I just watched a Netflix video of Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia. I always enjoy Trevor’s humor, as it touches into cultural and racial issues that may be hard to talk about in other contexts. In this particular comedy routine, he spends a good bit of time around how he feels when people call him the “N” word. Apparently, in his mother’s language, this particular word, or the sound of it, means “to give”, so it can bring a warm feeling to him when people shout it at him.
As I watched this video, it got me to thinking about how violent some words can be and how we might respond to these words without adding to the violent energy behind them. Read More “734th Week: Meeting Violent Communication with Love”
We know that different languages generate different world views, different ways of experiencing the world around us, and different expectations of what we can expect from our world. Several times now, I’ve run across the writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer and each time I experience her worldview I am deeply moved. She is a botanist who is also has a Potawatomi heritage and a perspective that is much more inclusive and honoring of our planet and our global family of relations with whom we share this home.
I’ve written before about Robin’s very wise and powerful sharing of the need for pronouns that are inclusive of all the life on this beautiful home we share with so many other beings. Read More “721st Week: Grammar Shapes Our Worldview”
One of the books from graduate school that powerfully impacted me was “Blaming the Victim”. I was in a class where I focused my work on shame—collective and individual—and got deeply immersed in how we tend to blame the victim as a way to validate our beliefs and actions. The impact of that class, and particularly the above book, has never left me. It started me on a 40+ year journey of tracking my own internal process of judging and blaming, catching myself when I can and challenging my own rationalizations about what’s happening to people locally and around the world. Even with this practice, I know that there are countless times when I engage in blaming the victim, unaware of my own biases and limiting beliefs.
As I watch the current situation in the United States—and we are not alone in our mistreatment of people we consider to be “other”—I not only feel deep heartache and distress, but am also keenly aware of how vividly a “blaming-the-victim” mentality seems to have captured the minds of those in power. That this stance lacks empathy goes without saying. The deeper problem is that blaming victims allows us to remain unaware of our privilege, of our seemingly justifiable disconnection from the suffering of others. Read More “716th Week: Blaming the Victim”
On my birthday last year, I had an opportunity to offer myself an unexpected gift, one for which I was inordinately grateful. It turned out that, upon awakening the morning of my birthday, it became immediately evident that I urgently needed a root canal. Much to my relief, my endodontist was able to see me at exactly the time my schedule allowed that day, although I would have canceled whatever I had to in order to see him.
As I sat in his chair, the local anesthesia taking effect I was filled with gratitude that this man had gotten training that allowed him to relieve my pain in such skillful and, frankly, easy ways. Read More “697th Week: Gratitude for Help Along the Way”