Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Tears reside in the corners of my eyes, dripping down my cheeks ever so often. I don’t have to be watching news on TV, or looking at photos on the Internet of innocents, just barely beginning their own big lives. I don’t have to hear “semi-automatic” one more time. I don’t want to see terrorized parents outside a school building, waiting news of their child’s safety — or not.

Tears and a flu-absent stomach that broils and turns and is connected to a head that throbs, knowing the story has shattered…for all of us. Sending children to school today in America, a new residing consciousness of vulnerability…one we don’t want, need, or ask for.

Is there any comfort in starkness? I do not know.

There needs to be a new story…for us. How long will it be before that story comes into being? None of us know. No one can say anymore, “I never thought that would happen here.” That story is gone forever. No one can remain personally unaffected by the large mass of grief being experienced by the loss of our young children. No one can live and believe as they once did…it seems…so long ago now.

I stop my own words and share some words from Jean Houston, from a writing course I took a few years ago. About Re-Storying your Story.  Humanity is at a place in time where, being a writer or not, it must learn how to do this.


From Jean Houston: Finding Strength When the Story Shatters

“There are circumstances that must shatter you;
and if you are not shattered, then you have not
understood your circumstances.
In such circumstances, it is a failure
for your heart not to break.
And it is pointless to put up a fight,
For a fight will blind you to the opportunity
that has been presented by your misfortune.
Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life?
Of course you do: the old life was a good life.
But it is no longer available to you.
It has been carried away, irreversibly.
So there is only one thing to be done.
Transformation must be met with transformation.
Where there was the old life, let there be the new life.
Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.”

Written by Leon Weiseltier, Kaddish, page 226.

From Napkinwriter

Sometimes life hits us so hard, so unexpectedly, that we drop the ball and story shatters. I stood by close family friends, who in one shattering moment on a dark night on a Georgia Interstate, one woman’s life was snuffed out, who was daughter, and mother and wife, cousin  in a family that lost all those relationships and love in one indefendable freak accident in the middle of the highway, returning from family vacation. Lives shattered, dreams dashed.

A life-defining moment where, existing with the shattering, having to create a new story including what just happened to one family.

Shattering events are all around us and we are not exempt from them happening in our own life. It interrupts the everyday story is what Jean Houston writes.

Yes our personal and worldly story is in a state of INTERRUPTION.

Our shattered story needs rearranging.

Do we start with….”Once upon a time…”

God bless all the families and school personnel, who have been shattered by this latest vicious attack on our school children.

And God help us all. Please.

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I don't know

I could have written this but Liz did.

I don’t know either….and my personal answer for some time to mass violence and unspeakable suffering of humans all over the world is much like the conclusion Elizabeth came to. I help either myself or the next person to me with loving kindness and any action that seems appropriate. Most times,  it means staying quiet and reaching deep within me for a trust and a tiny light I can feel myself and share with others.

From Elizabeth Gilbert — Guest Blog

Dear Ones –

I woke up yesterday in joy, and went to bed in sorrow.

I woke up yesterday to the delightful news that my book was a #1 bestseller, and went to bed heartbroken and shaken by the awful news of yet another mass-shooting in America.

I won’t be writing a political message here today. The internet is filled with outraged people arguing with each other this morning, and I can’t bring myself to contribute more argument to the world right now.

This morning, I’m just writing to say: I don’t know.

My heart is broken, and I don’t know what to do about it — in the same way that I don’t know what to do about the plight of the Syrian refugees, or the rise of ISIS, or the deterioration of the Sudan, or the stubborn endurance of racism, or the onslaught of climate change.

I don’t know. I don’t know how to fix any of it.

I do know this, though: I know that great joy and great sorrow have something in common, which is: they both cause us to overflow. Joy and sorrow are emotions that make us SPILL — because they are too big for us to contain.

I always know what to do with my overflow of joy — that’s easy: You dance it out, you laugh it out, you celebrate, you cheer, you pop the champagne.

I don’t always know what to do with my overflow of sorrow. Last night, alone in a hotel room, I lay awake for hours, overflowing in too much sadness to handle. I found myself saying again and again to God, “I don’t know what any of this is for, but please help us.”

I also found myself thinking about a beautiful young woman at one of my speaking events recently, who asked me how — after a recent devastating personal loss — she is meant to go on. She asked me what God intends, by making her suffer so much? I don’t know what her loss was, but I could see by her face, it was very bad.

What was that loss FOR?

The answer is: I don’t know.

I don’t know what suffering and sorrow and injustice and brutality and loss are FOR.

It’s so easy to know what joy and happiness and love and grace are FOR — they are to be celebrated and shared. Joy and good fortune seem to be proof of our divine blessings — proof that God is smiling upon you, proof that you are being looked after, proof that your angels are protecting you, proof that life is fair.

But what is suffering for?

I always hate the simple, reductive answers people often offer up about suffering — because I feel like those answers sometimes only bring more sorrow to those who are in pain.

To blithely say that “This is God’s will,” in the face of terrible events, seems cruel to me. (Or worse, to say “This is God’s punishment!” — Lord help us, what a brutal and inhumane statement.)

To tell a mother whose child has died, “God must have wanted another angel,” is almost too awful to bear.

To say, “Well, that must be karma”, is also terrible and dismissive. You might as well just shrug at someone’s unbearable pain and say, “Hey, shit happens, man.”

To say, “Someday this will make you stronger,” to someone who is at their weakest? No. Don’t ever say that.

To say, “Maybe this tragedy will open up people’s eyes about what’s going on, and so your child’s death won’t have been in vain!” is to use another human’s life as a political tool. Which is just monstrous.

To say to someone who is being asked to endure the worst sorrow of their lives: “God never gives us more than we can handle!” is so outrageously hurtful, I don’t know how anyone ever got to the end of that sentence without being punched in the face.

People seem awfully confident at times, speaking on behalf of God’s agenda.

I don’t where people get their confidence, to say that they know what God is up to. I don’t make such presumptions. In the face of outrageous sorrow, I can only say, “I don’t know.”

And once we have said that — “I don’t know” — then we have reached the end of ourselves. Then, maybe all we can do is sit in silence with the person who is suffering, or with the people who are suffering, and just say, “I will stay here with you.”

That’s easier to do on the intimate scale than the global scale, but I feel like that’s what the great compassionate souls have always done. They say to a sorrowful world: “I don’t know why this is happening. But I will stay here with you. I will sit beside you. I see your pain, and although I don’t know how to solve it, I will be here with you.”

The great compassionate souls always take their overflow of sorrow and turn it into love.

I don’t have any answers for anyone today. This is one of those days for me when the world overwhelms, and I feel very small.

But when the world starts to feel overwhelming in its sorrows, I always ask myself to look around me — to narrow down my focus — and to notice somebody who is nearby me, who is suffering. I can’t help the millions, but maybe I can help one. You never have to look very far to find a suffering soul. Life is hard; there is always someone going through great pain. I tell myself: Go sit with that person today for a while. Don’t try to solve their life, or answer for God, or offer dismissive “reasons”, or try fix the whole world. Just say, “I don’t know. But I will sit with you through this.”

Turn your overflow of sorrow into love. That’s the only thing I know how to do sometimes.

Love and blessings,

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candle flame

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swaps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have (not yet) reached. The world you desire can be won. It exists…it is real…it is possible…it’s yours.”
Ann Rand

In my quiet prayer time this morning, this song below broke through the silence. These are not my words. They are the words of David Haas. These words are my belief and I intend to live them the rest of my life.

I am determined to root out any and all forms of violence in my own behavior, to replace it with love for myself, for all others and for my home the earth.

I am committed to believing in the divine unfolding of the universe and to cooperating with the divine spark of all creation…..love.

I am holding you in my heart. All of you. That is what I feel called to do. I hear my calling.

We Are Called
David Haas

Come! Live in the light!
Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord!
We are called to be light for the kingdom
to live in the freedom of the city of God.

We are called to act with justice,
we are called to love tenderly,
we are called to serve one another;
to walk humbly with God.

Come! Open your heart!
Show your mercy to all those in fear!
We are called to be hope for the hopeless,
so all hatred and blindness will be no more!

We are called to act with justice,
we are called to love tenderly,
we are called to serve one another;
to walk humbly with God.

Sing! Sing a new song!
Sing of that great day when all will be one!
God will reign,
and we’ll walk with each other
as sisters and brothers united in love!

We are called to act with justice,
we are called to love tenderly,
we are called to serve one another;
to walk humbly with God.


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