Saturday, December 22, 2012

The December 22, 2012 Blues

They say people may be depressed today because the world didn't end yesterday.  That may be true for some, but for most, I'd wager it's not because of the way the world didn't dramatically end - it's because of the way it didn't dramatically begin.

Still here...(of course!)...
The media really doesn't get this phenomenon at all and never has, not the spiritual side anyway.

Though some mockingly speak of the people who traveled to the Mayan ruins, as well as no doubt any number of charlatans taking some of them for a ride, the media doesn't understand the mystery and the optimism surrounding this date, whether taken literally or symbolically.

I know any number of people who approached this date in any number of serious ways, none of them exactly hippies (no disrespect to hippies), and all quite reverently, many very intelligently, backed up by quite a bit of research.

I was actually offered a free trip on a Mayan spiritual adventure months ago in exchange for some social media work I would have done on their behalf.  In fact, a well-known researcher and writer was on Coast to Coast AM last night reporting from the very ship I would have been on.

I turned the offer down, knowing with unambiguous certainty that I was meant to spend yesterday at home with those I love.

But with that said, I also happen to know that mystical, sacred sites do indeed exist in the world, that they are not a joke, and some day I do aim to visit some of them, treating them with the reverence and respect they actually do deserve.  I know I'm not alone.

So what WAS it about December 21, 2012 that caught the attention of so many of us?  What is it that lingers still, even today?  And why might some of us admit, if we are really, really, really honest, that while not necessarily in the depths of depression (though some of us may be), there is indeed a letdown, more than a twinge of disappointment, on this December 22.

It's easy to see the Dawn if I look (this is from my front porch ;-).
For me, it started many years ago with a series of powerful spiritual experiences that jolted me awake, a glimpse of the Dawn that utterly rocked my sheltered little world.  There were significant visionary aspects I could barely comprehend, though they without a doubt related to a huge Shift arriving on this planet.  I'm still sorting through those experiences, and I don't talk about them a great deal because I know some of what I encountered was a personal transformational vision quest intended just for me.

My visionary experiences filled me with Hope.  My life in the years since filled me with Certainty, an assuredness that yes, indeed, a time is coming when this world is going to Shift - and in a way that cannot be denied.  And the laughter we will hear then will originate from pure Joy, not derisive humor.

That Shift is happening already if you open your eyes to see.  It's been happening for a while.

But there was a certain mysterious anticipation, a powerful surge of optimism, associated with seriously considering the possibility that if dramatic, quantum Shift, that last tremendous push, COULD happen in a single day, why not consider the notion that such a day could have been December 21?

No, I'm not utterly depressed on December 22.  But I must admit a significant part of me was hoping for much more.  And I know I'm not alone.

A fortune I opened today, another synchronicity, another glimpse of the Dawn.
I did a radio show yesterday that I'm not disowning today.  It was all about Celebrating the Dawn.  It was all about the signs of Dawn emerging all around us.

But I couldn't help but hope to finally see the Sun suddenly pop over the horizon, in whatever way was meant to be, in a way so very dramatic and awe-inspiring, even the skeptics would be jolted wide awake.  I know I wasn't alone.

It didn't quite happen that way on December 21, 2012.  But it doesn't take away the Dawn.  We are not alone.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Reflections of a Writer: Lighting the Path

A few weeks ago, I shared openly and honestly about my journey as a writer in my Mother Shipton Prophecy blog.  Since that blog is very focused in its reach and topic, upon rereading what I had to say, I knew it was appropriate to surface here as well.

The Mother Shipton Prophecy blog will soon be transitioning to become The Prophetess Legacy blog, a more general format exploring the behind-the-scenes aspects of my research into the history and insights of mystical women throughout history.  The blog will accompany my Prophetess Legacy seminars and ongoing book/web/media projects on that topic.

Feeling the utterly unnecessary urge to explain the huge stack of books in my arms, I told the librarian at the counter last summer that I was writing a book.  I hoped to finish by Winter.

Obviously accustomed to warding off the locals, she whipped out a mantra about not being able to take most new books into her little library, even from authors nearby.  I hadn't asked.  I didn't care.  I told her it really didn't matter to me. 

And then she said something rather unexpected and deep, a knowing look in her eyes:  "Have you fallen out of love with your book yet?"

Speechless, I can't remember what I said in response.

Yet the weight of her words remained.  Long after the weight of those books.  I carried the weight of those words for several weeks.  I carry their weight in this moment.

As anyone stopping by this blog knows, this project has been a long time in development, with many promises and pauses in between.

Have I fallen out of love?  Obviously...yes...

I used to only talk about Mother Shipton at events (and not about other prophetesses)...until I began to realize much of what has been written about her is false (see Facing the Forgeries).

As I said months ago, I finally had to come to terms with the truth.

Fallen out of love?  I'd say so.  I all but omitted Mother Shipton from my Expo presentations when I used to dedicate the entire hour.

And then it happened last summer.  An unannounced gift, the web domain name magically fell into my hands.  So did all the related names (.org, .net, .info, you name it).  They all came to me effortlessly, without even asking, without even looking, without even giving it a thought.  And of course they arrived by Design.

And so I have a responsibility.

I must be true to the words I choose to write...for her sake...for the memory of the real Mother truthful, open and balanced as I can possibly be, on the very site that bears her name.

Meanwhile, it's not the first roadblock I've encountered, as "The Prophetess Legacy" project goes far beyond Mother Shipton.

"Have you fallen out of love with your book yet?"  The words hang upon my heart.

Yes, I have fallen out of love.  I have fallen out of love with the darkness.

When you take it upon yourself to study prophecy, you had better be prepared (I wasn't).  It is brutal.  It is bloody.  It is graphic. It is death, destruction and damnation in just about every imaginable way. 

Do I want to write a book filled with blood and death?  Obviously...No.

I would call that definitely falling out of love with a book, a book so very heavy it fell into the abyss.

But what about the Love?  And the Light?  Ah, yes, they do exist in prophecy.  And in fact, perhaps that is precisely the point.

So what kind of book exactly is re-emerging in my hands?  What kind of web site and blog?  Let me just say none of it will be what I expected...

And I'm writing here, right now, in this very moment.  That's a good sign.

My last Expo presentation a few weeks ago had the most raptly attentive audience yet.  I didn't focus on the darkness at all.  I focused on the Light.

Yes, I'd say that's a sign I'm falling back into Love.

Perhaps soon I'll take you with me...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Awakening to the Consequences of Breast Cancer Over-Screening & Over-Diagnosis: Prominent Study

This blog entry contains personal editorial opinions and is not intended as medical advice.  Readers are encouraged to do their own homework and seek advice from sources they deem appropriate.

How many of you know 3 women who have been diagnosed at some point with breast cancer?  Perhaps one of these women is you.

Do you know anyone diagnosed with early stage breast cancer who suffered or even died from complications resulting from treatment? 

What if almost 1 out of the 3 women you know may have been the subject of inappropriately aggressive screening, never requiring any diagnosis or treatment at all?

More troubling yet, what if the screening itself did little to prevent the number of women overall dying from breast cancer?

It's Thanksgiving, and although I really didn't expect to be blogging about breast cancer tonight, I couldn't help but be thankful for a stunning article on breast cancer featured on the front page of my local newspaper, revealing concrete facts about a tragic situation many awakening women like me have suspected for quite some time.

As stated in the Oregonian today: "In the last 30 years, more than a million women have been diagnosed with breast cancer when they didn't have it or had a low-level, non-threatening form, according to a new study" from a respected oncologist and medical school professor.

The comprehensive, long-term study of U.S. women also concludes that early screening by mammograms has had only "marginal" impacts on women dying from breast cancer, precisely what widespread early screenings are actually supposed to prevent.

Here is a direct quote from the study conclusions in The New England Journal of Medicine itself:

"Despite substantial increases in the number of cases of early-stage breast cancer detected, screening mammography has only marginally reduced the rate at which women present with advanced cancer. Although it is not certain which women have been affected, the imbalance suggests that there is substantial overdiagnosis, accounting for nearly a third of all newly diagnosed breast cancers, and that screening is having, at best, only a small effect on the rate of death from breast cancer."

An earlier 2009 study in the British Journal of Medicine had similar conclusions about overly aggressive screening and diagnosis, its confirmation in my opinion a beautiful demonstration of the scientific method at work.  Also in 2009, what one of the panelists later said was "aimed at reducing the potential harm from overscreening", the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force panel appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services questioned the widespread use of mammograms before the age of 50.

Yet still, many refuse to listen, refuse to even reflect upon the possibility that women are being over-screeened, and it is absolutely astonishing how few mainstream news organizations are choosing to highlight this latest study, one that significantly impacts the choices and lives of women worldwide.  Women continue to be confused by conflicting recommendations from enthusiastic cancer charities supporting mammography, as well as doctors from the American Medical Association, whose careers depend upon treating these cancers.

As much as a growing number of women understandably celebrate being breast cancer "survivors", sadly the label itself has been rendered irrelevant in almost a third of these cases.  What almost 1 in 3 of these women actually "survived" was the treatment of breast cancer, based on an overly aggressive diagnosis they actually didn't need to receive at all.  How could their lives have been impacted if they could go back to that time before they knew, before their families knew, before their lives were turned upside down?  And what about those woman with early diagnoses who died from complications from the treatment?  The latest study says nothing about their untold numbers.

Nothing can be done now about the past, but what we can do is let future women know they actually have choices based on what more and more studies are revealing, despite the controversy.  These conclusions may be a bitter pill for many brave "survivors" to swallow, but what it really contains is hope, hope that will significantly reduce needless suffering for many women in the hands of an industry with profits fueled more by fear than facts.

As much as we would like to be handed clear, safe, unambiguous medical advice regarding the decisions we are called to make, unfortunately it's not that simple.

The studies show there are very real risks to over-screening, just as there are risks to being one of those unscreened women unfortunate enough to have a form of cancer that actually needs to be treated.  But the latest statistics tell us the screening itself does little to help, no matter what enthusiastic, well-meaning mammogram cheerleaders have told us in the past. And it's not necessarily safer to go for screening "just in case", a common misconception, particularly if you are one of those women exposed to the risks of over-treatment as a result.

And though it is a shocking thing to ponder, we must also be aware that the cancer screening and treatment industry brings in billions of dollars every year, and as much as we would like to believe that the motivations of the industry are lily white and pure, free from any profit motive whatsoever, the more wise and realistic among us will begin to realize just how unlikely that scenario actually is. Note that some cancer survivors have even recently surfaced and criticized corporate profit motivations behind wildly popular Pink Ribbon events - see the trailer for the 2012 documentary Pink Ribbons Inc. for that alternative point of view.

I took responsibility for my own choices long ago.  Due to being over-screened, over-radiated and over-stressed by diagnostic mammograms in the past (the ones you get when you are called back after a screening), I don't get mammograms anymore and haven't for several years.  I have encountered a number of other women quietly making the same choice despite the popular opinions of many of their well-meaning peers.  If I ever felt I needed something to be checked out, I would choose thermography and/or ultrasound instead.  I would choose alternative treatments too.

Few of us choose take a full body scan to go hunting around for other types of cancers, and I quite honestly have for years viewed mammography quite the same way. (And don't get me started about the choices I will some day be called to make about colonoscopy, a test that is NOT risk-free, a test I will some day consciously choose to skip.)  These are my choices as an empowered individual.  I see the logic and research behind my own choices as minimizing my overall risks, not the other way around. You are free to conclude and choose otherwise.

I personally have someone close to me who was diagnosed with breast cancer many years ago and chose not to do chemo for a rather advanced case that wasn't even seen in a mammogram at the time (albeit the technology was more limited back then).  She was aggressively warned (even bullied) by doctors who said she would die because of her courageous choice.  She survived many years and is still with us now, healthy and cancer-free, her life a testament to the choice doctors tried to take away.

I know someone else who spontaneously recovered from another form of late-stage cancer after being told by the doctors she had no choices left at all.   She too has been cancer-free for several years.

These are stories of survivors, but not the stories you usually hear.  These are stories of empowered, courageous women who granted themselves the power to Choose.  Often women are told that the "brave" thing is to do what the doctor says, often coached by other treatment survivors who have made that same choice, but no matter what a person chooses, the brave thing is to be empowered enough to make your own choice, to realize that you do indeed have a choice to do your own homework, no matter what your final decision happens to be.

I  know someone who almost died from optional chemo after being diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, thinking she was taking a cautious, conservative route for a rather minor diagnosis.  She was one of the healthiest, fittest women I knew at the time.  She made her choice, one she thought was the safest thing to do, yet within a very short time, it almost took her life.

Yes, of course there are women who have done everything they were told by the doctors and survived, women who credit the medical profession with their survival.  I do know women like that too, and some of them no doubt were indeed saved, particularly those diagnosed in later stages.  As for the others, how many of them needed to be screened, diagnosed and treated at all?  I will never know.  Nor will they.  And the latest study backs that up.

Not everyone survives alternative approaches.  But not everyone survives what the doctors and pharmaceutical companies tell you either.  Doctors are not gods, nor are they anywhere close to perfect.  Sometimes they give you good advice.  Sometimes they don't.  And often they make mistakes.  Therein resides the ambiguity and responsibility of personal choice.

It's time for the women who have had the courage to explore alternative choices to speak.  We can be the voices for the unknown number of silenced women who have suffered and died needlessly from over-screening and subsequent over-treatment complications, those unnecessarily taken from their families far too soon, women who actually had choices they may never have been led to contemplate at all.

Note: To listen to my 11/23/2012 Blog Talk Radio show on this topic, visit: Women Awakening to Empowerment of Informed Consent

All of the images in this blog post originated from Wikimedia Commons and are in the Public Domain.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Beyond the Blue Moon

Yesterday I had the bright idea of jump-starting this blog during the Blue Moon.  Somehow it seemed appropriate.

The "day after" no-longer-blue moon (I procrastinated.)
Yet here it is, tomorrow...

I awoke thinking "Maybe I'll treat the blog like morning papers, write every morning..."

Yet here it is, night.  (And no, I must admit I don't write morning papers just for myself either...)

So how did I manage to finally sit down and write?

Was it because my significant other happened to change the channel to Julie & Julia and leave it running in front of my computer when he left the room?

Well, quite honestly, that only made me berate myself more for my perceived lack of progress since I first saw it in 2009. While still fresh from my heady, prolific Oprah forum days, I was certain not one, but TWO, books of mine would be published within a year.

Yet here it is, Fall 2012, no book out yet.  (Though like Julie in the film, I AM a writer, no book required...)

Let me tell you a little about my "morning papers" today, the ones written upon my heart.

A walk on another day (was supposed to be reflecting on my blog today).
My day started as it often does, with my ever-hopeful dog insisting on the park.  I listened, appreciating hints of Fall on this beautiful Oregon day, reflecting on what I might write, all but certain I would blog when I returned.

I didn't.  Instead I found myself sitting in my back yard, gazing at the neglected landscape.

A little tree is dying in the corner of my yard.  Indeed it may be dead.  The problem with this corner is I have allowed it to become virtually inaccessible (at least to me), bushes blocking much of the little path, and spiders, some big, some small, hanging from the tangled branches.
Spiders like these are everywhere in my yard.

I don't like spiders.  Especially BIG ones...

My perfect imperfect tree.
But then I noticed something else...something about one of my favorite trees...

This tree had perfect symmetry once, like the most perfect Christmas tree imaginable.  During the holidays, I have often imagined decorating it (but no ladder is that tall).  I used to literally set up a chair in front of it and stare at it, marveling at its symmetrical perfection.

A few years ago, in a spontaneous attempt to clear a path, too close to the branches to see the whole, I found myself trimming.  Then I stood back and gasped in dismay.

The symmetry was gone.

I pondered fixing it, cutting more branches on the other side, restoring the perfection.  But I knew that wouldn't really work.  So I let it be, and every time I looked at it, I sighed.

No longer perfect.

Today I noticed something else about my beautiful once-perfect tree (still special to me even so).

One of my unhappy trees the sprinklers missed.
It's turning brown.  (!!!!)

And that was it.  That was my impetus.  On this day when my local paper just happened to announce August will go down in the record books as one of the five driest ever in Portland,  I absolutely HAD to get into that corner my sprinkler system has been failing, where there are actually many trees.

And so I did.  I put on my best spider-resistant gloves, silently asked the spiders to peacefully co-exist, grabbed the shears and started clearing, this time lopping off branches on the OTHER side of the path (not my favorite tree).

I didn't see any spiders.

Inside my hidden Haven, path cleared...
Yet as I put the branches in my bin, there they were, emerging from its depths (but none too terribly large). 

Happy to finally complete a task I had put off for so long, I was left with a gift.

A haven.

How could I live in this house for over 5 years and not nurture and appreciate this little space?

And yet I didn't, so attached to staring at my computer screen have I been.

Maybe I should write outside...
Later I wandered all around my little yard, drinking in the beauty and the peace of what I somehow missed.  And the spiders were back, weaving away.  I even brought a little of the beauty in.  Or perhaps it was A LOT, far beyond the roses in my little vase.

And so it was with my "beyond the blue moon" day, a day past delay, procrastination past, a perfect day in the midst of imperfection, just like my favorite tree.

And so it is, blog mission accomplished.

I wonder what is next?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Mirror of Intolerance, The Mirror of Understanding

Although the focus on Chick-Fil-A appears to be waning somewhat today, it is not so much this particular controversy that is significant, but what it has to say about not only a significant rift in our society, but a rift within our hearts.

Whether we characterize what surrounds the Chick-Fil-A controvery as a freedom to speak, freedom to act and/or freedom to marry issue, we can choose to view it as an opportunity for battle or as an opportunity for understanding.

I grew up and spent parts of my adulthood immersed in the evangelical mindset, though my anguished doubts prevented that mindset from fully taking hold, even as a child (I believe many people have such doubts, yet are afraid to express them). 

To better understand why so many people refuse to tolerate that which they have been emphatically told is forbidden, one must look within their hearts.  Are the majority of these people truly hateful?  No, I would say they are not.  But they are indeed fearful, fearful most of all not of what resides in the hearts and inclinations of strangers, but what resides within their own hearts and those of their loved ones.

And it is through this secret that the true key to healing can be found.  Healing society begins with healing a single heart, one person at a time.  And as Consciousness expands, many hearts miraculously will be healed, not through confrontation, but through Transformation.

I could choose to focus on why Fundamentalists feel they must follow the rules in the ways they have been told they must be followed, based on many years of my own experience and reflections on such things.  The rules they choose to emphasize shift with the times, the teacher and often selective amnesia unfortunately, as there are countless rules to choose from in the Book they have literally elevated so high that this Book has been thrust above even their Creator.  And though they feel they are saved from the rules by Grace, that doesn't mean they can elude them, as their lives must reflect the rules, lest they appear they were never saved at all.

It is a subtle irony that the rule against idolatry is the very rule being broken to deify the Book - idolatry elevates an object over the direct Guidance of God, the direct Guidance to be found in every heart, the very hearts they are told not to trust, instead placing blind trust in a Book (because the Book tells them so), with penalties for getting it wrong severe beyond imagining.  I say this not to judge, but because I love them enough to speak.

And that's when compassion and understanding must come into play, as we disarm our inclinations to fight and discover a way to understand, a way to truly heal that which ails so many in our society, their denial, doubts and hidden anguish masked from view.

The real reason many cannot tolerate that which is seemingly different from themselves is that it's actually not all that different after all, the secrets hidden in their hearts rebelling not against God, but against a Book, not against what is unnatural, but against what is natural, including just about ALL forms of sexuality.  It is a rebellion against their very selves, which they are told are evil to the core, when in truth at the core is God omnipresent.

And next, all they must do is look to a loved one - a child, a sister, a brother, a dear friend, a neighbor breaking "the rules", yet exhibiting selflessness, compassion and love for their fellow mankind - and the agonizing discrepancies they perceive are almost more than they can bear, because Love is in their hearts resisting fear, resisting judgment, resisting words on a page that do not resonate.

So when they can't resolve this inner conflict within, they externalize it to "the other", to that stranger they are told to disavow, even when it's really none of their business what vows or choices others choose to make.  When they infringe upon the choices of others in a free society, the choices others make regarding their own lives, their own marriages, their own bodies, they enslave society itself to their hidden anguish and dysfunction.

If we address and heal the rifts within each heart, it is then that we will truly heal the rifts in society.  The real battle is within, yet as Consciousness expands, victory is within our grasp, for ALL of us, triggered by the omnipresent Love of God within.

This Tuesday I will be talking to inspiring author Mark David Gerson on my radio program The Frontier Beyond Fear.  Mark David writes poignantly about his own coming out as a gay man in his newly released memoir Acts of Surrender.  Mark David has also written from the heart in his blog regarding what he sees in the Chick-Fil-A controversy.  I know it is going to be quite a conversation.

[Note: Waffle Fries and Holding Hands photos originated from Wikipedia Commons and are used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is this Paradise? A Lesson from Persephone

During a particularly "connected" week some years ago, I found myself rather unexpectedly guided to the topic of Persephone.
It happened one day while listening to classical music on the radio in my old world at work as a computer scientist (a world that seems very distant to me now!). A rather ominous and jarring piece came on announced as The Persephone Suite, breaking my concentration. In that moment, I was strongly "nudged" to stop immediately what I was doing and look the piece up on Google, though rarely did I diverge from the detail of my work.
My search immediately led to Persephone herself, someone whose basic history was familiar to me through a cursory knowledge of Greek mythology, traditionally known as the Queen of the Underworld.
Often paradoxical in her portrayal, Persephone symbolizes cycles of destruction and rebirth, emblematic of awakening, and directly associated with the intensely mystical experiences of the Eleusinian Mysteries, highly appropriate for my state of mind that day.
There is actually more to this story, much more, as what I discovered that day also led to some interesting revelations regarding reincarnation, relating to eerie parallels in a beautiful painting of the Roman version of Persephone (Proserpine) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti that immediately appeared when I searched for her.
I will not convey the entire mythological story of Persephone here, except to say that abducted from her Divine parents by the God of the Underworld, she spent six months below and six months above, a wanderer between worlds, essentially forced to eternally journey from Heaven to Hell and back again.
About a month ago, I found myself rather unexpectedly interacting with an unusual guest as a regular caller to late night Portland paranormal talk radio. This is someone I would be unlikely to encounter in my daily life, a person whose spiritual path is intentionally focused on Darkness. And in a fascinating twist, we found ourselves connecting on common ground in a surprising way, despite the diversity of our apparent paths, common ground leading straight to and from the Divine.
This conversation and some subsequent research had quite an impact on me, leading me to face and attempt to reconcile the Darkness, including the Darkness in our world and in ourselves. It led me to ponder a question I had confronted before: What if "heaven" and "hell" aren't quite what we perceive them to be?
When we reflect on the question "Is this Paradise?", reminiscent of the wanderers in Field of Dreams, we are invited to reconcile Earth's most challenging paradoxes.
Pondering the plight of Persephone, seemingly caught between worlds, I was inspired to set her free, crafting a simple tale of Illusion rendered by Duality:
What if Persephone discovered that Heaven and Hell meet in a place called Paradise?
And in this place Persephone discovered between the two worlds she resided, one day she invited the angels and the demons to meet to play a game.
The angels were asked to stare as long as they could possibly bear at the darkness until utterly repulsed. They did this willingly, being the empathic beings they held themselves to be, seeking to understand.
The demons didn't need to be asked to rise to the challenge, boldly staring at the light with demonic bravado, being the daring creatures of the dark they held themselves to be.
Then something unusual happened they did not expect. Suddenly they realized they were all staring in a mirror, the most repulsive sight of all, yet they could not look away.
For the "angels" saw the darkness they despised within themselves, just as the "demons" saw the dreaded light within.
And in that magical mirror of utter Clarity, the dark and the light instantly disappeared before their eyes, revealing the Beauty masked within.
It was in this way Persephone finally taught her beloved how to truly love themselves, handing them the Key to Paradise.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The End of Mindless "Justice"

For quite some time, I have been pondering the way justice is handled in our society, and I have become ever more convinced that what is often viewed as "justice" has more to do with mindless vengeance and fear than what could truly be considered just.

It is ironic that as I was about to express my thoughts on what I really feel is one of the most important topics impacting the world today, the following article just happened to be highlighted on Yahoo: Many willing to cut Afghan shooting suspect slack.

People are apparently concerned that the mental state of Robert Bales, shell-shocked from seemingly endless deployments, questionably "recovered" from a severe head injury and potentially suffering PTSD from the shock of a comrade's brutal dismemberment, may have resulted in a situation that spiraled beyond his behavioral control. This particular case is of course exceedingly complex because an entire war may depend upon the outcome, yet that alone exemplifies why justice is often skewed by circumstance, in this case no doubt to the extreme.

This is not about questioning that a brutal, horrendous act was committed. And the real question we find before us is not just what happened to the mental state of Robert Bales. The real question is if we should be highlighting the state of impairment of the accused in every single case before the courts, no matter what results from such impairment. Is it ever truly just to convict someone based on behavior they could not control? Or is that more a matter of vengeance and fear than true justice? If a shell-shocked soldier from another country had done the same to us, could we feel the same empathy?

An acquaintance a while back told me a very sad story of a relative in prison for speeding and accidentally hitting another car, resulting in a tragedy. Was this person any more guilty than the countless people who speed every day, yet happen to hit no one? Yet vengeance demands "justice" because "somebody has to pay".

Age-old traditions have taught us paths of vengeance and fear, of culpability and punishment far more severe than the intent of the offense. Perhaps the time has come for more people to have the moral courage to clearly convey what justice is and what it is not.

I believe it's time to rid ourselves of "somebody has to pay". Almost all human tragedy and strife has resulted from that mindless statement. More and more of us believe "somebody has to understand", "somebody has to heal" and "somebody has to forgive" are the statements a higher consciousness society would substitute instead. Imagine a society where there is NO "punishment" to fit the crime because punishment itself has become obsolete, replaced by restoration.

It will take a quantum leap to get there. I believe one is in our midst. The surprising outpouring of empathy for Robert Bales is only the beginning...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Brief Return to an Old Forum Friend...

I found myself visiting an old friend a couple days ago, the Oprah&reg community, after I discovered links to the old forum appeared to have been reactivated. But you really can't go home again, as it has dramatically changed, with far more limited community involvement than the old days. None of the old content is accessible either, though that doesn't surprise me.

Even so, I couldn't help but post a quick reply to someone who was insisting the most horrendous of eternal "justice" was simply "logical", even for a loving God. As always, I posted with the pseudonym bridgebldr:

Here is what I believe on this life-changing topic...Hell and eternal punishment cannot exist in the Presence of eternal Love. Nothing can supersede the Infinite Love of God. It's really that simple. It is not possible for me to both believe that God is Love and believe in eternal punishment. For me, these concepts are infinitely incompatible.

Unconditional Divine Love does not pick an instant in time to judge someone and throw away the key. Unconditional Divine Love does not place the infinite fates of vulnerable people at the mercy of supposed supernatural deception and call that "free choice". Unconditional Love is indeed about free choice, but Unconditional Love always chooses to heal and restore, not judge and abandon, no matter how long it takes for everyone to freely choose Love, as the expression of an infinite omnipresent God. There are no deadlines. There are no exclusions. There is only the enduring patience of omnipresent Infinite Love. I truly believe that anything less diminishes God.

The voices of logic and Love both make it clear that punitive justice is not really any sort of "justice" at all, not if I choose to believe in a Loving God (or a truly civilized, loving, productive society). Punitive justice is wasteful, cruel and destructive (much like punitive parenting). It uses fear and control to instill desired behaviors, the most limiting of motivations. Anything based in fear cannot endure.

I received a couple of responses, one affirming my post and the other from the original poster, reasserting his position, very specifically limiting what God can and cannot do to assist those who have "sinned". My reply unfortunately was apparently disallowed due to what is now a much more limited format, but I'm happy to give it here:

I have a question for you. Do you believe God can do anything? Do you believe God is all-powerful, indeed omnipotent? I believe God can do anything. There are no "can nots" associated with those God can assist, as that would limit God in a fatal way, in fact rendering Satan victorious over those unfortunate souls deceived into an eternity in hell, with their fate so ironclad that even God can't supposedly reverse it.

That's why I believe there is NO hell because if hell exists, "Satan" wins, and God would not be all-powerful. If God must EVER give up on even one beloved created being, indeed even give up on "Satan" himself (if Satan existed), then that would limit God's power to heal and restore, to infinitely Love. The Spirit of which you speak does indeed exist, for that Spirit can teach and heal anyone given enough time, such that they will freely choose to Love.

Perhaps the time has finally come to let go of my old discussion forum days. Perhaps the time has finally come to truly embark on something new...Yet I make no more promises. I will simply write in the moment.