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January 2014: Heretics & Heroes: Part I Of XII

by Cathy Combs


I'm sitting here days away from my birthday in May 2013 as I still contemplate other articles in the March/April 2013 Mother Jones magazine that are so compelling. My question is: What's in a name? My answer is: Not what you'd always hope. I'm speaking of The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund in particular. By their names you'd never guess they're in bed with Exxon Mobil and heavily aligned with nature destroying entities, not by any means conservation issues. They're influence peddling!!!

On the other end of the scale I finished reading "A Lawyer's Journey: The Morris Dees Story." He highlighted two amazing quotes: Shakespeare's quote: "In order for tyranny to survive all lawyers must be killed" and Hitler's quote: "I want no lawyers in Germany." My father was a lawyer for 36 years until he died. Like Morris Dees my father helped the powerless all his life. Many lawyers are the heretic~heroes of the day. They take on the issues that need to be addressed. They use their power to help those who can't help themselves. They don't help the guilty get off on technicalities!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm also uplifted by the stories of the young people who are using their compassion and ingenuity to raise thousands of dollars for the people devastated by the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. I see them as the young heretic~heroes of the day. How inspiring!!!

I'm also uplifted and inspired by a young woman who as a homeless teen is also the valedictorian of her class and has already taken so many college level classes she will enroll at Spelman College as a junior. In the same article I read about two other homeless teens who are valedictorian and salutatorian of their class and received scholarships.

These stories stand in sharp contrast to the two teens who plotted to brutally murder one of their classmates. The contrast of what people choose to do in their life circumstances is mind boggling to me. I just shake my head in amazement and disbelief. I see the Courage and I see the work yet to be done. It's a little hard to hold the contrast. Then in perfect timing I read about a preteen autistic boy who has just written a book!!!!! Amazing!!!!!

As I've said so many, many times it seems that the Universe conspires with us to show us the absolutely limitless Possibilities. Which direction we choose to go is up to us. Do we let our circumstances inspire us or bury us? It's up to us!!! I don't say that flippantly. One of those teen age girls was homeless during her entire high school process. She said she "used her circumstances to inspire her knowing it wasn't always going to be this way."

Here's another amazing story printed in May 2013: Olivia Ferguson McQueen, was just awarded her high school diploma 54 years late. In 1959, at the age of 16, she was the principal plaintiff in the court action to integrate Charlottesville, VA. high schools. Even though the Virginia Supreme Court overturned the Massive Resistance the school board denied her the opportunity to attend the all white Lane High School. She was sequestered in the school board office her entire senior year. She was not deterred. She went on to receive a Master's degree in Education. In the ceremony the current superintendent, Rosa Atkins, said how proud she was of Olivia because just ten years after Olivia's actions in 1959 Rosa was allowed to attend school with white children. I find it absolutely fascinating that this celebration happened 54 years after the fact, somewhat reminiscent to me of the 1954 ruling of Brown vs. The Board of Education in Topeka, which ordered integration in the schools. I am thrilled by the resilience of people and I am haunted by the ignorance of people. Many of my very dearest friends are African American. I was a high school student in 1960. It didn't matter to me what color anyone was. As Dr. King said I cared about the content of a person's character. We still have such a long way to go on this issue and yet it doesn't escape me that we re-elected our first African American president by a landslide. Yet again holding the contrasts of our humanity is compelling.

In this context I want to mention again a woman I greatly admire, Dr. Brene Brown, whose recent youtube videos on shame and vulnerability and joy have gone viral with over 4,000,000 hits so far. Her story speaks so powerfully to the necessity of honoring who we are as valued and valuable individuals. When we honor who we are we're speaking from our Strength and our Greatness and from that Place there is no need to hurt or humiliate others. There is only Honor and Compassion and Understanding. This issue will never feel old to me. It is the very Essence of the spirituality of our humanity. We are not separate from God. We are God in Expression.

As I sit here in late May 2013 writing to you in my January 2014 article I can't help but feel what an Eternity away January is. So many opportunities will unfold between now and then. I made a connection at church just three days ago and what a sweet blessing it was. She told me, "From the moment I met you I knew I wanted you as a friend." We laughed ourselves silly as we talked. That's what connection feels like. That's what Joy feels like. That's what Vulnerability is. Those moments don't happen when we're hiding under a bushel basket. They can't happen!!! We must be open to the moment!!!

I also had a very sweet healing moment yesterday. I went to a class where I had no idea what was going to happen. I was the only one there. I received a Light blessing from a Japanese tradition from a very sweet American woman. It was a wonderful opportunity to be blessed, to get to know her better, and to make more connections. That wouldn't have happened either if I had been hiding under a bushel basket waiting for absolute certainty!

I'm about to celebrate my 44 year anniversary of graduating from college. Just two years after I graduated I headed off to California by myself. A male buddy of mine said, "I think you're crazy but I sure do admire your Courage." I knew I was going there to find my dream and I certainly did. I know my dream is wherever I am and at the same time I know that what I meant is I knew I wanted to be there. I was born on the west coast and even though we moved when I was a baby I've always loved the west coast. What I didn't know at the time was that I'd also find the spirituality that is the heart and soul of who I am. I've always known that Authority is an inner process not an entity outside of us. I have always followed my Guidance and I have always been blessed beyond my wildest Imagination. It's not about having an artificial stockpile of money. It's about knowing who I AM, knowing my Faith is sufficient unto the day! It's real!!! It matters!!! I'm so very grateful for all I know and who I AM. Blessings to you now and always!!!!