Sunday, April 23, 2017

Five Senses of Anxiety

Anxiety tastes of
chamomile tea with a hint of inadequacy
salty tears and a churned up stomach
lined with indigestion
from every herbal remedy on earth

Anxiety smells of
molding echinacea tea
forgotten on the bedside table
topped with insomnia and fear

Anxiety sounds of
beating, pounding, whirring
machines, trains, and dogs
mixed with the tinnitus
the never-ending internal
beating, pounding, whirring
heart, mind, eyes, ears, throat

Anxiety feels
electric with indecision
biting lips and grinding teeth
every minute movement
simultaneously feeling
too much and yet not enough
stuck on fire

Anxiety looks through
blurred vision torn
by chemical imbalance
fighting, fleeing, freezing
constantly, always alert
surviving barely
blinded, paralyzed

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

American Humanist Association

I've been writing, presenting, and meeting frequently with people interested in learning more about the philosophy of humanism, including details about the American Humanist Association, and the Humanists of Utah.

Speaking about and promoting humanist thought and philosophy is a cause near and dear to my heart, since I co-founded a chapter of the Secular Student Alliance at the University of Utah in May, 2009, called SHIFT - Secular Humanism, Inquiry, and Freethought.

I've also been a Certified Humanist Minister, through The Humanist Society in Washington, D.C., since 2011. You can see my work at Secular Weddings Utah.

In a nutshell, humanists believe in the power of people to do and be good, without supernatural inspiration. To me, atheism is a description of what I don't believe, while humanism describes what I do believe. In a bit more detail -- inspired by the Humanist Manifesto III -- here's what humanists believe:

  • We have the ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment, aspiring to the greater good of humanity
  • Guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience, we believe life should be lived well, and fully
  • Values and ideals, however carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings advance
  • Science is the best method for determining knowledge of our world, which knowledge is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis
  • Human life is part of all nature, and is enough -- we are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known, and we welcome future challenges
  • Our values are grounded in human need and welfare, which extend to the global ecosystem and beyond
  • Every human being has inherent worth and dignity, and we are committed to treating all human beings accordingly
  • We rely on the rich heritage of human culture to provide comfort in times of want, and generosity in times of plenty
  • We find wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence and its challenges and tragedies, including the inevitability and finality of death
  • We strive for an interconnected world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively, and without violence
  • We work to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival, to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community

Please, peruse the website of the American Humanist Association in detail, to learn more about the many causes they work on, and to become involved in a local chapter if you are interested in meeting with other humanists in your area!

Monday, February 13, 2017

ACLU of Utah

The American Civil Liberties Union has been featured prominently in national news recently, for example, in this Washington Post article stating that "This weekend alone, the civil liberties group received more than $24 million in online donations from 356,306 people ... a total that supersedes its annual online donations by six times."

In case you missed it, that "one weekend" was the weekend of January 27-30, when the 45th President of the United States (hereafter referred to only as '45') attempted to implement a travel ban on refugees and immigrants from seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations, sparking airport protests and welcoming committees from Americans across the country.

In this post, however, I would like to specifically give you more information about the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah. The work they do here is so instrumental -- year in and year out, they do everything they can to protect the civil liberties constantly under attack by our state's ultra-conservative legislature and government.

Since 1958, the ACLU of Utah has been championing racial equality, free speech protections, and the separation of church and state in Utah. Learn more about their history and amazing successes despite astounding odds stacked against them here.

With a paid staff of only 9, and a stalwart team of 16 volunteer Board Members, the ACLU of Utah is consistently in need of dedicated interns and volunteers in Utah -- sign up to volunteer to staff booths and tables at community events, or to check people in at fundraisers, or to be a legal or paralegal intern.

If you don't have the money to join the 356,306 who donated $24 million in one weekend (not to mention the donations that have been pouring in since the news came that 45 would be sworn in as the next president, from as early as November 2016) -- then please, give just a couple of hours of your time each week, or even just 5 hours a month on a Saturday or two or three evenings. You can make a powerful difference in your community by volunteering here, and you will meet some of the most fascinating, hard-working, devoted people in our community!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Alliance for a Better Utah

I'd like to take more time this year to write about organizations I follow, support, and admire. Many are listed here at The Perfect Time under "Links I Love," so I've decided to highlight one each week.

The Alliance for a Better Utah, which you can follow on Twitter here, or on Facebook here, "works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government."

Their founder, Josh Kanter, spoke with the Humanists of Utah on July 9, 2016, which inspired me to follow their work more closely. A wonderfully comprehensive timeline of the group's achievements, from the time they were a mere twinkle in their founder's eye in 2010, can be found here.

Better Utah's creation was inspired by the one-sided nature of political leadership and representation in Utah, and so they have a decidedly liberal bent to their work, since the state of Utah has a decidedly conservative one -- however they are dedicated to openness and transparency, as well as fairness and balance in representation, for all Utahns regardless of political ideology.

Also, if you sign up to receive their newsletter updates, or follow their blog, you may stumble across great content like this opportunity to "Escape the Inversion," with a chance to win a four-night trip to Blanchard, Idaho for yourself and up to three guests. Good luck!