The Orlando Tragedy: How It Can Be a Catalyst for Healing


 

Orlando shooting victims mourning

 

Again, in the very recent past, we’ve witnessed another horrific loss of human lives because of a single person’s own inner pain; a person who chose to end the lives of forty-nine precious souls in one of the most violent ways possible. Precious souls that were children, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles. Precious souls who wanted to live their truths and live happily.

And, again, we’ve seen the divisiveness nationwide because of that action.

On one side we see people (many of them ministers, political, and authority figures) jubilant over the deaths of people they deemed “unholy” or “dirty” or “perverted.”  On the other, we witness people mourning complete strangers, who knew that they were perfect as they were and were loved and cherished.

It pains me to see that many choose to take sides, deeming those different from themselves as the “other.”

No, there is no “other.” We all bleed red. We all feel joy and pain. We ALL wish to live in peace, experience happiness, and realize our dreams.

However, there are many who react from a place of fear because they do not KNOW the “other.” They are taught that the “others” are wrong, too different, weird, depraved, immoral, sinful.

Fear is the great divider. It has been so for ages.

Have you noticed that after tragic events, two situations emerge?

On one hand, people will lash out from pain, rage, and fear, and even victimhood, acting and speaking in ways that attack their fellow human beings. On the other, there will be those who will open their hearts and minds and look for ways to use the tragedy as a catalyst for healing.

Often, the way to mend a deep wound is to open it, release the poison, and then allow it to heal.

I know from personal experience that the cutting open of old emotional wounds feels excruciating, and I’ve been in the deepest pits of hell. I’ve been triggered in ways that shattered my beliefs about myself and others. And then, I was able to rise above and see my truth, allowing myself to mend my own deepest wounds.

I wish death on no one, no matter what color they are, what religion they practice (or don’t practice), or their sexual identity. I wish that our brothers and sisters, from the past and even now in the present, never had to deal with being shot, tortured, spat upon, discriminated against, hanged, burned, fired from their jobs, disowned by family, and being treated “less than.” No precious human soul should have to experience that.

And  yet, it is still happening.

In the last couple days, I was witness to a dear friend of mine being attacked for posting something that another took the wrong way. It was all related to the Orlando shooting. I could feel my friend’s shock at the terrible attack, and yet, I understood and felt the other person’s pain and anguish. This person could have lost loved ones in that shooting or been shot themselves.

However, this situation I witnessed could have been avoided if the one who attacked had stopped a moment, taken a breath, and asked for a polite discourse so that they could each discuss their feelings and put aside any misunderstandings.

I see too many putting their energy into dividing our country, into destroying the lives of their brothers and sisters. Yes, brothers and sisters. We all have heritages, we all are different races. But we are also part of one race: the Human Race.

I would like to see no more senseless killing. No more discrimination. No more flirting with fear-mongering. No more addiction to drama.

How would I feel if it were one of my children or friends who had died in Orlando? I’d feel devastated. I also would want to know what inner pain, what atrocities did the shooter live with to cause him to react in such a devastating way?

Too often, reactionary attacks have replaced thoughtful responses, and this is the time to come together, as a nation, as individuals, and loving human beings to keep our minds and hearts open, to accept every soul as the precious life he/she is, to understand that diversity is beautiful. To step out of the fearful path of destruction. To reach out and connect in loving, yet firm approaches. NOT allowing others to harm, yet understanding that they are doing so from their own inner pain.

Forty-nine graves have just been added to the hundreds of thousands, even millions of graves of those throughout history, of all races, orientations, and religions who died at the hands of perpetrators who themselves lived in their own personal hells.

Let’s not let the Orlando tragedy be for naught. Let’s use this as a time to regroup, reflect, and remember that hurt people hurt people. We MUST find a way to facilitate healing…and that begins with healing ourselves.

 

 

Wondabubba is making a Big Splash!


 

Wondabubba cover-image 2500 px wide

Recently, I was fortunate to work with a gentleman who wrote a book a few years ago. This past week, it was finally published for Kindle and ready for the world to see!

Yes, I am an adult, and yes, I love kids’ books! Especially ones that have wonderful messages and phenomenal artwork!

This book did NOT disappoint!

The story is one of determination, courage, and problem-solving. Gary Giles tells it in a way that keeps the reader engaged; the artwork draws the reader in so that they feel as if they are actually experiencing the adventure personally.

“The adventure begins for Wonda when he must find a way to bring water back to his friends. However, in order to get the water, Wonda must get permission from Old Man River! Will Wonda save his friends or become the victim of the villainous Undertow?

This story is an adventure in earth sciences, filled with fun metaphors and stunning images for children of all ages.”

If you are looking for an absolutely delightful story book with incredible images, you just can’t go wrong with “Wondabubba and the Big Splash!”

You can check out Gary Giles’ website here and the link to purchase the book is here.

Happy reading!

Black History Month from a White Woman’s Perspective


 

WSNS generic red

I know, you are probably thinking, what does a white woman know about Black History?

Well, not enough, as far as I’m concerned. I do, however, like to educate myself as much as possible about historical events in our nation, especially those events that showcased the strength, perseverance, and yes, even the pain of the ancestors of my friends and loved ones.

I haven’t experienced the agony of being ripped from my homeland, of being sold on an auction block, nor have I felt the crack of the whip onto my bare flesh.

I have not had to bear witness to hatred, racism, segregation, or lynchings.

I have not had to fight for equal rights under the law because my skin happens to be dark.

Yes, I’ve had my own hells that I’ve lived through, but I can’t imagine living with widespread racism and injustice.

I do, however, stand alongside those who have suffered, are suffering, or are conduits to social healing. I feel your pain, and I stand in knowing that the voices of the ancestors will keep speaking and inspiring.

Now, I’ve many beloved friends who are black, some are my dearest friends, yet I don’t really always see color. I can say I’m colorblind, but I’ll repeat something I said last year during black history month (paraphrasing): “I could say I’m colorblind, because I see beyond skin color, I see what’s in a person’s heart and mind; but I’m not. I have dreamed to have dark skin; I love how the light melts into the skin, creating beautiful golden tones. Yes, I see you. I see all of you. And I love who you are, inside and out.”

I’ll tell you of one of my recent experiences.

January 17, I was invited to attend a performance of, “We Shall Not Sleep – The Story of our Ancestors,” performed by Gary Giles. It was a mixed media presentation, a slide show with music and Mr. Giles’ accompanying narration.

In his presentation, he portrays three key figures from African American History: Frederick Douglass, William Still, and Martin King Luther, Jr. I was entranced as I watched him transition from one character to the next, channeling the ancestors who fought for freedom, justice, and equal rights. His impassioned prose combined with the hauntingly poignant historical photos and music had me feeling as if I were living the history myself.

After the performance, there was not a dry eye in the room. After a lengthy standing ovation, Mr. Giles finally signaled for us to stop. (Later, he confided that it was the longest standing ovation that he had received.)

At the conclusion of the performance, Mr. Giles talked about this generation and future generations passing the torch – keeping the voices of the ancestors alive. Never forgetting the pain nor the triumph of a dark part of our history, or the strides made toward freedom and equality.

I invite you to visit Mr. Gileswebsite and view the teaser video for “We Shall Not Sleep – The Voices of our Ancestors,” and please feel free to leave comments and share, share, share!

This event opened my eyes even more to the horrors and struggles that African Americans have faced over the centuries. It was difficult to see an entire people treated so cruelly. It’s heartbreaking. But I’ve gained a new perspective and a new respect for those who have stood tall in the midst of fear and pain, and for those who never gave up when it came to demanding freedom and equality.

Yes, Black History Month is only a month long, but I say we celebrate our brothers and sisters year-round.

Let us all carry the torch, shall we?

Gary Feb 14 Semiahmoo 10 crop

 

 

 

A Red Cup And A Plea For Humanity


Attention! There is NO war on Christmas! There never has been, there never will be. Every year, immediately after Halloween, people get all up in arms and start screeching about a war on Christmas. Political correctness. Outrage at alternate holiday greetings. Festivus poles. Etc., etc., etc.. How can Christmas be hurting when the decorations and commercials start before Halloween is even celebrated? We are bombarded with Christmas this, Christmas that, retailers getting ready for the shopping season.

And now, I see silly people expressing outrage because Starbucks’ holiday cup this year is a simple, clean red. PUHHHLEEEZE. (Insert eye-roll.) So what if they chose NOT to add winterish designs? So what if there aren’t pretty little snowflakes or reindeer? I though what was INSIDE the cup was the reason for even using the cup!

I suppose now the netverse and mainstream media and certain non-journalistic right-wing liar-liar pants on fire entertainment television outlets are going to be up all night finding ways to further ignite this fake war.

Christmas. A time of joy, cheer, giving, sharing what we have with others, remembering those who we love. That’s what it’s about, right? NOT about camping out for 3 weeks in front of Best Buy, not the stampedes on black Friday and acting like greedy, selfish children and injuring others in your way to get something on sale before someone else gets it (who might really NEED it). It’s NOT about attacking others for NOT celebrating Christmas. It’s NOT about “gimme gimme gimme!”

Last time I checked, outrage, disgust, and judgment about someone’s corporate holiday color choice on a paper cup meant to serve hot goodness was no reason to scream about a war on Christmas. If I were you, I’d feel DARN lucky to even be able to walk into a Starbucks and purchase said drink. Do you know how many people on this planet can’t even afford that?

Now, do you still want to find an outlet for your outrage? I’ll give you a list, and I can guarantee, my list will have more to do with Christmas than your crazy silliness over a paper cup.

1. Help a homeless person. Give THEM a cup of coffee. Sit with them for a while, listen to their story. Give them your attention. Show that you care. Give them a coat, a gift of a hotel room for Christmas eve, or invite them to your home for a warm dinner and a warm bed. Buy them a portable shelter, warm socks. Anything will help.

2. Thank a veteran. Do you know how many veterans are lacking health care, and are homeless? Do you know how many just need someone to CARE? Invite them and/or their family to spend time with you, or see where their passion lies, and HELP THEM.

3. Volunteer at a women’s shelter. I promise you, helping a survivor of domestic violence and even a warm, gentle hug will go much farther than complaining about a design-less circular piece of coated cardboard.

4. Volunteer at your local food bank or donate food. Do you know how many hungry children and families there are in your own neighborhood? Do you know how many people are working 1, 2, 3 jobs to just survive and are still struggling to feed their families?

5. Take in GLBT youth who’ve been ostracized or kicked out of their homes. Tackle the issue of bullying. These kids are our future, HELP THEM. Join up with GLSEN OR GLAAD. Find out how you can be a mentor or big brother or sister.

6. Find a way to get involved and stop our children from killing each other! Be a part of the healing, not the hurting!

7. Instead of screaming about a red cup, why don’t you scream about the senseless wars going on? Why don’t you get upset about the fact that children are watching their families get blown up before their very eyes? Why don’t you get out and make your voice heard, or do something? Anything? Instead of turning a blind eye to situations that really are important?

In short, I’d like you to care about things that MATTER. And that’s PEOPLE. Show some empathy. Show some love. Show some of what Jesus taught, and that’s LOVING PEOPLE. Look beyond the circumstances and see them for who they are, the same as YOU on the inside.

Now, I’m going to paint my Facebook and Twitter pages RED. This is my way of making a difference, making my voice heard. But most importantly, it is my way of showing that Christmas and the holiday season means more to me than a cup that may or may not have holiday themed graphics. It means caring, loving, sharing, and doing my part to bring awareness to what really is important, and that’s loving, helping others, and being a catalyst for healing and change. Let’s make a difference now, and year-round. Caring shouldn’t just happen at Christmas.

Will you join me in flooding the net with red? Doing so will be saying that you support helping others, you support humanity and that you are willing to help heal our planet. I’d love to know how YOU are using #FloodTheNetWithRed2015 to bring a smile to someone’s face or make someone’s day. So, let’s flood the net with red and then flood my inbox with YOUR inspirational stories!

‪#‎FloodTheNetWithRed2015‬

You can find me on Facebook and Twitter

Who are the Courageous Heroes?


Courage

I was finally able to catch up with news and watched Caitlyn Jenner’s speech at the ESPYs. She was wonderful!

Of COURSE the haters came out in full force.

The most courageous acts are those where we allow the world to see our REAL SELVES. Much of our society is steeped in judgment, anger, and fear. For some, the biggest fear is rejection. We want to be accepted, to be loved, to be supported and empowered, no matter who we are or what we do with our lives.

I’ve often said that baring one’s soul is much more frightening than baring one’s body. “Normalcy” (I DETEST this word) is seen as more acceptable than being original. Why must we copy others to be accepted?

I told all 3 of my kids years ago, “I don’t care if you are gay, straight, bisexual. I don’t care if you worship the sun or the grass growing. All that matters is that you be who you are without fear. I love you unconditionally. Period. You are who you are. And I’ll be DAMNED if any of you feel like you have to take your own life because you feel like you are unaccepted or wrong for being YOU.”

Now, who is a true hero? ANYONE who has the courage to live and be in such a way that it feeds their soul. ANYONE whose courage to speak out prevents a child from taking their own life. ANYONE who speaks out for acceptance and respect toward any human being, no matter their color or sexual orientation.

This world is FULL of heroes, and it’s the voices of those heroes that should be heard. Whether those voices are from musicians, actors, athletes, the newspaper delivery man down the street, or the hairdresser in your neighborhood, the single mom working 3 jobs to feed her children…you can bet that yes, they ARE heroes.

I’d bet that many of those who are screaming the loudest against Caitlyn Jenner haven’t lifted a finger or a voice to save a life. In fact, their words and actions are doing just the opposite.

So I, as a bisexual woman, (and this is the first time I’ve said it publicly) am speaking out in my own way FOR acceptance and respect toward EVERY HUMAN BEING. I speak out for equality under the law. I speak out for justice. I speak out FOR diversity and AGAINST racism. I speak out for love and freedom. I speak out for the right to live in a way that feeds our souls and gives us the opportunity to uplift others, to live by example.

Soon the hate-filled voices will be drowned out by the love-filled voices.

‪#‎speakingmytruth ‬‪#‎lovemeasIam‬ ‪#‎onelove‬

Love Wins!


love is love

Before getting back to creating this morning, I decided to look over the news. Of course the BIG news is marriage equality. First of all, many thanks to Mildred and Richard Loving, who fought against the law banning interracial marriage. Their love, activism, and persistence were a perfect example of how to change unjust laws regarding marriage. The ruling in 1967 allowing interracial marriages set the stage for yesterday’s marriage equality victory for same sex couples.

Am I wrong for finding the outrage and comments of conservatives and anti-gay persons hilarious? And some of what they are spouting makes NO SENSE whatsoever; much of the vitriol is connected to their “knowledge” of religion/Bible/God.

So, let me ask a few questions and toss a few comments your way:

1. How does a legal piece of paper giving my sister the right to marry the woman she loves and allowing her (a human being) the same legal rights and protections as any other married human being, even REMOTELY affect YOUR marriage? Since when is it your business who she lives with, drinks coffee with, does laundry with, works in the garden with, shares an evening enjoying the sunset with?

2. “Traditional (biblical) marriage.” Let’s stop here for a moment. You want to get all literal? Ok. Let’s talk about marriage in the Bible. Polygamy. Ordered to marry your rapist. Concubines. Marrying prisoners of war. Shall I continue?

3. Separation of church and state: I’ve seen comments about how our “founding fathers” are rolling in their graves right now. Actually, I’m pretty sure they’d be high-fiving each other due to the fact that the Supreme Court has agreed that no religion can have a say in who marries whom in the U.S. A MARRIAGE is a civil contract, having nothing to do with the church. A WEDDING, however, can have a lot to do with (and in) a church.

4. No, this does NOT mean people will be marrying their dogs, their houses, their cars, and NO, this does not open the door for adults to marry children. Where on EARTH is this ignorance coming from? Marriage is a civil contract between CONSENTING ADULTS. Last I heard, no dog or car or house can sign a marriage license, nor would any county clerk allow a child to sign a legal document that they have no understanding of.

5. “Marriage equality is wrong because marriage is for procreation!” (Insert eye roll.) Really? How many married hetero couples cannot have children? How many choose NOT to? Should their marriages be banned? How often, on any given day, are hetero couples having sex WITH BIRTH CONTROL because they do not want children?

6. What committed couples enjoy in their own bedrooms, as consenting adults, is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. I’m pretty sure same sex couples have no desire to know what you are doing in your bedroom on a Saturday night after watching Fox News. (Yes, I went there smile emoticon ) So why would you make it YOUR business to get all up in THEIR bedroom? Are you curious? Are you secretly gay? Are you jealous? Or is your life so unfulfilled, do you dislike yourself so much, that you have to insert yourself into the lives of others and try to make theirs just as awful? (Hint: don’t worry, same sex couples don’t give a flying f*&^ what you do, who you do it with, or how you do it.)

7. “The world is going to hell! This is the end of freedom as we know it! Next our religion will be banned!” Ok. Freedom for ALL. That’s it. No same sex couple is going to take away YOUR freedoms, ever. Religion will not be banned. However, actions by many in the name OF religion have taken the freedoms of many in this country, (and the world: imprisonment, death). You’ve got it all backwards. No one cares who/what/why/where you worship. No one is taking that away. But YOU need to step back and stop using your religion and the Bible as clubs to beat others into submitting to what YOU believe is right, based on false teachings and fear & hate based rhetoric.

8. You are all screaming about the “gay agenda.” Well, ok. Yeah. You know what it is about? Equal rights. Period. Freedom to BE…without persecution, judgment, and abuse. But let’s change “gay agenda” to just plain “freedom under the law.”

9. Be careful. Your hate is showing. Your fear is showing. I have a suggestion. Stop, open your minds, and relax. Connect and engage. Realize that the Constitution is here to protect the rights of ALL. Be grateful that you have the RIGHT to free speech, the right to practice whatever religion you want, the right to marry whomever you want. Step back and think about it: allowing every human the same rights benefits ALL.

10. Why would you want to move to Canada, now that marriage equality is the law of the land? It’s also legal in Canada, don’tcha know? I’m pretty sure they don’t want your bias and hatred dirtying up their waters.

11. “Now we will have another civil war!” Eh, I’m pretty sure there won’t be. For some it may feel like it. What we will see and hear is the death rattle of persecution and judgment against same sex equality. I feel your pain. It’s hard to let go of hate and bigotry when it’s been the basis of how you live your life. But guess what, there is life after death. So when you’ve released that crap that serves no one, you’ll find a new freedom within you.

13. Now, what can we do to protect our African American brothers and sisters from hatred and racism? What will it take for everyone to live in peace with no judgment, bigotry, hatred, and fear? What will it take to stop the unlawful imprisonment and the destroying of families? What must we do to end the needless killing of children and young men? We can’t stop now.

Every human on this planet should be able to enjoy equal rights, no matter WHAT. We need to step back from the fear, hatred and judgment and realize that underneath our skin color, behind our gender or sexual preferences, there lives a soul that desires to love, live, and be happy; someone who wants to fulfill their dreams. How we live our individual lives with our individual preferences and desires is what makes this planet so beautiful. It’s called DIVERSITY.

FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR ALL. This is what matters. Living from the heart. Living free from persecution. Acting from a place of love. Embracing all.

#LoveWins

I’m So Grateful


From the Mind of G Man

  behind bars

I woke up this morning and got my bike ride in before the rain came. I had Tupac playing on my iPod. “Me Against the World” is the song that got me started. Listening to his music forced me to ride a little further today. It was at that moment that I realized just how much music affects my life. I got back home and put Toni Braxton on my Pandora station. Took a long hot shower, lit a couple of candles, and put on my old comfortable pajamas. I was preparing myself to write.

The window was cracked. I smelled the rain before I heard it. There’s just something about the smell of the first drops that hit the pavement. I closed my eyes for a few moments and searched my mind for what I’d write next. A Kelly Price song came on, “Lord of All.” The…

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