Monthly Archives: May 2017

How Terrorism Made Me Feel Guilty

How Terrorism Made Me Feel Guilty

First Manchester’s concert now Kabul’s diplomatic area, targets hit by terrorists within weeks of each other. With every attack that has happened over the years I see images, hear stories and then I run a spectrum of emotions that are likely common for us all. But lately one emotion is standing out over the others – it’s called Guilt.

I wonder if I’m the only one who feels a sense of guilt for the many of moments of joy I felt today when I know others are crying. My biggest problem in the hours that just past was how to fit in time to practice scales for singing lessons. I washed sheets today and it is with great pleasure that this body will lay in a cozy bed next to my husband on those fresh sheets.

Outside my window people are walking and driving by because it is safe to do so. The fire truck drove past without sirens blaring – probably on a little run around the neighbourhood – no emergency.  I made sure there was fresh water for the birds outside and threw peanuts out for squirrels because nature is worth preserving. We’ll have pizza tonight made from fresh ingredients we bought at our local stores, I might have a glass of wine.

It is with all of this in mind and more that my guilt grows. I had a day that will likely not be memorable to me over time but for others in this world it will be a day they will never forget.

Wounded Elephant Crushes Trophy Hunter – Karma?

Wounded Elephant Crushes Trophy Hunter – Karma?

A friend of mine told me about the story of a trophy hunter by the name of Thuenis Botha. She had seen pictures of him and his various trophy kills on Facebook but the story she wanted to share with me was about him being crushed by an elephant. It was hard for either of us to have any sympathy for him and in fact we both felt his death was just karma.

Story: Wounded Elephant Crushes and Kills Trophy Hunter

I sponsor elephants in Kenya through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust so you can’t expect me to care for someone who knowingly goes out to harm them. For the life of me I will never understand the mindset of someone who kills a living being for sport.

The only thing I can figure is that this type of human being is at the lower end of the intelligence spectrum meaning that things boil down to a simplistic understanding of their world. They have little regard for the impact they are having on species and the environment. I also believe this type of person is obsessed with self, lacks compassion for other beings and only feels powerful when he/she can kill a defenseless animal. It is a sport based on status, a pissing contest of sorts that allows for bragging rights at the end. Useless, absolutely useless.

Make no mistake this is big business and, as we have seen in the past, extinction of animals is entirely possible when things are left to greedy hunters and corrupt governments. Hiding behind words like conservation and land management people like Mr. Botha see money through the barrel of their gun.

My mind returns to this elephant that likely saved her herd from further threat. She died in a way that if we were talking about a human being we would have called her brave. Just like a human her instinct was to protect her family and like humans her family will grieve the loss. And that’s another thing…

I find it puzzling that we like to think of ourselves as so superior and believe we are the only species that has the capacity to evolve – to become sentient beings. If we were capable of going from blobs of cells, to walking upright, establishing communication, creating family units and so on, why do we assume other species are not evolving too?

By studying other species in the wild, like primates, elephants and cetaceans, we have learned more about their evolution, intelligence, feelings and the many traits we share. One common thing in all of us is the need to protect those we care about.

Yes, I feel absolutely a sense of calm when I say Mr. Botha’s death was a good one. I don’t see his career as a big game hunter as something that should be aspired to or protected.

The grief I feel is for the elephant family that will never forget one of their own.

It is time to end trophy hunting and call it like it is— a cowardly, barbaric act in the name of sport.

 

Politics and Women Hating Women

Politics and Women Hating Women

News Flash: Just because we are women doesn’t mean we share the same brain or hold one common political belief system – but some ill-informed people might think we do.

When Marine Le Pen of France lost the French presidential election and Hillary Clinton failed to become the President of the United States you could hear and read opinions that centered around women who didn’t support these candidates. What followed were statements like, Women Against Women, Women Hate Other Women, Women Beware Women.

I get so v-e-r-y tired of this BS.

Informed people, regardless of their gender, vote based primarily on their personal values. They protest or support causes that directly impact their life, work, community or country. It is entirely possible to take a vagina or penis out of the equation and simply set out to elect a leader.

Now, follow me on this one because it might be hard for some of you who believe that a woman is against women if she doesn’t vote for one….GROW UP!!!

In an attempt to move us further away from divisive and simplistic comments about women I would like to offer this:

  1. There is no one size fits all Feminist and there never is a one size fits all female candidate
  2. Women are smart too and capable of making an informed choice
  3. They think, live, eat, dress, pray, dream, compete, believe, educate, plan and vote differently
  4. The myth that women hate other women continues but it remains without merit. If anything, one should look closer at men’s hatred for other men – especially related to stats on male on male violence. A point of fact: There are examples that both men and women don’t treat each other well
  5. The longer we keep separating women out politically and setting up narratives that pit women against women, the further we are from any form of unity or civility

So, is it a little clearer?

If I vote for a man, that doesn’t mean I gave up my membership to womanhood. If I protest against a leader – who happens to be a woman – that doesn’t  mean I hate her or that I’m against women, I simply don’t agree with the parties’ policies.

The Power of Learning

The Power of Learning

For many of us who have been in our fields for a long time it is possible to become complacent and feel as if we’ve seen or know it all. It is for these very reasons that I feel compelled to put myself in situations where I can challenge or affirm my understanding of our world, the role of work or establishing why we are the way we are.

In the last year I have participated in three very powerful events that impacted my work and to be quite honest also influenced my perception of people, resources and tools that are often associated with the helping professions – including my own.

At times I feel like a child who is learning something new and I am so proud to have grasped the concept. Other times what I’m participating in causes me to reevaluate so much of what I thought I knew.

In my experience the times when I felt the power of learning so profoundly was when I registered for things that appeared to be beyond my expertise. Sticking within my own wheelhouse is comforting as I can expand on what I know already and feel affirmed by my right answers. But, when I put myself outside of my familiar zone that’s a whole other sensory experience.

In the last year I have had three mind opening events come my way that I am grateful for and I want to share this with you.

The first was an online symposium on Translating Aboriginal Traditions to Employment. Without going into the specifics I just want to share how hearing the stories of those that participated impacted me not only on a professional level by also on a spiritual level.

I had taken cultural training courses and spent many years working with people from all over this country and world. Having sensitively to cultures comes with the territory – or so we think. But really I believe I have been naive to so many aspects of tradition and its role in employment. The sharing of stories surrounding residential schools, culture, community, ceremony, family and trauma were gifted to all of us and so our learning went far beyond employment.

Next I attended a conference on Ending Violence. Again the presenters expanded my understanding of the impact of violence while providing useful tools and resources that far exceeded my expectations.

For the last two days I attended a workshop facilitated by Dr. Lori Haskell – Working with Survivors of Gender-Based Violence: Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma. I can’t even begin to explain how incredibly valuable this was! What I learned will positively impact my work with clients who have experienced trauma but it also hit close to home. I took away information that changes how I view myself and others in my personal life. The learning went deep, not just through the speaker, but also I had the privilege of learning from those that were at my table.

So, why share all of this with you?

Because sometimes we think we know it all. Sometimes we think we are too small to be effective. Sometimes we might be afraid to learn new things and sometimes people may question why we are even interested.

Please don’t let that stop you because everything that you create begins with the moment you said YES to learning.