But most of all, I hurt. I hurt for women everywhere. And for men everywhere too. I hurt for all humanity, the ones that have been victims, but also the ones that do the hurting. Because most of the ones doing the hurting were victims once too.
This life is hard. It's painful. It's not fair. It's cruel. There is evil in the world. Not that any one person is entirely evil. But every person has the capacity of evil inside of them. It is the blood we share. It is the air we breathe. It is the earth we walk upon.
In the Christian religion, it is called Original Sin, the Fall of Man. The concept of evil is not a concept at all. It is alive and well, and something that each person living in this world encapsulates. Look at any toddler. Barely able to walk and talk, yet they grab tightly to what is theirs. "Mine! Mine!" they say. Selfishness is inherent in us. Some of it is for survival. How much of it is the evil that is part of humanity?
This show, touching on themes of rape, violence, ridicule, loneliness, embarrassment, and downright torture was excruciating. Mostly, the main characters' behaviors are a direct result of fear. And every viewer can relate to that.
So as I watched Hannah Baker be bullied, get raped, slit her own wrists, and die alone in a bathtub, I saw myself in Hannah Baker. As I saw Jessica sexually assaulted in a drunken episode at a party, I was Jessica. As I saw Clay fall in love with people he wanted to save, I saw myself in Clay. When I watched Bryce sit alone with a glass of whiskey wondering if his parents even loved him, I saw myself in Bryce. I was in ALL of these characters to some extent. And I think you are too.
I think that's why this show touches us on such a deep level. At least, I think that's why it touched me on that level. Because it was no longer about the 'good' guys and the 'bad' guys. It was only that we are all human. And to be human is to suffer. And suffering can make us do unimaginable things to ourselves and to others.
I know as long as there is fear living in me, I am capable of evil. But if there is love, a deep love that recognizes we are all One and part of the One, I will see myself in my neighbor. So of course I'd want the best for him. I get back what I put out into the world. Call it the law of Karma or whatever you want. But it is Truth.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." - 1 John 4:18a
"Namaste - the light in me honors the light in you."
Yes, this show dramatizes the teenage experience. Some people can say that, sure. But I choose to see this series as a reminder of our own humanity and the depths of anguish we share as humans. I choose to see it as a reminder that I am no longer the 'one who was sexually abused'. I am only one of the many faces of humanity, who each have a story to tell, a pain in their heart, and paralyzing fear that motivates us to behave in all kinds of hurtful ways.
The more we choose to search and focus on our similarities, on the One in each of us, we will experience healing in our own lives and in humanity as a whole. I pray that very thing.
For all of our sake.
Then the world pulled you down. Pulled you under. It darkened your dream with its own clouds and fog and haze. It holds you down so that you won’t grow above the rest. It holds you down so that the growth of the world will be slow.
But what would happen if you remembered who you were called to be. What would happen if your growth catapulted? What would happen if you became bigger than you thought you would become? As big as the dream of your youth? So many people have forgotten that inner dreamer, let alone her dream!
Meditate, Pray. Tap into it again. Create a quiet space where the Universe can speak to you and remind you why you were put on this planet. You have a job to do. You have a dream. Get to it!
During this particular experience, one of my friends and I were discussing the meaning of life. We spent hours exploring all angles of the topic, finally reaching the conclusion that we are all one. Fast forward 20+ years later, and here I am exploring this same idea in an even greater and deeper way, this time integrating our separateness into our oneness.
I’ve been meditating on how each person, each living thing for that matter, has its unique role in this life. We all work together with our individual talents and uniqueness to create our current time and space. This idea has helped me gain confidence and appreciation for my uniqueness in the world, thus eliminating the need to compare myself against anyone or try to conform to anyone else’s idea of normal.
Practicing this idea has given me an enormous sense of freedom and purpose, trusting that my unique talents and specific character set has been designed exactly as it is to add to this life only what I myself am capable of adding. Just like you with all your unique gifts and personality add to the current experience exactly what you are meant to add.
We are each a very specific imprint, or expression, of the oneness of the Collective. The Collective, Source, God, Universe is where we come from. It is what we are a part of and what we will return to. Because we all come from and are a part of the Supreme, we are one. Yet, we also are separate in that we enter into this experience as unique individuals, each possessing a unique expression of the Divine.
We are like snowflakes, each completely different in pattern, yet all created from and part of the higher element of Water, which we will return to when our experience of being snowflakes is finished.
In everyday conscious practice of this idea, I can look at people around me with complete acceptance and love. Now, I must note here that I can still disapprove of certain behavior patterns. (That is an entirely different post!) Yet, it would be incorrect of me to think of myself as any more or less valuable than anyone else. As we are all expressions of the Divine, we are all equally valuable.
This concept is leading me to a higher level of self-love and acceptance, along with a less judgmental view of my fellows. I believe it will eventually lead me to vegetarianism once again in my near future. It has also given me more confidence in using my given talents and gifts to raise the Collective conscious, as I believe all of us have a responsibility and purpose to do.
If I can impart any wisdom here, it is this: Do you. Do you shamelessly and enthusiastically, confidently living the exact nature of which the Divine has chosen to express Itself through YOU!
And when those things happen, the person on the pedestal falls the hardest because they have the longest way to drop. The person holding up the other person experiences even greater disappointment because his image of perfection is being destroyed. He won’t be able to control the situation and mold me into the thing he believes I should be without me experiencing just as much pain and disappointment. And when his image of me shatters, he probably won’t stay because he hasn’t fallen in love with me at all, but instead some illusion of what he wanted me to be.
So please, don’t ever hold me on a pedestal. I am human. I will mess up. I will disappoint you. And that’s exactly how it should be. Hold me alongside of you, never above and never below. Walk with me, not ahead or behind. There will be times where we may walk out of step, but in the words of the great Bruce Springsteen,
“We swore we'd travel darlin' side by side
We'd help each other stay in stride.
But each lover's steps fall so differently,
I'll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me.”
It took me a while to slow down long enough to not only recognize, but appreciate, the great order to the universe. For a long time, I thought I was unique, apart from, separate, different. I lived my life according to my own rules, controlling and manipulating to have the world work as I thought it should. Of course, it never did, and I’d be left feeling hurt, lost, depressed, and angry. I was either mad or depressed for most of my life.
I knew the sun came up every day and set every evening. I was aware of weather patterns and seasons. I recognized there was a high tide and a low tide. I knew the earth and solar system ran on some kind of power to make all these things happen. But I never saw myself as part of it.
It was when I had lived in anger and pain long enough, when I had created my own world of chaos and destruction, when I had tried over and over to set things right and was met with continued failure, that I finally started analyzing the Universal order with more curiosity.
Somehow, the Universe kept moving forward. The earth kept revolving around the sun. The moon kept revolving around the earth. The Santa Ana winds came every fall. June was always gloomy. The trees always started blooming again. The hummingbirds all started coming out each February. The moon would be full every 28th day. I could count on these things. They were unmovable. I started to appreciate their consistency. I realized that all these things would carry on if I were on this planet or not. I, no matter how hard I had tried to fool myself throughout my life, was not running the show.
Even more, I realized this outside force that was taking care of the rest of nature was taking care of me as well. I realized that I AM nature. I am a part of this great tapestry of life. I’m not apart from it at all. My life is woven into the very fabric of the Universe. How assured I could be realizing that to the animals of the air, water, and earth, I belong. I am one with all of it. And whatever is running this whole thing has got me as well.
I don’t have to fight anymore. I go with the flow, knowing that nature will take its course. Yes, there is destruction in nature. There is violence. There is brutality. But there is also the unstoppable force of life. With every forest fire, isn’t there a brand new forest that begins to grow from the released seeds? With every hurricane, is there not plant life that thrives from the blowing of seeds and saturation of rain? Even concrete poured to cover the earth still bears dandelions in its cracks. Life is unstoppable.
There is the never-ending process of death and life, chaos and order, destruction and benefit. Is it not the same way in our own lives? If we look hard enough we can always see the good that came from the darkest part of our lives. But we must choose life. We can’t actively block it with our own ideas of running the show. We submit to life. We submit to the natural order of things. We accept. We adjust.
It’s not the strongest that survive. It’s the most adaptive that survive. Life comes. We let it. We adjust. I stop trying to control life. It is my place to adapt, not control. That is the natural order of things. That is my place in the world.
He also taught us how to 'Kylego', a technique where we talk to each other like the day or week or year has already happened. We say things like, "I remember when..." and then talk about our dreams like they've already in the past. In that way, we trick our mind into believing they have already happened, and therefore we can do them again. Also, the longer the Kylego exercise, the greater and greater the ideas become!
Anyways, it was good stuff for sure. If you ever get a chance to go see him, I'd recommend it.
I’m sorry you are experiencing some pain right now. Life gives us all kind of experiences so we can feel the full range of human emotion. It really is a beautiful thing! Sometimes we lose sight of that while we’re in the pain, however.
I’ve heard it said that whenever we are disturbed by something or someone, it is usually some thing within ourselves that is the problem. I can’t give you advice, per se. But I know from my experience, when I have issues with people around me, I look for the answers within me. Is it my expectations that are out of line? Is it my behavior that is causing a negative response in them? Am I being understanding and loving? I usually find that somewhere, I am feeling pride, fear, etc. Maybe I’m not being honest and forthright with my feelings. Maybe I’m being too controlling, expecting those around me to behave in a certain way. I spend some time taking care of myself for a while - eating well, getting enough sleep, having fun in life, making sure my spiritual life is thriving. I try to find balance within myself.
One of my favorite quotes is this: “When I stopped living in the problem and started living in the solution, the problem went away.” Sometimes, I just need to start moving forward and stop dwelling on what’s keeping me down - even if I don’t feel like it. Things sometimes just take care of themselves :)
Unfortunately, sometimes relationships end or change. That’s a part of life too. We don’t always want them to, and we try to hold onto a relationship, expecting it to be as it always was. However, like life and everything in it, relationships change too. If you and your partner have expressed the pain points of these changes to each other and have tried everything in your power to grow the relationship into something new, and it still is not working, it may be time to have an honest conversation about the future of your partnership.
Remember, a relationship is a partnership. There is not one person making all the decisions. If something feels wrong to you, you must express it and give the other partner an opportunity to express themselves as well. Hopefully, you both are in a healthy enough place on your own to be able to honestly and lovingly address the state of the partnership and start working as a team to correct any issues.
That is why it is so important to take an honest look at yourself first - your health, your motives, your level of understanding. You want to make sure you are your best self before you try to tackle relationship problems.
All the best, my friend!
When they were able to pull the boy's hand out, they saw it was clenched in a fist around something. That was why they could not get it back through the neck of the vase. Curious, they opened the boy's hand to see what had been so important that he wouldn't let go of. They peeled back his fingers to discover a bright shiny penny. The boy had seen the penny at the bottom of the vase and had reached in to pull it out. And because he didn't want to let go of the treasure he thought he found, he lost the priceless treasure meant for him.
Question: What are you holding onto that it's time to let go of? The Universe has a priceless treasure meant just for you. What bright shiny penny have you been desperately holding onto that is preventing you from receiving it?
I'm just a traveler, a dreamer, like you.