Ella

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“Would you like to have dinner with me?” Mr. Clinton asked Ella.
“Sure” She replied without thinking as if a friend was inviting her for a casual meal.
“I will have the driver pick you up around seven pm.”
“That sounds okay.”
“You are staying at the women’s dormitory, right?”
”Yes.”
“See you tonight.”
She spent the whole day attending different meetings focusing on human rights. It was the biggest conference she had attended in her life. It was exciting. She was learning much, meeting people who made a difference on global issues. She felt eager to meet them in person, learn who they are and what was their journey of becoming. She had a longing in her heart to make a difference when it came to pain, suffering, cruelty, and violence. This was an opportunity of a lifetime and she was totally present and excited with compassion.
When she got back to the dormitory, she went to the room she was sharing with many women. Everyone seemed busy. The energy was high. She was delighted to be in the company of so many divine women. Each woman seemed like a Goddess to her. She thought it would be up to the women to heal the planet with their feminine energy, nurturing, and loving all beings.
It was six pm. She was going to get ready and change. She was a T-shirt and blue jean kind of a woman, loved simple and comfortable. For a moment she thought to herself; “I am going to have dinner with the ex-president of the United States! What am I going to wear?”
She dismissed the thought in two seconds, was surprised of her thinking about what to wear. Perhaps it was the voice of her mother for a second. Her mother was all about appearances. She wanted to be a different kind of a woman, deep into longing of knowing who she is inside. Her life journey was about self-realization, made a point of having a simple life, especially when it came to clothing. She wished she was a monk and would wear a simple cloth every day. She grew up in an environment in which clothing represented one’s status and a reflection of one’s finances. Dress well and you will be treated well! That was the reality.
She didn’t have time to take a shower after a long day. Yet, it really didn’t matter. She was going to wear her simple black pants, a lavender top with a jacket. She was pressed with time, she would process her inner thoughts once she returned, writing in her journal.
She looked for her lavender top. Where did she put it? The community closets were in the main hall. She went to look for the top hanging in the closet, most of her casual clothes were in the suitcase under het dormitory bed.
She found the blouse and suddenly she was shocked to see Mrs. Clinton in front of her. She seemed angry. Her eyes in rage. There were a group of women with her with shaming eyes.
Mrs. Clinton had a brush in her hand with comfortable home robe on.
“So, you are the one going to have dinner with my husband! Shame on you!” She was furious and left in rage.
Ella froze for a second, unable to move! What did just happen? She just met Hillary Clinton! She didn’t know she was also in the dormitory. It took her a while to come out of the shock. The women were looking at her with disgusting looks. Their non-verbal was saying “how could you? What kind of a woman you are?” Shame, anger, hatred, and resentment flowing from their eyes.
For a moment, Ella felt shame. The ego was vicious triggering her saying she was going to have dinner with a “married man”. She physically shook herself to release the thought and stop the dragon of ego. In her mind, she put the sword of light in the heart of the dragon! The dark dragon melted down like the Disney movies, disappeared.
She went to the room and got dressed. She thought to herself, of course everyone knows I am going to have dinner with Mr. Clinton. They make their interpretation based on their own previous experiences. What others think is their own projections and none of my business.
She picked her purse and left the room. It was 6:40 pm. She found out where Mrs. Clinton was staying, took a deep breath, reminded herself to speak with love and compassion, respond with honor, and speak her truth. “Do not react! Do not attack or defend, speak from your heart as you would do with any human being. She is a woman like you.”
She knocked. “Come in” a female voice said. Ella stepped in, saw Mrs. Clinton in an arm chair. “May I come in?” Ella asked.

“You are already in.” Mrs. Clinton seemed angry.
“May I have a few minutes of your time please?”
She paused for a moment, not sure. Her non-verbal was as if part of her wanted to throw Ella out of the room but something was stopping her. “okay” She said with hesitation.
“May I sit down?” Ella was respectful.
“Okay”, still unsure.

“Mrs. Clinton, I am going to have dinner with Mr. Clinton. I have no idea why he invited me to dinner. I intend to find out. This is my first time meeting a president. I feel this is an opportunity to communicate about some of the issues that are important to me about humanity to a “person” who is in the position of making a difference globally.
Honestly, I feel to become a politician, a successful one, one has to make compromises, to be able to function within a highly competitive, greedy, and at times cruel system. I have no interest and respect those who are willing to take the bull by the horn.
My interest is that the world has had leaders like Gandhi, Mandela, Willy Brunt, Lumumba, and others who served humanity beyond politics. I wonder how we can make the United State kind again.
Mrs. Clinton, your communication with me seemed as an experience of frustration and anger aiming to shame me. To me it appeared as projection. It has no foundation.. I am going to meet an influential person in the American history, one who impacted the world during his presidency, creating the possibility of peace in Middle East. I remember when I heard you say “shame on you” to Obama. Maybe, our meeting is not a coincidence. May be this is an opportunity for us to grow.”
There was a knock on the door. “Come in”
A driver came in. It was a few minutes to seven pm.
“I will be right there. Thank you for waiting for me.” Ella said to the driver.
“I’d like to be on time. From your reaction, I have become aware of possible risks. Perhaps, I am naïve and not sure what I said yes to. Anything I should be mindful of? Ella sked.
Hillary’s energy had shifted. She received a sincere, authentic and honest expression of a woman’s feelings and thoughts. She had forgotten that possibility. She became soft.
“I suggest to meet him in a semi-public place.” Hillary suggested.
Ella paused.
“I haven’t even had a chance to think about it. I don’t know where I am going to meet Mr. Clinton. What do you suggest?” Ella seemed to experience a new level of awareness. She thought to herself, what did I get myself into?
“He is a man after all.” Hillary was mindful. “Where did you meet him?”
“I haven’t. I was in a meeting about Middle East and he was in the panel. I asked a question about the possibility of peace in the region.”
“Okay, he might be interested to get a perspective from a native person. Perhaps your question interested him.”
“That is what I am assuming. The driver is waiting. Anything I should be aware of?”
“The driver’s name is Alex. Ask him for his cell phone number and ask to pick you up immediately when you call him. He is a nice guy and will understand.”
“Thank you. That is a good idea. Would you be interested to chat when I return? It might be short visit without dinner if Middle East peace is not of primary interest.”
“Yes, I’d like to continue our conversation. I apologize for making inappropriate assumption.”
“I believe it is up to women to heal our humanity and our planet. We are soul sisters. It is essential to come together regardless of our differences and our history. I have a lot that I’d like to share and process with you.”
“Yes, I appreciate your approach. I had to develop a tough skin being in politics.” She seemed to experience feelings of awareness inside. Her energy had shifted. The women naturally gave each other a hug. When Ella was at the door leaving said “Is there any need for me to express that I have absolutely no interest in Mr. Clinton as a man?”
Hillary shook her head with a priceless smile.

 

The story will continue.

Rites Of Passage

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“Mom, I started my period.” Our daughter announced with a world of joy and excitement. Her eyes were full of life.

I felt an immense deep feeling of joy in my heart. Our daughter was leaving childhood behind her and the beautiful butterfly was emerging. There was a feeling of natural high within me. Tears of joy were present. It was time to celebrate her rite of passage, a sacred moment.

To me, she looked like an angel, a divine, beautiful Goddess in making. Then I felt a sharp pain in my heart as I thought about my own experience. It was time for me to release the pain and end the cycle of shame.

“Mom, I want to share something with you that is important to me. I want you to promise me you will keep it to yourself. I don’t want anybody to know about it.” My heart was pounding as I uttered the words rehearsed many times, to my mother.

“What is it? Are you sick? My mother was curious.

“No, I am not sick. Promise me!” I was serious.

“Okay, what is it?”

“I started my period last night. I DO NOT WANT anyone to know! I need feminine hygiene stuff.”

I don’t recall my mother’s reaction. Perhaps, I was too anxious with a trembling heart, preoccupied with a deep sense of shame, I didn’t know where it came from.

My mother called our male servant and instructed him to go and buy what I needed. As he left to the pharmacy he looked at me with a meaningful smile on his face. I felt I wished to disappear. I didn’t want anyone to know and the first one was him!

As I look back, it seems as if I had a shame attack without having any idea. I was a late bloomer. I was in ninth grade while most of my friends had already started their monthly period. Some were shy to share and others joyfully talked as they were already women.

One day our art teacher started talking about puberty. The classroom was filled with shy whispers and giggles. I was most happy and grateful to hear what to expect. My mother didn’t share anything. There was a deep relief hearing that the period starts with light spotting. The fear of having sudden bleeding in an unexpected situation resulting in stain on my cloths was terrifying before. She shared about what we needed and importance of good hygiene.

I remember that night vividly as if it was yesterday. We had a large gathering in our home. My mother’s parties were the best among our relatives and friends. She was a homemaker and loved socializing. From my child’s eyes, it seemed when she had guests, all her energy and awareness was focused on her guests and for the time being forgot having children. I felt the guests were much more important than me.

I was a good student and devoted my energy to studying. That night I was deep into my reading preparing for a test when I felt a sensation for the first time. I went to the bathroom and found fresh blood. That was spotting. I panicked not knowing why, it felt as if I had done something wrong. My heart was trembling, my mind was racing, and hyperventilating as if I was caught in an immoral act.

Oh, my God! What am I doing to do? The feeling of shame was felt in every cell in my body. It felt as if I had a fever. I simply didn’t know what to do. My trembling heart was beating with fear and I had no idea what I was afraid of, feeling lost, confused and disoriented. What if the spatting gets on my clothes and seen by the guests. I must tell my mother and ask for feminine hygiene stuff. She must have a stock.

There was a bit of relief. I came out of the bathroom and washed my face with cold water. It didn’t calm my pounding heart. I went to the room where I was studying. I realized this is not the time to tell my mother. I knew she couldn’t be present with my situation.

As I look back, now in menopause, I ask myself what was I afraid of ? What was this deep seated shame? It seemed thousands years of shaming the feminine energy and treating the female body as a source of “sin”, had penetrated my psyche without any awareness. A collective unconscious violation of divine feminine energy. My beautiful soul felt ashamed on my temple and the sacred energy to womanhood. Tears manifested the loss and grief of generations.

I decided I had to wait until the next day no matter what. I knew my mother had broken boundaries in the past and unable to keep anything in confidence. She could have dropped the ball in front of the guests. That would have triggered my traumatized heart again.

I could no longer study or concentrate on anything. The only thought was how to get through the night. I feel my tears as I remember the inner landscape of a young girl entering womanhood.

After the male servant left, my maternal grandmother who lived with us came to me and gently slapped me on the face with a smile. I loved her dearly. She raised me and I respected her for raising fine children alone at a young age.

“What is it grandma? What was the slap for?”

“To keep your cheek rosy now that you have started your period.”

My blood was boiling. I thought to myself my mother PROMISED me! I was trying to understand that she had to send the servant to the store. Grandma didn’t know and didn’t deserve my anger. As I went to talk to my mother, I heard her sharing the news on the phone with her sister. Within an hour the whole family knew and cheeks were red with shame.

In that instance I decided to never share anything personal with her anymore. Also, made a promise to myself if I would ever be blessed with a daughter, I would celebrate such sacred life experience in style.

We got our daughter a dozen long stem red roses and went to her favorite restaurant as a family taking photos to capture her rite of passage. I will always remember the glow in her eyes.

She is now a mother. Another sacred mark in life. I look forward to honor the rites of passage for our grandson wondering if I may be blessed with celebrating a granddaughter’s sacred passage. That would be a priceless gift.

 

 

 

The Mirror, Part III

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“I feel I am at a crossroad, experiencing mixed feeling, making an attempt to look at life choices in a practical manner.”

The Mirror: What is going on in your mind?”

“I want to LIVE not just survive. I am in my late 40’s having three jobs, rushing from one job to another, renting a one bedroom apartment with my adult son. I know I can’t afford buying anything.”

Mirror: Your mind is pretty active in general and now it seems being over activated, feeling pressured and perhaps disappointed.

“I like to live life, enjoy life, have time for my writing and creative work; be able to listen to music and visit with friends. I lived in a beautiful home for over 20 years. Now, working three jobs after paying all the bills, nothing is left.”

Mirror: Your feelings of frustration and discontentment is apparent. What options are you considering?

“I can live in the present, enjoy the nice weather and do what I am doing. I am enjoying my work. I can move to a less expensive state, lesser cost of living and continue doing the same on-line job. That way I would create the possibility of saving and buying a home. I am also considering applying for jobs in Middle East and Asia with attractive benefits.”

Mirror: Would you be willing to take a fantasy trip?

“Ok” somewhat puzzled.

“If you had absolutely no financial concern, let’s say winning a lottery; you know you would have a comfortable life as long as you live. What would your life look like now? What would you love to do?”

There was a moment of pause as if he was imagining the possibility.

“I would keep my full time job, buy a nice home and work on my play and go home twice a year and travel!” there was a mild smile as thinking about that ideal life was creating some level of inner peace.”

Mirror: I wonder if you are an idealist with high IQ off the chart and deep need for mental stimulation and creativity and variety in life. What brought you to California?

“It is not fun to wake up to below zero cold most of your life. Back home, in winter, every morning, there was so much snow on the drive way. When I left work, I couldn’t find my car under the snow. I left a secure job, good salary and benefits to come to California?”

Mirror: Was the sunny warm weather, the primary attraction or were there other factors playing roles in your decision?

“There was a major transformation in my life. I married my best friend in 1992. After many years of playing the role of a husband and a father, I felt it was time to get real and be rue to myself, honor my sexuality  and who I am as a human being. In 2006, I felt “I can’t do this anymore.”

I shared my feelings with my wife. At the time, her father in LA was not feeling well. I encouraged her to go and be with him. Four days later, her father passed away, only four hours after she arrived. I wonder if he was holding on to see her for the last time. We joined her two days later.”

Mirror: I wonder how she felt when you came out.

“She went through a short period of anger and then she was okay. I wonder if she knew all along yet preferred to live with her best friend. We have remained best friends throughout the years.”

Mirror: How was the experience of coming out to the children and family?

“Our oldest son was a freshman in College. One day, I asked my family for a get together over dinner at my brother’s home. I said I had an announcement to make. It really wasn’t a huge surprise. I think my family already knew and they were great with my wife.”

Mirror: How was the divorce proceeding?

“We divorced in peace and harmony. We had no attorney. We did all the paperwork, went to court, signed the papers and went to lunch together. Even the judge was somewhat surprised.”

Mirror: I wished all the divorces were like yours. Did you separate after that?

“No, we were putting a kitchen floor then and getting the house ready for sale. My wife and children came to California on Thanksgiving. I had to finish the semester, put the house on the market on a Thursday and had an offer on Saturday, sold the house on February 5th – all along with our furniture.”

Mirror: How was the experience of letting go of your home of twenty years?

“Mixed emotions, mostly excited for a new beginning. We had a dinning set, a heavy mahogany antique set we had for years. When a young couple took them away, being so happy, I felt a sense of relief. The set was creating joy for years for our family.”

Mirror: How was the transition and move to California?

“I worked from February to May 2013. The Dean couldn’t believe I was walking away from such a secure job. I put the furniture we wished to keep in a storage in El Secondo.”

Mirror: How about the divorce within Catholic Church?

“Oh that was a long process. Basically, I had to write a document I was not interested in women. Therefore, as far as the church was concerned, it was not a marriage.”

Mirror: Therefore the move to California was new beginning for the whole family. I wonder when you were willing to affirm your sexual orientation to yourself.

“Well, I went to Rome in October 1987 and met Michel the French, Catholic Priest in November 1987. That encounter was an opportunity the universe provided for me, but I didn’t take it; I pushed it back. I may never know how my life would have been different if …”

Mirror: You were an inexperienced, twenty year old young man and as you described yourself a late bloomer with no experience in intimate relationships. This must have been a life altering and defining moment for you.

“Yes it was. When I came back, I wrote the story in first person narrative in January 1988. I revisited it from many different angles, the impact, the deeper understanding, and the regret. The essence was the emotions I experienced inside. It wasn’t about him. It was about what it meant in my life.”

Mirror: The play you wrote is a powerful story about internal struggle most people can relate. What do you plan to do with it?

“I love to produce and see it unfold over the years; it has always been there!”

Mirror:  My guess is you have a high IQ and curious nature. What I hear from you is you may lose interest quickly yet your interest in this significant and defining experience of your life, manifested in the play, has kept your interest throughout the years. That is perhaps a sign as you are deciding about a path on the crossroad.

“I can imagine the actors, the setting, the lighting, sound, costumes and the tone of voice and how a character delivers the verbal and nonverbal line of the play.”

He was showing me, giving examples of how the same line could be delivered differently, meaning a completely different message.

Mirror: I wish I could tape you when you act and show it to you. It feels as if the true you emerges. Whenever, we spend time together, you seem energetic, positive and sort of high on life. I wonder if there are down, frustrating and angry episodes.

“Oh yes. In early 2000, I was tense and intimidating. People were afraid of me. I was mean! I like to be in control and I like order, really organized. I make things happen!”

Mirror: Yes, I see the quality in you making things happen. What do you need to make the play happen?

“Time, money and resources. Here the primary opportunity is with local community theaters. Maybe, I should pursuit the creative path… would age be a barrier?”

Mirror: Making a living as an artist sure is a road less travelled and quite a challenging one. Yet when there is passion, one finds the way to manifest, may I close our conversation today with a quote: Talent does what it can. Genius does what it must!

 

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