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There are two things we can give our children.
One is roots, the other is wings
by Nancy Pagaduan

Attending my nephew's college graduation ceremony last month was an experience. It caused me to notice how my personal growth over the years has changed my perspective on life. Overall, I found the speakers to be excellent in their presentation (not boring). I enjoyed hearing what our young adults are being told, and what they are telling us. However, I had three moments that gave me pause.

The first moment was when a prestigious college official was admonishing the graduates "Do not let your emotions divert you from expressing your talent or from living your intended goals." A worthy point, indeed. However, the example he used to illustrate this, a classic codependent relationship, was dramatically distasteful. True, one of the individuals in the story had obsessed and missed living her gifts her entire life. I would have felt better if the speaker had drawn a distinction between healthy emotions and debilitating relationship addiction. I felt he was using a "pathological example" to get them "scared straight."

In my experience, fear rarely prevented anything for long. What if the effect of his advice (should the students remember this and act accordingly) became "stifled natural functions of their inherent brilliance and being." [I believe that when we shut down, or repress our nature (including healthy emotions), we inhibit our being, including our intelligence, intuition and creativity]. Curtailing our intelligence and creativity, I'm sure, was not his intended message. There was no mention of addictions and their toll on productivity. I wish there had been.

Red flag #2 1 heard a very celebrated environmentalist degrade the media for totally disregarding the best international environmentalist thinkers of our time, in alerting the public to the dangers of continued abuse of the environment. I believe I've heard that message, and if not from the general media, then perhaps from our own OPB, and/or Earth & Spirit organization? His point was that the media has deliberately chosen instead to focus exclusively on celebrity involved, flashy stories: (i.e. O.J. Simpson, Diana, Bill and Monica). And that this activity has been more than a total waste, it's costing us our beloved mother earth.

Let's examine this theory. In my view, each of these celebrity sagas will have been of great importance to us as a society, if it's caused us to acknowledge that each of these themes represents a real and legitimate problem. Yes, I got personally saturated watching each story, as it became "the only story." Yet, in my mind, I was hoping that each one was functioning to educate, sensitize and motivate so that we can eventually eradicate that which ails us. I felt that "No longer could anyone claim to not know: domestic violence is real, regardless of "factors" (it is an equal opportunity malady; it crosses age, race, socioeconomic, famous-or-not lines); that being royalty doesn't award a woman of any special treatment (women everywhere can be "discussed" publicly but revered in real life); that addictions are not found only among a certain class of people (addictions, including sex addiction, can be found even among the most public of officials. Even our most admired can be stricken with it).

I believe that the astrological indicators I heard a few years ago were true: all the secrets, "all the darkness will be brought out to be healed." [As a result, we will know ourselves, collectively, and in seeking the wisdom of our wise ones (therapists, healers and counselors) begin to move toward healing.] Life will be better for having these things brought out into the light for all to see. This is how we, in the global community, will awaken to the truth of our humanity. By acknowledging our weaknesses and facing the process of healing. Not just for the individuals directly in the limelight, but for all for whom the shoes fit. And our compassion will grow.

Recently, I heard a friend express it so eloquently: "This is definitely a time of transformation. The dark forces are crystallizing so we can clean them up. During this time, also, the sweetness of spirit is being released. We have to be strong in our hearts and be deliberate in our determination to function well. This is a challenge, to be sure, but, it is the only way we can bring spirit into the world." Mary Marino, LMT

After the graduation ceremony, I got flag #3. Was it "selective inattention" that caused not one of the speakers that day to address the issue of youth violence in our public schools? Maybe it's just too early to bring it up. Maybe it would have hit too close to home, and they/we have no definitive answers yet. Time heals all wounds, and information helps to heal. I believe it's time to hear from our wise ones, the counselors, and therapists, and people who have "been there."

Tipper Gore was Oprah's guest in early June, 1999. Her message was alerting us to "clinical depression." To the fact that often the stricken ones are not even aware of what's ailing them. And often those closest are likewise ignorant of the emergency. She stressed how essential it is for friends to be aware, and to intervene, as hers did with her. They took the initiative to learn more in order to make intelligent choices, and then to take action. Most problems, are, after all, very treatable. And this is the word of hope - "treatable." Without saying it, I believe I heard between the lines that "Allowing individuals to have aversions to "therapy/treatment" has prolonged the suffering of too many. Let's be the generation that turns the tide on this one. Could it save our youth?

Times like these cause me to ponder the age old question, am I my brother's/sister's keeper? If so, how can I make a difference? How can I do this work (love made visible) without giving up too much of my own self, my time, my energy. How can I move on these issues without making it a project of more importance than my own life, talents, and work? I'd like to hear from those of you who HAVE "taken this road less traveled." What exactly did you do? How did it feel while making decisions and taking action? What was the outcome? How did it feel to be part of the solution?

Wishing us all, grace and ease as we embrace our growth, intellectual learning and emotional/psycho-spiritual healing.

Nancy Pagaduan, Design & Promotion Coach for those in the healing arts. (503) 649-6354.

P.S. I do hope that after our techno-buffs have conquered the Y2K problem (and I have no doubt that they will) that we, as a nation/global community, can turn that level of interest and energy toward solving the environmental abuse challenge and do as Dolly Parton is credited with saying, "I just decided what I wanted, and then I did whatever it took to get it."