I'm sure we can agree what happened in Boston and Watertown last month was a horrible tragedy. There is no doubt that all of our hearts, thoughts and prayers are likely continuing to go out to the victims, their families and these communities in shock from those events. And… what about the young men who took it into their hands to create these situations? What about their parents, friends, relatives and communities? They all need our love and prayers just as much - maybe even more.
I know that may ruffle some feathers or even anger some of you, but consider this: when we live in a society in which people who shoot children in schools and theatres, and bomb marathons manage to slip through the cracks - whatever those cracks may be, we must all consider that it's our responsibility, as a whole, for what they did. I know that, if my son had been one of the Boston suspects or the young man who killed all those children in Sandy Hook, I would be up in the middle of the night asking, "Where did I go wrong? How did I not pay attention? What did I not see or hear? What could I have done more, differently, or better to make sure my son knew he was safe, loved, and celebrated as the beautiful, talented, amazing human being he is?"
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not saying that their mothers did anything wrong. I'm not calling their parenting into question. If anything, my heart is breaking for and with them - deeply. As a mother myself, I can only imagine what they are going through. It is truly unfathomable.
What I am saying is… how did we get here? How are we - as a society - not getting that we matter on the most fundamental level, such that young men like Adam Lanza or the Tsarnaev brothers would even consider doing something like this? How have we let ourselves come this far?
The answers are long, complex and multi-faceted, I know. And, what I am seeing more clearly every day, as life renews itself in this Spring season and I plant seeds in the cool, dark soil of the land I am so blessed to live with and on, is that we have become gravely numb to what's been happening in our world. Because there is a fundamental "out of balance" between the feminine and masculine, we have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten that we matter. This imbalance has been written about and spoken to for decades and it has come to a head whether we like it or not.
We have sacrificed the feminine at the altar of the masculine, and this is the fundamental reason why we are in the mess we are in now.
I know that that is a bold statement, but I'm prepared to stand by it. Look around you. Truly. Open your eyes to what's happening… it's crystal clear that climate change, global species loss, mass migrations of indigenous peoples due to the damming of rivers and extraction of oil, bombings in Boston (need I go on?) are symptoms of a radical dishonoring of the feminine. In ourselves - in the drive to do more, have more, acquire more. In humanity - gang rapes on busses in India, the huge imbalance between the "haves" and "have nots," seemingly endless wars which only result in more grief for all concerned. Of our planet - the mother without whom our lives would not even be possible who is suffering immeasurably from our unconscious actions.
It is as if we have become like the virus Agent Smith speaks of in The Matrix - the only other species on earth which consumes its host without considering that doing so will result in its own demise. And we have done so largely because we have forgotten that who we are is both the masculine and the feminine. We have forgotten to honor the slower pace rather than the quick fix, the mystery of the unknown rather than the addiction to being right, the pondering questions rather than the short answers, the organic journey rather than the straight line.
Am I making you uncomfortable? Pissing you off, even? Good.
This is not a comfortable conversation, but it is a necessary conversation.
I'm very clear that this little blog isn't going to change everything, but I hope that, by stirring things up and posing some questions, you may be ignited to make a change in your own life. Even if no one else noticed, what is one thing you could do to honor the feminine (regardless of your gender, in yourself or in the world)? What will you do to shift - for the better - your inevitable and indelible impact on the world? Will you donate to a cause you believe in? Will you drive less and walk more? Eat locally-grown, organic vegetables? Drink tap water from a glass jar instead of bottled water? Spend some time listening to a veteran who feels the way this young man does, but doesn't know how to begin to talk about their experiences? Sign a petition in support of our brothers and sisters in Guatemala, Ecuador or elsewhere?
This month we celebrate Mothers Day. Did you know that this holiday began in 1858 as a peaceful protest against war and injustice? Inaugurated to honor mothers as the care-takers, care-givers, and life-bearers of the world, I believe its origins speak to the peaceful, loving compassionate tendencies in all human beings. What started as a heartfelt cry from mothers for their sons now reverberates out through towns, states and countries, through decades more poignantly than ever before. Maybe what we need to do is take a breath, be willing to admit that we got off track somewhere along the line, humble ourselves enough to start over and do the courageous work of restoring the balance we all long for.
In honor of the mothers of the victims in Boston, young women in India, displaced Maasai familes, trees - the lungs our our planet - cut down in their prime, soldiers everywhere, slaughtered baby elephants… the mothers of those misguided young men, of your own mother, I ask you… what will you commit to doing differently - today - to get that you matter, love more fiercely and restore the balance?