Winter-time is Rest-time?

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Winter-time is traditionally a time of rest, but with our post-modern lifestyle, it is often anything but. I lose track of the beauty of Nature when I am shoveling out my driveway and my feet feel like blocks of ice. I have to stop and remind myself to rise above the negative and see the beauty in each and every moment.

Earlier on the day that I took this photo, I had walked with my dog up the long trail to a Hemlock tree I had befriended a number of years ago. That memory alone made the day  special despite slogging through the snow and consequent shoveling. Yet I like to watch how the trees and houses disappear in the whiteout and the wind. Nature is truly marvelous with Her changing climes and changing times.

Flower At Rest During Winter Months

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These Rhododendron flowers are waiting for the right combination of temperature and sunlight to call them forth into their blossoming time. I noticed them as I was shoveling the eight inches of snow that had buried my car in the driveway.

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The home across the way made a nice contrast against the backdrop of the snow. In warmer times Dolly the Akita and I have hiked the hills that are barely visible today. It makes me mindful of the seasons as they change and how wintertime offers us a level of tranquility and restfulness that the other seasons lack. In January we are recuperating from the busy-ness of the Christmas season, and before that Thanksgiving, and before that Halloween, and before that getting the kids accustomed to this new year of school. I know that I forget to play, and without that awareness the days can run together from one form of industrious to the next, and I find myself older remembering joy instead of experiencing it.

This New Year I am doing something different for myself. No matter what activity I am engaged in, no matter the pressure to get things done, I am going to stop several times during the day and look around me and see the beauty, find the pleasure, and bring that attitude of play into whatever work I am doing. The season will turn around again, spring will come, and that Rhododendron will blossom. The cycles of Nature are as certain as the Sun arising in the morning.

I had wanted to close this blog today with a photo of that same Rhododendron bush in bloom, but I could not locate the photo I had in mind. But this is okay, it is another good reminder to be present to where I am, the season I am in, and the needs of the day.

I’d like to leave you with a good wish and a blessing to enjoy all of your seasons during 2019.

Spirit Fest Rune Workshop and Readings

SPIRIT FEST • Saturday November 10th • 9:30 am to 4:00 pm • Institute for Spiritual Development, LOTUS CENTER located at 41-45 Dietz Street, Oneonta, NY • Includes six free workshops, readings, and energy healing by several talented Psychics, including myself, and Energy Healers • There is no admission fee, and the Psychic Reading fee is $25/15 minutes • Also available is metaphysical shopping and Raffle Prizes! Proceeds to benefit ISD.

To schedule your readings with me in advance, please call (518) 947-0645 or email: susan@nornirscorner.com

For a preview of my free Workshop from 1:00 – 1:45 p.m., please read below!

I wanted to give you a preview of my workshop. The talk has a long title: “The Norns, Scandinavian Goddesses of Fate and Destiny, the Norse Tree of Life and Worlds, and the Wells of the Tree.” The topic is largely about emotional healing and includes how the Worlds of the Norse Tree of Life relate to the Chakras and other energy systems we may already be familiar with. The Wells of the Tree correlate with human bio-physiology and how we psychologically process emotion. I expect to give you some insights during the talk on emotional healing.

2013 was a year of revelations for me. The Runes “downloaded” themselves to my understanding. The Nature Spirit (or Angel of the West Kill) that flows behind my home introduced me to the Norns, Scandinavian Goddesses responsible for overseeing the “Weave/Web of Wyrd” (the fate and destiny of humanity). They guide me in understanding ways of energy work. Soon afterwards, the Death Goddess, Hela, made contact with me. Heimdall, the God who guards the Rainbow Bridge (Bifrost), and watches for the Ragnarok to blow the Horn at the End of Time, took a dive down my Universal Energy Core and hooked me up to the Norse Tree of Life and Worlds, Yggdrasil. Since then, I have been upon an intense journey of intuitive meditation and substantiated research to support that intuition, which I am working on a book about.

I hope to see you there! The time of my workshop is 1:00 – 1:45 pm. To schedule your reading with me, please call (518) 989-6428 or (518) 947-0645 or email me. Scheduling in advance will guarantee your opportunity for a Reading with me!

 

Calendar Updates!

On October 20th, the Kingston, NY Holistic Fair at the Holiday Inn Express at 1835 Ulster Avenue (9W), Lake Katrine, NY, 12449! Event runs from 10 am to 6 pm.

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On November 4th, Psychic & Healing Fair at Keegan Ales in Kingston!

 

On November 10th, Institute for Spiritual Development in Oneonta, NY!

Saturday November 10, 2018 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Institute for Spiritual Development, Lotus Center  (map)

Renewal, Relaxation, Re-awaken! —10 tried & true psychic readers & energy healers - unique metaphysical gifts & crafts, Bake Sale, Meditation, https://www.shiftnewyork.com/workshop-schedule-11-10-18" target="_blank">Free Workshops at the new ISD Oneonta Lotus Center- Free Admission; raffle prizes- pre-book w/your favorite https://www.shiftnewyork.com/readers-healers-11-10-18" target="_blank">Psychic Reader or Healer to assure your spot! Private readings only $25; Info:www.shiftnewyork.com

PRACTICE SUSTAINABILITY

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

IDEAS TO PRACTICE SUSTAINABILITY – Some people have better ideas than I do, and others have different practices. You can peruse this list or create your own.

1.) Ask yourself, do I really need a materialistic lifestyle? If not, practice thrift. If I don’t need it, I don’t buy it. This was not always true for me, but in recent years I have begun a preference for a minimalist lifestyle. I discovered that having too many things meant having that much more to take care of.

2.) It has been my choice to avoid bringing home those plastic shopping bags and to avoid as much as possible purchasing pre-packaged food. This has cut my trash in half or more. I keep on hand those recycled plastic shopping bags with handles that can easily be folded up to store and reuse.

3.) Walk to work, ride a bike, or drive a car with excellent gas economy. The first two will only be practical if you live close to work, and that too, may be a practical solution.

4.) Keep a garden. In addition to supplementing your diet with healthy fresh produce, the time outside gets you into contact with those little beings who help pollinate the plants and break down the soil. If you keep flowers, especially Butterfly/Bee/Bird gardens, you will appreciate many moments sighting Hummingbirds and absolutely gorgeous butterflies. With a little care and research, you can find plants that these beings love that are also of practical use to humans. My Monarda, or Bee Balm, provides food for both bees and hummingbirds, and the tea from the leaves? That is flavorful Bergamot. I also grow Anise Hyssop and Ecchinacea.

5.) If you or other members of the family hunt, utilize all parts of the animal. I have made clothing and drums out of deer hide, and if, like me, you practice an Earth-centered religion, you can turn horn, bone, and hoof into rattles, buttons, and other useful noise-makers.

6.) Support as much as possible solar energy and wind power. Technology has developed so that now many people can use for their homes.

7.) One friend shared on FB that she always carries a trash bag when she hikes to pick up any litter she finds. I so appreciate people like this! And if you hike, please carry out what you carry in!

I’m out of suggestions for today, but if you read this, won’t you please leave your own solutions in the comment box?

 

Ways to Honor Earth


1.) Develop a feeling of reverence for the Earth. Develop a practice of gratitude. Thank the Earth for all the support She gives you – the solid ground under your feet as you walk, the food that comes from the garden, the Beauty of mountains, valleys, hills, trees, deserts, oceans, even the crowning stars of the night sky. The Earth as a planet rides in that night sky.

2.) Work to overcome any revulsion or fear you feel for the lowly Earth creatures. Bumble Bees and Honey Bees contribute to the pollination of our food; the larvae of those annoying house flies breaks down that dead and decaying material and turns it into rich compost; that Dandelion that some people call “weeds” is actually a healthy herb to sustain the body – it is good for the liver and the digestion.

3.) Develop your practice of intentional sensation to further the sensual enjoyment of your Earth experience. This life is a precious one. No matter what stress you are dealing with, time spent walking in Nature refreshes the soul. Let the Wind caress your face, open your hands to the rain, allow the sensations of hot and cold, pleasant and unpleasant, even joy and sorrow, because these give you the wisdom to know that no matter how bad things are they can always get better, or no matter how good things are they can always get worse. Therefore, these opposing sensations and emotions make us wise in the face of meeting life situations with precision and flexibility.

4.) If the idea calls to you, begin to work with and learn from the Elements, which will speak with you. It has been my experience that all beings – those we consider organic and those we consider inorganic, participate in the life force of the planet. The connection or communication is usually telepathic or emotive – the trick is to stay open for what impressions will come. I taught my Reiki share to develop their intuition, and they were often surprised by what they could know by simply remaining receptive. So give it a try, and have patience for the process. Keep a Journal to record the results of your efforts.

5.) Speak aloud to the Earth, forests, streams, Winds. Giving Voice to what we feel is to give added vibration to our thoughts and emotions. The spiritual realms that work within the realms of Nature do hear and appreciate our appreciation. I have had Winds come up for as simple a statement as “What a beautiful tree!”

6.) Dance! When you feel your joy and your feet want to start tapping, allow the desire for movement to flow through you. I have twirled like a dervish in accord with the Winds and refused to feel like an oddball. There’s no one to care but me.

7.) Practice a lifestyle that leaves a small footprint on the Earth. Live sustainably.

 

On Becoming More Enlightened

Every human being has the potential to become Enlightened, or more Conscious, to the degree their heredity and capacity for work on self allow. This process is not imitation of another’s way of doing things, practicing religion, or the food you eat. It is a process of self-observation, or self-witnessing, throughout the daily aspects of life. We are all seeded with a certain heredity that allows for our physical, emotional, and mental capacity, and then we experience life and education in such a way as to form the personality aspects of the waking consciousness. Yet there is great advantage in finding a teacher qualified in the direction of the trail you are called to walk. In any given life, there can be many teachers; the true teacher will assist you in opening to the pathway of your own heart. My personal path has called me toward Shamanism, but along the way I was raised Christian, studied Oriental religions, studied the work of G. I. Gurdjieff with two teachers (Ann Kelly and Donald Petacchi), learned Reiki, and was initiated as a Mesa Carrier. Each turn of my life path has deepened the learning in the way of my calling. Most recently I am spirit-taught by Deities of the Norse pantheon, and I have found a Shamanic teacher in Renee Baribeau, the Practical Shaman, and Hay House author of Winds of Spirit. Everything I have learned along the way has fed my life path and my soul’s growth.

Among the things I took in from my time in the Gurdjieff Work is the integration of body, emotion, and intellect. In the Christian faith as I learned it, and in certain aspects of Oriental religions, the body and the sensations of the body are taught to be unimportant. There are meditations that help to remove one’s attentions from sensation so as to become free from desire and attachment to the world. I believe that instead of ignoring our physical sensations, a practice of intentional sensation can better ground us to awareness of our emotional state, our feelings, and therefore detach from them so that we can be in life, but not of it. The last is a Biblical term that honors bringing the consciousness of the higher self, as our spirit-soul complex is called in metaphysical circles, into daily awareness. The practice of what Gurdjieff called Conscious Labor and Intentional Suffering are key to developing the capacity to live from a centered-awareness of Higher Emotion and Higher Intellectual. (Someday I will teach more about this process as it relates to the Enneagram. Anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the Gurdjieff work, I recommend reading Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson the three times as he suggested).

Intentional sensation is a way of grounding the extremes posed between our emotions and our intellect in the body. It is as useful a meditation tool as counting the breath. When sitting or lying still, I bring the attention to the awareness of my body. I may begin with my feet and move up my body, or I may begin with my face and work down my body, making a special effort to relax all inherent tension. If I am feeling emotional or bothered about something, I might ask my body to draw my attention to where that emotion is stored so that I can do the work of releasing it to become clear of it. The work of scientist Candace Pert proved for once and all that emotions are stored in the body (see Molecules of Emotion). The work of becoming clear of those negative and repressed emotions we are holding on to facilitates our emotional healing and capacity to live without the burden of reactive behavior patterns and negative energy loops. Clearing ourselves of these less desirable aspects of our conditioned upbringing and wrong interpretations of life experiences contributes to living with more presence and contentment.

When I was taught Conscious Labor, the first step was to center myself, and then to ground myself in my body with Intentional Sensation, and maintain that awareness while I went through the work of my day, whatever that work was. I discovered that the more I disliked a certain task, the better it was for me to bring my attention and awareness to it, because the effort created a struggle between opposing aspects of myself – the aspects that like work and the aspects that preferred lazy. The resulting friction served to burn the dross out of my being. Later the more advanced efforts of intentional suffering came into it with making more efforts at tasks I did not like. I learned to stop my negative self-talk and get on with things, and gradually I grew to love work from a deep place within myself. Once I was able to stop my thoughts from repeating on the topic of whether I liked my work or not, I was more able to stop my thoughts from generating critical judgments and opinions of people who had annoyed me in some way, so you can see how the focus of my work with intentional suffering changed from tasks to relationships with others. I strive to have good will with everybody; sometimes easier said than done. Gurdjieff’s method is an ever-evolving process of bringing attention to the task of self-observation and self-remembering.

This type of meditative effort centers on becoming present to ourselves. Gurdjieff had an exercise that he used in his groups. When he would call out, “STOP!” the group was expected to stop its movement and people were to take note of their posture, mood, feelings, and thoughts of the given moment. One can become mindful of almost everything. Gurdjieff’s sacred dances were intended to assist this purpose of observing the work of centers also.

Gurdjieff provided my introduction to the idea that the many traditions of ancient ways held teachings in common. With the work of Carolyn Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit I was thrilled to discover those connections between the chakras, the Kabbalah (Hebrew Tree of Life), and the Christian Sacraments. When I came upon the Runes through the book Rune Power, by Kenneth Meadows, the answers were also there, and I knew that my ancestors had once had their own version of these teachings, including a shamanic practice. My ancestors came from Sweden, and there were ties with the Saami peoples, or Laplanders. Mircea Eliade has tied ideas further together for me with his seminal work Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. We have in ourselves patterns for accessing higher states of consciousness, we have in ourselves the pattern of the World Tree, or Tree of Life (Yggdrasil is the name of the Norse Tree of Worlds). Through intentional sensation I could begin to access these states through my own body. I firmly believe that human beings do not need drugs to connect with the sacred; we have all the tools we need through the practices of meditation, presence, and prayer. Through intentional sensation I was able to deepen my practice with the chakras, and even to equate certain chakras with the four elements, something I have since read in connection with other authors. The final element I had to work with was wind (air is the element of the heart), and I honor Renee Baribeau for her work in this direction.

The following life experience connected me to the divinity inherent within the wind. I was still practicing as a Lay Speaker for the Methodist Church, and I wanted to test the promise that the pure of heart would see God. I went up on the hill under some pine trees with my drum, and I played. As I played, I prayed. The first thing that happened was that on a still day, the wind came up strongly (Holy Spirit, Holy Breath!). The second thing was that I had a vision, and it was not a vision just for humans, but for all Life. I had a vision of the Creator creating various forms of life, and the Creator showed me himself as a Praying Mantis. Now, isn’t that interesting, I thought. The vision seemed to show me the creative breath inherent within all life.

As a Reiki healer, I have worked with the energy fields of animals as well as people, and that all beings have chakras is something that my experience has proven to me. I wanted to connect the chakras to the idea of the Tree of Life. Through my work with the Runes, I wanted to connect the idea of the chakras to the Nine Worlds. The correlations do not exactly line up, but they don’t have to. Each pattern of cosmology relates us to the system it has arisen from. What satisfies me is the universality of the cosmologies.

My next blog post will deal with the Chakras and the Nine Worlds of Yggdrasil.

 

Earth Is Our Home

Earth is our Home, and human beings have forgotten to honor Her. The long-term results of colonization and industrialization that led to climate change and changing of weather patterns are easy to foresee – population dispersal due to loss of human habitat and disruption of food provision systems. Earth has survived numerous changes and will again, but will our species?

It is useless to place blame for problems which began long before our generation. It is useless to take up guilt and shame. It is useful to face the problems squarely and ask my self, “What is my function through these changing times I am in? That we as the human collective are in?” It is useful to work together and to develop local communities that are supportive of each other and of the changes that humans are facing globally, yet affect us on a local level. I believe that deepening our reverence for the Earth and tolerating our mutual differences while honoring the strengths we each contribute are key to the process.

We are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, Taoists, Hindus, Heathens, Pagans, polytheists, monotheists, and diverse others. We are loyal to our countries, causes, and families. Reverence and loyalty are to be respected. None of these are mutually exclusive except insofar as we separate them in our own minds from a personal need to be right.

But if we can transcend that need to be right, we can step into a larger understanding. Two things connecting all of us, whether we agree or disagree, are our Humanity and the fact that our mutual Home is Earth.

Again, I ask myself the question: “What is my function through these changing times I am in? That we as the human collective are in?” My answer is to deepen my reverence for Earth, and to encourage others to do the same.

My reverence for Earth makes Earth relevant to a devotional and mindfulness practice that includes my religious process and meeting the daily demands of life. Mindfulness and devotion are practices common to all religions, including science, as are meditation and prayer. “Religiousness” arises from human emotion, providing a deep feeling for one’s life and one’s purpose. It does not exclude my belief in science. This too can be common to humanity.

Recently I sat outdoors with the fire at night. I was just beginning to feel the changes to the season, although the Solstice had happened a few weeks prior. I had to rake the leaves away from my fire pit thrice that day, and even as I was meditating with the fire, I could hear the whisper of falling leaves all around me. That night’s experience deepened my relationship with the fire element (which our Ancestors relied upon for their survival) and my awareness of the changing tides of Earth time, season in and season out. The Earth I sat upon has sustained the footsteps of generations of humanity for about 200,000 years, according to the fossil record. I placed my hands palm downward upon the Earth where I sat and marveled as I considered each individual life, each individual species, the shapes and forms and multitudinous ways that life – this wonderful life – has manifest throughout the generations. Species rise and fall, but here I sit today with gratitude.

Shamans have long practiced gratitude for the Elements. It is a way that we walk upon the Earth, acknowledging the human need for water, fire, the fruits and meats that Earth provides for the sustaining of our physical bodies, the air we breath, the shelter Earth provides. In their own way, Shamans were the early Scientists, observing from the natural elements and gaining the knowledge necessary to survival. Shamans were working with energy fields long before Faraday, Maxwell, or Planck formulated their theories of electromagnetism.

Connection to Earth was the foundation for all primeval religion, and the Overworlds and the Underworlds as known by the Shamans became the foundation for the stories of Heaven and Hell. What modern science knows as the Biosphere links all Life through the winds, the water currents, and the seasonal cycles. Human instinctual awareness of these connecting linkages became severed as humans moved into cultures that valued intellectualism over intuitive knowing of Earth. Yet Earth remains the Garden of Eden, have we but eyes to see and ears to hear. As humanity regains an understanding that Earth is a living, self-regulating Being from whose Life we all partake, our attitudes and life practices will change.

I believe that humanity can regain these connecting linkages without sacrificing the intellectual innovations we have achieved, but we need to discipline ourselves to avoid the excesses that make toxic the environment for all beings. One example, the interconnected work of many species (bees) contributes to the provision of foodstuffs of which all partake, yet that we all depend upon for sustenance is stupidly killed off by human ignorance. “Neonicotinoids are especially likely to cause cumulative effects on bees due to their mechanism of function as this pesticide group works by binding to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brains of the insects, and such receptors are particularly abundant in bees”(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees). To sacrifice ignorance is to begin to educate our selves and change life practices to be more congruent with the welfare of all beings.

The beginning point is to change our point of awareness. To change our point of awareness, we need to educate ourselves and become more informed than we are. An important consideration to this information is the question, “How well do I know myself?” To inform yourself of how you truly think – and feel – about any given topic, situation, reality is vital to your well being and existence on the Earth. The work you do, the work I do – all has validity and contributes to the Uplifting of all beings. If it is true, as I believe, that humanity was created to carry the process of conscious transformation forward on Earth, then it follows that becoming more “Conscious,” or more Enlightened, is quite important, and I will say more on this in my next post.

Ways to Honor Earth

 

Autumn Night By The Fire

The sound of the leaves falling all around, the changing smells of the season, the cooler and cloudier days, and the shortening hours of daylight speak to me of a time coming to slow down, cocoon, and self nurture. I have taken an evening to hermit beside my very own campfire. The smell of the wood smoke takes me back into my childhood when the family would visit Dad’s Uncle August and Aunt Clara, and we small children would be forgiven for running and diving into the newly raked leaves.

Flash forward, and I am my own adult now. The leaves are falling down upon me and my little fire, and I look upward, seeing the silhouettes of the treetops, and the sky has cleared and there are stars all around. The owls who nest in the pines call overhead. I feel grateful in this moment for the way my life is forming around me and a reverence for the Natural world. There is more gratitude than I can express, even in prayer to the elements, so I let my heart do the talking with a depth of emotion best expressed in the silence of inward directed prayer. I look toward the house with its welcoming electric lights and my husband within. We have created a life here for ourselves, together, but there is something primeval and fierce about my presence at the fire tonight that I need. The need for reverence demands expression, and I am heeding its siren call. It feels healing to sit out in the night and let go of old ways of thought and belief patterns that no longer serve me and open inner space to something new.

Knowledge arrives in vicarious ways. I am primarily Spirit-led, but I meet people. When I am with like-minded shamanic practitioners, we share knowledge, and we speak a common language of the heart. Time spent learning from the Elements is a key way of shamanic teaching. I have worked with Earth, Fire, and Water. This past summer I spent a week with Renee Baribeau, author of the Winds of Spirit, at Omega Institute, working with the Winds. I have begun the work of studying how the elements combine in me, and it is bringing me home to my self.

Daily life is full of demands for my attention between the job and the details of simply living. Any moment of stopping my attention from the activities of the world is likely to be interrupted by the phone or the needs of my job. But here, alone under the trees and the stars and the night, the love I feel for the land can awaken, and I find pleasure in my own company again. I imagine my ancestors taking a moment like this as they struggled to live and raise families, and I feel such love for them too – my roots.

Surround sound of the flowing waters, the leaves falling with a whisper, the wind caressing my cheek, the black earth under my feet as I fire dance with the Black Swan drum, and intentional sensation to my breath and my own heartbeat. Even as I move heartbeat by heartbeat, I am still within. The Beauty that I feel and sense all around me invites me into Itself, a timeless archetypal quality that graces me in a space-time moment of transcendence into an awareness of All That Is.

I am humbled and grateful. In these moments I begin to pray, and I know I am heard, because I feel the awareness gathering of the local spirits I work with – the mountains, creek and land vettir. I pray for blessings on all who make this valley home, and I pray for blessings for this precious Pachamama, our Earth. I pray for myself and my home, for sustenance in this year ahead, this year that is just turning again according to the old calendar at Samhain, and I pray for my dead. For it is through them that my own life has arisen and been bought and paid for.

Sitting beside my little fire, mindfully nurturing its light with each twig and branch, is a time to honor all my relations, and to discern where I have been remiss in my attention and what rectification is needful. In coming home to myself I also take responsibility for my footprint in the world, and how to walk my talk with integrity and satisfaction.

When my time at the fire comes to a close, I linger beside the embers, their gay twinkling serving to bring me up from deep introspection and back into the waking world. I take another moment for gratitude, and then I spread the coals out and shovel dirt over them to prevent forest fires. I gather up my things, bow to Beauty in the night-time, and return to the electric glow of the house.

Allow Them To Be Heard

The sexual allegations brought by Ms. Ford against Judge Cavanaugh have clearly divided the country in a hearing that seemed to descend more into the level of a trial, instead of a tactful hearing sensitive to its topic.  The situation was reminiscent of the Anita Hill hearings back in 1991, and referred to in the New York Times. Anita Hill was subjected by an insensitive all white male senate to repeat lewd, and lascivious remarks made by Mr. Thomas, and supporting witnesses – other women that Mr. Thomas had sexually harassed – were not allowed to be heard.

Alan and I were sitting at the dinner table tonight discussing our reactions in the wake of the hearings on sexual misconduct in regard to the latest Supreme Court nominee, Mr. Cavanaugh. Ms. Ford had delivered believable testimony and so had Mr. Cavanaugh, yet neither agreed. The hearing left the United States of America even more divided. Alan noted that women who have suffered the abuses of sexual misconduct seem to want Congress and the Senate to punish Mr. Cavanaugh for what they had themselves suffered. Our conversation turned to the evils of sexual abuse throughout our nation, and Alan said this incident could provide an impetus to put in place a social program for women who have suffered sexual abuses to get help throughout the embarrassment and emotional trauma of coming forward to speak to what has happened to them.

Alan also noted that for every four females who have experienced sexual abuse and harassment, there are three males. (Alan’s statistics come from what he remembers from his work as a psychologist). I remarked that sexual abuse is also emotional abuse, especially in regard to children whose psychological development is arrested from the trauma. The action is an invasive and injurious assault to one’s being. The real problem, I think, stems from those men and women who feel they have a license to gratify their sexual urges, no matter whom it hurts. The abusers can be anyone: fathers or mothers, uncles, brothers, babysitters, priests of the church, or even a trusted teacher. But there is another problem, and that is concluding that an individual must be a sexual predator just because they have been accused of being one, and I think that this is something we must guard against in our own perception of a situation.

In an interview with Susan Collins on CNN, Ms. Collins said that she had supported Judge Cavanaugh because there was no real supporting evidence for Ms. Ford’s accusations. Ms. Ford’s witnesses could not substantiate what she said, even though it was evident she believed what she said. Ms. Collins has supported good work for women in the past; during the interview the reporter seemed to be trying to corner Ms. Collins into admitting that she did not believe Ms. Ford. Ms. Collins staunchly said that she believed that Ms. Ford believed what she said, but reiterated that we must be careful not to assign blame unless there is evidence to conclusively prove a wrongdoing.

This situation has pointed out several areas that demand greater equality in the American way of thinking. It seems obvious to me that the “good old boy” network remains in place. Nothing really came of the Cavanaugh – Ford “hearing” except a greater division among Americans. Despite the allegations the man was confirmed for the position. But by far the biggest arena that demands rectification is the arena of sexual misconduct, which sadly in the long run destroys more than is seen.

The problem with sexual assault is how hidden it remains. Coming forward to speak out has broken families and ruined reputations. It can be frightening to speak out, especially for children whose assailant is a family member. Sometimes these children are told that if they tell, harm will come to Mommy or Daddy. I do not have answers for these wrongs, but it seems obvious that some kind of compassionate and supportive program could be implemented, and that it may be beneficial to teach in the schools methods for avoiding sexual predation.