Michael Moore and Jian Ghomeshi: revealing injustice

I love listening to Jian Ghomeshi on the CBC.  His show Q has a line-up of guests that rival Howard Stern, but Jian is less controversial.  Jian does not need to provoke or shock, he is well read and well spoken.  He is a news junkie and is able to translate his observations into solid and thoughtful points of discussion with his guests.  Through his research and preparedness he often elicits stories from his guests that may not have been heard before.

This happened yesterday when he interviewed Michael Moore, the American author and filmmaker who made headlines with his books/films like Stupid White Men, Bowling for Columbine and Downsize This.  He also won an academy award for Bowling for Columbine and this was his memorable acceptance speech.

Wow.  Jian asked Moore if there was a pivotal moment in his childhood that forever challenged him to be this passionate and controversial voice.  Moore paused then in a softer voice recounted a story that occurred in his 18th year.  Michael Moore was voted in as the youngest school board trustee ever in The United States.  His platform included the desire to fire his vice principal, whom he said was a tyrant.  Moments from his high school graduation, he and his fellow classmates were lined up for inspection by the VP.  This man proceeded to check that under every gown, each male student was sporting a tie.  The boy standing in front of Michael was pulled from the line because the VP said that his western string tie did not fit the criteria, and therefore he would not allow him to graduate.  The student was shamed and sent home.  He was not allowed to graduate with his class.  Moore said that he was devastated.

This became the moment that he said to himself never again.  Never again will he allow an injustice occur in his presence, or knowledge without responding.  This was the fuel that has carried Moore into sometimes dangerous territory.  He and his family have been repeatedly threatened, and a bomb plot was uncovered as well.

We are supposedly living in a highly civilized time, yet Moore and others like him are putting their lives on the line when they stand up to fight injustice or to express their opinions.  Thankfully, in Canada we are much more tolerant of dissenting views, yet so many are afraid to take a stand on an issue because they don’t want to offend.  I would offer that that borders on laziness and self-protection.  We don’t need to beat our opponents over the head or bash their reputations, but surely we can take a moment to offer our own insights and concerns around issues that affect us.

Lets remember to take a look at what really counts;  and in my mind it is about being human.  It is about wanting the same things for my neighbour as for me. Really , don’t we all want the same things: to find happiness, good health, safe  water and food, a safe place to live, good friends, a loving family and hopefully  to be able express our individual nature through our employment?

Each one of us has the same responsibility as Michael Moore has avowed.  We don’t need to make movies or write books, but we can start to look at each other as ONE.  We are not separate creatures here.  We are all from the same Source.  

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trauma provides opportunity for growth

Having lived 46 years with most of it surrounded and affected by trauma; it  gives me, I think, the ability to say with certainty, that trauma does provide opportunity for growth.  The caveat is whether or not one chooses to see beyond the immediate devastation of form, and self in order to access greater truths that which comes from our individual and collective humanity. If one follows to the depths of their individual trauma; seeking,feeling, acknowledging and finally blessing, the real truth will emerge: we are one.

When I see a young person without a home; I know it, and silently bless them.

When  I see families destroyed by addictions and violence; I know it, and silently bless them.

When I see natural disasters devastate property, homes and lives; I know it, and silently bless them.

When I see individuals struggling to stay the course: I know that too, and bless them.

I can’t say that I would have written my life this way, but it is as it is.  I have a profound depth of feeling for our common frailties. I also have a profound understanding and belief in our collective power.  The yin and yang of our existence.  No shame, no pretense either.

I LOVE THE LIFE I WAS BORN INTO…how does one become grateful for the joys in life without knowing the sadness?  My parents, the teachers, providing the role they never knew they had, given to them at birth: to carry the Grace and the Yoke.

The opportunity to be human, in all its forms, allows us to internalize our ONENESS.  I do not need to be a Palestinian to understand the grief and anger of displacement…I have lived it.  I do not need to be ” Wade Belak ” to understand the fragility of mental health,  I have come through it.  I can listen to Rwandan survivors and be saddened, angered and humbled all at the same time.  How?  We have many among us who have lived through great trauma in World Wars, genocide, violence and loss.  They are our leaders and inspiration.  They are at the grocery store, old age homes and shopping malls.  We can strengthen and extend our bonds of love by simply acknowledging the losses suffered by humanity.  Losses randomly inflicted by nature or cruelty of man.  With trauma all over the world, our calling is to bear witness.

These are the threads that weave us together.  For those traumatized in Goderich… I sit here, and quietly ask you all to accept what is and bless it.  Yes, Bless it.  It is not necessary to say “how” or “why” to Bless it, just the knowledge that there is purpose and it will be revealed.  This is not religious dogma.  This is what binds all of our religions together, our common spirituality, in whatever form.

Bless it.   From that one gesture, you will have moved towards healing and a feel a lingering scent of peace.

I offend people regularly with my candor.   I will warn you that you may not like this next comment.  I do not use the word “survivor” of the devastation to which I have been immersed.  I do not use the label “victim”.  I choose not to be a “fighter” for my life.  Trauma occurs in all life, it happens.  It happens whether we are good/bad rich or poor.  There are no boundaries to the machinations of life.

I have instead chosen a calmer path set before me, one of no resistance.  It is not to say that I am not an active participant in all that is!  I giver! when I am up for it, and the occasion arises, and find joy through the rhythm set before me.  It is a conscious decision to be mindful of the present…nothing more or less.  No room for recriminations and judgement for what is.  Empowerment and strength in acceptance.

This I know: our physical realms mirror our internal realm.  When the internal work is done, your physical world reflects it.

I wish Peace of mind, body and spirit for all of those experiencing trauma at this time….in whatever form.  Namaste.