NOW IS THE TIME TO OPEN YOUR HEART…

Now Is The Time To Open Your Heart
by
Alice Walker

The only revolution that could possibly succeed, he maintained, was the cool one introduced to the world by the Lord Buddha, twenty-five hundred years ago.

Something about this statement did not sit well with Kate. She looked at him carefully. He was certainly a well-fed-looking soul, she thought. Not many meals missed by that one, except by accident. Quietly glancing down at the program on the floor beside her, she saw he had grown up in an upper-middle-class home, had had educated and cultured people as parents and as grandparents, had studied and lived in Europe as well as in the East. Was now a prominent professor at one of the country”s most famous universities. Easy enough for him to dismiss the brown and black and yellow and poor white people all over the globe who worried constantly where their next meal was coming from, she thought. How they would feed, clothe and educate their children. Who, if they did sit down to meditate, would probably be driven up again by the lash. Or by military death squads, or by hunger, or by… the list was long. p. 4-5

She had learned to live without picking up any snakes. She killed every one she saw, no hesitation and no questions asked. p. 9

So, said the old woman, this is an endless kind of a thing. Do we kill it or do we let it live? Do we ever believe its true nature and does that true nature ever change? And does ours? p. 10

Turn your back for only a moment while the water boils and you are lost in the scent of things to come, and Life puts out a tentacle to grab some part of you. Even the cup from which you prepare to drink is already being pulled if only so slightly back to the ground. p. 16-7

At the airport they exchanged phone numbers and email addresses and hugged and kissed one another good-bye. this the way people live now, thought Kate. If you”re lucky you get to spend intense weeks or months with people with whom you exchange the most intimate and vital information; then, you take off again, you are gone. She wondered if they would ever see one another again. She hoped so, but did not expect it to happen. p. 167

Health is our culture; anything that interferes with it is our bondage. p. 172

I have Native American friends who are trying to talk their people off of fry bread, she said. It”s killing them. All that worthless enriched flour and grease. But they say, Oh, no, if you take away fry bread Indians don”t have no culture. Such trash, she finished, and adjusted her lei. p. 172

We will have no future eating the slops the masters have brought, and furthermore clinging to them for dear life.

It”s all about food, as I see it, she added. The food we eat, how good it is for us. And how efficiently we cleanse ourselves of it when it no longer is good for us.

Some us are holding on to bad food we ate years ago, she said, and the bad feelings that when with eating it, I might add, without any idea that this is the easiest slippery slope to an early grave. Children, she said, seriously, looking into each of their faces, we must learn to let go. p. 173

Kate thought Yolo was of the bear spirit. The bear, according to ancient people who had known bears well, was of a loyal, generous and young-loving nature. Bear mothers were the most dedicated parents imaginable. The most fierce in protecting their young; but also the most peaceful creatures when left unmolested. People with bear spirit had a certain level feel about them: they often seemed large and strong, even if they weren”t particularly. They gave off a vibe that made you want to sit near them. Not to talk, necessarily, but to feel. p. 189

Maybe someone who drinks a lot of coffee, said Kate.

Nope, said Yolo. That”s going too.

No, said Kate. You love it so much.

I do, he said, but maybe it isn”t love, maybe it”s a chain.

Yep, she said.

Oh, said Yolo, the brothers got down.

You sure did, she said. What else are you giving up?

We said we”d try to think of sex as something really, really special, said Yoho. p. 190

I can”t imagine having a hobby, said Yolo.

I can”t either, said Kate. Everything I do I want to be essential. p. 200

And in this primeval landscape I was calling for Grandmother until I was hoarse and on the point of tears. Because it was coming to me with a horrible certainty that I was by myself in this frightening place and SHE WAS NOT THERE! My heart sank. I had never felt more alone in my life. And then, just when I was on the point of dying of loneliness and lack of direction. I wailed: Oh, Grandmother, you are not here! And she said: But you are.
Kate smile at Yolo, and wiped a tear from her eye.

The buck stops here, she said.

You are Grandmother, said Yolo.

Yes, said Kate. I thought I could avoid it, I guess. p. 201

Raging Grannies, said Yolo, Gray Panthers.

No, said Kate. Grand Mothers. We must acknowledge and reclaim our true size. Dignity is important. Self respect. We cannot lead by pretending to be powerless. We”re not. Age is power. Or it can be if it isn”t distracted by shopping and cooking and trying to look nineteen.

Or tripped up by Alzheimer”s, said Yolo.

Or buried in nursing homes, said Kate. p. 201

…you have never brought a greater good, no matter where you traveled. That is because what is good is integral to itself. That is also why it is not worthwhile to change yourself, your hair or skin or eyes. What is integral to you will always be superior to what is tacked on, simply because it is yours. p. 202.
What does it mean to be completely outside the circle of goodwill? That was the question that came as she contemplated the snake.
Because of religious indoctrination, almost everyone feared and loathed the serpent. what damage had such hatred done to it; a magical expression of Creation? Was this, the banning of the serpent from the circle, the beginning of separation? Was this the model for all other banishments? Hunted and killed, or killed instantly, on sight, forced to hide at all times, what did the serpent think of humanity?

Why had women, long ago, befriended the serpent, loved it? Why had Cleopatra had asps for pets? p. 204

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