Thursday, October 19, 2017

Response to Metoo

I can't look away, I can't stay silent and I don't know what to say.

I deeply respect and admire those who are courageously sharing their story. Yes, it is forward movement towards healing on the individual level. Acknowledgement, awareness is where it begins. 

The cultural shadow of sexual abuse, assault and harassment that is hidden, suppressed, fed and continues to grow is beyond disturbing and frustrating. It triggers me. It breaks my heart into a million pieces. Not necessarily because of any personal story. It triggers me because of the power that is stripped of an individual and degree of suffering that is left to be endured. And because its just wrong. It triggers me because somewhere in my soul I took a vow. A vow to be a voice for change (I am still sorting this out with my embodied self), to speak truth and in some cases stand up for injustice.

So, when I would rather turn off my news feed and bliss out with my yoga, some chocolate and wine. I don't, I keep reading. When I would rather disengage and pretend I am separate from the ones speaking up, and who are hurting. I don't. I keep feeling it. When I would rather stay silent, because I don't know what to say. I don't. I keep listening for the words to come.

Being engaged in the difficult conversation and dialogue is where the healing can move forward and beyond acknowledgement and awareness. I am not going to pretend that I am an expert or even well versed on this complicated and tragic subject, or that I have any answers, or that I can begin to understand the pain and suffering that some have gone through.

I will share my thoughts and perspective in the most sensitive way I can.

All stories are valid and personal. And sharing is important in the healing process. The healing process can and most often does involve expressing anger, blame, rage, sadness, and more. The healing process will look differently for each individual based on his or her experience. How these stories unfold and are received will be different. I don't see that grouping all the stories into one hashtag or meme, will help us to heal on a cultural and/or systemic level.  Posting "me too", whether conscious or unconscious of the dynamic between victim (mostly women) and perpetrator (mostly men) that is being played out, is inadvertently blaming and shaming a whole population of people, men in this case; and may be contributing to an already huge divide between men and women.

As I said earlier, it can be healing and empowering to be able to have a platform to share and speak up. Perhaps, social media is not the best place for this? Yet at the same time, this is where we have the potential to create a movement, because there is mass collective attention there.

If we truly want to create change from the inside out we need to be careful not to perpetuate separation in the process. Change begins with each individual. Each one of us must do the inner work of self-compassion and forgiveness so we can rise up and out of blame, shame and guilt (victim consciousness) in order to make a difference on the collective level. And it requires everyone doing the work.  

We are not free until ALL are free. When we do our work to heal our personal traumas, we have greater capacity to take action, and serve where we need to from a place of compassion, forgiveness and understanding.

My hope is that in sharing this offers perspective and is in no way blaming anyone. This is a systemic cultural problem and there is no easy solution. Engaging in the conversation and listening to each individual story is a start.