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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Little Bird and Me

I have a sweet little story to share with all of you. It's about a bird that came to visit me during a time when I was going through a transformation of sorts.  Sometimes, I think I am always undergoing some kind of transformation or another which is good...I think.
Sweet furry friends
Before I tell you the story though, I wanted to include some interesting information on bird symbolism and spirituality:

Since ancient times, because of the Birds connection to the sky, they have been thought of as a supernatural link between the heavens and the earth.

Middle Eastern and Asian cultures often speak of birds as symbols of immortality. In East Indian myth, every bird in the world represents a departed soul, and in Christian art, birds often appear as saved souls.

The Crane is a symbol of long life and immortality. The Eagle typifies power, resurrection and generosity. The Falcon signifies, "A Light that Shines in the Darkness". The Nightingale suggests love and longing. The Owl is synonymous with death and darkness; yet it can also bring wisdom, insight and virtue. The Peacock heralds spring, birth, new growth, longevity, and love. And the tiny Sparrow, represents the love of God for even the "least" among us.

With this in mind, I will continue on with the story.  It was in the month of June several years ago when the bird visits started.  I believe the bird was a sparrow, or at least that is what kind of bird I thought it was.  Anyway, it was about 10 minutes before 8:00 a.m. when I heard this pecking on my bathroom window.  It was a constant, peck, peck, peck, a pause, and peck, peck, peck.  This went on for about 20 minutes.  I never got out of bed and really didn't think much about it.  The next morning at the same time give or take a few minutes I heard the peck, peck, peck, a pause, and peck, peck, peck again for about the same amount of time.  Still, I didn't get out of bed.  On the third morning, yet again at the same time the same peck, peck, peck. This time I got out of bed and went to the window and there was this little sparrow sitting on the ledge staring at me.  I looked at him and he looked at me and then he flew away.  

I remember feeling quite puzzled. Once again, the very next morning he appeared again.  He seemed determined to get me out of bed and when I did, he would look at me and I would look at him and he would fly away.  The next morning, I thought, "I'm going to ask him what he wants".  Sounds weird huh, but I really did think that if I thought about it in my mind hard enough I might be able to figure out why he kept coming.  A kind of thought talk... if you will...which I never did figure out. This went on for about 2 months with visits usually everyday or every other day and each time he appeared I would get up, we would look at each other, he would cock his sweet little head and then fly away (although at times, I saw him cheeping back at me...almost like he was talking, trying to tell me something.) I started to look forward to the visits and when I didn't here the peck, peck, peck I wondered where he was. 

One day, he didn't come, then another day passed, then a week, and then I never saw him again.  I felt sad and wondered if his visits were bringing me a message of sorts from a  higher power.  I never did figure it out but maybe I wasn't supposed to.  All I knew was that it was bigger than me. That it brought me great comfort and a sense that I wasn't alone in what I was going through was enough for me. Somehow I knew everything would be all right. 

 I often think back to that time in my life when that sweet little bird brought a bright light into an otherwise dark and very reflective period in my life and who knew the "song in my heart when I forgot it and sang it back to me when I could not remember the words".

Monday, January 9, 2012

Domestic Violence-A Hidden Secret

 I ran across a post I had written when I first started my blog in March of 2011 and it seems like a good place to start my passion for writing about social issues and inspirational topics.  This post goes deep into the soul of a battered woman.  The statistics are staggering and still this remains a topic that most people would like to pretend doesn't exist especially the women who are in this situation.  Some of you might say, "Why don't they leave their abusers?" A question I don't have an answer for.  I think this video and post is a voice for those women who struggle everyday with this "hidden secret"

Domestic Violence-A Hidden Secret

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so, I will let this video speak for itself and just add that according to statistical data obtained from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) domestic violence affects roughly 32 million Americans and this only reflects the number of cases reported.  I am so saddened by this issue that I just had to write about it.  It is a serious problem that does not get nearly the attention it should.  Here is some information that will surely surprise did me.

In the United States 1/3 of domestic violence cases are never reported.  Why?
Could it be shame or a lack of confidence that keeps women from speaking out against domestic violence?  Or, perhaps the inability of resources designed to protect them from this type of violence in making women feel safe in coming forward for help?

The United States Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) defines domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  This can be physical with threats of violence, throwing objects, harming pets, unwanted physical contact or rape and murder.  Domestic violence can also be psychological involving mental and emotional abuse, economic and social control i.e. controlling victim's money or not allowing contact with friends and family...isolation.

Statistics from the End Abuse Organization states the following:

On average 3 women a day are murdered by husbands or boyfriends.  In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner.

In 2008, the Center of Disease Control published data collected in 2005 that found women experienced 2 million injuries from intimate partners each year.

Nearly 1 in 4 women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.

Women are more likely than men to be victimized by a current or former intimate partner.

Women represent 84% of spouse abuse victims and 86% of victims of abuse at the hands of a boyfriend or girlfriend and about 3/4 of the persons who commit family violence are male.

The statistics are staggering and I could go on and on.  One thing is for sure that no one in this type of situation goes unscathed.  15.5 million children in the United States live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year and 7 million children live in families in which severe partner violence occurred.
2/3 of the majority of nonfatal intimate partner victimizations of women occur at home.  Children under the age of 12 are residents of the households experiencing intimate partner violence in 38% of incidents involving female victims and in a single day in 2008, 16,458 children were living in a domestic violence shelter or transitional housing facility.  Another 6,430 children sought services at a non-residential program.  This is a social issue that merits more attention than it receives.

How is it that in the United States, a country that prides itself on being a world leader in personal freedom and a guardian of human rights can domestic abuse/violence exist?  If the video from the Coalition Against Battered Women: Domestic Abuse does not move you to tears then I don't have a clue what would.

For more info on Domestic Violence and .

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