“So many people get judged when they refuse to put their pain away. They get judged for showing it, for speaking it, for insisting on sharing their memories of abuse with those they know. I am not talking about those overwhelming strangers with their stuff—I am talking about legitimate sharings with those they are connected with in daily life. All too often, they are fed one repressive message or another: “Don’t look back,” “What’s done is done,” “Don’t be a victim,” “Your feelings are an illusion,” “Be strong.” What is ironic about this is that those who insist on embodying and expressing their feelings are actually the courageous ones—unwilling and unable to live a false life. Their stuff is breaking through their defenses because they are tired of carrying the weight of buried truths. They want a healthier and more authentic life. Those who seek to shame their revealings are actually less courageous, turning to repressive mantras in an effort to bypass their own unresolved feelings and memories. If they can shut others down, they can remain shut down themselves. But shut down doesn’t take us anywhere good. If we don’t deal with our stuff, it deals with us. May we all speak our truths, before our buried truths destroy us. Out with the old, in with the true…” Jeff Brown
An estimated 500,000 women are trafficked every year into sexual slavery and even when caught the perpetrators are seldom held accountable. Excused by a justice system that is corrupt, they continue to treat human beings as if they are nothing more than mere bodies for them to do with as they please. Again, in order for these pigs to do what they do, they are supported by people who know what is going on, who see what is going on and who do nothing. They are supported by all the people who pay to use these women, caring nothing that these women are there against their will.
These women are taken and forced into prostitution because they are poor and desperate or they are victims of war and of natural disasters. They have no hope to help themselves and have few options. It is not uncommon for them to be burdened with a need for money for healthcare for themselves or loved ones. We talk about not being able to catch the perpetrators as if that is the answer. Why aren’t we doing more about poverty? Why is it we are so afraid to peel back the layers of our damaged world, to get beyond the symptoms and address the actual source? While the fish is great when you are starving, the fishing pole and directions not only feed the body, they feed the soul. People want the right to self-determine, to create their own lives and make their own choices. You know, like all of us privileged first world people do. When did we get to the point where first aid was it. We arrive at the scene of the accidents, stem the blood flow, and then leave them by the side of the road to die.
THIS is an issue that women should be caring about and speaking to. How dare we complain about inequality and our first world issues when there are women being treated like this. Where is our compassion?? How can we justify our outrage over our right to equal pay and complaining that we cannot buy a new designer purse without a raise in our salary when there are women who just want the right to not be taken from their families and raped every night by dozens of men? We are outraged by the rich and famous having their “ass grabbed,” how about listening to the nightmare that these women live with? And before someone else comes up with some ridiculous, social media sign of solidarity, “me too” campaign, this is a problem that requires real help. I don’t know that we can fix the damage that has been done to those who manage to escape but I do know that those who are still there right now, have no chance unless we decide that they matter.
I doubt very much that at the end of this life we get to smile and say we helped because we wrote “me too” on a computer screen, or because we burned incense for them one night. Life is real. Suffering is real. This is our world and whether doing nothing may be our most damning crime.
Where is our sanctuary? Where is that space we all need to both find strength and peace? With all the teachers, the methods, the gifted, the people from other dimensions, ascended masters, time travellers, aliens, television and book stars, reincarnated, psychics, shared secrets, special diets, sacred forgotten practices, dreams, special drugs from the rainforest . . . why are we still so lost? Do you know where your sanctuary is?
“Sanctuary” and “Asylum” have become exchangeable words in our ever maddening stampede to dumb down the entire English language. The difference between the two is one of those slight shadings that manages to take a word and deepens and enriches its meaning. “Asylum” is what we seek when we are running from something. It is a place where the protection from that something can be much broader than a finite space and has varying degrees of power – often put in place by power. We are “granted asylum.” “Sanctuary” is more something we seek out when we are looking for something. It was originally intended to mean a religious place but the element of “safety” was eventually added to it and some of its meaning was lost and certainly confused. “Sanctuary” as a spiritual place where we might feel safe suggests that we should seek a religious place that has been created for such a purpose, or a place in nature where we can feel that spirit. It might even be provided by a special shrine or place we create within our home where we go to practice our spiritual endeavours. It refers to a specific contained space that creates a state of being.
Much of what has been presented to us as spiritual or religious has moved the whole journey from being an inner one to being one that engages and involves the outside world. We surrender our self. It has been perhaps, one of the most effective attacks on us as spiritual beings because it has put other people and things in control of our own connection. Continue reading
When I got married, many of my peers had an expectation of a good life ahead of them. It never occurred to any of us that we would not have houses and cars, big TV’s and wonderful vacations. Of course we would. Our parents had those things and so would we. Every generation heads off into the world with expectations that include what their parents had. We all failed to realize our parents worked many years for those things and it was ridiculous for us to feel entitled to them without also working and saving. Life might have taught us some valuable lessons in reality but my generation embraced credit and now a personal debt is an expectation. No-one waits for anything anymore. Immediate gratification was something we taught our kids with every purchase we made. So now, we have grandkids who, like us, feel they have a right to everything their parents have, and their disconnect with the hard work that provides those things is almost complete. Enter the sense of entitlement we all complain about today. Continue reading
The Easter message is that we can be forgiven. It is that we can change. We can take our lives, and all the mistakes, and all our troubles, and choose a different path. We can walk a path that is blessed with the wisdom of the lessons learned, and a better knowing of who we are.
This is how we heal the world. Forgiveness is not just for us, it is not just a gift given by a man who died on the cross . . . it is a gift we must extend to others. Our forgiveness. We must learn to say, “I forgive you” and to make a space in our lives for people to choose a different path. We need to support their struggles to learn and grow. We have to let go of our idea of who they were, and encourage their journey.
All around us are people who have lost their way, who would give anything to have a second chance, to start over with a different ending. People suffer their losses of loved ones, of jobs, of self and they suffer alone, often further burdened by the judgments of the people who surround them. We label people with their mistakes. There goes the “drug addict,” the “drunk,” the “thief,” the “loser.” She had a baby before she was married. His wife left him. He got fired. Years pass, and still, we hold onto those labels, imprisoning people in their mistakes.
Had their mistakes not been made public, they would be safe and secure with everyone else, judging those whose sins are pinned to them in bright scarlet for all to see. Continue reading
I am a woman.
I had periods and bled on sheets.
But my voice does not matter, my voice was not wanted. My message fit in with those who were told they were not welcome to march with the women of the world, so while the march spoke out for women “everywhere,” I sat at home.
I sit with many women who chose a different path than many of those who marched. That choice, evidently makes us all now, women who do not matter. We do not have a place at the table. Our input into important issues is not permitted. We are the women, who are sent to the outer tents when we bleed. We are not allowed to contaminate the others, except our exile is not for one week of the month . . . ours is permanent.
There can be no doubt that we are women. We had mothers and fathers who loved us, we played with dolls, we did all the girl things with the other girls. We went to university or got a job. We married and some divorced, we had kids and some of us grand babies and even great grand babies. We have careers or stayed home. We met situations that were difficult and yes, some of us were raped, some of us abused. Some of us were/are paid far less than we are worth. Some of us have been horribly discriminated against. Some of us are religious. We are rich and poor, overweight and underweight. We are varying degrees of attractive. Some of us conquer mountains, some of us conquer diapers. We are women no different than those who marched. But they told us we were not the right kind of women, and so we couldn’t join them. While they said they wanted “everyone’s” support – that did not include ours. Had we marched, had we said anything, our voice would have been “booed,” because these women are not about love and inclusion … this is just one big mean girl’s party. Continue reading
Ask a roomful of people to consider a toothpick within a 2 minutes timeframe, to come up with as many uses for it as they can think of, other than the purpose for what it is made, and you will be amazed. The combined ideas will create a long list. Some of the ideas will be common in most people’s responses and some will be unique to maybe one or two people. That group of people will be pleased with their efforts.
Now, if you were to replace those people with a new roomful of people and ask them to do the same thing BUT you show them the first room’s list, you will end up with even more suggestions.
Brainstorming is a very useful tool when a company needs to get the creative juices flowing. It is a great way to stimulate new ideas for answers to problems that are not responding to the usual answers. But this practice also demonstrates how we see things. We often only see the purpose for which we think (our education, our upbringing, our beliefs)it has been created. In the exercises above you will always have those people who struggle to come up with any other ideas, or who produce only a couple more than the original use for which it was intended. And yet others produce a list full of really different ideas that everyone can agree, would work. Should an object not be perfect, it is often considered useless and is discarded. In the example above, if you opened the box and found a broken toothpick, most of us would throw it away. Some might even take the whole box back to the store and demand our money back. Continue reading
In the light of all that is happening in the world, I find myself sitting alone. Off in the distance, I can hear the arguing. I am shocked at the raw emotions of people stripped back of all social pretence. We are an incredibly ugly, unkind people when we are wounded and backed into a corner.
I think I expected more. I expected better.
I am trying to hold on to my belief that this too has meaning that will find its way to a better place and it is just my smallness that cannot see. Forgive me for that.
Instead, I offer a few findings that speak to my heart, and perhaps will do the same for yours. Continue reading
“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.” Richard Attenborough