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Soon, the time will come
to discuss gun control and mental illness
acceptance and perhaps the consequences of rejection
For new laws
and action plans
but for now can we refrain?
Pausing to offer
prayer and reverence
as they cross into the Light
*Diana, it is my deepest honor that you liked and shared the Casualties of War piece. Sometimes an image comes to me and if I give it space, it reveals its story...I just get to write it down...all this to say, sometimes the process is equally surprising/chilling for me too...Anyway, in 1996, while teaching in S. Africa, I attended the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Hearings in Cape Town and Joburg. Apartheid ended in '93 so I came three years into the new era but the wounds of Apartheid were still very fresh for the country. During that time, I met many survivors of Apartheid and witnessed hundreds of their testimonies. It was all too evident that all human beings carry the ability to do great good and terrible ill.... it is the duality of human nature....Ultimately it all comes down to choices. The testimonies shared by the survivors of Apartheid were beyond any horror most of us can ever imagine. However, time after time, the survivors FORGAVE. When asked, they sought only what they needed...a proper burial, school fees for the children that remained, food, medical expenses etc. One woman wanted only medical care to remove the bullet lodged in her vagina after the perpetrators raped and shot her....Yet, time and again, there was forgiveness in the hearts of the survivors... working in Nicaragua and West Africa, living in Pakistan as a child, I saw the same human spirit...Apartheid, Sandinista Revolution, poverty after colonization, religious abuse through it all, the human spirit stumbles and falls but we rise, time and again, we rise. Because anger rises, pain rises, suffering rises BUT love rises higher...it is unfortunate that in a world with so much human life is lost daily to violence and poverty...but from out of the darkness, the Light shines on...
In Aikido, our Sensei teaches that uke and nage are one, a part of one wave, one flow....and harmony is constantly being restored by the choices we make...She empresses upon us that a true Samurai believes in the way of peace and honors all life, fighting only if absolutely necessary...Ultimately, we can not control the choices other people make but we can certainly chose the way of peace...
...soon the time for "action" and "change"...but for now I hope we can put our energy towards honoring their crossing into the Light...Jonny Clegg wrote this song for his friend who was killed in S. Africa...the song is about the crossing of the spirit from our world into that which is beyond our world.....eventually, our nation and perhaps the world can grapple with the issues of mental illness, gun control, the importance wellness and community etc...the time for action will indeed come but for now, I hope we can take time to honor all the Light in this situation...honor the many teachers and staff who were true heroes...the Light is ALWAYS there....the Light is never diminished by the existence of darkness...so before we jump into action plans I hope we just give reverence to life itself and honor the lives lost in whatever way...prayer/meditation/hope etc... Ultimately, we will have to allow anger, pain and suffering to subside and make way for forgiveness and healing so peace can be restored...otherwise, we commit ourselves to a perpetual state of pain....we have to let go...in order to move forward...much the same as Sensei teaches us about throws she says "you have to let go"