It was one of the first warm days of spring, and I was with my second grade class at recess. At the tender age of just eight years old, I had already started going through puberty. Not only was I a full head and shoulders taller than my classmates, I thought differently, (getting “Source” messages and seeing the world through my 3rd eye), and now I was going through a  metamorphosis. It often felt like I was the main character in a Kafka novel. So, I already knew I didn’t fit in. “Weird” was commonly used to describe me, sometimes even by well-meaning people who loved me.

Timmy Loveless (perfect name, right?) pointed to my chest and said “You have boobies!” and laughed and then, soon, I was at the center of a circle of my classmates pointing and laughing. I wanted to curl up and die. I wanted to disappear. Forty years later, I still am unwrapping the “just disappear” response from my system.

Ridicule. It is possibly one of the most painful experiences we can face as humans. Most likely, it is what keeps us from stepping beyond our comfort zones, doing something our heart tells us because it may draw someone else’s harsh judgment.

I’ve heard many modern priestesses and “witchy” women talk about “the burning times,” acknowledging that the Sacred Feminine went underground because it was unsafe to stand in that power. “BUT,” they say, “the burning times are over!” Are they really?

Are “the burning times” really over?

Social media has become like a septic tank. Disconnected, stressed out, overwhelmed people are turning to it for so many reasons, and one of them seems to be dumping, without too much consequence, toxic emotions. It’s like road rage, except on steroids, and though you don’t run the risk of a car accident, there are harmful outcomes.

Being ridiculed (or even being seen as imperfect) used to be one of my worst fears that induced anxiety. My vulnerable “not good enough” wounding was already on hyper-alert, so not meeting the approval of my family or peers felt like death, and this is the deep psychological fear that gets activated with ridicule. Not so long ago, we relied on our tribe’s acceptance of us for survival. Banishing someone was, in actuality, a death sentence, and our DNA hasn’t really forgotten this.

In our bones there is a sense that if we are ridiculed, we will be outcast and die.

Based on what I have experienced for myself and supported hundreds of clients and friends through, it seems like there are a lot of ways that we, (especially womxn, and even more especially, BIPOC womxn), have shut down our voices, denied our authentic self-expression, kept ourselves from speaking up and speaking out, and not been willing to step into, fully own, and shine our power, wisdom, and gifts in the world because deep down, we can feel that . . .

the burning times haven’t ended, they’ve just evolved into trolls and toxic feeding frenzies.

Not so long ago, having ANYONE, even someone who didn’t know me, reflect something unkind felt devastating. It would get me right in that old wounding of “not good enough,” and it would take quite a bit of deep personal work to metabolize it so that I did not pass on the harm, or even return it to the sender.

In my commitment, as a leader, to be a safer person and a better ally, I have been in on-going process to release old programs that are unhealthy. Patriarchal, colonial, capitalist, “American,” human . . . Doing this deep inner work has allowed me to, more easily, stand in the face of someone else’s ridicule and respond so as to generate, or at lease open the door to, kindness, connection, and healing.

I was really blessed, recently, to have an opportunity to witness and heal that fear of ridicule even more fully . . . by having quite a bit of it coming at me. (Honestly, I think we’re literally not doing it “right” . . . at least according to the algorithms that run our social media show, if we’re not making someone angry.)

I was pleasantly surprised to find no response of defense, no self-protection, no upset, fear, or anxiety (which would have all been creating a knot deep in my stomach not so long ago). Instead, I found myself experiencing deep understanding, compassion, and loving kindness.

At first, I tried to respond with equanimity, but then realized there was a feeding frenzy going on and it was stirring up a lot of shit. I personally enjoyed many of the comments and found some of them amusing in many ways on the same level they were intended, and I realized that the “amusement” of others was based in anger and resentment and I knew I needed to take some space and not feed into it.

So, I sat with it; continued to just feel compassionate understanding, but no words, until I did my deep Sacred Feminine practice. It came to me what to say in response to all of the hateful and attacking things coming at me. Here’s what I wrote:

“First, I acknowledge and fully understand why and how you have the intense reactions and feelings you do about my post. There’s a lot of f’d up exploitation that feels intolerable and heart-breaking in me, too. No one with a heart or a conscience can witness what is happening right now without breaking inside. I understand your anger and judgment.

Thank you for releasing so much of your justified anger for me to be with. I feel no harm and make a commitment to not pass it on to anyone else or pass it back to you. Your anger is welcome here.

We are committed to create safe and sacred spaces for our diverse community to learn, heal, and grow together, because we value the potency and necessity of people from many different paths coming together to create a new reality, free from the divisiveness that we know our technocracy and social dilemmedia are conditioning us to recreate.

Please forgive me for not taking the time to read all of the comments. In fact, once I saw the general flavor of things, I stopped responding and very soon after that, stopped reading them altogether.

I’m heartbroken and most deeply and humbly ask for your forgiveness for any part of me that represents the violence, oppression, willful destruction, exploitation of, ugliness towards, unkindness, harmful action or deed against you or any of your ancestors, or relations.

I am committed to trade in my privilege for justice and peace and learning how to be a better ally to everyone.

Please forgive me for any way my actions, words, or behaviors have activated the ancestral or current trauma you face every day.

My prayer is that you find peace, ease, and comfort from the pain these unjust traumas have brought to you, and that I may play some small part in making that peace, ease, and comfort more accessible to you. Please let me know how I may assist that.

My devotion is to this mission: to create safe and sacred spaces for our diverse community to learn, heal, and grow, together. Our prayer, as a community, is for everyone to access their sovereignty and no longer fall subject to the oppression of anyone for any reason.

Our commitment is to engage with loving kindness and compassionate curiosity.

If you are willing to meet me in a place of loving kindness and compassionate curiosity, then I would be honored and delighted to respond to and answer to anything you need or want answered.

All who come in a good way are welcome.

If you are committed to generate more hate, anger, or divisiveness . . . I will graciously decline further dialogue.

Regardless of how you choose to move forward with this thread, I have only kind thoughts towards you, and pray for the health and well being of you and your relations.

May you thrive in peace and joy.”

There have been no further comments.

Shaming, mockery, and humiliation are all tools used by oppressors to dehumanize people, which facilitates atrocities against other human beings.

Creating a culture that embraces dignity, respect, and honoring basic human decency for all (maybe even going so far as to also be compassionate towards others who are different than us) is the only way to disallow inhumane realities for our human family.

What kind of culture are you feeding and growing? Are you indulging your personal pain by expressing it in unkind ways? If so, you are part of the problem. Your beliefs don’t make you better than anyone else. Your social status doesn’t make you more valuable. Clever words are not a cure. If there is anything that can actually set us apart as some sort of positive example, it is our behavior. How we act creates powerful reactions. Hateful, violent acts seem to generate more of the same. Loving kindness can stop immense toxicity in its tracks.

I would like to invite all who are called to take a stand for bringing kindness back, a reverence for life, human and otherwise. We are all so very quick to judge 45 for his toxic attacks, but if we’re involved in the same basic behavior, we have bought in to the whole program and are regenerating it and helping it to take over our humanity.

It’s really fucking hard to stop, take a deep breath, and choose the path of loving kindness in the face of so much pain, suffering, anger, fear, and ridicule. But this is the path of the true Sacred Rebel Priest:ess.

Stand in your truth, speak your truth, and meet all who come your way with reverence and an invitation to bring hard thoughts and feelings out of the shadows and into a sacred light that awakens our ability to live in peace amidst diversity. If we can’t master, or even just VALUE this, our days are truly numbered.

I have MILES to go in this quest to meet toxicity with an open heart and mind, but I know that the more of us who commit to learning how to be love Djedis, the better chance we have of healing what has been creating so much destruction and suffering in our world.

Will you join me?

“I commit to showing up with loving kindness for all I encounter.”

If you’re interested in being a part of a community committed to Loving Kindness and creating connection through learning, healing, and growing within diversity, please reach out. We’re here for you.