I loved reading about your beginnings in Minnesota, and your experiences around religion. I think that those of us that question the dominant paradigm are often ostracised, and yet we want to be accepted for who we are and for our own unique take on things. I was done with Christianity by age 12 and was grateful to discover reincarnation as a possibility. Some of us are just seekers...
Your beautiful boys are lucky to have such a strong, savvy momma. You are contributing to our future by raising them to understand diversity, privilege and entitlement. You are their guiding light and their moral model for approaching others with the compassion and kindness that you express in the world. It gives me hope for the world that there are boys being raised by mommas like you!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about authenticity. I think it is a life-long piece of work to manifest in our lives all of the potential we arrive with as soul, in each lifetime. There is so much that seems to stop us from being fully who we are in every moment, and yet it is such a worthy endeavor. Really, what else is there to do? And the hard spots just call us more and more forward as we build strength and gain guidance about what we are meant to do here. You are well on your way, and it is a powerful path for a powerful woman.
Doing Life, by Howard Zehr, was a revisit to a time in my life that was very meaningful to me. I had the privilege of facilitating a discussion series in a federal prison near Austin, Texas. It was a 10 week group that I ran three times a year for eight years. Some of the men in the group were with me every time I opened my mouth for all those years. There are many stories I could share, but the most important thing I learned is this: murderers are just like everybody else. Over the years, many men approached me to tell me what they had done. A recurring theme was pretty much, "I came to, and there was a dead body. I don't know how it happened." Often there were drugs and/or alcohol involved, or blind rage that led to the killing. A number of these men had been trained to kill by the military and were triggered in a bar-room brawl or some sort of confrontation with a loved one. The men that came to my class, Studies of Soul, were those that had chosen to seek the inner path of reconciliation with that part of themselves that had taken another's life. It is an exacting spiritual path, and takes great courage.
In the closing remarks of this book, Zehr shares, "Real accountability would mean understanding the harm they have done and to whom. They would then be encouraged to take responsibility, to the extent possible, to repair this harm." It is often not possible for murderers to communicate with the loved ones of the person they killed. As Zehr says, "Because the state is established as the offended party, persons who commit crimes have few reminders about those who actually suffered as a result of their actions. They are given few opportunities and little encouragement to address their sense of guilt and responsibility." I believe that deep healing can occur when the perpetrator and the loved ones of the victim can dialogue and come to terms in a deeper way with what happened. Perhaps in the future we will be able to create more opportunities for this, thanks to the work of people like Howard Zehr.