And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

July 17, 2003

To Thine Own Self, Be True

Filed under: her words,politics — mark @ 8:56 pm

Today I am reading news accounts of events leading up to the war with Iraq. One of the mainstream reporters is trying to make a case for the intelligence community having purposely put erroneous information in their communications with the President in order to pay him back for saying some negative things about them.

He (Jim Hoagland) then goes on to talk about why the war is a good thing and that we should not allow this feud to get in the way of supporting this war. How absurd. I have been reading a great deal from various sources about what got us into this situation. It looks to me as though it is a series of events. Most of which involve the current administration and greed and wanting to be in control.

From the beginning of recorded history wars have been fought. Although many reasons have been offered, the truth is war is about power and control. In this country we now have an administration that has become drunk with power. Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the Project for the New American Century crowd feel invincible right now.

They lie directly to us about very important matters. I understand why a number of Americans are not looking beyond the lies. I have worked as a psychotherapist with sex offenders. When I first began working with them they were directly lying about their offenses. I was sure that just by telling them that I knew they were lying they would break down and admit it. Boy was I wrong.

They convinced themselves that they were right. I remember one in particular who kept saying, “She wanted it. I could tell. She would walk through the house wearing very little. She would smile at me. She would sit on my lap and wriggle around.” I remember saying to him that, “She was 3 years old!”

What I did not understand at the time was that he was coming from a place of protecting himself from any information or thoughts that would interfere with his being able to continue feeling good about himself. For the first year and a half that I worked with this population I kept trying to get them to admit what they had done by coming straight at them with the truth. It did not work.

I then began to look at myself. I was the one directing this and I needed to see what I was doing that was not helping. I began to talk in my own group, a supervision group with other mental health professionals. There I began to understand that I could not deal with the people in my offender group until I found that place inside me that could connect with them. I saw that in order to understand where they were coming from that I would have to find my own offender truth.

So I began talking in my own supervision group about that. I began to see that I could offend people. While I do not sexually offend, I am capable of offending. I looked at the time I spent with the Tampa Police Department as a crime scene technician, and how I had become cynical about entire groups of people. For instance, I began to see that I had started to see black people as being mostly bad, criminal, and scary. I remember being with a group of whites once, and joining in the negative comments about blacks. I also remember feeling badly about myself afterwards.

It was around that time that I began to understand that I had allowed myself to slip into negative thoughts and feelings about an entire group of people. I felt I needed to make some changes. I became involved with the Urban League. I knew that I needed to look for situations that were different. In being with the dedicated men and women of the Urban League, I was able to stop thinking negatively about a group of people.

So while I was in my supervision group I began to talk about how disgusted I was with the people I was working with in my offender groups. I saw that I was giving myself permission to ignore my own prejudices and project all of my stuff onto the offenders. I began to see that I had put them in the “others” category so I could tell myself that I was not like them.

I had to finally admit to myself that I had the ability to hide from my own truth and pretend that others were the problem. Over time I began to develop a better working relationship with the people of my groups. At one point a few years later I was helping a person set up an offender program. he said something to me that made a big impression. He said, “It is amazing to me that you can hold their feet to the fire and never let them off the hook without ever trying to take away their dignity.” That meant a lot to me and it took a lot of personal work.

So what I am trying to say here is that if we want to change the current problems in America and around the world we are going to need to look at ourselves first and try to figure out what is stopping us.

I know that during the Clinton administration I paid little attention to the politics mostly because I found the whole thing to be stupid. I could not have cared less whether he had an affair. I also saw that some people were trying to find more dirt on him. I understand that a man named Scaife, from the Mellon fortune, had spent millions to find more dirt. Nothing came of it but it was 8 years of little people who wanted to get Clinton out so they could have their way.

Well now with the President “Select” in office they finally have it. This is the most corrupt, deceitful and greedy group to ever be in power. And make no mistake, it is all about power and control. The way I see it we already have a state sponsored religion in the US. It is called capitalism. The God is the dollar, that is actually printed on the dollar “In God We Trust”. The places of worship are the malls and stores. The ministers are the media. The hub of the religion, or the sponsors of it are the Washington DC crowd, our ‘Vatican City.”

The dollar has become more important than anything in this culture. It is what drives so many. Yet there is no truth to money and yet it has become the measure of what a person is. That is ludicrous. There is no truth to money it only means what we say it means it has no actual value. We have lost a great deal of liberty and freedom in our pursuit of it. Today many in Washington are closing their eyes and their hearts to the needs of society so as to continue to have a job. I know that I have at times run after the dollar as well.

I was very caught up in the pursuit of it in 1995. I was in private practice and doing quite well financially. But the person I was working with kept taking more and more of the money. I worked harder and harder. I got breast cancer. I then began to re-evaluate my life and my priorities. I saw that I was wasting my life pursuing something I would never get. I thought I would be happy if I could make enough money to feel secure. It just never happened. I then saw the cancer as a wake-up call. If I did not begin to live my true life and begin to discover my true self I was going to die. This was a very loud alarm signal for me. I began to think that perhaps I had the wrong priorities.

Within 3 years I closed my practice, packed what would fit in my car and began a new life. This was very difficult. I left everything behind. I now have a new kind of life. I know more about who I am and why I am here. I have time to think now; I am taking the time to get to know me.

I think that is the true purpose for being here. Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.” But to do this I have to know who that is. It takes time and quiet to listen to myself. I think all of the people in Washington are young souls who do not see anything beyond their own physical needs. I think this is common for many. I also know that I have been there. It takes work to change the mind set. It takes a willingness to look at self. It also takes a willingness to admit you are wrong. As Aristole said “Unless we cad admit we are wrong we cannot grow.” George W. Bush is a good example of not being able to grow. He acts like a petulant and spoiled child. The fact that he does not want to take responsibility for what is going on is a true indication of how immature and child-like he is.

I can understand it, but from the President I expect more. They are now involved in spin control that frankly makes little sense. They are doing little to deal with all the other huge problems. Once again we are focusing on minutia instead of seeing the big picture of corruption, lies and tax cuts for the rich. We are in danger of losing more than just money. I read something today on Bush Watch by Dr. Gerry Lower which talked about something very important. Dr. Lower said, “Much of what we Americans have been asked to believe over the past half century is simply not worthy of human belief, and parents have largely dealt with that fact by covering it up, ignoring it and going with the flow to provide their children with really no viable information as to how the world does work or ought to work. One just needs money, that’s all, don’t ask what for.”

This was an “aha” moment for me. I see this as a truth. I can see that over the years we have worked harder and harder to get less and less. When I first began to work in private practice I was getting 70% from the group. as the man who ran the group got bolder he took more and more. He finally took 70% and I got 30%. He simply did it. Of course I realize that I did not insist upon a contact that would have prevented this. I will have to live with that fact. He will have to live with his actions. I can see how different things are now. I am sure that this happens with people as the mature. We can see more and understand more. I think money has become the desired objective in life. The problem with this is that because there is no truth to money it does not satisfy. Just like all the addictions it does not bring the desired objective.

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