Monday Blogging – I love the Internet!

Overall, I love the Internet. Sometimes it is frustrating, and angering, and just plain full of stupid, but mostly I love the tech that allows me to connect with people from all over the globe. I also love the video tech of the Internet. Skype, Google Hangout, TinyChat. Seeing people I’m talking to is great. Modern day conference calls that allow seeing facial expressions, hand waving, and heads thrown back in laughter. These things make me happy. Very happy!

So, to make this a religious post – I use this tech to keep in contact with my co-religionists, my fellow initiates, my up-and-coming initiates, students, etc. I like that if we have things to go over and time is short, or traveling is not feasible we have this option. Even locally we have this option. I still prefer in person, yes, but options! The Internet Haz Them! I like the timing of this lifetime very much because of this. Huzzah!

On being surprised when people act as they actually are (tardy Monday blogging)

Well, 2 days late, damnit. Where does the time go? So, Wednesday blogging.

When people are honest about who they are, how they behave, and their actions show consistently this truth, why am I surprised? I should not be. They have been truthful with me. I have seen them in action. I have acknowledged certain truths about them and love them anyway. (Duh. Humans, flawed.) And yet. And yet and yet and yet when their truth has a less than positive impact on me I am all o_O for a bit – surprise!

This is a flaw in me. Do I think I am oh so special I will get better different treatment than the rest of the world? Do I think because this is a person who loves me I’ll escape the less pleasant parts of their personality? Apparently I do think that. Why? Time proves me wrong. I get my feelings hurt. When I examine my hurt, when I sink deeply and Listen I hear the same thing over and again: “This is Who They Are. Why are you surprised?”

Like I said to ye daughter a few weeks ago about a friend’s behaviour, “Stop being surprised.”

It seems I needed to hear it as well as say it.

Monday blogging – Why Elliot Rodger is a product of patriarchy

“when she was 7, a boy pushed her on the playground
she fell headfirst into the dirt and came up with a mouthful of gravel and lines of blood chasing each other down her legs
when she told her teacher what happened, she laughed and said ‘boys will be boys honey don’t let it bother you
he probably just thinks you’re cute’
but the thing is,
when you tell a little girl who has rocks in her teeth and scabs on her knees that hurt and attention are the same
you teach her that boys show their affection through aggression
and she grows into a young woman who constantly mistakes the two
because no one ever taught her the difference
‘boys will be boys’
turns into
‘that’s how he shows his love’
and bruises start to feel like the imprint of lips
she goes to school with a busted mouth in high school and says she was hit with a basketball instead of his fist
the one adult she tells scolds her
‘you know he loses his temper easily
why the hell did you have to provoke him?’
so she shrinks
folds into herself, flinches every time a man raises his voice
by the time she’s 16 she’s learned her job well
be quiet, be soft, be easy
don’t give him a reason
but for all her efforts, he still finds one
‘boys will be boys’ rings in her head
‘boys will be boys
he doesn’t mean it
he can’t help it’
she’s 7 years old on the playground again
with a mouth full of rocks and blood that tastes like copper love

con’t here

Fortesa Latifi – Boys Will Be Boys(And Why That Is The Stupidest Thing You Could Ever Say To A Little Girl)

Flashback 2005 – Monday blogging

(I missed a week. Oops!)

Back in 2005 an online friend had a witchcraft course running in a forum. The tradition she co-created was Wiccan based. That trad was not for me, but one of the pieces of course work I found very intriguing. It was to rewrite the Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente in our own words  with what the deities mean to us after meditating on the charge. Here is my rewrite:

The Charge of the Goddess

by PJVJ (Modified from Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Goddess)

Listen to the words of the Great Mother; she who of old

was also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione,

Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis,

Brid, and by many other names.

 I am the cut in the leaf and the tiny insect underneath. I am the wild goose and soaring wind. I am your joyous burst of laughter and your most bitter tear. I flit at the edges of your imagination and tease in your dreams. I am the base of all that you are and that you will become. I am the love – in nature, in art, in music, in laughter, in sex, in you. I am the despair – in light, in darkness, in words, in crowds, in loneliness, in you. I am always with you. I am the Honor. I am the Humility. I am the Reverence. I am the Peace. I am the Joy of All things.

Meet with kindred spirits, once a month when the moon is full, and invoke my presence, my joy, my desire; and fulfill your need. Call me and I shall join you in your rite.  Know that all acts, all manners, of love and pleasure come through me. Rejoice in my presence and raise voice, hands and feet to me. Sing! Dance! Laugh! Seek my wisdom – all of my wisdom.

Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess; she in the dust

of whose feet are the hosts of heaven, and whose body

encircles the universe.

Look up! Look down! I am everywhere. I am here in your house. I am out in the fields. I am above you in the sky. I am below you in the middle earth. I surround the universe with my ample self and I reach inside you and light the flame – of existence, of knowledge, of love, of eternity. Seek everywhere at once for me, but know this to be true – if what you seek you do not see first within you, you shall never find it outside of you.

I am the beginning and end, the above and below, the seen and unseen. I was there to smell your first breath and I will be there blowing your last breath away. And when you rise again I will be there with you. I am All that Is and all that Is is Me.

Copyright © 2005 (Boneweaver) Pamela V Jones

Predators in our community – Monday blogging

There is so much to say and so little coherence in me right now. Recent dredging up of past events because of current ones is not a bad thing if used as an example for how to correctly have conversations going forward about abusers in our community. Getting stuck in the quarreling over that past event is counterproductive and rarely moves that conversation forward.

That doesn’t mean everyone should shut up about it. It means finger pointing backwards in time at those you believe didn’t do enough or did too much when there was no template in place for how to speak of abuse in our community doesn’t promote the conversation we need to have. There was no template for accountability when legal authorities weren’t involved (or yet involved)  and the rehashing of blame only stalls the conversation at the point of the past crisis. Stalled means we stay where we were before we started. It is not useful.

We need to find ways to allow these conversations to occur unhindered by kneejerk reactions as the abuse is happening, as the abuse is being addressed (by community and/or legal authorities), and in the aftermath. The only successful way to allow it is to actually allow it.

That sounds so simple. It is not. It means withholding judgment. Not only withholding judgment about the people who speak up about their abuse, but also withholding judgment about people who initially speak up in support of the abuser in words similar to, “But he couldn’t. He wouldn’t. He’s my friend. I’ve circled with him.”

Withholding judgment is not the same as putting on blinders. Withholding judgment is allowing people to be the humans we all are. “Not in my neighborhood.” “Not in my family.” “Not in my religious community.” This is an initial, self-protective response by those who have not suffered abuse when hearing about a horrific thing. If we are going to have truly open conversations in our community about abuse we need to know going in that initial kneejerk reactions are going to happen. We cannot stop them. (How could we?) We need to move past those very common reactions with grace and put ourselves where we should be – at the side of the victims.

Part of what needs to be put in place is clear appropriate support for the victims who speak up. Part of what needs to be put in place is the acknowledgment that the first step of speaking up isn’t the hard part no matter how much it seems to be. The hard part is standing in your truth while the backlash washes toward you. The abused need to know that the community will stand with them not only when they first speak up, but as a deflection wall around them when the naysayers first cry their disbelief. They need to know we will still be there after the cries have died to whispers to silence. Sometimes the silence after being brave is the most perplexing and disheartening phase to navigate.

I don’t have the perfect template. I don’t have the answers for how to address this enormous task at the level of “all of the community.” I don’t even know that it can be addressed at that large a level or if we have to trust the individual communities to hammer out their own templates. I’m thinking the latter with support from media outlets like popular sane blogs, newsletters, and e’lists.

There is no one perfect way. There are many incorrect ways. Let’s avoid as many of the incorrect ways as we can early in the conversation.

Incorrect (not an exhaustive list):

  • Shushing the victim by saying or implying they are traitors to their community
  • Telling the victim they are wrong or they misunderstood the actions of the abuser
  • Interrupting the abused as they tell their story to ask questions, clarify, whatever. (There is time for that after they have finished speaking.)
  • Derailing the conversation with stories of how “good, kind, well-respected” you have found the accused abuser to be
  • Shaming the victim by telling them what they could have done differently
  • Giving advice before being asked for it
  • Trying to minimize fallout by attempting to control the story and who hears it
  • Diminishing victims by classifying them: “the crazy ex”, “the one always in the center of controversy”, “the mouthy/bitchy one”, “the spotlight whore”. Even if all of those things are true.
  • Allowing your previous beliefs about the victim or abuser to close your ears to their story

Correct (not an exhaustive list):

  • Listen
  • Listen more
  • Listen some more
  • Make eye contact
  • Unfold your arms
  • Straighten your face (Feel eyebrows wanting to go up? Pull them down. Feel a frown coming on? Pull the corners of your lips in line.)
  • Let Love flow out through your core and your eyes
  • If they start panicking about the details of the abuse event urge them to stay in the moment of what they are feeling right now. Details of the abuse do not matter in the moments of first telling. The details will come back later. Support through the enormity of emotion that full realization of abuse brings requires staying in the here and now. (Focusing on remembering details keeps them in the scenery and time of the abuse event. The telling phase needs to stay in the present because that is where you are and the only place you can provide appropriate support.)
  • Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. Sit in that discomfort. It is minor compared to the discomfort they are in and if you can sit in it they will feel they can, too.
  • Finally, listen

Years, almost 2 decades now, I have been walking the healing path from (sexual) abuse that began in childhood which was the prevailing form of abuse with me. The above guide works with all categories of abuse. I walked with books, and workbooks, and conversations with other survivors. I walked with the grand idea of trying to initiate a child abuse education program in a religious community. I walked into face-to-face meet ups with survivors. I walked this healing path with many different tools and therapeutic relationships. The most useful, compassionate, and healing part of this path was when I walking with the telling and listening and telling and listening some more. The above partial lists are some of what I’ve learned. I offer them to you. May they be useful.

Monday blogging – the value of naps

A big part of my practice is listening to my body. It informs me in many ways beyond things that are aligned with its organs’ functions. And yet, and yet and yet, if I push away my body’s messages in regard to physical functions I will less be able to feel its wee twitches when it connects outward and informs me of what is alight in the ether.

I’m not always good at listening to it. I strive to be better. Sometimes meals are skipped, sleep is shortened, or warning bells ignored. If I do any of those for too long my body has a way of reminding me of the cost of my ignoring in less than pleasant ways.

Today my body said, “Nap. Now.” I fought it for awhile. I have to go to the drug store! I must practice Tai Chi! “Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap”, it replied. And so I did. (Better listening already.) I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes. Five minutes to fall asleep and 10 of actual nap time = all of my parts happy. Turns out that timer just counts down and doesn’t even make a ding when it ends. It just falls silent.

The nap was 20 minutes. Somewhere in my brain said, “Whoa, better wake her up or this is the last time we get a nap.” Smart brain. I woke up, put on my shoes, went to the drug store. I sang in the car all the way there, partway across the parking lot, and all the home. That was an effective nap.

Monday blogging – your authentic self

Walking through the world as your True Self™ is exceedingly freeing. More so than probably any other individual act besides death. It is also at times deeply painful. And often lonely. What drives you can and will drive some people away.

As for me, I am Boneweaver. BorderWalker. Fine at a distance. Up close and intimate is a whole ‘nother story. The magnet that flips around and repels when you didn’t even feel yourself turning. Clad yourself in soft iron, it only slows, not stops the process.

There’s a reason the Mighty Dead gave me then name Boneweaver. There were nods all around for how suited it was. A warning with the taking would have been nice, but would it have changed anything? No. No it would not. Still, warnings are nice to have even if ignored. So here is yours – carefully consider the ramifications of being your authentic self. Then go and be it.

Monday blogging – fun fact

Energy work slows my bowels. Workshops and Witchcamps, my bowels conserve the necessary physical energy for the workings. I appreciate their consideration, but really? I’d rather they remain their normal self and allow me to regulate and manage my physical needs consciously. Since it appears that is a given with intense work I will compensate in advance next time because everything else energetically is managed well concerning energy in versus energy out and fatigue. I thought it was coincidence or other factors, but after this weekend I acquiesce to the knowing that it is merely a piece of being me.

Okay then!

Monday blogging: liminal space, sacred space

I may turn off comments for this one. I haven’t decided yet. I’m not up for endless arguments about how the Phelps family deserves to have their father’s funeral picketed and why it is okay. I got enough of that on FB, tyvm.

Here’s my thing: I will not fuck around with the souls crossing the threshold. I just will not. That is not my job. My job in fact is quite the opposite. So, I am not going to picket anyone’s funeral no matter how horrid they or their family is/was. I find picketing funerals reprehensible and I don’t see it as okay depending on who is doing it. The same way I don’t view methodically killing a human is okay if the state does it instead of a citizen. So there’s that. I didn’t raise my kids by teaching them how to act right by doing to them the wrongs they had done to others. If one hit their sibling I didn’t teach them a lesson by hauling off and hitting them. You may like the “an eye for an eye” thing as a discipline, punishment, or fix, but I don’t follow the religion(s) that piece of justice comes from.

But the uppermost reason I will not picket anyone’s funeral is because I’m not mucking around there, in the liminal space, with ideas of revenge fueled by the same emotion that feeds the hatred of the Phelps family. Or any other human who is easily classified as despicable. Transitions are holy. I work the edges, I facilitate transitions. It’s not my job to exact punishments there. I don’t think it is anyone’s job to do so, but I don’t know All, so who knows. What I do know is it is not my job and I’m not doing it. Period.

What I also know about me is that I will continue to hold out hope that the Phelps family has a lessening of hate’s grip on their hearts, that the energies shift with the founder’s death, and they become decent people. I have no idea what the chances are for that, but I will still direct my energies there.

If they remain as hateful in the future as they are now I will happily stand between their picket line and the funeral they are desecrating. But I won’t be doing it for them. And while I’ll be doing it for the grieving family I will mostly be doing it to hold sacred space for the transitioning soul. Because that’s what I do. There is no amount of “convincing argument” about the bastards that the Phelps are that will change that. I do not need convincing, I know they are bastards.

Which brings me to the final piece. The Phelps picketed funerals. Some anti-Phelps folks will picket the founder’s funeral. I will not. Same as they get to be exactly who they are and you get to be exactly who you are, I also get to be exactly who I am.

Liminal space, sacred space, I hold the edges. I will do my Job.