One of the most damaging and disappointing aspects of our society, in my opinion, is the way we regard children as property. I have not birthed any children, so I recognize I am traversing a realm of triggers that I cannot fully grok. I must preface with this disclaimer : I recognize, honor and have great compassion for those parents just trying to do their best to traverse a broken system that they have had little choice in adopting. I understand the necessity of claiming ownership of your children in our current paradigm. Perhaps it will help to view this post throughthe lense of, "What if?".
"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself.
They come through you, but not from you,
and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
for their souls dwell in the House of Tomorrow,
which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable."
-From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
As I mentioned in my #introduceyourself, when I first move to Manitou, CO, I worked in the Colorado Springs/ Denver area as a case manager for a foster care placement agency called Special Kids Special Families, where we specialized in children with disabilities and "special needs". It was a very emotionally difficult, but eye-opening, position.
It was extraordinarily formidable for me considering my circumstances of being aware of the corruption of the system, raised on natural foods without vaccinations, and very liberally oriented in my interface with other humans. My boss, the Executive Director of this 501(c)3 who also reminded me of my mother, was a dedicated member of New Life Church. We often did not see eye to eye on things; such as taking on homosexual foster parents.
I felt pretty powerless to do anything from such a low-rung position. The paradox of this in human services has long been that those who actually get to interact with the people they are serving have the smallest voice in the system. Daily, I struggled with the choice to continue participating in this unjust force just to make as much positive impact as I was able to. I lasted one year.
Although I witnessed a lot of beauty during this time, I dealt with the ugly ripples of horrific violations against children. I also engaged in the failing court systems, sucking up so much time and resources while they stripped parents of their bonds with children for infractions such as smoking pot (This was before Colorado legalized it), and returned children to parents who had accidentally allowed babies in their care to swallow crack bags. It was all so backwards!
I did not leave on good terms with my boss. When I put in my notice, she flipped out! She began screaming at me and throwing my things out of my office. Unfortunately, this felt as though it severed my ties and separated me from the relationships I had developed with the children and foster parents. How would I ever be able to get hired as a professional child-care worker again? Though I have formed some blockages around my work with children, I have not forgotten the lessons nor shyed away from the reflections they offer me.
I left with the notion that all men should be temporarily sterilized, and would then need to apply to reverse it in order have children. Which of course went against all my beliefs regarding personal freedom, but I was willing to make an exception.
Years later I would come to find the Colorado Tribe that I now call family. Within that tribe, we found amongst us an exquisite soul named Taylor the Tailor,
who began an amazing project, which was initiated at the first festival I ever co-produced, Unify, and called
This traveling hub of imagination immersion and magickal creativity has grown and evolved so much over the years! I am so proud of everyone who has contributed to making it what it is. It has inspired me to hold the vision of what we can truly offer the youth as they step out into the mysteries of life.
What I want to build for the children is villages. Villages that don't see them as belonging to one person or another, but that adopt each one collectively and cares for them in kind.
What if we create a place where there is no need for custody battles, no child is neglected, and every youth is raised within a smorgasbord of varying guidance, aesthetics, wisdom, and personalities? Imagine that each child saw one another as siblings and was allowed the opportunity to really embody Mitakuye Oyasin (all my relations). What about the freedom to choose and the support to nurture their own course of education? How about communal gardens that nourish their precious, growing vessels, enhance a lifelong practice of growing their own non-toxic food, and promote eating in a way that prevents diseases once unheard of in children; such as diabetes, cancer, and many neurological dysfunctions? I could go on and on~~~
Indoctrination feeds on the survival-based genetic imprinting we are born with.
Most people have strongly retained the natural instinct to protect their biological offspring. The world has been presented to us by mass media as a terrifying place. It has also provided us the cultural context for acceptable ways to deal with our issues. On top of that, we have become isolated in our ticky-tacky fenced-in communities. This combination has parents gridlocked in their choices when faced with transitioning relationships and a system designed to form their little nuggets into just another cog in the wheel of The Machine.
Custody battles are rightly named. Rarely does anyone truly win, and the collateral damage to all the people involved, directly and indirectly, is not worth the forced resolution. Everyone is drained in one way or another, which takes vital energy and focus from the nurturing of the children. It's a horrible solution to a problem mostly created through our involuntary immersion into a diseased culture.
So what is a solution right now, since most of us don't yet live in a utopian ecovillage? Is there an alternative?
Well, aside from traversing this strange existence with as much awareness and love as possible, there are also supportive paradigms emerging that can help free our souls of a system that uses fear and isolation to trap people in hopeless cycles of consumerist mentality.
In forming the 13 Guilds of the StarTribe Alliance,
This evolutionary and evolving model focuses on discovering the underlying brokenness of an issue, and coming to mutually beneficial actions through the use of reflective listening and guided council. I'm sure I'll write an article one day that will go more in-depth on this wonderful practice. For now, I'll leave you with the brief intro, and, if you choose, you can delve in as far as the breadcrumbs I left take you. (BTW, I am saving up for a @startribealliance steemit, but if anyone feels inspired to sponsor one in the meantime, we would be most grateful to get it rolling sooner than later.)
Viewing children as property and asserting ownership over them is the source of many broken and injured families. In addition to The Prophet's philosophical statement, it inherently separates parents from the support of the wider commUnity, implying that these are your responsibility and your responsibility alone. You can either maintain that responsibility according to "our" standards or have your children taken from you, and be required to fight to get them back. Possession is 9/10's of the law, except when it comes to children. Instead, they are treated like a rope in a game of tug of war. It needs to stop. And we need to stop it by creating the villages... everywhere.
The villages don't have to look like the one in Brett Jones' painting. They can exist anywhere where people are willing to peacefully break down the imaginary walls and borders keeping them from knowing their neighbors, and through developing the relationships that foster the new paradigm of harmonious cocreation and sovereignty for all living creatures.
Until that is more prevalent and accessible, I have decided to abstain from intentionally birthing any children. Maybe it won't happen for me in this lifetime. I'm already in my mid-thirties, and I'm alright with that looming possibility because there are billions of children for me to love and nurture, and each one of them are as important as my offspring would be. I pray more people adopt this principle and that more people, well... adopt.
May this bring you peace in knowing you are not alone. The universe is conspiring to provide us with all the tools we need to live eXstatic lives. Will you pick up those tools and continue the work towards uplifting the next seven generations? I know I will. Let's do it together!
Alexis aka @alexstacy