A sensitive confession
I woke up this morning hunted by a slave girl’s heartbreak.
You would think that I have watched the movie 12 Years a Slave, but I only saw a 30 seconds clip of Lupita the actress that captured our imagination.
As much as I am happy that this story is being told, as much as I admire the people who took part of it and brought it to life, as much as I would like it to be a box office success, I have to admit I can’t go and see this movie.
I know by now my own limitations. I know that I don’t have the ability to stomach it.
It is not new to me. I think I am the only Jewish person who didn’t see Schindler’s List. And again, I am so happy that this story is being told and that we are at a stage of examining our past.
Discovering that I can’t watch what other people can watch, shocked me, surprised me, shamed me and embarrassed me most of my life. It took me half a lifetime to understand and accept who I am.
When I was a child I was an eager learner. When I read the adults newspaper on a Saturday siesta about exposing abuse of children in Britain institutions, I broke. I read details of things I could not imagine existed and something in me lost its innocence.
My mother said that I talked about killing myself for two weeks straight. It took me many months to restore my faith in humanity.
Later, I learned that people absorb information differently. I, for some crazy reason, felt the infliction of suffering on my skin and on my organs. I started my journey of awareness and it took me to places that helped me heal, expand, create, and eventually heal others.
In that delicate time, I had to protect my psyche from harm. I didn’t see many people; especially not crowds and toxic people, and I only watched musicals and sitcoms. The BBC saved my sanity with its primetime gardening programs.
When I got stronger I started to look for a way to live in the world.
Technology exposed us to too much information. We could suddenly see devastating wars on live tv. Human suffering being broadcast simultaneously from multiple locations. Overload to the sensitive heart.
I personally admire people who are strong enough to be in daily contact with suffering and fight injustice, and still are able to stay in their light and center.
A few years ago when I felt stronger, I created a Journey program for women saved from trafficking. The first few weeks I could not sleep, even though I didn’t know their personal stories. Their pain came across and touched me.
Still, I feel they helped me heal. Using my talents to bring happiness and helping them to use their voice was so profound that I could see their inner power bounce back. Not everyone could, but some of them showed me what freedom we have when we are choosing to heal.
Even though it is painful to be in the world as it is, we can‘t abandon it. We must love what it is.
Too much exposure to pain and suffering can desensitize us. Do I want to harden and careless? No. I am an artist, a woman, and a mother. The qualities of sensitivity, gentleness and even fragility, are healthy and necessary to have. Choosing to escape painful reality through an addiction is also not for me.
What to do? We cherish and protect our gentleness. I want to stay here, loving and awake!!
Now, I have observed that the most amazing people I meet, somehow went through their own version of this journey. They came out at the other end and they help us by being who they are: sensitive and caring.
That is where wisdom and compassion come from, and what we want more of.