Archive for mental illness

Shootings Heart Opening

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Men with tags , , , , on January 30, 2011 by matthewstruth

On a typical day in this winter paradise, thoughts and feelings of mine are usually focused towards the majestic knee buckling beauty of ethereal lighting upon rugged peaks, and basking with delight at my husky’s exuberance at being in her primal element. But on this day, while checking email before heading out into the splendor, there it was, highlighted, at the top of the page, “Arizona Congresswoman Shot”.

My body went into a shock that I haven’t felt in quite this way before. I cried, and I ached while clicking to the appropriate page. My instantaneous inner reactions to these few words told me that this was a moment of grave importance and that no matter what the motive was behind this, forces at work in our culture had laid the groundwork for this tragedy long ago.

My shaking and tears continued as the news of the massacre became more apparent. So many humans gunned down. A man shooting a woman. A man shooting a member of Congress. A man shooting, randomly, dozens of human beings, terrorizing what in this country has become our misguided civic symbol, a shopping center. As initial reports of the congress woman’s death emerged I broke down even further with deep anguish for the fate of our culture and world.

What was it about this particular violent act that penetrated my usual armor of numbness? Why am I crying now, when there have been oh so many violent crimes committed by governments and individuals that left me unfazed? How come I didn’t weep and break down over the tragedy’s of natural disasters that have effected hundreds of thousands of people? Why haven’t I become enraged at the heinous activities of corporations and some businesses that are raping our world? And why have I done virtually nothing to stop any of this?

So why was this day different? There could be so many reasons. I know that on this day the two words “congress” and “woman” had an enormous impact on me, as did the third “Arizona“. While I am generally not a huge fan of government activities, witnessing a member of our government being potentially assassinated got through my defenses of non-feeling. I was just a toddler and then a child straight jacketed in a catholic school uniform when black and white leaders of our country were slaughtered. Playing with my Tonka trucks didn’t become interrupted by these crimes, though my manic depressive mother’s howling at being in love with JFK, and not us, certainly contributed to my innocent childs heart closing down.

Could it be that this was my first experience of attempted assassination in my country. But Reagan was shot and I felt nothing. Others world leaders have been shot and killed and I felt nothing. People are being killed by our government every day and I generally feel nothing. People are murdered every day and still I feel nothing. How many of us allow these events to penetrate our tightly constructed lives?

Why was this day different? Maybe it’s that this was a member of our government who was a woman, being brutally attacked by a man. How long have these supremely barbaric attacks been going on? For thousands of years men have been bludgeoning women and our planet to death. What would happen if I, we, all men, would stop and feel this? We have been killing and tormenting those that bring life into existence. When will we stop? When will we kneel on the ground, bow down and stop? When will we cry and cry for our perpetrated atrocities upon those who are magnificent beings of wonder?

This day was different because I felt. My heart opened and hurt. My body and soul cried tears of rage, fear, deep sadness, and love. Love for a woman, love for a gathering of human beings brutally attacked, and love for a man much like my deceased, mentally ill brother, enveloped in the deepest anguish. Why aren’t we loving those among us who are troubled and disturbed? Why aren’t WE troubled and disturbed? When will we awaken to our inherent birthright as glorious human beings, inhabiting an awe inspiring planet with other sentient beings, all of these animals, plants and minerals that share this place with us. When will we awaken to love?

On this day I was one man deeply touched and less numbed. I am not going back.

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