Tea and Toast w/Kindness is supposed to be a beginning toward an answer, toward other folks who might share these feelings and be looking for, or practicing answers, wanting to promote compassion which is the way toward positive change, love and concern for self and others we all can benefit from.
I looked for relief from anger and resentment rising in this current political environment. It was triggering terrible experiences from my past, making them seem as if they were occurring in the present moment, and I’m having difficulty holding center in this. I will not give up my belief that compassion can be encouraged and that I do know by what means it can increase. I’m talking meditation here and mindfulness training.
When we moved to our current situation, I got an eye-opening to some issues I was, turns out, very naive about. I spent my teens and early 20s-30s, in an environment of inclusivity, learning, appreciation, respect and, yes, being loved. That got blown out of the water and things didn’t get better. Within the same month that we settled into our new home, we were drawn into a sexual abuse case. I presented evidence against a pedophile, hoping he would be brought to trial, convicted and put in prison. The community turned against us (my husband suffered for it, as well). They didn’t want their good ole’ boy put away and, it wasn’t ‘Christian’. After all, the child (a 10-year old, petite for her age, whom he had been sexually abusing since she was 18 months), was rather precocious and suggestive (yeah, well, those sexy 10yr olds), and he should be forgiven and reunited with his family. Uh huh. We were threatened, slandered, stolen from, intimidated and, in the middle of all of this, were told that they couldn’t take him to trial, they’d never get a conviction. So, he had some conditions to meet, but didn’t have to register as a sex offender and went back home. The little girl was taken in by relatives in another state.
What really made it horrible (to me) was that, more than once, I was told, “So what, it happens all the time.” This, from women. I just couldn’t get past it. Now, it seems this is happening again. All the battles fought to protect children, women, race, gender, vulnerable populations. All the education against exclusion, bullying. . where is that? Why isn’t it taking us forward? Why is it acceptable to say and do these things, anywhere in this country, in the world? Why do we sit silent? I have been in circumstances with people who have made these types of remarks with regard to bullying (gender, race, disability) and not one person (other than my, evidently, stupid self) said a word, with never an address of the issue — nothing. Finally, I learned that I just can’t be there. I can’t impose my feelings on others, I realize that. And, I don’t want to be in that place of judging others, for truly none of us is perfect, but I must discern for myself what I want to companion in my life. I walked away.
That’s when the Dalai Lama’s words and, surprisingly, an interview (on YouTube) with George Harrison, opened a ray of light through the window. Watch what you think, what you say, what you do — it matters. Watch what you take in, what you’re willing to companion, if you can’t hold your line or your presence is supporting suffering for you or others, walk away. I found working in my own life, on my own life is creating some relief and learning to see this high tension time in our history as a great teacher for checking and holding that center, looking for those who want and need support to do the same and for the new thinkers and innovators who are moving us forward. Thank you, Mr. Rogers, your mother is right, Look for the Helpers. They are there. It’s ok to feel the anger and hurt, it’s ok to feel sad and hopeless and insignificant in the fray. Know that’s what you feel and realize what you embrace is the essence of a precious human life: Compassion, love and respect living deep within living beings and we, no matter what, can make it grow. Old as time, ever present, ours. Thank you. Lilie