This week as I was passing a local nursery, I saw this written on the marquee’:
“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are seeds. You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”
I smiled as I drove home, since I have become a much more conscious gardener in the past few years. There was a time when my thoughts would grow wild, choking out the beautiful buds that were popping out of the fertile soil. They sounded like “Let’s go, let’s move faster, get more done.” Even now, my self and other judging thoughts run rampant. I was speaking with a client today about the ways we believe that ‘our way’ is the ‘right way’ and when we act as if that is so, then we miss out on learning from the folks who come into our lives. From their vantage point, their perception equals reality.
Tonight, a dear friend was hurting because of obnoxiously toxic weeds he encounters on a daily basis for one reason…he is a Gay man in love with his partner of 14 years. Imagine a life in which you feel you need to watch your back in case some homophobic hater, hurls their poisons in your direction. What would it be like to fear holding hands with your Beloved as you walk down the street so as to avoid the comments meant to disparage? How about comments that have become part of the vernacular, referring to things or behaviors as “Gay” or “queer”? What gives anyone the right to do that or even worse, take it to the next level and do bodily harm to the target of their disdain? I told him that I can only imagine how dark and frightening it must be in the minds of those who hate. I wouldn’t want to see the slime ooze from it. I know that it is sometimes generational and born of fear of differences. I offered support for the courage that it takes every day to be who he is and love as he does.
Regardless of your orientation, I encourage you to stand up and speak out about hatred in any form.
One of my favorite quotes about what happens when people don’t stand up and speak out:
I DID NOT SPEAK OUT:
In Germany the Nazis first came for the homosexuals, and I
did not speak out because I was not a homosexual.
Then they came for the Communists, but I was not a
Communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists,
but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not
Then they came for the Catholics, but I was a Protestant so I
did not speak out.
And when they came for me, by that time there was no one
left to speak out for anyone.
Pastor Martin Niemuller
(adapted from the original)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBrtgRn_dGk – Don’t Laugh At Me-Peter, Paul and Mary
Today as I was reading a book by SARK called Make Your Creative Dreams Real that was given to me as a gift by my friend Cynthia Perkel since she knows I’m a creative soul, I turned to a page that had the words Grudge Island splashed on it. Hmmm….I wonder what it would be like to be a castaway swept aside on its shores? Not a particularly welcoming coastline; probably rocky with rip currents that could dash you against them. Likely gale force winds batter it about and scorpions, snakes and carnivorous plants inhabit it. Why the heck would anyone want to go there for a brief visit, let alone take up residence?
Tonight I facilitated my weekly women’s support group at a drug and alcohol outpatient program. Those who attend are in various stages of recovery and have most definitely spent time on Grudge Island. Before the group began, I drew a little island with a palm tree smack dab in the middle and tiny sailboat floating in the water next to it. I then asked them what would be on the island and they called out words like resentments, anger, betrayal, you did this to me, it’s your fault, bitterness, victimhood… I followed up with inquiring about the name that would be painted on the boat that could help them escape should they choose to do so. One woman got up and wrote the words The Good Ship Forgiveness (kind of like The Good Ship Lollipop). All of them chose to leave the island.
Grudges can be overwhelmingly heavy and tempting to carry at the same time. We may think that we will never let go, but what we hold onto holds onto us. Ask yourself what it is that you might want to release, so as to be able to live more freely and fully. I shared about an unresolved issue that I had carried until a few years ago, when I came clean with someone I knew as a teenager, who had made a comment when we were 13 or 14 that I literally felt burdened by it since I had hauled it around for so long.
I know that there are times when I still intentionally swim ashore, self righteously proclaiming that someone else exiled me there. I look around the environs for a brief time and then decided that it would best serve me to set sail out of there, rather than dropping anchor and remaining.
One of my favorite movies is Tootsie, that made a big splash when it was released in 1982, as veteran actor Dustin Hoffman plays a dual role of a not-so-successful actor Michael Dorsey turned sensational actress Dorothy Michaels in order to land a big part in a popular soap opera. The object lesson of the film was about overcoming stereotypes, sexism and the way in which playing a woman made the main character a better man.
Just recently I watched a clip of an interview with Dustin Hoffman as he spoke about the creation of the character, the intention to play her, not as a parody of a woman, but the most attractive ‘real’ looking woman ‘she’ could be. His makeup artist did what was possible and yet he still felt that he wasn’t a gorgeous woman by society’s standards. It occurred to him that there were many average looking women that aren’t given the time of day by men in the culture who have a particular image in mind for classic beauty. He was chagrined to recognize that he too, contributed to that stigma. I gained a great deal of respect for him after viewing the interview, as he admitted to his own shortcomings with regard to the women he had missed out on getting to know by buying into the façade that may have masked their true beauty.
How do we measure beauty? For some it is about body shape and size, for others a sense of symmetry of facial features, for still others, it is about appearing youthful. How both sexes miss out when it comes to limiting standards for appearance.
http://youtu.be/smTXkhM6v-Y Clip from Tootsie
www.themarysue.com/dustin-hoffman-tootsie/ Interview with Dustin Hoffman
“Know your yeses, your no’s and your maybes. It makes life a hell of a lot simpler. You can still be flexible. But get to know them. They are there for a reason.”~CAW
Simply powerful/powerfully simple words from my friend Courtney A. Walsh who I think of as a fusion of wise woman sitting atop a mountain, basking in the elements and sharing the ‘cosmic joke’ when seekers come to her, that they had it all along (the wisdom for which they turn to her) and a silly, saucy, playfully poetic, mud pie making, finger painting pigtailed little child.
There was a time in my life, when not only did I not exercise my yes, no, maybe so muscles; I didn’t think it was ok to even acknowledge them, since I wanted to maintain the status quo which felt good most days. I hadn’t yet learned that nothing lasts forever in the form it is in, no matter how much of a chameleon/caregiver/co-dependent/good girl I was. It wasn’t until I took the Cuddle Party facilitator training in 2005 that I stretched big time around consent and expression; saying what wasn’t being said which I had not been doing, in the service of keeping the peace. Now, I easily express preferences, ask for what I want, go for the win-win and assume cooperation.
It was in perfect alignment with something I heard yesterday from my dear friend Peter Moses who spoke at Circle of Miracles on
The Lasting Beauty of Inner Space