Category Archives: New Age Libertarian

My Spiritual Yin and my Political Yang

Recently, Furrow wrote a limerick about me. It is one of my most prized virtual possessions (links mine, not Furrow’s):

This new-agey blogger named Lori
Has insights that make me cry, “Glory!”
But she hides a surprise:
Though she writes of third eyes,
She’s Republican down at her core, see?

To fully appreciate my ongoing balancing act, start by reading this post, where I explain my political development.

As for my spiritual emergence, here’s the scoop.

I grew up with asthma and severe allergies.* Family lore has it that when I was a baby, my mom was baking chocolate chip peanut cookies in one end of the house while I was napping in a closed room in the other. I swelled up like the Michelin Baby, and erupted like Vesuvius from all ends. Further investigation revealed allergies to everything. Every single one of the 44 stick tests that pierced my skin at age 5 showed over-reaction by my hyper-vigilant immune system.

Fast forward through several near-anaphylaxis episodes. In my 20s, after spending a year in Japan, I returned with a rare condition in my lungs (aspergillosis, if you care to look it up)which was a reaction to a common mold. The choices the Dr Pneumo offered me were:

  • (1) stay on steroids for the rest of my life
  • (2) try an experimental drug that had not been approved in the US; or
  • (3) have a lobectomy, partial removal of my lung.

Options 2 seemed too risky, Option 3 seemed too drastic, and Option 1, well, in a fit of cosmic irony, I didn’t choose #1 because I was worried about its effects on fertility. Ha!

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About this time, when things looked particularly dire, I met Ethel. I was hired to be her replacement as Program Director of an adult learning network. She was leaving, well, just because.In my interview, I remember asking her, “So what are you going to do?” “I don’t know,” she replied. “Travel?” I pressed. “I don’t know,” she answered, again. “Will you look for another job?” I began to feel as if one of us was very dense. “I don’t know,” said my new personal koan, with a patient smile.I kept pushing and asking because I just didn’t “get” her degree of living in the moment and her willingness to allow inspiration to precede movement.

She did not travel and she did not find another job. She lived in her little crystal-filled cottage, an oasis of grace in a bad part of town. She offered energy-healing sessions and taught energy-work classes. She honed her skill of watching patterns — in people, in societies, in the stock market, in nature. She grew her own food, tended her flowers. She embodied, to me, an earth mother.

And she offered me Door #4, which allowed me to eschew all three doors offered by Dr Pneumo.

During the next dozen years, until she finally did begin to travel, Ethel showed me another way of looking at health and wellness. She became my teacher, and is the closest thing I’ve met to an ego-less person.

With her guidance, I healed my lungs. I brought up and released issues of sadness. I released my immune system from its Rottweiler-style of defense. I released and released and released.And I am much better. Physically, emotionally, and energetically. What that really means is that I am more conscious, more mindful and less fearful.Later on, Ethel helped me deal with infertility and adoption, as well as my ongoing release of victim issues (boy, do they seem to come from a bottomless well).

So that, my friends, is how the curse of my lungs led to the blessings in my life.

I mentioned in part 1 of this post that my two sisters join me in the very small club of New Age Republicans. We took different paths to the granola-crunching (no nuts, please), but we each got there. Sheri and Tami, I invite both of you to guest post an entry here on your own journey (double-dog dare you!).

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* Energetically, the lungs are the place where we hold sadness. Allergies are defense systems gone haywire. And speaking of defense systems, I once figured out that my mom was pregnant with me during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I wonder if I carry some of the collective fear engendered by the Cold War.

How I came to be a NAL (the L part)

I am part of a very, VERY small group, the New Age Libertarans. My husband jokes that I and my two sisters are the only members of this oxymoronic covey. I think that explaining how this came to be so is worth a post or two.

First came the political persuasion.

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When I teach high school Government & Economics, I start one lesson by writing the following on the board:

For most people, choosing a favorite sports team is more a matter of geography than a reasoned choice.

The students debate the merits of this statement. Sure, the New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox have had a good run in the last decade, and sure, if you’re growing up during this time in Boston or environs, you will be likely to enculturate their colors, their logo, their fans’ fervor. But what if you are growing up in Montana? What if Lacrosse is what lights your town on fire? What if you just don’t catch the glow of the Patriots or the Sox? Does that mean you are wrong?

Students usually come to the conclusion the statement is is true. One team is not inherently better than another (unless we’re talking about the Broncos, of course).

I then erase the sports reference and replace with the word religion.

For most people, choosing a religion is more a matter of geography than a reasoned choice.

Again, students debate whether or not they believe the statement is true. If you grow up in a Lutheran family in Minnesota, you are predisposed to holding Christian views and lifestyles. If you are born into a Jewish family in Tel Aviv, you are likely to espouse Judaism by osmosis, if not by choice. If your family is of the Vaishya caste, living in in Calcutta, Hinduism is probably your default setting.

People rarely choose a religion because it its True; they choose it because it is There.

Usually the class that ends up agreeing that one tends to be born into a religion, either by family or by culture.

Finally, I replace religion with one’s political leanings.

For most people, choosing a political party is more a matter of geography than a reasoned choice.

And they inevitably decide that that statement is also true.

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Each democratic society chooses several principles to honor and construct laws around, but only one can be The Guiding Principle.

Justice is good. Freedom is good. Equality is good. Harmony is good. And there are others in the mix…but which is best?

I grew up with a father who thinks Freedom is the epitome of human values.

And freedom, he says, is really three words: Freedom With Responsibility.

Limited government is the best way to keep individual freedoms for people and have society reap the benefits of human achievement. This includes our freedom to wonder, to work, to own the fruits of one’s labor and one’s risk-taking and one’s calculated efforts. And with these freedoms goes the responsibility to behave honorably and respectfully toward others.

To drive home his points with his three daughters, he did his own oxymoronic thang. When I was in high school (and my sisters in junior high and elementary school), a documentary was produced based on economist Milton Friedman’s personal statement Free to Choose.

We were made to watch this PBS series for 10 weeks. (Ten weeks! To a teenager!) When we complained about the irony — that we had no choice in the matter — Dad replied, “Sure you do. You can watch it either on Friday night or on Saturday morning.”

(Haha, Dad. You probably think I forgot. Or that I’ve forgiven you.)

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I grew up and married a Democrat. Roger’s father, a good man like mine, holds justice as his Guiding Principle (although he, too values freedom just as my dad also values justice.)

So we all have our default settings regarding politics. Mine was Republican, which at one time meant to me (correctly or not) the party of freedom and personal responsibility.

But no longer. Increasingly, the Republican party devalues both personal and economic freedoms. GOP lawmakers tax and spend just like their Democratic counterparts, and in addition they want to meddle with our freedoms in our private lives by telling consenting adults what is and it not OK for them to do behind closed doors.

So I will eventually switch my party affiliation.

But “New Age Libertarian” doesn’t quite have the same ring.

See part 2 of this series, for how my spiritual beliefs emerged.