Monthly Archives: December 2011

America’s Dark Night of the Soul

From Occupy Providence

by Jill Dalton

Sunday morning (12-11-11) I awoke to 30-degree temperatures here in New York City and did not want to get out of bed let alone walk 16 blocks to go to church.  Now I love my church, Unity of New York, it’s progressive, caring, enlightened, inclusive, and fun.

I knew we were having a guest speaker, Matthew Fox, a Catholic priest who was excommunicated after 34 years for being, as our pastor Paul Tenaglia remarked, “pro women, pro gays, pro choice and pro God.”  It doesn’t get much better than that.

So I bundled up and decided to brave the cold and I’m so glad I did.

In our seemingly crazy world when you hear the truth you know it.  It’s like a cool sip of pure, clean water that quenches your thirst.

Matthew Fox is an amazing presence for good and peace on the planet.  He’s written some 30 books and won such awards as:  the Abbey Courage of Conscience Peace Award (other recipients include the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Ernesto Cadrenal and Rosa Parks), the Gandhi King Ikeda Award, the Tikkun National Ethics Award to name a few.

His talk was titled “Are We Birthing Christ – The Real Meaning of Christmas.”  The concept that struck me the deepest was his understanding of the dark night of the soul, which many experience, myself included, but some choose not to learn from and instead hightail it out of town or disappear into addictions for fear of facing the truth.  It takes a warrior to face the truth head on.

He spoke about how out of nothingness God is born.

“What is nothingness?”, he asks.  Where is it found?  It’s found in the stillness and silence of meditation.  It’s found in the breath, which is spirit.  A place where there’s no monkey mind and where we do not look at the earth as an object to be mined or people as objects to be used.

The second place to find nothingness is in loss.  It’s found in 9/11.  We call it ground zero.  It’s found in joblessness where we feel we’re no longer needed or wanted.  It’s found in grief and in letting go.

The third place where nothingness is found is in moral nothingness.  He used the example of Bernie Madoff a sociopath without conscience or guilt who could deceive his friends, family and the charities that depended on him and still somehow manage to look at himself in the mirror.  He spoke of Wall Street as part of this nothingness and the nothingness of consumer capitalism, which does not serve us.

Image by Tracy Knauss

Many addicts do not find redemption until they bottom out and find themselves in AA or some other 12-step group and our culture is bottoming out to get rid of the useless junk that no longer matters in order to birth the Christ within us all.

Christianity caught fire because of the morally bankrupt Roman Empire and Occupy Wall Street is the response to our morally bankrupt institutions. When the perplexed exclaim, “But what are their demands?” Fox continued, “OWS’s message is much deeper than that.”  OWS is bearing witness.  They’re calling to us all to roll up our sleeves and do something.  They’ve caught the fire of moral outrage.  They are warriors.

Time to become one with love.  Listen to the silence and catch the fire.  A lover and a prophet will interfere with that which interferes with love and justice.  God is the denial of denial and we must move beyond our collective denial.

America’s become a horrible addict.  She’s addicted to oil, war, murder, TV, mindless entertainment, hatred of the other, violence, junk food, gambling, porn, sex, drugs, alcohol and greed.   Did I leave anything out?  She’s out of control, living in denial and on borrowed time, as all addicts do, and needs an intervention.  That’s where we come in.

Our political system is broken.

Our financial system is broken.

Our healthcare system is broken.

Our energy system is broken.

Our corporate media is just a propaganda machine shilling for the corporations and the 1%.

It’s not easy nor is it for the faint of heart but we must all be warriors now.  We must all get involved and roll up our sleeves and get to work rebuilding our broken systems to work for us all not just the 1%.  We deserve a healthy planet filled with love, compassion and justice.  We must rebuild.

“The warrior leapt into the doomed land.”

There is hope but

“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.”    David Orr

After the service I wept with joy at the compassion, insights and hope

from this great man of God.

Get involved.

Our time has come.

We are the change we’ve been looking for.

We have a choice.  We can either hightail it out of town, drink ourselves into oblivion or roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Time to occupy.



From Occupy Providence

by Jill Dalton

This is a gentle reminder.  If you have an account with Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America or Morgan Stanley and haven’t already moved your money please do so immediately.

We need to bring our economy back from Wall Street to Main Street and this is one way to do that.

Wall Street and the big banks do not create anything except more wealth for themselves.  They do not care about America, our communities, creating jobs (in fact they kill jobs), supporting education or anything that actually creates goods we can use.  They used to but not anymore.  The system has failed and is rotten to the core.

This transfer of your funds from one of the too big to fail banks into a local community bank or credit union is a small but powerful gesture especially when it’s done by thousands upon thousands of us.

I moved my money from Citibank to the Actors’ Federal Credit Union back in the 90’s.  It took forever for them to let me go.  These predatory institutions are like bad stalker boyfriends.  They use and abuse you and when you finally stand up and say, “Enough!” they threaten to kill you if you leave them.  Well, too bad for them.

It took me six months to completely disentangle myself from Citi and I ended up having to go into a local branch and speaking with a manager who finally settled things for me.

In the 80’s when I was making really good money in the garment center, Citi began stealing from my account at $200 a pop I went into my branch several times to complain and got no response until I finally sent a letter to the president of Citi and threatened to sue them; miraculously all my unexplained withdrawals suddenly stopped.  I never recovered my losses but at least they stopped stealing from me.

I walked out of that corrupt institution with my head held high and never looked back.  So stop enabling these abusers, stop playing the victim and take your power back.  It’s never too late.

Occupy the banks.

Remembering John

(Oct. 9, 1940 – Dec. 8, 1980)

The night John Lennon was shot he was recording his new album at the Record Plant on 44th Street in New York City.  At that time I was studying acting at the Real Stage with John Strasberg and when we left class that night we saw John and Yoko’s lemo parked downstairs and commented on it and I remember feeling so cool because I was in the same building with John Lennon.  I had obviously arrived.

The next morning I learned of his assassination and was dumbstruck.  How could this be?  Who would want to kill him?  He was a man of peace,  a great artist and one of my heroes.  I took the C train from my station and the next stop is 72nd Street, which is where the Dakota, the building where John and Yoko lived, is located.   As soon as the announcer said 72nd Street my eyes welled with tears.

Every afternoon for 6 months on my way home I’d get off at 72nd Street in order to pass by the Dakota and pay my silent respects to John.

I know John had enemies.  The guy who shot him whose name I will not mention and then there was Richard Nixon.  Lord knows he tried to deport John many, many times and each time John was allowed to stay.

How ironic a man who believed in peace and love would be such a threat to a country that touts itself as being founded on human rights and equality for all.

Here’s my theory.  Whenever you have great people of peace like John, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Jesus they emit a very bright light and that light illuminates people’s wounds and if these people are very unstable they will destroy the light so they don’t have to look at their own crap. They will blame the other.

But John is never far from me.  I have a giant poster of him in my hallway that leans against the wall.  It’s the one with his arms crossed and he’s wearing his New York City t-shirt.

John will never die.  He lives on through his art, his music and his ideas.

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

We love you John.


Veterans Day Concert and Rally for the 99%

“Honor the Dead, Fight Like Hell For the Living”

When: Friday, 11/11/11 @ 1 PM

Where: Foley Square, New York City

A very young Col. C.H. Dalton III

Each year I dedicate Veterans Day to my father, Col. Charles H. Dalton III who served in three wars: WWII in Patton’s Third Army, Korea and Military Intelligence Saigon and to all the men and women who’ve served and continue to serve our country even when our country does not deserve their loyalty or their lives.

Growing up as an Army brat I have a bitter/sweet relationship with Veterans Day.  I didn’t believe in the Vietnam War my father and millions of other Americans served and fought in.  I don’t believe in war as a means to resolve conflict or acquire resources or spread “democracy.”  I do believe, as George Washington did, in self-defense and defending our country.  And I believe many of the people who wave the flag and claim to support the troops are full of crap.  “Rah, rah, we support the troops.”  If we really supported the troops we’d demand these illegal wars of aggression be stopped and bring them home.  Our government uses these men and women who are truly the most patriotic of us all.  These souls are willing to give their lives for their country.  But these days I know many people sign up for military service because they have no other job opportunities and believe they’re doing something noble. 

Image by Tracy Knauss

Unfortunately, America has become the evil empire.  She goes about murdering and plundering at will with no regard for anyone just her own insatiable greed.  She’s a bottomless pit, which cannot be satisfied.  She fights for the corporate elites who bilk billions from her coffers of gold and blood.

“War is a racket.  It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.  A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”    Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler (Two-time Congressional Metal of Honor Recipient)

Foley Square

Me in my dad’s fatigue jacket

So as the big Veterans Day parade marched up Fifth Avenue I donned my father’s fatigue jacket from Vietnam, placed a pink peace button on the pocket and headed down to Foley Square to the Veterans Day Concert and Rally for the 99% to listen to Joan Baez and other likeminded activist/artists.  The crowd was small but enthusiastic.  The day was sunny, brisk and chilly.  There were almost as many police officers as there were protesters. 

Joan Baez sang three songs including “Where’s My Apple Pie,” or “Time to Occupy” and “Joe Hill.”  Her voice is lower now and even more rich and haunting then it was in the 60’s.  There was also incredible music by the duo, Joseph Author, Ryan Harvey and others.  Sgt. Thomas said a few words to the crowd as did a member of IVAW and Max Rameau of Take Back The Land.  But after a couple of hours the sun went behind the clouds and I found myself needing to go home and get warm. 

Sgt. Shamar Thomas

But I reflect on our egregious wars and all the men and women who perish and I feel such a sense of loss and sadness and I wonder, “When will it ever end?  Oh, when will it ever end?”  

The Vietnam War finally ended when our troops refused to fight and began “fragging” murdering their commanding officers.  

And I know nothing will change until enough of us have awakened and stand up against the destructive war machine that cares not for you or me but only thirsts for more.

Joan Baez at Foley Square

Joan Baez sings “Where’s My Apple Pie.”

It’s time to occupy.

Ryan Harvey sings “Your Poverty is Our Profit.”

Ryan Harvey sings “Peace, Justice and Anarchy.”


Ryan Harvey