Archive for understanding

Is Your Religion Enabling Abuse?

Yesterday a student of mine asked, “What is the same between Forgiving someone for abuse, and being an Enabler of abuse: “Forgive is to: absolve, remit, cease to resent, excuse.” “Enable is to: allow, permit, excuse.” Both of them ‘Excuse’ the Behavior.”

One of the issues I see with many belief systems is not understanding the difference between forgiveness and enabling. Telling someone that they need to forgive those who are wounding them, as they are still suffering, only propagates more suffering. Forgiving someone in the midst of the abuse only enables them to continue to harm. Forgiveness is part of the healing process after the harm is no longer being inflicted, and is based in self-honor. Enabling is dishonoring of all concerned.

There is a huge difference between the two. Forgiveness is after the fact as a part if your own healing. Enabling is allowing it to continue to happen.

Genuine forgiveness only occurs after the trauma has ended and after going through the grieving process. It is sourced from self-love. Saying that you forgive someone while they continue to hurt you is simply lip-service and is based in fear and beliefs of unworthiness. It is simply sweeping the issue under the rug until it surfaces again. Fear, and the need for acceptance, propagates the cycle of abuse. Yes, many of our belief systems don’t understand what forgiveness really is and therefor are enablers of suffering. Real forgiveness only comes from deep understanding and final resolution. 

As I pondered on this further this afternoon, this is the message that came through.

“The real genuine forgiveness Dear Ones that you all seek stems from love. It is based in the understanding that all beings are worthy of love and understanding and that only those who are hurting and feeling unloved, hurt others. There really is no evil in your world, only misalignment from love. That which you call evil stems from the spiritually immature who cannot see love within themselves and cannot see it as their own true essence. As such, they really do not know what they do. Yes, from logical perspective they “should” know better and reasoning can tell them so. And yet, the delicate human mind often acts without reason as it desperately searches for the one thing it wants most, love. Ultimately that coming home to love is the reason you chose the human experience. You wanted to prove to yourselves that you could find your way home. Not to heaven after you die but to heaven within your selves. Each of you were born with it as the essence of who you are. The real challenge is to find it again, to be able to say at the end of your human experience, I found God, Spirit, Christ, Peace, Heaven, Love… within myself and shared it forward and thus I fulfilled my purpose for being. Understand Dear Ones that every being is seeking exactly the same thing. They are all facing their own individual struggles to find their loving essence, to know, feel and be love. When you come to really understand this truth and see that you are worthy of love, as you are love itself embodied as you, then forgiveness becomes an already given. So be it!”

One of the issues I see with many belief systems is not understanding the difference between forgiveness and enabling.

Telling someone that they need to forgive those who are wounding them, as they are still suffering, only propagates more suffering. Forgiving someone in the midst of the abuse only enables them to continue to harm. Forgiveness is part of the healing process after the harm is no longer being inflicted, and is based in honor, which is based in love. Enabling is dishonoring of all concerned. As long as the enabler continues to profess that the trauma is forgiven, and the aggressor continue the action, there will always be victim and perpetrator. The perceived victim needs to recognize within herself that she is worthy of love, that she is worthy of honor and that she is worthy of respect. In owning her worthiness she no longer tolerates the actions placed against her and in her self-honor she creates a space for the perpetrator to heal his own cycle of trauma. In other words, by no longer tolerating the abuse, they both get closer to peace within themselves.

This holds true for humanity as a whole. 

Until next time, be Fearless, Fabulous and Free!


Throwing Stones

I almost never remember my dreams but this one stuck with me. I had a dream last night about a young giraffe. It had done something wrong and was standing in the dirt and tied to a tall Palm tree unable to move. A group of men were standing around it and throwing rocks at it to punish it for what it had done. In the dream I stood off to the side watching helplessly. I thought to myself, “That poor giraffe, I wonder how it feels not knowing why people are throwing rocks at it.” Then a voice in my head said, “You know exactly how it feels, remember.”

Then I woke up and realized that I was the giraffe. A memory from my childhood came flooding back. I recall I was around eleven years old. Some people called me a giraffe because of my long, thin neck. 

My father had recently dug a big hole in the hillside of our back yard. It wasn’t much of a yard really. It was a few acres of rocks, dirt, pine trees and ragweeds, along with a small patch of grass. In the memory I was standing in the yard and a group of boys were pushing me into the hole and throwing rocks at me. “Stone her,” they were yelling. Cornered in the hole I stood there crying and trying to protect myself with my hands, then crouched into a ball helplessly screaming with my arms wrapped around my head.

I can’t remember what I had done or said that made the boys feel justified in throwing stones at me. I don’t know that I even knew at the time it was happening. We all knew the Bible said that boys should throw rocks at girls who were bad and I had apparently done something bad in their eyes. I remember how glad I was when it was over that none of the rocks were boulders and aside from my broken self-esteem I sustained no lasting damage.

As I tune in and ask with that bigger meaning is I can see that it is a reminder, that as we heal our own individual stories and learn to see them through they eyes of compassion and understanding, we also heal our collective story.  

This isn’t just my story.  It is the story of masculine domination and is the story of how women were belittled and abused, simply for being women. It is the story of misinterpretation of ancient beliefs and practices for the justification of continued suffering on others who are seen as less-than. It is also the story of how we as women have risen above the misconception that dominion is synonymous with domination. It is a reminder of how we are rising above our pain stories and restoring our place in balance and harmony alongside the masculine, rather than beneath him.

It is a remembrance for all of us that as we heal our collective human story and see all of it though the eyes of compassion and understanding, we can move forward in peace and prosperity for all.


Resilience In The Face of Adversity

Resilience is the power or ability to return to original form after being bent or stretched. It is elasticity. It is the ability to recover from any adversity; mental, physical or otherwise.

The word resilience came to me in response to red-ribbon week at my children’s school and the subject of bullying. For me, the subject and sensitivity to bullying has gone too far. Bullying is certainly nothing new; we’ve simply given it a new name and focused our attention on it.  There have always been individuals who cause pain and suffering on the minds, hearts and bodies of others because they themselves are suffering. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is our awareness and nonacceptance of it, and our sensitivity to it. That sensitivity and lack of resilience has created the assumption by many that if anyone has an opinion that differs from ours, they are bullies. Over-sensitivity has caused far too many of our people to take their own lives and take others with them. This sensitivity and lack of resiliency is fueling more and more anger in our societies. The result is the inability to understand each other without judgement, which, in turn, stunts our own growth.

Resilience is the ability to not take the perceptions, choices and actions of others personally.

Resilience comes from knowing that you don’t need to take personal ownership of other people’s issues. What others say, think, feel and do is always about them and not about you. There will always be people who don’t agree with you, who don’t like you and don’t think the way you do. There will always be people who are better looking, more talented and more popular. There will always be parties that you don’t get invited to because you don’t fit their agenda. There will always be people who don’t resonate with you or have chemistry with you. There will always be people who hurt others because they themselves are hurting. That is simply a part of life and always has been. It is no one else’s responsibility to make you happy.

Do you remember the saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me?” 

Yes, names do hurt. Not getting invited to the party hurts. Having someone tell lies about you hurts, and yes, hearing an opinion that is the opposite of your own hurts. But it doesn’t need to break you. Unfortunately, people have become so overly sensitive that they now break like china dolls, lashing back in anger and resentment at what feels like the slightest insult against their own beliefs without any real attempt to understand. We have become so sensitive that we have forgotten what bullying really is.  Until you have had your head pushed in a toilet, been beaten up in a bathroom, had your faced smashed into a locker, and been thrown into a dumpster, like I was, don’t whine to me about how someone hurt your politically correct and overly sensitive feelings.

Until you have been shot in the head by the Taliban like Malala was, you don’t really understand the full scope of what bullying, and resilience, can be!

Let us continue to teach kindness, compassion and understanding, and also teach resilience. Let us teach our children how to create an environment where we are all free to speak and embrace conversations where we can agree to disagree. Let us teach open-mindedness where conversations can lead to breakthroughs in understanding. Let us create an environment where freedom of speech really is free. Let us use the many voices and perceptions to create a new world that is win/win, where there is no right vs. wrong; instead, there is only understanding. And while there are those whose words and actions are intended to be hurtful because the purveyors themselves are dealing with their own suffering, let us include them with compassion into the conversation, work with them to heal their own wounds and create resilience within themselves.

Every advancement of the human species has come through new understanding, courage to speak even in the face of the greatest adversity and resilience to overcome.

Nothing great was ever accomplished in this world by keeping thoughts and opinions small out of fear of other people’s perceptions. Resilience is using all of that which hurts us to make ourselves stronger and less likely to break. It gives us the flexibility to see other people’s perspectives with a more open mind. It gives us the resolve to be more of what we have the capacity to be. It stretches us and causes us to grow. It gives us the ability to bounce back in the face of failure and adversity.

All great things in this world have stemmed from resilience.