I truly wanted to wait until I had heard all the facts established in a fair trial, in a court of law, until speaking my piece. However, I simply cannot stay silent because staying silent is no longer a choice.

 

It speaks volumes about a nation when women are afraid to come forward for fear of retribution.

It speaks volumes when people in positions of authority behave inappropriately. They know no one will come forward because they are “protected” by that silent wall of closed-eye/closed-mind complicity– the statement “s/he will never change.”

If never called to account, how could that person possibly change?  Repeating the same behaviour will always yield the same results.  Whether observer or aggressor.

It speaks volumes that such behaviour is tolerated because we don’t want to face the consequences of passive – aggressive – retaliation – bullying manifested in homes and workplaces all over this nation.

It speaks volumes when women have that heart-wrenching debate about whether or not to come forward because they know irrespective of what happened, they will be questioned as to demeanour and appearance. Moreover, to be hunted and “trolled” online for reporting abusive behaviour is atrocious and cowardly at its very core; the trolls and commentators hide behind yet another silent wall– one that George Strombolopolous aptly called “a silent wall of aggression.”

I am sickened by trolls and social media pariahs who think they have the right to attack just because they are fans.  A celebrity does not necessarily a moral person make.  To call someone a hero because he/she has won a few awards and is invited to all the best parties and restaurants is insulting to the real heroes/heroines who everyday risk their lives.

It sickens me that society has reached such a point of dissolution of absolute intellect, that we prosecute in the court of public opinion, the victims and accusers and make celebrities out of the accused. (Case in point: OJ Simpson)

It sickens me that trolls are getting away with social bullying and harassment because Canadian law can’t seem to keep up with social media.

I am sickened by the number of women, married to members of law enforcement, surviving through the worst abuse imaginable, who feel the only freedom they will have is when their partners actually kill them.  And many do.

It speaks volumes that sexually confident women are shamed when they are the victims of violence.  Yet when men are sexually confident, their behaviours, ethical or not, are lauded.

It speaks volumes when men will shoot an unarmed young girl in the head because she speaks of every child having the right to education in even the worst of circumstances.

It speaks volumes when women and girls are kidnapped and sold into slavery and forced into inconvenient marriages. Let’s call this what it is: unjustified endorsed rape.

I’m sickened that people living rough on the streets are the targets for violent commentary and behaviours.  Instead of hurling insults when people are genuinely seeking food, remember this: people don’t go hungry because they are homeless – they go hungry because we let them.

I am sickened that it took hundreds of people being killed by stalkers for law enforcement to actually see stalking as the psychological and physical torment that it is.

It sickens me that a woman was blinded because her husband did not want her to be educated. It sickens me that he was not held to account for his actions until the international outcry was so loud that his government “simply had to do something.”

It sickens me that women are gang raped just because they are in the wrong place at the right time. I hate that rape is a weapon of war. It sickens me that young women in India are raped because they do not have access to indoor toilets.

It sickens me that people who think educating women is sinful are heavily armed and in positions of shocking and threatening power.

I am sickened by women who tell their sons and grandsons it’s okay to treat other women like nonentities.  I am sickened by sex-selective abortions, female infanticide, female genital mutilation and the killings and disappearance of millions of women all over the world. I am sickened by “son preference.”  I am sickened that we’ve been having this conversation for decades and decades and decades and the progress we have to show for it is maintaining the status quo??

It sickens me that teenagers are taking their own lives because of hostile and heinous bullying via social media. it sickens me that the “silent wall of aggression” has become so powerful that we easily let people hide behind it.  I miss the days of accountability.

Conversely, it sickens me that what goes on consensually in the privacy of bedrooms becomes fodder for international news outlets. It is none of our business what people do in their bedrooms unless people are being physically hurt, threatened or abused.

I am sickened that we have to have a debate about who should be allowed to visit loved ones in a hospital because s/he doesn’t fit the “traditional heterosexual” marriage/family paradigm.

It sickens me that battered wife syndrome, even though proven in courts of law, is still only defended at face value.

It sickens me that we live in a culture of fear which precludes change and enables collusion.

It sickens me that media organisations stop at nothing to find “as much dirt,” as possible about both accused and accuser. What the HELL happened to journalistic integrity? What makes national news these days is disparagingly distressing. Quite frankly I don’t care about Justin Bieber’s new hairstyle or where Miley Cyrus has put her tongue.

What I care about are people dying because they have the audacity to disagree with their governments. What I care about is victims having to think twice about naming their accusers because we make them relive their abuse over and over and over again. And we do it all at lightning speed thanks to Twitter.

It sickens me that it has taken a scandal involving a public figure such as Jian Ghomeshi to break open the conversation surrounding sexual violence and harassment both in public and private.

It should not have taken this long for the conversation to become this significant. Violence against anyone is violence against all of us.  Complicity surrounding inappropriate behaviour is enabling behaviour. The conversation needs to shift towards non-complicity.  Indeed, towards respect and consideration overall.

We are in the midst of an incredibly rapid de-evolution of respect and decency.  This has to change, especially when the message has consistently been “you will not be believed because you are woman.”

Women have so much power in North America that if all of us stopped working for even four days, stopped driving and paying outrageous amounts for petrol, stopped grocery shopping, it would cripple the economy.  Think about that the next time your employer says to you “be more malleable.”
My name is Woman. Hear me Roar.

 

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sage advice

A  Saint who was visiting the river Ganges to take a bath found a group of family members on the banks, shouting at each other in anger.

The Saint turned to his disciples, smiled and asked, ‘Why do people shout at each other when they are angry?’

The followers thought for a while. Then one of them said, ‘Because we lose our peacefulness, we shout.’

‘But, why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner,’  replied the saint.

The followers attempted other answers but none satisfied the other followers.

Finally, the Saint explained,

‘When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance by a great measure. To cover that distance they must shout to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other over that great distance.

What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but speak softly, because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either non-existent or very small…’

The saint continued, ‘When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, they only whisper and they become even closer to each other in their love. Finally, they need not even whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other.’

He looked at his followers and said:

‘So, when you argue do not let your hearts become distant. Do not say words that distance each other more, or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return.’

 

My prayer for all of you this week:
May you love so much and so well that you never need to shout.

Ego v. Spirit – can there be a winner?

A few things have really been bothering me lately.  Far too many of us are living in “ego.”  What I mean by this is when we live in ego, we claim moral authority, we judge, we make pronouncements regarding what ought to be and we are noisy.  When we live in ego, we cannot be still enough to know that spirit is trying its level best to get through.   When we live in ego, we cannot summon enough compassion to pull ourselves out of ego and see things from the level of spirit.  We are surrounded by the white noise of our televisions, our radios, our personal devices and our own voices– our profanities.  When we are noisy we cannot hear the truth of what is.  This is not to say that we don’t need ego in our day-to-day lives because we do.  Ego protects, ego manages and ego even guides in the material well-being of things. But as Suzy Orman says “People first, then things….”

I watched a friend’s relationship unravel because the two involved were not meeting on a level field– one was using anger born in ego to communicate and the other was trying to respond in spirit.  It wasn’t working because the anger blocked any wisdom that could possibly have been felt in the heart.  The one who was responding in spirit found herself being shut out, shut down and no longer a partner in her relationship.  The angry one wanted to blame and couldn’t understand why his position wasn’t the only one that mattered.

Anger has its home in ego.  Its home is “I am right and thus I have might.”  Anger is another word for deep fear, deep sorrow, deep hurt.  All of which can be healed in spirit.  However, in order for healing to take place, anger needs to recede and there must be room for willingness, surrender, acceptance and acknowledgment.

Acknowledgement is extremely important– one can accept that one is wrong but not having the presence of mind to acknowledge that to another belies the acceptance.   Acknowledgement means that in speaking the truth of my spirit, I am “…heading, however haltingly, toward unity.” (Deepak Chopra)

What bothers me is this– in our Western culture, there has been far too much ego-based judgement on what ought to be right, what ought to be good and what ought to be in general.  The fact of the matter is this– every soul, every spirit has something unique to contribute so what ought to be really is an ego-value-based judgement.

So who wins in the battle between Ego v. Spirit?  No one.  The winning happens when ego is set aside and the world is seen through the pure potentiality of spirit.  “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field – I will meet you there.”
(Jalaluddin Rumi)

 

Perception….

can be everything…

Last week I realised that a friend who is terrified of crows and can’t seem to remember where she left her last bottle of perfume has the depth of compassion that people only dream of in their lifetimes.  But does her relative “absentmindedness” and phobia override her ability to feel compassion for all things?  Or should it?   While we are constantly amused at her inability to locate her belongings, we are also constantly amazed at her ability to see things from perspectives not often realised or even imagined.

Some people are offended by the slightest nuance of behaviour.  Others couldn’t care less.  So where do we find balance in our lives?  And is it okay to be offended by one set of behaviours whilst declaring our love of humanity and our desire that all living creatures experience compassion and therefore have the perception of understanding?  What is in fact, the perception of understanding?

Can you walk a mile in the shoes of one whose company you would rather do without?  Is that even possible?  If we all felt compassion, would we then be moved to action?  If “intention determines experience,” then would it not be feasible to expect of ourselves the innovative quality of spirit moving our beings?  So while my friend can continue to search for that pair of perfect  black heels she bought on one of her many holidays, I know that in her search, the material doesn’t matter.  Hence, her continued need to find things.  Finding compassion comes easily, because she lives it.

well, except for the crows!   But we all have work to do…

What Goes Around Comes Around….

Simply see that you are at the center of the universe, and accept all things and beings as parts of your infinite body. When you perceive that an act done to another is done to yourself, you have understood the great truth.”
Lao Tzu 

It doesn’t take much to trigger a negative emotion does it?

I look around me and see so many things that needn’t have existed simply because one person’s perception of another was inaccurate.  Sometimes, we really do see what we want to see.  Whether positive or negative.  If you are focused on drama, then drama is what you will draw to yourself.  When you look at others around you, and you are steeped in the middle of toxicity, you will not see what is;  rather you will see, in that moment, what you desire to create, whether negative or positive.

When we see someone acting out in anger or frustration, it is far more healing to understand, and know internally, that person has had something go wrong in his or her day. When we react to negativity without clarity of perception or compassion, what we are saying to the universe is “this is the energy I am drawing to me, so give me more.”  When we hurt another, we cannot understand what we do to that person, either on a spiritual level or an emotional level.  And when we are hurt by others, it takes a toll on us even when we deny the truth of that hurt.

So as Iyanla Vanzant always says, (and here is the real truth of it all) “I am not my sister’s keeper. I am my sister. “