Hold the Light & Imagine

Remember the Present

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We are human beings, both you and me – and yet we are so much more than we appear to be. We are composed of millions of particles of Light inside of us at the very core of our being.  We are co-creators with the Divine unseen forces, both within us and within the fabric of this Garden of Life. Our existence…matters.

When we hold the Light of our heart – every moment we breathe holds the potential of what yet can be, but when the light is subdued by the shadows of our wounds we find ourselves bathed in fear or awash in grief. We tend to forget what we can achieve and become blind to what others may need. When we hide the Light inside us, our world seems to suffer an immeasurable number of things.

It’s a simple fact that humans are destroying our world. We have turned a blind eye and ignored the plethora of evidence all around us.  There are thousands of other living beings and lifeforms that have been annihilated and more still suffering from the human storm. Old paradigms we were taught to believe has brought us to this present moment in time.

When I look back at the years of my Life and I see beyond the mundane news and take in the overall effect of humans on this planet. My heart hurts. I see patterns that have shaped the current conditions in our country and around the world. I see the shadow of abuses from the past, how it has grown into a global entity in the abuse of power and the rise of what the King James version of the Bible calls – the god of Mammon or money

When we hold the Light of our soul – we Inspire others. When we hold the Light of our heart forward to see – it dispels the darkness so others can see that the Light inside of them is also needed. When we share the Light – we Help Life heal.

Imagine the land, water, and air would be pristine because no one is raping or pillaging the resources of our planet for profit. Educating children to become the new stewards of Life and caretakers of our heavenly home.

Imagine the blessings and bounty of the Mother Earth recovered from the centuries of abuse from the greed of mankind. Imagine our ability to recapture Her full bounty, Her grace and Her blessings for all.

Imagine future stewards of faith and vision working together with each other to feed ourselves and one another, to cultivate, harvest and prepare the free natural God given medicines, health, and care for ourselves, our families and each other instead of the need for greed.

Imagine that. No one would go hungry, no one would have to worry about medical bills, or paying for education. No one would need to be concerned about a corporate toxic waste dump in their backyard or poisoned wells or aquifers from mining uranium that is killing them or their children. No nuclear waste or garbage under our feet bleeding into the soil where our food grows or illegally being dumped in our oceans.

Can you Imagine the whole world having Tesla’s free sustainable energy that no one has to pay for? No electric grid would be needed, no oil spills, no drilling and no need for fossil fuels. Imagine no homeless people – ever. Imagine no senior citizen not able to pay their mortgage or light bill in the winter or sitting without food because their medicine is outrageously high.

Imagine a child’s education geared toward what they are drawn to naturally. Imagine our warriors at home, caring for the home front here at home instead of fighting a wasteful political war to control a region or a marketplace or a commodity. Imagine people working together to build someone a house, a community center, a healing center, local gardens, farms or hydroponic stations, building and setting up solar panels.

So what would the governments and corporations do? Here’s a thought. They are fired and reassigned a new title with specific tasks that would provide every community with the necessary mandated materials in each State. Each State would distribute and deliver the necessary sustainable materials to each community and or individual at no charge. Maybe even require them to help put all the pieces together once they get there.

I believe all things are possible. I believe the destiny of humanity can change. I believe we can heal ourselves, each other and our planet. I believe we can enrich the whole world by making it sustainable for All Life. It is only the mind of mankind needs to change.

You and I may not see this Garden of Eden restored in our lifetime, but perhaps it could be a dream for future generations to aspire toward. Think, Dream and Imagine the different Future for yourself, your children and this beautiful blue jewel in the Heavens that is designed to sustain All Life.

May your day be blessed.

 

 

The Abuse of Power – Part V

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Today is the day of reckoning for my friend in her fight to keep full custody of her child. My husband dropped me off at my her house this morning. When I knocked on the door she reminded me of a squirrel chasing another squirrel up and down a tree. Except the squirrel she was chasing was invisible.

She was bouncing around from room to room, shuffling paperwork, printing off last minute copies, looking for photographs of injuries inflicted on her child and other items associated with her case – and she wasn’t dressed yet. She was geared up and going nowhere fast.  She was driving us to the courthouse in downtown traffic in this state of mind. It made me pause, and that became the cause for me to pray for her, the drive and the day. I stopped her long enough to give her a hug. She was scared to death of loosing her only child to her abuser.

It’s 9:00 o’clock a.m. when we were actually walking into the court room. A few others came to give her the moral support she needed and to be a witness on her behalf. She was frantic, carrying a cardboard box of paperwork while her opponents dressed accordingly toting their own in stylish crates on wheels.

We did the best we could, in the short window of time that we had, to pull together as much information as we could, so she could defend her right to retain custody of her abused child. To do so, she would have to stand up and state her case, then prove the ‘abuse’ really existed.

The Plaintiff, (her abuser) and his attorney sit at a table to her right. On her left are two other attorneys, each representing a State agency that had a variety of interactions with the Defendant.  My friend, has been relegated to sitting in very the center of the room, directly in front of the judge. I felt an overwhelming sense of the imbalance of things.

Over the years, this woman had no choice but to send her child or leave him with his abuser. A court order took the choice right out of her hands. She even went to jail for 30 days and was slammed with a year of probation by withholding her son from his abuser.

My friend had sought out help from the resources available within the system in her region, and she was referred to other programs in the process. A Guardian Ad Litem had been appointed to her son by a previous court order, and an attorney with that agency was present in court today.

My friend fulfilled her obligations of attending all court ordered programs including co-parenting classes with her abuser and jumped through all the hoops they required.

Today, it looked as if they were all taking a definitive stance against her. Both agencies appeared to be contact with her abuser’s attorney from the glances, smirks and verbal exchanges within the courtroom. All the people involved in this case over the span of years have given their opinions. Some have assessed, evaluated and judged their position on the custody of this child. Judgments that may have been colored by their personal interactions with my friend along the way.

There is a great deal of research available to show us what few know, acknowledge or  even talk about when it comes to “the abuse of power in the system” on the people who are up to their neck and treading water in it.

“As in many other professional contexts, detection of abuse has been a major problem in the context of custody evaluations. In many custody-visitation proceedings, professionals fail to detect.”  In addition, Daniel G. Saunders states When evaluators are taught that women are the primary victims, they may produce biased evaluation outcomes. Implicit bias in the courtroom. UCLA Law Review, 59(5), 1124–1186.

“Recommendations for custody and visitation in cases involving intimate partner violence (IPV) need to be developed with extreme care. Victims and their children risk serious harm if sole or joint custody is awarded to a violent parent, or if that parent is not awarded custody but has poorly supervised visits” Evaluation Practices and Policies in Cases of Intimate Partner Violence, Journal of Child Custody, 12:1, 71-92, DOI: 10.1080/15379418.2015.1037052 – (Research Based Recommendations for Child Custody); Kang, J., Bennett, M., Carbado, D., Casey, P., Dasgupta, N., Faigman, D., & Mnookin, J. (2012).

“Research also shows that victims of domestic violence are greatly disadvantaged in mediation that that mediators failed to recognize and report domestic violence cases.” “This review focuses primarily on male-to-female violence because….women are more severely injured physically and psychologically than men.” Ref: Daniel G. Saunders, PhD.

“Mediation of child custody disputes is mandated in several states. Investigators have averred that victims of domestic violence (DV) are greatly disadvantaged in mediation. The present study empirically evaluated outcomes and found that mediators failed to recognize and report DV in 56.9% of the DV cases. The court’s screening form failed to indicate DV in at least 14.7% of the violent cases. Mediation resulted in poor outcomes for DV victims in terms of protections, such as supervised visitation and protected child exchanges. Mediator capacity to focus on the child’s best interest was called into question. Child custody mediation should not be mandated in cases of DV.” Child custody mediation in cases of domestic violence: Empirical evidence of a failure to protect. Violence Against Women, 11(8), 1022–1053. doi:10.1177=1077801205278043 – 

We all know that interactions from some women facing the system and those within the system is traumatic in and of itself. My friend has been diagnosed with PTSD was being cornered by not one attorney, but a total of three attorneys. She is overwhelming stressed and is “shaking” as she speaks after 10 years of having to encounter her abuser by court order and having no choice than to leave her child with her known abuser.

The thought of her abuser having full custodial rights and being the primary caretaker of her son, after 10 years of fighting for her sanity and her son, was almost too much for her to bear. These attorneys “knew” exactly what they were doing by placing her in the middle of the room between them and directly in front of the judge. They knew she would not be able to communicate efficiently.

My friend waved me up front to sit with her at the table, not only for support but a sense that she wasn’t standing alone. All three attorney’s approached the judge and I was removed from sitting with her “because I was not an attorney.” She was visibly stricken and started shaking a bit more, knowing she would have to be up there on her own. The process was slow. The Plaintiff’s’ attorney, an attorney for DSS and the court designated attorney that was appointed as Guardian Ad Litem for her son, all took their time to state their case.

Meanwhile, the subtle interactions between all three attorney’s across the aisle did not go unnoticed by those of us in the gallery, nor did the judge miss a thing. It was not only unprofessional from all of them, including their witnesses, it was childish. The fact that the judge didn’t miss a thing made me smile.

When my friend got to question the witnesses for the State and the Plaintiff, she did her best. She was clearly not an attorney. The judge knew this. She was confused and unfocused, but she held herself up and didn’t break down. Her questions led nowhere and in fact there were many times she forgot to ask a question at all. The blessing was that the judge was patient and tolerant (to the dismay of the State and the Plaintiff’s attorney). He saw her condition and he saw the smirks and chuckles of the “professionals” who were attempting to break her down fly across the tables in front of him.

It wasn’t until well after a late lunch break that my friend was able to “state her case.” Her defining moment was when she held up her timeline with backup copies of the original planners to submit it into evidence and spoke up loud and proud – “This is MY VOICE!” “This document IS My Voice your honor!” This is a historical account of the abuse over the past 10 years that both I and my son have endured.

All three attorneys “objected” it as evidence. All three, especially the Plaintiff’s attorney voicing it as being “highly objected” as evidence. My friend’s questioning of her abuser already revealed her client’s arrest records which unseated her considerably and undermined the case that he was a “good man.” The document in question provided additional proof, and was complete with doctor’s names, hospital records and even a handwritten letter from her deceased mother that my friend found after her mother passed a few months ago. In addition, she had a recorded statement from her deceased mother in the Social-Emotional Evaluation of her son by one of the State agencies.

I truly feel her mother was present at her side during this last phase of this hearing session. She had very little time to pull it all together. The judge “accepted” her documents into evidence despite ALL of their objections. I bowed my head in gratitude for that defining moment.

The hearing lasted right up till 6:00 p.m. last Tuesday. The Plaintiff’s attorney thought she had the case nailed, as did the other two attorneys for the State. She pushed “twice” for a ruling at the close, and requested that the child be removed immediately and placed into the father’s care.  She also had the audacity to request surveillance on my friend citing her “mental state” and the potential that she would flee the State. Really???

The judge shook his head at her callousness and denied her a ruling on the spot, stating that he would have to look at “ALL” of the evidence presented and that he would “email” his ruling to her, the other attorneys present and to the mother “when he was done.” You would think an attorney would not have a temper tantrum like a two year old. It was quite funny watching her twist her lip and make faces as if no one was looking. I swear she stomped one foot in the process. I believe the Plaintiff’s attorney was beside herself. In fact, all three of them were all stunned.

At the writing of this post, there has still been no word of the judges ruling. It looks like we will have to wait a little longer.

What do you think will happen?

 

The Abuse of Power – Part IV

adult alone black and white blur
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This is not a picture of my friend, but I really do feel that it portrays the sorrow, suffering and only a smidgeon of the frustration and futility that she has experienced through this harrowing journey. She is facing a court hearing that will determine full custodial rights of her child to either her or her known abuser.  She has NO attorney to help her continue the fight for herself or for her child.

So we went to work. In reviewing my friends personal planner/journal of chronological events of abuse turned out to be a historical calendar of her 10-year history of physical, mental, emotional and financial abuse. Her court documents were records of information that would not have been available to us without them.

Her personal planner/journal would indeed be “Her Voice.” So together we diligently went through it all. Month by month we scraped out the information and compiled an Excel spreadsheet that detailed the sequence of events, encounters, communication difficulties, and accounts of every level of abuse that had befallen herself and her son.

The process became a stunning revelation of her story and for herself. She had no idea that her diligence, her fervor and her “pen” would become her greatest ally. Everything she was fighting for, every interaction and every step she had taken to get help from various State agencies was listed in her planner.

We learned that the father of her child had previously been arrested for “Assault by Pointing a Gun, and Assault on a Female” in 2007. We learned later that there had been up to 6 other charges filed against this man prior to that. We also learned that his brother was currently incarcerated for abuse as well. So there is a pattern of abuse that seems to run in the family. The man was going through a divorce when he met my friend, and it appears women were not at the top of his list of favorite people when he learned his girlfriend was pregnant.

The verbal, emotional and mental abuse was already underway in their relationship. Eight months and 3 days from the date that these charge were filed against him in 2007,  this same man abused his pregnant girlfriend for the first time by grabbing her by the throat while forcefully holding her down on a bed choking off her airway as she is struggling to get him off the top of her and breathe. She was six months pregnant. He also repeated this display of power, control, threat of bodily harm in his rage on two other occasions. She was scared. She had never been abused and didn’t know what to do except fight back.

In 2010, a file was duly recorded and documented under a 311 call about her abuser “communicating threats.” Her child was diagnosed with a broken collar bone, while under the care of the abuser,  had another fall out of a swing landing on his head three months later, along with another head injury to the boy one month thereafter.

He also mysteriously fell off the wheel well of this father’s truck, while in his father’s care. The fall scratched his belly and punctured his side when he landed on a triangular with a piece of metal. These accounts did not include the physical, emotional, mental and financial abuses to his girlfriend and mother of his child.

We also unveiled a written and recorded statement from my friend’s deceased mother. The 2011 statement had been recorded by an agency worker who conducted a Social-Emotional Evaluation on her son at the age of 2 years and 3 months old. That statement expounded a grandmother’s rage, live and on tape, stating boldly that “she will not tolerate any more physical abuse to her daughter or to her grandson by the her abuser.”

In addition, we uncovered a family pattern of abuse by the boy’s father toward his other children. A pattern that is already being seated in her own child. In addition her son has come home with accusations of sexual abuse by various members of his father’s family.

We had all of these incidents documented over a period of 10 years and yet the Department of Social Services and other State agencies involved to date state that the allegations of abuse were investigated and they deduced that all of the allegations of abuse were false” even with doctor’s records that were readily available.

Now, all we needed to do was to get the judge on Tuesday to agree to allow this timeline of historical abuse into evidence.

The abuse of power comes to the forefront in the next post…Read on in Part V.

 

 

The Abuse of Power – Part III

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We chose to compile significant events that could be useful for her to lay out her case before court from the detailed records she kept of her experiences directly from her planner.

My friend gave birth to a baby boy in March of 2009. My friend’s mother, her abuser boyfriend and his ex-wife were present to welcome the child into the world. Four months later she was asking him to sign over custody and he refused.

She expressed to me that she did not feel it was right to keep a father from his child’s life. I believe she tried to honor that. So despite her own misgivings, she made an effort to “keep the peace” but the interactions between them continued to escalate. For her, there was no peace to be found.

In Jan 2010, she is calling 311 to ask them to educate her on how to file a report on someone who was “communicating threats.” She explained that he was enraged and played out a drama of him holding a gun to his head, while he is blaming her for his insanity. She told him it was a shame he felt that way. He responded by telling her “not to worry, that if he decided to take himself out, then he would make sure to take her with him,” as he turned and walked out the door with their son. 311 told her that the person who communicated the threat had to specifically state they were going to kill her, in order for a report to be filed in their system. What she was trying to report was too vague.

May of 2010 a peculiar incident occurred involving her 1 yr -2mo. old son. On her way to work she dropped him off with his father at 8:00 a.m. When she comes home around 5:00 p.m. to pick up their son she immediately notices something wrong when she goes to pick him up. The boy jerks, then cringes and curls up to guard one side of his body.  She feels the area and “knows” something is not right. When she questions the father asking him what happened, his response is “I don’t know, he hasn’t been acting right since lunch.”

“Now here I’m thinking, “Really???” It’s 5 o’clock in the evening. Five hours have passed since “lunch” and he doesn’t know? Is he not paying attention? or does he already know what is wrong with his son???  It seemed he was aware of ‘something’ just by looking at his statement. He knew his son “hadn’t been acting right since lunch,” but he doesn’t check the boy out?”

So mom immediately calls the nurse line at the child’s pediatrician’s office. After waiting a short time for a response, she chooses not to wait any longer and takes their son to the Children’s Emergency Room. The diagnosis: a broken collar bone.

In the Emergency Room, the father admits the child was in his care, and now states to the physician that, “he either fell off the couch or on the kitchen floor.

The doctor, as a mandated reporter, calls a social worker in. All she wants to know is how it happened. The father acts differently now toward the social worker. He tells her its all his fault because his son was in his care, but that he is totally clueless as to his son’s condition. The Social worker appeared to do nothing. There was no follow up and no further contact had taken place as far as my friend knew.

My friend was truly shaken by this. He was evasive in answering until they got to the hospital.  It was one thing for her to try and fight back, but her child? Her child would not have the ability to defend himself. Now it wasn’t just her being abused. His neglect may have caused her son’s injury, or he may have been the cause of the injury himself. The seed of fear for the safety of her child had been planted.

Three months later, the boy sustained a fall from a swing, hitting his head, while in the care of his father. A month later, during an argument, he picks up my friend carries her out the door, down the stairs and drops her in the gravel. Three weeks after that, her son comes home from his father’s with a huge “knot” right in the middle of his forehead. That is the 3rd head injury I have noticed now. Weeks after that he is threatening to turn her phone service off…and more. Much of what she has endured, in the current years that have passed, has yet to be chronicled on the timeline.

In some brief online research I learned a few things about the effects of abuse on a child; and please keep in mind that the mother was physically abused while the child was still in the womb.

“The physical effects of domestic violence on children, different than the effects of direct abuse. Those effects can start when they are a fetus in their mother’s womb.”Ref: Horner, G. (2005). Domestic violence and children: effects of domestic violence on children. Journal of Pediatric Health Care, 19(4):206-212.

“Many independent prospective studies have now shown that if a mother is stressed, anxious or depressed while pregnant, her child is at increased risk for having a range of problems, including emotional problems, ADHD, conduct disorder and impaired cognitive development.”  Talge NM, Neal C, Glover V. Antenatal maternal stress and long-term effects on child neurodevelopment: how and why? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2007;48(3-4):245-61.

“Both altered brain structure and function have been shown to be associated with prenatal stress.” (7) Buss C, Davis EP, Muftuler LT, Head K, Sandman CA. High pregnancy anxiety during mid-gestation is associated with decreased gray matter density in 6-9-year-old children. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2010;35(1):141-153.(8) Mennes M, Van den Bergh B, Lagae L, Stiers P. Developmental brain alterations in 17 year old boys are related to antenatal maternal anxiety. Clinical Neurophysiology 2009;120(6):1116-22.

For more information on how it affects a child’s brain function, check this out:  https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/inbrief-the-impact-of-early-adversity-on-childrens-development/

Basically, when a mother is physically, mentally, emotionally or psychologically abused, the effects of the stress on her, inflicted by the abuser while pregnant, can affect the brain of a child “in utero” because the brain has not fully developed yet. Any biochemical changes in the mother’s body can affect the growth and development of the fetal brain.

My friends son has been diagnosed with ADHD, and has also been diagnosed with symptoms of autism. He sees a Behavioral specialist, is enrolled in speech therapy for speech delay and occupational therapy for sensory integration since 2011. According to Social Services over the years, they are still saying that abuse allegations have not been proven.

Any further abuse inflicted on either the mother or the child “after” the birth of a child, only compounds as the years progress.

 

More to follow in Part IV –