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We have status quo…

rAmbLingsFrOmPEACEmaker

“If the Tao is lost then morality takes its place.

If that fails, we have conscience.

When that fades, we get justice.

When that disappears, we have status quo.”

Lao Tzu,  Tao Te Ching

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When I hear someone support #45, I still initially react with shock, disgust, and am perpetually dumbfounded about how someone in their right mind would vote for him. My stomach tightens and can’t fathom this reality.  Then after noticing all the thoughts, feelings, and sensations and processing them in ways that feel safe and validating, then my calm mind and heart connect. I know that we all are truly doing the best we can with the resources we are aware of. We only know what we know and we do not know what we don’t know. Me reacting harshly or aggressively will only polarize and entrench us more.

All negative behavior comes from a state of stress and unmet needs. We all have the need to feel connected, heard, seen, felt, understood and safe. When we perceive a threat to these needs and our livelihood we react from the unconscious parts of minds with fight, flight, or freeze. Through that lens, I know that our greatest hope will come from me being a bridge and connecting with his supporters by understanding their needs and fears. This is not easy and can often seem futile yet my response of benevolence is not attached to an agenda of trying to change them. I can only control my actions and thoughts. I feel at most peace when my intentions, actions, thoughts, and feelings align so that is where I choose to focus my efforts. We are all on a journey and this is where mine has led.

This intense soul-searching and alignment first hit me hard when I had to provide court-ordered family therapy where parents neglected and abused their children. It was extremely difficult for me to not get angry at the parents and think “What is wrong with them!?” as I believe no one deserves to be hit and what is done and said to children at the most sensitive and critical stages of development has astounding impact. Obviously, I have professional and ethical standards where I would never react angrily but my body, mind, and soul were constantly being pulled and wrenched, and I was hurt and angry at these parents. I accepted the reality of my thoughts and feelings and worked through them because I knew if I didn’t, my judgments and negative feelings would unconsciously pass onto the family and still be stuck in my being.

When I was able to put my judgments aside to be present with the parents and empathize with feelings, I could help them meet their needs so they could be the best parent for their child. I truly believe that it is in bests interests of the child and our society for children to remain with their parents as long as the parents are safe and open to taking responsibility for their role. In this process listening and accepting the parents for they were and not judging them, then the parents didn’t need to fear or fight me and starting to trust me and be vulnerable. After hearing so many horror stories of the parent’s childhood, I realized these parents had been wounded children themselves using the only the tools they had gotten. They also had the threat of losing their children through the court system. How terrifying is that?

Now, I know it is easy to say, “Well I’d never be in that situation, so they deserve that.” Unfortunately, when you live in a fear-based and patriarchal society, so much is not in our control. Those who are most vulnerable (women and children) are already exposed to such violence and injustice before they can even stand on their own two feet. How a mother is treated directly influences the development of the baby and our society.

When a baby is in the womb it is the emotional state of the mother which decides how her baby’s brain will develop…If a baby is flooded with the hormones of stress he puts his growth effort into the part of the brain that is designed to deal with stress and threat – the flight or fight part of the brain. He cannot do differently…When the baby in the womb is marinated in hormones of peacefulness, then he is free to get into to developing his higher brain functions. These are the structures he will need for highest human qualities like love, trust, beauty, respect, empathy, and truth…the womb provides everything the baby needs…” ~Pennie Brownlee

I know how a brain is best developed to maximize human potential and our society is far from providing that nurturing environment. I know #45 and the majority of our society are not getting their vital needs met.  I know we are all responsible to a degree for this neglect, current debacle, and are now forced to suffer through the natural consequences of our actions and root problems. The underbelly has always been there and the fact we are in this state only proves what my heart has witnessed for so long.

Even with this attuned awareness, I continue to oscillate between shock, disgust, anger, and radical acceptance and get caught up in the debate of #45. I am conflicted because I agree he is not fit to be president and angry at how ignorant and abusive he his of his power but I also know adding more stress to a dysregulated, traumatized soul will only lead to more pain and suffering.  Insults, personal attacks, blaming and shame all come from the same vein of fear and are defense mechanisms. Sure, I know how good it feels to connect with like-minded, share the misery and gloat in the wins, yet where is that getting us?

“Human beings fear what they don’t understand. The unknown scares us. When we meet people who look or act in unfamiliar or strange ways, our initial response is to keep them at arm’s length. At times we make ourselves feel superior, smarter or more competent by dehumanizing or degrading those who are different. The roots of so many of our species’s ugliest behaviors—racism, ageism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, to name just a few—are in this basic brain-mediated response to perceived threat. We tend to fear what we do not understand, and fear can so easily twist into hate or even violence because it can suppress the rational parts of our brain.” ~ Dr. Bruce D. Perry

Fortunately, I have found effective and long-term change happens best when one can be honest and assertively hold people accountable for their actions while also being sensitive and respectful to the many conscious and unconscious layers of human experience. All my experience has shown to me how one often has to hit rock bottom and have the support of at least one calm, safe, responsive person in order to truly feel all the consequences and take responsibility to change. This seemingly downward spiral is a necessary part of our healing journey.

I know that this experience will raise our collective consciousness and connect us in ways never imagined possible but it will take the willingness to learn new skills to process all the negativity, self-soothe, listen compassionately to all sides, and assert needs respectively.  This is why I choose to respond to needs versus reacting from fear as this is the bridge where I have found the most power to effect positive, sustainable change. I truly believe that all problems and conflict would resolve if we all slowed down, pay attention, and truly listened with compassion. In doing so, we would discover our power to transform violence to benevolence, fear to love, conflict to connection, stress to resilience, and trauma to wisdom. Every moment and interaction is an opportunity to do so.

Embrace fears and trust the process.

Namaste

Here are some of my favorite related articles on the subject of #45…

A Zen Master’s Advice On Coping With Trump

https://www.thefix.com/dr-gabor-mate-donald-trump-traumaphobia-and-compassion-interview

Why Christian conservatives supported Trump — and why they might regret it

Attachment Theory in the Age of Trump

Donald trumps presidency will surprisingly be the worlds greatest gift

Why Trump’s Inauguration is Not the Beginning of an Era — but the End

rAmbLingsFrOmPEACEmaker

I understand how anyone who has been physically punished would have to make sense of it in some way. You would need to believe that there was some value in it, I mean why else would the person you love and trust the most hit you, make you suffer more…You must have deserved it, Right!?!

It is a step in healing when you take the time to reflect on your upbringing as well as show appreciation for what your family has done for you. That’s good, yet the heartbreaking part for me is that the majority of people have been trained to believe “they are fine” and that we are getting what we “need,” to learn lessons and respect, then stop there as their conclusion. They don’t even know that they have other options to reconcile the conflicting messages. Stuck to rationalize it and pass on the suffering to their kids.

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rAmbLingsFrOmPEACEmaker

“[Yet] our babies are starving. Oh they have plenty of food. Our children are starving for touch; they are starving for us. Our children are starving for human interaction and human relationships…We have become advanced in some ways but, at present, our culture is developmentally ignorant. We are a child illiterate culture. We think somehow that it is better for a child to learn letters and words from television than from a parent talking with their baby. We have lost our core child-rearing truths… And there is nothing more essential to a developing child than human touch, infants rarely touched can actually become ill and die.”

-Dr Bruce Perry, excerpt from the preface of Move Baby Move by Sofie Foster and Jerome Hartigan

I have heard Dr. Perry speak many times, and was blessed to participate in his trainings. I am enamored with everything he says. His research rings true on…

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rAmbLingsFrOmPEACEmaker

I have discovered that my most productive and harmonious days are the ones I start with telling myself:

It is OK to not get all my stuff done today.

The most important thing I need to do is nurture myself and loved ones.

It is on these days when I have been baking, fixing, cleaning, singing, dancing and playing with my kids well before noon. It is sad that although these two statements seem so simple to say, my body/mind/soul has been trained to believe that I must suffer to learn… That I must achieve every action with seamless perfection. This pressure keeps pushing and pulling at me, leading to a dysregulated (i.e. physically/mentally/emotionally stressed) state. When a past trauma is triggered in this state, I mistrust my innate resources and fears rule. I resist change and even positive forces. I become addicted to my suffering as it is the…

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I don’t believe there are bad people, only people with less vital needs met and more pain to heal. Every interaction is an opportunity to nurture, heal and grow…

rAmbLingsFrOmPEACEmaker

I don’t believe there are bad people, only people with less vital needs met and more pain to heal. Every interaction is an opportunity to nurture, heal and grow…

It is bitter-sweet for me to read all the talk about “bullying.” Great that people are seeing that it is a serious problem, but I know like after Columbine, it will fall off our plate and another tragedy will take its place. I am tired of talking. I am sick of running into walls and double-edged swords. Emotionally, I liken going to school like heading into battle naked with no triage on site, and I went to a private school in a nice suburb.

This is a typical bullying scenario through my lens: If an adult is sensitive enough and not stressed or distracted by other things and catches the barrage of insults, they will call attention to the Bully. The…

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