Lessons learned

A guest post from my wise young friend Kyle.  Although he tells me he is 26 I believe he is much older. 

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Still fighting for equality

July 23, 2013 
By: Kyle Cecil, July 23, 2013

Most who have known me for the last three years have seen me strongly fighting for equality but for the last couple of months have seen me not posting or sharing as much as I used to in regards to equality and there’s a reason for that, I still fight for equality for all but it’s not the most important thing to me anymore, I have been on a journey of bettering myself such as working to turn my bad habits into good habits, changing the way I think about life, or loving myself more instead of focusing on things that cause negative energies and feelings and I don’t and won’t apologize for focusing on me and making me happy for the fact I have spent a lot of time trying to make everybody else happy first before making myself happy and that’s one bad habit I’m working to get rid of is making everybody else’s happiness come before my own.

Many might view my lack of posting about politics or equality or even talking about the stuff as me turning my back on the fight which is not the case, for me it’s about finding a balance of spending time fighting and spending time on myself; for the last three years I have spent almost every waking moment fighting for equality and doing so I found nothing but a lot of negative energies surrounding me and in that moment I felt I needed a change and I want to better my life and better myself in the process, I wanted to learn to love myself in hopes by doing so ALL the right people will come into my life and my life will get to a place of great enlightenment.

I know I have slacked on fighting for equality greatly but I’m not going to stop fighting but more look for a balance between my personal life and what interest me to live better and spending some but not all of my time fighting for equality, for me right now life is about finding a balance and just trying to enjoy my life the best I can. I have noticed not many will like or comment on anything I post on Facebook unless it’s some sort of drama related and it’s sad because we shouldn’t be that consumed with drama and negative energies we should never let our lives get to the point where drama and negative energies drive us I’m not saying don’t fight for what you believe in or don’t fight for your rights but find a balance between enjoying your life more and give some of your time to fighting for your rights but I know many won’t agree but what can you do but say it’s their life and just focus on me and what I’m doing.

I have slowed down 1000 times from where I was a couple of months ago and with doing so I have discovered I got things I need to work on and the more I have worked on my bad habits and way of thinking I have learned that less worry, less stressing, less negative energy and less drama has helped me to get to a place that I don’t want to leave I am on my way to a state of mind that I can’t help but embrace and love and share with others in hopes that I can inspire someone who also is on a self-discovery kind of mission. With me spending more time on myself and my interest I have rediscovered the love I used to have for my art and I want to do something with my art someday but with spending all my time fighting for equality and dealing with work I haven’t spent any time in the past three years with my art so I have to get my skills back to where they were when I was in High School. I have also gotten back to focusing on my Wiccan path and actually finished remaking my book of shadows which I have been working to do for the last year and a half, for those who don’t know; yes I’m Wiccan and NO I don’t owe anybody an explanation or an apology because I follow a spiritual path, I love working with my craft as much as I love my art and as much as I love music… pretty much I’m enjoying everything I did before equality took over my life and maybe more so since I’m trying to better myself, I tell you I just have this feeling that I’m learning exactly who I am for the first time and I like this Kyle and the more I keep on this journey I’m on this Kyle will just get better and that’s the person I’m excited to meet.

The main purpose for writing this is that even though I don’t fight for equality like I used to doesn’t mean I’m giving up the fight, I’m going to keep fighting but just not spending all my free time fighting like I was before, for some giving their 100% selves to fighting for equality works but for some of us the drama and negative energy that can and many times follows just isn’t what is good for the rest of us because we begin to see us turning into someone we never wanted to be, but too those who wish to keep their ALL 100% selves in the fight for equal rights I will always fight with you and will happily support you every step of the way but know that just because I have slowed down in this fight I’m not out for the count what so ever but I am drawing that line of how much drama and negative energy will be in my life but I’m most certainly not done fighting.

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Kumbaya my Lord_ People are dying_ My Lord

A voice from Haiti: “Gay people will curse our country

And we already have enough curses.” 

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I just read a news article involving the death of two ‘presumed gay’ men at an anti-gay march in Haiti.  They were beaten to death by protesters demonstrating against proposed marriage equality legislation. Among the anti-gay marchers were religious groups that were identified as Muslim and Protestants. Marchers also carried signs that threatened the GLBT community.
A question was asked: “if gay people continue to exercise their rights what are we going to do?’ Response: “We’ll kill them_ we’ll destroy them because we don’t need that in our country. We don’t want the question of gay people we want a man and a woman.’   ‘Gay people will curse our country and we already have curses.’  

 At the time  of their deaths the two unidentified ‘allegedly gay’ men were

not known to have been involved in a punishable crime.

It is criminal that there was no form of crowd control. It is sad there appears to be no remorse or regret only more voices speaking for violence, more expressions of prejudice.   Extermination of a group is a crime against humanity:  Two men are dead and their deaths witnessed by a few hundred people including children.  There were no reports of remorse shown or respect. Their bodies were left on the ground for several hours.  This is an attack on human dignity.  Killing members of the group and/or causing serious bodily to members of a group is a crime against humanity.

Irrationality ruled when Bias along with his brother Hate threatened to burn down the parliament building if politicians legalized same-sex marriage.  Irrationality never tolerates dissent. Sadly there is never an opportunity to learn when one is determined not to listen. Many demonstrators came with the intent to harm. Murder is a crime. Will the perpetrator’s be identified and brought to justice?  An ethical question that needs to be addressed; it appears there is no regret for the deaths; does anyone feel remorse for standing by and doing nothing to help? There is never a blessing in violence. If there is no regret expressed for the murders why?

We are One Heartbeat in Humanity: Everyone has a worth, a value, has the right to know and be known to see and be seen, to think and speak, to find meaning in life, to connect, to know love and to be loved unconditionally, to know peace, to feel safe, to discover the meaning of life. We have a common future, these men deserved to know love; to have a family.  Hateful hearts came prepared to harm. Bias and his brother Bigotry whipped a crowd of people into a hateful frenzy and two men died and hatefulness left the bodies lying exposed on the earth for several hours.

I finished this piece waiting for a time before I posted it then I read of another extremely horrific murder that must be addressed here.  The deviant are those religionists who constantly and consistently promote homosexuality as deviant behavior and an abomination against God. A church represents the spiritual heart and the leadership represents its voice and the essence of spiritual values. A church should be a safe place, an asylum, but how can it be when its leaders use hateful words and sits with others to plan and plot treacherous activities?  Hard line religious groups take full advantage of  freedom of speech and use it to wage an all-out war against the Gay Rights Movement.   Hateful, hurtful words are used as assault weapons against the community and their statements are carefully crafted,  so crafted that they barely skirt the law yet they achieve a desired outcome of igniting negative reactions both nationally and internationally.  The hateful mission of the religionists is to damage and destroy the pursuit of equality, liberty and justice by the LGBT community.   

Jamaica: “A Jamaican cross-dressing teen ‘chopped and stabbed’ to death by a mob – A 17-year-old was attacked by a large crowd of party-goers, who dumped the remains of his body behind some bushes on a road in Jamaica.”  The murder mentality is expanding around the globe and this is frightening. This is the Age of Enlightenment; we should not be acting like barbarians; murder, and the call for murder is wrong.  

I learned long ago, you can’t reason with a closed mind or shake hands with a clenched fist, if we want to be free of the bonds of bigotry and ignorance we need education and free discussion.  Do not forget that at the heart of all ancient parables of all faiths we find acceptance, equality, harmony, freedom; inclusion and respect.

Man is heir, not ruler yet the modern day extremists hinder and oppose the spread of different thoughts and new social developments  and mankind so  desperately needs healers, makers of peace and humanitarians. We simply must come together to work for humanity. We need more kindness between us if we are to move from this darkness into the greater light.

Rachel Wolff

Sister Water



Sister Water

Sister Water sprang forth from the will of God: Water, more
Precious than silver or gold, always cleansing, healing
Renewing and sustaining every living thing on earth

She never rests: In various forms and shapes she is always
Dragging, lifting pushing, rolling, ever wandering at
Will across the earth without pause or rest

Sustaining every living thing_ home to countless
Creatures: large and small; quelling the thirst of
Rich and poor; the beast and, plant on earth

She is power: Often a brutal force; a violent force rushing
Turbulently with a flash and roar she comes with her
Brothers Air, Wind and Fire and with her fury spent
She leaves horror and destruction behind

Yet other times Sister Water is calm and mild
Peaceful, temperate and the gentlest of rain
Softly dances on the earth; a beautiful sight

She upholds and nourishes life: Fields ripen
Flowers bloom and lift their heads to the
Sun: Every living thing on earth relies
On Sister Water

She is a marvelous mystical sacred
River of holiness; or a medicine to
Soothe the pain of those who
Seek warmth in hot springs

In the forest she rises as a magical
Mist caressing ferns and grasses:
On a spider’s web she shimmers
Like diamonds

As a bubbling spring she trickles into a sylvan
Pool and softly murmurs over pebbly rocks:
She is a free falling waterfall cascading
Into a Lily pond

She lazily rolls on beaches as a gentle
Wave in summer but she shows her
Fury as a winter storm crashing
Against cliffs and craggy rocks

She is a crystal flying through the air
Leaving thick white icing on bare
Fields and icy pendants dangling
From bare branches

A deity of earth and sky she is
The sweat on the brow, a
Tear in the eye; part
Of our body, spirit
Soul

Such is the power
Of sister water

Sister Water was inspired by the Canticle of the Sun: a song of
Praise by St Francis of Assisi praising God; thanking Him for
The creation of Brothers ’ Wind, Air, Fire and Sister Water.

Sister Water- ©
Rachel Wolff
December 2010

Legacies

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Summer stars, a circle before the fire, a rattle_ a drum, white sage, desert sage;

Sacred sage, lavender and sweet grass_ a shallow bowl_   a white feather

A cleansing fire_ the sweet smoke sending my message of

Thanksgiving to the Creator

 Earth is our home_ here we all immigrants and we live either as a migrant or settler_ it makes no matter which since each of us was given a starting place from which can travel to and fro across this vast landscape in space_ this place called earth.  Home: We are one of the nine billion on the earth_here everyone walks a path according to our personality makeup. We walk with dignity and honor or corruptly- arrogant and cruel – or humble or kind. Among us are the industrious as well as the slackers. We have the gifted mind and the ordinary. Among us are those who bless us and those who curse us, those who nurture us and walking with us are the artists, poets, warriors, writers, sages and saints.   

 But no one remembers the pattern of the stars when two hearts beat as one, when two lovers played with fire – passion and desire – no, no one remembers that far back in time, back in ancient history when man thought the earth was a great forest, a great forest surrounded by a silvery lake so wide that he could sail for days and not see the other side, when man lived humbly and tilled the soil and tended the flock in the fields and lived in a simple dwelling_ perhaps on the crest of a hill set high in the trees, or perhaps on a grassy slope that lead from the water_ where both fish  and bird sought the water nymphs that fluttered above the water. No, no one remembers that far back in time when the only sound man heard was the lapping of the water, the rustle of the leaves in the summer wind, the chirping of the crickets, the sound of the songbirds, the crackle of the campfire, the fat drops of the spring rain splatting on the dusty earth or the faraway sound of a shepherd’s pipe.   

 We must be mindful and respectful, we must leave our children and our great grandchildren places of silent communion, places to escape from all the noises of today_ the hustle and bustle of everyday life. These places must include healthy forests, grasslands, marshes and meadows.  We cannot be idle_ our rivers, lakes and oceans must be cleaned and freshened. We simply must take care of them, we cannot continue to connive and contrive to control the future of the world the future of the human race … We are the future of the human race.   

 As immigrants we are all stewards, each one of us needs to preserve the Ways of our ancestors and our ancient roots, we need to love the earth and care for it and nurture it in the same manner that we take care of ourselves and our children. We need to take care of the places so that our great-great grandchildren can remember ‘home.’ All children need to dance in the rain, play in the leaves, they need to ‘feel the forest beneath their feet.’ They need clean lakes to swim in and clean sandy shores to play on. We need to leave them rabbit holes and moss covered oaks and fireflies and June Bugs, snails and frogs.  

There is a need to make progressive changes, but let’s make them safe.  Yes, the alterations do matter. We need to be aware of all the alterations in all the ecosystems: each and every change made locally has a ripple effect and we need to think twice about the chemicals we use, and yes we need to take care of the present world but we can’t destroy what exists to meet the needs of the future. We are to be mindful and respectful of all living things as we prepare the legacy we leave the children_ for their future.

Everyone leaves footprints in the sand – everyone leaves a legacy; some legacies will be good and some will be bad … Family: we are the future of the human race so let our legacy be for the betterment of mankind; let’s leave the children of the future places of silent communion; a wonder filled world of daisy’s and sunflowers, dandelions and dragonfly’s, honey bees and butterfly’s, grassy meadows and fast flowing rivers and streams.        

Rachel

Brother- Can You Spare The Time?

Earth is our home.
world peace for our future
Can you spare the time; you see there are cruel, devious; and wealthy greedy men filled with a need for power who deal with guns and bombs, but  I’m working on a dream that  you can spare some time to work for peace and harmony.  As humanitarians we have the responsibility to listen to each other to learn from each other, to share our knowledge with openness, honesty and kindness if we want to live in a peaceful society.

Today the world is ruled by fear, oh we have our government leaders who represent our countries but these world leaders have no peaceful way of thwarting religious terrorism or world violence.  We have rights, liberties and freedoms but these are ignored and overlooked on local, national and international levels.  If you want to realize your own dreams, then won’t you help someone realize theirs? We are all heading in the same direction; why go alone?

Makers of Peace work for peace for not more legislation and laws or to promote a spiritual doctrine.  Humanitarians are not spellbound by the good words found in ancient texts.  Humanitarians work: They are the ‘movers and shakers at the local level getting things done, they think globally but act locally … as locally as in our very own neighborhood, since this is where we live; but we also live beyond our neighborhood boundaries.

We live together on this planet – a planet that continues to evolve, but worldwide society is spellbound by daily violence and bigotry and we need to evolve, we need to become one community  in humanity_  we need to assist and support each other in our global need for peace.  The national and local news is never good, with each sunrise we are assaulted and challenged by what we hear, and we need to strengthen our resilience to cope with the cruelty and selfishness of both the terrorist and the bigot.

Working for peace and harmony in our own neighborhood is vital. If we are not safe on our own street in our neighborhood then we are not safe anywhere.  We need to talk to each other to show our love for each other. Love takes many forms and  one way is by showing our kindnesses to others.  Kindness is collecting, delivering, donating, leaving, organizing… I left the list blank since the lists and choices are endless, but we need to talk to each other. Living in isolation is not healthy- we need to live in ‘community’ with each other.

My personal world became smaller when I met a young man  who lives in Africa. Before I met my ‘son by another mother’ my world had boundaries; I heard of horrific happenings in his country. but… “they are far away from my own country and what could I do from my home?” Then I met my ‘son’ who shall remain nameless for his safety and I found I could something and a year later I now have more ‘sons.’ Some young men call me ‘grandma.’ Why do they call me maama and Grandma… because I love them and I do not judge them and I am a voice for their needs; not their wants but their needs, and I hope you understand that vital point.  I am their ally and friend; I am an ear. As an ally I am a voice. As a friend maama and ‘gramma’ I provide comfort. I’m a grandmother and that’s what grandmas do best.

I’m not Africa to bake cookies or make homemade soup though I often wish I  were there as I sometimes think this is what they need. But I provide support of all kinds and on all levels. These young men face danger to educate society for the future. They work hard to help to their local community evolve by providing education to counter myths and lies told by bigoted pulpit predators. Daily, they put their lives at risk to provide a safe community for people who have been victims of a bigots cruelty and selfishness. Yes, there is so much one person can do to help ease the pain of a hurting world.

No matter where we are in the world we need to think beyond our physical boundaries. We need to think globally but work locally to become ‘one community in humanity.’ We need to assist and support each other to meet this urgent need for peace.  We need to do two things: Listen and listen carefully: “We were given two ears… one ear – to hear what we are saying to others and the other ear – to hear what others are saying to us.”  This way we learn and then we go out into community and share  with others. Talk less. Listen more. Learn and evolve and, Share. Let your kindness ripple out as a blessing to others this  is a way of loving our neighborhood, community, our world.

We need to sow seeds of love and kindness to move from this darkness into the greater light.  We need  makers of peace and humanitarians to give comfort; to send out healing, love, patience, joy, guidance, friendship. We need these to survive the greed for power, the guns and the bombs and the bigots. Do you want to play a healing role in keeping our neighborhood- our community and our planet healthy; we each have skills and talents.  We need to do them if we are to survive: Brother, can you spare the time… you see I have this dream that everyone can be a maker of peace by thinking globally but working  locally for humanity. Everyone can sow seeds of love and kindness in their own neighborhood. Everyone.

Rachel Wolff

Arson – Torture – Murder

Arson, torture and Murder

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article One: No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Cameroon Africa: GLBT activist Ohena Lembembe was tortured and killed and the headquarters of Alternatives-Cameroon the HIV services organization was torched. Friends discovered his body after being unable to reach him by phone and went to his home. His friends found his front door padlocked on the outside but peering through a window they saw him lying on his bed. They alerted the police who broke in and the police discovered that his neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron.

Ohena was a prominent GLBT Human Rights activist. On behalf of CAMFAIDS he collaborated with Human Rights Watch and other Cameroonian organizations: Alternatives-Cameroun and the Association for the Defense of Homosexuals (ADEFHO). Other activities include a 2013 report on prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct. Ohena contributed to the blog “Erasing 76 Crimes” and authored several chapters in a book on LGBTI rights around the world, From Wrongs to Gay Rights. His organization also documented arrests, violence, and blackmail against GLBT in Cameroon.

There are many dangers activists face, not only in Cameroon and Uganda but in all Africa.  Ohena’s death in Cameroon must be remembered as well as Duduzile Zozo’s of Uganda.  It is my personal believe that both were victims of terrorism. Both were mutilated_ both murdered. The deaths horrid and painful, the mutilation barbaric and both speak of violent cruelty.  

Advocating for Human Rights for Equal Rights in AFRICA is dangerous: Yes, GLBT face severe discrimination and violence and it takes tremendous courage to be an activist. It takes a strong person like Ohena to continue paving the way for a society based on equality and nondiscrimination.

This year alone there have been several attacks on the offices of human rights defenders, including those working for equal rights for GLBT, consider: Earlier this year unidentified assailants burned the Douala headquarters of Alternatives-Cameroon which provided HIV services to GLBT. Consider that the offices of a human rights lawyer was broken into and the perpetrators took legal files and a computer. Human Rights lawyers repeatedly receive death threats by email and mobile devices. The threats also include threats to kill their children, and though the threats have been reported – the authorities have not apprehended a single suspect. 

Terrorism has a psychological impact on any community.  The purpose is to terrorize and the end goal is to inflict fear. Terrorize one person and you terrorize everyone: This is the goal: the goal is to change your behavior or we will continue – this is the message to the GLBT communities in Africa. 

The deaths of Duduzlie and Ohena were not by chance, they were not harassed or persecuted by their murderers_ no, to me their deaths show the work of a terrorist: No matter if a single person or a group is behind this; this is terrorism and people around the world should be standing up and speaking out and criticizing the people in authority for their failure to curtail the anti-gay attacks or bring a person to justice or for the murders committed against GLBT.

Everyone around the world should question these authorities as well as the policymakers

Declaration of Universal Human Rights Article Five: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” So why should society demand a thorough investigation to be performed by the police?

Why then, the sound of silence by the AMERICAN churches on the wave of homophobic violence in Africa? Article 6 states Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.  And Article 7 states All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Everyone around the world should question these authorities as well as the policymakers

Be a friend, be an ally. Stand up and speak out.

Silence gives permission for violations to continue. 

Rachel Wolff. 

This is the Age of Aquarius…right?

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ENVISION PEACE, HARMONY, AND LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE.

We need comfort, forgiveness, healing, love, patience, joy, guidance, friendship.
We need kindness. We need all these in our lives more than we need to be told we are damned and sinners. We need healers and makers of peace not critics and censors. We need humanitarians. We need kindness otherwise we are going to continue to move from this darkness into a darker darkness.  This is the Age of Aquarius, right? This is the age of increased spirituality and harmony, right?  If this is so, then this is to be an age of ‘holiness and agreement.’ We need more bread and fewer guns. We need a lot more holy men far more than we need little tin gods.  We need light bearers making peace not just envisioning peace. We need makers of peace to ensure harmony throughout the world. We need ‘lovers’ who call to say “I can help bake bread.”

We don’t need media personalities ‘Saving Children’ by creating myths and telling lies that destroy lives. These are little tin gods using some insane argument to save us from our humanness.   We need helpful people in our lives to be there to lift us up when we are down. We don’t need tin gods trying to tear us away from our basic security, our family, our livelihood and our villages.

Yesterday morning I received a disturbing message on Facebook from one of my sons by
another mother. This son lives in Africa, he wrote; “Mama, I’ve been given an eviction letter, I’m to leave my village and never come back.” Sadly this is the second son who has been evicted from his village … I worry that my other sons and the other young men who call me grandma will message me tell me the same horrid news. Decent work is scarce, where are they going to find work the work they are trained for? Once their employer knows they are gay they will be fired and harassed and forced to move again. They are disowned and shunned by their families. This is common for GLBT in Africa.

ENVISION PEACE, HARMONY, AND LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE.

As peacemakers we should affirm peace and harmony for ALL people.

Children are the future and we must work together to make a clear pathway for them, all of them, this includes GLBT.  Human rights-are-human rights, however unpopular a group is and we must stand up for them. My Ugandan GLBT family members are wonderful men, educated and full dreams and hope and promise, what they need now is help through laws and legislation that will not violate their constitution. They need allies and friends and leaders and policymakers who will protect, listen and represent their needs issues and not promote stigmatization and prejudice.  

Lawmakers, policymakers’ movers and shakers; one and all need to act with both reason and evidence and recognize equality and human rights and work to outlaw discrimination, period. Everyone should want laws that will protect every citizen, not harm them. Everyone should work together to make a secure place in the future for the children: Children are the future and we must work together to make a clear pathway for them, all of them and this must, absolutely must include GLBT.

ENVISION PEACE, HARMONY, AND LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE.

As peacemakers we should affirm peace and harmony for ALL people.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said “Let us come together and be one; let us be people of peace; let us be people of harmony.” His words should be a reminder to all of us that our personal world is ours to shape, that as individuals we should gather together to work for peace; even as a private individual we are ambassadors to the global community and we have a responsibility to be a person of peace. 

As a person of peace we have the responsibility to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to share our knowledge with openness, honesty and kindness. Being an ambassador of peace is a great responsibility but it must be done; we need more bakers of bread than arms sellers. We live together on this planet. Let us be one community; let’s assist and support each other in peace and love every day and let our kindness ripple out to bless others.

 Rachel