And sadly, the SPIRIT of WAR shows up COVERTLY everywhere …

When are we going to get it??  I was scrolling through my Facebook page … and … low and behold, I come across this COVERT but entirely sanctimonious attack on those whose beliefs are different than our own.

Merry Christmas ...

My heart stops.  Frozen in the deepest despair.  We all SAY we are committed to PEACE.  We self-righteously point fingers at those we believe are guilty of ATTACKING others and raging war.  We are absolutely outraged by such unprovoked global aggression.  We must  STOP them.

And then, in the next breath, we obliviously and unwittingly perpetuate the ENERGY of war and divisiveness with this kind of seemingly benign attack.  ‘ShutUpImStillTalking’ appears to delight in their deliberate intent to BOTHER those whose beliefs are different.

THIS is an unflattering microcosm of the macrocosm … covertly promoting religious INTOLERANCE … even though we are vehemently criticizing that very thing across the planet.  How come it’s only wrong when THEY do it?  By endorsing and embracing this kind of belittling energy (also hidden behind religious sanctimony), we are very unwittingly adding to the darkness.  Argh.  And yet, for some reason, we cannot see it.  And it all leaves me saddened to the core.

Happy Holidays

Source Unknown but deeply appreciated.

Can we not find it in our hearts to make room to live peacefully with those whose beliefs are different than ours?  Offering neutral good wishes (Happy Holidays or Season’s Greetings) CANNOT possibly corrupt or diminish any of my own beliefs.  I would argue that uttering these sentiments cannot take the omnipotent love of God out of any Christian’s heart … but rather, it simply MAGNIFIES and REFLECTS it.

From where I am looking, when all people can offer a loving acknowledgement to all others without requiring them to fit into their own belief system …  THAT is to live in peace. And, when we can extend warm, meaningful and loving wishes to those we know hold different beliefs … THAT is to cultivate peace on earth.

Isn’t that the TRUEST essence of tolerance and love … isn’t that the core teaching of Jesus and so many of our other religious teachings?  If we can’t offer it in our neighborhoods or on Facebook, we will certainly never see it globally.  And it saddens me to the core.

Gandhi sagely professed: “We must BE the change we wish to see in the world”. Gandhi so clearly got it … when, oh when, will we?

Rant over … but … my heart still aches, Karen

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[Guest Post]: Polarized People—Must Disagreeing Result in Disdain and Disgust?

We do not have to agree

When I read this very thoughtful blog, I was sadly ruminating about something someone posted on FB that was filled with pejorative adjectives! I found myself distressed that we have devolved to a place in our humanity where we lose sight of the issues and attack the people instead. I am sharing this post because the author very compassionately attempts to raise our consciousness.

And, in my humble opinion, it is a message that very much needs to be heard … ! I hope you will click on The Juggle Struggle link and let your heart take this in.

With heartfelt compassion for us all, Karen

Immigration. Education. Gun rights. Abortion. Religion. Racism. Sexual orientation…these are some of the topics that can bring out the trolls and haters in our internet culture…and life.

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What is Addiction … ?

THIS is such a critical shift in perspective! These three little minutes may alter the way you see it.  And when we ‘see’ the problem with new eyes … the solution looks very different than our current approach.

I’m committed to being part of the solution, Karen

Video

iO Tillett Wright: 50 Shades of Gay …

A profoundly uncommon conversation …

You may think you can’t  find/spare the 18 minutes it will take to watch this.  I would like to suggest that you might not want to rob yourself of viewing this short clip because you might not be able to find a better way to INVEST 18 minutes of your life … whether you are interested in the conversation of sexual orientation or not. THIS is a most unique and remarkable invitation to dwell in the spaciousness of love.  I hope you’ll accept the invite because … our humanity needs it.

I’d love to hear where this compelling and uncommon conversation takes your mind and your heart …  Karen

Video

[Guest Post]: Shhh!!!

[GUEST POST]:  This humorous and brilliantly written blog serves as such a vital and important reminder that we must take care of each other … that we must not stand silently by while people hurt one another. We must say something … rather than stepping over uncomfortable moments in the hopes that someone else will do something about it.

As Gandhi suggests:

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world”

Thank you BonneVivanteLife for being just that … !

BonneVivanteLife

images

I have officially become the crazy old lady who barks at strangers. I used to be the crazy young woman who yelled at passers-by, but that was when I was a College Student at Happy Hour. I’m surprised the “old lady” version has occurred so early in my life–I figured I’d be 80 before I started to wave my cane at strangers. Today I didn’t have a cane, but I had a stern talking-to with four young men in the library. I may or may not have even wagged a finger.

The young men were middle-school aged boys, probably in the 6th grade. One was clearly the ring leader, one was his deputy, and the other two were clear followers. They were hanging out in the library after school before their parents came home from work, trying so desperately to look cool. They rough-housed and wrestled a bit, joked loudly…

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[Guest Post]: Between the Silences …

Between the Silences

Diane Buchanan (2005) Frontenac House

“It happens between the silences, amid
whispers, flipping papers, coughs and
bows.

It happens, they say, after previous
consultation, and with due
consideration.

It happens on paper in assessments,
reports and addendums.

It happens between lawyers, social
workers, judges.

Between the silences it happens; families
are split, children discarded,

fathers and mothers appear and
disappear, the director becomes the
parent.

It happens with grown-up words like:
custody, guardianship, father unknown,
or absent,

mother served or signed release,
supervision order, child in care, status
extended.

It happens while children play in the
courthouse hallways.

A child’s future determined in the time
it takes to say:

So ordered.”

I felt compelled to share Diane Buchanan’s (2005) haunting and heartbreaking reflection of the shattering experiences of those involved with Child Protection Services.  While our systems and structures are fueled by good intentions,  we often step over the wounded souls who are painfully, perilously and powerlessly caught between the silences.

May we all hold a little more compassion … and … extend a little more grace,  Karen

“KNOWING is the booby prize …”

embrace your inner idiot

With deepest gratitude to “frogandthewell.com” for this graphic.

Ever notice that when you think you already know something, you have no room to hear anything different?  Our tolerance for being wrong is hotly contested and fiercely limited by our fragile human egos.  As a result, in the space of evidence contrary to what we think we know, we quickly and effectively (often without conscious awareness) disqualify any differing proof  in order to stay ‘right’.  For example, if we have decided someone is a “liar”, we tend to scrutinize their every thought, word and deed seeking to confirm our unfavorable perceptions.  Likewise, if we have determined someone is a “loser” … then when they do the ‘right’ thing, we chalk it up to an unlikely exception.   As well, the beliefs we hold about ourselves are equally insidious.  If we believe we are “stupid” or “not good enough” , then any smart or worthy moments are often minimized, dismissed or overlooked.  This kind of discounting has the capacity to derail any dreams/visions that are not consistent with our self-limiting perceptions.  Sadly, when you think you already know …  you are no longer open to learning or seeing anything new or different.

One of the greatest blessings of my post secondary studies in anti-oppressive practice was that we were invited to critically assess how we were thinking about things rather than being taught what to think.  We were invited to unpack the things we thought we already knew.  We got to  embrace our inner idiots and UN-learn so much of what we had involuntarily come to accept as ‘the’ truth rather than simply ‘a’ truth..  This powerful exercise in critical thinking rendered visible the beliefs that were simply socialized into me  … by those who raised me, schooled me and befriended me.  Their opinions became my truths because I never thought to question them … or  … learned it was not OK for me to question them.

Learning to embrace my inner idiot took me to places I had no idea I needed to go.  I will spare you all the details but what I learned is this:

  • unlearning can be painful.  (What does it mean about me and my perceptions if I am wrong about this, that or next thing?)
  • unlearning can be deeply humbling(It hits you right between the eyes when you recognize that the culprits you have been judging harshly  might also need to include YOU.)

Let me offer one example of my unlearning.  As a well-intended, socially conscious, educated white woman, I have always contended that I do NOT condone racism’. I blushed with a deep sense of shame when I learned, instead, that I don’t even have to do anything obviously “racist” to condone racism … I benefit from it by sheer defaultSadly,  we live in a socially constructed system where one part of our humanity counts for more than the ‘others‘ … and … having white skin puts me on the ‘favorite’ team in a world that plays favorites.  As a result, I get all kinds of unseen, unearned perks:

  • I don’t have to worry about whether people will rent accommodations to me
  • I don’t have to worry that the job will have “just been filled” as I arrive for the interview.
  • I don’t have to worry about whether someone will sit beside me on public transportation
  • I don’t have to worry about my children being stereotyped at school
  • I don’t have to worry about being followed in a department store
  • I don’t have to worry that my speech patterns, body type or food and dress will be mocked and/or ridiculed

Guess what my skin color gives me the unmitigated privilege of worrying about?  Sunburn.  Yep … that’s it.  If only a slather of SPF30  could so easily protect people from prejudice, marginalization and oppression.  As White people, we typically author the educational curricula and, therefore, we have not been taught how we are complicit in perpetuating racism given the advantages we reap from it.  You might be tempted to leave this blog right now … but I hope you won’t.  I hope you will be willing to consider that if we are not actively and persistently resisting racism, we are silently condoning it.  I am not suggesting I have figured out how to best use the power and privilege attached to my White skin to counter racism … but increasing mainstream awareness is certainly the first step.

If what I am saying is making you squirm, you are ripe for a moment of unlearning and embracing your inner idiot.  I hope you will be brave enough stay with me here because the struggle to comprehend a ‘truth’ outside our comfort zone is a point of real awakening.  We can’t be expected to know what we don’t know …  until we do.  And, once you do know … you can’t pretend you don’t.   And when we are  open to the profound power of unlearning  … we begin to realize that the more we know … the more we know we don’t know! 

From that humble space,  I become aware that  my mainstream sexual orientation does not preclude people’s comfort with me being around their children.  The folks in the GLBT community are not so fortunate.  I also notice that I managed well in a traditional school setting because it favored my left-brained, sequential kind of thinking.  The right-brained, kinesthetic learners have not been so lucky.  My  married, double income status earns public respect and has afforded my children many advantages.  Single parents endure public censure and many luxuries are beyond their reach. My able body means I get to go places without worrying about access. My office is located in a ‘public health unit’ that has a ramp but no button to pull open the door! Argh!  Some how this all continues to be tolerated in our society.

When I embrace my inner idiot, I have to seriously question everything I think I already know.  I must also consciously consider whether my personal and professional  ‘successes’ have truly been  earned by me … or  … if I simply got a head start and an extra advantage over ‘others’ because they are outside the margins of the ‘favorite’ global team.  I now know that the essential unlearning of what we think we already know is the critical portal from which true compassion and empathy can emerge … not just for ‘others’ but also for myself!  It takes a whole lot of courage to unpack our own misunderstandings and misconceptions.

I have learned that by allowing myself to see what I was unable, unwilling or unprepared to see … I have opened  the door to a world of  miraculous shifts in perspective. Much to my pleasant surprise, it is from a place of not knowing that I have been humbly granted the capacity to see what might have been there all along … even when I thought I already knew.

Let’s continue to embrace our inner idiots, because as my amazing mentor Debbie Ford always told us “Knowing is the booby prize

Still unlearning, Karen

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