Are We Evil or Just Mentally Ill

The photograph shows Hitler embracing Rosa Bernile Nienau, then about five or six, and is embellished with flowers which were placed by the young girl, Alexander Historical Auctions said.

Hitler and a Jewish Girl.

I’m going on a rant so hang in there or click out. I’m having this existential crisis as in, ‘why do I love bad people?’ Why do I see the light and soul in them even when they have told me to my face that they are not good for me. Why do I ignore red flags. Why do I keep best friends who belittle and abuse me. Why do I stay when I hurt and my life is so painful I want off world. Am I wrong to love “bad” people or am I loving the human beyond their obvious and sometimes painful trauma responses to life.

I don’t believe in the Devil but I do believe in mental illness. If there is evil on this planet it stems from the human consciousness or lack of consciousness we see daily in the news and in our society. The Devil didn’t make the Nazi, poverty, anger, despair, racism, and a need for revenge over the loss of world war one created the Nazi. The Devil didn’t create Jeffery Dahmer. Untreated childhood trauma created Jeffery Dahmer. Think of all the evil you have ever experienced, trace it back to its source and you will usually find a deeply painful traumatic origin story that leads to mass or individual mental illness. 

So, all those people in prison can’t be mentally ill right? Some of them are just evil right? Nope. They’re damaged, broken, traumatized and crammed into a system that will only injure them further. The rate of recidivism among inmates is so high because they generally come out of prison more damaged and mentally unstable than they were when they went in. The only evil under the sun is the human need to have power over another person, to create cast systems that makes one person lower then them, to hurt innocence, and destroy freedom because of an ingrained belief that if you are lower then me then I’m not at the bottom, you are. The only evil is us.

I grew up poor. My dad would walk through the house and laugh as he said, “We is Po Fuckers!” Yep! he was a racist immigrant who knew he didn’t have a pot to piss in and never would. He hated everyone who wasn’t white because that meant that his light skin made him better then the people he made fun of, the people I called friends and he called N*****s. When I told him my DNA proved we were gypsy and mostly North African and Middle Eastern he went silent. Who was beneath him now? His white brotherhood wasn’t his brotherhood anymore. He’s a Gypsy like me and the fear of being other must have hit him hard. 

Fear makes monsters of us. Fear yells in our head that if we don’t ace the next test or get into the good school we’ll be like them, the poor trash, the prison bound, the under dogs that don’t fight their way to the top but just get run over. I was born poor trash living in domestic violence and even when I thought I had fought my way out I realized I hadn’t. My thoughts about myself screamed in my father’s voice,” You is a Po Fucker and you won’t be nothing.” I was baptized in poverty consciousness, a mental illness that constantly reminds you that your next meal is not guaranteed, and your roof is only your roof as long as you can afford to pay the MAN to keep it. 

So how do we heal America? How do we end the mad dog savagery that is us. And please don’t think that just because you drive a Benz, live in the perfect community, and attend church regularly you aren’t just as big a lunatic as the rest of us. So again, how do we conquer fear and really turn this sinking ship toward shore? Well I’m just crazy enough to tell you. 

  1. There is no evil, there’s just you. 
  2. Fear is driving the crazy bus so if you want to get off you have to find faith in your own instinctual goodness. A person who does not fear can not be controlled. 
  3. You have to start loving yourself. A person who loves themselves can not stand on anyone else’s neck to get a better view because a person with a direct connection to self love honers and loves the Devine in everyone they meet.

Love yourself. You were divinely made. Turn off the news. Step out of the matrix. Fear nothing but your own need to control. Mental illness doesn’t have to be our final destination. We weren’t born to struggle.

The Masks We Share

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In therapy yesterday, I told my therapist that I was no longer afraid of my future, that I was riding the wave of what it is to be a single woman in this world. That it’s true that I don’t know where life will take me, but that I do know that wherever I land I will make my home. Over the last few months, I have rediscovered a resilience I had forgotten I had. In living a life that was not mine I had forgotten the cloth my soul was cut from and the girl I was went somewhere I could not follow. She’s with me now. She is me and I am her and we are riding this wave together.

It’s not a tidal wave, or a hurricane, or a tsunami I am surfing. It’s a life wave that most of us ride at some point in our lives. I’m not sad anymore. My heart has mended and I know that I was put on this earth to love and to love well. I know my own grace, my own inner goodness, and I know that I loved fully and absolutely even when all hope was gone. I love still.

Today I met a homeless woman my age. Her eyes were my eyes only lost and sad and wandering. How easy it would be to become her. She started to wander into traffic so I called her and she came to me on my island of a street corner. “A mask,” she said, panicked. “I need a mask.” I rummaged in my bag, pulled out a clean one and gave it to her. “Take care of yourself babe,” I said and then blew her a kiss. She blew me a kiss and I walked to the gym. Our kiss broke my heart because in that short interaction where I saw myself where I could have been if not for the grace of God, I also saw my own pain and fear reflected back at me. “Take care of yourself,” I was talking to me. “Babe,” I was talking to me, the blown kiss, I was sending love to me while loving her for being the me that somehow fell into the insanity that I have fought for so long.

Inside the gym I went straight to the bathroom, locked the door and got down on my knees and prayed out loud. I prayed for all the hungry, and the cold, the lost and the forgotten, the insane and the sane because there is only a hair’s width of distance between one and the other. I prayed for my husband and I prayed for my son and lastly, I prayed for me. When I was done my eyes were swollen with crying and I stared at my wrinkled puffy face and saw the girl I was grown into a strong sane woman who loves…loves…loves…without condition.

I am riding this wave and I don’t know where it will take me and I am doing it with compassion and kindness, forgiveness, and love. I invite you all to join me. Let go of your expectations, your preconceptions, your biases and your pain and remember that somewhere in the depths of a city you are cold and raged and begging for a new mask to wear because you are frightened and alone with no mask at all.

Be humbled. Know the I AM. Find comfort on your knees. Love without condition. Be peace to know peace. I love you and I mean it from the bottom of my soul. I honest to God love you.

Birth of an Empath

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The floor boards creek under my weight. I walk as carefully as I can, choosing the floorboards that creek the least. Our house is old and I am small, still a child, but the floorboards creek anyway. I feel her before I see her, she’s like an ice fog drifting in from the darkened living room, a sort of gauzy uncomfortable energy that warns there’s a bear in there, step back slowly. Pray it is asleep. But she’s awake and I have been spotted.

“What are you doing up?”

“I just need water.” I fill a glass and drink it down too quickly, fear from being spotted and the jolt of cold water hit me stomach in the same moment, making me nauseated. “Do you want a light on? Can I get you anything?” I go into people pleaser mode because the energy I’m reading is angry, brooding and needs a victim and I’m the one out of bed.

“Stop trying to butter me up.” It’s her usual phrase for when she has caught me trying to make things ok. I have done nothing wrong but I can feel I’m in trouble. So, I stand and wait, wondering if I will be up all night or sent back to bed. I feel her eyes on me and my need to fix the situation is so huge that I’m almost shaking.

“Let me get you a blanket.”

“I have one. Your father is snoring, I can’t sleep. Never get married.” She is talking so I sit quietly beside her on the couch and prepare for a long night of listening.

I was a two-years-old when I first began serving my mother. I brought her water and snacks from the kitchen and wet wash rags for her forehead because being pregnant with my sibling made her too sick to care for me so I was parentified and cared for her. I was such a good little girl. She told everyone how helpful I was. I didn’t know then that she was menacing, frightening, and mentally ill. She was my mother and I both feared and loved her.

It was the fear the taught me to read a room before I entered it, to see if she was in a safe mood or a dangerous one. Of course, her moods could flip in a moment and there was no reading when that would happen. As a teenager I enjoyed triggering her and fighting her. It was a sort of sick revenge, but by then I had learned to hate her for all the years of fear and punishment I had endured at her hands.

An empath and a people pleaser are both made through fear. One feels for what they are about to face and the other prepares a litany of appeasing acts, words, and gestures to help calm and sooth the situation. I learned early on that if I baked a pie my parents would eat and stop fighting. Empaths and people pleasers are not weak big hearted love bugs who just can’t help being kind. We are survivalists who will go to any lengths to ensure that the one who holds the power is happy. If they’re happy we can creep off and find somewhere safe to live, some corner in our dangerous households where we can pretend that we are okay.

One morning when I was about 18 my sibling ran into my room and jumped into my bed. We sat frozen and listening. Mother was moving through the house, her loud foot falls sounding a warning.

“You can always tell which mother we will have to deal with by the way she walks,” My sibling said.  In that moment I realized that I was not the only one who found mother to be incredibly terrifying.

If you are dating a people pleaser the kindest thing you can do is not let them do anything, just help them feel safe and protected. After a while they will settle in and begin to relax. Empaths and people pleasers make wonderful partners and parents. And please notice when they set boundaries, and respect the fact that they have. When your PP or Empath partner sets a boundary and holds firm to it, that means they are well on the road to recovery. There are no boundaries in abusive homes. A home with boundaries and respect is a home where healing and happiness is possible.

I love you. We’re evolving. Create your Eden wherever you are.

Self-Compassion: Turning Self-Hate into Self-Love

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We were trained to be hard on ourselves, to reach for the stars and kick our own ass’s if we didn’t touch them. We normalized trash talk in sports, and looked our girlfriends up and down to make sure they were cool enough to be seen with us. We watched our weight, we watched our friend’s weight, and we persecuted ourselves if the scale tipped in the wrong direction. In school we either got great grades or flunked every class and we made certain that everyone knew how fantastic we were or that we were anarchist losers ready to take down the system, and when we slipped in our roles…well that’s when we were the hardest on ourselves.

Each year one in five students has thoughts of killing themselves, making suicide the number two cause of death among students age 15-24. Our children are suffering from test anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm, depression, and so much more. It’s time that we taught ourselves and our children to be kind to the person we’ve become. It’s time we chose kindness over toughness because none of us are tough enough to face the pressures of today without a lot of support and self-love.

Self-Compassion is not a new concept but it is being presented in a new way by Dr. Kristin Neff in her book, The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook. This is the single most effective self-help book I have ever read. All my negative self-talk is gone. I have to repeat that. All of my negative self-talk IS GONE! After years of not feeling thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, good enough, worthy enough, outgoing enough, I now know that I am enough exactly as I am.

In the opening chapter Dr. Neff says, “Self-Compassion involves treating yourself the way you would treat a friend who is having a hard time.” It’s that simple. From there the book leads you through meaningful practices in mindfulness, releasing resistance, developing loving-kindness, and so much more. And if you’re worried that this may be one of those impossibly difficult to read books, it’s not. It reads like a child’s how to, on the proper care of a kitten. I think I loved that best about this book. It took the thing that tortures and kills us every day, our lack of self-worth, and it solved it with a practice so easy to follow that a child can understand it. Everything about Dr. Neff’s The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook, is loving, simple, and above all, compassionate.

We really don’t have a choice anymore. Our mental health impacts our physical health, our spiritual health and the overall health of our families and our community. As I travel through my own healing journey, I will share with you what has worked and what has not. For me, Dr. Neff’s The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook is a must read/must practice book to keep with you all your life. Share it with your family, share it with your friends, share it with the world. We only have one life in this body. Let’s live it with more love and Self-Compassion.

You are Strong. You are Worthy. You were made for these times.

I love you. Keep going. You got this.

The Death of the Guru

prayer

We’re all searching for something. We’re all looking for the divine answer that leads to the divine escape from chaos, fear, heartache and loneliness. Whether we look for it in relationship, a bottle or a church we are seeking to be more, to be better, to but understood and accepted. When I was twelve I turned to Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. as my examples of peace. I desperately needed peace in my life, the kind of peace they seemed to embody. At twelve I realized how fully capable I was of violence. At fourteen I became a pacifist in theory if not in reality and I began my slow arduous journey towards a sustainable, compassion based existence. I began identifying and rooting out the evils in my life. First I moved away from home, taking my horse and staying with friends for months on end. At 22 I escaped completely and hardly looked back. By 23 I was married and safe but the hell in my head made a hell of my life. I continued my search for escape until the day I realized that wherever I went…there I was…with all my chaos in tow. I could not escape my problems because I never let them go.

Throughout my many years of searching for truth and forgivness I’ve come to one solid understanding: There is no single person who can fix me. There are thousands of people who insisted that if I just read their books, take their supplements, follow their philosophy or join their ashram I will find the inner peace I am searching for. I’ve had Christians tell me to placed my faith in Jesus and be free of darkness. I’ve had yoga masters promise me that through daily practice with their “Masters” I’ll be liberated, transformed and healed. Doctors have prescribed drugs, supplements and diets to clear my energy body, detox my cells and raise my energy vibrations. Acupuncturists have pocked me with needles, read my auras and told me that with a few more treatments my Chakras would come into balance.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars on healing, thousands of hours drinking bitter health teas, popping pills, stretching, praying, meditating only to rise the next morning the same angry person I’d been the night before. So what was the answer? On the eve of my 38th birthday the only thing I am certain of is that I am the only one who can fix me. My belief in the abilities of sage healers is dead. I will never again look to a “healer” for guidance. I have killed the idea of the guru because the wise man is just another person getting through the day. I recently watched the documentary Kumare’ by Vikram Gandhi which verified everything I have come to believe. Only through daily practice of that which feels good, feels right, and serves my highest good will I ever find peace. The ability to heal is within all of us; it’s just a matter of taking time away from social chaos, duty and convention in order to find the small simplicities that lead us into peace. So I meditate, I walk my dog, I stretch, I self-medicate when hell rains down and I pray to God to remove my anger, to help me forgive and to make me a better person. I practice everyday gratitude and I live and love as if each day were my last. If I tell you I love you I mean it. If I love you it’s because I see the light in you, the sparkle God put there and I’m grateful you’re in my life. We are our own wise men, our own holy men, and we hold the keys to our own salvation through love of God and love of each other, tranquility of sprit and the solemn acceptance that we are human: flawed, beautiful, unique and fragile.

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