Saturday, October 12, 2013

Random thoughts about Domestic Violence Awareness Month

  • Nearly 1 in 5 women (18%) and 1 in 71 men (1%) have been raped in their lifetime.  
  • Approximately 1.3 million women were raped during the year preceding the survey. 

  • One in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while 1 in 7 men have experienced the same. 

  • One in 6 women (16%) have been stalked during their lifetime, compared to 1 in 19 men.
Statistics from - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 

This month is greatly out colored by the sea of pink.  The purple has been lightened with white and a tinge of red.  Basically it becomes a month - hot pink in color. 

I feel that I’m pressured to choose breast cancer over domestic violence.  I’m enticed to buy pink this and that at the grocery store check out and from the pizza shop.  Even my sports teams are getting into the spirit - goalies are wearing the same shade of pink as the soccer balls and American football players are having pink dying parties for their socks.  Somehow, breast cancer has become more palatable to talk about even though interpersonal violence is more prevalent. 


Amethyst – the purple quartz crystal – My Grandmother’s Birthstone

Amethyst has been used to strengthen the immune system and help heal imbalances of the respiratory tract and skin.  It is said to have meditative and calming effect on the individual by working on the emotional, spiritual and physical planes.  It is also has been used to help heal grief and pain from the past.  Amethysts have helped the wearer become more flexible and cooperative with those around them. 

It seems like a good stone for those working and healing from domestic violence.  


Minimizing, Denying, Justifying, Blaming – I feel like we tend to think that these 4 words are only what batter, rapists, sexual harassers and bullies do with regards to their behavior, however I believe bystanders use them too.

This past week I've felt like I’m living in another universe.  On Sunday, I noticed a signs for a candidate who is running locally for school board.  I kept thinking:  “You have to be kidding.”  (Note: this is the PG version of my thoughts).  The candidate had a romantic relationship with his student for three years.  I kept thinking, have people forgotten? 

The responses I've gotten so far:  “Well, she was 18 when it started.”  “He was in his twenties and near her age.”  “It takes two.  It isn't as if she was a minor.”  “I don’t think she was in any of his classes, just going to school there.”  “He had to give up his teaching license and his career.”  “He’s had to give up a lot.”

Let me back-up.  As a teacher (or name your licensed professional – doctor, police officer, nurse, social worker….), there are ethical guidelines that you are to follow.  The teacher-student relationship is an unequal power and status distribution.  The teacher has a hierarchical power over the student based on their role in the school and in the community.  Students are to obey and respect teachers.  Teachers enforce the rules of the school to all the students, not just the ones in their classroom.  Teachers are also required to treat and evaluate all students fairly. 

Based on this power dynamic – how can a student give true consent towards a romantic relationship?  How can a teacher treat and evaluate a student fairly who they are dating?

To my community – As bystanders, I’m deeply concerned about the lack of clarity in why dating a teacher is wrong.  And this being the case, how can we elect someone who didn't understand the ethical guidelines into a position where they have to enforce these rules?  Who will be providing the oversight over him?  Clearly us bystanders aren't on top of this.

I’m hugging my Amethyst.


What you can say to a friend experiencing violence
  1. I am afraid for your safety.
  2. I am afraid for the safety of your children.
  3. You deserve to be safe. 
  4. I believe you and I am sorry this has happened to you.
  5. I am here for you when you are ready to leave.
  6. You do not deserve to be abused.
  7. No one deserves to live with violence in their home.
  8. There is help available.  Can we call this number together?
  9. You are not to blame.

Telephone numbers to share
National Domestic Violence Hotline -  1-800-787-3224  1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
National Rape Incest Abuse National Network - 1-800-656-HOPE
Click to Chat With an Online Representative

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sharing Abundance - Working from your heart.

“Life and death are not opposites. Death is integral to the whole/holiness of the sacred web of all that is. In this experiential workshop with slides, movement, trance, song and sacred theater and whatever arises in spontaneity/gaiety we will explore a way of viewing death that actually comes from the realm of our pre-patriarchal ancestors. Very little is known or taught about how our early ancestors lived, and in this space together we will learn from them and bring forward a much needed shamanic integration about life and death for body mind and spirit. We will also learn what it means to “midwife” death in our current time and how to transform fear about death into pure love."  Leslene della-Madre


“With tears and prayers and tender hands, Mother and sisters made her ready for the long sleep that pain would never mar again, seeing with grateful eyes the beautiful serenity that soon replaced the pathetic patience that had wrung their hearts so long, and feeling with reverent joy that to their darlings death was a benignant angel, not a phantom full of dread. “ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Death can be looked at as both the end and the beginning.  I see it as part of the sacred cycle of breathing and expiring, combining and recombining, gathering and giving away.  However, I tend to think we moderns like the birth process better than the death process.  We can’t see any joy when a spirit leaves us as our ancestors did. 
Many of the books I read as a teenager set the stage for death.  The Victorians didn’t seem to have the same mindset as we moderns do.  It wasn’t usual for the dying to be in bed surrounded by loved ones and friends.  There were prayers and poems read, final kisses and words said all providing the dying one the support they needed to reach the place between the earthly plane and the divine.  The gatherers were equal in volume as the gatherers at a birth.
This past Sunday I popped into my favorite bakery for a muffin and coffee.  The baker had saved me a pistachio one; he knows it’s my favorite.  When he went to pull it out of the case, he broke down with a deep sigh.  Clearly he was upset and then quickly apologized.  He told me he can’t look at the chocolate muffins without crying and thinking of his friend. 

These past days have been rough for him.  He told me his tenant who became his friend passed.  The chocolate muffins were his favorite.  He can’t not look at the muffins and see his friend.

The baker went to check on him and found him on the floor.  He had suffered a stroke.  The baker quickly called the squad.  His older friend was admitted to the hospital.  When his grand-daughters arrived at the hospital, they demanded all his things.  The baker gave them his friend’s keys and wallet.  The girls disappeared.  

The baker stayed with his friend.  Holding his hand and walking with him to the crossroad.  The baker believed – it’s what friends do.  He was sad in for his loss, but also sad that the grand-daughters were there to also say goodbye.   

When the baker returned home to his rental building, he found that his friend’s apartment had been raided by the grand-daughters.   They were looking for material things he didn’t have.  The baker explained to me – they didn’t realize the wealth their grandfather shared abundantly were in acts of kindness over coffee, conversation and chocolate muffins.

The baker was a man who was working from his heart.

Deep Peace to You
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.
- Adapted from ancient Gaelic runes
This is John Rutter’s music set to the ancient words with the Edinburgh Singers. 
My friends from Europe have asked me what is going on here.  I’m asking myself the same.  What is going on here?  Why can’t my government get along?  As a CCWWW, I know that things reflect each other.  My government only mirrors what is happening in the general population. 

I think we are not working from our hearts.  We have lost sight of the abundance we have and focus only on what we don’t have.  Many of us are living from scarcity.  When we work from scarcity it is okay to not get along and put others down.  It is easy to shame, laugh at or ridicule someone who‘s not doing as good as we are.  It becomes easy for us to climb over another to get “X.”  We have lost sight of compassion and love. 

Think about it:  How do you look at a homeless person on the street?  How do you view a family living on minimum wage and going to a food pantry?    


Recipe for chocolate muffin with chocolate chips was created by cooking Goddess Nigella Lawson – May you find time this week to share abundantly with a friend over coffee, tea and conversation.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons best quality cocoa powder
3/4 cup superfine sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
1 cup milk
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Special equipment: Muffin tin with paper muffin cases
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together, remembering that a lumpy batter makes the best muffins. Spoon into the prepared muffin cases. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top and then bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy