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When my children were young and one of them would do something I’d praise, the other two would invariably ask: what about me?
It always surprised me that if I said something nice about one, the other two needed immediate validation. It’s as if seeing their sister get attention made them question their own worthiness.
It is understandable in children, of course. That is how we form our self-concept in childhood—through the behavior of other people, the way they treat us, what they say about us.
Many of us continue into adulthood, needing outside validation to know where we stand. We need people to agree with our vision of the world so that we don’t feel threatened. Because to disagree feels unsafe.
I tried to teach my children that my heart is able to hold love for each one of them. That when I give attention to one of them, it does not take anything away from my love for each of them.
I try to hold on to that understanding in my adult relationships, too. I train myself to live in a paradox, where I can hold more than one truth at the same time. I try to remember that when someone disagrees with me it is not a threat to my worthiness. We can perceive reality based on our individual experiences and still respect another’s sovereignty to hold their own unique point of view.
It takes real effort for me to disagree with my husband, my mother, my friend, and not to take it personally nor make them wrong. It requires real mindful presence and compassion.
In view of current events, my discourse about intergenerational trauma, karmic patterns, the need to look within, the need to start making different choices for our future, against dehumanization and othering, against war, against polarized thinking is at times uncomfortable for me to make and creates confusion in my readers as to where my loyalty lies.
When I speak out against the slaughter of innocent people in Gaza, I have people reach out in fear and anger, wondering if I’m saying that the innocent people massacred in Israel on October 7th were somehow deserving of being “slaughtered, raped, burned alive?” to quote a concerned reader.
My answer is an emphatic “No.”
No one deserves to be slaughtered, raped, burned alive.
Not in the past, not now.
And that is my whole point.
I can mourn the endless, multigenerational suffering of my Jewish family and speak up and condemn violence against all people. One doesn’t take away from the other.
I ask from all of us a more nuanced reflection: can we feel our pain, our grief, our fear, and not want to exterminate the other?
I’m not interested in spewing venom and trying to prove who “started it.”
What I’m interested in exploring is why this unspeakable violence continues.
Why it repeats over and over and over.
Because we humans keep reacting in the same way: through revenge, retaliation, and war.
In order to belong to a group, we’ve been trained to override our humanity, to go against our nature.
It is natural for us to find images of children being killed intolerable. Our attempt to justify the killings is man-made: it is conditioning, brainwashing, propaganda.
Violence has become so normalized that we excuse it in the name of ideology, of seeking safety in distorted principles.
When we justify separation, division, and the killing of children, we dehumanize ourselves.
Our conditioning is leading us toward the unnatural, toward self-destruction.
Waking up is essential.
This means throwing out the map for behavior we’ve been handed down in the old paradigm, where suppression, depression, and oppression have become the norm.
I was born a Jew, with heavy intergenerational trauma. We’ve already suffered the slaughtered children in my family.
How do I heal this wound?
By demanding more violence, revenge, retaliation?
No—that just perpetuates this wound, spreads it like a virus to more people.
This is what we are observing now.
I do not believe more children need to die to pay for my family’s (and my larger Jewish family’s) suffering.
I’ve been working on alchemizing this personal pain so that I can offer it as medicine of peace to the world.
What I’m expressing is not intellectual. I’m led through my embodied presence, an inner guidance that I simply cannot ignore. I’ve learned to trust it.
But I cannot tell you what to do.
The decisions and choices we are making right now are for each one of us to figure out.
We can no longer look for validation on the outside or ask for permission to speak and act in the way that only our soul can tell us.
The questions I ask myself in the middle of all this death: How do I want to live? Who do I want to be while I am still breathing?
May the horror of current events put the end to distortions of our conditioning.