Recently I saw a post on Facebook of a soldier, Ethan, holding up a piece of paper declaring that he could not ignore the suffering of the innocent men, women and children caused by his hands and finally disobeyed his orders, saved two children stating he “refused to live without his humanity”. My heart swelled at this man’s courage to stand by his convictions and it took me into evaluating my own courage to stand for what I believe in. Somehow it seems fitting to reflect upon this during the July 4th weekend holiday celebration in the United States as a day of independence and I realized I am not speaking out for the values I hold and the wisdom and intelligence that wants to express through me.
As an advocate for peace for many years, in the past I chose not to protest war openly as I felt that in essence, I was actually keeping alive the concept of war by opposing it. Instead I chose to deepen my awareness of all those places within me that were not at peace and come into a place of forgiveness with those who had challenged my right to live and in fact, tried to suppress my right to express it freely. And there was a lot to forgive! I was raised in a family where there were frequent outbursts of violence, both physical, verbal and sexual, where denial and ignorance ran rampant – where abuse, betrayal and abandonment were the “operating systems”. I was also raised to be responsible yet observed that those who were demanding this of me, did not take responsibility for their actions. My father even stating “do what I say but not as I do”. The hypocrisy of this statement always dumbfounded me and caused me to rebel, however the consequences of my rebellion soon kept me silent and submitting to those in authority for many years.
After intense inner exploration, I am no longer the rebel who fought against my own injustices but a woman who has come into a place of compassion not only for myself but those who hurt me as I learned that un-examinated retaliation and revenge only created an endless cycle of pain for all concerned. And I wonder, if this is where I am today, what is now my responsibility to others? If I have learned to recognize this simple of truth of forgiveness and peace, why do those who choose to be in power not practice this on the political and global levels? I believe we have all been hurt by another, it is part of the human journey to encounter and confront each other and many times, without appropriate tools, we react, rather than respond with conscious intention. From my own experience I know it is possible to transcend our conditioning and move into a place of compassion and forgivingness. And in fact, the world is calling us to do just that and more.
To quote, journalist, Anderson Cooper “while as a society we are moving toward greater inclusion and equality for all people, the tide of history only advances when people make themselves fully visible.” Where once I could hide my compassionate responses to injustices, the world is calling me not only to practice accountability even more, but to stand up and lend my voice with yours to stop the endless cycles of suffering that we are doing to one another and in fact, to all beings on our planet. And yes, it starts with us – each person remembering and feeling the pain that was once experienced at the hands of another and recognizing that as an intelligent, creative and evolving species, we can invent new pathways of conscious responsiveness and even identify the origins of what makes us react with such primitive intelligence. So just for the record, I do not support war and at the risk of alienation, I do not support women and men who choose to go to war. I do support people like Ethan, who choose to be courageous and stand for what they know in their hearts is right and appropriate conduct, not just for themselves but for all humanity. I honor and respect their hard choices of going against the common prevailing thought and becoming uncommonly brave.
Love is the “operating system” that is pushing its way into our hearts and minds – it always has been so – but now it is time to up-level our experiences and demand from ourselves the greater force that is within us to change our world. There are many of us now who believe in a kinder, generous and compassionate way of living together. We are not separate from each other! We are “one expressing as many” I ask you to join me in demonstrating your love in the ways you feel called and know that it is the call of The Divine co-creating a world without suffering!