I Come In Peace ( Until….)

There are many types of healers, all with different talents, gifts, and abilities. Some of us have incarnated with an ability to see the truth about any situation, kind of like a psychic version of a Cat-scan. Sounds good, right? Well, try living with that ability in a culture that embraces denial, and sees the truth as Kryptonite. Couple that with an ability to remove and clear foreign energy patterns not authentic to an individual, using a powerful principle residing within the depths of oneself, and you have a combination that doesn’t feel particularly warm and fuzzy, to most people. Now surround that with being an Empath, someone who can feel what every living thing is feeling. This trifecta can be pretty confusing to some people. Hell, it can be confusing to the person born like that. Trust me.

We live in a culture that has elevated codependency to an art form. A culture that has a long history of misogyny, and encourages us to accept codependency as the definition of being caring. Women that incarnate as both Empaths and warriors are not uncommon, but the  culture isn’t exactly sure what to make of us. Empaths are by nature compassionate and kind. One of my favorite depictions of an Empath is the Kwan Yin standing on a dragon, because it couples compassion with fierceness. It’s that fierceness that the culture has a problem with, unless someone is on fucking fire, then we’re the ones that everybody wants to talk to. ( Reminds me of the Ghostbusters theme song:” Who you gonna call?”) On a personal level, let me say that that gets old pretty quickly. Again, trust me.

I am blessed to have very strong people in my life, that can SEE me, and that love me exactly as I am. My daughters, my friends, my husband. My husband is a gift in my life. He gets me, ( not easy), and he is not ever threatened by me. He’s basically not threatened by anything. We were just talking about how it makes me sad that some people are afraid of me.( I was talking about how much I love the photo I used with this post, and how deeply connected to it I feel.)   Him: Well, of course they are. Me: What? Why? I don’t understand. I’m very compassionate. Him: Yeah. You are. Until you see something that you need to challenge in someone. Then those black wings unfurl, and you have that sword, and you’re surrounded by flames. There was a movie called ” I Come In Peace”, a science fiction movie where an alien comes to Earth, walks up to the human, and says ” I come in peace”. The human relaxes. Then he kills them. You’re like that, with the Empath part, you come in peace,  until you see that dark thing trying to hurt someone. Then, it’s wings, flames, and the sword. It’s pretty fucking scary. Me: Bursts out laughing.

This is about being who you are, accepting who you are, and loving who you are. Don’t let others convince you that you’re too intense. Too honest. Too sensitive. Too ANYTHING. Many of us had to be strong at a very early age, accessing soul strength from other incarnations. We were valued for solving problems and taking care of everybody else. But we were also taught not to need. Not to expect. To figure it out on our own. We then spend years healing that belief system, which doesn’t serve us. We can be sweet, we can be loving, AND we can be fierce, all at the same time. They are all authentic parts of who we are. The Kwan Yin and the Dragon. The Mother and the Hunter, the Chalice and the Sword. All aspects of self.

Never hide your true self from yourself. Don’t allow conservative religious people, or New Age people, with their ideas about what spirituality is supposed to be, shame you or judge you, for having wings, flames, and a sword. With what’s happening in the country right now, in the world right now, what we are is all that is standing between the dark and Earth Mother, the animals, and humanity. Embrace your fierceness and warrior spirit. Let your wings come out. This is an ancient battle. One we will win. We come in peace, until that peace is threatened. We are under no obligation to diminish ourselves to make others feel more comfortable. There is no time for that. There never was. If someone isn’t strong enough to love you, exactly as you are, find people who are. They’re out there. I’m one of them. Sending love, Reverend Judith Star-Medicine

 

My Life Experiences With Muslims

As I look at the current administration’s efforts to discriminate against Muslims, it brings up grief for me, as well as bewilderment. As some people across the country respond to this inflammatory rhetoric with hate crimes, I wonder how many of them have ever actually met a Muslim? I have. Please allow me to share a little bit of my journey with you.

I was raised as a Catholic. Any of you who have read my bio know that I entered the convent to become a nun when I was twelve. I was in a cloister for just under a year, and was taken out of the convent by my father, due to my mother’s severe mental health issues. I returned home to take care of her, and my three younger brothers. At that time, my dad put me in public schools, afraid that if I was back in Catholic school with the order of nuns I had been with, I might run away. Having no access to my original spiritual path, I decided to embark on a study of comparative religion on my own, and hit the library. I was omnivorous, reading anything and everything, studying many world religions. I was captivated. I became the Magellan of metaphysics. I read and studied everything I could find, from Hinduism to Buddhism, to Zen, to atheism, to Taoism, to the Egyptian Book of the Dead… I devoured it all. I started at 13, and still continue to be a student to this day.

When I met my ex, I was twenty four. I was a vegetarian, with a connection to Hinduism. I was teaching meditation and doing spiritual counseling work, as well as energy healing. My ex was much older than I, in the restaurant business. Restaurants are like cultural melting pots, you find people working in them from all over the world. My first experience with Muslims came through a friend of my ex husband’s, our hostess. Fran. Fran was his age, working part time, an artist, a bohemian free spirit, a coffee drinking, cigarette smoking, eccentric character  who had been raised in Judaism. Her  conversations were liberally sprinkled with Jewish phrases. ( I learned a lot ). She was also a Sufi. Now, the Sufis are Muslims. Some of you may have heard of the famous Sufi poet, Rumi. (A Muslim. ) Anyway, Fran was attending a talk at St John the Divine in NYC, given by the head of the Sufi order, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. She asked me if I’d like to attend. I said yes, so off we went. There were several hundred people there. Pir Vilayat was sitting on the floor, on cushions. He had white flowing hair, and a white beard. His eyes were closed as he was speaking, and I could feel that he was channeling the material he was sharing with everyone. The message was one of love, and living from heart and compassion. Being a psychic, I decided to see if I could tune into the station he was getting the material from, so I entered the trance state, and there it was. His father, who I was not familiar with, at that point, Hazrat Inayat Khan. ( A wonderful book by him is called ” The Alchemy Of Happiness). I was able to hear the information directly from him. It was exquisite. The love and beauty of it was inspiring. That night, I had a visit from him in the dream time, where he gave me a further teaching, and Sufi breathing techniques. Since I was not a Sufi, I felt deeply honored.

As the years went by, we had a busboy and two waiters who were also Muslims. They were from Egypt. My description of Egyptians would be that they are the Italians of the Middle East, warm, affectionate, and funny. We had Farak, Ibrahim, and his brother, Wezo. Farak and Ibrahim, Ibby for short, evolved from waiters into Captains. We opened a second restaurant at that time, a French restaurant, with an all French crew, except for Farak, who moved over to that restaurant with me. My husband stayed at the original restaurant, and I ran the French one. Every night, at closing, I would take the bag of cash from the register, lock up, and walk out into the deserted parking lot to my car. And every night, Farak would walk me out, no matter what I said, and wait for me to get into my car and drive away. Every night.

At that point in my life, I was a battered wife. My staff were also victims of physical and verbal abuse by my ex. He was an equal opportunity offender. No one was safe. He beat the chef so badly once that the police were called. ( He quit).  He beat a customer because the man complained that his duck was tough. We were all afraid of him. Every time my ex stopped by the French restaurant, Farak would station himself near my table, watching over me. He didn’t say much. All of my staff were like that, they all protected me, to the degree that it was possible. I did the same for them. In the photos I’ve posted, the man in the tuxedo is Farak. In the group photo taken at our home, there are a number of Muslims present, including Sufi Fran, and Ibby.

I have a spiritual brother that I deeply love. He’s a Muslim, from India, a Sufi.  A Wall Street guy. A doll baby. His wife is from Turkey. She’s  lovely. Also a Muslim.

My point is, in my life, I’ve experienced incredible violence. Never was that violence at the hands of a Muslim. I’m an incest survivor. My offender was an Irish Catholic. My ex was a Catholic. My family are fundamentalist Christians. I’ve been judged and harassed by fundamentalists who believed it was their mission and their right to ” save” me. I have clients that grew up in cults, who were publicly shamed and humiliated as children. Threatened with hellfire and eternal damnation. Healing from that is a journey of reclaiming the self.

Every world religion has extremists, like the Westboro Baptist Church, that preach hate and fear. They are not representative of Christianity. They are the lunatic fringe. Throughout history we have had atrocities committed in the name of God by people of different faiths. The Crusades. The Inquisition. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Hitler. Osama Bin Laden. People have used ideologies as an excuse to invade other countries, steal land, resources, and persecute others for centuries. Do not allow the radical few in any religion cause you to fear any human being, no matter what their path. Do not allow fear based racists to do that, either.

I send love to the people in my life who are/were Muslims, who journeyed with me, who offered kindness and loyalty to me when I was at my lowest point. To Ibby, who brought me stuffed grape leaves his mother had made, to Farak, walking me out to my car at night. To Fran, my hippie Sufi friend, and to my spiritual brother. Religion never mattered to any of us. Love did. Thank you all for loving me when I needed love the most. You all knew that love is all there is, and you will live in my heart forever. I send love out into the world, to people of all faiths. My prayer is that we all give each other the love we all need, and the love that we all deserve. We are one heart.  Blessings, Judith

What Independence Day Means To Me: Thoughts From A Healer and Survivor

I love Independence Day, probably for a different reason than most people. Freedom can mean a lot of things, for me, as a healer, it’s always been about helping people to achieve freedom from fear. Freedom from pain. Freedom from trauma, freedom from the past. For over 40 years, I’ve specialized in working with survivors of abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence… all types of abuse. I love what I do, and I love working with survivors, because invariably, they blow me away. Their courage, compassion, empathy, and kindness, in the aftermath of the unspeakable, is nothing short of miraculous.

I’ve been very open in my work about being an incest survivor, and survivor of domestic violence. Some clinicians are trained not to share anything personal about themselves with clients. I choose to do so, for two reasons. One, I love the premise of 12-step recovery, about sharing one’s experience, strength, and hope. Two, I love the teachings of a spiritual master, who said ” Anything I’ve done, you can do, and more”. Anything I’ve healed, anyone can heal. I’ve found that by revealing my life experiences ( without details ) to a client who is a survivor, they are inclined to feel safer, because they know I understand. It also helps them to get past the shame associated with abuse. They don’t fear judgement as much. There is so much internalized judgement that accompanies abuse. It’s one of the things that prevents survivors from telling anyone. ( Another 12-step recovery saying is ” We are only as sick as our secrets”.

My work centers on spiritual truths, mainly, that we are eternal souls, on a journey through the cosmos. The truth is, we are more than this physical body we have. We are made of stars, magical luminous beings. Restoring that knowing is my focus. I love the Jung quote: ” I am not defined by what has happened to me. It is what I choose to do with it that matters.”

One of my heroes and role models is Dr Maya Angelou. She was raped when she was 7, and didn’t speak for five years. She talked and wrote about her healing journey many times. She became an inspiration for many. Her courage, fierceness, and humor became a shining light for me. Another role model was Mother Jones. I keep her quote: ” Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living” on my desk.

One thing I’ve found about experiencing extreme violence, and coming close to dying, is that you are changed by it, in a fundamental way. Taoist Master, Dr Jeffrey Yuen once said in a class on Chinese Herbal medicine, where he was teaching about alchemy: ” Alchemy is the redemption of Spirit from Matter”. Surviving violence is deeply alchemical. Parts of the self are burned away, and parts of the self are reborn, arising from the ashes of the trauma, a Phoenix. Master Yuen also taught: ” The Phoenix rises out of the ashes, yes. But for there to be ashes, first you have to burn”.

The Fire Element in Chinese medicine is comprised of the heart, the pericardium, the small intestine, and the triple heater meridians. It is about love, compassion, joy, laughter, and creativity. Love is the ultimate alchemist, and the ultimate liberator. When we stand in the Sacred Fire of Divine Love, we are freed forever from the prison of fear and pain.

Beings that perpetrate violence can’t touch that Sacred Fire. They can only touch our bodies, and that is NOT what we are. On this Independence Day, join me in celebrating our freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom from the past, which has no power to harm us any longer. We survived, we are love, we are gentle, we are kind, and we never gave up. We are the Phoenix, we are the Dragon, we are the Sacred Fire. I stand with survivors everywhere. We are one heart. I send you love, and I am proud of you. Let there be fireworks, let there be music, let there be dancing. Happy Independence Day.  You rock. Blessings, Judith