Reflection one year after a psychedelic women’s retreat

Photo by Author — Dia de Muertos Altar

Many of you who know me might be shocked to know that the women’s retreat I went to last year was a psilocybin (aka “magic mushrooms”) retreat, so this is a “coming out” of sorts. I had been meaning to write about my experience at this Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) women’s retreat in Oaxaca, Mexico ever since I returned a year ago. But it is better that I waited a year; I can now write about how it affected me.

My psilocybin journey connected the dots for me in many ways and I am convinced this particular…

A Protest Song for the 2020 Election

Story Behind the Song

I have a friend who was writing lyrics to old songs as a way to vent her anxiety about our current political situation. She shared the lyrics on Facebook a while back — maybe 2 months ago. That inspired me to write this one. I had written this song in 2015 as a broken-hearted love song, (I Told A Man I Loved Him) which I never shared except at a songwriting workshop at the Hawaii Songwriting Festival. I used the same melody for this song, so I didn’t have to work out a new tune, and the words came easily.

How can you be both against abortion AND birth control?

Photo by Caleb Ekeroth on Unsplash

Do you wonder why Christians you think are reasonable can STILL support Trump, even if they know he’s immoral and incompetent? It’s because they think they’re saving babies. He doesn’t need to be eloquent or even have policy plans. All he has to do is say certain magic words, like law and order, and in this case, abortion. For good measure, say “nine month” abortion, and you have secured a moral imperative in which the ends justify the means.

It’s not about saving babies though.

If it’s about saving babies, you would be FOR birth control, right?

You wouldn’t have pushed for the 2014 Supreme Court decision that allows private companies to…

Why do you have to be that way?

Photo by Cooper Baumgartner on Unsplash

Why do you have to be that way?

The one who lies to self-protect

To ones who are less fortunate

You’ve got no heart no human respect

Why do you have to be that way?

So mean and proudly arrogant

To those who see things a dif’frent way

You call them names, meant to demean them

Why can’t you be the person who cares?

Who lets kindness be the guide

Knowing energy that we share

Is a power that can move a tide

We have power that can move a tide

We have power that can move a tide

What Guides Their Moral Compass?

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

Today, I wanted to write about immigration, to tell my immigration story and make a case for those of us with immigration heritage to take a stand against Trump’s anti-immigration policies. But, as I write this, I have seared into my brain the image of the mother of the 17-year-old who shot and killed two protestors in Kenosha with an automatic rifle. I don’t want to get too off-topic from my original plan to write about immigration but … It’s related. I’ll explain.

When I was a beginning teacher, I remember at the end of the school year making up…

How a Funeral Mindset Can Drive Activism

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

I thought this was going to be a relatively light piece, about how funerals make you reflective and we are being denied that in these pandemic times. Even so, there is a sense of an overall funeral-like mood these days. Everything is stark — life and death, good and evil. That was my premise until I realized I was being insensitive. It is a “mood” for me — but it is real state of being for many others.

In fact, that is what the Black Lives Matter movement is all about. I don’t have to fear when I walk to…

Understanding and hope via a playwright’s character study

Watercolor by Author: Gift of Consideration

My first impulse in the beginning of pandemic life was that mask-wearing was silly, that if you are compelled to wear a mask, you think of yourself as sick, so you should stay home. I have a niece in Vietnam who wrote about her experience there and that mask-wearing was an important part of their pandemic control strategy. I told her of my resistance to mask-wearing. Not long after that, we learned that you could be a carrier and not have any signs of sickness. That was enough to make me wear a mask, and I texted my niece —…

And I’m trying to understand you

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

A Game of Categories

I have this thing that I do just for fun. I divide people into camps based on an observable everyday variable. It’s not meant to be serious. Cilantro or not? Sweet tooth or savory palate? My favorite one is whether you park into a spot backwards or forwards. I make assumptions about you; back parkers are planners, front parkers live in the moment. Stuff like that. It’s not something I do to judge you one way or the other. It’s just fun. It never evokes defensiveness. It just is.

In this iteration of Black Lives Matter, I have been dividing…

Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

The Challenge

I have a very nice Republican friend, very sweet, very non-confrontational, and very supportive of Trump. Recently my posts on social media have been all about Black Lives Matter. There’s nothing specifically anti-Trump. Hmm. Did I post about that Bible-holding protester-clearing photo op? Maybe in reaction, he sent me this message on Messenger: (the spelling and grammatical errors are his, which he acknowledged and apologized for).

“I know it’s difficult to find something good about a person or group when your bombarded with negative commentary continuously but remember we are all US Citizens and need bridges that we can all…

Please tell me why

Photo by SOULSANA on Unsplash

It distresses me to see teacher friends not supporting Black Lives Matter. They post memes on social media such as #AllLivesMatter, whose contribution to the discussion is to remind us of the police who have lost their lives in the line of duty, or who focus on the rioting and looting without trying to understand it. It distresses me no matter who shares them, but especially if they are teachers or who serve in any capacity interacting with children.

In the public schools, the teaching profession requires a bachelor’s degree and a professional license at the very least. But that…

Diane Aoki

Playwright, essayist, teacher, artist, songwriter, poet. Creativity Activist. Learn more: https://www.dianeaoki.com

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