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Lisa Guest Headshot

Changing Our Minds, Speaking Up For The Truth!

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In today's New York Times, Maureen Dowd talks about Cheney and torture. She says:

"I used to agree with President Obama, that it was better to keep moving and focus on our myriad problems than wallow in the darkness of the past. But now I want a full accounting. I want to know every awful act committed in the name of self-defense and patriotism."

This, after now determining that water boarding wasn't used to protect Americans, but to justify invading Iraq.

I don't want soldiers over there to experience any more danger as a result of our moral cleansing of the beastly criminal record -- legacy from #43... but I was taught that the truth would set us free.

As a kid, I was taught that when I lied, I'd be punished. If I told the truth, I might be reprimanded for being careless but I wouldn't get spanked for lying. I'd broken my grandmother's velvet headband and denied I did it. I got walloped, not for breaking the headband, but for lying about it.

I'm always kind of hesitant to make waves. Once at Romoland Horse Camp the counselors took us to a spot up against a hill where we had to walk our horse into a small six-foot space in between two hedges and turn around. All the other campers did so quickly. When it came my turn, my horse (I forget her name but it started with an R) walked into the tight spot and just stood there. I tried to urge her on. She started to paw the water that was beneath me... I kicked her sides and got her turned around and out of the bind. The counselors laughingly said, "Do that again Lisa and see if you can get R in and out more smoothly."

I tried again and this time R really started pawing the water. Nothing I did seemed to get her to move. My anxiety started to lift but it really exploded when all of a sudden yellow jackets that had been in the water R was pawing, started swarming around me, seemingly hundreds of them that my horse had now disturbed and antagonized.

Somehow I extricated myself and R again only to watch the counselors laugh their asses off. They thought it was hysterical. They knew R liked to do this and because R was my horse for that two week period, I was the one tortured by the humorous annual experience.

Did I report the incident to the old lady who owned the camp? No. Did I ask to call my parents and get me out of there. No. Did I trust those counselors the rest of my time there? No. Was this torture? Yes. Did it hurt anyone? Could have...

My 8th grade Chinese Algebra teacher once locked us in our classroom, closed all the windows and turned on the heat. This was the last week of school. It was June. It was already a hot day. When we started to complain that it wasn't fair, Mrs. W said "Life isn't fair. Get used to it."

Was that torture? Yep. Was she brought down by it? Nope. Did we learn anything from our discomfort? Not really...

If life is indeed about learning... If life is indeed about healing... If those of us who are here to do those two things believe in peace and make steps to seek and find peace, our mental alignment and calibration will simultaneously lift those in the business of greed that continue to escalate the differences and the violence. It comes down to power... use and abuse of power.

In retrospect, reporting both incidences in my early life, might have saved other unknowing campers/students from similar scary experiences. Was it fair or nice or necessary to threaten safety and cause discomfort? Did these counselors and this teacher get something out of abusing others? In the moment they did. But was it right? I bet they don't remember their behavior but many of us kids did. Had we reported their misconduct, they might be remembering it too and thinking before doing it again.

My therapist wanted me to write a blog about torture weeks ago. I resisted. I'm not an abuse specialist. She is. She said, "We heal by owning and acknowledging our mistakes." The more we hide, the more we have reason to hide and the more such treacherous thinking causes missteps and wrongful living. By saying, "This is what I did. I blew it and this was why. I'll try to do better", Then all involved can move forward into greater health.

Some think we'll lose face by admitting our sins. I think we just might regain it. We beat ourselves up, we sabotage our self or abuse family members when we harbor uncomfortable unspoken truths. What happens inside our own tribe is a microcosm for world politics. By fessing up in our own circle, we make it possible to heal that which is broken and wounded. By walking away, the wounds fester, eventually needing amputation. What's worse, a moment of discomfort in order to clean the wound and make possible, a healing. Or the continual lies that strip us of our souls and make us continue to abuse and therefore punish. What is your take?