Missive on Missiles

Yesterday we had a shakedown for residents of Hawaii. A false alarm popped up on cellphones warning us of an imminent ballistic missile attack. I didn’t have my warnings enabled, but my husband showed me his phone. Our reactions were much the same. Well, what are we going to do about it? If it happens, it happens. We live in a crazy world. A provocative lunatic sits in the Oval Office. We would be surprised at nothing.

When this nation elected its current President, I could barely lift my head for days. I had the most ominous feeling of doom, not a sentiment easily conjured. Here we had finally raised a beautiful black man to the highest office in the land, something the flower child in me rejoiced at heartily. We were moving toward a more equal society. ‘Different’ people were crawling out of the woodwork to glimpse the sun, some for the very first time. It was not perfect, but it was a reason to feel promise in the bones. Then the Shadow emerged and is still looming large, insulting our humanity at every turn.

Jungian psychology might posit the Shadow to be a necessary part of the soul’s maturation. As we recognize the dark parts of our own psyches, integration is possible. We become more fully human and compassionate, understanding if for the first time that we all possess the ability to kill and to heal. Once we are mindful of our least acceptable traits, we are capable of choosing right action more often than not. I just mourned that it had to happen on this kind of scale in order to more fully awaken the collective.

So here’s the thing: What were your feelings? Your first thoughts or impulses? When one looks Death in the eye, priorities get quickly shuffled. The cards that rise to the top of the deck are those most worth noting. Did you feel fear? Anger? Outrage? Terror? Did your head spin, searching social media for a kind of discharge and/or comfort? Or were your contemplative feet rooted to the earth and did She give you a sense that there was nothing to panic about, knowing life itself is transient, that if this is your time so be it, it’s been a good life, no regrets, gather those you love close, I am ready to face whatever comes and I have taught my children to accept the same?

Knowing one’s last thoughts and sensations in the face of the worst happening is to know oneself more fully. It is an opportunity to embrace our own shadowy elements of anger and fear and really see how powerful it is when many occupy similar head spaces. Now that we are granted another glorious Hawaiian dawn, in Mary Oliver’s words, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”


Unsure who took the pic, but this is our tiny town. The Clintons arrived the day after the missile scare event. Unsure if any connection.

50 thoughts on “Missive on Missiles

  1. Bela, I heard about that false alarm on Hawaii and immediately thought of you. It takes me back to the days we dove under our desks during drills. But your alarm was no drill. Just a mistake. (How awful!)
    My thoughts run parallel to yours, (my reaction after the election was the same as yours, and I’ve not yet recovered – nor will I as long as that darkness hangs over our country).
    Also I suspect my final thoughts would be the same as yours (the last choice). If it takes a horrific event to wake up the country and return it into the light I would give my life.
    Thank you for this post. Others need to be made more aware of the precarious reality we’re now experiencing. Anything is possible during these times of transition and it’s up to each of us to help steer humanity towards a new day. ❤️

    1. Aloha Betty, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree anything is possible, that we do live in precarious times. Though I’m often reminded that people in different parts of the world live each day as if their last, bombs going off, food scarce. We have come to expect a certain level of peace of mind and a full stomach in the US, part of the reason we seem to collectively have the time to watch so much television (we don’t, but) and become hypnotized to alternative truths. Barack Obama was recently interviewed by Letterman, and he pretty much brought this one into the light as far as Russian voter interference went in this last Presidential election. Said if you watch FOX news, you’re pretty much living an alternate reality where ‘beliefs’ are superimposed over certain truths. That algorhythms that run social media keep scrolling select propaganda (for lack of a better word) in front of the eyes of those who subscribe to said alternate realities. Us too, it’s just we hopefully discern and check boxes and such that eliminate crude or undesirable advertisements. And it’s scary in a way, but we ought to know this, to face up to it, if we are ever to rise together to claim our country back. He said in the interview that we have the lowest voter turnout of any Democracy on earth. Lots of food for thought, if you get a chance to watch the interview.

      Chris and I took Sunday to get in the ocean, sit with a friend, and just take in the beauty and extraordinary gifts we share in living here in northwest Hawaii Island. And then yesterday a photo appeared on Facebook of BIll and Hilary Clinton crossing the street in our tiny little town. (Yes, it’s legit.) Wonder if they were on island when the missile threat went off. It’s a strange, strange world we live in! Blessings on the day! ❤

      1. The interview with Obama sounds interesting. I’ve heard that other places about the alternate reality that fox viewers have. It’s a form of brainwashing and scares the heck out of me that people can be so gullible and undiscerning. Sadly trump watches fox for hours every day and feeds from it and into it.
        Glad you had some quality time with the ocean. (Let me know if you find out if the Clinton’s were there when the missile warning came through. You’re right – we’re living in a very strange world these days.)
        Blessings on the day – yes! 💕

      2. It’s the only way you could see it, unfortunately. Can’t add it to comments. And not to say there’s a connection – I didn’t think of it until you said something. But I’d not be surprised at much of anything these days(!)

  2. Ignoring that false alarm event I wanted to respond to the core question you ask: what are our thoughts when we are staring death in its face. Not entirely theoretical for, as was reported over on Learning from Dogs, I experienced a life-threatening event on December 24th. When Jean came to see me in hospital on the 26th I knew, without a shred of doubt, that my last ten years, Jean and I met in December, 2007, with her were the most precious and beautiful years of my life. Death is inevitable. But never in my wildest dreams could previously I have imagined being so much in love and so happy. I sincerely hope in time those will be my last thoughts. I expect them to be. That was the reward of my cycling accident.

    1. Paul, it’s a gift, is it not, to be shaken down this way. Priorities become shuffled rather quickly and the cream hopefully rises to the top as it did for you. Us too. Love conquers all, and to some of us who are blessed with the realization, love really is all there is. It’s hard to fully appreciate its shining light sometimes in the throes of challenges and chaos. But I’ll tell you, it was a gift that both Chris and I looked at each other with knowing and deeply shared mutual reception when that message came through, and our priorities were the same. Love can never die, though our bodies are bound to one day. Thank you so much for affirming this through your own experience. And may the healing continue! Aloha ❤

  3. Yes – it sounded like an interesting dilemma for many people. I hope at least you filled the bath with water in case you lost power. Checked the neighbours, that kind of thing. I am sure you did. It sounded like many people panicked terribly – a calm voice like yours would have been wonderful. 40 odd minutes until the all clear is a long time. It would bring you to the crux of the matter fairly smartly. Though I am not an American I fear for the three more years of this Shadow world. You have to hold tight. c

    1. Aloha Celia, great to see your shining face and well considered comments to this post. We neither filled the tub (which we did on countless occasions during winters in Maine, preferring convenience over the freezing walk down the hill to the hand-dug well or to the lake for potable water) nor checked on the neighbors. We have a massive ditch that used to irrigate sugarcane fields in this old plantation town. It is within cycling distance and certainly driving distance and pretty much everyone in the community would have fresh water regardless. As for the neighbors, two stories: one, I encountered an elderly Hawaiian man at the thrift store later that day, and he asked me what I did when we got the message. I said (we were both smiling companionably), ‘Nothing. What is there to do? If it happens, it happens.’ (It would be 30 min from Korea to HI.) He smiled and said he felt exactly the same, that his next-door neighbor, another man, was sitting on his front lawn in a recliner looking at the sky. When asked what he was doing, the man simply stated, ‘Waiting.’ Another quote typical of lovely Hawaiian people came from a young friend of ours, Braxton Rocha, aka Shark Man who gained some notice for filming his thigh ripped open by a Tiger shark a couple of years back, “… In the end if it were to happen there’s literally nothing we can do but thank god for the life and blessings we’ve been given. It’s been a good ride ❤️ Mahalo Ke Akua for another day.” (Akua is God).

      I think it’s difficult for people who have never experienced Polynesian cultures to understand the simple acceptance of life on its own terms that most possess, at least the older generations. Kids of course are becoming less grounded due to social media and such, but Hawaiians really try and keep their culture alive with their own Kamehameha schools, hula and unique music. After living in Hawaii for 15 years, we have untangled any of our own nonacceptance over time. People here don’t tend to panic, so there was nobody to really calm down. If we had heard any distress from anyone, we of course would have rallied – but there was nothing like that in our mostly-Hawaiian neighborhood. (Also do realize many to most locals here live 2 or 3 generations to a house, so there’s always family support.) There was some flipping out on social media by the younger generations that I noted, but it was more the need to share fears and concerns in that impersonal venue. The more people I encountered in my own age bracket or older on that and subsequent days, the more acceptance was echoed. And so, dear Celia, we have another extraordiary lease on this precious life. We spent all day yesterday swimming in the ocean and staring at whales jumping against an endless horizon. May blessings abound! Aloha ❤

  4. Like Betty stated, it is like when we were kids during the Cold War. This Shadow must pass, the sooner the better. I’m constantly cringing with every new tweet. The whole world rests in the balance of a lunatic. It’s like a waking nightmare.

    1. Agreed, agreed, agreed. Eliza, if you’ve not seen the recent interview of Barack Obama by David Letterman, it’s a good one. Just watched it last night, and there are some things Obama said that make a lot of sense. Aloha ❤

  5. Your were in my thoughts Bela, when I heard the news! Funny thing was I was reading Beneath a Scarlet Sky, just as the main boy character returned home after the first bombing in Milan in 1943. After the horror of that day, he felt outraged that his parents were playing music. Their response was, when facing the inevitable, this is what we do.
    Play on Bela, and I will play with you. 💛

    1. YES! Yes, Val! Perfectly stated. If I am to leave this earth in a blaze of fire, I surely want to remain as centered as possible for the transition. For as I’ve understood it, we are then energy without a body, and energy resonates much more quickly, attracting us to where our thoughts and desires take us pretty instantly. I’m staying centered and lucid if at all possible. Blessings ❤

      1. Such wonderful insight Bela. Being lucid, loving and open to whatever is next seems to be the course to embrace, as we transform from form into energy 💕

  6. The false alarm sure made headlines around the world. Glad to hear it was that and just that. You do pose some very interesting sentiments about acceptance, difference and compassion. Our least acceptable traits will always be a part of us…not all of us will like that, just like how many of us will not like what’s going on in the political world. Like you, I believe in fair opportunity and that we can all learn from each other. But to do that, we can’t impose our believes on each other. Anger and fear just drives us apart, oceans apart sometimes too.

    I don’t know for sure what I’ll feel when the worst is happening, say that the world is ending. But I don’t think I will be thinking of things like what do I need to finish at work or doing the laundry tonight.

    1. Aloha Mabel, and as ever, thanks for your well thought-out sharing. What jumps out at me is that we can learn from one another but imposing one’s beliefs is counterproductive. I agree, though sharing views, observances and viewpoints seems key. We can pick and choose – that is our right as individuals. And if someone is trying to drive something down our throats as happened to me SO many times growing up in a Mormon family, it is yet another opportunity to strengthen our own character and voice. Took me many years, but I’m glad I had those experiences.

      I’m sure the sentiments you would experience in an end-of-the-world scenario would be very different from mine, given our age difference, if nothing else. I’ve had a good go, and at 65 this year, am ready for anything. Though it would provide the same sort of instant prioritizing, don’t you think? I was at the bank the same day of the alarm and my 21 year-old teller said, “I always knew I would die, but who would have thought it would be at 21 in a missile attack?” Indeed. None of us knows when and where. Each day is a blessing I appreciate as such. You might be interested a couple of shared sentiments of local Hawaiians I mentioned in another comment. Aloha, Mabel – sending hugs your way! ❤

      1. Agree that imposing one’s beliefs on another won’t get us anywhere, and I think a lot of us struggle with that. I suppose there in comfort knowing that our beliefs are shared by others, and that we are on the same wavelength, easier to connect with.

        Thanks for the tip and I’ll have a look at the others in the comments of the post ❤

  7. One day last year someone I hold dearly told me she had just been to the doctor. She has stage four cancer. “It is terminal,” she said. She knows me well enough for me to be able to reply without censor. “Life is terminal.”

    1. Yes, it surely is. Easier to accept from some of us in certain circumstances. Having been given a death sentence surely put your friend in the most vulnerable place possible. I hope she lived her life out with loads of loving support and/or transitioned into death with the same. Aloha.

  8. I thought about you Bela, when I heard the news and I knew you would write about it…and I absolutely agree with you, anything can happen at any time and we would be mute spectators! With the kind of leaders we select for our welfare, what can we expect? Death is a cold monster and when it stares down our eye, it snatches all powers of thinking…I have seen it and can say from experience that mind goes blank, with just one thought…it’s all over. Heaven forbid this monster visits anyone like this! Wishing peace and love dear friend.

    1. Aloha Balroop, thanks so much for weighing in. So much horror in this world, but also beauty, as well you know. Kindness, charity, love.

      And yes, thoughts seem to vanish at That critical juncture which we all must face sometime, we just don’t know when. To have many lives taken at once as a result of two imbalanced leaders daring one another to push a button seems utterly cruel. And yet too often this is how war begins. Then more and more loss of life in what seems like a neverending cycle which rarely if ever results in positive change. So sad.
      So on we go, sharpening our senses to the gift of life. Thanks again. ❤

  9. I’m giving away my age for anyone with a Google, but I remember having drills in school during the Cuban missile crisis. Getting under our desks and holding our hands on our heads. It was a strange time.

    What happened here is a very unfortunate human error, that certainly caused much alarm, and understandably, but also a sign of the times I think.

    I’m glad it was a mistake in a sense, and not the real thing.

    1. Yes, my world goes back to then as well: https://belasbrightideas.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/reflections-in-blue-and-green/
      Bomb drills were just a thing we did, strange as it would seem to kids now.

      I’m glad it was a mistake as well, but also cognizant of all the people in the world who awaken to bombs and violence of all sorts. Keeps me connected to compassion without being maudlin. We live in such times.

      Aloha shell, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to offer your thoughts. 🌺

  10. Funny, I jokingly said to my brother, just before he left for Hawai’i for a holiday 10 days ago, that I hoped he would manage to avoid Kim Jong Un’s ICBMs. Bloody scary I imagine. I think I’d have wanted to head for high ground, see my fate coming to meet me, sorta thing. I really dunno though. H ❤

    1. I think it’s hard to predict what our response ‘would be’ in such a case. Predictably though, Chris and I did just what I mentioned. There are no emergency shelters in our community, and I’d rather remain at home with the animals, facing whatever comes. We ‘are’ on high ground – just a walk from the sea cliffs. So if we felt we needed to ‘see it coming,’ I guess we would take a stroll down that-a-way. As it turned out, we just waited here for a bit until the all-clear message came through. Crazy, crazy times. ❤

      1. My brother asked what island you were on and I was unable to answer — just curious. Thinking about it, then I’m not sure if one could really see one’s fate coming (as I put it), as it appears they arrive at their target doing 15,000–21,000 mph. I suppose you’d just see and feel the detonation and/or its atmospheric/sonic effects, assuming you were five or more miles away from ground-zero. H ❤

      2. We are on the Big Island of Hawai’i. At the bottom of the chain, the newest island with a live volcano. Likely their target would be Pearl Harbor on Oahu. Thanks for the info! 😘

  11. I am of the sentiments as you Bela.. Nothing much to do about it except hold each other close. And yes, hard as it is to perceive as the world unravels its chaos to unleash more open hearts… Such is balance, and counterbalance. Which is why I have been buried in my own bunker LOL 😀 Hugs dear friend xxx ❤ Much Love xxx

  12. Ah! Bela!! I thought of you when I heard that news! All I know is if that warning had come while a different president was in office, I don’t think it would have been as frightening! It is almost inconceivable that such a thing should happen, especially in the climate of our current political (can’t think of the word I want to use here…chaos?)
    The last photograph is quite telling and I see how you could draw a conclusion to it!!!
    Anyway…I am happy that you were confident during that fiasco and that you were not too disturbed by it…I would say you are living ‘one wild and precious life!’

    1. True, Lorrie, true – we live in volatile times. The inmates have truly taken over the asylum.

      Here’s some food for thought: https://soundcloud.com/truth-politics-power
      The show I just listened to today is called “The Inaugural Edition – A Year Later.” This link should bring up the track to listen to. It really demonstrates how fascism works and how this president might fall into that category. Done by our friend and longtime NPR newsman, Neal Conan. Just superb interviewing. All his shows are.

      As for living the wild and precious life, don’t we know it! All the best to you, Lorrie, and love ❤

  13. Great post Bela.

    Indeed it is ironical, isn’t it that something within us pushes back those aspects of passion and self in the face of expediency and those mundane hurry burry chores.

    It is as if we decide to whet our appetite with fries and coke while telling ourselves we will have that glorious sundae some other day. Is this some kind of racket we play or a life sentence we impose on our own selves ?

    What might be at the core of such thinking and behaviour I am left wondering…


    1. Shakti, you are such a profound thinker. And I consider myself deep 😉 What kind of racket, indeed? Is self sabotage universal? We can’t quite accept our incredible good fortune, no matter its size or quality? As for what might be at its core, I am as lost as you – but it doesn’t stop me wondering. I do believe so much of action is REaction – a knee jerk response to (insult? antagonism? triggering of one’s own self loathing?). It’s such a strong motivator for mindfulness, which one can only undertake for oneself, unfortunately. What a different world it would be if this were the rule rather than the exception.

      Wishing you a peaceful wind-down to your week, dear one. ❤

  14. I guess if there was no option to survive, I’d probably want to see how the missile lands. I don’t think life is very different, we usually face our fears when we run out of options!

    1. Interesting perspective, Vidur. I might be curious about how the missile lands as well – not something you see everyday – though it would be unlikely to land here on this island. Likely Pearl Harbor on Oahu, an hour’s flight away, would be ground zero.

      Hope you’ve had a good weekend! 😀

      1. Doubt that any missile launches will ever be undertaken except for testing and deterent purposes…but then human history is witness to those that have gone beyond imaginable limits.

        Had a peaceful weekend! 🙂 Wish you have a good week ahead.

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