written the journal of her travels in the West (but confessed she hadn’t re-read it yet).

Like Anna, Nancy had not even tried any drugs, and wouldn’t even know how to smoke. And, like Ann, she recalled her dad’s alcoholism, and how she used to dread seeing him come home, because he would almost always have that blurred, out-of-focus look. She’s thought he was trying to forget feelings of failure. In any case, though, the culture at the time wasn’t as quick to recognize or confront alcoholism. And like Sue, Nancy said for her, daily writing has been clarifying, enlightening, a grace.

We decided to give our offering again today to the SCCAP program’s ongoing efforts toward Flood Relief in Schoharie County.


BENEDICTION

Half of the modern drugs could be thrown out the window,
except that the birds might eat them.
—Martin H. Fischer


NEXT TIME

A big switch in routine so we can all visit with Adair: it’s Monday evening July 16, 2012, (5:00), at Cynthia’s. The topic is A GRAND UPDATE EXCHANGE, and Anything Else Anybody Has on Their Mind, OK?
And needless to say, the Potluck will be the same: Fabulous.

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