Skip to main content

The first post...



Like many approaching middle-agers and digital immigrants, I'm new to the blogging world. I read blogs; I comment on blogs; I like blogs--I even know that "blog" is shorthand for web log, so there ya go.

While I hope to post about a range of topics, and hopefully focus in on issues of teaching and social justice, this first blog post is dedicated to my dog, Buster.

Buster is a rescue dog--and his issues run deep.

I used to be annoyed at those bumper stickers people had regarding their rescue pets, the ones that read: Who rescued who? Mostly, I was annoyed because I went back and forth between whether the object of the verb should be "who" or "whom." But then when I came to the surface and got over my pretension, I thought of Buster.

Buster doesn't care about the who/whom debate (most of my students don't either).  And when it comes to the notion that a pet can rescue his/her/their owner as much as an owner can rescue his/her/their pet, I find that kind of tender and sweet. And Buster is a dog who needs tender and sweet (so do I).

Buster has every issue you can imagine: compromised vocal chords (most likely from a botched de-barking episode); food allergies; former abuse; fear aggression; bad breath; phobia of air, barometric pressure changes, and houseflies. It's hard to be Buster.

And this is why I love him. Despite every type of setback imaginable, Buster is unabashedly Buster. He teaches me a lot about authenticity, even when it's not so easy.  And while I'm not apt to lunge at someone for petting me, and while I may not hide in the fireplace when a housefly is buzzing about, I know that Buster's authentic response to the world is something I strive for, too.

In the midst of global turmoil and homegrown racism, we need more Busters in the world: those who are ready to lunge at the problems we face and strike them head on. And perhaps our fears will become a source of empowerment that propels us to keep fighting the good fights.

Comments

  1. Good ol' Buster. Yes, he's authentic as they come, and that authenticity is why, as you write, we love rescue dogs. But with the analogy to humans, when is attempting to bite a friendly hand "authentic," and when is it reactionary and misplaced aggression? When is "lung[ing] at the problems we face and strike[ing] them head on" working for positive change, and when is it fanning the flames of those very problems, depending on whose side of the fence one is on? We ought to know, unlike poor Buster, when a housefly is a housefly and not an incoming drone missile. I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here (thinking about the Confederate flag and Syrian refugee controversies), and it's your post that got me thinking. So thanks for that, and keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, in the case of this post, lunging at the problems we face ideally means working for positive change, not allowing the status quo to dictate how our society functions, and ideally, dismantling structures of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia...And indeed, let's hope we can distinguish a housefly from a more destructive force. We'll leave the houseflies to little Buster!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Holocaust Memories: A Tribute to my Grandparents

My grandmother, Dita Schwarz, believed, “Everything is written and is meant to be.” My grandfather, Max Schwarz believed, "W hen you’re in trouble you get strong; you do things you never think you can do. You have to help people; and no one is better than anyone else." Despite being forced from their homes, losing their family members, and suffering the devastation of the Holocaust, my grandparents lived their lives with hope. Here are their stories: In March 2009 when I visited my grandparents (they lived nearby, and I saw them routinely), I sat for some time with my grandmother, who, for the first time in my life told me her story of the Holocaust. I learned that my roots in San Francisco stretch further back than I realized, and go back to my great great grandfather Hammerslag, who was born in San Francisco before he moved to England, met my great great grandmother and eventually settled down in Vienna, Austria.

The Path is the Goal: My Mindfulness Practice

Researchers from Harvard Medical School, UMass Medical School, and the Institute of Neuroimaging in Germany published a study in 2010 about mindfulness meditation—the practice we engage in daily here at Bay. Their findings were the following: Mindfulness meditation has been reported to produce positive effects on psychological well-being that extend beyond the time the individual is formally meditating. Over the last three decades mindfulness meditation practices have been increasingly incorporated into psychotherapeutic programs to take advantage of these benefits. A large body of research has established the efficacy of these mindfulness-based interventions in reducing symptoms of a number of disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and chronic pain, as well as improving well-being and quality of life. Mindfulness meditation involves the development of awareness of present-moment experience with a compassionate, nonjudgmental stance. It