Newsletter August 2005

by Cathy Combs

All in One---One In All!!!

Here we are in August, the time of year when the Earth-Based Pagan traditions that I love so much celebrate the feast of Lammas. Lammas is the second harvest festival of the agricultural year. Lammas marks the ongoing cycle of life and death that is central to an agricultural religion. This time of year is a hope-filled celebration of abundance and connectedness. This feast day celebrates a definition of Divinity that is wondrously inspiring to me. As humans it seems to be a mystery to us how we can be all in one, and one in all, how we can be unique and interconnected all at once!!! This reality reminds me so palpably of the pebble in the stream. Abundance for one is abundance for all. Poverty for one is poverty for all!!! I feel enormous power and “response-ability” in that Truth. This Truth speaks to me of our profound connectedness with all of life. This Truth is what the Pagan/Earth-Based spiritual traditions hold to be so very sacred!!!!

The word “religion” is taken from the root word “religio” which means “to link”. For me the true spirit of religion is to link harmoniously with all people; to recognize our spiritual and human connectedness; to live in and from this sacred theme of peace and harmony! This sacred theme of connectedness, peace, and harmony speaks to me of a generosity of spirit and an awareness out of which we care about our impact on others. From this spirit of generosity we can’t possibly consider hurting someone because it would be hurting ourselves! No one in their right heart and mind deliberately hurts themselves. No one in their right heart and mind is unaware of how they have hurt someone else. Isn’t the result too obvious to miss? When it isn’t obvious to us what we have done I would have to ask why??? What social conditions have we put in place that blind us to the pain we have caused? What social conditions blind us to the suffering of others? What makes us think we can’t fix our own suffering? How did we get so literally out of touch with our fragile, beautiful, sacred beingness? How did we forget that first and foremost we all are spiritual beings having a human experience on our Beloved Earth? How did we forget who we are? How did we forget our purpose?

In this context of hurting ourselves and hurting others I want to put an issue in the spotlight again because so many statistics reveal that this issue, as horrific as it is, is barely on our social consciousness radar screen. I was watching an Oprah show that I’d seen before. The statistics, and the mindset they reveal, are startling!!! The issue is childhood sexual abuse. The statistics are: 1) only 1% of child abusers will be convicted and serve jail time! 2) We have more shelters for animals than we have for battered women! 3) The statistics say 1 in 4 women are victims of childhood sexual abuse but most people believe, as do I, that the statistics are far higher than that!!! How many millions are not reported because the victims feel they won’t be believed and they won’t be safe if they do come forward? The whole audience on Oprah today was filled with victims of childhood sexual abuse. These brave people spoke of the retaliation in their own homes and in their communities when they did come forward. Bishop TD Jakes, a minister and a passionate advocate for abuse victims, said “statistics like these won’t change until the men are as outraged as the women because we still live in a society where men listen to men and discount the statements of women!” Oprah added her feeling that the sexual abuse against female children is minimized because society sees these incidents as sexual experiences, rather than emotionally abusive incidents, and society says in effect, “so what if a female child has a sexual experience a little earlier than usual. In contrast when a boy is abused by a male predator that is viewed with outrage because it’s viewed as abnormal. Society does not yet understand the horrific lifelong emotional impact that childhood sexual abuse has on every victim!” Bishop TD Jakes concurred with Oprah’s assessment of this situation and so do I. As an educator, a mental health professional, and simply as a loving, sentient human being I am deeply concerned about these issues. These issues are perfect examples of how we are all in one and one in all. In order to live in a sane, compassionate society we must all deeply care about these issues and work to heal a society that turns a blind eye and heart to this palpable suffering!!! As Dr. Phil so often says, “we must be a soft place for people to fall.” He also says, “We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge!” I add to these two statements that we must reconnect with ourselves and each other. If we’ve been injured we don’t heal by hurting others! We must reclaim our lives and begin again. Oprah shared a definition of forgiveness that she really loves. She said, “forgiveness means giving up the hope that the past will change.” I understand that to mean: Take a deep breath. Release the anger that only hurts us if we hold onto it! Begin again! Chart a course of deep love of self and others as our sweet Spirit of Love within us would have us do! It’s not easy. It is doable! It is a profound spiritual necessity to revitalize our lives!!!

I believe we have to look no further than our own mirror to reconnect with the beauty and sanctity within us and all around us. As we look in the mirror and say to ourselves “I love you deeply. I recommit my life to being all I truly am”, we are connected to all we need to heal ourselves and our world. This state of grace is the abundance of Spirit that is needed to live a peaceful, loving, joy-filled life. We can make a new start! We can make a daily practice of loving ourselves to wholeness! I believe it is our destiny. I believe it is our “response-ability” to love ourselves to wholeness! Moment by moment we must focus on love, and love ourselves to wholeness. As children we are not to blame for the horrific things that were done to us. As adults we can reclaim our lives! We can reclaim our wholeness. Forgiveness allows us the freedom to live a new future, free from the past! I believe we all are the architects of our own lives. I believe we were all put here to express the beauty and wonder of the abundance of goodness we all are! No matter what has happened to us the abiding Spirit of Love is larger and more powerful than any outer circumstance. The answer is within us; waiting patiently, lovingly for us to take up our cloak of love and walk in the abiding reverence of our true Self!!! We can begin today! I’m realizing more and more each day how precious it is to live in an abiding awareness of the Presence of Love within me and all around me. I’m realizing more and more how profoundly I am loved by this Abiding Presence of Love within me and all around me. In this bright, sweet light of August, blessings of abundance to each one of you! May you activate this Loving Principle by your awareness of how much you are loved and then complete the circle by sharing this abiding love with all others. Peace and love to you!!!


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