The Awe of Violence
Awe is no stranger to shadow. As I marvel in awe over the birth of my three children—their conceptions, my pregnancies, and the whole process of their beautiful deliveries earth-side, I marvel in equal awe over the death of my beloved mother. I was there to watch my children receive their first breaths and I was there to witness my mom breathe her last. Both were Awe moments.
I think of my childhood. I never once doubted I was completely loved and cherished. In the years that I have been privileged to gather with women from all kinds of experiences, I am in awe to learn how many grew up in utter dissonance. Many were abused and neglected by the very people who were supposed to love and care for them. Awe is in the disregard people express toward one another, particularly as it relates to the most vulnerable.
I married a man I met when we were still forming the foundations of our lives. He is one of the kindest, most considerate, generous souls I know. He never doubts me. He encourages and challenges me. There are millions of women who have no idea what this experience is. They know the physical harm of sexual abuse and that of a cold slap or steely punch along with bitter soul-deflating words. Awe is captured in the cruelty of the human experience.
I live on a quiet peaceful farm. I hear gunfire periodically. Most of it echoes from an air force base a few miles away when they are doing military practices. We hear the occasional hunter. But there is no war zone here. I don’t know what a bomb feels like. I don’t know what it’s like to have airplanes fly low overhead dropping explosives designed to indiscriminately destroy and kill. I have no idea what it would be like to have my surroundings shatter to rubble. I don’t know the terror some have endured both domestically and abroad. Awe is steeped in the fury of conquering powers.
Violence has a seemingly infinite array of expression. Frankly, I’m in awe that the earth has survived as long as it has given the cataclysmic nature of the cosmos in which we rotate. The awe of violence is everywhere and in everyone. It is only when we humbly and fearlessly stand before our own violent thoughts and actions that we allow the transformative powers of Mystery to shift ways of destruction to new forms of creation. Every human being possesses the ability to create the world they want to see but only if they dare to understand the nature of duality in all things. This understanding is a warrior’s path where violence is transformed in every step.