Thank you for wandering over to my page! After many years of encouragement from my husband, Eddie, I have mustered the courage to write…publicly...and humbly, I admit. This will be an exercise in humanity and words—both things I love. I can’t guarantee I will always be profound, funny, or insightful—I can offer only my lens which undoubtedly may need refocusing at times, and I hope you join me as both observer and participant supporting me as I learn and grow.
This blog will be a place primarily for reflection on the mundane, but through a larger context of recognizing and aligning the natural course of life to our larger purpose which is to figure out how to make the world work for everyone through our service to each other. I am turning a corner personally as I have recently embraced the notion that living as my most authentic self is of ultimate importance. Maybe as 50 is approaching. Maybe because my son is now in high school and more independent…maybe because I just recognize that the voice I always wanted to have, has actually been here all along.
Tallon Kennedy, a friend, and fellow writer who is attending Pitt, was visiting the other night when I mentioned this blog and website to them and we both cringed at the fact some ego is necessary to write publicly…to do any art, really; any thinking about, or distilling of, the world publicly means the artist, or creator, feels they have something worthwhile to put “out there”. (See Flaubert quote above…) That’s not easy for me, despite years in the classroom…it is easy to hide behind curriculum…to hide behind teacher-persona…to hide, period. Years ago, a principal encouraged us teachers to make scrapbook pages to hang outside our classrooms focusing on ourselves as people; to relay our hobbies and interests to the community visiting our building. I struggled for the entire 2 weeks it was “assigned” as I realized I didn’t have an identity outside of the classroom—teaching IS my hobby. Hell, I still can’t watch an episode of the news, read a magazine, overhear a conversation, or even roll out of bed without crafting an idea to use in the classroom. It just never stops coming. So this past year, I officially put the breaks on. I started reading. Reading things I wanted to read. Listening to podcasts I wanted to hear. Eating what I wanted. Going where I wanted. Making time for those people who were going to feed me, not just be fed by me. And sometimes saying “no”. I created some boundaries and ironically gained freedom through insights I never had availed myself. Through the window of this blog, people will have the opportunity to see how one humanist witnesses the world. Bearing all my faults and frailties and fractured focus. I look forward to separating my teacher-self from my person-self and being more fully-present in my own life.
Choose to be Life-Giving: A Humanist Path
This also gives birth to a secondary purpose: to celebrate secular humanism. If you aren’t sure what a humanist is, please wander over to https://americanhumanist.org/ and/or http://thehumanistsociety.org/. These sites will explain it way better than I can—though I will be exemplifying it in much of the writing over time here, for sure. (Read, in particular, The Humanist Manifesto III) In short, humanists are not guided by any god-belief, nor hold belief in anything supernatural—psychics, angels, “the universe”, karma... We really do place all of our faith in other human beings and in ourselves. We recognize that we are not “blessed”. Indeed, we completely grasp the fact that we are neither chosen nor special. We just work conscientiously every day to do what is right by measure of the benefit of our words and actions to those around us. Deed before creed, we answer directly to our families and neighbors—any victories or defeats are ours to account for. And if today sucks, our job is to work harder to make tomorrow not suck. No prayers invoked. (An informative, foundational text to read would be Executive Director of the American Humanist Association, Roy Speckhardt’s, 2015 Creating Change Through Humanism, another is Greg Epstein’s 2010 Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe.)
I appreciate people living according to a world view that suits them—just because I don’t choose a deist or religious path doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate or love someone who does. Because our world requires that mutual respect, I hope to put that at the forefront of my daily interactions with people—reserving judgement and fostering support when I can. Coexistence is possible, until someone’s beliefs or actions cause harm.
Life’s too short to not be a happy human!
The Humanist Salon
To facilitate some activism and advocacy, Ed and I will be initiating a salon (location and startup to be determined after seeing community interest…) where we hope to convene people of like-minded, humanist beliefs to discuss the arts, sciences, and the ways we serve our communities…while creating community in Delaware County, Ohio. We plan to meet once a month—likely selecting certain topics, texts, or art forms for discussion led by the various attendees. We will start small with a trusted, close group, and then eventually plumb the depths by inviting others in the area.
We are interested in the Humanist Community of Central Ohio [HCCO], but as so many of the meetings are far from us and much of the volunteerism focuses on the residents of Franklin County, our greater hope is to bridge our burgeoning community to theirs and unite in both purpose and camaraderie. We enjoy the company of the ASH (Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists) Group that meets once a month at the First Unitarian Church in Clintonville, and are interested in meeting up with the Humanists at the Lewis Center UU at some point as Reverend Ritchie has already extended a very kind welcome to our ideas (and has offered us meeting space, which we are considering!) We also enjoyed the company, too, of the Life After Belief/Recovering from Religion group in Hilliard and hope to model much of what we do here up north, through their guidance. At the time of this entry, my family is regretfully missing the HCCO annual picnic right now so I can get this posted—I am feeling horribly guilty for that choice, but hope it meets the needs of the big picture…
I dedicate this small, introductory space to express gratitude to a few key players in this blog’s inception:
- Joe Chekanoff whose wisdom, creativity, and push generated, quite literally, the site itself. (If you need a website, let him be your guy.)
- My husband, Ed, who made me who I am through his constant support and encouragement. I will write about him, and us, a lot here. He was the first to announce that I have a penchant for making everything an event, although sometimes to a fault! That realization helped define what I believe about life, led to my path, and therefore this space for my ideas… I love that man.
- And my son, Danny, whose existence reminds me of how powerful life is—its currents flow, without much regard to us, and it is up to us to learn how to swim in them. He is, more frequently than I’d ever thought imaginable, my raft and my rudder.