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“We talk about how many women were raped last year, not about how many men raped women. We talk about how many girls in a school district were harassed last year, not about how many boys harassed girls. We talk about how many teenager girls in the state of Vermont got pregnant last year, rather than how many men and boys impregnated teenage girls.

So you can see how the use of the passive voice has a political effect. It shifts the focus off of men and boys and onto girls and women. Even the term ‘violence against women’  is problematic. It’s a passive construction; there’s no active agent in the sentence. It’s a bad thing that happens to women, but when you look at that term ’violence against women,’ nobody is doing it to them. It just happens to them. Men aren’t even a part of it.”

-Jackson Katz

I’ll admit that I’d never heard of Jackson Katz until I researched him after reading the above quote last night. A quote that to me is so incredibly profound. It highlights the need for more careful language that shifts the blame to the actual perpetrator, not the victim as regularly occurs.

What an incredible bio he has. Katz, a former football star, a TED Talk speaker, and I now know, is one of the most prominent voices in the pro-feminist men’s movement. His agenda is to educate men, particularly in college age campus settings, on what they can do to end sexual voilence.  Katz is also the co-founder of MVP Strategies (Mentors in Violence Prevention), one of the longest-running intervention training programs in the U.S. He has also created training materials for universities and school districts, NFL teams, several Major League Baseball teams, and even the U.S. Navy.

We all know that sexual voilence and harrassment isn’t a Hollywood issue. It is a societial issue that affects females from all walks of life, regardless of age, income and workplace. Perhaps the most promising thing that could come out of the Weinstein coverage is for more men to understand that harassment from males, of all ages and positions, happens to females of all ages and positions. Perhaps this nature of giving men like Weinstein a free pass will end.  It’s time to stop blaming the victims and start taking the issue seriously.

 

 

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‘Everyone goes through hell, but not everyone stays there. Stop tormenting yourself by reliving the pain over and over.

Good people go through terrible things, but wise people know when and how to let it go. We all know that wisdom does not come easy, it often comes from painful experience.

Many of us are very unwise in how we handle our pain. Like an animal that struggles in a steel trap, we worsen our wounds the way we struggle, deny, and fight against what simply, is. When we refuse to learn the wisdom of acceptance, we become our own tormentors. When we refuse to let go we suffer, yet we cannot let go of something until it has taught us what we need to learn.

Letting go is a process of recognition, confrontation, acceptance, and healing. Letting go simply means not suffering any more than absolutely necessary, but just enough to expand and strengthen ourselves.

Some suffering is needed to deepen our compassion, to grow, and to learn. Letting go means you have learned enough, and now have compassion for yourself. Letting go means not touching that sore spot until it is infected, and instead letting it heal. Letting go means carrying a permanent scar, but not a permanent wound. Letting go means you may have walked through hell, but came out the other side ready to make your life a heaven. Letting go means you refuse to be a victim forever, by letting one moment define the rest of your life.

Letting go means you accept change, and you accept that your pain is not permanent. Letting go means you accept that you cannot take away the past, but you insist that the past cannot take away your future. Letting go means you are ready to move forward and live. Letting go means you are no longer afraid. It was always fear that held you prisoner; letting go means you are finally free.’

-Bryant McGill

Letting Go -Mark Nepo

‘After feeling driven my whole life
something very near the center has
unwound and I can no longer hurry
through airports or return all my calls.

And sometimes people I barely know
swim up like old worn fish to show me
the map of their gills, and the one long
gash of something they once swallowed,
and how it has cut each breath since.
And I am honored to warm them
like a blanket. But when alone, I
find it hard not to watch
what I swallow.

When alone, these things
I’ve wanted to know since birth
feel so unanswerable, I must
have been torn from them.

I’m sure a hawk doesn’t know it’s a
hawk. I’m sure a spirit doesn’t know
it’s being spiritual. Or a screen door
slapping, like a tired life, in the night,
if it’s opening or closing.

Though we give up the murky fears,
we still can’t know our worth, any-
more than a faceless treasure
can fathom why
it was boxed
or buried
or saved.’

-Mark Nepo

Don’t you just love Jeff Brown’s ability to cut through the bullshit?

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‘EVERYTHING is not a gift. There may be valued transformation that arises from many experiences, but that doesn’t mean that EVERY experience is a gift. If we lean too far in that direction, we will deny trauma and victimhood all together, something we have been mistakenly doing for centuries. No, everything is not a gift. Some experiences are horrors, and it is all we can do to heal from them. To suggest that someone MUST find the gift in them, is to add insult to injury. It is also to create a culture that welcomes all horrors, because, after all- “everything is a gift.” Let’s keep it grounded- sometimes, it’s a gift. Sometimes it’s a horror. And the only who can decide that is the person who had the experience.’ -JEFF BROWN


“It’s easy to understand why you might seek a heart-to-heart dialogue with a parent who disappointed you. You long to make sense of, to heal from, to resolve. You intuitively know that they have information that can put what you experienced in context. 
At the same time, you have to be careful not to expect something that they cannot provide. For many of those who came before, it is absolutely essential that they stay away from the hotbed of emotional material that you seek to excavate. It’s too loaded, too guilt-ridden, too overwhelming, and they intuitively know they will not survive the process. They know that the dialogue will force them to awaken a whole web of unresolved emotional issues they are not able to confront. There is little worse than ending up between two worlds- one unconscious and repressed, the other conscious and awakened. Sometimes its necessary to remain asleep, because awakening is just too darn difficult. 

The important thing- when you seek dialogue with those who have hurt you- is that you understand in advance that any refusal to participate is not a reflection of your inherent value. It’s a reflection of their inherent limitations. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It doesn’t mean that they don’t privately wish that they could have done better. It often just means that they have chosen, or must choose, to never look back…
-Jeff Brown 

The Hungry Child

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‘One of the great challenges for those who have survived abusive and neglectful parents is that there is often a part of us that is still waiting for them to love us, even if there is very little chance of that happening. Locked in an archaic mindset, we continue to go back for more, looking for love in all the wrong places. Somehow we imagine that they will come around one day, realize their mistakes, see our worth, soften those armored edges. And some do, often when they are very old, made vulnerable by sickness and time. But many don’t, and we need to stop putting our emotional lives on hold waiting for something that may never happen. The bridge from stagnation to empowerment lies in our willingness to see them for who they really are, to take them off their primal pedestal and recognize their human limitations. This is not easy- the hungry child self clings to illusions- but it is oh so necessary. Until we accept the reality of who can’t love us, we cannot embrace the love of those who can.’-Jeff Brown

THE RUPTURE AND THE REPAIR by Jeff Foster

c33ca758d3ed9f6506a3ae404d079f62‘First there is the rupture. Old pain resurfaces, erupting from the depths of the unconscious.

The status quo is shattered. You feel disoriented, groundless, not knowing where to turn. An old world has crumbled, a new world has not yet formed.

You encounter the strange space of Now, pure presence, raw, unprotected by old dreams, nothing to cling to. Even your outdated concepts of God crumble.

And then you remember to breathe, and feel your feet on the ground, and observe the spinning mind rather than losing yourself in it.

The world is out of control but you are not.

You feel what you feel. Afraid. Angry. Numb. Sad. Lonely. Unsafe. Whatever. You commit to feeling it fully today, to not dissociating this time. A feeling is just a feeling, not a fact, and presence can hold it.

You wail, you weep, you scream, but you are repairing. You have broken to heal, ruptured to mend. Old energies have emerged only to be blessed with love, acceptance, tenderness.

You can’t go back to the way things were. You can’t un-see what you have seen. But you can be present, today. And take each step consciously now, not automatically, habitually, but mindfully, with care. Finding gratitude for each extra moment you are alive.

And staying close to yourself now, as you walk this unknown path with courage, and a new conviction.’

– Jeff Foster

Image from http://www.fromupnorth.com/illustration-inspiration-715/

Unbreakable- Jeff Foster

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UNBREAKABLE

You do not heal from trauma, and nobody heals you either. You simply reconnect with that sacred place in yourself that was never traumatized, never broken, never damaged in the first place; your true Self, absolute and ever-present, innocent and free.
It is not a destination; it is You, alive and awake in the moment.

Know yourself as the Absolute, and let all thoughts and feelings move through you, however intense or uncomfortable. The forms pass, they always pass, and You remain.

You are not broken; you are Unbreakable.

– Jeff Foster

For Bentley. You left paw prints on my heart.

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‘This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.’

Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear

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Supporting Loved Ones

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“Just to sit, without expectation, with someone who is in grief or fear or loneliness or despair, without trying to fix them in any way, or manipulate their experience to match your idea of how it should be; just to listen, without playing the role of ‘expert’ or ‘enlightened guru’ or ‘the one who knows best’; just to be totally available to the one in front of you, and to walk with them through the fire, to hold their hand when they are broken – this is how we begin to heal each other through love. Beyond our roles, unprotected, unresolved, undefended, we truly meet.” -Jeff Foster