Saturday, June 29, 2013

Governing States

We all want to be happy but suffering is inevitable- especially when you live in a less than compassionate state. I'm talking about both our mental/emotional states and the governmental states in which we live- both have real effects on our health and happiness!

We saw some big decisions come out of the Supreme Court, this week. With DOMA and section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act being overturned, power was given back to the states in determining what constitutes legal marriage and fair voting practices.

Can you be happy and fulfilled in a state that doesn't grant you equal rights? The threat of violence and discrimination is a serious detriment to our bodies and minds but we have seen that we are resilient- even in the most challenging circumstances.

The first step to creating lasting positive change is noticing that we're unhappy- that what we're doing isn't working. Then we can choose to respond differently.

It will be a great day when we truly use our resources for the safety, happiness, and health of us all. Until then, we deserve our own compassion as we work towards progress- precisely because we're not there yet! Be well and be easy on yourself.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A New Path Forward

Breaking news on NPR today: "The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations." What's more, the group's president, Alan Chambers offered an apology: "for years of undue suffering and judgment at the hands of the organization and the church as a whole." I welcome this refreshing message and see it as a sign of hope in our collective health and healing.

The counseling field as a whole has moved from seeing differences in sexuality and gender identity as "disorders" to better understanding the richness of our human experiences. Every reputable professional medical and mental health organization finds conversion therapy, which seeks to squash same sex desires or make a person straight, unethical- because it's harmful and it doesn't work.

Seeking to change who we are to fit someone else's idea of how we "should" be is not the answer; it's not sustainable and it actually increases our suffering. The more we realize it's okay to be who we are, the more willing we are to accept others. Let's continue on this trend of finding a new path forward, one that celebrates differences as well as commonalities. We're happier, healthier, and stronger this way.