Words for a Wordless Time

Twilight, Central Park

I’ve been left wordless. In spite of that, I’ll try to write something in response to recent events; these events demand words and actions.

The weather has turned, and remains, warm and dry. Most of the trees, save the oaks, have lost their leaves. Like last year, here in November there are few signs of winter.

Last week Jennie and I presented at an expressive therapies conference in New York City. Although we worried that our presentation, on using object and toy theatre for clinical and social change, was not quite ready, the day went very well indeed. Somehow those in the master class felt safe enough to speak about their fear and anger following the election. Slowly that sense of permission, even necessity, seemed to spread through the conference as a whole.

One discussion at the conference was about the ways the election, and the violence and racism of the new administration, are creating new trauma for those  already traumatized. This seems true for those suffering intergenerational trauma, those with battle trauma, and those who have experienced myriad forms of other harm. I imagine the consequences of the verbal, and physical, violence will be long-lasting.

Sadly, as the weekend progressed we learned that the president in waiting has chosen advisors who have publicly spoken of hatred for persons with disabilities, Jews, people of color, the LBGT community, and Natives. They have said, essentially, they are coming after us.

I was raised Christian, my father seeing no conflict between Christianity and Native religion. He seemed not to harbor anger against the role Christian churches played in the decimation of Natives and our cultures. Rather, he looked to Jesus as a model for being in the world, as do I. Now I wonder where the Christians who follow Jesus are, and why so many, especially the Evangelicals among whom I grew up, are silent about the violence and threat.  I find myself awakening in the night, thinking: it is happening, again, HERE. I wonder what Jesus is feeling as he watches so much harm being done in his name.


32 thoughts on “Words for a Wordless Time

  1. It is a great tragedy Micheal, for all the right thinking and fair-minded people in all parts of the world- for American influence reaches wide. I offer you my solidarity of spirit and best wishes that at least some of our worries will not see the light of day. THat is my heartfelt hope and prayer.

  2. Thanks, Michael. My eyes have welled up. The university I worked at was Evangelical and although there were many great people there, I discovered they only speak out about pro-life and define life very narrowly, as only belonging to a fetus. When it came to people getting a divorce and a friend who announced he was beginning the trans-gendering process, they took stands that were so mean, destructive, and uncaring, all in the name of Christian values. I just don’t understand.

  3. We can only hope that in the process of “praying for us”, they actually encounter the Spirit of Love that Jesus embodied. Perhaps they might learn the difference between opening their Spirits and encouraging their Egos.

  4. I can only look on from afar, hoping that maybe, after all the rhetoric, now that he is in power he may soften his stances somewhat.Although those appointments cannot be promising. I can’t begin to imagine how it feels at the moment being in your country, with all of your concerns and fears.

  5. Hi Michael, the colours look wonderful! It is important to stay strong and keep a voice against what is wrong. Things may not change in our lifetime, but, who knows, down the line. I know that doesn’t sound very encouraging, but when you get with like minded people, as you did in New York City, it is as good as it gets. Take care. Bob

      1. I send you good thoughts, dear friend. This time is what we have prepared for…our ancestors have put their strength in us. I hold you in my heart.

  6. ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do.’ The person who has been elected to become the leader of America must be closely watched. This has nothing to do with politics but rather love. Love for Earth and all our brothers and sisters.

  7. Trauma often leaves us speechless, wordless, and the words that do come can’t possibly capture the experience. The last week has been a rollercoaster of emotions – for at least half the US population, and for many, many outside the US. I am coming to a place within myself that feels strong and committed to action steps that will support those values I see threatened. Now it’s time to walk our talk, more than ever before!

    1. I find myself tiring, having fought for my values for all of my life. I guess that is simply part of aging. Still, I will do what I can.Sadly, many of those who voted for him will be hurt the most by his policies and actions, and have no idea others are fighting for them. Money and power have already done so much harm.

  8. So beautifully expressed, Michael. First, congratulations on your presentation. Second, my deepest soul is wounded and can not begin to understand what is going on. The only thing I can do is to continue to believe what I believe and pray that the energy of love prevails. I understand after seeing all that “red” on the map that there are huge issues causing the divide. I can only hope that the majority of people voted against the gluttony of politics…and not against fellow human beings! Sending good energy ❤

    1. Lorrie, I find myself so very concerned about so much. I really doubt that most T supporters had any inkling of what he is about. He famously said as much. Now those who are least able to care for themselves will be hurt most. Somehow people think they will not be included in the harm. I also understand that many who voted for hum are really struggling, left behind by money and power. This creates a perfect storm. Perhaps we can only do our best to live lives that accord with our values.

      1. I agree 100% Michael!! I had a conversation with a dear friend who talked openly and honestly about the election…the way she spoke I was certain she had voted for HRC…and at the end of the conversation it was like she couldn’t stand the deception and “confessed” that she is embarrassed and disgusted but she voted for T!!! I was floored!! But I would bet that there are.more like that than we will ever know. It is frightening…like a perfect storm and we will see what the consequences will be. I can only hope and pray that it won’t be as bad as we may suspect. And yes…as you said we must take care of our own lives. Blessings!

      2. Lorrie, yes, let us do what we can for ourselves and others. I am sad that our president and others did not adequately challenge the restrictive voter practices in many states, nor educate voters on managing those laws. It is as though poor people and students are simply invisible.

  9. This is very difficult Michael and I can tell you, that people all over the world are holding their breaths because of the result of this election. Already now we see problems in Europe and international. He goes together with new top of UK and Putin and against the rest of Europe. So you are not alone about worrying, even I’m sure, it will be worse for the people living inside US.
    Here we are fearing a new WW like the one ended in 1945.
    I’m not sure about, what is right and wrong with religions, but my experience about Christianity are not good.
    I do believe in our Creator and that is it. I don’t need further religion. Religion and Politics are topics, as often ends up with war, sadly.
    Send you and Jennie healing thoughts and wish you all the best.

    1. Irene, I am so sorry that you are also fearing war. These is immense pressure on the president elect to challenge Russia. We shall see what he does. Thank you for your wishes and thoughts.

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