Don’t Take That Yoke!

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Text and Image © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

Don’t Take That Yoke!

A heart full of love compensates for a heart and mind that is filled with hate. The hope for a peaceful future exists in the way in which we love others. Evil will always exist, as will hate. Hate arises from envy – envy of liberty, freedom, opportunity to move with a minimum of restriction and envy of a way of life. Hate also rises up from places of deep pain and misplaced blame, for is it easier to blame others and circumstances than it is to take responsibility for changing the paradigm. Yet that is the challenge. Hate is only combated through love.

There are some – including our “intelligence” agencies and President –  who feel that it is important to understand why this act of violence was perpetrated.  I do not agree.  Allow me to explain.  I believe that our burden and responsibility at all times is to love.  The act of transferring my energies to wondering why others would wish harm upon me personally, my community or my country shifts my focus from the good I can do by fostering humanity.  I don’t need to know why someone would wish harm. That is not important.

Further, there are those who wish to engage in the one-upmanship of pain and death.  Those persons or entities use the red herring of “What about the ____X______ number of people who died in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or any other country in which there is unrest and in which America either volunteers or is begged to be the world’s police force.  Please do not misunderstand me:  I believe that all life is precious, that all humanity needs to be affirmed.  Therefore, I couldn’t care less about this one-upmanship of pain.  To me, it is all tragic but I choose to focus my energies upon the corner of the world in which I am most equipped to make a difference.  That is my own back yard.   I do not need to wear a yoke of guilt and responsibility for the hatred of others.  I do not need to be personally responsible for why someone chooses to carry out harm against others.  Neither do you. There are more important things.  Love is more important.

 

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Fostering Humanity Manifesto

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Fostering Humanity Manifesto

Leonard Cohen observes that “everything has a crack, that’s how the light gets in”.  We soak up the rays, tell time and mark the seasons with the sun and grow with the help of the sun.  We turn our faces to the sun, always seeking the good, the beautiful and the happiness we believe is found there.

Yet along with the pursuit of happiness and warmth of the sun, often those who are the most vulnerable can be caused to be overlooked. Darkness brings fear, anxiety, monsters under the bed and cold truths we might rather avoid.  It is easy to see the light, yet darkness has value as well.  There we find the lost and lonely who are always left behind.  The homeless, the veteran, the mentally disabled, those with depression or any one of us on a given day who need a kind word, a gentle touch, a smile and understanding.

Instead, many of us look away as though by not laying eyes on humanity and need, it will not exist.  Yet vulnerability and the need for love always exists and neither ignorance nor apathy will change that.  The only thing that changes darkness and neglect is love.  You don’t have to love someone romantically to practice love.  The challenge is this:  Do not cause harm.  Give the benefit of the doubt.  We do not inhabit another’s mind so we will never know the full story at any given time.  Simple recognition of that fact will go a long way toward fostering humanity.

This is my vision:
1.       No one is insignificant.  Never brush aside anyone..  Who knows what they can teach us?
2.      “Treat the other man’s faith gently; it is all he has to believe with. His mind was created for his own thoughts, not yours or mine.” ~ Henry S. Haskins

Whether a person is a believer in a higher power or not, do not tear at the fabric of another’s belief system to feed your ego.  We all come to faith (I do not necessarily mean religion) in our own ways and our own time.  Who is to say that the person who walks silently along a brook doesn’t feel moved by a spirit?  Allow each person to engage in his or her own belief system.  At the end of the day, it matters most whether or not a person is kind.

3.      Choose love.  It is easy to be negative, to think that others have it in for us and to think the worst.

4.      Protect the vulnerable.  Don’t assume that someone else will be your backbone.
5.      Listen to others.  The most basic human need is someone to hear our story.  It matters.

6.      Make your points without personal attacks.  Weak people attack others instead of clearly and civilly stating disagreements and trying to find common ground.  When common ground can’t be found, wish your “opponent” well.

7.      Find beauty in everyone.  Everyone has it.  If it isn’t apparent, that means that you haven’t waited long enough.  Everyone has humanity to be laid thread, by golden thread, and woven into a tapestry of joyful existence.

8.      Add joy where you can.  Kindness costs nothing.

9.      Label no one.  Labels negate worth.

We are all magnificent; we are all capable of love, hope, kindness and beauty manifested.  You have more to offer than you could ever imagine and the universe is waiting for your wisdom.

I leave you with this:

Let me assure you that you are loved. You were wonderfully created, and made to be someone special. You are ever changing but in every phase you are a perfect masterpiece. You are beautiful, you are wonderful, and you cannot fail. You were not made for that. You were made to be a beautiful human becoming. You were made to be a warrior, not a doormat. YOU ARE A WARRIOR! Stand tall. Know that you are more than you ever imagined. Know you are worthy of every blessing. Know you are loved more than you ever imagined.  Foster Humanity.

Text and image © 2013 Paulissa Kipp

 

Time Marches On

Despair

I remember how topaz blue that morning was, the crispness of the air and the smell of fall as I walked that morning. As I returned back home, my neighbor came outside, handed me a cup of coffee and told me that a plane had hit the world trade center. I thought it odd but believed it to be a small plane. We went inside and were visiting when her husband called and said the 2nd tower had been hit. That is when the realization set in that it wasn’t an accident. We called our loved ones and turned on the TV and watched in horror at the death and struggle for life wrought by hatred. Crying and numb, we watched. I don’t think we even ate the rest of that day. We were too numb to even think about anything but being with other people. It didn’t matter whether those other people were friends, family or strangers. We just didn’t want to be alone. We heard about the collapse of the towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon. The waves of nausea, shock and grief washed over us repeatedly like the coming and going of tide.

Then the news came that President Bush was coming to Offutt AFB in Bellevue. A new wave of terror overtook me. It was terrifying to know that Stratcom is a target and that we might be next. I remember walking to the stereo and putting in Anne Murray’s “A Little Good News” and playing it repeatedly, wishing there would be some good news. I rocked back and forth in a catatonic state and the tears found a wellspring I didn’t know I had.

Our church held a prayer vigil and we sleepwalked our way into the sanctuary and held hands with our friends and neighbors, prayed for the lives lost, for understanding, for love to overcome hate and reminded ourselves that vengeance is not ours.

We gave blood, helped fund first responders and rescue dogs to help and tried to find our way to a better love of one another. We pulled together as a humans, as neighbors, as a country and as part of something bigger than hate.

It seems that each generation has its version of The Day the World Changed – WW I, Pearl Harbor, the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK, Vietnam, Kent State, OKC, the 1st WTC bombing, the Cole and 9/11. It seems the fabric gets torn apart so that it can be patched together in a more meaningful fashion.

We lost so much that day: 2977 souls and service and rescue dogs, our sense of security, innocence and freedoms.

Yet we also gained some valuable things: Appreciation for connection, the value of binding together in times of crisis, sorrow and confusion and pride in our country. While I was always glad to be an American, I think I took it for granted before 9/11. After 9/11, my heart swells at the national anthem and the flag waving in the breeze moves me to tears. That day will never be forgotten. For me, it was the day I learned to appreciate my country.

Now, 10 years later our lives are impacted nearly daily by the reactionary nature of the response to the attack. We have readily given up freedom after freedom as 9/11 is invoked as the end-all argument for never-ending regulation, eavesdropping and stripping at the airport. There is no denying the effect of 9/11 on our freedoms but what about upon our hearts? Are we living our lives with joy and fullness, loving our neighbors and striving to foster understanding of one another? My heart answers yes, what about yours?

 

Under The Microscope – Tragedy and Mental Illness

So much sorrow and many, many thoughts and emotions as I process the latest mass shooting.  While it is early in the reporting, the implications of mental illness are very much on my mind.

My students and I discussed this in class today because these things are huge triggers for them.  Being mentally ill on the various levels that they are – bipolar, multiple personalities, Alzheimers, anger issues, etc – they are aware, perhaps more than many others of the stigma of mental illness.  They are aware that each time an awful act is committed by someone who is mentally ill and off meds or triggered, etc that many in our community and society in general wonder what it will take to make us snap.  It is a very uncomfortable feeling to be scrutinized in such a fashion.  The mentally ill face significant challenges on a daily basis to function well, to be aware of triggers, to lower anxiety and to do everything he or she can to foster well-being.  Still, overwhelm can creep in and people lash out, break down and yes, commit violence.

Do not misunderstand me:  I am not making excuses for the actions that caused so much collateral damage.  Every aspect of the shooter’s life and influences will be examined in the media, by law enforcement and the armchair quarterbacks will expound upon things of which they have no personal exposure.  Beware of painting everyone who struggles with depression with a broad brush.  We are all just doing our best to live a full and meaningful life.

Signed,

Mentally ill but hopeful,   My students and I

© 2012 Paulissa Kipp “The Beckoning Path”

 

 

What The Human Spirit Can Do

I went to play pool last night with my team and as always, in a bar setting one never quite knows what one will see.  Yet last night with all of its drama and tribulation restored my faith in the human spirit.

There was a gentleman there who was a veteran of the war in Iraq.  His body wracked by injury, he wore a brace on his left leg which dragged behind him, his shoulder was twisted at what appeared to be a very painful angle and he used a walker.  Yet this man was dancing safely inside the confines of his walker and playing pool.  He shot the pants off of everyone he played.  He balanced his cue stick upon the walker and shot.  He showed joy in spite of his many challenges.  I took the opportunity to speak with him and walker dance a couple of tunes. 

At the end of the night I asked to photograph him, a request he graciously declined but was happy to allow me to share his story with you.  I asked him about finding joy in the midst of such challenges and thanked him for his service and sacrifice.  He told me “There are those who are paralyzed despite being “healthy”.  They don’t even realize it.  They don’t pursue joy internally or externally.  It is in the living that we thrive.  There are those who would prefer not to see me struggle and would rather I sat at home and withered away.  Yet socialization and activity ensure that I will continue to be productive and to give to others and society.  Don’t ever forget that no matter the challenges, the choice is ours as to what good we will share with the world.”  With tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and renewed resolve, I hugged this man and wished him well.  I left my card with him and offered him and his family a free holiday portrait should he want one. 

The human spirit.  May we all inspire others through the testament of how we live our lives.

© 2012 by Paulissa Kipp

Never Choose To Show Others They Are Insignificant

Choices speak louder than words, so never choose by your actions to show someone that they are insignificant.  You have no way of knowing how much pain you may cause in the heart of another by doing so ~ Paulissaism

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Fostering Humanity ©2012 Paulissa Kipp

© 2012 by Paulissa Kipp

I am a Curious Lens Goddess, Writer and Artist documenting the world – the beautiful, curious and often overlooked.  I see the infinitely layered world not only with my eyes, but most importantly, with my heart. Find me on Google+:  https://plus.google.com/116071275946594200077?rel=author