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Creative Vets Awarded In the 2018 Creative Arts Festival

Vets who participated in the 2018 Creative Arts Festival, and placed in Gold, Silver and Bronze, were given certificates and medals by Dan Dücker, Interim Chief of VA Togus, with Courtney Oliver and Liz Marrone assisting.

The driving, human force the Festival are Liz Marrone and Courtney Oliver, Recreational Therapists, who work at Togus.

Their passionate energy for the Creative Arts Festival is testified to by all the Vets who’ve applied to be a participant in the Festival.

In their remarks, both women commented that it had been a stellar year-the Creative Writing entries increased over 2017.

The favorite Windy Ridge Blue Grass Band, won two Golds, one in the Folk/Bluegrass/Country/Pop for a tune called “Railroad Line;” they won another Gold for Special Recognition with “Trucker and the UFO.”

Members of the WRBGB are: Mama Beth Revels-Guitar (Mama was recently elected as the President of the Bluegrass Music Association; Steve Davis-bango; “Frank” Woodard-Bass fiddle; and Jim Chard-Mandolin.

Daeven Dreezer and Mary Jane McLoon attended in their always, supportive way-from the American Legion Auxiliary.

Not to forget our unofficial “official” camera person, Allison. Thanks Allison!

Christopher Bear-Beam won the Gold at the national level, in his Creative Writing performance of a poem entitled “White.”

The 2019 Creative Arts Festival will be held some time in February (TBA).

This might be a good time, if you’re a creative Vet, to think of something you’d like to read, perform, do, your choice; it can be something you wrote that you have an intensity with which to perform.

Focus on your inner brainstorming for ideas to elaborate your goals for your own art, performed at the 2019 Creative Arts Festival.

Maybe you know another Vet, that you can work as a team in preparation in a “buddy system.” I betcha it could be a lot of fun!

I’m guessing that next year will be even better!

copyright:christopherbearbeam November 4, 2018

Dis Da Kind a White I Wannabe

 

you can be any kinda white
you want to be, any kind at all,
you got differently-hued/hewn whites from
all parts of the world, but they ain’t white unless the average
Joe white dude says so, but, dig, you got the
priv. recycling you to ROYGBIV, SHIT, GO OUT AND LIVE;

 

but just like you got different interps of the same biblical verse,
or any other piece of da Holy Writ, in a rainbow-eclectic manner,so you got diverse interps of whites, my Boo!

 

So, bro, don’t let those outside/inside voices in the virtual marketplace tell
you what kind of white to be, choose the path least taken, the one in the
overgrown forest, Like Robert Frost wrote about, where it breaks in two, walk that
way, shit, carry your own individual, protest sign.

 

“I be the white kind\the-kind-to-me-kind,”
because the kind of what I wannabe
is like you, Mr. Black or Mr. White, Mr.
Right or Mr. Wrong, or whoever you wannabe,
just like you, Mr.White, a professional, football referee!
(Big tips on the side! Gee!)

 

copyright:christopherbearbeam April 3, 2018

Trusting Her Gut

Kelly Taxter is vibrantly enthusiastic (maybe I should re-write that to say bombastic) for the work she does (primarily youth from K-12), and from looking at all the positive feedback she’s observed, and its growing pace is steadily climbing.

It was Kelly’s vision & impassioned work that led her to leave Maine, to a job in Social Work in Virginia. After working in that system for awhile, she began to feel like she wasn’t being as effective in helping families. Part of this came from a large, government department that required so many requirements, that she felt as if it was slowing and bogging her down.

She decided to move back to Maine, start making community and resource connections, looking at other programming models, as well as continuing to create her own.
Trusting Your Gut, fits Kelly’s own sense of understanding of the body-mind connection; to trust your gut means first to trust & listen, to your own insides, your ideas, your values, your own personal power, your insights, your spirituality, and your play & creativity.

Think of this! If we can trust our own guts, do you think it may be easier to do that with others entertwined with all our relationships?

Isn’t giving kind & compassionate support and reinforcement feel good? There’s always a positive reward or pay-off for us; this happens due to activity, mindfulness, processing in community and kicks into our brain-chemistry, which means it can have long-term, healthy results.

Anytime we help someone else there’s an inside pay-off-since we’re giving it in outward ways to others. Wouldn’t it make sense if there was a good reward of changes in our brain-chemistries that bring pleasant feeling and healthy thoughts?

Ms. Taxter uses Four Core Concepts in her work: These Four Core Concepts of Trust Your Gut are: 1). My Story-patterns of experiences, emotions, memories-let go of those that don’t serve you well; 2). My Body-treat it with kindness, movement & nutrition; 3). My Voice-assistance to participants with help finding their voice and expressing it; 4). My Tribe-taking what we’ve learned about ourselves & realizing we have more power than we think, as well as choose.

Youth have found their way to Trust Your Gut in various ways, hearing about it word of mouth, referrals from schools, perhaps law enforcement, and Kelly’s own dynamic interfacing with others.

A typical training, used by Kelly, would consist of debriefing a journal entry that someone had written during the week. Kelly noted that this is one of the most key pieces, because participants can use something from a page in a book through self-expression & self-reflection. This activity lasts around twenty minutes.

Other activities include stretching movements, and this also helps participants to be aware of their bodies; guided meditation and mindfulness is used; these activities are often blended with other movement activities. Mindfulness has become so much more prevalent in our culture, that there are many Mindfulness resources available now.
I asked Kelly that if a young person were to use their empowered voice to change or modify their behaviors, within their own family system and what might happen. We agreed, that this could be a possible entryway to changing a family’s system, because the new behavior demonstrated by a son or a daughter may have the impact of effecting the entire system. I’ve observed this time and again with the groups with whom I’ve worked.

The importance of the body-mind connection is key for youth; their bodies are going through all types of cellular, emotional physiological and development changes. So, for all of us, are bodies are sensitive to sensory inputs, and theirs are perhaps even more sensitive.

As a writer, I always use the hyphen between “body” and “mind.” The reason for this is that the hyphen alerts us to the fact that body and mind are so elemental, they could never be separated. The hyphen additionally shows that they’re interdependent-you can’t have one without the other.

My conversation with Kelly was fun, encouraging, warm laughs, and always educational, because of what I’ve learned. Personally, I hope to be able to support Trust Your Gut, in the ways I can best do that. Have you ever thought about volunteering? Trust Your Gut may be the place where you can do that.

Contact Info: Kelly Taxter, Trust Your Gut, 155 Orchard, Cumberland, ME 04021; 207-274-9462; E: adolescentwellness@gmail.com; You can find us on Facebook.

Not Just About Selena Williams’ Behavior On Court-It’s About Power

The story about Selena Williams’ so-called “outburst” on court is saturating the Internet. The most recent “retaliation” by officials was that tennis umpires are saying they want to create a union for themselves, as well as threatening to boycott Ms. Williams’ games. Wow-are these umpires adults or kids? No, I forget, most are probably white.

This tells me one thing: this isn’t only about Selena Williams-it’s about power. Power usually proceeds from envy (they may not like a black woman being so dominant in their “white” game), or another way to put it she’s a stereotype threat to them. And she’s probably not going away soon.

The fact that Selena Williams had the balls to use the “S” (sexism) word was more of a stop-sign-‘thus far and no further’ was her statement.

I think the best way to view this is that a black woman in a “white supremacist” world of sport-culture-no, excuse me, it’s about her asserting her own power.

The other thing that bothers me about this incident, is when is not the time to assert that your Civil Rights are being taken advantage of, or suppressed. In this case, the umpire suppressed Selena by “stealing” points from her, as she saw it, that caused her the game. I mean, please, the time to do it was when it happened, and Serena followed-through on this.

So, if folks are getting their panties in a wad-tough shit! I mean, we still do have Civil Rights in this nation, don’t we? copyright:christopherbearbeam_09142018

copyright:christopherbearbeam September 14, 2018

Do you really want a Supreme Court Justice you can’t trust?

I know I sure don’t-I certainly don’t want one (whoever it is) that slips from the facts too often, which makes me think, he’s easy with them, and he’s like a banana-slip from hell-away and many of you may feel a similar way.

If Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, and I hope he isn’t, he will be on the Supreme Court a long time, and, of course, play a major role as a Civil Rights arbiter for an un-predestined time.

According to an editorial in today’s New York Times, that incidentally was titled Brent Kavanaugh can’t be trusted, they write, “But his ideological agenda is well-known, which is precisely why he’s been on Republican Supreme Court short-list for the last decade. That agenda includes, for starters, a well-established hostility to women’s reproductive rights and a stunningly expansive view of presidential power and impunity” (NYT, 9/8/2018, p. A20).

Trump has been playing that role model for immunity. If someone dissents with him, he gets on Twitter and says they’re disloyal to the United State’s government, and then that person is put on Trump’s own personal dissenter-list. Being paranoid, he takes a lot of things to the extreme-“I don’t trust these people-everyone’s out to get me!” Hello?

Going back to his two main “platforms,” God, those are his two main “platforms,” so to speak, on which he would stand as a judge? May the gods help us!-if you’re a woman how can you trust this man’s legal judgments on the civil rights you have to control your own body, and choose what methods or means you’d like to use it for. Sisters, if we vote for this man, it’ll be on our own body politic. And it might be laid out on a table.

What pisses me off the most is that he’s a freakin,’ damn-liar. In the hearings this week, again according to the New York Times (ibid.), his feet were held to the fire by the Dems with good, strong questioning. And their statements, corroborated by documented evidence, and many emails where Kavanaugh had told the committee that he wasn’t involved in what they were referring to, only to find out that he implicates himself in the emails he sent.

Maybe the most damaging emails were part of the collection of impounded docs. We don’t know. They don’t want us to know.

The other bigger piece that hasn’t really been perused is the question of why the Trump Administration requested that many documents on Kavanaugh be excluded from the hearings. Why? What’s the reason or motive? Of course, we’ll never hear or see an answer.

OK, do any of you trust a liar, who would sit on the Supreme Court in his august, black robes-yes, in the primary institution that has to be “truthful” to Democracy, to the Constitution, to the Laws of the Land, the values & ethos we have as a nation, i.e., we sometimes forget this one, so shame on us, that’s composed of all equal people, as it’s written on paper?

All the people who’ve been created are equal (oh, are we letting in the women now?) under the law (that is every single one of us), so do you or I really want this kind of legalistic Houdini on the Supreme Court, making far-reaching decisions that may have far-reaching effects in our lives, then, being an escape artist, waffling on his answers in some hearing or court case, or fearful of facing the public? Well, damn it, I don’t! Not me!

So, let’s get packin.’ Let’s bring some heat to their fried toes. Think of ways to reach out to your House Representatives & Senators, other local politicians, anyone you think might have some way to magnify our power so we insure that Brett Kavanaugh is never appointed to the Supreme Court. Assert your reasons powerfully-the power’s already inside you. And thank you for doing that!

One last word: one of Kavanaugh’s “platforms” was to expand the power of the president and his immunity. If I didn’t think I was a little un-sane, this may clinch it. What does he possibly mean by that, and does he feel he should play a role in this aggregious idea, if it’s an affirmative assertion?

There have been trends that this Administration never was a Republican thing. Rather, it may be a Neo-Fascism thing, because, as a nation, we’ve been mindlessly taking on this Fascist mind-set or consciousness for some time now, and that appears to have primarily been a Trump-stimulated mode of political rhetoric. Ad nauseum. Ad nauseum. Ad nauseum.

copyright:christopherbearbeam September 8, 2018

Stereotype Mold

Isn’t it amazing how we humans will, at first, unconsciously, secondly, consciously, utilize a stereotypical image as a kind of mold, to be poured into, and used in whatever way the person wants to use it.

I found this happening to me  the other day. I’d been reading a novel, and two of the main characters-I slowly became aware-that’s my style I guess-inhabited a couple of my stereotypes in my reservoir.  I had an ikon in my mind, maybe the sovereignty & dignity of women, as played out by the Abenaki, a Native American tribe.

This struck me as very strange; when I took a closer look at the woman, I saw a face, a body, with both her eccentricities and manliness, something like I knew that I knew, but I couldn’t remember who the person was.  A woman.

Even as I’m writing this now, I don’t know where we were and what was going down, and wished I could recall the formation of a friendship I had with her.

Have you ever had something like this happen to you?  This was a first for me, and what a darling melee!

It became my journey.

copyright:christopherbearbeam May 22, 2018

No One Needs To Earn My Respect

Imagine this scenario: your with a group at a friend’s Citizenship Induction. After it’s over, your friend comes up to and says, in a mean, condescending manner, “You’ll have to earn my respect,” then turns and walks away. How do you think you’d feel then? Probably shocked. Then somewhat numb. Then anger, like “how dare she tell me that!-I’ve been here longer than her-in fact, I was born here.

Very similar to the message that Leon Pitts (Portland Press Herald, July 11, 2018, np#) got from a reader-a white man said, “Well, their all going to have to earn my respect!” This may be somewhat of a paraphrase, but it’s the essence of what he said.

The white reader was only using a code language that many folks of color understand all too well. Think. Why would a white person feel that a person of color (in this case an African-American) would have to do anything at all to gain this man’s respect? Where does that come from. Pitts wrote that it’s code for black=danger; of course, there are a lot of codes, but Pitts felt this one fit the best.

OK, if we’re about the job of changing codes or dismantling them or getting rid of them. So, for the white reader, did he mean blacks were dangerous because they’re criminals, gang members, dope users & dealers, violent, etc., etc., etc.?

To get more specific, we’d have to know about the above stereotypes, and, maybe the one (s) the white reader had in mind.

An even more fundamental and philosophical question: Can anyone “earn” another’s respect? If so, how can you do it, and what life skills could you use in the process?

The premise is based on meritocracy. ‘You better do this or you won’t earn your points.’ C’mon, work harder to get my respect. But, here, we’re not talking about earning respect because of the trade or business you’re in. We’re speaking directly about earning respect as a Human Being. In equality-nothing taken away or given.

In other words, this seems to indicate that a person could do something to “x” out her or his own humanity, in the eyes of, let’s say, a white person? No. What is, is. The first premise is an oppositional principle that is ineffective, and unworkable.

I can’t think of anyone I know who’d want to “x” out their humanity, and just be a dart on the board, that if thrown by a skilled dart-thrower, gets the bull’s eye, more points, more praise, more applause, and more merit. I suppose none of us can qualify as “human” unless we’re fantastic dark-throwers.

copyright:christopherbearbeam July 11, 2018