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Old 03-20-2008, 11:13 PM   #101
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Forgiveness

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Seems like I'm functioning as a devil's advocate. I wish to be very clear that I am not questioning nor arguing with the forgiveness that R. Wood and William have described. BUT - one of the most pernicious problems I see in the treatment and recovery from violation is the "pushing" of forgiveness. This can be due to an ideology of a particular religion or psychology (particularly "pop" psychology); discomfort on the part of the auditor at the anger or even rage of the victim; or a fantasy that forgiveness will always heal.
I've worked with many many people who never healed because they suppressed their righteous outrage when pushed by pastor, therapist, family or friend to forgive. I see many children pushed to forgive their abusive dad by their mother whom they love - but who wants the man back in her life above all else, or as above, is more uncomfortable at the anger of their child than the act of the abuser.
So, it's been my experience that the only forgiveness that heals comes from the heart, and that is not something that is taught or even pointed out. It emerges completely unexpected, as a shock from within, like when you walk into a hospital room, look in someone's eyes, and somehow, the rage is gone, and forgiveness or compassion emerges.
Most of the time, my job is to help a person become enraged, to succeed in hating both the deed and the doer, to have it burn through them like a fire burning out all the underbrush in a redwood forest. When one can clearly condemn evil, without reframing it, or finding a pablum explanation in the oppressor's past, when one can clearly say that no explanation excuses violation, then and only then can forgiveness OR indifference OR a continuation of a righteous disdain and hatred emerge, all equally valid, equally powerful, and equally true.
Again, I am not discounting what William and Ricky wrote. But just as moral relativism, multi-culturalism, or the idea of self-esteem healing all, "forgiveness" has become, for many, a talisman that is deemed so self-evidence that no one dare question it's worth.
Best
You are not the devil's advocate, in my mind. Yours' is a sound order of operations. One of my teachers, and my chosen 'God mother' related this wisdom to me long ago;

'When a child is struck by a car the mother or the father does not first got to the driver of the car and say, "I forgive you". The mother or father would run to the child, tend to her wounds,call out for help, stop the bleeding, assure her she is loved and safe, and take her out of harms way.'

Thanks for the open discussion.

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Old 03-20-2008, 11:35 PM   #102
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

[quote=Philip Burgess;202232

I teach my children that they are precious and valuable. I don't want them to be victims. I do teach my children to be distrustful of strangers, of all adults, and for good reason. Children are easily manipulated, persuaded, controlled, and overpowered by adults. I teach them to be vigilant, and cautious. I teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, and use caution. When asked why, I say I don't trust anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle. There in no guarantee someone will not run a red light and hit you. Better be safe than sorry.

[/QUOTE]
First off, You sound like a wonderful and loving parent. And I'm thinking that there are a lot of kids out there who don't have such parents, and that even those who do isn't a guarantee that nothing bad will ever befall them.

I feel we as a community can consider ourselves the 'parents' of all the kids in our dojo (and our lives, but this is the aikido community we're speaking in here) and set a standard for care of these beautiful young beings. We need to all take an active vigilance in the propriety of our schools and instructors, take an interest in the youth programs by dropping in now and again, and make sure everyone knows that the kids are under the care of all of us. Support our youth and our teachers through our presence.
If Aikido is loving protection
If Aikido is a form of 'real'-defense
If Aikido is making the world one family
If Aikido is a method for self development
then this is our responsibility.

OK, I'm done for now.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 03-20-2008 at 11:38 PM.

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Old 03-21-2008, 12:16 AM   #103
rob_liberti
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Re: Forgiveness

Quote:
Jennifer Yabut wrote: View Post
A good parent loves his/her child unconditionally, but is also quick to issue some "tough love" when needed.
This is a topic for a totally different thread. I strongly suggest reading Alice Miller books to everyone.

Being the victim gives you unfortunate lessons in compassion - so you can be in touch with what it feels like to be on the short end of the stick. Being very strong gives you the option to use compassion you learned when you were not the stronger one. I was remarkably better at apathy - but I don't think it was very good for me and unacceptable (to me) as a family man.

I understand what Fred was saying. There is compassion in the sense of seeing emotionally as if you were in someone elses shoes - and being able to forgive them (or have compassion for them and not forgive them by the way). And there is the compassion like when Jesus was angry in the temple. (I liked the cool graphics Fred used to make that point in his way.)

As an aikido guy, I want to be so strong that I can have compassion for the person attacking me (IN VAIN of course) - and be able to see them as a result of a bunch of parenting and role model issues (where those parents/role models got that way as a result of the same, and so on) - and not need to PUNISH them for their unfortunate choice of acting out on me. I want to be able to and have the choice not to hurt them while I stay safe myself on all levels (even karmicly).

I really have no idea how I will attain the wisdom to not confuse compassion with my own damaged ego stuff and/or what I have learned from a damaged society in general. Compassion-confusion has two sides:
- on one side it can make me a push-over/enabler in some situations.
- on the other side, it can easily create the situation where I confuse the 'Jesus was angry in the temple' with my ego desire for vengence or justice or the value of teaching a lesson "for your own good".

Rob

Last edited by rob_liberti : 03-21-2008 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:31 AM   #104
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

I have things to say about this, but no time at the moment. For now I will link to another discussion that to me is the crux of this compassion business. There's an context of love that runs under it all. There is the side of "idiot compassion", the side of "tough love", and those who say "Yeah - it's both!" And much of what I'm reading is ignoring or failing to understand the profundity of pure love driving all of it.



http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...014#post186014

Quote:
Eric Meade wrote:
O Sensei stated it plainly, if we would listen: "True budo is love."
It is that combination of very real possibillity of danger and the simultaneous desire to protect our partner from that danger in a selfless way that creates the environment for the suggested intensifying mechanism of "Love as Budo" Competition or sparring would that aspect make almost impossible to achieve.

O Sensei's combination of his physical solo practices, chinkon kishin, for example, with his simultaneous deep contemplation and religious devotion to the expanding Love of the Divine, would likely make those same fascial contraction functions operate.

There is no faking true love.

It also suggests that there may well be something very unique about what Aikido strives to achieve in a combative setting that does indeed set it far apart from other arts. That thing may have teeth that are belied by the language and sincere attitude of of love that makes it possible.

I'll post more about what I'm getting at in tying these threads together when I have a chance . . .


.

Last edited by sunny liberti : 03-23-2008 at 09:38 AM.

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Old 03-23-2008, 12:23 PM   #105
sunny liberti
 
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Quote:
Jennifer Yabut wrote:
A good parent loves his/her child unconditionally, but is also quick to issue some "tough love" when needed.
So as I was saying above, there must be a context of love flowing under all these points that are being made here, that is propping this discussion up.

In this case, I'm struck by the quickness with which you suggest toughening up when dealing with your children. I actually suggest entirely the opposite. I personally believe it is wiser to examine your own motives and issues fully, and then wholeheartedly act toward your children with *love*. Whether you are seeing eye to eye or are engaged in a difference of opinion with them. I'm also struck with the way this sentence pits "unconditional love" and "tough love" as and either/or situation.

The risk I see if we are so quick on the tough part and not stopping to think strongly about the love part, is that we are ripe to be guilty of perpetuating the cycles. This is the point where it stops or keeps going. This is the moment of decision. Where we raise compassionate, empathetic human being, or we chop up their spirits and create victims and perpetrators. When the kids are pushing every button we have, do we choose an interaction of "namaste" (the god in me honors the god in you), or do we take a behaviorist, reductionist approach? Do we communicate to them that they are fully loved and lovable no matter what feeling and thoughts they are working though, or do we let them know that we have the power to inflict judgement and discomfort (even pain) on them based on our own perceptions of who and what they are?

I feel that we are charged with their *guidance*. Not with doling out punishments, shame, or judgements.

This may seem to be drifting way off topic, but I'll try to tie it in as I see it fits here. So please bear with me. It's going to take a minute to meander to my point so I can give enough context to see where I'm going. There are too many facets (and I'm not articulate enough) to keep this short and sweet and say all I want to say. And there is so much room for misunderstanding here. So I beg pardon for the novel.

I think that talking about parenting is really a great way of talking about other human interactions, because they are a little more clear-cut than most relationships, so are easier to dissect, analyze, and extrapolate from. It's a great way to get a good look at ourselves.

Boundaries, for one. A loaded word in parenting circles. More false dichotomy. One side takes the tough love approach and the other the wishy-washy pushover side. The misconception that "unconditional love" is somehow synonymous with "pushover". And somewhere else, in some other paradigm, off the spectrum of behaviorism entirely, there is just being. No illusions of control. Don't we learn in aikido that we can only control ourselves, and any attempts to control other are futile? So it is with parenting.

Boundaries, to me, are what I can assess that I need in order to feel safe. I "draw" them around myself so that I'm in touch with my needs and can communicate them to others as necessary. It's the ma-ai I maintain on the mat. The structural and physical integrity I find and develop through training. The idea of "enforcing boundaries" around kids to contain them within is the oddest thing to me. How can I enforce a boundary around another human being? How can I know their needs, feeling, and karma? Attempting to do that creates all kinds of problems. Interpersonal trouble between parent and child, as power struggles and control issues. Social issues as the kids act the control issues out with others around them . . . the concentric circles go on.

And this is the most troubling part about it to me. When a kid grows us encased in this illusion of having "boundaries" around them - they will learn to function within that system they are offered. They will do whatever they have to to get their needs met, no matter how sneaky they have to be about it. The drive to meet our own needs is an honest one. Young people will always do the most honest thing to their natures, even if it means lying, cheating, or stealing to do it. They will not do what is considered honest in a broken, dishonest system, unless they have become broken themselves. If we present them with a token (dishonest) system that squelches their drives, they will do what they have to to work within it. They *have* to. And that system will see *them* as the problematic dishonest ones. And the way I see it, as they age, they solidify in that until they actually are. They become charicatures of what they once had the impetus to be. And they become the abusers and victims of a broken way of living.

One example, of many, that comes up all the time in parenting discussions is the issue of small kids hitting. Of course conventional parenting "wisdom" is to do some form of punishing to stop the "bad" behavior. Kids have to "learn to be good". Or whatever flavor of that is a popular buzz word of the moment. Spanking, time outs, hitting back . . . all the forms of love withdrawl. They are all just as damaging as the next.

People love to use this example as a way to shut down the pushover set - since it's so obvious that a kid hitting someone is a brat who needs to be put in his place. And they are outraged at the notion of not containing him. They tell me, "Kids have to learn that hitting is just *wrong*!" (Hehe, back to moral absolutes!) But honestly, how do I tell my son that and then send him to MA class to learn HOW to hit more effectively? What the hell does that do to my credibility? What about if he's about to be harmed by someone, and a well-placed good combination delivered at the right time will stop it? Damn, I hope he has a knockout combo by that time. And I'm glad Rob is teaching him some good stuff.

So right now if he's a primate who is acting very primate-like at the moment, then we talk about other ways of connecting, dealing with anger, getting our points across . . . We talk about how the "hit-ee" feels and what they are experiencing. We have open and frank discussions about all these issues. Human evolution to the next level of thinking. What is the next step up - all that stuff. I try to show it and be a model of higher expression myself. It takes more time, effort, and certainly thought than using love withdrawl like time outs and those stupid "naughty chairs", but I see it as more than worth it. Beyond measure.

My job is to nurture his intuition. In the case of hitting, my goal is to build his judgement and his control - not to suppress it to the point that if he finds himself in a tight spot someday and needs lightning fast judgement to navigate it safely, he'll stall out for just a moment, having been trained that "hitting is wrong".

How many of us have had to overcome that childhood admonition when we started aikido? How many of us (maybe this is more common to women, I don't know) had to overcome the feeling that we were going to have the snot beat out of us for engaging in strong martial connection? I spend a ton of time trying to regain the instincts that I lost in my childhood. I still don't have great reflexes in tight situations. So my job as a mom is to figure out where that went wrong, do whatever work I have to on myself to right it, and stop the things that would pass it on to my child(ren).

That judgement, that intuition, the ability to see underneath the surface and *know* what to do, that is his connection to God. That is his inner guidance. My task as steward of his young life is to guide him toward that, not to impose my own skewed judgements onto his inner guidance.

Now, where it ties to this thread, is that I hope that keeping my child(ren)'s inner guidance and intuition intact, caring for it, and it will serve him if he's ever faced with being abused, as was the case here with Clint George. I believe that being so quick to dole out the tough love, turns the child into way easier prey. It short circuits their defenses. I hate to see it promoted actually *AS* compassion. That is very disturbing to me.

Nothing is fool-proof, of course. But I think that this way has a way better chance of serving him than the controlling-his-every-movement way. That way is like pushing waves into the ocean. There's no way I can stop all bad experiences. So I'd better allow his own inner resources to bloom, so that he can navigate through life.

Yet another facet of this I see is the mixed messages I see kids get all the time. I interpret what Fred was saying before about the faces of compassion to strongly come into play here. There are the obvious ones where you see a parent hitting a child while yelling to them not to hit. Crazy. But then there are much more subtle things that take a lot more thought to weed out of our interactions. Like, telling a child not to hit and then sending them victim energy is very confusing to them. This is when it's compassionate to show your strength. Love strength, not physical strength, like the nutty example above. Or telling them they are free to choose things, and then limiting what they get to an either/or situation. It's dishonest, and it chips away at their judgement too. I believe that it requires incredible integrity of all our various parts of self to communicate effective with kids, and so it follows the same is true with spouses, fellow aikidoka, with everyone.


The trick, I'm coming to believe, is infusing ALL our actions with love. This is what I think Osensei was pointing out in the Budo is Pure Love quote. Whether I'm telling my son that he's cute and funny and we're laughing in a joyous moment (showing the gentle face of compassion), or I'm telling him that I'm not his punching bag and I'm to be treated with respect and love (showing the riled up face of compassion) - I'm constantly striving to communicate to him that HE is loved, and to be loved and respected all the same, no matter what the surface layer of our interaction happens to be at the moment. This is powerful. This very choice changes everything in our interactions. And without it, we are driving fast while blind.

Last edited by sunny liberti : 03-23-2008 at 12:36 PM.

Sunny

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Old 03-23-2008, 12:58 PM   #106
sunny liberti
 
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

BTW, I would also really like to point out that I love what Ellis said upthread about forgiveness. Boy is that something that really needs saying! Crucial element of forgiveness and compassion IMO.

I could blather on about my feelings on that aspect of this topic too, but I need to get off the computer. Maybe I'll come back to it later.

So for now . . . thank you, Ellis!

Sunny

A brave man dies once; cowards are always dying." --Moanahonga, Ioway
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Old 03-23-2008, 02:24 PM   #107
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

I believe the best thing we can do is model our relationships on the foundations of aikido which take into considertion all that has been outlined in this discussion by just about everyone.
We all come from different starting places and the
'thread' that we first connect to is the beginning of our aiki, if you will, foundation.
I agree that we need not be overly rigid in general, for isn't that a tenet of our common practice?
I agree with what Ellis has written above, which I also approached from a moderately different angle.
I agree that boundries is a loaded word, but we need to have a line where we can say, this is my circle, and include the children in our lives in it.
I agree that love is the binding feature and guiding light of of our collective areements with ourselves, others, and God (or choose your own higher power ).
But I also say, don't throw out the baby with the bath water on this and forget that we also need to be strong in our atemi when our partners are open and ignorant while thinking that they are above it all, somehow. By keeping our feet on the ground, and only by keeping our feet on the ground, can we connect to the wisdom of love that is being spoken here today. And my feet say, embrace both these people with love in the manner appropriate for them. For a perpetrator, and the jury is still out on this one, that means strong parenting by a larger authority, be it the legal system or the aikido community or both.
For the child, that means parenting by the same in a different context.
Let us not withdraw our love, but let's not confuse that with complicity through abstraction.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 03-24-2008, 09:42 AM   #108
sunny liberti
 
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

I'd like to further address the point of "evil", and the nature of transgressors, forgiveness, and healing from violations . . . I disagree with the absolutism here. I agree completely that shoving forgiveness down victims' throats is very detrimental to healing - and even resoundingly agree with the reasons Ellis states as to why people do that - however, I don't see how that precludes finding one's way to viewing the violator with love and compassion. I don't agree that they are exclusive of each other, which is what I understood the general tone of this thread to mean. That it's either hippy-dippy freelove or wholesale rejection of loving one's enemy. I don't think that it can be this black and white, because people are complex creatures with complex motivations, feelings, and selves. So we can't meaningfully distill any of this down to a narrow concept like "evil". Not without eliminating essential components of the human experience, in any case.

Ellis, I would like to point out here that this is the one discrepancy between with your eloquent description of forgiveness and my own experience. That is that the term "evil" actually *de-personalizes* the violation much in the way that you admonish us not to engage in. Meaning that, to get to my rage, I need for the act to be personal. One human made a choice to violate me, a fellow human. If it's some vague, "beyond-us-normal-people-to-commit" atrocity, then that's one step removed from the personalization of the choice that my attacker made. One more level of depersonalization that I could keep hiding my anger behind. Maybe it's better to describe it that, if somehow their choice to harm me is outside of normal the human experience (hyperbolically, the devil made them do it), then it's just that much harder for me to personalize the violation and then rage against it. I wonder if your moving those choices to the realm of non-human "evil", and outside of normal behavior, isn't motivated by your discomfort of those possibilities, much like those many therapists are uncomfortable with the anger and rage that ensues.

We humans all have the option to do all kinds of stuff. I could make a choice to beat my child mercilessly. It turns my stomach to think about it, but the choice to do what my father did is there as an option nonetheless. The horrible sick feeling I get at the thought of it means that my primary compassionate instinct didn't get broken off somewhere in one of my early beatings. There are those people who *don't* get sick at that thought, and from that point some are aware of this flaw and choose not to have children (something I consider a sign of self-awareness and conscience), and still many others who are lacking in nausea at child-beating who DO decide to reproduce. There are whole ranges of choices here. They create whole vast spectra of possibilities of outcome. We all have the choices to do any of these things, given our particular make-up. This is, to me, the point of having a human experience - to navigate these choppy waters. To move it to the world of something you or I could never choose allows for those who do choose to harm others to abdicate responsibility for making those choices. We all have a darkside, whether we admit it or not. And additionally, it's damn hard and scary to look into it's eyes.

In any case, in my own life, one example (of many) would be my step-father who is a genuine sadist. He has abused me as long as he's been in my family, and my mother has consistently tried to punish me (or at least shame me as I became an adult) for not "forgiving and forgetting". It's been a messy situation. I've hated him for many years. And my mother, too, for enabling him to hurt me. So here we get to how, for me, Ellis' points about getting in touch with the anger are spot on. I've had to fight against much resistance from my family and culture (and therapists even) in order to get a handle on my rage. It's taken a lot longer than it should have were I supported, and has cost me severely, in terms of relationships with family. But there it is - in all it's unfortunate reality.

Just when I thought I could contain my experience in that neat little box we humans seem to like, that I could just think of my SF as fairly evil and my mother as a weak woman who let it happen, a surprising thing drifted into my head. I started to see my SF as a former little baby who deserved all the love in the world, but didn't get it. I started to see how he came here expecting love and human contact, but instead got cold harsh treatment and almost no love, touch, or bonding with his mother. I could see and even feel the pain that was the impetus for his decisions to withdraw from the realm of human kindness.

What was so striking to me, was that instead of thinking, "Gee, isn't this sweet, I'm healing and finding compassion . . . yay!" like you'd expect when you are seeking truth on a spiritual path - I instead felt really angry that I was being required to hold all those disparate feelings in the same head and heart. I was unnerved by the many angles and feelings that are *all* valid, each one just as real as all the others. The situation didn't fit in my box anymore. And that pissed me off. It wasn't supposed to feel like that, right? It was supposed to be a happy epiphany to start breaking through the rage. But it wasn't. Breaking through introduced complexity at that point. Part of healing for me, was coming to accept the difficulty of having all these things pulling me in various directions. To harness those energies and make them productive, instead of railing against them, that was part of my maturing. Hell, just accepting them for what they are was maturing enough.

So . . . why can't we support victims who are healing, to both get in touch with their anger and rage - and to accept the many facets of the situation as complexities arise? It would be so emotionally convenient to keep these issues simple, but they just are not. And just like it's harmful to force forgiveness on victims, I feel it also harmful to oversimplify the position of victimhood to the point that a victim is required to navigate the minefield that they are wrongly compassionate for their attackers, when those feelings of compassion do eventually arise. That is scary enough as it is, and to hear from powerfully articulate, understanding, and healing voices like Ellis' that they are somehow identifying with pure evil, might be an insurmountable obstacle to achieving wholeness.

What I'd like to see happen is that we help victims come to understand , on their own terms, that forgiveness in no way means letting people harm you. That is such an pervasive and insidious message that it seems to just seep in through the air. What I came to realize is that what so unnerved me about the feelings of empathy for my SF, was a fear that it made me weak and vulnerable to further attacks by him or others. We think that there is safety within the rage, that it makes us strong to protect ourselves, and if we let it go we'll forget the lessons it brought us and be weak again. It can be very confusing to tease apart the idea that forgiveness seems to mean you must again martyr yourself. It just isn't true. But I don't see that calling the choice to harm another "evil", that is so apart from "regular" humans, really promotes that particular understanding. And further, as we "normal" (if not yet enlightened) people are generally aware that we cause harm to others from time to time, there is a great deal of pressure from that definition of evil, since we must be somewhat engaging in it as well.

As it stands now in the case with my SF, I know that he's an asshole. I also know he's a victim of a terrible childhood that scarred him beyond healing. I know that he has hurt me. I know that he would hurt my child if given the opportunity. I know that I would possibly kill him if he did really hurt my child. All those things are all true at the same time. It's just that complex. Which of those conflicting true things should I strike as irrelevant or untrue, in order to fit the messy situation into a neat little box? My mother thinks that if I had really found forgiveness, I'd let him hurt my child - so her vote would be to strike anything that conflicts with her martyrdom. I gather that Ellis might strike the part where SF is a being who deserves the compassion that I have found over the years. But that would stunt my healing progress in a different way. And it would turn SF into something not human, so it would not exactly be a true representation either. And let me assure you that it's a truth that he'll be a dead man if he ever lays a hand on my son. If I could fight through Rob, who would probably get there first, to be the one to choke SF out, I'd be a fully realized darkside Sunny - let me tell you! So I'm not scratching that off my list of truths about this situation.


I want to be sure to say that I really appreciate this discussion. I think it's so important to air these issues and talk freely about them they way everyone here is doing. I hope that much good can come of this in terms of healing and learning for us all.

Last edited by sunny liberti : 03-24-2008 at 09:54 AM.

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Old 03-24-2008, 11:57 AM   #109
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Quote:
Sunny Liberti wrote: View Post
So as I was saying above, there must be a context of love flowing under all these points that are being made here, that is propping this discussion up.

In this case, I'm struck by the quickness with which you suggest toughening up when dealing with your children. I actually suggest entirely the opposite. I personally believe it is wiser to examine your own motives and issues fully, and then wholeheartedly act toward your children with *love*. Whether you are seeing eye to eye or are engaged in a difference of opinion with them. I'm also struck with the way this sentence pits "unconditional love" and "tough love" as and either/or situation.
Whoa...I think you may have misunderstood me a little bit. When I said "tough love", I did *not* mean the parent should immediately come down on the child with a heavy hand. It was more related to Fred's point about the "different faces of compassion", so to speak.

Sometimes love is mushy and affectionate.

Sometimes love hurts, like telling the truth about a difficult situation instead of trying to cover it up (e.g., explaining a death of a relative to a child, and *not* telling him/her that grandma is only "sleeping" or "on vacation").

Sometimes love means a parent has to say "No". I'm sure most of us have seen children scream "YOU DON'T LOVE ME!" in the middle of a store when they don't get that toy they want. But think about an adult child - still living at home, unemployed, and not contributing a single thing to the household. Do you think the parent continuing to say "Yes" to that adult child - without any expectation for him/her to get off his/her lazy rear and get a job - is helpful?

That is what I mean by "tough love": saying and doing the difficult things because a parent loves and CARES for his/her child. Saying "yes" and always acquiesing to a child's every whim does FAR more harm than good in the long run. In the adult child's case, it would be considering "enabling".

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Old 03-24-2008, 01:07 PM   #110
sunny liberti
 
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Quote:
Jennifer Yabut wrote:
Do you think the parent continuing to say "Yes" to that adult child - without any expectation for him/her to get off his/her lazy rear and get a job - is helpful?

That is what I mean by "tough love": saying and doing the difficult things because a parent loves and CARES for his/her child. Saying "yes" and always acquiesing to a child's every whim does FAR more harm than good in the long run. In the adult child's case, it would be considering "enabling".
Well, I hope I made it clear that I don't think anything of the sort. Rather, that doing the difficult things (refraining from enabling), when done with an attitude of "get off his/her lazy rear and get a job" is more destructive than helpful. I'm just reading your words. That's an awfully venomous sentiment to aim at your offspring. And if we are claiming to be students of budo, under a system whose *founder* said that True Budo is Love, how will we achieve that if we can't even well up any love during conflicts with the very people we're genetically programmed to care for?

I don't think it's really fair to continue to stifle my points down to reductionist thinking or false dichotomies (like, if we really care for kids we employ "tough love", or else we're indulging and spoiling them), when I specifically said that what I'm talking about it outside that illusion altogether. I mean to talk about those times when "sometimes love hurts", and point out that those are the times when it's the absolute *most* important to remember that we charged with loving them. Those are the times when it's most critical to be in touch with our compassion for others, lest we find ourselves taking the easy way out by indulging in viewing our kids as "lazy", "spoiled", or some other divisive idea. That in no way whatsoever distills down to acquiescing, enabling, or spoiling.

If I found myself with an adult child who couldn't seem to get his act together, I'd know that something was really off. I don't believe it's normal for humans to lose all drive, joy, and ambition. I trust that my child will manifest human normalcy, unless something goes really wrong. My job as a parent is not to think him lazy, not to do everything for him, and also not to ignore his deepest needs, but to facilitate his overcoming whatever it is blocking him, and getting back to himself. I participate to the extent that feels healthy to me (maintaining my own boundaries), and offer him my insight I might have into his plight for him to do with what he will. None of that is enabling, or issuing tough love. His situation (at that adult age) is frankly none of my business to judge, none of my business to tell him what to do, and none of my business to coerce him. Just to guide him through as best I can and offer my love. That's it. To do less than that (what I consider to be parental due diligence) is to cover over something that needs addressing. To deal with him as just a set of behaviors, or as some sloth who is just aching to get away with doing nothing, is ignoring a very real and important factor that is clearly causing him a loss of self. That, I would grieve for. I may or may not help him cover his rent, depending on both my situation and his. But whether I do or not, it's not about enabling. It's only when we ignore the deepest needs of our family that we fail them. It's not about money, jobs, or laziness - that would just be the surface level.

Back to the younger set, I seriously cringe in those times in stores when I hear the coercive hurtful interactions. I occasionally see parents handle it with dignity and care. Criminally rare, but there are a few times. By and large I hear threats, value judgement that are exclusively de-valuing, and almost always shame. I see that as having almost no personal integrity - in the context that I advocated in a previous post. Thus my belief in examining our motives and issues - to get that integrity before we just mouth off disrespectfully to our children.

Does that in any way mean that I think that every child begging for a newest crap toy should be given it? Not even a little bit. Not even sure how it is that anyone got that out of what I said. It just also doesn't mean that the only way to say no is through messages of judgement. It's really possible to communicate clearly and in line with our own limits, desires, and expectations, without poisoning the communication with thoughts of "lazy", "spoiled", or "greedy" in the case of wanting too many toys.

My way of dealing with the innundation of commercialization is . . . drumroll please . . . even still with empathy. My son has never equated having things or not with whether I love him, because I have never set that thinking into motion. When he wants something, I make it clear that I love him with all his wants, whether we get the POS toy or not. I relate with him to the fact that humans have desires, and that it's normal to want things, esp given our culture. There is no connection in his mind, because I have made a concerted effort to keep those things clear and separate. Furthermore, I use it as a fabulous opportunity to discuss the problems of commercialism, in a bonding sort of way. It actually works great. We pretty much always walk out of a toy store very happy and connected with each other, whether we have a toy in hand or not.

This whole business - everything discussed in this thread - requires us to peel back everything we see and look underneath. And do it over and over again. And when we think we've gotten to the bottom layer and that's all there is - keep trying to look deeper. Cartesian thinking is going to be the undoing of us all if we keep applying it to human dealings. At a minimum, it's going to hinder understanding on this thread.

Last edited by sunny liberti : 03-24-2008 at 01:20 PM.

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Old 03-24-2008, 01:10 PM   #111
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Hi folks,

Let's try to steer the discussion back to being directly pertinent to aikido and the original topic. If you wish to discuss a more general topic, please do so in the Open Discussions forum.

Thanks,

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Old 03-24-2008, 10:39 PM   #112
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Sunny - I don't believe in the evil as an beyond-human force (Devil rather than . . .) . That's another way of avoiding responsiblity. There is nothing more human than evil. It is my opinion it is the avoidance of that term that "dehumanizes" the act. Evil only happens in the realm of of free will, something that only human beings have. Most of the victims I have met have not really healed until they recognized that the acts they suffered were evil - and nothing less. Furthermore, some have to recognize that the perpetrators were evil, in that they sought out, chose and embraced committing such acts.
Victims try to make sense of things by blaming themselves - and much of society responds in kind. If they are responsible, it couldn't happen to me.
Or, at minimum, reframing by making "nice" - as in, "well, the perpetrator must be (I hope, thereby making sense of it) suffering or he wouldn't have done it.
And it's a bad thing to be evil in an aikido dojo (Hi Jun )

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 03-24-2008 at 10:41 PM.

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Old 03-25-2008, 03:28 AM   #113
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Ellis Wrote:

Quote:
And it's a bad thing to be evil in an aikido dojo
Isn't it a bad thing to be evil anywhere?

It seems to me that when and where-ever people take away or minimize the idea that there are moral absolutes, then it becomes possible to believe that the universe indeed revolves around us and our desires. Pride was the first sin, and yet the same selfish arrogance is still the basis for evil today. There's really no getting around that truth in my opinion, it is part of the human condition, but that does not excuse anyone. Because ultimately we are all responsible for our own actions.

What I think Ellis must have been getting at and I have to agree, is that of all places, an aikido dojo ought to be a "safer place". A place for practicing the art of 'loving protection' not only as a means of defense against physical attack, but also as a means to practice REI. How many times have we heard that budo begins and ends with rei? As such, an aikido dojo is a place where we ought to cultivate a mutually respectful and courteous manner, and thereby better ourselves and hopefully the world we live in as a result of our discipline and practice. I think that was very much the gist of Ueshiba Sensei's vision, and in that regard, being "evil in an aikido dojo" is indeed particularly offensive.

Quote:
In sum, I find decent people, particularly in the world of aikido, try so hard to see both or all sides that they can loose sight of the fact that there are moral absolutes.
Amen, Ellis. It reminds me of a quote, that I think is attributed to Anglo-Irish statesman, Edmund Burke, who said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing".

If I may be so bold - an aikido teacher, by definition, has the responsibility to exemplify that ("loving protection" & REI) in their daily life, both in and out of the dojo. I don't care what dan grade a person has, or how many years they have studied or with whom, if they cannot demonstrate a reasonably higher standard of integrity in their personal conduct, they are not qualified to be a teacher of aikido. And ultimately, it's up to the overall aikido community to expect no less.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:07 AM   #114
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

If this thread is cut into sections I would like to request that at least 1 copy of it remain all together in its entirety under some new - and more generalized name.

My opinion of course is that the discussion turned directly into the root of the issue at hand. Al Gutierrez seemed to tie it back together nicely. If we over compartimentalize these thiings it makes it difficult to get down to the real guts of what is is going on.

With all respect - I honeslty believe that this discussion is already directly about aikido because as I understand it, the point of "aiki" is okugi or "depth". Taking any topic from surface level contradiction to the level of depth where principles explain those surface level contradiction is percisesly aikido.

I'll try to clarify this position by asking: What the heck are we doing aikido for if not to deal with the generalized topics on this thread? AND Why are we outraged at an aikido teacher who is accused of abusing their power and their position in aikido?

We got through the ideas of innocent until proven guilty and what a great loss. What matters is how do we protect and prevent that kind of thing better? How does it get set up in the first place? What can we do as aikido people or just people in general? To do that I think we need to better understand what is happening at the various fundimental levels. This is been one of the most productive threads I have read in a long while.

Thanks,
Rob
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:28 AM   #115
sunny liberti
 
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Quote:
Amen, Ellis. It reminds me of a quote, that I think is attributed to Anglo-Irish statesman, Edmund Burke, who said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing".
I couldn't agree more. I love this quote - thank you for adding it to this discussion.

Quote:
In sum, I find decent people, particularly in the world of aikido, try so hard to see both or all sides that they can loose sight of the fact that there are moral absolutes.
My effort here to expand on this point is a hope that we do not use those moral absolutes as a way to oversimplify, and thereby ignore or lose sight of crucial truths. I hope that we do not make the exacting nature of some violations - such as sexually molesting a child - an excuse to devolve into loathing or revenge. There is something else here, besides the spacey hippy path or the ego-motivted condemnation.

This is not OT at all IMO. This is the very reason I train aikido. To see the light in every person, whether they are trying to whack me in the head, slice me with a knife, or coming after my child with a #$%^ - this does not in any way mean that I sit idly by as allow it to happen. But my sure and swift action to put an end to a violation need not be motivated by hatred, dismissal, judgement against the nature of the attacker (vs judgement about the danger of the situation, very important distinction).

This is how, when necessary, we can even kill with love. It doesn't have to be just love for all the future possible victims of that person we are killing. It can really be love for the person who we are stopping from causing harm.

Quote:
Victims try to make sense of things by blaming themselves - and much of society responds in kind. If they are responsible, it couldn't happen to me.
Yes. However, I personally believe that this occurs the other way around. I think that the self-blame is entire born out of our culture - starting with the shaming messages in childhood that get under the skin and live there silently until they come out as self-blame for being victimized. And then yes, of course the culture swoops in and reinforces what it set into motion. If victim-blaming resonates with my experience (that I was taught to blame myself), then no doubt that I would want another to believe about themselves what I believe about me. To do other than that would be threatening to my belief system. This is how that crap keeps going.

I do not believe that it is *true* human nature for people to override their instincts at avoiding danger and recognizing when they are violated. I think this victim pattern is learned in early childhood in some of the ways I barely touched on before, and many others I won't delve into. There are many cultures of humans in this world that do not have this problem of self-blame, who are not confused about what happens when people violate other people. It's not fundamental to the human experience.

The fact that we are all touched by self-blame is, to me, another very very good reason to practice the art that demonstrates the principle Budo is Love.

Last edited by sunny liberti : 03-25-2008 at 08:39 AM.

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Old 03-25-2008, 08:53 AM   #116
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Back to Al for a moment - Umm, what I wrote, as the end of my last post is referred to, in the vernacular, as a joke. I was very careful - I even put a puerile smiley at the end.
Warning, here comes another one. It's O.K. to be evil anywhere, except an aikido dojo.
(All of this was a response to Jun requesting people stay relevant, that the thread should be connected directly to aikido, or the discussion moved to an open forum. I simply wanted to reply to Sunny's post, and knew I was over Jun's proscrption, so I made a j-o-k-e).
Sigh.

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Old 03-25-2008, 09:24 AM   #117
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Back on topic - has anyone heard when either this case or the Toyoda case will be brought to trial? And has anyone heard from students in either dojo? I imagine their emotions are in complete turmoil right now, and I wonder if there is anything we as a group or as individuals can do for them?
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:17 AM   #118
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Jun, I would appreciate your opinion here.
"back on topic" seems dead.. and a bit more like chit chat and gossip if you ask me.

The topic we morphed into seems like it may have had a little more life in it - but it seems that no one is willing to continue that direction since your last comment. I was hoping I had persuaded you to reconsider. If not, I'll drop it with sadness.

Rob
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Old 03-27-2008, 08:48 AM   #119
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

I respectfully beg to differ, Rob. We still don't know if the gentlemen in either case are actually guilty of what they are accused. If by some good turn of events their names have been cleared, then that certainly would not be gossip. Furthermore, how would you feel if your sensei had suddenly been caught up in a drama like this? Wouldn't you want to know that the aikido community at large was there to support you and help you in any way they could?
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:35 AM   #120
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
I respectfully beg to differ, Rob. We still don't know if the gentlemen in either case are actually guilty of what they are accused. If by some good turn of events their names have been cleared, then that certainly would not be gossip. Furthermore, how would you feel if your sensei had suddenly been caught up in a drama like this? Wouldn't you want to know that the aikido community at large was there to support you and help you in any way they could?
Of course we are supportive of the folks in the Helena Aikido community who are, I am sure, deeply affected by this. There are various pieces of info circulating now that make this unfortunate revelation less surprising... apparently some folks saw it coming. I won't say any more than that. What we can do for the folks in Helena, I don't actually know. There are experienced folks there who are capable of keeping a dojo going if they wish to do so. I am sure that if they needed any support from us, they know they can ask.

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Old 03-27-2008, 05:51 PM   #121
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Quote:
Lori Snidow wrote: View Post
I respectfully beg to differ, Rob. We still don't know if the gentlemen in either case are actually guilty of what they are accused. If by some good turn of events their names have been cleared, then that certainly would not be gossip. Furthermore, how would you feel if your sensei had suddenly been caught up in a drama like this? Wouldn't you want to know that the aikido community at large was there to support you and help you in any way they could?
Okay sorry. I suppose it is a perspective thing. To me - with all due respect - I cannot get the phrase "desperate housewives" out of my mind each time I have attempted to respond to this post.

If it had been my sensei of course I would be devastated and I would want to process the whole thing in a meaningful way by, say, discussing exactly what I had been attempting to discuss before you posted "back on topic" as opposed to "back to the original topic" or "back to the surface level topic" or "back to the specific example that kicked off this interesting discussion into the roots of evil, abuse, and how we deal with it in aikido". If someone pumped me for a bit more info on the specific issue, I - and I suppose this is just me - would feel that they were looking for me to "dish the dirt" with morbid curiosity under the pretense of compassion and concern. I'm not saying that is your motives. But you asked me how I would feel.

Rob

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Old 03-30-2008, 08:47 PM   #122
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

My question was not out of "morbid curiosity" (nor, for that matter, am I either desperate or a housewife...). The morbidly curious gossip IMHO would be asking for the gory details on what actually happened, which I think has no business being posted on this or any forum. I do have a personal interest in the abuse of power/molestation issue, as evidenced by my very first post in this thread. However, Jun had requested that we move that discussion to a separate thread.

I am very glad that there are more experienced and connected noggins than mine (as Ledyard Sensei mentioned) making sure that the affected folks are being supported. But having BTDT, I know how much a kind word of support can mean to someone going through this nightmare. I also certainly know how painful gossip can be, and you can rest completely assured that was not my intent whatsoever.
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:11 PM   #123
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Does anyone know when this will go to court? When will someone know the outcome of the case?

Is this case being covered by the local media?
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Old 04-02-2008, 07:19 AM   #124
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

The bottom line is Clint is an adult and a Sensei...he should know not to get involved w/an underage girl.If found guilty he must go to prison.
BTW I had 4 Pre-release con's working for me just out of Deer Lodge
and the felons convicted of child abuse "chomos" are in protective custody at Deer Lodge State Prison...
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Old 04-02-2008, 02:53 PM   #125
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Re: Very Disturbing news about Clint George

Hi,

Previously mentioned was Gavin de Beckers book "The Gift of Fear"

I think this book is a fantasticly presented and illuminating "must read" for every individual concerned with self defense and the behavior of predators. Less well known is his latest book "Protecting the Gift" a work specifically concerned with children, and the dangers they face in our modern society.

This has been a very illuminating, albeit disturbing discourse.

All my best,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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