Wednesday, September 19, 2012


"torture (tor' cher), n., v., -tured, --n. 1. the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty. 2. a method of inflicting such pain. 3. Often, tortures. the pain or suffering caused or undergone. 4. extreme anguish of body or mind: agony. 5. a cause of severe pain or anguish. --v.t. 6. to subject to torture. 7. to afflict with severe pain of body or mind: My back is torturing me. 8. to force or extort by torture: We'll torture the truth from his lips! 9. to twist, force, or bring into some unnatural position or form: trees tortured by storms. 10. to distort or pervert (language, meaning, etc.)..."
The Random House Dictionary of the English Language
(Second Edition Unabridged)

Wells Fargo should be tried in The Supreme Court for Torture! That's my informed opinion and I'm sticking to it!!

Since March of this year, I have been dealing unsuccessfully with scores of Wells Fargo employees and robots in an earnest attempt to engage in a serious conversation about restructuring my mortgage: an interest only loan on $450,000. at 6.25 percent. I'm neither "upsidedown" nor "underwater"---at least not yet. I am simply (?) one of a million or more people who has gotten caught in a tough financial place, during the economic shenanigans of the last few years.

"Yes, I will verify my address...Yes, I plan to keep my house...No, there are no other phone numbers where I can be reached...Yes, I'm aware that this conversation may be recorded...The last four digits of my social security number are XXXX...Yes, I am aware that this phone call is an attempt to collect a debt..."

Before a conversation of any kind can begin, one must endure the unavoidable drill. One cannot push a button and detour to an individual who can actually be of assistance! First, answer all the questions--over and over again. It doesn't matter if you are calling to speak with your assigned specialist and you have the extension number. Nor does it matter if you have answered the telephone and then hung on in dead space until (finally) a representative---tied to a script with strict rules--begins to speak. One must complete the drill.
In my opinion, whoever designed the Kafka-esque Wells Fargo "phone-procedure-to-nowhere" should be forced to sit, Clockwork Orange-style, in front of a big screen, with earphones at top volume, while the millions of mothers, fathers, couples, grandparents, small business people and individuals who have felt victimized, tortured or destroyed by the Wells Fargo fake re-finance process tells his or her tale. This turn-about-torture would be a life sentence!
It is possible (eventually) to get to a real live mortgage modification specialist. And, if you are the financially-strapped homeowner, you can engage in a long and momentarily hopeful conversation with said specialist about your situation and your intentions. However, the conversation will--inevitably--go nowhere.
As part of the mortgage modification plot of the mega-bank, the WF "mortgagee" will be given a list of documents to submit. The troubled homeowner will then be assured, by their assigned home preservation specialist that, once the paperwork has been submitted and reviewed, the distressed homeowner will be re-contacted in order to continue the process of saving his/her home. And, if you are that troubled homeowner, you will wait...and wait...for that specialist to call you. You may attempt to call the specialist. But you will be disappointed. You will fail.
My first "specialist' a pleasant man named Rob gave me the list of required documents . I dutifully assembled bank statements, income tax returns, a "hardship letter" and other special downloadable forms...I faxed them from a Wells Fargo Bank. And I waited. During the next month, I answered the routine "robo" collection calls. When I reached a live person, I asked to be connected to my specialist. This was not possible, I was told, without enduring the tedious, demeaning drill. Each time, I made note of the names of all the representatives along with their identification numbers. A month after my one and only conversation with Rob, I received a dated form letter from him saying that it had been good to speak with me that day. He was sorry we couldn't find a solution. In truth, I had not spoken with him.
So I ranted. I raved at the various WF phone clones who maintained that Rob had made ten calls to me and that I had not responded. (Liar, Liar, pants on fire!).
Perhaps it was an accident, I thought. A misunderstanding. And so, I re-entered the mortgage modification program. This time a new specialist, with a different name and an equally cordial demeanor, requested updated and additional documents. I complied. Same results. All the while, the collection people called daily. Before I could tell them that I was sincerely and actively with the special program, I was compelled to endure the drill...
"Fool me once, shame on you..."They fooled me more than three times! I went to a lawyer. The lawyer sent a strong letter--return receipt requested. No response. The collection calls continued.
There's more...but I am getting frustrated recounting it.
What I know is that Wells Fargo has no intention of dealing with me. It's possible that they do not even own my mortgage. Perhaps they hope to "steal" my house. I know I complied in good faith---like millions in similar situations have complied. We are held captive by their sinister, unethical, borderline-criminal actions.
No matter how many times I tell my story (recall, if you will, the hapless Mariner in Coleridge's poem) there will be no relief; no solution. Now I understand--finally. Torture!
This is torture. Luckily, I am a strong woman. However, my heart goes out to those who are not so strong; those who are stuck or scared, or sick or angry or finally without hope; those who strut and fret their sad hours upon the stagecoach in the torturer's logo...We must be heard! It must be known: Wells Fargo engages in torture!! Who will stop them from their insidious, mobius strip-like device of endless cruel and unusual punishment!

Friday, September 14, 2012

On Becoming The Change I Want In The World

I am letting go of my borderline, all-consuming participation in the demanding world of Active (increasingly angry and ineffective) Activism.  This "change" is not one that comes after an introspective period of inner soul-searching and turmoil.  Nor do I find myself knocking at the door of this decision after a right brain/left brain philosophical argument between my ongoing activism and my reticent retreat from that activism.  No, this just "happened" to me.  Poof!  I fell away from my unwrapped awareness of my proximity to the underlying anger that permeated many of the protests, sit-ins, and lie-ins in which I participated.  And the change suddenly befell me.  It was unexpected.  There was an unanticipated shift in my focus.  I know I no longer belong in the groups that demonstrate in front of The White House, travel to Athens, Cairo, New York, Chicago to be tear-gassed or arrested or pushed...
Oh, I honor and respect those who do---who do so out of a deep conviction that the activist's movement is necessary...those who believe that this is the best way to restore our cockeyed world to a rational, liveable place...It is necessary.  But I do not continue to have the "it is necessary to me" impulse.
Yes, I am letting go of Active Activism.  Or perhaps, it is letting go of  me.  I have reached the limit of my ability to embrace the angry-ness that seems to have permeated so much of the actions of the peace and justice movement.  I am reorienting my passion for peace and justice in a more graceful and life-affirming manner.  This is a radical change for me.  I am bewildered by it.  There is even an aspect of shame associated with this shift.  Did I fail?  Am I lazy?  Insincere? 

Dear Universe, may it not be the case that I have withdrawn from my involvement in the important work of standing up for justice and that I have fallen into a state of apathy about the crises that face this planet.   I haven't, I hope.  I haven't...or so I tell myself.  I have merely (?) moved away from my semi-obsession with constant demonstrating, endless sign-holding, perpetual petition soliciting, personal ranting, finger-pointing and (figurative) hair-pulling in favor of feeling the beauty of favor of acknowledging the point of view of the other...
How and when did this happen?!  When I was sleeping?  Or daydreaming?  Did it happen when I was reading, listening, reviewing, conversing about the world and some of the ongoing injustices that seep into everything we do? 
While I was consumed by the egregious injustices that affect everything we have, injustices that alter everything we are, I noticed my cells telling me to stop, to change work against anger and injustice with peaceful acknowledgement, forgiveness, understanding and compassion.  I can no longer find meaning in my small roll as a stand-up, fighting peace ant.  It begins to feel like an oxymoronic calling...I'm on the brink of distancing myself from my decades-long earnest work to reverse the effects of war and corporate greed and political expediency from our world, our country, our close community...and something else.  I don't want to wake up each morning to read the dozens of depressing and alarming (and futile?) e-mails sent from activist groups and friends and colleagues with whom I have rallied and railed against the insatiably greedy and violent machine.  The path I have traveled--with regard to this kind of activism--is delivering me to an intersection that is presenting me with new passions, new choices...The organized, never-ending, occupied peace fighters platform is too angry for me...too desperately all-consumingly exhausting, violent, and judgmental. 
I don't want to be angry.  I know:  these are angry times.  Still, to wake up every day with anger and frustration towards those who, in their ignorance (for what can it be other than ignorance) would greedily continue to wreak havoc on our planet; towards those whose greed and ignorance cause families to face starvation, brutal deaths, loss of culture and not working for me.  Sadly, it is not working for the world nor is it resolving the situations I long to see resolved or reversed...
Is this new realization of mine the result of a sense of personal failure?  A growing sense of despair? Je ne sais pas.  While the critical need for change is everywhere apparent, change for the better is apparently not on the current agenda of those who have stolen and polluted our world, our very understanding of our world...
It has reached a truly critical point---now that I see and sense anger among the peace movement, the loss of kindness, the absence of time spent on considering that I note the growing chasm between those who stand for peace in their hearts and those who march for overthrow of the enemy... Who is the enemy?  The enemy is unconsciousness.  Now is the time for me to embrace beauty everywhere, to acknowledge those in need, to dance with those who find peace in music, to sit with those who find peace in prayer and meditation, to listen to those whose voices hold optimism and those who make me smile!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Shall I stay or shall I go?  Stay how?  Go where?
Let me not beat around the bush.  My house is in foreclosure.  I am responsible for it all.  That knowledge, that acknowledgement,  makes me feel strong. 
There is so much in my world, in my mind. 
Ever since the Gallery closed I have been "wondering" what happens next...and all those days and months of wondering have presented me with a myriad of  "nexts" and a plethora of choices.  Roads. Taken not taken.  Explored, not explored, partially explored. 
Here I AM, at the center of ME.  In this place I feel content, inspired, healthy, grateful, kind, generous and optimistic.  In my wondering about what may happen next...and how to choose...and how to accept that which may become inevitable...and how to conduct myself...and where to investigate...I make small forays into various visions and possibilities and ideas. Picture me as a circle with a number of short rays moving out from the center.  These rays represent choices and ideas and truncated directions. 
Some examples:  1)  Divest myself of everything I "own" (EVERYTHING) and travel freely from place to place, meeting good people, writing, exploring, loving...2)  Stay in Santa Fe, in my house, and concentrate on building The Wonder Institute; turning it into a place where people meet and  share their ideas, their Art and Experiences...3)  Expand my website into an online magazine and direct my energies toward making it something that is read and followed by millions...4)  Turn my property into a small, intentional community...5)  Become a wandering Crusader for Peace and Justice...6)  Let Wells Fargo take my house and let the chips fall where they may...7)  Fight for my house;  fight, argue, research and win the right to stay in this house...8)  File a Chapter 13 bankruptcy/reorganization claim...9)  All of the aforementioned!!

This morning, several inspirational e-mails appeared in my in-box.  Messages, not only from friends--but from the Universe.
A dear friend wrote to me from Viet Nam where she has had a major Art gallery for many years.  Once she had a big and beautiful space in the center of Hanoi--now she is working out of her home.  Life for her has been challenging but manageable for decades.  This summer, tragedy struck her family:  her sister's daughter and husband and four beautiful children perished in a private plane crash.  She sent me a photograph of the family taken the day before they died.  They look like angels.
Life is here.  Life is gone.  Happiness hides.  Happiness becomes inappropriate, vulgar, in our abject grief.  When it returns, it is bruised.

A friend from Albuquerque wrote late last night to comment on the remarkable evening we had last week at my kitchen table...We drank tea and snacked on green chili, nuts and fruit.  We exchanged stories of seminal moments in our lives.  We laughed, we sang, we cried a bit---for seven hours!  Seven hours!  It was a luxury of Time that we rarely experience in our too-hectic lives.  She wrote that she never seems to catch up with her life...that she doesn't get enough sleep and she works too many hours and she can't decide just how to move towards her biggest dreams.  We wait.  We plod.  We ponder and consider.  Time happens.  We yearn to make more time for singing!

Another beautiful friend wrote from Hawaii.  She was responding to my letter urging her to resign from a project that is run by some of the giants of the unethical greed and super greed world.  "Come stay with me."  I suggested.  Don't participate in something that supports the antithesis of your spiritual philosophy...Wait!  Who am I to say such things to her!!!  Her response was gentle, beautiful.  She defended her choices with a rationality that I cannot dispute.  Her Life.  Perhaps her goodness within the corporate crimes may make things better.  We know, deep down, it will not...will not correct the dangerous environmental directions in which our world is heading.  And yet, she does good with money generated from bad.  Who am I to say, "Don't."

I have a spritual friend who sends me personal prayers.  This most current prayer says, in part:  "I have come here to be magnificent...I breathe in the magnificence of the air...I declare right here, right now that I choose to live my life fully, out loud, without fear of what others might think...I choose, in this moment, to raise the level of my vibration and to become that center of love, of peace, of abundance, of joy...I give thanks for another brand new day to feel to think, to believe...And so it is."

And so, I make an appointment to speak with a lawyer...And I post this blog.  And I give thanks for this beautiful day!  Yes, this is how it is:  WONDROUS!