Experiencing myself as EQUAL to another human being is ultimately an “internal” experience or a spiritual experience. My internal or spiritual experience of BEING equal is not dependent upon someone else’s political or cultural beliefs about who is or who is not equal. Nelson Mandella is a powerful example of what I am attempting to express here.
When I believe that I AM equal to everyone else, I focus on the “I am,” My internal experience of equality, my belief in that experience, is about BEING equal no matter how much others may protest or hang on to the contrary belief that I am not equal.
If for whatever reason, I do not feel equal, making someone else believe that I am will not result in making me feel equal. Feeling equal begins with knowing that I AM equal. Once I experience myself as equal, then I begin to walk through the world with an aura of equality, an energy of equality, a power of equality, no matter how repressive the world outside of me may become. Again, the example of Nelson Mandella being imprisoned for twenty-seven years and for some of those years in solitary confinement, is an awesome image of what I am wanting to describe here.
When I do not believe I am equal, when I live in the image of others’ belief that I am not equal, I unwittingly become a victim, and I begin to blame circumstances and other people for the unsettling and problematic situations in my life. The result is I not only feel unequal, but I also feel powerless.
So where am I going with this? Thought you would never ask! So here we go.
I believe, beyond a shadow of any doubt, that women and men are equal. We are each different in many ways, and we each bring different strengths, vulnerabilities, amd limitations to the table, but nevertheless EQUAL. For me to believe this, I do not require legislation or popular agreement. It does require that I live in the belief and that I visibly treat women and men in a way that if I or others veiw my behavior, it will be clear and obvious that yes, I treat women and men as equal.
I get the sense that there are many women and men who do not believe that women and men are equal. Wow! I just realized that EVERYONE will agree with this statement!
I kind of get it why guys have a “drive” to believe that women are not equal. It makes sense to me that the need to hold women down is connected to insecurities about one’s manhood (whatever manhood means!). Bascially, men are terrified of losing their “precious” jewels if they embrace equality. Yes, silly and crazy, but unfortunately, many of us have been raised to see ourselves as above women and somehow see equality as a road to inequality for men. Again silly and crazy. Ultimately, we are afraid of losing what we perceive as our innate, perhaps even God-given for some, right to lord it over everything and everyone without question or challenge.
But why do women embrace inequality? Again, like with many of us men, it may have a lot to do with what we have experienced growing up in our own families and culture and in society in general. And yes, there are still many areas in society where the social norm is to treat women as less than. The most outstanding example is in the lack of equal pay for women and men. It will not surprise me if a woman is elected president, that some folks in congress will introduce legislation to lower her salary! Right now, there is unequal pay for women and men within congressional staffers, which is really ridiculous and shocking when, in some cases, the congressperson is a woman, and a woman who screams repeatedly about equality.
I definitely support women fighting for equality, but more, I support women taking equality and not fighting for it. In any case, however, I find abortion to be a very strange venue for women to fight for their equal rights.
I am beginning to think that the women who are fighting so desperately to retain legal rights to abortion are perhaps not convinced on the inside that they are, in fact, EQUAL to men. I am beginning to think that they do not have an internalized sense of equality.
For one thing, claiming a woman’s right to abort what is growing inside of her makes the woman appear to be a victim, and fitting that stereotype of the dumb blonde. If I were a woman, I would want no part of it. It reminds me of folks who cause serious accidents and then exercise their right to sue the party they injured.
I know many women who found themselves pregnant when they did not want to be pregnant, and I watched them “rally” their internal resources and power and move forward with both their pregnancy and their lives. In each case, their children turned out to be people who made an incredible impact on their part of the world.
These women are real. I am not making them up. They are professional women with careers. They are standouts in their communities. They are just as deserving as anyone to be released of such an unexpected or unplanned “job.”
These same women will tell you about all the people who attempted to talk them into having an abortion. Good people, well-meaning people, religious people, family and friends. One woman tells how everyone came forward to support her having an abortion, but no one offerred her support to carry the child. Often times, the male partner is the first to attempt to talk women into an abortion, and often times, women who have an abortion, will report that they did so because their partner wanted them to. So where is equality and power there?
I wonder how many of the women who are fighting for abortion rights even know what it is they are fighting for. And I wonder how many of them have outright expressed gratitude or better, experienced gratitude to their own mothers for not exercising their reproductive rights by aborting them. So, if your mother had had an abortion, she would have been aborting YOU!
It is interesting to me that the same woman who fights so hard to have the so-called “right” to have an abortion, will also freely use birth control pills and or devices that do not set well with her overall health, pills and devices that mess with her natural hormone cycle, that leave her feeling nauseated, that prevent hern from getting pregnant when she is ready to have children, that put her at risk for cancer, that leave her unexplicably bleeding for days and months on end. The same woman who is screaming for the right to have an abortion does not feel free to say NO to her male partner’s demands for intercourse, nor is she willing to educate him in all the ways they can engage sexually without the big stud putting his penis inside her vagina. It’s interesting to me that a woman will express her equality by pushing for abortion rights, but is still hesitant to assert her equality in bed with a MAN!
God created us with free will, and we are indeed free to choose all kinds of behaviors, including abortion. So there is no doubt that we are free to choose to have an abortion. We see people making all kinds of choices every day in our own households, in our neighborhoods, in our city, our state, our country, and our world. I wonder sometimes, what it takes for people to make the decisions that they make.
And I wonder what it takes for a woman to choose to have an abortion. What is the thought process? And for those who are guiding women toward abortion, what is their thought process and their motivation? For example, are the parents, who push their teenage daughter to have an abortion, driven by embarrassment or social or religious shame, and do they forget their daughter is pregnant with their grandchild?
When a woman is wanting an abortion, does she know that what is living inside her womb is HUMAN LIFE? It is, in fact, not anything less. Once the sperm and the egg come together, the new person’s unique DNA is created and every part of that new person’s being is held by that DNA. There will be no other changes unless there is some kind of intervention. There is always the possibility of biological changes that can impact the developing person, but there will be no genetic changes, unless, again there is some kind of medical intervention. And interestingly enough, our advanced ability to provide intervention genetically, is meant to preserve and enhance the life of the unborn person, not to destroy it.
What do I mean by biological changes? We know, for example, that nutrition, smoking, alcohol and drug use, medications, physical activity, and even stress levels can both positively and negatively impact the biological development of all of the systems of the unborn’s body.
Whatever the problems are that get presented when someone becomes pregnant, are obviously problems. And as a person, a parent, or a family, or as a society, we want to learn how to be both accountable and responsible for resolving those problems. Abortion is seemingly an easy solution, but certainly not without consequences, and it is my experience as a therapist, that the emotional consequences are long term, very similar, if not identical to, the emotional issues women face when they experience a miscarriage.
I do not sit in judgment of anyone. I only ask that those who are fighting for the right to have an abortion and for those who are choosing to have an abortion, ask themselves, if they, in fact know, what or who it is they are aborting? Human life does not require a heartbeat to qualify as human life! What is inside a pregnant woman is not just fetal tissue, or a harmless glob with human potential. It is human life, developing human life. What is inside a pregnant woman is SOMEBODY.
If you are considering an abortion or fighting hard to keep abortion available, please take the time to watch an abortion for yourself so you know what it is you are desiring or advocating for. At least have the courage to do that much.
I’m not a religious fan, but I know I am not God, and I believe there is a God, and I believe God had something or a lot to do with the universe’s existence. I also believe that God created us with free will which is quite a gift when we look at both the use and abuse of power within humankind.
The God I believe in is not sitting atop a throne waiting to cast down ligtning bolts nor sadistically waiting for my death to punish me or reward me. The God I relate to inspires me to take complete responsibility for my entire life including the parents I chose and to be humbly and honestly accountable in abslutely EVERYthing I do and say. And sometimes, I’m successful and sometimes, I am not, and sometimes I outright fail.
I always take comfort in what I call the batting average approach to life. In baseball, a really top-notch batting average is 300. You get paid millions for batting 300. But interestingly enough, batting 300 means you are getting a hit only thirty percent of the time and failing seventy percent of the time. And even more interesting, baseball requires that you fail seventy percent of the time because they require that you step up to the plate one hundred percent of the time knowing full well that the best you will do is thirty percent!
You might wonder how I take responsibility for the parents I chose. Well, if I simply take responsibility for choosing my parents, even if that is impossible, I am home free. There is NO ONE for me to blame for anything!
The push for abortion in our society seems to me to coincide with our gradual move toward seeing ourselves as all knowing and free to do whatever we choose with little or no thought to either current or future consequences and especially with little or no concern how our behavior will impact other human beings. We are becoming progressively selfish and self-centered, or perhaps we always have been selfish and self-centered, and I have just been slow to recognize it!
We no longer look inside to our connection with God, to the connection with the spiritual world, to resolve our problems, and consequently, our options become extremely limited, and we will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, just because we can.
I am also increasingly aware that all the human beings I encounter in and out of my practice (including myself) are walking around with a boatload of unmet basic human needs. Our need for love, our need to love, our need for connection, our need for affection, our need to be liked, to be recognized as somebody, our need to experience ourselves as valuable, precious, one of a kind, our need to belong, to touch and be touched. Many of us have lived most of our lives with these needs going unmet, and when we engage in our first sexual experience, or our first drug or alcohol experience, it feels like these basic needs are met, perhaps for the first time. And so we are hooked and want to experience getting our basic needs met whenever and however we want with absolutely NO restrictions, with no accountability or responsibility.
What does this have to do with abortion? I promised myself I would keep this article relatively simple and short, so I will save that for the next article.
Currently, my constant prayer throughout my day is the Serentiy Prayer, and I invite you to make it yours as well. THANK YOU FOR READING.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
To change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.