"Just darkness now, to lift the spirit up." 

-Leonard Cohen, Born in Chains

Who doesn't enjoy a lovely illusion, with it's magnetic seductive shimmer and pull? The sweet unknown or vivid mirage is impossible to resist. We are thirsty! We want so badly, to believe. While the story might not end like the fairy tale we expected, the lessons of value keep coming. We have all fallen in and out of romantic love and informed our politics with such innocent hope. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Leonard Cohen inspired a few movies, and inspired us to fall in love, even in disastrous circumstances. Life goes on outside our bubble. 


Humanity can be at once tragically ugly and staggeringly gorgeous. Leonard Cohen was masterful at demolishing the polished facade of hopeless romantics, with his melancholy nod to our infinite longing. We reach out for the unattainable, even when we know it may be much too late. Saudade is a Portuguese word for a kind of longing. There is no like word in English. They left my pal Cezaria Evora off this list of lyrics that include this gem of vocabulary, but it's a start. 


I talk to dead friends, along with my Grandmother, and cousin Susan Bright (former poet, Plainview Press, Austin TX). Usually in the car, alone, seeking guidance. Not because they were perfect, but because they were tenacious, spirited, and wise. I miss each of them, and Leonard Cohen too. 

Our relationships, personal history and values were involved in this car crash of an election. We must own it. As the lyrics go, "Take this waltz, it's yours now". Leonard knew that all we are left with is now. Let's not squander our precious time presuming we know what is going on with everyone else, just because we carry certain opinions. Be careful what you wish for and listen closely to the music, or you may be in for a rude awakening. For the record, I'm a big fan of rude awakenings, aka, disillusionment. Waking up from the dream of ego is crucial to the survival of humanity. A more immediate portal into the realm of compassion or enlightenment is not to be found. Like you, I've survived traumatic circumstances and may shake a bit, but I'm still standing. 

Even some rap stars from the 90's get this thing called compassion. Until you have walked in the shoes of another, try not to judge. We need to consider "what it's like" more than ever, as the world feels increasingly harsh. A clean and slightly blurred version of his tune- Everlast presenting vignettes of all-too-common struggle. Ignore the struggles of others at your own peril. It's so easy, from our relative comfort or luxury, to ask, "Why are you so angry?


I happen to sleep with tyrants who don't care how they affect others. They incite rioting and war upon their arrival and departure, demolishing everything in their wake. AKA, the evil stepsisters, Dystonia, insomnia and Bradykinesia. Yes I get in bed with these evil visitors every night and rarely wake rested or fully-functional. You suspected I was hedonistic, but two or three in bed at once is kind of ridiculous, isn't it? Come on Parkinson's, can't I just choose one Hobson's Choice at a time, like that game "Would You Rather?" :

Q: Would you rather have your kidney removed with a blunt object or sleep with Rush Limbaugh?

A: Which hospital shall I report to, here is a butter knife, and may I donate my good kidney to someone who can use it? 

For anyone spitting over the election, George Lakoff breaks it down pretty well in this theory that conservatives favor the "strict father" philosophy. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that everyone knows the wealthiest forces will continue buying our candidates from behind the veil. It's a translucent veil, seen by anyone paying the slightest attention. Yet, even if we miss that key component, the psychology of our recent election cycle is not the mystery many of us seem so wrapped up in: 


Smug liberals who believed social media was any indicator of an election just got schooled. Those of us from multi-cultural or highly-educated communities, also grossly underestimated racism and misogyny, because we don't see it as often. Now before you start throwing rocks at the messenger(s), at least see this glaring flaw in a horrific spectacle. Social media and major news sources were assumed to be clear indicators that Americans were united in our terror over this abhorrent behavior. Pro tip: You only see and get routed to things that the algorithm decides you have an interest in.


We get what we deserve/earn/fail to see the other side. I have friends with opposing views on a plethora of issues and have heard what they had to say, even if I disagreed. It just takes time as the pendulum of world politic swings into extremes, in turns. Feeling powerless, suddenly powerful, or unmoved? There is a storm on the horizon. 

Find the center. Meaning the eye of the storm- there will always be a storm. History is available for our perusal. 

There are millions of disenfranchised folks who do not feel heard or understood, and they didn't bother with facebook, or polls, or any form of meme sharing and soapboxing. They are "normal" working-class people who got hoodwinked by an elitist insider- one who steals from the poor to give to the rich, especially himself. This is not my opinion, it's fact. We are all being manipulated by the machinery. Instead of blaming and hating, which will only keep people in every country warring for eternity, let's stop and listen to one another.

Oh, and Mom, you were right. It wasn't just an elaborate prank on self-righteous politically correct Dems, as I kept insisting. We never got to see the Conan show referenced below, but SNL is going to be incredibly busy: 


We are all so full of our opinions and ideas. What hypocrites we become when we remain inflexible and certain only we know the way, the only way, the "best" way! It's as ridiculous as stepping over (or on) a beggar as you enter your church. Nice blouse, by the way. Jesus must be so proud, because you attend church and you're always on time. Is this an episode of Punk'd or Candid Camera? 

You have a few choices: You can hate on "them" and develop a strict policy of "us" vs. "them", or you can listen to what people have to say and attempt to comprehend where they are coming from. One on one. Bridge the widening gap, before we all fall in. Looking into each other's eyes preferable to glowing screens. Imagine the possibilities! OK, maybe not right now, but when will we be ready to do this, if ever? If I were a person of color or from one of the thirty cultures recently harassed, insulted and now targeted by someone we just put in office, I would be furious too.

As a white woman (pop, fizz, poof...instant privilege!) I cannot fathom what it is like to be a person of color, watching this monstrosity uncurl its talons. We now have an unsettling and rapidly shifting dynamic that includes outrageous intolerance and possible deportation, so it is not difficult to see how people from other places might be fearful. Like natural born citizens, they took the quote on The Statue of Liberty at face value.  What I can do is shut up and listen, connecting with human beings from all over the map, by reaching out to one person at a time. Simply to acknowledge they exist and that their experiences and lives are just as important as my own. I can put my hyper-sensitive white privileged ego aside, and hear others who have NOT had the same life experiences might have to say. Some might refer to this as being human prior to any labels, affiliations or borders. 

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" These lines are from the poem "The New Colossus," written by Emma Lazarus in 1883, and they happen to be at the base of Ms. Liberty herself. If we intend to change this, due to the complexities of modern times or overburdened taxpayers, then we have a few laws and constitutional points that need to be rectified for the 21st century. Like personal interpretations of The Bible or Christianity, these things don't exist for each of us to manipulate based upon what would benefit us privately- they apply to all. Placing opinion and emotion before fact is a mistake in the management of disease and chronic pain, and it is also poisoning America. 

What happened to kindness and respectful dialogue on all sides? We have a President elect who says things I can't possibly explain to my son or daughter, and modesty or the need for constantly appropriate language is not my problem. This is out of control in terms of basic human dignity, yet we only have ourselves to blame. We are utterly lost in many ways, and everyone seems either sad, confused or just plain angry. Is it possible to transcend the labels and categories and anything else that causes separation? I see and can easily understand why various groups are angry. You don't need my permission, but by all means...

Let it rip. Then let's meet and have a drink. This one is on me. No, really. 

We'll need endless reserves of empathy, but white citizens can't truly comprehend what it feels like to be a person of color watching our first black President hand the keys to the White House to someone who accepted campaign donations... from The KKK. While this fact may have been scrubbed from the nets, and there was a public distancing from the David Dukes of the world, reality is hard to deny. 

What is that you are muttering? Oh, you have a home, a job, kids and a full life? Too busy to read the fine print and pay attention to all these nagging details? Yeah, a lot of us are in the same place, and most of us (in every country, not just our young 'United' States) continue to be blissfully unaware. Everyone is generally distracted and just trying to keep up with life's responsibilities. Survivor is not just for television. It's no secret this reality that is not a tv show is getting increasingly difficult- for everyone. By the way, Walmart prices are about to go up and stocks just went down. You saw that coming, right? 

I tend to not "see things coming" in time to do much about changing them, like dystonia kicking in while driving. I was in so much pain and completely unaware my shirt was on inside out while driving the wrong way in my hometown last visit. To be fair, they have re-routed several major streets and intersections in the old stomping grounds and my glasses were out-dated. Change is confusing for us old people and we may be slower to adapt. A cop let me go, out of pity or perhaps sympathetic embarrassment. This could have gone terribly wrong. PwP may appear drunk all the time, but fortunately for me, it's rare that both are true. Of course I wish I could make Parkinson's go away, if not for myself, then for loved ones who suffer by association. All the influence in the world can't stop certain entities from making money off disease, anxiety, depression and illness, yet I am no conspiracy theorist. 

It remains true that enough money can make almost anything (or anyone) go away. Look who our politicians accept donations from, if you want the truth. In a recent interview, I mentioned opensecrets.org as a potential source for revealing the sources of income. You can see who is owned by whom, no matter what they promise to the hungry masses. Info on the nets is still scrubbed, though, so the worst remain cleverly hidden. Corruption factor: 100%. Keep this in mind while you watch your friends and family bicker, blame and scratch each other's eyeballs out.

Those in positions of power are off breaking bread with the so-called opposition, toasting to their hat tricks. The Koch Brothers are making money off the fact that we aren't paying attention. The talking heads and crooks are probably in cahoots with our elected politicians- and the charade carries on. 

Yes I said cahoots! Now what in tarnation are you going to do about it? At least we'll be entertained!They didn't take football away, so simmer down. Wealthy old dudes around the world are laughing all the way to the bank right now as most of the world's population scrambles to make dirt taste appetizing. Here is live video footage of our government, unconcerned with your concerns. Mmm, it does go well with the chicken! 


In Parkinson's, one of the first things to go is smell (taste). Not always, but often. So, I don't care if your wine goes well with the chicken, but do enjoy! Pleasure is a right and a privilege we all get to experience, in waves. Pain too. I can feel your pain without actually experiencing it, but only to a degree. We are all limited as we cannot be expected to have omnipotence in any form. We can aspire to at least hear what others are experiencing in an effort to grow our compassion. Why do I keep banging the drum of compassion? 

Oh, honey.

We are all hurting. I am sorry you hurt, too. Instead of going after each other, can we be gentler with ourselves? Let's start by looking people in the eye, saying hello, and asking with sincerity how they are doing. It may startle people, so be prepared for a wide range of odd responses. 

Compassion and the de-escalation of violence is the only way in, or out. As my former teacher used to say, "Don't take my word for it though. Test these concepts yourself." All teachers know that the best we can do is point at truth. Whether it is chosen, or even seen to begin with, is up to each of us. I believe in love, magic, divinity and compassion- and in spite of everything, there are more kind than cruel beings on this planet. I send love your way no matter what, even if we've argued bitterly. I'll look for the best in you and expect the best of myself. Some folks make this so difficult, and this is why we need to keep practicing. Spill the lamp oil, keep exposing the false idols and all the stories we are force fed, then lets move on. 

More love, please. Put your "Fuck Trump" signs down. Howl like Ginsberg, write like Sontag ( I wish!), dance like Martha Graham, and hold each other as if it's the very last time. Grieve or celebrate as you see fit. The important part is that eventually, you roll up your sleeves and do your absolute best to contribute to the better parts of humanity. We have work to do, together. 

So let us come together and go higher. We have mentors, reminders and teachers everywhere to guide us. Thank you Leonard Cohen, for writing a soundtrack and words to accompany our human experience, when I had none. I felt less alone because of you. That's love

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to research how to use hyperlinks, so the links I offer you aren't blind. I'll leave you with Cohen's Waltz. It's all we have. 

"Now in Vienna there are ten pretty women
There's a shoulder where Death comes to cry
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows
There's a tree where the doves go to die
There's a piece that was torn from the morning
And it hangs in the Gallery of Frost

I, I-I-I
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz with the clamp on its jaws

Oh, I want you, I want you, I want you
On a chair with a dead magazine
In the cave at the tip of the lilly
In some hallway where love's never been
On a bed where the moon has been sweating
In a cry filled with footsteps and sand

I, I-I-I
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take its broken waist in your hand

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging its tail in the sea

There's a concert hall in Vienna
Where your mouth had a thousand reviews
There's a bar where the boys have stopped talking
They've been sentenced to death by the blues
Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
With a garland of freshly cut tears?

I, I-I-I
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz, it's been dying for years

There's an attic where children are playing
Where I've got to lie down with you soon
In a dream of Hungarian lanterns
In the mist of some sweet afternoon
And I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow
All your sheep and your lillies of snow

I, I-I-I
Take this waltz, take this waltz
With its "I'll never forget you, you know!"

This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging its tail in the sea

And I'll dance with you in Vienna
I'll be wearing a river's disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross
And you'll carry me down on your dancing
To the pools that you lift on your wrist
Oh my love, oh my love
Take this waltz, take this waltz
It's yours now, it's all that there is."

- Take this Waltz, Leonard Cohen