Keeping Characters in Hot Water

A Woman
A Woman

Before I go on with this post, I must say something about the latest shootings in Orlando and New Mexico. Each time something like this happens, I’d deeply affected by the horrific events. This is what I can do. I have and will continue to petition my legislators to vote on gun control and I will vote for people who support such legislation. I also send out love to the entire planet when I meditate. Some people say that’s a wimpy way to try to change the world, but since science has proven that what we think creates our reality, I believe that envisioning a loving world is a powerful tool to facilitate the change we want to see. Each individual that turns away from hate and fear toward love send ripples of love out into the universe. When we heal ourselves, we help heal the world. That’s what I hope my readers get from my novel and the journeys of my two main characters.

Since the last two posts from The Space Between Time have included  scenes from Morgan’s timeline in the past, this week I thought I’d include one from Jenna’s timeline in the present.

When I started this novel, I wanted to have two intertwining characters who learn from each other and heal themselves along the way. Morgan’s timeline came to me first, and I got stuck there for a while. But through a series of events which are too complicated to write about here, I finally connected with Jenna, a woman in the present who is trying to put her life back together.

In this scene, Jenna is confronted by her ex-fiancé, who broke off the engagement in the first chapter.

* * * * *

That night Jenna slept better than she had in ever so long and when she awoke, she knew what she wanted to do. Writing had always been a solace, so that’s where she would begin. Only this time, she’d take her cue from Morgan and begin by sorting out her feelings in a journal.

Grabbing her purse and keys, she opened the door and ran into Sam.

“Hi Babe.”

Her stomach clenched, “Sam! What in the hell are you doing here?”

Leaning on the door jamb so she couldn’t get out of the house, he said. “You hung up on me, Babe. I needed a chance to explain,” Jenna wasn’t fooled by the look of mock contrition on his face.

“About what? That you were cheating on me? And don’t call me Babe.” She pushed him out of the way. Then shut and locked the door. She brushed past him starting for her car wishing this encounter would soon end. But Sam’s car was parked behind hers. She’d have to deal with him.

Knowing he’d trapped her, he smirked. “I always call you Babe.”

Jenna turned walked up to him and put her face close to his. “I’ve told you time and again I don’t like it when you call me that.”

Surprisingly he took a step back. “I don’t remember that.”

“Of course not, because you never listen.”

“Now, Babe,” The look on Jenna’s face made him amend his approach. “I mean Jenna, aren’t you gonna let me talk to you?”

Oh, if only he’d go away! Keeping her eyes on his face and putting her hands on her hips, she said, “What for? You said it yourself. Neither one of us was happy, so it’s over.”

Pulling himself taller to pretend confidence, he said, “I know I said that, but, I’ve been thinking. I might’ve been wrong.” He had that I’m-innocent-of-whatever-you-think-I’ve-done look on his face she’d learned to hate long before the break-up.

She looked at him, trying to formulate the response that would make him leave. The moments slowed. For the first time she noticed muddy waves emanating from and around his body. Her instinct was to back away from the unwanted onslaught of his murky energy, but before she could do so, it touched her own energy field. She nearly fell over as dark self-doubt swept over her. The image of a wounded wolf flashed through her mind. Somehow she knew exactly what had happened that brought him to her doorstep. “Ah, what happened, Sam? Did she leave you? I know you hate to be alone.”

The dark energy was sucked into Sam’s body and he stuttered “I – I don’t k-know what you’re talking about. There’s never been anybody but you.”

“Oh? But, you know, I heard her in the background when we talked on the phone!” She faced him square on, “Now, please get in your car and go back to L.A.”

Suddenly Sam took Jenna by the arm, and clamped down hard, “It was a one night stand thing. I was hurt that we broke up.” Dark gray and muddy brown energy shot out at her again. This time she thought to shield herself and her own aura in red, orange, and yellow shot out to block what was coming from him.

Gasping from the pain, she tried to get her arm free. “You were hurt? Oh, yeah, I see that now. You’ve been wounded from the very beginning, but I was too dazzled by the bling to notice. Now let me go!” They struggled. Sam grabbed for Jenna’s other arm. She tried to back away, and slid on a mossy patch on the sidewalk forcing her to sit on a porch step.

Just then an unmarked police car drove up. Sam’s back was to it as Detective Spade got out of the car, assessing the situation and putting his hand on his gun.

Walking toward the struggling pair, Detective Spade said, “Let go of her, Sir!”

Sam turned around, still holding onto Jenna’s arm. “Who are you to interfere in a private matter? She’s my fiancée,” Sam said as Jenna continued to struggle to get her arm free.

Advancing on Sam with his hand still on his gun, Detective Spade said, “That’s not what I heard, Sir. Now back away from her.”

Sam puffed up like a rooster in the ring, but he let go of her arm. Jenna moved away. He turned toward Detective Spade saying, “What you gonna do, shoot me?” Jenna heard the fear underneath the bluster for the first time. With a snarl, Sam said, “We’re having a private conversation. Do you mind?”

Detective Spade had stopped a few feet from Sam. “It didn’t look that way to me, Sir. Is that true Miss Holden?”

“Miss Holden? So, you’ve met before. Who is this? Your new boyfriend? You didn’t waste any time,” Sam said with a sneer.

Detective Spade was surrounded by a clear yellow and green aura. He was relaxed, though cautious. Jenna knew she could trust him, but Sam was getting angry. She saw the wounded wolf image surrounded by dark fog emanating from him again, and knew if she didn’t do something he’d become dangerous. She saw that Detective Spade knew it too.

She took a few steps closer to him. “Sam, are you drunk or something? He’s a police officer, and he’s got a gun. Do you want to get arrested? What’ll that do to your precious career?” Sam’s countenance changed, and the swirls of muddy energy retreated close to his body.

Now that she looked more closely at him, Sam looked a little unsteady on his feet. She hadn’t smelled alcohol on him, though, so it must be drugs.

Taking a deep breath, Sam said. “I’ve been on the road for twenty hours with not much sleep before that. I guess I’m crashing from the wake-up pills,” he said as he sat abruptly onto a porch step.

Taking his hand away from his gun, Detective Spade gently took a hold of Jenna’s arm and moved her behind him. “I’ll need to see those pills, Sir. Are they in your car?”

“Yeah, go ahead. You won’t find any drugs. They’re the over the counter kind,” Sam said as he ran his hands through his hair, then deflated like a balloon and rested his head on his arms.

“Is the car unlocked?”

“Yeah,” came the muffled reply.

Detective Spade looked over at Jenna and indicated with the jerk of his head to follow him as he went to Sam’s car. He kept his eyes on Sam. She opened the driver’s door and moved back so Detective Spade could investigate. He’d put on latex gloves, pulled the trunk release, examined the open briefcase that sat on the passenger seat. The pills were in the briefcase. After searching the car and trunk, he approached Sam. “You’re telling the truth, at least. Did you read the instructions, you’ve got to be careful not to take too many of these things. How many did you take?”

Not lifting his head, Sam said, “I don’t know, one or two whenever I got tired.”

“Just as a precaution, I’m going to take you to emergency to get you checked out.” Detective Spade took Sam by the arm and led him to the police car. Miraculously, Sam didn’t object. Putting Sam in the front seat, he turned to Jenna. “Is it okay if we leave his car here?”

“Sure, I’ll move it. I was on my way out. Does he have his wallet?”

“I got it out of his briefcase. The keys are in the ignition. Do you want me to make sure he doesn’t bother you when he comes back for his car?”

The adrenaline was beginning to wear off and Jenna was feeling shaky. She tried to lighten the atmosphere by saying, “Feeling protective, Detective?”

“It’s my job, Ma’am,” His handsome face lit up in a big smile.

Smiling back, Jenna said, “I’m much obliged to you, Sir, but I think I’ll be fine.”

* * * * *

Thanks for reading and your comments. Feel free to share with your friends and family.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2016

Snippet #3 The Space Between Time

Cochise Campus Flower
Cochise Campus Flower

This is the third installment of segments from my upcoming novel, The Space Between Time.

Set Up: Jenna has moved back to her hometown to recover and regroup. In this segment, from Chapter 7, She’s unexpectedly confronted by her ex-fiancé.

“She hadn’t been out of the house much since the funeral. No doubt on this little trip she’d run into old friends, and renew acquaintances. It was still difficult receiving condolences, but being cooped up in the house all the time wasn’t good. She grabbed her purse and keys, opened the door and ran into Sam.

“Hi Babe.”

Jenna’s stomach clenched, “Sam. What in the hell are you doing here?”

Leaning on the door jamb so she couldn’t get out of the house, he said. “You hung up on me, Babe. I needed a chance to explain,” Jenna wasn’t fooled by the look of mock contrition on his face.

“About what? That you were cheating on me? And don’t call me Babe.” She pushed him out of the way. Then shut and locked the door. She brushed past him starting for her car wishing this encounter would soon end. But Sam’s car was parked behind hers. She’d have to deal with him.

Knowing he’d trapped her, he smirked. “I always call you Babe.”

Jenna turned, walked back to him and put her face close to his. “I’ve told you time and again I don’t like it when you call me that.”

Surprisingly he took a step back. “I don’t remember that.”

“Of course not, because you never listen,” Jenna said through clenched teeth.

“Now, Babe,” The look on Jenna’s face made him amend his approach. “I mean Jenna, aren’t you gonna let me talk to you?”

Oh, if only he’d go away. Keeping her eyes on his face and putting her hands on her hips, she said, “What for? You said it yourself. Neither one of us was happy, so it’s over.”

Pulling himself taller to pretend confidence, he said, “I know I said that, but, I’ve been thinking. I might’ve been wrong.” He had that I’m-innocent-of-whatever-you-think-I’ve-done look on his face she’d learned to hate long before the break-up.

She looked at him, trying to formulate the response that would make him leave. The moments slowed. For the first time she noticed muddy waves emanating from and surrounding his body. Her instinct was to back away from the unwanted onslaught of his murky energy, but before she could do so, it touched her own energy field. She nearly fell over as dark feelings of self-doubt swept over her. The image of a wounded wolf flashed through her mind. Somehow she knew exactly what had happened that brought him to her doorstep. “Ah, what happened, Sam? Did she leave you? I know you hate to be alone.”

The dark energy was sucked into Sam’s body and he stuttered “I – I don’t k-know what you’re talking about. There’s never been anybody but you.”

“Oh? But, you know I heard her in the background when we talked on the phone!” She faced him square on, “Now, please get in your car and go back to L.A.”

Suddenly Sam took Jenna by the arm, and clamped down hard, “It was a one night stand thing. I was hurt that we broke up.” Dark gray and brown energy shot out at her again. This time she thought to shield herself and her own aura in red, orange, and yellow shot out to block what was coming from him.

Gasping from the pain, she tried to get her arm free. “You were hurt? Oh, yeah, I see that now. You’ve been wounded from the very beginning, but I was too dazzled by the bling to notice. Now let me go!” They struggled. Sam grabbed for Jenna’s other arm. She tried to back away, and slid on a mossy patch on the sidewalk forcing her to sit on a porch step.

Just then an unmarked police car drove up. Sam’s back was to it as Detective Spade got out of the car, putting his hand on his gun.

Walking toward the struggling pair, Detective Spade said, “Let go of her, Sir!”

Sam turned around, still holding onto Jenna’s arm. “Who are you to interfere in a private matter? She’s my fiancée,” Sam said as Jenna continued to struggle to get her arm free.

Advancing on Sam with his hand still on his gun, Detective Spade said, “That’s not what I heard, Sir. Now back away from her.”

Sam puffed up like a rooster in the ring, but he let go of her arm. Jenna moved away. Sam turned toward Detective Spade saying, “What you gonna do, shoot me?” Jenna heard the fear underneath the bluster for the first time. With a snarl, Sam said, “We’re having a private conversation. That’s all.”

Detective Spade had stopped a few feet from Sam. “It didn’t look that way to me, Sir. Is that true Miss Holden?”

“Miss Holden? So, you’ve met before. Who is this? Your new boyfriend? You didn’t waste any time,” Sam said with a sneer.

Detective Spade was surrounded by a clear yellow and green aura. He was relaxed, though cautious. Jenna knew she could trust him, but Sam was getting angry. She saw the wounded wolf image surrounded by dark gray and muddy brown fog emanating from him again, and knew if she didn’t do something he’d become dangerous. She saw that Detective Spade knew it too.

She took a few steps closer to him. “Sam, are you drunk or something? He’s a police officer, and he’s got a gun. Do you want to get arrested? What’ll that do to your precious career?” Sam’s countenance changed, and the swirls of muddy energy retreated close to his body.

Now that she looked more closely at him, Sam did look a little unsteady on his feet. She hadn’t smelled alcohol on him, though, so it must be drugs.

Taking a deep breath, Sam said. “I’ve been on the road for twenty hours with not much sleep before that. I guess I’m crashing from the wake-up pills,” he said as he sat abruptly onto a porch step.

Taking his hand away from his gun, Detective Spade gently took a hold of Jenna’s arm and moved her behind him. “I’ll need to see those pills, Sir. Are they in your car?”

“Yeah, go ahead. You won’t find any drugs. They’re the over the counter kind,” Sam said as he ran his hands through his hair, then deflated like a balloon and rested his head on his arms.

“Sir, is the car unlocked?”

“Yeah,” came the muffled reply.

Detective Spade looked over at Jenna and indicated with the jerk of his head to follow him as he went to Sam’s car. He kept his eyes on Sam. She opened the driver’s door and moved back so Detective Spade could investigate. He’d put on latex gloves, pulled the trunk release, then examined the open briefcase that sat on the passenger seat. The pills were in the briefcase. After searching the car and trunk, he approached Sam. “You’re telling the truth, at least. Did you read the instructions, you’ve got to be careful not to take too many of these things. How many did you take?”

Not lifting his head, Sam said, “I don’t know, one or two whenever I got tired.”

“Just as a precaution, I’m going to take you to emergency to get you checked out.” Detective Spade took Sam by the arm and led him to the police car. Miraculously, Sam didn’t object. Putting Sam in the front seat, he turned to Jenna. “Is it okay if we leave his car here?”

“Sure, I’ll move it. I was on my way out. Does he have his wallet?”

“I got the wallet out of his briefcase. The keys are in the ignition. Do you want me to make sure he doesn’t bother you when he comes back for his car?”

The adrenaline was beginning to wear off and Jenna was feeling shaky. She tried to lighten the atmosphere by saying, “Feeling protective, Detective?”

“It’s my job, Ma’am,” His handsome face lit up in a big smile.

Smiling back, Jenna said, “I’m much obliged to you, Sir, but I think I’ll be fine.” Then breaking the spell of their moment, she said, “Say, why did you come?”

Sounding disappointed, he said, “Oh, I came by to tell you you can pick up the things we found in your mother’s car. Just come by the station anytime and sign for them.”

“Oh, I thought maybe one of the neighbors called the police.”

“No. I was in the neighborhood, and thought I’d stop by.”

The look on his face made Jenna think there was more to it than just a friendly call, but she let it go. “I see.”

Looking at his rugged face, a tingling sensation started at the top of her head and moved down. Ripples of clear lavender, yellow and green energy swirled around him. She felt safe. Even so there was an awkward moment as if they each had something they wanted to say. Sam broke the spell by yelling something incoherent. She looked over at him. Detective Spade turned toward the car with reluctance. Jenna said. “I know he’s a jerk, but thanks for taking him to the doctor. You don’t have to stay with him do you?”

“No, he hasn’t committed a crime … yet.”

Jenna laughed. “No, he’s not the type. He’s insecure, but also very ambitious. I don’t think he’d do anything to harm his precious career.”

Detective Spade looked back at Sam leaning his head back against the head rest. “He doesn’t look too tough right now.”

Laughing, Jenna said, “No, he doesn’t. Will tomorrow be okay to stop by the station? I’ve got an appointment with Jim Marshall at the paper. I could come by after that.”

Smiling, Detective Spade said, “That’d be fine. I should be there most of the day.”

“Great. I’ll see you then. And thanks for the rescue, Detective.”

“My pleasure, Ma’am.” Detective Spade tipped his nonexistent hat and got into his car and waved as he drove off with a wilted looking Sam in the front seat.

She moved Sam’’s car then left on her errand.”

There is a scene between these two segments, but for the purposes of this post I cut it.

“When Jenna got back to the house, Sam was leaning on his car. Jenna still had the keys. Her heart sank. This wasn’t over. As she got out of the car, Sam came up the drive. “What’d you do, break bail?” Jenna asked.

“You’re boyfriend got me checked out right away. There wasn’t anyone in the waiting room. All I need is some sleep. Can I crash here?” Sam put that, aren’t I irresistible, look on his face that Jenna hated so much.

“Nope. There are some nice hotels downtown, or you can find a motel out by I-5.”

He frowned. That look usually melted women. “So, I’m not yet forgiven.”

Jenna rounded on Sam and poked him in the chest as she backed him toward his car. “Not even close. But even if you were, I still wouldn’t let you stay here. You cheated on me! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past couple of weeks. I let you walk all over me because I thought we loved each other, and that’s what I was supposed to do. Now I see things differently. I deserve better, someone who knows who he is and loves me just because I’m me.”

Jenna was surprised that Sam was letting her poke him without fighting back. Maybe meeting Detective Spade made him cautious. He looked around to see if any of the neighbors were watching. Jenna jabbed him three times as she said, “That’s not you. Now, get out of here.” Sam started to interrupt, but Jenna cut him off. “No! It’s over! Now I’ve got work to do, so you can just take your keys,” she put them into his hand with a slap.  “Get yourself back to L.A, and may you be happy there.”

Sam just looked at Jenna for a second, then twirling the keys, his expression changed back to his usual expression of self-absorption. “You’re a bitch! You’re blaming me for everything. I don’t know what I ever saw in you. You’re pathetic. I hope you’re happy with your sad little life and your cop boyfriend. I’m off to bigger and better things. You’d only drag me down, BABE!” He got into his car and screeched off, leaving the smell of a burned up relationship, cremated into vapor.”

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2015

Women and Men

Evening Clouds
Evening Clouds

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m not sure this post will make sense to anyone but me. However, I’ve got to write down my thoughts and feelings to make sense of them.

Almost every day, I find new reasons to be disturbed about the way women and minorities are being treated in this country and around the world. In fact my feelings run the gamut between irritation to down right rage when I hear the latest news. I know it’s not good to hold onto those feelings. They’re jarring to my calm, so I’m resolved to understand why we’re experiencing a new surge in human rights problems. I can’t just sit by and watch it happen. I want to figure out what I can do about it. Recently, I had some aha moments that I’d like to share.

This past week my book club group was discussing The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it to both men and women. It’s about the Grimké sisters, two almost forgotten figures in the Abolitionist and Suffrage movements. As always our discussion turned to current events. One woman said, “It feels like we’re going backwards.” I had to admit it does feel like we’re going backwards. However, I know from my study and personal spiritual practice that’s not possible.

As I was contemplating our discussion, three ideas came my way that are helping me articulate what I’ve been struggling to understand for many years.

A few days before our book club discussion I saw an article or poster on Facebook stating that the outside has traditionally been men’s domain, therefore any woman who crosses paths with men in what they consider their domain is fair game for interference of some kind. The men who think this way, assume they can stop the woman, harass her, or do any number of other unpleasant things with her they like. After all, they OWN the out of doors, that gives them permission to do anything they please. I think this applies not only to the way men treat women in THEIR space, but how white men feel toward and treat minorities as well.

This mindset is centuries old, you understand, so it’s ingrained as just the way things are. There are some otherwise perfectly nice men who don’t see why women get upset at cat calls, or a hand around their waist. They don’t understand that what they’ve just said is a racial slur. Many men do understand this, but some are just doing what they’ve been taught. Often If someone pointed out their bad behavior, they’d be appalled to think that they weren’t considerate and understanding. They’d deny it, of course, but who knows what seeds can be planted in their minds when they see the affect their behavior has on someone else.

Another day I saw a post on Facebook that pointed out that men think that they are the ones who make women fully women by having sex with them. Like they were gods and could dictate who was to become a full human being! I guess to these men, sex is like laying claim to the woman, who then belongs to him exclusively. As if a woman couldn’t possibly be a person in her own right without the approval and protection of a man.

Everything on this living organism we call planet Earth has the right to self-determination without interference from another being. Sex is a biological function. It has nothing to do with personhood. Nor is it a reason to make women inferior to men, or to fight over her with another man.

Ever since I was a little girl, I just couldn’t swallow the interpretation of the creation story in the Bible. The story that is used to put women in the inferior position, because supposedly Eve was the one to break God’s law and eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In my mind her curiosity was and is a vital part of being human. Also in the story is the implication that men are superior because Adam was created first with God creating Eve from his rib. It’s obvious to me that a man included that in the story in an effort to blot out the fact that the pre-historic cultures worshipped the Goddess. Societies during that time were organized around a mostly feminine in approach to living and surviving. When the tide began to turn toward male dominated societies, men wanted to prove they were more favored by God, by telling the creation story skewed toward male dominance. (Riane Eisler’s book The Chalice and the Blade is an eye opening account that gives archeological evidence of the change from female to male dominated societies.)

The third idea, though not new, came my way in an interview that Mastin Kipp had with Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit, and Sacred Contracts. In the interview she said that we are addicted to Darkness. We long to live in the light, but darkness is so familiar to us, that we cling to it afraid to give it up. Because we choose to live in the dark, we often do things to benefit ourselves, for which others pay the price. When we’re in the dark, we’re motivated by greed, or self-preservation, or fear. I knew exactly what she was talking about, because I suffered from the unethical actions of someone else. The person who maneuvered me out of a beloved job, wanted it for herself. I was in the way of what she wanted. So, thinking only of herself, she made sure I lost my job. We hear it all the time. “I didn’t mean anything personal by it. It was just business.” That kind of thing happens among family and friends as well. And I’ve been just as guilty of doing it as those who’ve done it to me. No wonder there are so many walking wounded.

I know from personal experience that deciding to live in the light is a scary thing. When I made the decision to come out of the dark, I didn’t know what to expect, or what it would feel like to live within the light. When I fully embraced the light, I had to take responsibility for my actions. I couldn’t make excuses for hurting others any longer. I couldn’t claim, “The devil made me do it”. There were times when I wanted to go back into the dark. But once you’ve taken a step forward, it’s nearly impossible to go back.

Even though most of us have been living in the dark for centuries, we’re now coming out into the light. There have been great teachers and enlightened beings who have shown us the way, but because what they’re trying to get us to see is beyond our five senses, it’s been difficult for us to grasp the true meaning of their teachings.

For those of you who are rational, let me reference a book I read several years ago that shows scientifically how humans have been awakening. The book is Power VS. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. Reading it changed my life and my perspective of events that have taken place in the world. I’m not a scientist, but let me explain the book by saying that each person, society, religion, and anything that exists vibrates at certain levels. Hawkins has learned how to measure these vibrations, which he calls calibrations. Most of humanity calibrates at a fairly low level. People like Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, and other enlightened people calibrate at levels as high at 1,000. In the last chapter of the book Hawkins writes that in the mid-1980s, the calibration for humanity took a sudden jump from 190 to 207. It may be even higher now. A person or organization that calibrates below 200 can’t tell the difference between a truth and a lie. They are living in deep darkness. They are so frightened of those of us who calibrate above 200 that they do terrible things thinking their actions will protect them in some way. The people who have committed unthinkable acts in the past, and who are in the news of late, calibrate at very low levels.

So how do we combat the mistreatment of women and minorities? We can point out in loving ways the error in the thinking of the one doing the mistreatment. Here are some examples of what I mean.

Once I needed some repair work on my car. The technician came out and greeted me with, “Hello Sweetie. What can I do for you?” I have to admit I was a little miffed. But I said as calmly as I possibly could, “First of all. Don’t call me Sweetie. I’m someone’s sweetie, but not yours.” He looked startled, but said, “Okay. What can I do for you?” Then I proceeded to tell him what I needed in as businesslike manner as possible. I hope he thought twice before calling the next woman, “Sweetie”.

Another thing we can do is to stand with someone who is being harassed. It doesn’t take much to stop a bully. You can merely say, “Stop harassing this person”, or you can just look at them with a neutral face. It’s a technique I used in the classroom to get students to do what they were supposed to be doing, and it worked beautifully, because I wasn’t fighting with them. I was just helping them choose to do what they already knew they should be doing.

Also, when you stand by the person that’s being harassed, others may find the courage to join you, because one courageous person can help others make up their minds to do the same thing. Standing up to a bully is showing real power in the face of external force that is based on fear. As Hawkins writes, “Ignorance does not yield to attack, but it dissipates in the light and nothing dissolves dishonesty faster than the simple act of revealing the truth. The only way to enhance one’s power in the world is by increasing one’s integrity, understanding, and capacity for compassion.” When we stand up for the rights of others, we’re shining a light on erroneous attitudes and actions.

I have a small circle of influence in my every day life. However, when I’m teaching I try to create a safe environment in which students can flourish. If one student tries to treat another badly, I point out the behavior and try to establish a safe learning environment again. Every little effort toward the light helps create a wider field of awakening for every living thing on this planet.

Thanks for reading. I know my musings are sometimes convoluted and hard to understand. However, writing this blog helps me make sense of the world around me, and what I can do to make it a better place in which to live.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Women and Men

Act I The Skin of Our Teeth
Act I The Skin of Our Teeth

“We’re not what books and plays say we are. We’re not what advertisements say we are. We’re not in the movies and we’re not on the radio. We’re not what you’re all told and what you think we are: We’re ourselves. And if any man can find one of us he’ll learn why the whole universe was set in motion. And if any man harm any of us, his soul–the only should he’s got–had better be at the bottom of that ocean–and that’s the only way to put it.” Mrs. Antrobus from The Skin Of Our Teeth, by Thornton Wilder

Does this happen to you? I start to read a book, and the stars align or something, and the ideas in the book that grasp me the most start to pop up everywhere. At present I’m reading a long essay, which is based on a series of lectures delivered by Virginia Woolf. The compiled essay is titled “A Room of One’s Own”. It’s our book club selection for this month. The thing that appalled me, but shouldn’t have, were some of the things Ms. Woolf discovered about women’s rights while preparing to deliver the lectures on “Women and Fiction”.

In 1928 women had little access to education. They were considered property by their fathers, and husbands. Only a few years before the lectures, women had won the right to vote in England, and to keep the wages they earned. What appalled me was how little things have changed in eighty-six years. I began comparing what’s happening now, with all the fracas about equal pay for women, women’s health issues, the way women are portrayed in the media, and I felt really sad. We haven’t gained much ground. This was confirmed when I talked with my sister a few days ago.

She was telling me about the Palm Sunday service at her church. They had a guest speaker, who happened to be a woman. In her talk, the guest speaker told of the difficulties she faces from time to time, because she’s a woman, and she’s a minister. I thought surely things would have changed, since I was harassed for declaring myself a religious studies major in 1976, but not so. She often gets the same kind of reaction that I got thirty-eight years ago, which makes me sad. Things haven’t changed much for women.

Thirty-eight years ago, I was attending a small Christian college, and the only woman in the small group of religious studies students. Women were just beginning to be ordained as ministers at the time. When word got around that I’d changed my major to religion, I was the target of harassment by a conservative group at the college. Each day, at meal times, a group of three or four young men would quote scripture at me, and challenged me to see the error of my ways, and change my major to something more appropriate for a woman. Needless to say, it was a very difficult time for me. They assumed that my plan was to become a minister in our church, which wasn’t even a possibility at that time.

My reason for studying religion, was because I’ve always been interested in the relationship between humans, and the Divine. Over time I became deeply angry at these young men. No matter what I said, or did, they were undeterred from challenging my life choice. In my mind, it was MY choice, not theirs. I didn’t think they had any right to tell me how to live my life. They needed to take care of their own life choices. Eventually they gave up, assuring me that I was going to hell for breaking God’s laws. I became an angry feminist.

In 1979, I graduated with my degree in Religious Studies. It has set me on a path of lifelong learning about all things spiritual, for which I’m eternally grateful, because through my studies I’ve realized that men are just as stuck in their gender roles as are we women. It’s difficult to break out of social patterns, and long held beliefs.

Looking back, I realize I was able to stand up for myself, because I had supportive parents. Both parents. My mom worked outside the home, and I had a great dad who encouraged me to find my own path, and live up to my full potential. We need more dads like that. I think my dad was so supportive, because he’d been misunderstood by his teachers. He was told he was lazy, stupid, he was a trouble maker, and he’d never amount to anything, all because he had dyslexia. I’m not sure doctors were even aware what dyslexia was in the 1940s. Thankfully, my dad was strong and wise. He dropped out of school, learned to be a machinist, taught himself how to read, and became a lay minister in our church. Reading was one of his favorite things to do. He didn’t read light stuff either. He loved to read biographies, and non-fiction scholarly books, like Carl Jung.

My dad could be a good dad, because he had a good dad, and because he studied human nature. He was vulnerable, kind, and open to new ideas. He wasn’t like some of the male writers that Virginia Woolf found who stated in their books that women were inferior to men, mentally, physically, and morally. My dad didn’t think he was superior to anybody else. He thought that EVERYONE has a purpose, and should look for, and pursue that purpose.

You may not have had a dad like mine, but I say to all women, don’t give up. We’re rising. We’ve got to continue exploring who we are, and what we can offer humanity. Don’t blame men for what’s gone before. That’s not helpful. Men have been trapped by their gender roles, and ways of thinking too. What we need to do is educate them about who we are. We possess much depth of understanding about what it means to be human. We are peacemakers, healers, thinkers, creators, and teachers. We’re good at all the same things men are good at. The best thing is, we have genius even we haven’t tapped into yet.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014