FireCat! The Legend of Amazon Sage©

Sage is a quirky girl who always loved wild animals, funny people, adventure and indigenous music. She still does.

What no one knows is that every night in her dreams, Sage

transforms into a woman of power and wisdom, called

Amazon Sage.

Unlimited by the confines of newtonian physics, she is fierce and full of compassion, traveling where ever she is needed to help relieve suffering in the world.

Only problem is,

Amazon Sage© only lives while Sage is dreaming.

Once Sage awakens, Amazon Sage © disappears. These blogs are written by Sage, telling what happens in this most secret life...

Monday, February 28, 2011

“Every person’s life is worth a movie”

Good morning, friends. Last weekend I attended a film festival premiere for a movie I believe everyone should see; not because I think it’s going to win an Oscar or because it has famous people in it. If the Oscar is awarded it will be because these story tellers managed to convey real people, who changed history, in ways that make viewers want to do the same. And as for the famous people in it... folks like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are portrayed, not as super heroes, but as men and women with their own fears and foibles. 
The name of the movie is “Freedom Riders” and I feel blessed that, along with the excellent director, Stanley Nelson, I was also introduced to the author, the producer, and one of the original Freedom Riders. You might wonder, "What has this to do with Amazon Sage?" As you may rcall, it is Amazon Sage who sees the suffering in the world and reaches out to people through her dream-travels. This past Saturday night was no exception. As she traveled to current places of greatest need; she listened to the hearts and minds of other brave folks who struggle for the rights of all people. 
For most, their journey to freedom is not so eloquently presented and their wounds are not always so visible. Like young Yasmine, in Egypt; or Autumn Two Bulls on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. They too suffer in their efforts to rid the world of the poisons of discrimination and hatred. How ironic that people of other nations are becoming more out spoken than ever --with some even looking at what is happening in Egypt as reminiscent of MLK’s nonviolence -- even as men in our own blessed country spew their venom over the airwaves. Look around, listen, read, then act from your most loving heart. Every person’s life is worth a story. 
What will yours be?  

Friday, February 25, 2011

“Alcohol isn’t the only dangerous drink kids are using!”

Good morning, friends. Did you know that energy drinks are packing more than a punch for many kids? According to an article in World News, “Energy drinks are under-studied, overused and can be dangerous for children and teens....” The medical journal Pediatrics reports that the potential harms include heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death.  Wow! Who would’ve thought something so easy for kids to get would be so dangerous!

Amazon Sage travelled to the home of a 16 year old who was consuming energy drinks in order to finish an important project for school. Not paying attention to how much she was drinking, she had no idea that her life was in danger. Suddenly, her whole body froze up and straightened out like a corpse. As she lost consciousness she fell over with such force that she struck her head on a chair and began to bleed. Then she began to violently shake. Had it not been for Amazon Sage calling 911, this girl might have died on the spot.

Sometimes, by speaking out, it is our closest friends’ lives we may be saving or even our own. So spread the word about these products before anybody else has to die.  We already know how stupid it is to drink alcohol. Now, add energy drinks to the list. They are not fun. They are not cool. They are not a cheap high. They can contort your body into really horrible positions and they can kill you! Clearly, adults don’t always know how dangerous these things are. “Really?” Lol! Wake up everybody, time to save the world.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

“Frozen to death in their own home”

Yesterday, one of my FaceBook friend wrote these words,  “My cousins froze to death last night.” I could scarcely believe what I was reading yet I knew it was true. I wondered, "How could this happen in our country? We have always prided ourselves on being one of the wealthiest and most humanitarian places in the world. How could this happen?” The words kept repeating in my mind. Is it because these people are Native American? Is it because they could not afford to pay their electric bill? Is that what a life is worth these days? The cost of an unpaid bill?"
As I drifted off to sleep, these concerns swirled around me, beckoning Amazon Sage to explore the circumstances in which this tragedy occured. What she discovered is that this sad state of affairs has been going on for a very long time, but unfortunately, most Americans are unaware of or maybe immunized against, the real living conditions of  our Native brothers and sisters. What compounds the problem is the misperception of those who might care, that our first Americans have it made, with casino money flowing in. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
There are over 500 officially recognized tribes existing in the USA, but less than half have casinos. Of those with casinos, only a handful of them are on land close enough to population centers to make them profitable. In the tribal world of 2011, there is rampant poverty, serious health concerns, and youth suicide. With what was once called Indian Territory located in some of the worst land imaginable, eking out a living has always beed hard. Add to this our recent harsh weather and you can begin to see the problem. 
Fortunately, we can help. Alert friends and family who probably don’t know that there is a problem and tell them our forefathers still exist...  and they need all of our help... just as much as Haiti or Libya. Write to your legislators and to President Obama. Let everybody know that you support their efforts to improve conditions on Indian reservations. In the United States of America, in 2011, nobody should be freezing to death. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“Find your Passion and Live Life!”

Good morning, friends. Two videos came through my FB page recently that vividly illustrate the lives of ordinary people. Both represent the lives of millions. Both are about what humans do everyday to stay alive. But beyond that, they couldn’t be more different. They remind me of a recent commercial that has only two words:”This or that?”  As I was falling asleep, I couldn’t get these images out of my mind. My doppleganger took it from there. (FYI,  a doppleganger is an aspect of ourselves that we ordinarily do not exhibit.) My doppleganger is Amazon Sage.
As I dreamed, Amazon Sage took me to places in the world most of us have never heard of.  She saw the human spirit at its finest... even when faced with unbelievable hardship. These were not the faces of people following large scale natural disasters. These were the faces and bodies of people doing what must be done in order to survive and take care of those they love. A friend remarked that these people were all poor and if compared by a western yardstick of material wealth, that could be said. 
However, these were not the faces of people who are desperate, suffering, or disadvantaged -- although they certainly have those experiences. These people’s faces reflect something few wealthy westerners understand; fierce passion and pride at accomplishing what must be done to continue to exist. It is sad that the closest many in this country ever get to feeling this is through a vacuous worship of sport teams or the fire-fed anger at those who are different. So which will it be, my friends? This? 
or That?:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

“Shaken in Christ’s Church”

Good morning. Last night as we slept soundly in our beds, people on the other side of the globe were jolted from their day with the words “Earthquake!” A 6.3 shaker struck Christchurch, New Zealand, sending people clamoring into the streets in search of safety. Numbers of people buried under rubble are still unknown and families cry out for their lost ones. Unbeknownst to me, Amazon Sage was already on the job at the first ominous sound of the earth’s parting. There, she gathered with friends of friends, offering comfort in the bedlam, causing my sweet dream of fluff to vanish in an instant. 
It’s an amazing thing to witness an earthquake, even a tiny one. I know, having lived on the west coast of the USA for a number of years. Once while in Washington State, I was sitting on the bed talking with a friend when it began to wiggle. It was as if someone were purposefully shaking it and that is exactly what I thought. Gently, I chastised the person sitting next to me. However, when I turned and saw her expression of shock, I knew then, “We’re in an earthquake!” In that moment, one would hope that our first reaction would be to follow the instructions we have so often heard; get outside or at least in a doorway. In truth, it took almost a minute before the surprise lifted enough for us to take action.
Another time, in another place, I awoke to rough room vibrations and was nervous until I realized it was only the washing machine doing it’s vibratory dance with someone’s uneven load of clothes. I chuckled the next morning as I shared the “fake earthquake” with my housemates. Funny thing is, they weren’t laughing. It seems we had no washing machine in the house. There have always been natural disasters and to the extent we are able, people try to prepare for them.Way back in the 1950s, school kids even practiced “duck and cover” when the threat of a nuclear attack was a grave possibility. In Kansas, kids were taught to go down into a cellar to avoid the destructive path of a tornado, while in Florida, kids learned to remove fly-away items from their yard in advance of a hurricane. 
So here’s today’s question: “In your own life, what do you need to prepare for in the event of an emergency?”

Monday, February 21, 2011

“Absent but not gone...”

Good morning, friends. A few nights ago a TV cop show had an episode in which a young boy returned home after a sleep-over to discover everything gone; all the furniture, dishes, clothing, and not the least of which was his parents. Police were called only after a neighbor complained that the kid was beating on the walls with his baseball bat. Later, on the local news, the episode was followed up with a story of a real kid whose parents abandoned him this way.  What’s wrong with this picture?
Last night in my dreams, Amazon Sage travelled to the bedside of the real boy whose parents abandoned him.  I can’t say she travelled to his home since his foster placement is still quite temporary and he feels anything but “at home.” His eyes stung from tears of hurt and rage. “How could my parents do this to me?” he whispers in a voice rough with emotion. “Now, I’m being treated like a criminal and I never did anything wrong in my life. If anything, I tried too hard to make their lives better after they had too much to drink or when my dad lost his job....”
She sees the clues and wants to reassure this boy that his parents are the real criminals. She wants to tell him that he’ll be okay, his life is not ruined due to their abandonment. Unfortunately, she’d be lying because what we do not know is that his parents abandoned him long before the day he returned to an empty house. We don’t need x-ray vision to see what his life may look like a few years from now, after being passed from one foster home to another; learning the hard way about the underside of life. This kid’s rage and hurt will not go away without some serious loving help. Now here’s the kicker; there are literally millions of kids at risk due to a different kind of abandonment by their parents. They may not have physically moved out, but they’ve certainly “checked out” where their kids are concerned.  
Parents who abandon their kids while still living at home will use every excuse in the book to explain away their nightly drinking, pot smoking, never-ending work day, or excessive internet use. Of course, they’ll never admit they are addicted to any of them but you know what I’m talking about. You have something important to tell them and blurt out your excitement, only to get a response that is so lame you know they are not really listening.  Maybe it’s the silently moving curser on their computer that gives them away. Maybe it’s the fixed-eyebrow raise and stupid grin that does it. Did you know that some parents don’t even pretend to listen? They don’t even issue a grunt of acknowledgement that you exist. Ouch!
You’ve heard all their excuses. Know how I know? It’s because over time, you’ve learned to use those same tired lies to fend off your little brother or sister. So hear this: Unless you stop this cycle now, your future kids will feel just as abandoned as you. So stop drawing pictures of the dark side and thinking about killing yourself. You can do something about this. Encourage, no insist, that your parents open their eyes and look around to see what they’re missing; a wonderful, smart person who’s made from their genetics! Hopefully, they’ll get it (you!) before it’s too late. Wake up, wake up, wake up....

Friday, February 18, 2011

“Serious as a heart attack”

Good morning, friends. Ever hear of the phrase “serious as a heart attack”?  I thought so. But seriously, you cannot guess what I just found out about strokes and kids! According to researchers at the 2011 American Stroke Association’s International Conference  “a stroke is to the brain what a heart attack is to the heart: part of the organ dies... [and there’s been] a marked increase in the rate of stroke in children ages five to 14.” 
Being the proverbial champion of young people and their loved ones, Amazon Sage dream-travelled to the conference to learn more. Most importantly, she wanted to know why this adult disease has started attacking children and teens? The results are disturbing. In truth, doctors don’t know exactly why, but they have some pretty good ideas and what they know does not bode well for an entire generation of kids. 
Here it is: When someone has a stroke, depending upon what part of the brain is affected, the functions controlled by that part die; they’re gone,  kaput! It could be your ability to speak, walk, or even have relationships with other people. All gone in an instant. What are the biggest culprits? Fast foods, snacks, and sitting around texting or playing computer games! Think about it. How often do you snack while you’re online? How often do you jog while you’re texting? If the answer to #1 is "a lot” and the answer to #2 is “not” then you are living in  dangerous territory. 
Besides strokes, did you know that diabetes has also  reached record high numbers in young people... not the old fashioned juvenile diabetes type, but the adult onset type that can make you blind and cause you to have your limbs amputated, one toe at a time! 
So what to do? If you do not want to ignore your social networking duties., start a new fad and help save a life... or many. The first life you save will be your own. Instead of the same old texts: “S’up?” or “OMG” and other inane comments, dare yourself to be different. See how many ways you can move your body in between texts and shoot a short video to prove you're doing it; also, munch on carrots or apples instead of fries and chips; have a wii party where everybody tries to beat their own personal best; see fried foods for what they are, killers. Be the hero you were meant to be. Amazon Sage is doing her part. Now it’s your turn.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

“Worse than ankle biters are the newest in fashion: Ankle Breakers!”

G'Day, Mates! There seems to have been a recent outbreak of clumsiness on the modeling runway as, one young woman after another, falls victim to yet a new threat; The attack of the 6” platform heels! I don’t know about you but I would never subject my life and limb to such a ridiculous way of fitting in (pun intended).
On a night when I sought a more light-hearted fare to fill my dream world, I called upon Amazon Sage to time-travel to an earlier time when heels were not so tall and ankles were not so vulnerable. I thought she might just take me back to a fashion runway in the 1960s, but instead, she took me somewhere much more interesting; to a time when women did not have nearly so many civil rights as men. In that era, foresighted young women gathered in clandestine classrooms to learn why not. (Okay, they weren’t actually clandestine but before the word feminism took hold, they might as well have been). If you were a class member this would be today’s lesson:
"Close your eyes and imagine a girl arriving for an interview in her most fashionable silky outfit; hair brushed in long flowing curls, fitted mini skirt clinging to her hips, and yes, 6” platform heels. As she enters the waiting room, she trips but luckily she does not break her ankle... this time. 
In the waiting room, another candidate awaits his interview;  an equally qualified guy who is dressed in a freshly laundered shirt,  jacket and dressy pants. His clean hair is close to his head; his shoes are sensible looking and close to the ground. Who gets the job? Well, unless the job is for a pole dancer, waitress, or secretary, the guy gets the job, at twice the salary. Can you figure out why? Hint: It’s not because he’s a male. 
Now that you’ve vented about the unfairness of it all, close your eyes again -- I know you opened them when I wasn’t looking. Imagine each person wearing the other’s outfit. The young woman enters the interview room in a freshly laundered shirt,  jacket and dressy pants. Her clean hair is close to her head (easy to do by pulling it back); her shoes are sensible looking and importantly, they are close to the ground. She has a steady gait and a ready smile as she approaches the interview team.
Meanwhile, the young man comes tripping into the office, looking rather clownish in his platform shoes -- yes, some men, like actor Humphrey Bogart, used to wear platform shoes! The guy’s hair looks like he just climbed out of bed and his silky outfit clings to his body. This time, who gets the job?  Unless the young man is applying for a position as a pimp or will be confined to a back room filled with computers, he certainly will not. Need I say more?" 

Funny thing; the interview took place just last week. So ladies, take them off, take them all off and get hired based on your skill, not on your mile high shoes...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

“Real men do not rape women”

“Please tell me it isn’t so,” I hear myself whispering as Katie Couric announces that her colleague, Laura Logan was brutally assaulted in Tahrir Square, Egypt. I am instantly aware of how much I do not want to believe that a population of people who have just done something as courageous as winning their freedom could also inflict on this young woman something as horrendous as gang rape. Laura is a beautiful, professional woman, simply doing her job so I wonder, “Is this how these men celebrate?” I need to know how this could happen in the festivities following the announcement that President Mubarak was stepping down.
Amazon Sage heard my plea as I fell asleep and immediately transported me to a faraway place, to a week ago, where I witnessed the unimaginable. There, a young journalist and her crew are being accosted by men who apparently are not part of the earlier non violent demonstrations. These men are sinister looking, clearly more interested in pleasing their biological urges than in celebrating freedom. 
In an instant, Laura is overtaken, snatched from her protectors and surrounded by teeth, eyes, hot breath and hands. At once she is being hit, grabbed, and pulled in every way imaginable; her clothes made useless by the intensity of the onslaught. The closest visual I can describe is a sexual feeding frenzy by humans who more closely resemble sharks. Sadly, Laura’s vicious attack is reminiscent of what every woman, everywhere, knows in her bones; that there are men, wild boars, who rip apart the most loving, intelligent, and vulnerable among us.
Were it not for the courageous efforts of nearby women, and the guns of a few army personnel, Laura would certainly have been ripped to shreds. As it were, she will be forever changed by this singularity event. So I must ask: “Where is the outrage from men? Why is it that only other women (or uniformed men) come to the aid of such slaughter?  Was she attacked because she was beautiful or because she stepped outside her role as daughter, mother and wife?”  
I do not believe that real men rape women. I believe the people who commit these kinds of acts are scared little boys, cowards, an insult to their gender. To all of our fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons: I urge you to speak out against people who want to be called men but who are a blight to us all. If you need help because of a sexual assault or want to become involved, please go to:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

“It’s all about the bees”

Good morning, friends. Did you know that something called Colony Collapse Disorder  has been making bees disappear of late. You might ask, “And your point?” Did you know that “without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger? Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food.” Some scientists believe that it is because farmers have been using an untested pesticide since 2003 that the bees are disappearing. Well, there was one test... It was conducted by Bayer, the manufacturers of clothianidin.
Amazon Sage dream-travelled back in the 1950s, to another time an untested product was used indiscriminately. It was extensively used in the south to kill mosquitoes. Trucks would roam the neighborhoods “fogging” everything with the chemical. No one had a clue that years later, little girls who ran behind these trucks, playing in the magical looking fog, would die from it. One of those little girls was named Kay. What a bundle of life she was, laughing and getting others to laugh when they were down. 
“Kay, can you tell us what happened to you?” Kay’s sweet spirit does not hesitate for long before she replies, “I was taken by cancer, first one, then another until, at much too young an age, I died. I left all my friends to wonder why.... But I know why. It was the chemical DDT, from those trucks so long ago. Won’t you please make sure all these new chemicals that are sprayed around our land are tested? I’d love to see y’all, but not this way...” Good Bye, sweet Kay. See you in my dreams.

Monday, February 14, 2011

“Amazon Sage, meet Lady Ga Ga”

Happy morning and a Good Valentine’s Day to all who feel love in their hearts. Speaking of all presents wrapped in red, did you know that Lady Gaga,  an American singer-songwriter, born in 1986, is actually Stefani Germanotta?  I discovered this while watching an interview before the Grammy awards last night. I was most surprised to find out that she is a classically trained pianist. Wow, creative and smart! 
While my taste in music tends to lean more toward the obscure (primitive flutes and drums make me take flight!), I couldn’t help feeling moved by what she is trying to accomplish. Like a motivational speaker, she encourages kids to believe in themselves! Is it just me or does there seem to be a lot of that going around these days? Last night, in my dreams, Amazon Sage travelled to a few places where young women are showing the world what they’re made of.
In a Baltic country, young women have taken to the streets, sans shirts (that means topless!), to try to help their people. They say nothing else gets the government's attention. Might I add, the government is composed entirely of men? Then there’s Asmaa Mahfouz, a young woman who shamed men into coming out of the shadows and standing up for their homeland of Egypt (; and the woman who saved her husband from a wild tiger’s attack. According to CNN, “Han Besou, who was several feet away, heard the screams of her husband and charged the tiger with a large soup spoon, bopping it on the head.... The animal fled.” And of course, there’s Amazon Sage who, in her nightly sojourns, illuminates the suffering of people around the world...
According to Maya Angelo, a mentor for us all, remember two things: “Don’t trust people who don’t laugh” and “If everything you do falls flat and you can’t change it; change how you see it.”  That does not mean give up. If you are being abused by someone and keep trying to improve your behavior, thinking you must be doing something to cause it, Stop! Change your way of looking at it and you will realize that this person is an abuser. Now you have choices; get out of the relationship, block his or her messages, or call the cops. Did I mention, Happy Valentine’s Day?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

“Missing dads missing children”

Good morning, friends. Two nights ago, Amazon Sage dream-travelled to 1960 and visited the home of a young, unwed mother. Back then while babies’ daddies could simply walk away, there were fewer choices for girls. There was no birth control or morning after pill and other contraceptives were ineffective, at best. Many babies crowned along with the girl’s IUD. Also, back before abortions were legal, girls and women who were determined to get one had to make back alley deals with butchers; men, who after they did their dirty work, would force these innocent girls back into the alleys, where they suffered alone, often bleeding to death. One might ask, what has changed?
My answer: “Not enough.” It’s time for boys as well as girls to take a stand and support each other in ways that will radicalize relationships and make them strong. Most of us know that the era of “Leave it to Beaver” families consisting of a white mom, dad, and two kids, is gone.  We also know, that for most kids “just say no” gets overwhelmed by lust. In the recent census, the number of babies born outside marital relationships has risen to all time highs. 
The problem is, as a society, we’ve been treating young males like they’re irrelevant for way too long, as if all they’re good for is a good time and sports.  I resent that because I happen to know some great guys who should not be trivialized in this way. I happen to believe that most young men are ready to “man up” in the best sense of the word; perhaps in ways that their own Dads were unable. It is not necessary that you were fathered by a great dad in order to become one.  As contributing partners in the care of offspring; not just financially, but also emotionally and spiritually, young men will feel pride that no amount of Super Bowls can come close to. Did you know that girls who have a caring Dad in their lives are much less likely to become pregnant as teens? Think about it, talk about it, DO something to make a difference...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

“Missing children missing moms”

Good morning, friends. Last night on the local news, an older woman whom I’ll call Gloria, spoke of her sad search for her long lost daughter. She relayed how, when she was a teen, her baby was forcibly taken from her to “provide it a better home.”  Back then, unwed mothers were ostracized, whisked away in the dark of the night and taken to what was called a home for unwed mothers. There, girls were forced to give up their babies for adoption “for the sake of the child.” 

Yes, I’m serious, this really happened. As it turns out, Gloria’s baby girl was adopted by elderly parents who died within a few years. And while Gloria would have given anything to have her baby back with her, no one ever told her... until now. 

As I fell asleep, the image of this young mother haunted me.  Fortunately, Amazon Sage took it from there. Traveling back in time to 1960, she sat next to Gloria as the young mother imagined how her baby would look, what kind of life she might have. “I promised her that someday I’ll find her again” then laughing “and she’ll be a lot smarter than me...” Suddenly, Gloria breaks down in sobs. I look around and realize that each girl here is the mother of a baby whom she’ll never know.

Clearly, these are not bad girls. They are loving, hopeful young women, trying desperately to reconcile their choices with the best interests of their babies. Like Gloria, most will mourn the loss of their babies until the day they die. As for their children, those of you who were adopted? Whether you ever get to meet your biological mother or not, it’s important to know that your mom’s choice did not come without suffering. So even if she is never able to be the mother you thought she should’ve been, in her heart she loves you still. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the daddies. Sweet dreams... 

Friday, February 11, 2011

“We are the world, we are the children...”

Last night as I was singing the song, “We are the world, we are the children...” in preparation for a concert honoring the Freedom Riders here in the United States, I thought of the demonstrators over in Egypt. They too, fight for their dignity as human beings. When I arrived home, still energized from those strong images, I saw something on TV that filled me with dread. I saw and heard the Egyptian people’s anguish over yet another broken hope.  I wanted to close my eyes to it. I wanted to close my eyes...
Immediately, in my dreams, Amazon Sage transported me to that far away place that is now so close to my heart. Once again, I was at Liberation Square, in Cairo, Egypt. This time, the cries of the young girl, Yasmin, were for a different reason. Someone close to her was killed on the square. Try as she might, she could not close her eyes to what is happening in her home or outside of it; where the revolution that began as a protest of young hopefuls, has now taken on life changing proportions.
It was then that another great, old song came to mind; one that I hope all people of faith will sing together, with everyone who faces governmentally imposed suffering. Listen to the words of each verse and sing them as if you mean it. “We shall overcome... We’ll walk hand in hand... God is on our side... We are not afraid... We shall live in peace... some day.” Now, open your eyes my friends. Time to wake up. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

“To be or not to be, that is the question...”

Wow, what a night! Most people have heard of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, right? Now, how many teens realize a main theme of the young couple’s story is suicide? Obviously, the tragedy of teen suicide has been around for a long time, since it was published in 1599. But did you know that in some communities teen suicide has reached epidemic proportions? Example, suicide among Native American teens is three times higher than most. It’s time to ask: “What causes suicide and what can be done to prevent it?”
Amazon Sage time-travelled back to Shakespeare’s day and found out a few things. First, kids thought about death then, too.  Words like "These violent delights have violent ends" and “My grave is like to be my wedding bed,” reveal a tendency to see suicide as an alternative to pain and sadness. They, like many teens today, have not yet learned that an important part of living is learning to cope with strong emotion... and yes, sometimes it takes real courage to live through it.
We now know that the more we surround ourselves with a certain way of thinking, the more likely we will turn to it when the chips are down; whether it’s weapons, drugs, or suicide. A funny thing about suicide is it rarely gives us a do-over. There was one time I knew a boy who shot himself in the head and lived... if you could call it living. So if you see a friend (or yourself), thinking about it, get help, Now!
In most cases of suicide, there are clues. Ask yourself “Do they talk or surround themselves with images of death? Does he or she have a plan to do it? Does she or he have the means to carry it out? If yes, yes, yes, call 9-1-1. Better to have an angry friend than no friend at all. Believe me, they’ll thank you later. But hear this: Don’t lecture them! This is not the time and fussing at them will drive them further into hopelessness. Instead show them you care by sitting with them and really listening, verbally as well as nonverbally. Sometimes what they say is a front for what they feel.
Fact: If someone threatens, they usually end up doing it. Help them find professional help. 
Fact: When there’s nothing left to lose, a suicidal person can become homicidal. 
Fact: Girls, are four times more likely to cry out for help as boys, while boys, are four times more likely to die the first time they try. This is likely due to choice of weapon. 
So switch off the depressing music, get your butt out of your room, and tell somebody you trust that you need help. Every person has a purpose in this life but you have to stay alive long enough to find out what yours is. You do matter! Amazon Sage signing off for now... and sending you lots of love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

“Fight to live and live to fight!”

This morning I have a question for you: Who taught you to fight? It seems lately there’s been a lot of talk about fighting; “fighting for justice,” “fight the good fight,” “fight for your rights.” In most cases the fight described is a noble one and replaces good things for bad. However, there’s a different kind of fighting that is not a good thing and can land otherwise good people in jail... or the morgue. I’m talking about the kind of fighting that goes on in relationships. Whether you’re romantically involved or as brothers and sisters, striking out at each other does not end well.

Last night Amazon Sage dream travelled to the source of a relatively new kind of relationship fighting; that is when teens abuse each other while dating. Jen thought it was cute when she punched Jerod and he’d hold her back. We all know that girls are just as capable of hitting as boys so right out front I want to say “Cut it out, girls.” In case you haven't noticed, there is quite a difference in size between teenage boys and girls and if the boy is not smart enough to dump a girl who hits, he may just swing back and the results can be deadly.

Rule of thumb: If he or she hits, pushes, throws, or degrades, dump ‘em! Nobody is cute enough or charming enough to take a chance that they’re not the next “Ten Most Wanted.” Want proof? Look at photos of serial killers and you’ll see some who look “nice”. An example is H.M. Robinson. He raped and killed three women by the time he was 19!

So fight the good fight when it comes to equal rights for all or justice for the oppressed. Be a warrior for peace. But in relationships... hands off unless it’s the gentle touch of love.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

“People to people, we are the change happening in the world.”

Good morning, friends. Recently, I saw a cartoon drawing on FaceBook of what looked like a homeless man squatting against the side of a brick building. It said “Keep your coins, I want change.” Wow, what a concept. 
Last night in my dreams, that concept took me to many places in the world where people are up against a wall. They, too are hoping for change that will improve their desperate state of affairs. Unfortunately, what many of us do not realize is that when any people suffer, we all suffer. If we really understood this, then there would be less cruelty toward others and more outstretched hands.
It does not matter whether the person’s culture is one of the many in the United States or whether we are a voice in Liberation Square, Egypt. It matters not whether we suffer in Libya, Nairobi, Thailand, or North Korea. People are people and we are the change that can help all of our brothers and sisters.
If you listen to some financial analysts, things are about to come tumbling down. Survivalists warn you to stock up and grow your own garden. While growing one’s own garden is certainly a good thing to do, something even more significant is needed. Take a chance. Reach out to one other person today, or a thousand. Let them know that they matter. Remember the old movie “Pay it forward.” Create the change that is needed in this world. Blessings...

Monday, February 7, 2011

“A Body to Die For: Body Image, and the Quest for Perfection”

I saw this title on a workshop ad and wondered how American women’s body images have changed since the obesity epidemic burst forth a few years ago. Last night, as Amazon Sage, I visited the secret shame of a few people you would never suspect have this problem. One is a once famous actor whose body now resembles that of an Auschwitz death camp survivor. You might wonder how her distorted body image could possibly be related to an increased emphasis on obesity. That is the nature of anorexia nervosa; an eating disorder that has taken the lives of thousands of girls and young women.
In contrast to bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder in which a person sees their body fairly accurately, yet engages in periodic binges and purges to try to keep down their weight; anorexia literally changes the ability of the person to see their body as others do. She thinks she is fat even as she is dying from starvation. Worse, if you try to confront her on her dangerous delusion, she will deny it. And when headlines shout out how obese Americans have become, anorectics personalize the message, starving themselves even more, in their quest to rid themselves of nonexistent fat. For this reason, anorexia nervosa is a mental as well as a physical disorder and needs immediate treatment. 
I will talk more about the opposite problem later; that is, the delusion some people exhibit, when they think they are healthy... but in reality have sentenced themselves to a slow, painful death from the diseases associated with true obesity.
As for now, I will leave you with this thought: If each one of us could see that we are already perfectly who we are and that no one else can possibly be more perfectly us then ourselves, we might be able to let go of others’ expectations (even if it means getting help to do that), and live healthy, fun, and loving lives. Time to wake up, sleepy heads...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

“Super Bowl can be super if you make it so...”

Good morning, friends. Today is Super Bowl Sunday so stay safe, have fun, and put a huge dent in the sex slave trade by refusing to participate in this scourge of American life. These stolen children are definitely not having fun. As I noted in my blog a few days ago:
"So pervasive has internet sex (aka porn), become that young girls and boys are provide "product" for a leering audience. Apparently, Super Bowl Sunday is the worst. It seems that on this special day, more than a few fathers and husbands plan to take part in guilty pleasures when they travel to the football game. As a result, evil men stock up their "product" to provide hookers of every flavor. What if somebody’s Daddy got into a room with one of these young girls and discovered that she is the 13 year old from down the street who went missing a few weeks ago? Did you know that she cries to go home to her parents? Did you know she is the friend of your daughter?" 

Call: 1-800-The Lost if you see any of these girls and report these kidnappers and rapists to the police. Have a good day!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"A chill has settled over the land..."

Brrr... so much of the country is freezing right now that it is difficult to find a warm spot for those with meager resources or no place to live. On the road, large transport trucks are dwarfed by the size of storms and everyday travelers face unknown dangers. Last night, in my dreams, I travelled to some of these places and saw a little military family motoring from California to New Jersey with their year-old baby and little puppy.  
At the time moving arrangements were made, 10 days seemed like plenty. Now, as they face delay after delay, they wonder, “What if we don’t get there by the time the moving truck arrives? What if all our worldly possessions are left where we cannot afford to retrieve them?” This can be gut wrenching.  Yet, in some cases, the struggle is to stay alive. I travel back in time to a mountainous area of Northern California, where a similar storm stopped the car of another little family. 
Alone and with inadequate supplies, they finally set out on foot. Hours blend into days as they fight the blizzard. Finally, the young mom can go no further. With her baby, she huddles against a snow drift as her husband continues his trek to find help. I think, “What a wake up call for us all; the importance of adequately preparing when we set out and always having a contingency plan for freak storms.” 
Perhaps all of this is a metaphor for the political chill that has settled over this land of late, taking us ever deeper into the freezing realms of dissent. Maybe it is time we all brave the elements and reach out to each other, across party lines, particularly to the people who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation. These people are called Indians, but they are also our forefathers, our sisters and our brothers.  In the midst of this wintry blast, far too few of these families have adequate resources. Most specifically, they have too little heat and they need our help. Their elders and babies are literally freezing to death. They fear that without others knowing of their plight, they may perish. It is a new day, my friends. What is our contingency plan for this terrible storm? Will you help? 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday is bruised and bleeding...

Last night, I heard the cries of another young girl. This one is right here in the good old U.S. of A. It seems some man left a 13 year old bruised and bleeding after his day of revelry... on Super Bowl Sunday! As Amazon Sage, I could already hear her sobs floating back to me through time, so I travelled forward in my dreams, to a place this  crime will never be reported; to a house of ill-repute. Here, this little girl is a sex slave, forced into prostitution by someone she met on-line. Befriended by a man pretending to be a young girl, in her innocence, she agreed to meet.
So pervasive has internet sex (aka porn), become that young girls and boys are stolen from their own bedrooms to provide "product" for a leering audience. Apparently, Super Bowl Sunday is the worst; so much so that a huge number of churches will be devoting this Sunday to it. It seems that on this special day, more than a few fathers and husbands plan to take part in their guilty pleasures when they travel to the football game. As a result, evil men are stocking up their "product" to provide hookers of every flavor. 
I know the arguments that otherwise good men like to make; "Prostitution is a victimless crime". Well, let me be the first to tell you it is not. Everyday, young girls are kidnapped and forced into lives of degradation and worse, for the benefit of men’s guilty pleasures. One girl I spoke with was chained to a bed, forcefully injected with heroin for days, then "turned out" on the streets. There, if she didn't smile and bring back the money, she would be savagely beaten. This is victimless? What if somebody’s Daddy got into a room with her and discovered that she is the young girl from down the street who went missing a few weeks ago? Did you know that she cries to go home to her parents?
We’ll talk more about this, later. Today, when I wake up, I will be searching the woods for yet another girl who “went missing.” This time, I hope we find her alive.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fire in the belly of a nation...

Cough, cough!! Good morning, friends. Excuse my cough but last night, along with what has been described as rivers of protesters, Amazon Sage, travelled to Tahrir, Liberation Square, in Cairo, Egypt.  There I visited the home of a young girl named Yasmin. Alone and frightened, in a neighborhood filled with chaos, I heard Yasmin's silent cry for help in my dreams. When I arrived, I found her normally friendly neighbors having to act as guards in order to keep armed thugs from breaking into her home. When I asked her what they were after, she said "To tell you the truth, I just don't know...." Then she broke out in tears.

Ironically, Yasmin and her parents have prayed for many years, for people to take to the streets, because they desperately want to see a change in their government. However, on an emotional level, it is taking its toll on young ones like her and her younger siblings. What began as protests has become a real revolution, led by the protesters and even some in the army. Thankfully, on Monday night the army promised that they would not fire on protesters.

Ordinarily when I dream travel to hot spots in the world, I am able to do something to make a difference, so on this night, I asked Yasmin and her parents what they would have me do to help them and their people. Their answer was one I never expected but will pass on to you, my gentle readers. They asked that all people, of all faiths, pray to God, Allah, the Creator of all, for peace; not just in their land, but around the world. Peace, السلام和平, мира, ความสงบสุข, शांति, salaøm, Tutkium, Rój, peace...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bullied, beaten, and betrayed

Last night there were footsteps, running, running, trying to get away from the causes of their torment. No, these were not people being chased by invisible monsters from a scifi movie, these were little boys or girls, trying to escape the proverbial bully. In the dream world of Amazon Sage, she is able to do something about it... sometimes that something comes in the form of understanding.

Last night the dreams of Amazon Sage transported her to Oakland California where two little boys are being attacked by four older bullies. They are next to a stream in the inner city. But it could be Detroit, LA, Atlanta, or a small town anywhere in the USA. Children are running to escape the older or stronger kids who, without intervention, become adult predators in one form or another. Socioeconomic background and race do not protect either the bully or the victim from this scourge.

In this case, the two victims are best friends, a white boy and a black boy. Minding their own business, they happily search for tadpoles in a nearby creek outside of their apartments. They are both children of single moms and are supposed to stay in the apartment complex while their moms are away. But on this day, they venture out of the security gate in search of adventure. They find more than they bargained for.

Suddenly, four tough looking older boys surround them, slinging racial and other slurs at them both. Two of their group grab one little boy, two grab the other, forcing them to the ground and shoving their faces into the water until the boys think their lungs will explode. Then they grab some of the prey the little boys caught and try to force the little boys to eat the creatures. Who knows what finally makes the bullies stop, but eventually they tire of their torment and leave laughing.

The little boys limp home, bleeding and traumatized, vowing to never allow this to happen again. For some children that vow becomes their painful initiation into becoming bullies themselves. For others, these victimized children shrink in fear, never wanting to leave the safety of their bedrooms again, while some lose themselves in the seemingly safer world of video games like Grand Theft Auto. Unfortunately, these types of video games originated as training videos to teach soldiers how to kill. Are we training a nation of killers?

Take a close enough look and you will find that most school yard shooters and parent killers experienced their own abuse; unfortunately not only from other kids. Then they learned how to kill, without regard for the consequences, through absorption in video games. Therefore, as I spoke to the parents of these young perpetrators I told them some things many don't know about bullies.

When a child is bullied, whether by schoolmates, a bigger cousin, or a belligerent parent, the effect is the same and it is long-lasting. Many parents will retort "Discipline teaches them respect." My answer? "Well, duh, of course the kid is going to act polite to their abuser." That's why so many abusive parents think "whipping" a child is okay. Flash! There are a lot more effective forms of discipline that don't carry the same risks. After all, that's all bullies are really doing... imitating someone in their lives who did them that way. Effective (non abusive) discipline takes more caring and time than many parents want to provide. That's why they make excuses, it's just easier to hit and yell.

So I asked the parents "Do you know what kind of person becomes a bully?" They shook their heads. "A person who is very scared inside, who has themselves been bullied, beaten, or betrayed." Fortunately, most parents really do love their children and will ask, "Who can help them stop being a bully before it's too late?" Again, my answer, "Anybody who really cares; by sitting down and talking with these kids about their dreams, helping them create their own goals and find other ways to fight their paralyzing fears, the ones that are currently only relieved through repeating what their own abuser did to them." So what happens to the little boys? Imagine the best and make it so.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Good morning, friends. Last night, Amazon Sage dream-travelled to Central Florida. There, outside busy Downtown Disney, a 12 year old girl was playing a game of hide and seek with her father. Only problem is, her Dad wasn't playing. He was desperately trying to keep her safe from unknown predators by following her, perhaps a bit too closely, everywhere she went. Were it not so dangerous for the young girl to be out of site of her caring Dad, it would be humorous. I picked up the father's silent cry for help as he called to his little girl, afraid she had been abducted. 
You see, unaccustomed to adolescents' growing need for independence, this Dad is still treating his daughter like a five-year old and she wants nothing to do with it. By disappearing whenever he begins to hover, she is telling him to back off. What she does not know is that nearby, also keeping his eye on her, is a first degree felon whose great delight is in kidnapping wayward young girls, doing all manner of things to them, then tossing them alongside the road like yesterday's trash. Of course, the girl's Dad knows about predators. That is why he is so worried.

I thought, what can I do to help? Fortunately the answer did not take a rocket scientist. I clued in the father to the girl's whereabouts and suggested that he do two things.  First, allow his daughter some space in safe environments so she does not feel she must escape his watchful eye when they are in unsafe surroundings. Maybe Downtown Disney at night is not the best place for him to bring her. Second, do things “with” her rather than simply "corral" her. If he gives himself a little credit, he might realize that there are lots of things they can do to have fun together. Sure, at first, she will complain until she sees how much fun it is. These are things that she will remember for years to come, starting with laughing about their dangerous game of hide and seek. 
When I spoke with the girl, I pointed to the predator and reminded her that her Dad simply wants to protect her. I suggested she talk with him about her concerns. Perhaps they can share a banana split (low fat, of course), then work it off with a different kind of game (basketball and miniature golf come to mind). Most of all, I encouraged both of them to imagine what the other feels and come up with solutions that serve them both... Sweet dreams.