An Unexpected Gift for My Spirit

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Thanksgiving https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 

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This morning I poured myself some cold coffee, added ice cubes and a little ice cream, grabbed an almost-empty bag of jalapeño potato chips, and sat down at my computer to read my email and the Guardian. (Don’t worry – later I made myself a proper breakfast.)

I subscribe to “A Poem a Day” from https://poets.org/poem-a-day. Some days I simply cannot understand what the poem is trying to say, other days I find it uninspiring. Some days it speaks with force and beauty to my condition. Today I was moved to check out a second poem because the title appealed to me, and it transformed my day.

I know I will read and reread this poem over and over. It gives me courage for the journey and makes my heart sing. It will make me feel like each day is a coming-home-to-myself party.

I share it with you, hoping you may glimpse what I cannot yet fully describe; something I totally believe in, something which has always been just beyond my awareness.

Joy Harjo, by the way, is our current Poet Laureate and the first Native American Poet Laureate.

 

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet

Joy Harjo

 

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.

Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.

Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.
 Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.

Don’t worry.
 The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises, interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark.

 

Reprinted from “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 2015 by Joy Harjo.

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Upcoming Holidays

November
11/28 US Thanksgiving
December
12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22 Sundays of Advent
12/11 Full moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/26 Annular solar eclipse. Totality will be visible in Saudi Arabia, southern India, Sri Lanka, parts of Indonesia, Singapore, and parts of the Philippines.
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/10 Full moon
1/10-11 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, which will be visible in Australia, Europe, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual full moon. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-january-10
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
12/22 – 12/30 Chanukah
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

I’m on the Radio on February 20 – And Other News Items

The Infinite Mind Conference was a blast. I’ve never been in a room with 300 people, most of whom were multiple. I’ll write more about it later.

The only bad thing about it was that my sister-in-law, who I have known for fifty years, died while I was flying home. I immediately left to be with the family for the memorial service. I’m very sad and not feeling up to writing a whole post, but I have gathered some news items.

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I’m going to be interviewed on the radio on Wednesday Feb 20 at 5 PM Pacific time! It will be 90 minutes. I’d love if some of you tuned in so I could imagine friendly ears as I talked. If you cannot make it, no biggie – all shows are archived.

Go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/NAASCA and click on number 3 in the box below the description. Then click anywhere on the description. The show starts with an ad, then some music, and then the interviewer explains the series and makes the introduction.

Two people have already been interviewed: Ellen Lacter, a therapist who works with both children and adult survivors and Kim Kubal, an RA survivor. To listen, go to the bottom of the page and click through the numbers until you find the archived show you want. Ellen’s website is http://endritualabuse.org/ and Kim’s is https://kimkubal.com/your-strength-to-heal-healing-from-trauma/

It would be great if some of you would also like to be interviewed – it’s such a great way to share your story, educate people about RA, and/or give them resources. If you are interested, write to Bill Murray and tell him you heard about the series on my blog. You can reach him at support@blogtalkradio.com

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Please consider helping with gathering data for a PhD thesis on ritual abuse survivors’ experiences with social media. I took the survey yesterday. It wasn’t triggering to me, and it made me grateful for the sense of community the Internet gives me.

By the way, Izzy’s Promise is Scotland’s foremost resource.

“My name is Joseph Lumbasi, the manager for Izzy’s Promise http://www.izzyspromise.org.uk and currently a PhD Student at the University of Dundee, School of Social Work and Education.

“To participate in this research please copy and paste this link into your browser [do not click the link please] https://dundee.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/views-and-experiences-of-self-identified-ra-survivors-on-t-4

“Please help me by completing and circulating the survey to your networks.”

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March 5 is Dissociative Identity Disorder Awareness Day. You are invited to celebrate it by explaining to somebody what DID is and what it isn’t. Certainly it is nothing like what is depicted on television! You can also explain to your insiders. There will in all probability littles listening in, so it’s good to keep your language smple.

Power to the Plurals has a free poster. https://powertotheplurals.com/2019/02/15/free-poster-for-dissociative-identity-disorder-awareness-day/ You can print it on 8 1/2 by 11 paper. (A4 paper is what most of the rest of the world uses; it is about 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches.)

There is also a lovely ribbon available. Read about it at http://www.copingincrazyville.com/index/table-of-contents/didmpd-awareness-ribbon-links-and-info/ Read still more at: http://traumadissociation.com/awareness

And here is a blog entry I liked https://www.discussingdissociation.com/2018/03/dissociative-identity-disorder-awareness-day-march-5/

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Power to the Plurals is planning an online conference for March 28 – April 1. If you would like to participate, let me know and I will pass along your message (it’s not officially announced, so there is no formal contact information published.)

 

“Accidental Killers”

I read this article by Alice Gregory in the September 18 issue of the New Yorker and was blown away. I could relate to every word and I cried a lot. I still tear up when I read the end of the article.

What really amazes me about my reaction is that the article is not about ritual abuse. It is about people who cause a death by accident and who live with guilt and sorrow for the rest of their lives. Like us, they feel isolated and misunderstood and are told, “It wasn’t your fault.” “It was just an accident.” “That’s the past now, isn’t it time you got over it?” None of which is helpful, as we know.

People who killed somebody by accident seldom meet or read about others like them, so they don’t have a chance to learn that their emotions are normal, are shared by others. There is no opportunity to form a community or to help others. It is a heavy and lonely existence.

I came close to killing a child when I was 22 or 23. I was driving slowly up a side street and a boy riding a bike hit the passenger side of my car. He flew up and landed on my hood. Our eyes locked for what seemed like an eternity. I knew how close he had come to being run over: I am not sure he understood the danger he had been in. That long moment ended when his mother started screaming at him from a second story window. He got off the hood, picked up his bike, and slowly went into the house. Shakily, I went on my way.

Three feet, thirty seconds, and this article could be about me.

Alice Gregory has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, and The New York Review of Books. She has a website at http://www.alice-gregory.com/ with many of her articles, both in print and on podcasts. The entire text of “Accidental Killers” is at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/the-sorrow-and-the-shame-of-the-accidental-killer Browse through her other articles: many are fascinating.

For those of you who are not familiar with the New Yorker, it publishes serious articles, fiction, reviews … and cartoons. My parents subscribed to it, and I have, too, for most of my life. Its website is https://www.newyorker.com/

Below is the conclusion of “Accidental Killers.”

 

In the Book of Numbers, God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites that they are to designate six cities of refuge “so that anyone who kills someone inadvertently may flee there.” The accidental murderer will be protected from the wrath of the “blood avenger,” a family member of the deceased. The rules are spelled out in detail: when a person enters one of these cities, a tribunal determines whether he or she is eligible for sanctuary; those who killed with weapons, for example, cannot remain there. According to Talmudic commentary, assembled in the twelfth century, the roads leading to the cities of refuge were to be well marked, free of obstacles, and wider than regular roads, so that those who have killed another unwittingly could proceed there without delay.

When Maryann Gray [who hit a child who ran in front of her car], a secular Jew who grew up celebrating Easter and Christmas and reserving Scarsdale tennis courts on the High Holidays, first learned of the concept of cities of refuge, she was overcome with gratitude. “The Torah was talking about me,” she remembers thinking. Gray was struck by the specificity of its prescriptions, which suggested that lives like hers were once contemplated with sophistication by the highest authorities. She became obsessed with the concept, researching it at the library of Hebrew Union College, a seminary with a campus in Los Angeles, talking about it with rabbis, and reading their works.

There is “no statute of limitations on self-imposed pain,” David Wolpe, the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple, in Los Angeles, told me. Gray spoke to Wolpe at the start of her inquiry into the cities of refuge; he explained that their purpose was to allow individuals to share some of their pain with a community. “Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish philosopher, says that in the collective grief the individual’s grief is assuaged,” Wolpe wrote to me in an e-mail. When “people realize that loss is part of the iron law of life, it helps them reconcile themselves to their own situation.” Most of us will not be forced to assimilate a catastrophic accident into the story of our lives, but rituals and refuge seem so obviously necessary that a world without them looks inhumane.

There is no extra-Biblical evidence that cities of refuge ever existed. But Gray does not want to believe that they were merely a figment of an antique but ethically progressive imagination. “If I had been exiled to a city of refuge, I might not have needed exile from myself,” she once wrote. She was moved by the idea that, in such cities, a person like her could participate fully in society without shame. “I love that there was a way of recognizing the true devastation that’s been wrought, the harm that’s been done, without condemning the individual,” she said. “That’s what I’m looking for—to live in the world with acceptance and with opportunity, but also with the acknowledgment that in running over this child something terrible happened and it deserves attention.”

 

I’m moving the list of holidays to the end of my posts, because I feel it gets too much emphasis if it is at the beginning. If I received complaints, I’ll reconsider.

Upcoming Holidays
February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc
2/13 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
2/14 Ash Wednesday/Beginning of Lent
2/15 Partial solar eclipse.
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/25 Walpurgis Day
March

3/1 Full Moon
3/20 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/25 Palm Sunday
3/30 Good Friday/Death of Jesus Christ
3/31 Full Moon (Blue Moon)
April
4/1 Easter Sunday
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/10 Full Moon
4/16 – 4/23 Grand Climax/Da Meur/ (Preparation for sacrifice in some Satanic sects}
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
4/20 Hitler’s birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. His alternate birthday is 4/1 this year.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)