Gratitude

Children at the Border. This is Not Political. This is about Humanity.

Hello dear one. I am writing from a place of anger and despair today. I am writing about the situation at the border where children have been taken away from their mothers and fathers. This email doesn't (nor could it possibly) contain all my thoughts, ideas, or knowledge on this subject. I need to say that because you may feel I left something important out, or maybe don't go into enough depth. I'm sure both these things are true. Still, this is the best I can do today.

This is not a political crisis. This is a HUMANITARIAN crisis.

Every single morning my son climbs into bed and snuggles with me after he wakes up and we get to giggle and talk about the day ahead. I get to hold him and hug him. I get to read to him at night and tuck him into bed.

My son has the incredible luxury it seems, to feel SAFE. He gets to know where his parents are. He gets to be HUGGED by his parents. He has enough food to eat. He has a cozy bed to sleep in. He can walk out into the world and not feel unsafe or afraid.

My son has what parents want for their children. Love, safely, belonging...and freedom to dream of his future.

The thought of my son being taken away from me and placed into some huge, austere detention center rips my heart to shreds. The image of him all alone, terrified, confused, and wanting his mama kills me. The idea that he wouldn't be safe there--safe from verbal, mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse (all of which have been reported in these centers) shatters my soul.

All I have to do is think of one little seven year old, torn away from their parents, alone and afraid, and I crumple. It doesn't matter that it isn't MY CHILD. Children--ALL CHILDREN--need and deserve our protection.

Children are vulnerable by nature and incredibly susceptible to abuse. They look to adults to guide and protect them and it is that trust that enables people to hurt them.

By separating them from their family WE ARE CAUSING IRREPARABLE TRAUMA TO THESE CHILDREN.

And on the note of ALL CHILDREN needing and deserving our protection-I need to acknowledge the inherent racism and bigotry that is occurring at our borders. Make no mistake-it is easier for a lot of people to stomach this because these humans are "not like us."

The idea that there is a limit to compassion is dangerous.

I've read a lot of people online saying, "Well, Obama did this, too!" then others replying, "No, George Bush Sr. started this!" AS IF POINTING A FINGER IN BLAME WILL CHANGE ANYTHING. I have learned that this policy has been going on for decades in our country. It is in the news now because of the incredible escalation and high numbers at which is it occurring under our current administration. But I personally don't think it is helpful to point fingers on this. Whoever started it, whichever administration allowed it--they are all wrong and I hold them all accountable. I'm sick of the partisanship around this. Humans need to get in touch with their own moral compass outside of what party they vote for!

There's a lot I don't know about all of this. I am learning. Maybe you know more than me. Maybe you're learning, too. Awesome. The question becomes, WHAT CAN WE DO?

HERE'S A LIST OF SOME OF THE THINGS YOU CAN DO:

1) Call and write your US Representative and Senators and let them know how you feel. Do this even if you already know they are against this--they need to hear from their constituency so that they know it is something they should devote time and political will towards. Read this to find out how to call your members of Congress.

2) Speak up and stand up for what is right and good. Engage in dialogue. That said--if it is clear that someone isn't actually willing to have an actual dialogue it is okay not to engage. That's a boundary you should keep because otherwise you're going to become too despondent and cynical to have the energy to create the change you wish to create. But there are a lot of really good, caring people out there that just don't know but would be happy to know...they are dealing with their own crazy lives and maybe haven't had the emotional bandwidth to stop and think about this stuff. (I understand. God knows I often feel like hiding from these issues as they are so intense.)

3) Donate money. Here are some reputable organizations doing good work:

4) Collect in kind donations to send to groups. Call the organization and ask what they need before sending anything. Often a bag of toiletries in incredibly helpful (shampoo, conditioner, razor, soap). I am going to be organizing in kind donations in my community and sending them to the Kino Border Initiative (at least to start).

 

Our song for today is a repeat because I think of it as an anthem for doing good in the world. It's called Legacy and it asks the important question of what we want our legacy to be.

She sings:

What do you stand for?

What brings you to your knees?

What do you live for?

What are you dying to see?

What did you come here for?

And what will you leave?

When you're gone what lives on as your legacy?

 

NINA GRAE - LEGACY

 

 

Sending you all so much love.

Elijah

 

This is Me

How are you doing, Beautiful? If you read last week's post you know I was feeling a little low...I talked about "waiting it out" which is something I've really learned to do when things feel a bit hard.

I'm feeling much better! On the upswing! But now here's the rub--I've been sitting in front of my laptop for hours writing and deleting, writing and deleting...because basically I'm like, "What the f**k do I want to say this week???!!" It's not that I don't have any ideas! I HAVE TOO MANY IDEAS! Ha! And that is kind of freezing me up!

Curious what my ideas are? Here's a little brain dump for you:

  • Women's hormones and the patriarchy.
  • History of the Goddess and how the church systematically repressed positive female images through hundreds of years of propaganda (that lead to what many scholars call a gender genocide with the burning of "witches").
  • How women's obsession with our looks and our bodies is absolutely a tool to hold us down and hold us back--as if the value we bring to the world is how we look! (It was not always this way. There is another way!)
  • The fact that woman are told we are crazy and unpredictable but how that is total bullsh*t.
  • The rules we are taught as women (for example "Everyone else's needs are more important than yours") and how those rules are not even things we are aware of and yet they totally define our lives, rob us of our own personal desires, subjugate us, keep us feeling guilty, and absolutely hold us back.
  • How the construct of the patriarchy has diminished the feminine and that as a result the world is wildly out of balance and we are, in fact, destroying it.
  • Fear and love. We are either acting from fear or coming from love. This is everything.

So many other things. I need time to sort through them all and figure out how and even why I want to talk to you about them.

EVERYTHING in my heart is about busting out of these chains that bind us as humans, so we can BREAK FREE, LIVE FREE, AND HELP HEAL THE WORLD.

Who am I and what do I want to do with my life? This is a question that so many of my friends (men and women alike) and clients are asking. I mean, TRULY WHO AM I??? Are we even allowed to be asking that? I believe if we're not asking that, we aren't asking the right questions. Everything comes from that starting point.

So in the spirit of BREAKING FREE I'm sharing this with you today because, honestly, this video MOVES ME. I cry. It is such pure joy and freedom and busting out from the chains that bind us! I hope you feel the same way. The little speaking exchange at the very beginning just gets me in the heart.

This is Me with Kaela Settle and The Greatest Showman Ensemble

 

 

 

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
'Cause we don't want your broken parts
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one'll love you as you are

But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that's what we've become (yeah, that's what we've become)

I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me

and I know that I deserve your love
(Oh-oh-oh-oh) 'cause there's nothing I'm not worthy of
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh)
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I'm meant to be, this is me

Look out 'cause here I come (look out 'cause here I come)
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I'm gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
Oh
This is me

 

Love you,

Elijah

Dealing with two ER visits in 6 months

Hello dear you! It has been pretty crazy over here in the Selby-Kogan household. This is a long email, so why don't you get a cup of coffee or tea, get comfy and read on!

It isn't me that has been in the ER...well, I've been there but only to BRING my husband, Scott. These visits and the recovery times have been powerful experiences in our household. Yes, they have been disruptive. Yes, they have been challenging. But we've also learned a lot and grown and we've grown because we are both committed to that in our relationship. But trust me, it isn't always easy.

For those of you that don't know, at the end of January Beck (my son) came down with influenza. Influenza is a very nasty virus and every year otherwise healthy people end up in the ER as a result of it. It can be particularly hard on the young and the old. Beck was very sick and had a fever that ran for 10 days but he got better and headed back to school with all his 5 year old energy in tact. My husband, Scott, picked up the virus from Beck during that time and also came down with influenza.

After about 5 days, Scott started to turn the corner and felt a little bit better. So he made the mistake (huge mistake!) of going back to work. A day and a half later he was back home in bed and feeling worse than ever. That was a Tuesday. By Friday he seriously looked like a zombie. I can't explain it but he was so ashen, so changed, his voice didn't even sound the same...it was scary. He saw his doctor and also called the advice nurse over that weekend because he was feeling so miserable. But the doctor and advice nurse kept saying, "You have a virus, there's nothing to do but rest." The thing medical professionals look for in influenza is bacterial infection in the lungs which leads to pneumonia but Scott wasn't presenting with any of those symptoms so they just kept telling him to rest.

Fast forward to Monday and it was clear we had to go to the ER. It is a very frightening thing to see your partner looking like he's at death's door but that is what it looked like. I was clear-headed and strong in my resolve that we needed to go to the ER but I was also scared. The idea of anything happening to Scott was too much to bear.

We went early in the morning which, by the way, is the best time to go to the ER. They checked him inright away and started him on fluids. The ER doc performed an exam and parroted what others had said, "You have a virus, there's not much we can do." I was shocked. It was evident to me that something else was going on and let me tell you there was NO WAY I was going to let him be discharged. Scott was complaining that his elbow was in a lot of pain and by late morning his elbow was red and hot to the touch. Long story slightly shorter: they stuck a huge needle into his elbow and drew out a ton of fluid, tested it, and realized that Scott was septic. The elbow had a septic infection and the bacteria had entered his blood stream. This was scary--sepsis can kill you if not caught in time. Thank goodness we caught it intime. He was scheduled for surgery that day and they went in and "scrubbed" his elbow. Luckily the bacteria hadn't done any visible damage to the bone or cartilage. He was placed on very heavy duty antibiotics.

He was in the hospital for a week. They subsequently discovered he had a sinus infection caused by strep and that the strep had migrated into his blood stream and caused the infection in his elbow! CRAZY. This is super uncommon which is why no one picked up on it. He came home and was out of work for about a month. He had to administer liquid antibiotics into his arm every day...he slowly regained his strength and came back to his old, healthy self.

That experience was intense and when someone you love comes close to dying, it affects you deeply-obviously. But Scott and I have good attitudes :) We also are really good at talking about things and talking through things. We both knew it was important to acknowledge all the feelings that this event brought up for us. I recently heard a great quote: "What you can't be with, owns you." Love that. We really needed to BE with our feelings about all of this. I think both of us came away from it feeling just a little more scared...like hay--bad things can happen to good people! Nothing is guaranteed! Who the hell knows what will happen?!! We felt a little unstable for a while. But slowly, we got into our groove, Scott was well, our routines were back in place and honestly, life was GOOD.

Then July 16th happened. It was a MAGICAL day up in Nicasio (beautiful place up in Marin) spent on our dear friends' ranch. After a catered dinner on a hilltop overlooking the property and then s'mores (withorganic dark chocolate!) over a fire pit, the day wound down and it was time to go. We were last to leave. We hugged our friends goodbye and gathered our things. As I reached down to pick up my bag I heard a splash in the pool. "Why is Scott jumping into the pool? Is he trying to be funny?" That flashed through my mind in a split second because I couldn't make sense of it! Scott pulled himself out of the pool (he was fully drenched) and said, "I think I broke my leg". He was in a bit of shock and shivering terribly. He made us splint his leg (thank goodness--you guys, ALWAYS SPLINT A BONE IF YOU THINK IT IS BROKEN!). We used a wooden hanger broken in half and duct tape. We got the car as close to him as possible and he crawled to the car! I then, very very carefully, drove him 45 minutes to Marin General Hospital. Every brake, every acceleration caused pain for him--so stressful! (Note: thank you, God, that Scott did not crack his skull when he fell in--we were 45 minutes from medical care so it could have been so much worse.)

At this point we assumed he would get a cast and head home. My sister was watching Beck, thank goodness, so we had peace of mind there.

BUT- after the x-rays they came back to us and said, "So sorry. The break is severe and we need to admit you to the hospital and you will need surgery tomorrow." WHAT??????? (He had a spiral fracture down his tibia to his ankle and two fractures on his fibula.) Surgery meant 2 metal plates and 16 screws into his leg.

Here's the odd thing--this broken leg has been WAY MORE DISRUPTIVE than the sepsis! Less life-threatening for sure, but much harder to deal with.

Healing time for the break: 5 months.

Scott cannot drive. He cannot lift things. He's on crutches. At first he was in a ton of pain (that's getting better thank goodness).

What that has meant is all the driving. all the lifting, all the house care and most of the child care has fallen on to me. And at first I truly fell into a deep depression. I know that sounds selfish, and I felt really crappy for being depressed when Scott was the one that broke his leg, but I couldn't deny it. In fact, it threw everything in my life into a state of doubt--including my work. Because I now needed to drive Beck to school every day (Scott usually did this on his way to work) I could no longer make it to my Orangetheory work out class in the mornings. Exercise for me is crucial for my mental health. Because I didn't have help with the housework, my days felt frantic and overwhelming because there was so much to do and I also wanted to WORK!!! One thing about running my own business is that it often falls through the cracks when other stuff rears its head. I just re-read this paragraph and I realize how lame it all sounds. I mean--how much house work can there be? Well--a lot. We are re-doing parts of our house so organizing and scheduling workers actually takes way more time than you can imagine. But just simple stuff like taking out the trash and recycling--Scott always did that! Scott always helped getting laundry done. Scott would often clean the kitchen after dinner. It all adds up. Sigh.

One happy thing about getting older is the fact that I'm getting wiser. Having experiences teaches you things...and I knew that even though I felt like I was in the dark, depressed, lacking faith...I absolutely knew that this was happening for a reason AND that the feelings would pass. That knowledge was so helpful because when I felt especially down I could draw upon it and know that I just needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other and the feeling would pass. Not only that, but I've learned that going through the hard stuff ALWAYS has me grow and evolve and honestly, I was excited about that!

But here's the reality-being a care taker is no joke. The person that needs to caretake MUST learn ways to prioritize their health and well-being because it really is a huge shift. If you know anyone that is a caretaker, please do something WONDERFUL for them today--if you can give them a break, that's probably the nicest thing you can do. One of the best things someone did for us is to order meal delivery! We got to choose what we wanted and they ordered it and paid for it for us. I can't tell you how wonderful it was not to have to cook or do dishes that night--we felt very taken care of!

I'm not totally sure why the broken leg threw me so off course and it's true that I'm a little embarrassed about the fact that it plunged me into the dark night of the soul..but it did. And I'm happy to say that despite that I continued to show up for my husband and my son and now the broken leg is our new normal. I put a freeze on my Orangetheory account and found another place to go to that has a class at 9am which means I can go after dropping Beck off at school and Scott off at work! Yay! And Scott and I continue to talk and figure out how to manage things in the house, what HAS to get done, what we can let go...all that jazz. We're good.

So--if you've made it this far I applaud you! I'm fairly certain this is the longest email I've ever sent. I just wanted to share what has been going on with me. It has taught me a lot about the need for self care, the constant need for good communication in relationships, about the fragility of the human body, about deep gratitude and it has strengthened me as a person. 

Sending love,

Elijah