She is rising…can you feel it? She is the crone that is climbing out of the mountain, the moss coating her ancient bones, as she claws at the cobwebs around her eyes, drawing blood and letting it rain in her rage on the valley. She is the hag swelling out of the sea… hair green and slick, mouth open wide, screaming the siren scream that has all that hear her falling to their knees, heads pressed against the rocks arms over their heads trembling in her rage. She is the harpy slashing the sky with her talons her wings silver and fire, a tempest that inhales all she sees and hurls it out of her shattering it into a thousand pieces on the ground below. She is Kali swirling in a cyclone of fire that reaches its fingers out and burns all that it touches to ashes and twisted half memories of empires that should have fallen long ago.
She is here. She is pulling her children close to her touching their fevered brows, stroking their distorted limbs that have become twisted and bent from thousands of years of anger and rage. She is holding them tight as they flail and fight scared and confused, not understanding why she will not let go…their brains addled and delirious from sickness and decay. She is wrapping their eyes with cloths steeped in yarrow and lavender, holding the healing balm so close that they lose their sight. Their sight that was clouded by bricks and metal monoliths and monuments built to honor power and fear. Monuments built to gods that sit upon thrones of bones and ashes, while rivers of stagnant blood flow under their feet. She is soothing the swollen bellies of her sick children bloated from greed and avarice, feeding them honied drinks made by the brothers and sisters who hid in the shadows for so long, the quiet tending the land, singing with the bees, and stroking the animals when the rest of their siblings were being infected with forgetting.
She never left, do you honor that? She brings the green hope that moves across the world, finding places to deposit its love in the middle of even the darkest corners of fearful hiding. She pulls calves slick with blood out of wombs of life and licks the babies clean with her long tongue. She breathes the zephyrs of the north over the steppes and the plains and kisses the ones standing guard over her marshes and fields with thanks and gratitude. She holds the moon to her breasts and shines its light upon the silvery tides that hold her children made of foam and lapis. She laughs and shakes the sky with her wings of grace and hope as she touches the feathers that float from the heavens and wake up her slumbering masses.
She is destroyer, mother, maiden….and she is all of us and she will not be forgotten.
We are the warriors for the light. Our eyes see through the darkness and we catch the movement in the shadows. We see the faint shimmer coming off the figures huddling in the corners retreating, swallowing themselves whole. We see the light pushing through the cracks, oozing through the fissures. We feel the pulsation of the light like the beat of our own heart and it calls to us with every breath. Some of us question why we have to wake up every morning and suit up in our armor of ferocity and scream our battle cries. Some of us stopped questioning lifetimes ago. Some of us are fresh and new- young recruits ready to run out onto the battlefield not yet scarred from lifetimes of fighting. Some of us are old war dogs so tired and our arms silver with thousands of years of scars.
We are the warriors for the light. We feel the screams of children shaking our souls and we hold lifetimes of faint memories of children that we have birthed and loved and lost and found again deep in our hearts. We soldier up and fight for those little ones, for we hold all of the children who have ever been and will ever be inside of us and we promise to keep them safe. We feel the screams of our brothers and sisters tearing at us when they lose a little one and we pick them up and make them part of us too. We beg the light to make us as big as the universe so we can wrap our arms around them and stroke their hair, so they can remember that the darkness will never win no matter how strong it may seem.
We are the warriors for the light. Our bodies become tired and our souls become weary and sometimes we make ourselves forget. We look away when we see the light oozing through the cracks. We drink and dance and run and fuck and make and do and buy and try to forget who we really are….because who we really are can make us so tired. But no matter how hard we press our hands against our ears and how tightly we close our eyes, we know. We know that we were made to see the light in the places that seem to be made of blackness, to let ourselves be cracked open again and again to cut through the darkness. We know that we are here to be a mirror that flashes commandments of love into the abyss.
We are the warriors for the light. We look at the darkness all around us and we think about what causes our own darkness. We remember that when we sat in the dark it’s because we felt scared. We know that it’s easy to forget that there is any light in the world because darkness takes away our sight. We understand that like the fish that live the deepest underground caves that over time lose their ability to see, some of us do as well. We know that light is not about seeing, it is about being. Even in the darkest moments we close our eyes and reach out to our brothers and sisters to feel the warmth of the light as we hold out our hands to bring them back into the sun.
We are warriors for the light. We know that we can never rest. We understand that the darkness is strong- and that it is so easy to slide into fear. We know that if we give in for even a moment, the fear and anger will pull us under. In those moments when it is so tempting to close our eyes and let the velvety darkness wrap us up and smother us, so tempting to believe the honeyed words that it whispers into our ears “hate,difference,intolerance,disgust,power..” we crack ourselves open even wider and let the brilliance blind us,envelop us, grow larger, brighter, hotter than the sun. We join our light with others like us and shine it into places that has never seen anything but the dark.
We are the warriors for the light. We are made of faith. We are made of love. We are the universe. We are all of us…and we will never stop fighting.
As the refugee crisis in Europe worsens, so does the refugee crisis in Lebanon and surrounding countries. Thousands of people are streaming out of Syria on a daily basis with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They are faced with impossible choice of trying to find sanctuary in Europe, or finding refuge in the horribly overcrowded camps in Lebanon. There is just no good answer. The camp conditions in all places are getting worse…children are dying of disease and exposure to the elements. Aid to the camps in Lebanon is drying up or completely absent. Europe cant keep up in any way shape or form with the hundreds of thousands of displaced victims of war. In both places it is worse than anyone could ever imagine. This truly is by far THE WORST HUMANITARIAN CRISIS any of us have ever seen. I know everyone feels helpless, but the fact of the matter is that most of the help people are getting is because of us. The governments of the world have failed them. Its truly up to us. Every penny counts more than ever. So what can you do?
1) Educate- tell anyone and everyone what is really happening. Show them pictures. Post on social media. Empower people to act.
2) Get involved: Write your congressman. Leave messages on the white house website, start a petition to send to your state senator…show them that these people have THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE on their side.
3) Donate. We are having a bake sale and organizing other fund raisers to send funds to a camp in Lebanon for my and Nisreen Nasser’s outreach effort and to raise money to send volunteers to Europe to help.
4) Start a movement: You can organize and fundraise as well! Decide what moves you and do it. If its not this cause, and it’s something close to home that’s great! All acts of compassion are beneficial to all others on the planet.
5) KNOW THAT YOU ARE A VEHICLE FOR CHANGE! Your voice, Your love, Your will is what the world needs. It is time for a shift. Start a love revolution and show the capitalist construct that we live in that MONEY does not change the world- LOVE does.
SHARE THIS WIDE AND FAR. WE WILL NOT BE SILENT ANYMORE!
EMPATHY BUILDS BRIDGES-COMPASSION REMINDS US OF WHO WE ARE -LOVE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!!!!!!
Those around me know I have been really struggling as of late trying to make sense of what is the most devastating humanitarian crisis we have witnessed in our lifetimes. The suffering of the refugee population that is only growing exponentially day by day is overwhelming in its scope. I think what has been the hardest for me to understand is what seems to be a general apathy in regards to human suffering… especially suffering of this magnitude. I am sure everyone is experiencing crisis fatigue, as we are bombarded with such vast amounts of sadness and pain on a daily basis through social media and other information outlets we have all gone into preservation mode in order to not completely breakdown (which I am obviously navigating right now). Last night I read a particularly devastating article about the refugee crisis in Lesbos and was compelled to read the comments below. The vitriol and lack of compassion was astounding and profoundly disturbing. It was so disturbing that I found myself writing a response to a comment that interestingly enough was one of the most benign negative comments on the page. Most of the comments railing against the refugees were just so hate filled, I couldn’t even try to respond as I knew my response would fall on deaf ears. Instead I chose to respond to an older gentleman named Richard who lives in mIddle America and simply asked: “Why should I be responsible for anything that occurs because of a war in Syria?” This was not an evil, unkind question. It was a real, simple, question coming from someone whom Im sure must be a good human being who’s doing his best to live a good life. Just a man wanting to be a good father and or husband and or neighbor. A person who has love and kindness in his heart, but is overwhelmed by complexities and the pain of the world we live in today. This is my response to him and others who commented. What I ask is simple. I ask that we use what was given to us at birth and that truly is coded into us. This is my case for empathy. This is my case for humanity.
“To those of you who exhibit compassion and love for your fellow human beings- thank you. We must continue to live our lives with compassion and clarity to create any meaningful change in this world and to combat the vitriol and hate born from people who live in fear and ignorance. I have made the choice to live my life in service to my community and the world at large. That is a very personal choice that no one has to make in order to be a compassionate, caring, person on this planet. You can live your life from a place of empathy and have a profound impact on those around you that will have a ripple effect that has a global impact.
What I have been blessed to learn when working with all walks of life, socio economic demographics, religions, sexual preferences etc….is that we all have a very common need at our core- the need for love and acceptance. We all have or had parents and crave their acceptance and love. We all want to be happy. We want our children to be safe. We all want to know we are part of something larger than ourselves. How can someone be faulted for wanting any of these things? Hate and intolerance is certainly born from fear of the unknown…”Will there be enough for my family? Will I lose my job? Will things change? ” Ironically the emotions that seem to be based in self preservation are actually having the opposite effect. It is derisiveness that drives wedges into humanity that makes it impossible to have a dialogue and make actionable changes in our political systems, climate regulation and humanitarian outreach. Empathy is something that comes hardwired into us at birth. It exists for a reason. All of the skills we have at birth are mechanisms for survival- the things we learn later such as hate and intolerance are taught to us. They are NOT mechanisms for survival…how can we continue as a species on this planet when we can not even agree on the fact that we are human beings and therefore all of us entitled to certain rights as such? If you are feeling that I am being over the top about empathy being a key to human survival, don’t take my word for it, take the hundreds of reputable academic studies that state as much http://www.wired.co.uk/…/the-empathy-revolution-anita….
I implore you for the fate of all of our children and dare I say eventually mankind, to rise above your fear and make the compassionate choice. I leave you with this quote from Nobel Peace prize winner Jimmy Carter and a quote from his Holiness the Dalai Lama :
“War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children.
The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices. God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must.” -Jimmy Carter
“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Please watch and think about donating to this cause that is very close to my heart.