Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Love and the Courage to Grow - or ReBuild

On the heels of the article about bullying - and images of hate and unhappiness in homes, schools, camps, police stations everywhere and countless other places - comes this week's article about love. Love and the courage to grow.

Facing your past is not easy. It requires great courage.

But the rewards are great. Freedom. Confidence. Trust - trust in others because of trust in yourself.

This man, Tupac Shakur, who is a shining hero for so many of our youth, had the courage to face his own past and to try and help others who were walking in his shoes. His beautiful book of rap poetry The Rose That Grew From Concrete is well worth a read.

The following poem is an example of the amazing goodies that arrive in email inboxes sometimes! Check it out...


The path to healing is one which leads into discomfort

There is no easy way to open old wounds without allowing them to bleed

And pain is so often the price of awareness, wisdom and love

Warriors may choose to walk alone - experiencing life’s dramas with power and fortitude

Crying in silence and dying in isolation

They become the heroes – the glorified

But rarely the loved

Love comes in sharing, watching, feeling and allowing my pain to mix with yours

It is in these shared experiences I find my strength to face life’s dramas with faith and confidence

For I am not alone

Your tears have become my strength, my courage to let go of my own

I treasure the tears we have share just as I treasure our joy

It leads me down my path less afraid to bleed

Taking the steps to healing – not dying in isolation

No hero

Worn and torn and LOVED!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Put a Stop to Bullying

Recently I've been reminded again recently of how commonplace bullying is. After all bullying is just taking advantage - and using whatever we need to do that - to get our own way. And as humans are naturally motivated to fulfill their own needs and urges, it's not too much of a stretch to see how bullying can sneak in...

There is so much bullying around us: kids who bully other kids at school; a parent who bullies the other parent - which their kids see and learn and often feel the brunt of; parents who bully children and kids who bully their parents; teachers who bully students; employers bullying employees; POLICE BULLYING teenagers. The list is almost endless. Put an end to hate and refuse to stand by and watch a bully abuse others - anywhere... Even if it's 'not your concern' gently and quietly take a stand and witness fairness and justice. Bullies shy away from an audience...

This week, among several other kinds of abuse, I heard a sad - and very, very familiar - story about police bullying. I can imagine the frustrations involved in policing young folk, particularly young guys. But please, Mr Policeman, you were a young person too once. If we can show respect, compassion - and of course justice - to our youth, society will reap the benefits in spades when these young people become adults.

And now the article:

Bullying. Recognizing it is the first step...
-the first of many articles by my mother and I!!

If there is anything about us that is 'different' - or sometimes just ‘new' - there's a good chance that someone will find that reason enough to bully and tease. Particularly if that potential bully is insecure, deep down, themselves...

Of course the disabled - and particularly the newly disabled - can be ripe targets of bullying. They are often dependent and/or young and/or particularly trusting. I was intrigued when I read this article from a very special woman in her seventh decade, reflecting on a subject that has touched her life - and in turn has touched so many lives. I admire her being willing to share her experiences with us all and have the hope that somehow her story will help all of us become a little more aware of this insidious behaviour. If you know of someone who is suffering bullying, please get help - call your local police, child help line or local social services. When the bullying has physically stopped, let a COUNSELLOR show you how to heal the emotional damage...

This is what my very special guest has to say...

"Sadly, many of us go have to go through a form of bullying it seems just to survive our daily lives. It can even start in school when we are very young - and how hurtful it can be. It can make a person reluctant to make decisions in the future for fear that they may be made to look silly or maybe come up against another bully. As I know only too well... A lifetime of hurt and baggage before we even graduate childhood.

Bullying within a marriage is completely unforgivable - because the bully is someone you've given your heart to. In fact sometimes a young person or even a small child can also experience that kind of behaviour from parents or siblings at home... The very people and place we need more than anything to be our safe haven.

Unfortunately, there are deep undercurrents of patterns at work here. Someone who is the victim of bullying as a child may, despite promising themselves that they would never bully anyone, end up an unwitting bully. And so the pattern continues. One fairly sure way of breaking this chain is through education and self-development through counselling. Very powerful...

Wherever bullying takes place, particularly if the bully is someone we have given our love and trust to, the victim loses their self-confidence. They have no idea what the day will bring - sometimes a good day but always the doubt that maybe this day they will be punished either physically or mentally. So never quite sure what the day will bring for them and never being able to enjoy the feeling of ease, safety and peace - which I wish with all my heart for everyone.

Sometimes victims feel that everything is his/her fault. They will even make excuses for the bully. With adult victims friends and family might try to persuade them that this bullying behaviour must not be allowed to continue but often the victim cannot see, stand up to or change the bullying. After a while the victim becomes unable to make normal every day decisions for fear of making a mistake which will 'rock the boat'. I've often heard this feeling described as ‘walking on eggshells' - a horrible way to live a life. For me, freedom of speech is one of the most basic Human Rights and yet so many of us don't really enjoy it.

Getting away from a situation like this is not easy, especially when there are children involved. Emotionally it's very likely that you've become unsure about exactly what's happening and where ‘right' begins and ‘wrong' ends. Physically you may be dependent on the bully for your daily life - most bullies can also be very loving and generous - when they choose. And of course the ‘weaker' among us - typically the disabled, sick, elderly and children - are especially at risk of becoming a victim.

Abuse and bullying are slowly becoming more the focus of attention - for which I am so thankful. I hope that one day they will be regarded as seriously as drug addiction or alcoholism. As a society we need to put in place more - and more acceptable - alternatives for our care so that we aren't so dependent on these bullies. The sooner the victims are released from these unbearable situations, the better. A leopard cannot change its spots - unless it really wants to and is willing to work hard on self-development with a counsellor or other health professional.

More often than not, these rotten situations get worse, not better."


Of course these bullies were almost always the victims of other bullies themselves at some point in their lives. That's the rub... And the tragic pattern. They desperately need society to take a stand and help them to overcome their own pasts and at the same time to help their victims... Who they often love. And who, at the very least, are those of us who are for some reason dependent on them.

I challenge our society to provide a real alternative in the way of income, social supports and the opportunity for the most disabled among us to work, take a real part in life and to be able to contribute our skills and so rise above this sad behaviour... And above all, today, I challenge the police to root out bullying from within their ranks and to show decent and fair treatment to everyone they come in contact with.

If you have a comment, opinion or story, we would love to read and share it... Either with your name or anonymously.

With love, Julie