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2006-10-03 - 10:01 a.m.

The past few weeks have been really good ones!

I temporarily hired the most amazing nanny. I think I won't be able to afford her as a long term provider, although that would be optimal. She fortunately for me finished a long term job of working for two girls who this summer are ages 12 and 14 and the family is now not in need of her help. This summer was her last summer with them just a few days a week. I think that she became so much a part of their family that they kept her on as nanny even after then NEEDED her.

She I was in luck that she had taken a commitment a few days a week for another family and I could hire her a few days a week.

Those two days a week have been WONDERFUL for me!

The first day she came was devoted to giving Alexy much needed one on one attention. I realized that she was born two weeks after the horrible incident of Westley punching Katerina in the head that I had responded to with full knowledge then as I made the call that the family as we knew it was likely never to be. Safety and security and respect of each individual had to come first as the uptmost priority.

I hung on then trying my best to see if the family could be salvaged and make it through that trial SOMEHOW. Yet I realize that in a very real way I was struck with GRIEF at not only the loss of my children who were no longer living with me, but also at the loss of that family system. In that grief I really struggled to be present in each daily moment to meet all the needs of the little girls. I believe I did so capably- by seeking support in any way possible.

Yet I realized with shock as I put all the photos that were in envelopes and randomly about into an album- That I HAVE TAKEN NO PICTURES OF ALEXY.



I re-read journals in which I talked of wanting to be a photographer. I looked at my old photos and some really are beautiful.

When I had children I a made a consious choice for THEIR HEALTH not to spend time with all the chemicals required in a dark room. I always thought I could enjoy that AFTER I stopped nursing and conceiving children. So there was a plan for a dark room in our home, and I was content to wait for the time to actualize that part of myself.

But of course now digital media has taken over, and KODAK is a dying company. Westely in fact gave me a camera and then wondered why I didn't often use it. I didn't use it because I couldn't do so in PEACE without him insisting on being involved, but also because when I get behind a lens I become SO SELF ABSORBED. I shouldn't say I didn't use it- I did snap photos for the enjoyment of capturing the children, but I didn't really enter into the artistic pursuit of photography as I had in the past. I hadn't yet learned how to create beauty of art which results from this strange juxtaposition of the absolute LOSS OF AWARENESS of self into the moment, and at the same time is in and of itself one of the most SELF ABSORBING activities. Self absorbing in the sense that when creating one has to become so REMOVED from others. At least that act of creating for me NECESSITATES an aloneness, which requires that space AWAY from the world such that I can reflect on it and let my hands lead me where they will-- whether through a lens, or a pen or a keyboard. I always follow that muse , so to speak, and never know where I will be lead.

Yet because of my own FEARS of self absorption, and my own concious choice to put aside the things I love which REQUIRE that separtness, I have not enjoyed my self expression through taking photos, and I have also FAILED to CELEBRATE THE BEAUTY of the family I have hoped to be most present for.
There is a strange irony in that. When I am happily clicking photos- even if it means being totally oblivious for the moment of anything other that what I see in the lens-- The children DO BENEFIT from MY JOY which is shared with them, and then from the LOVE That is expressed knowing I find them SO VALUABLE AND BEAUTIFUL THAT I HAVE TO PRESERVE THEIR IMAGES, and then their positive sense of self is developed when they pridefully look at their own happy images.

The three little girls just LOVED looking at their pictures in the album I compiled.

And ALEXY enjoyed them too. And It was a WAKE UP CALL TO me that I HAVE BEEN VICTIMIZED, I HAVE BEEN WEAKENED and my spirit has been broken in a way I hadn't been aware of. I stopped doing all those things which I loved that were done alone.

Whenever violence occurred I never accepted it. I always maintained there are three possible responses to abuse:

2. CONFRONT IT and leave
3. CONFRONT IT and stay and make all attempts to work through it.

So I BELIEVED that # 3 was an option . And we ALL tried to some degree of success to work through the trial of the heavy sin . I think that the notion of SIN is in fact the most appropriate word to apply here as domestic violence is in fact a result of choices we make of our own free will, and yet at the same time there is that element of not being concious at times of the wrongness and evil we grew up with and carrying on dysfunctional and destructive family patterns. I can think of no other experience that that of domestic violence that epitomizes the idea of "original sin" with such clarity.

I believed so strongly that ALL PEOPLE GROW and that growth is inevitable!
NO matter how we each resist- we either contine to grow or our process of dying begins.

I believe this to be true of systems too-- familys, communities, towns, cities.

But the growth has to be planned and well thought out and as they say in relation to communities- sustainable development. It has to be growth with respect for preserving the environment and resources we all rely on.

And I believe SO STRONGLY in the value of EDUCATION that I believed with more KNOWLEDGE, just some INSIGHT, WESTLEY CAN LEARN TO STOP THE VIOLENCE.

The more knowledge we have, the more we can grow in ways which allow others to thrive and respect all living individuals and systems so we can all co-exist meaningfully.

Its a belief I just can't let go of that even domestic violence can be overcome and healed. Its a belief I have that it is BETTER for children if it does get healed in their own family.

HOWEVER although I BELIEVE THAT and just refuse to ever give up that optimism, and perhaps its a crazy kind of faith and stubbornness... I NEVER was willing to STAY in a situation which was destroying OTHERS and refused to allow my faith to make be BLIND to the reality before me. There is such thing as blind faith which itself is a form of ignorance: That faith which ignores the REALITY which is as valuable. That faith some have that the SPIRITUAL is of greater value-- which then allows them to think that it is therefore OK to allow our physical selves to be compromised.


I do think it is indeed a healthy gift of a well developed spiritual self that ALLOWS someone to SUSTAIN abuse. Yes- it is true that in the end our spiritual selves are infinately more important than our physical selves. Yet when one attacks another phyically, they are TRYING to attack the other's spirit. And to WILLFULLY remain in a place where one is being attacked physically is nothing more than ignorance at not recognizing the beauty and value of ones WHOLE SELF should ALWAYS Be respected. EVEN IF THE ATTACK doesn't ever break your spirit.

As I read about domestic violence I had a problem. I never identified with a "victim" persona.

I read all the reasons to leave and they made little sense to me. I felt like "But I have never truly been HURT- HOW CAN I BE HURT when what I see is a toddler like tantrum of a man I love who is so emotionally undeveloped that he is SCARED? "
What I saw was violence out of FEAR. And for a LONG LONG TIME that fear was not mine- but Westely's.

At some point though I BECAME a victim. I then experienced REAL FEAR as I have never known it before.

And I now have a greater understanding of the fear my children have experienced.

And children DO HAVE A STRONG INNER SPIRITUAL SENSE INNATELY, but NATURAL gifts are not developed without nurturing.

SO children do not have that sense of self YET- they are still developing who they are, and for a long time still identify with their parents.

So any attack on a child- whether physical or verbal attacks their security to a MUCH DEEPER level than an attack at an adult. The adult who is secure in self KNOWS that any criticism or attacks are NOT ABOUT THEM. The adult can sustain such without great harm if they have a well developed esteem.

A child's whole sense of security is undermined when they are attacked verbally or physically. The child is DEPENDANT on we adults for all needs to survive to be met. The FEAR THAT A CHILD EXPERIENCES must therefore be EVEN GREATER than that of an adult when their dignity and safety of either their physical or spiritual self is attacked in any way.

I wrote in the past why some HEALTHY FEAR of authority could be an acceptable for of TEACHING. YET that is not the kind of FEAR that leaves and individual vulnerable in any way. That kind of healthy fear is the kind that leaves fear of being cut off from something DESIRED, not fear of being cut off from something ESSENTIAL. There is a huge difference between the experience of visceral fear when your very being is threatened - when one fears for their very existance, and the other kind of fear of consequences that leave us not having something we would enjoy. One is fear of basic NEEDS, including safety, not being met wheras the other is NOT WANTING TO FAIL TO GET OR EXPERIENCE SOMETHING WE WOULD ENJOY, OR NOT WANTING TO EXPERIENCE PAIN OR UNPLEASANTNESS.

I believe there is such thing as healthy fear as it is that which PROTECTS our integrity. The fear that touching the stove will hurt, and the fear that if I run in the street without paying attention I could be hit and killed.

It is healthy fear that motivates one to leave a violence situation for their own safety. It is healthy fear that makes one AWARE of their self being compromised. For me, it was that experience of visceral fear of safety which woke me up to the necessity to leave. I think I now understand that for the children, they have felt that visceral fear many times when I was not even aware of it. So when I had that first day free to use with the help of a sitter, I spent the time with Alexy. I realize I was in the fog of grief at the loss of the other children to such an extent that I didn't even take those candid pictures. WHY? Because I had been harmed. My spirit and joy HAD BEEN BROKEN. So I took Alexy to have her photo taken. For seven dollars I got a professional 8X10 and wallets and a few different poses. She needs to see her image celebrated in joy. She needs to know she is so loved and valuable and beautiful. I also took some recent photos and have put them up for her to see herself in joyful play as captured at the playground. And I know that I won't ever WILLFULLY choose to be in a place where my spirit is crushed and my natural joy is sqashed such that I don't even see clearly enough to know it. For a family should be a place of HEALTY Growth- that which ENHANCES each individual spirit, not crushed them.

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