The month of October is designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness month. I am blessed to live in a town that has encouraged its citizens to bring particular attention to this tragic phenomenon by hosting several free and open events, and by inviting us to place purple lights in the windows of our homes. Even as I prayerfully placed a light in the center window of my house, I recognized that awareness of this particular type of cruelty is only a beginning in the emergence of its healing. I feel deep within my heart that it is not just awareness, but the quality of that awareness that either propagates or transforms these manifestations of grief and rage. To remain in and take action from a place of judgment and resistance always energizes and attracts more of what we are focusing on and fighting against. To just say no never ended the proverbial war on drugs, and “Act Up-Fight AIDS” has never led to its cure. As paradoxical as it may seem, the termination of any unwanted effect must begin with a complete acceptance that the condition already exists. To fight what already is, is futile at the energetic level. To say it shouldn’t be is fruitless. There is domestic violence in our communities, country, and in our world. That is what it is. And acknowledging that it is already so, what is it that we may now be and do to contribute to its transcendence?
Domestic violence is usually framed in its most prevalent form: acts of physical, mental, emotional, sexual abuse against a woman by a man. This is by no means the only form of domestic violence. It occurs in all variations of human relationships; woman to woman, man to man, woman to man, parent to child, human to animal, etc. Many years ago I endured emotional and physical violence in a relationship to which I repeatedly returned. At that time, I unconsciously thought it was what I deserved. I had encountered it as a child, and so it was familiar as an adult. This psychological condition is played out with great regularity. Very often there is both subtle and blatant criticism of the perpetrated. How could they return after such horrid treatment? Without continuing with an analysis as to the particulars of these scenarios, it is the over all state of human consciousness that points to the origin of these and all acts of violence.
Domestic violence begins not in the home but in the self. The atmosphere within our own hearts and minds is very often demeaning and abusive. In an age of heightened analysis and sophisticated neurosis, we perhaps treat ourselves worse than in any time in human history. We often use psycho-spirituality as yet another way to beat ourselves up, and tear ourselves down. This inner rage cannot help but be reflected in the outer. The quality of our relationships mirrors perfectly the quality of our inner-attentiveness. Even our language is filled with violent images and abusive descriptivism. How often do we unconsciously use words that have underlying violent connotations? And how often do we speak tenderly and compassionately to the fearful inner self, terrified in a world of suffering, violence, and war? Violence will never stop in our homes until it ceases in our own inner worlds. It will never terminate in our communities until it stops occurring in our homes. We can fill our windows with purple light bulbs, and until we begin to bring a sustained compassionate attention to our own hurting hearts, it is just wasted electricity.
I know that I for one will never again place my self in a situation to be abused by another human being. I know this for I am devoted to treating myself with the caring, compassion, dignity, and love that an emanation of the One deserves. I commit to treat others with these same Divine qualities. I am a stand not for fighting Domestic Violence, but for being an internal space in which it does not occur. I will gladly stand arm and arm with those in my community who choose to say yes to humane treatment for all living beings. I know and celebrate that my attention is energizing and attractive, and so I use it wisely. I surround myself with the unconditional Love of my Source, and I let that Light radiate to all I observe. Domestic Violence stops here and now in me, and that is my personal contribution to a world at peace.
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Friday, October 2, 2009
As I engaged in my daily G_awed walk this afternoon, I relished the unmistakable hint of autumn that subtly surrounded my steps. Walking beneath the south Florida sun, I smiled as I recollected the days of northern Octobers and harvest festivities. The crackle of leaves, the delectable scent of cinnamon steeping in warm cider, the cheery and robust orange of the perfect pumpkin within the patch; I love autumn! As I type these words, I realize that they will be read by people experiencing fall in many different locales with a myriad of geographies. And yet for me, this season has such a unique yet universal vibratory resonance. It seems even richer for me since I have undeniably entered into the autumn of my life experience. I tried for some years to elongate the image of late and later-still summer. And I have now relaxed into the inner-recognition that in my humanness, fall is here. This perspective allows me an increased spaciousness from which to look upon the harvest of my years and of my experience. I have sown many seasons of intentions, and I have let many potential crops be overtaken by the weeds of my distractions. There are regrets for sure. And yet they are softening in a heart made tender by losses and gains, disappointment and achievement. Scanning the landscape of my life, it has been full, it has been rich, it has been varied, and it remains ever an adventure.
As I contemplate this harvest time of year, I am reminded that countless tons of crops are left to rot every year, all across this country. It is common for farmers to harvest the most commercially appealing produce, and then to allow the remainder of the perfectly good food source to become fertilizer for following years. This is done primarily to save labor costs; to salvage what is absolutely fine in substance, yet less marketable in appearance. There is a practice I have long been drawn to called gleaning, whereby volunteer groups will converge upon the fields, collect the remaining crops, and then distribute it to those in need. Isn’t that beautiful? It makes me a bit teary even typing it. In a world of so much hunger, tons and tons of food is lost simply because no one will take the time and effort to glean the good, and pass it on. What a profoundly simple yet beautiful way of feeding those in need. Such a practice could certainly also lead to a deeper sense of gratitude and stewardship for all involved.
This process of gleaning also invites me to take another look at the landscape of my own field of consciousness. How many times in my increasing number of years have I only wanted to look upon the experiences that I found desirable, while hoeing under the parts that I deemed less than great? How many blessings have I experientially lost due to my suppression and inattentiveness? In grasping only the appealing and the marketable, how many lessons were left to rot in the furthest recesses of my unconscious? What could be gained by taking another, deeper look at the fields of my life, and by finding there a food for my self, supplied by my Soul? Anything rejected or resisted is good that is not claimed. There is good in everything. It is our choice to farm the blessing in all our experiences that leads to nourishment and to strength. And as we are fed by the fodder of our grateful and attentive lives, we feed others by virtue of the collective consciousness. We expand our sense of what goodness is, and where it may be found. We become conscious stewards of our Souls and of our earth. We are awake and available to glean the ever-present good. Our lives are a harvest that we look upon with gratitude and with glee.
As I look upon the harvest of this day, right here in the autumn of my life, I am grateful to include all of what currently is. With an illumined sight born of an expanded heart, I gratefully glean the goodness in it all. It is harvest time and replanting time both. And I am blessed to be the keeper of my crops. What blessing may you glean, dear friend, by simply embracing the day that is?
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