A month ago, much of the adult population of the United States exercised their right as citizens to cast their vote for the candidate they felt would best match their beliefs and serve their needs as president. As the polls closed and the votes were tallied, what many thought would never occur, came to pass. The reactions in some circles, ranged from shock and disbelief, to anger and disgust, to depression and an overwhelming sense of fear about what this would mean for the world as we know it. Harkening back to the Holocaust and the insidious disease that spread worldwide in the form of Nazism, some who lived through those horrific times and note that the same patterns are developing, began to tell cautionary tales. In my own inner circle, I have a friend who was ferried on the Kindertransport during the Blitzkrieg in London and now in her 80’s, still has PTSD symptoms.
Other friends are part of the LGBTQ community and fear that their safety and right to exist are in question and that their legally sanctioned marriages hang in the balance. Still others are from immigrant stock and even if they and their families came to this country through governmentally approved means, they are looked at askance and threatened with deportation from those emboldened by the hate speach being spewed. Muslim friends wonder whether they, like Jews in Europe, Japanese Americans and Native Americans in this country were in decades past, will be sequestered. Those too were dark times, that many see reoccurring.
Even as someone who is characteristically positive, forward thinking, on an emotional even keel, I have had my moments of immersing in despair. Fortunately short-lived, I have been able to haul myself out of the muck and mire by engaging in practices that I offer to you, as well. I refer to what many have been experiencing as PEST (Post Electoral Stress and Trauma)
- Time with kindred spirits whose beliefs are in alignment with my own
- More sleep at night and naps when needed during the day
- Workouts at the gym
- Writing copious amounts about the election and the aftermath for various venues
- Getting involved with pro-social activism
- Wearing the safety pin to be a visible sign of support for those marginalized by the hateful environment reinforced
- Making my Facebook page a safe space to talk about feelings, with the caveat that vitriol, homophobia, sexism, racism, xenophobia, transphobia and homophobia have no place there
- Singing, dancing, art and drumming as ways of expelling energy
- Prayer and meditation
- Crying when needed
- Taking a news fast from time to time
- Going to the gym to ‘sweat my prayers,’ as well as my anger
- Huddling under the covers if need be
- Organizing FREE Hugs Events
Was sharing with my friend Mare Cromwell, who is a peace and social justice activist and author of The Great Mother Bible: or, I’d rather be gardening…. , Messages from Mother…. Earth Mother and If I gave you God’s phone number…. Searching for Spirituality in America, just now, that my ‘God-versations’ (as I commune with Spirit about the election, begin with “WTF?” and end with, “Okay, now what?”) my incapacity to predict outcome contributes to roller coaster ride anxety. As much as I would like to know and not simply believe that all is working out for the Highest Good, I, like many, are living in uncertainty.
Earlier in the day, I went to the gym with my friend Greg Bullough, who is a politcal ally, and then we went to lunch in our suburban Bucks County, PA town of Doylestown.
Afterward, ran into Isabel Girona at the Zen Den and she told us about her experience at Standing Rock. This 20-something young woman courageously went cross country to represent and support. She spoke poignantly about the ways people there shared everything and demonstrated lovingkindness. We need more of that. She and her peers give me hope and it is for them and the next seven generations that I show up, stand up and speak out.
A month or so ago, I was introduced to a world changing peaceful force of two. Mother and son team of Jannirose and Charlie Fenimore came to my awareness via my friend Cindy Greb. Charlie is a young man with special gifts to share and they are wrapped in an easy to love package; simplicity and innocence that radiates from the heart of someone born with Down syndrome. The verbiage comes in the form of prayer poems that carry with them a sense of hope that despite appearances, everything will be alright.
I asked to interview them and when Jannirose posed some of the questions to Charlie, he responded with this message. This State of the Union is particularly timely when darkness seems to overshadow illumination.
“We have a lightful future for all of us and healing life is everything for Nations of God. We can hold the light in everything we live because we must make understanding of ourselves. This is just the beginning of a life connecting with our God to shine in our days and nights.
We are feeling in our hearts right now and forgiveness is our hope. We can heal our strength for the emptiness of minds with hearts to be strong to our brightest eyes. We must make healing for us to live with our clearest thoughts. We are the angel beings of Earth.
We have been connected with our Divine wings for the light of self. We are compassion and together for life. We know all this truth of ourselves to remember. This is our joyful in the healing sun of light. We are one forever with our God of the hopeful. Our Divine love connect our lives to the planet of our future of peaceful life.
When we fear inside, we are forgetting our joyness with people. This is our truthful hope of God with forgiveness to hearts around this living light. We can shine our love for healing to our inner eyes in spirit.
Living hope is the key to our spiritness and our mistakes are healed with truth and light. We can open ourselves to the God of freedom and light. Hopefulness with our hearts, our souls, and our holiness means being free.
This is our lightful kingdom with our shining spirits. We can love with our joyness and forgiveness and happiness. We will just love everybody with our feeling hearts. We must go to the pain with lightful love to feel our fear and bring the light inside to heal in heaven’s home.”
Charlie Fenimore, 11/11/2016
Charlie and Jannirose have co-authored two books. Happy In Soul ~A Very Special Prayer for Peace and Loving Outside the Lines~ Lessons from an Earth Angel.
Although the world may seem an overwhelming and frightening place for many, Charlie seems at home in it wherever he goes. Seated in a sense of certainty that all is well, his message encourages me, when my doubting mind takes over:
“For us on this planet, life is about loving.
The sun of truthful lightness is our living hope.
Spiritness is kindness. Everyone must make this understanding.
Sometimes we forget our life of soul in heaven with God around us.
Life is bright when we change the darkness to joyful in our hearts.
Love is the power of Godness on our planet for me and you.
It is time for living truth in love to our smiling souls for human hope.
Our spiritness of graceful loving will help the world live.”
Charlie is indeed an angel~
Just finished reading my friend Kristina Robb-Dover’s recent column called Trump in Jesus’ Name: The Tragedy for Christian Public Witness. I was deeply moved by her profession of faith combined with her solid stand for those who have reason to fear following the election. She courageously called out those whose cognitive dissonance about the tragically un-Christlike attitudes professed by the president elect, had them casting votes for him.
Would that I be as brave. I am embarressed to admit that in my writing here on Beliefnet and other venues, I was far more circumspect and cautious, not wanting to offend those whose opinions differed from my own. The closest I came was when I alluded to being a gracefully aging hippie which might have people easily determine my political beliefs.
One of the paradigms about which I have been amply aware, is that if I am to be a conscious journalist, I need to speak my truth, without being dogmatic or attempting to persuade readers to see life through my lenses. We each have our perspective based on our upbringing and the ways we interpret our world.
I make a decision each day to take steps, based not just to serve my personal interest, but how what I do will impact the next seven generations, as is what guides Native American traditions. If I respond to disagreement with hatred, then I am feeding the derision and division to which I object. If I answer hateful rhetoric with love, I am assisting with the healing of the planet I so desire. I acknowlege that in the midst of the whirlwind of the election process and shortly afterward, I de-friended a few hard core people on Facebook. It felt kinder to my soul and help me to sustain (or regain) my sanity. I do feel more peaceful and less reactive since then.
I called people out, asking those who voted for him, to prove that they were indeed not using him as a role model for their own actions. If they were not themselves, racist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic, then I encouraged them to show up, stand up and speak up for those without a voice or those fearful of using it. There have been many incidents observed in which people have been threatened. According to an article in USA Today, hate crimes rose to a level above that which was reported following 9/11. Over 200 were logged in the days following the election.
When I consider what violence is being done in the name of the president-elect, I shudder. When I delve even deeper to discover that it is being justified with a religious zealotry which surpasses that, I cringe.
Who would Jesus (who was a Jewish, liberal, working class immigrant) hate, grope, disprespect, threaten to deport, assault, discriminate against? It amazes me that some people who call themselves Christians do those things in his name. When folks use the bible to justify their hatred, I want to ask them if they have a selective view of what the New Testament calls on them to do. Do they keep kosher, refrain from shaving, mix fabrics in their clothing, have tattoos? The Jesus I know, would not want bigotry of any type to be done in his name. He would likely stand with those who are being persecuted.
These song lyrics portray the sheer force of love and light that have the capacity to change the world for the better.
Not With My Jesus
by John Flynn
The preacher looked down from the pulpit and cried
We hold the keys to the kingdom my friends
When others sin it’s for us to decide
It is our duty to judge and condemn
Then one timid soul made a very brave choice
And from the back of the church came a voice
Not with my Jesus you don’t!
A teenage girl said I am sorry but I…
know that pure love welcomes us when we die
You tell some people it won’t
Not with my Jesus you don’t!
The Mullah said Yes the great Satan defiles
the land of the prophet, may his name be blessed
And so we pray that the infidel dies
in jihad which we unleash on the West”
Then one timid soul made a very brave choice
And from the back of the mosque came a voice
Not with my Allah you don’t!
One old man cried from his mat on the floor
It is the great God of love I adore
You say to kill but I won’t
Not with my Allah you don’t!
Not with my Allah!
Not with my Yahweh!
Ha-Shem, Brahma, or Vishnu
What in the name of all that is holy
have we been letting men do?
The Great Spirit looks down upon the blue sphere
As many invoke its holiest names
to spread intolerance hatred and fear
And to those people the Spirit exclaims
You know that I have been patient with you
but I see your hearts and the damage you’d do
Not with my children… Please don’t!
I gave you each other to care for and love
But this world ignores God’s plea from above
Perhaps if we speak out it won’t … Say
Not with God’s children you don’t!
© 2003 Flying Stone Music
In an earlier article, I introduced you to the mother-son team of Jannirose and Charlie Fenimore. Although we have not yet met in person, I felt a kindred spirit link from the time I was introduced to them through our mutual friend Cindy Greb. As an adoptive parent myself, I told her that my stretch marks were on my heart and not my hips. Jannirose and her husband George had adopted Charlie in infancy and it was as if it was pre-ordained. Even as all children are special, Charlie (who was born with Down syndrome) has a unique gift of expressing his soul via prayer-poems. These come through, sometimes spontaneously and somtimes invited. They share their ideas via Lessons From An Earth Angel and their Facebook page. Reading his words, I feel a sense of hope welling up inside, a reassurance that sometimes, despite appearances, all is well.
I had sent Jannirose questions for her to address and for Charlie to answer with her assistance. His are first and hers follow.
Do you think you and I were meant to be together as mother and son?
Yes. I did know when I was a baby.
What are you here for?
I’m here for Love. I came from the Light to help people remember their brightness.
Can you tell me a little more?
I’m a master from God and I came for healing hearts.
How are you doing this?
From my relationship with lightful holy living, I show people they are loved and help them feel the brightness of light inside themselves.
My life shows people about faith and helps them remember the goodness from their own lives.
Tell me a little more:
I love myself and everybody from the hope of joyful happiness with God.
What are your most important lessons for the world?
For people to feel the blessing of light for freedom in their souls.
And to keep their joy for living and stay in their hearts.
What is the meaning of life?
It’s about living the love that makes us shine our hearts like the sun.
Do you feel different from other people?
I am the same as everybody.
What makes you happy or smiling?
The heart of joyness from the kingdom of light in me.
What is love?
Oh, yes! Yes. It’s light from God for the life of our beautiful human heartness.
Do hugs make people feel better?
Hugs can bring shining love to our human hearts.
Sometimes people don’t like hugs because they need light inside for healing.
What do you want to tell everybody who reads this article?
To make some understandings of themselves about living in the light of love.
It was fun because I felt the light of joyness in myself and all the people.
Do you ever have difficult times?
Because my world is bright with happiness from my angels. I live in my heart and feel from sadness to joy for the freedom spirit.
How does Spirit speak though you?
Oooh, yes! My spirit is the nation of Godness from the kingdom of heaven inside me.
I hear them in my inner self and feel them in my heart and mind.
What are your favorite things to do in life?
I love to feel the light everyday. It is freedom for my spiritness. My real life is from heaven with my angels around me.
How do your angels look to you?
They are lightful and shining bright from all the colors of love.
How do you see with your heart?
I feel with my brightest self of light for seeing.
Jannirose, do you think you were meant to be together in this life?
I had a glimpse when I was a young teenager that I would have a baby born with Down syndrome. This seemed like a bright blessing to me, but when I tried to share this news with those closest to me, I was met with many strong opinions that such a child would be a burden—so, I chose to bury this precious knowing so deep inside me that it was far from my awareness for more than 20 years.
When we adopted him as an infant, I was shown that he and I would share a special calling in the world. As my spiritual path deepened, it became clear how this would unfold. As the years went by, I watched the way he lived so completely from his heart—he had an emotional intelligence that was breathtaking for a person of any age and a deep concern for the welfare of others.
How did you prepare to be his mom?
I guess what I would say is simply that I began to open my heart to a purity of love that I’d never known. And to this day, 23 years later, I’m still doing it.
How do you balance the practical aspects of being the mother of a young man who is viewed as “differently abled” by much of the world and the awareness of his extraordinary gifts?
First off, I’ll say that because my way of seeing seems so different from the mainstream, there’s really not much to it for me. Since we’ve always accepted our son as a whole person who’s not missing anything, we just see him as perfectly Charlie.
It’s not so easy for me to separate these different parts of life. I tend to see the whole works of it in one view…no compartments. More like a broad sweeping picture. I have a feeling that my unusual perspective is just what I’ve needed as Charlie’s mother. I’ve always thought, in many ways, my way of seeing life is more like his than the average population. This helps us work very well together with a shared, deep understanding.
From the first days after adopting Charlie, I started to notice a sort of curious attention from people whenever we’d take him out. In my experience, I hadn’t ever seen many babies born with Down syndrome in public. I think folks were kind of intrigued when they saw us out together, especially since I was so over-the-moon happy. It’s still this way all these years later. So that’s really the only time I remember there’s something different about him, at least in other people’s eyes. At home, he’s just plain Charlie.
I have an important role in his life to create a full and satisfying world for him. And since he has such a huge, loving heart, I feel a responsibility to allow him to interact with as many people as possible throughout his days. He really lives for any opportunity to love and he does it with abandon.
His “day job” is as a volunteer in the athletic department at a community college in northern California. He’s been given the honorary title of “Motivational Manager” and he takes his duties seriously. This means he spends his weekday afternoons sitting and watching his teams practice for hours at a time. While it might appear to the casual onlooker that he’s not adding anything of value to his beloved athletes, what he’s really doing is “shining”. I know this because I asked him once. He said he’s ”shining light from heaven’s heart for love and joyness.”
It’s humbling and heartening to hear Charlie’s coaches tell me what a blessing he is to the entire team. And this is pretty much how it is throughout our days. In our small town, he’s loved by people everywhere we go and they aren’t shy about letting us know. Long ago, I realized that life with my special guy is mostly about sharing love. And I think to myself, “What a beautiful way to live.
What gets you through challenging times?
I’d say my connection to Spirit is what carries me through life’s challenges. It’s a tremendous comfort to know I’m not alone and never have been. It also helps that I’ve learned to see the gifts for transformation and healing that often hide beneath what appears on the surface in any given situation. I’ve come to see Life as a school for the soul in which everything that happens brings an opportunity to learn and grow on many levels. And it helps that I have a built-in ability to keep hope alive even in the darkest of days. I’m also naturally equipped with an inordinate amount of joy that’s always waiting in the wings no matter what’s happening in my life.
I believe these qualities are directly related to my willingness to invite a child such as Charlie into my life. They help me to recognize him as the unique and beautiful person he is instead of seeing him as handicapped in any way.
What James Twyman had to share about his friend Charlie: “Messengers come in many forms, but what they share is always the same–Hope and Love. Charlie Fenimore’s voice is quieter than many, but the wisdom that moves so effortlessly through him reminds us of what is most important in this world. He guides us to return to our childhood innocence and inspires us with his loving kindness. Most of all, Charlie reminds us of who we are, or who we could be if we but choose to return to the innocence that is so natural to him.”
James Twyman, NY Times Bestselling Author of The Moses Code