The world has generously given and pledged over $200 million dollars in aid to Haiti. I gave like so many people because it seemed like the right thing to do. However, today I read in the newspaper that structured religious groups, such as Baptists, Catholics and Jehovah’s Witnesses and others are deeply opposed to the Voodoo religion and are considering withholding food from Voodoo practitioners. Voodoo has been practiced in Haiti since the 17th century. It was brought by the slaves from West Africa and combined with the Catholic saints.
In the News and Observer article, Voodoo priest, Max Beauvior, was quoted as saying, “I hope this does not start a war of religions because many of our practitioners are being harassed now, unlike any other time that I remember.” And Pastor Frank Amedia of Touch Heaven Ministries, who has been distributing food, was quoted as saying, “We would give food to the needy in the short term, but if they refused to give up Voodoo, I’m not sure we would continue to support them in the long term because we wouldn’t want to perpetuate that practice.”
It’s interesting that we withhold our help and generosity when we feel that our support condones behavior we find ‘unsavory.’ It is difficult to see people beyond their actions and forms, and remember that we are cut from the same cloth. Fear often plays into this. Fear that we are leading someone astray by condoning their actions. Fear of failing God. But when we react to anyone with fear instead of love, we have forgotten to see the light of God within them. I don’t practice Voodoo, attend church or follow a structured religion, but I love God. There are many paths to God, and I wouldn’t try to dictate which path you or anyone follows.
I am deeply saddened that this opportunity to love and help has been turned by some into an opportunity to put more seats in the pews. The article claimed that some Voodoo practitioners have said they’ve converted to Christianity for fear they will lose out on aid. Say hallelujah and pass the gravy.
I went to my badminton league last night. The talent varies widely from children (many better than me) to those who play in tournaments. My daughter wanted to attend with me. She had only played badminton a few times with the neighborhood kids, but considered herself a good player.
Once on the badminton court, we began to warm up by hitting the birdie back and forth. Well, I hit it and she would try. She had problems serving the birdie, and as her confidence decreased, she soon was not able to hit the birdie at all. I suggested she try hitting it anyway she was comfortable, but it grew worse until it looked like she was going to cry. I wasn’t sure what to do, but continuing seemed cruel, so I suggested we stop for the night. As I was talking with another woman on the sidelines, my daughter and I were invited to play the next game.
My daughter and I stood in the middle of the court and had a quiet discussion. I asked her, “Do you want to play?” My daughter said “Yes.” I thought the game would to be too much for her and she’d be humiliated, but didn’t want to tell her that. The facilitator came up and asked if there was a problem. I told him my daughter hadn’t played before. “No problem. This isn’t life or death,” He said, “Let’s see what you can do.”
My daughter misses her first serve. I cringed. But his reaction changed everything. “Let me show you how to hold the racket,” he offered. And she is instructed for a half hour by him and another man on how to properly serve. They were genuinely patient and happy to do it. It was like watching Buddha teach badminton! The woman next to me began to observe the instruction and practice the “new” technique. Then I joined in. It became a learning session for all of us. And my daughter’s confidence went up and she enjoyed herself.
I saw such a gap between the men’s level of patience and my own. Their patience changed the situation into one of learning and love. Their perception changed the outcome. I want that level of patience for myself.
In the book, The Prince of Tides, the mother whispered to each of her children that they were special and that she loved them the most. This “specialness” created a guilty secret and made each child feel separate from their siblings. Feeling special never creates the emotions that we think it will.
Feeling special is to feel separate. Being separate creates feelings of isolation, fear and loneliness. In our drive for being special, we think everyone will adores us and that things will go our way. But we find that no matter whether someone thinks we are beneath them or above them – it is always a separate relationship. The only way to feel connected is to see ourselves as equals. Not in abilities, but in value.
There is no need to feel guilty about our blessings of health, wealth and happiness. Be glad! If you achieved fame because you love acting or wrote a book that millions loved to read – that’s great! The point here is to examine why you are doing what you are doing. When trying to make correct choices, we are often confused whether we are listening to our ego’s desires or our spirit’s true calling. To decide if you are following the correct path, listen to your inner wisdom to examine whether you are making your choices out of fear or love – love for yourself or others.
We can lead rich and fulfilling lives without the need to feel special.
Now go and fulfill your life’s purpose!
My mother told me the other day, that some people have expressed concern about whether my healings come from an enlightened source. They were afraid that dark forces are at work (perhaps in disguise?).
My answer was, “We are always following either a dark or light force. It’s a moment by moment decision, whether it’s conscious or unconscious.”
Our actions and thoughts reflect which force we are following. Every action or thought that isn’t loving is following the dark force. This doesn’t make us evil, just mistaken. A mistake that can be changed instantly by correctly our perception and thereby changing our behavior. By consciously choosing to follow the light force, we greatly increase our consistency in following this path.” Although we all make mistakes – it’s part of being human.
I respect people’s concern about the power source behind the healings I offer. It is easy to fear what we don’t understand, and there is some basis for their fears. There are shamans who follow a dark path, but you will find that in any practice or religion throughout the world. Although, most shamans and energy healers have the best intentions and follow a higher calling, I urge you to choose a healer as carefully as you would a doctor or spiritual teacher. Make sure their ideologies and skills are ones you admired and respect. A healer is a catalyst through which power flows through. It’s okay to ask where the power comes from.