Sunday, May 24, 2015

One Step Forward

Two young ladies from India who work in Hyderabad got married in San Fransisco - to each other. Gay or lesbian marriages are not legal in India. The young ladies have been a couple for 8 years now and this simply was their way of letting the world know they are committed to one another. 

I read the news and had mixed feelings. I am ashamed to have to admit it, but for a moment I thought this was a let down for the Indian community. Then I stopped to reprimand myself. Let down? Did I somehow harbor the idea that the Indian community is superior and so ‘such things’ do not happen within our community? Was that the level of my acceptance of gay and lesbian relationships? Was it because I was distant from it?

I am almost 60 and have seen so many revolutionary changes and have prided myself for being a well-read, educated, compassionate, accepting person. I have often said, “I am spiritual.” “I believe in kindness over rightness.” I have consciously lived my life trying to be a better person everyday.

Today is one such day when I have to consciously examine myself and my values to expel the bigotry I demonstrated when I heard about the two young women who chose to honor love! I was raised at a time in a place where the word gay only meant happy and the word lesbian was not on my vocabulary radar. As I aged and moved around the world and was exposed to the reality of love and relationships the word gay went from being a ‘bad’ word to a controversial one and eventually a word that meant love! I believed that is where I was till I read the news and realized that my ‘acceptance’ of the word and the people who celebrate same sex relationships was really just a limited tolerance. 

Thank you Shwetha and Smruthi, today you have helped me close the circle and expand my horizons of acceptance! Today I congratulate the two of you and wish you joy and togetherness always. I am a married woman and am aware of the ups and downs that two people living together face and overcome. It takes effort, an open heart, an acceptance and tons of love especially during the low times - from both. It requires each to recognize the strength and the weakness of the other and to always hold each other up. Marriage is about being tied together and yet being individuals. A committed relationship is a dance that is both dynamic and explosive and yet flows like dancers on stage - within boundaries and yet free, sometimes intertwined and sometimes dancing at a distance on the same stage! There are no half measures between two people who have promised to remain successfully committed - you are all in or you do not belong together. 

One more step towards being a more accepting person - well done Basabi, even if I say so myself. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Forgive Abuse

Abused, hurt, ill-treated, neglected, oppressed, insulted, even killed - the pain does not ever go away. Once hurt has been done it cannot be undone. To demand restitution, justice, punishment is natural but if we want to live a positive and purposeful life, we must forgive. Forgive not the wrong done, but the wrong doer. Absolve not the wrong doer but ones own negative emotions, to make way for healing. 

Abuse can happen to anyone - it may be intentionally done to one or it may be out of ignorance. It is not always that abuse is done by one person. It may be perpetrated by an entire community. Once it has happened one must consciously go through the process of eliminating the perpetuation of that abuse to oneself and to others. One must learn from abuse - learn how not to be. To learn that, acknowledgement that abuse happened, grief at the hurt and eventually forgiveness must happen. We are a species with the ability to reason and the good fortune to make choices. We may choose to be bitter and stay in the pain and fear phase forever. We may also choose to consciously forgive and come out of the pain and the fear and live a authentically loving life. 

The pain phase is destructive. It destroys our ability to open up and grow. We are afraid and so build a wall around us. We are angry and so build a wall around us. We are sad and so build a wall around us. We are revengeful and so build a wall around us. The more walls we build the more disconnected we become. The more disconnected we become the more judgmental we become. The more judgmental we become the more hateful we become. The more hateful we become the more destructive we become. The more destructive we become the more abuse we render to those around us and the cycle continues. 

Forgiveness is freeing. It destroys our ability to be abusive. Forgiveness does not take the hurt and the pain away - it gives us the ability to take the negative emotions and empathize with oneself and with others. It humbles us as it demonstrates how fragile we really are. It teaches us to love and respect oneself. It teaches us to actively protect oneself from future abuse. It teaches us to choose the right people to be around. It teaches us to walk away from the abuse. It teaches us to be connected with ones inner being, to respect intuition. It teaches us to recognize abusive behaviors in oneself and others and it gives us the choice  to stop the cycle of abuse. Most importantly it teaches us that love does not mean accepting the abuse but it means accepting the person as abusive and distancing from that person to protect oneself and the abuser from greater harm. 

Forgiveness brings peaceful consciousness. Conscious living is vibrant and beautiful. It raises our level of awareness and makes us dynamic and inclusive. It makes life more enjoyable because the approval of others becomes irrelevant. It makes us conscious of how people see us but it has no effect on who we are and what we do. We learn from our mistakes and those of others because we acknowledge mistakes as a stairway to upliftment. Forgiveness gives us strength and allows us to embrace life with an energy that is often elusive to those who choose to live in pain and fear. 

Fear and pain are choices we must stop living by. They weaken our spirit, destroy our potential. There is always circumstances that will cause us to be hurt and afraid. We cannot control those circumstances, but we can choose not to let the pain and fear overpower us. We can choose to live with a soft dignity. Forgiveness is the choice of lovers. I am a lover of life.  

Abundance - redefined.

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