"VIOLENCE" the elephant in my room

"VIOLENCE": the elephant in my room

Today my father would have been 102 years old, October 5, 1916. He was born & raised in Southern California, known as a cut-up surfer dude at Rainbow Pier in Long Beach with the nickname of "Impo". He was a 5'-5", 130-pound bantamweight wrestler for the University of Southern California. In his 30's, far past normal growth stages, he grew another 5 inches. My dad was, for all intents and purposes, a laid back, fun loving, intelligent, second-generation Southern Californian surfer named Impo.

I use 'for all intents and purposes' because I never met that man. He came home from Iwo Jima in December 1944 with no holes in him but left Impo and his soul on the beaches there. Classic PTSD now, back then another returning hero. Thus I became part of the ever-spreading collateral damage of WWII as a child of violence.

This deep dive brought up some long-lost painful memories; some so clear I needed Google and old family records & photos to fill in the details. By 8-years of age, I was aware my parents never kissed or held hands; that my mother was the sole disciplinarian, my father MIA. I was aware yet in a bubble of the assumption that we were a normal family.

My first recollection of the effects of violence was as a 10-year old learning that my paternal grandfather, who lived in the same town, was involved in Boy Scouts of America. He was very proud that my father and his brother were both Eagle Scouts displaying their merit badge sashes on the wall in his den. Of course, he got my brother and I involved in scouting, but my dad was not interested. In 1953 the International Boy Scout Jamboree was held on the Irvine Ranch, right above the cliffs behind Balboa Island where we lived, walking distance from our house. I remember the awe of walking with our backpacks over the top of the cliff to see 51,000 kids from some 85 different countries pitching tents and milling about.

Imagine coming from an island of 300 to be immersed for a week in 35,000 tents with a 75,000 seat amphitheater, medical, police, and fire facilities, even a post office. As scouts do, we had to cook for ourselves on barbeques. Google sets forth the incredible scale of the event: 48 railroad cars of brickettes, 200,000 pounds of meat, 500,000 eggs, 20,000,000 gallons of water, 62,800 pies washed down with 623,000 gallons of milk. 18,000 kids being transported 2 miles to the ocean every day to swim; many of whom had never seen the ocean before.

We were entertained nightly by the likes of Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Debbie Reynolds, Roy Rodgers, Danny Kaye, and numerous others. Even then Vice-President Tricky-Dick Nixon paid us a visit.

All during the week, our fellow trooper's parents would visit and spend time, making sure we were hanging in there, but not my father. We fleetingly saw my grandfather in his uniform but assumed he was there as an honorary guest. Then at the closing ceremonies, we were gobsmacked to find out my grandfather was the highest Boyscout in America, the Silver Beaver; and in charge of the whole Jamboree. My brother and I proudly hike home the next morning. I remember being really mad for the first time that we had not known beforehand of my grandfather's role, and then the disappointment of never being asked about our mind-blowing experience. Violence depriving us of anchoring our emotional memories.

Violence forcing my parents to race off to Reno, Nevada, without personal witnesses, get married in the middle of the night because there was no 3-day waiting period. The violence of noticing at family reunions being the only one with freckles and curly hair. My father's response: "Yeah, I sent you home from the Pacific in a bottle of tequila". The violence parroted in his all too frequent answer to my requests, "You got two chances son, slim and none."

The violence of expunging the throw-away line being a 'war baby'; consciously coming to embrace violence as being the very spark of my creation.

The violence pushing my mother into asking her 8 and 7-year old sons if they would go with her should she leave their father. My resounding answer was "no" as my brother and I were sandwiched between the one who did not care versus her Vesuvial behavior 10 days out of every month. Classic PTSD and PMS before medicine recognized either one of them. The violence of witnessing my mother, probably from us kids refusing her plea to leave, finish out a 50-plus year marriage without a kiss or a touch.

The violence of my mother unconsciously trying to promote her 10-year old son, who towered over both his parents, into a surrogate husband. That violence resulting in me waking up as a 29-year old virgin terrified of women.

The violence of my brother, 31 with a wife and 2 children, presenting his body to my parents on their anniversary because there was no permission to present his emotions instead. The violence passed down to my 2 nephews, one seen once in 43 years who stays in touch three or four times a year; the other seen twice who will not interact at all. Will always wonder if the reason I could not pull the trigger while walking around for hours with a gun in my own mouth was that my brother preceded me; instead, the violence crushed me into a coma that resulted in a shamanic awakening rebirth.

The violence of racism tasted in college and Vietnam duty. Karma having raised me in an extremely racists community, graduating in a high school class of 888 kids in Southern California that had not one Hispanic, nor African American. As an adult, my father admitted to his virulent racism, while my mother made excuses for it. He was honest in stating that it came from his interactions during the war.

So why dance with the elephant in the room today? Like most of my clients, the not to be ignored violence embodied by #45 has pushed a lot of old memories up to the surface. The last two years have been a bright mirror making it evident that I cannot find the center of peace in my heart with regards to violence; confrontation to others as well as a hefty increase personally. Always tricky to suss out meaning from between my ears whilst trying to delve into feelings of my heart. Where the rubber meets the road in this instance, screaming out for some introspection is having consciously estranged over 50 friends/acquaintances over the last year; one of them a 30-year friend trusted to be the executor of my living will and estate.

My aspiration is to be a heart as a sentient human this time around, centered in a tree of life that is at 'the center of the Universe'. My health and well-being to heal is the vital focus of my aspiration. Furthermore, believe those energies of love magically infuse everyone else hanging out on my tree. That no matter the maelstrom or travail, my aspiration is to reside at the center in ecstasy, not in judgment nor attachment to outcome, to witness all in the unconditional. My aspiration for 36 years running has been to heal every wound, so there are no buttons left to push. Though years since I have been angry about anything, violence still upsets me.

My complete definition of 'faith' is: "a belief that everything in this moment is exactly as it is supposed to be" . . . . . or the new age way of putting it: "There are no accidents."

Coming full circle, due to my own personal wound, I too have heaped a strange kind of violence on dozens through estrangement, through becoming a stranger to people I know the Universe wanted me to meet. Hopefully the healing of my 'violence' wound will allow me to invite those I have estranged back into my life. To be clear, I don't believe there has been an increase in violence; just that we have moved as a society to embracing violence as a 'strength' and kindness as a weakness.

The Supreme Injustices have made corporations 'people'. . people that may murder, maim, poison, steal and cheat with immunity from persecution. All who voted for #45 knew they were endorsing violence: "Beat 'em up, I'll pay your legal bills" . . . "If you have the power, you can do anything; just grab them by the pussy" or "shoot someone on the street and not lose a vote" . . . make fun of the handicapped . . . attack people for their race, creed or color. The scab of decorum and decency has been torn asunder; it is no longer "One nation under God"; rather it is "Win at any Cost" . . . "you'll get tired of the winning" even if that means destroying any semblance of the democracy that is left.

Though I have wrestled with the demon 'violence' for a couple of decades, am now of the opinion that I will never heal my wounds. The energies swirling in the collective consciousness that I breathe are:

Violence against our Mother Earth

Violence against all of her life forms

Violence against women

Violence against children, in utero and walking alongside

Violence foisted economically against the other 98%

Violence expressed through racism coupled with the innocuous violence of white privilege

Violence leveled by a totally corrupt justice system

Violence against equity throughout humanity

and lastly that: SILENCE IS VIOLENCE

Collectively these energies felt like Agent Orange defoliating my tree-of-life; they don't make me angry, rather sick to my stomach. Though I believe everyone has the right to incite violence under any justification, I also believe in ensuring that the soil for my tree-of-life is a nutrient environment. For my own health and those who hang out on my tree-of-life, I decided to no longer let those who abet and promote violence to continuing raining on my tree.

Also along this path came to the realization that the ones I decided to silence through estrangement, were silencing me. I was being quiet about these poignant heart pulls while trying to culturally conform. Being cowed by the blogosphere, friends and family is yet another form of self-inflicted violence.

Blessed to be alive; even more, blessed for three-quarters of a century of having been so healthy . . . yet my healing is unfinished. Maybe in the next 21 years meandering down the sacred path into the mystery, I will manifest being centered, grounded and at peace amidst the violence . . . . . . But wright now I doubt that.

I cried when I wrote this song . . . sue me if I played too long

Love is . . . . . an inside job