billcosbyguilty

Cosby Conviction a Victory for Women and Men

It’s nothing less than a seismic cultural shift, perhaps the greatest our generation will ever witness.

Twelve men and women comprising the jury in a Norristown, Pennsylvania courtroom did the unthinkable on Thursday, convicting Bill Cosby, now 80 years old, of drugging and sexually molesting Andrea Constand in 2004. The verdict was met with cries of relief and joyful celebration. It changes everything, and not just for women, but for everyone. Its significance cannot be overstated, because this is about more than any one man, any one case, or any one movement.

#MeToo will garner much of the credit for changes in attitude that brought the man down. The movement was certainly a catalyst, and deserving of credit, but what’s bigger this time is that it’s about all of us. Understanding it requires putting the man, his groundbreaking life, the broken and shattered lives of millions of women throughout history, along with the movement, into context.

Bill Cosby was nothing less than an American icon; wildly popular stand-up comic that broke ground in the 50’s and 60’s and never stopped. The first African-American to star on a national network’s television series, I Spy in 1965. He won Emmy’s, three consecutively.

“The Cosby Show,” a staple on NBC from 1984-1992, featured America’s first affluent and educated black family. Here he became America’s Dad. With “I Spy” some had called Cosby the Jackie Robinson of TV, and there was truth to that. In “The Cosby Show” he became the black Marcus Welby and during its run there was no bigger star on TV.

Cosby’s wealth and influence grew along with his fame. He was revered, respected, trusted and handsomely paid. His voice could be heard on Saturday morning children’s television, and for years, he was the famous spokesperson for no less an American institution than Jello Pudding.

Now, his name and face are infamous, and he has become a national pariah synonymous with something evil and wrong that has gone on for the past 5,000 years + of patriarchy. Molesting Andrea Constand was no isolated event. Dozens of accusers had made similar charges over decades against the comedian, television star, and professor, that had embodied what we considered good and admirable in our society for over half a century.

Constand’s case, however, was the only one where the statute of limitations hadn’t yet run. She deserves our thanks and admiration for her courage and commitment to finding justice.

And so, last Thursday, in a retrial after a hung-jury couldn’t reach a verdict in a trial last year, America’s most famous dad became America’s most infamous felon.

The thunder of hooves you hear is the stampede of corporations, universities, the rich, the famous, and the rest of us, cutting financial and emotional ties with a man that had been part of American life for most of our lives. The silence is the absence of his sitcom reruns no longer airing.

Women around the world are celebrating and this is proper given the conviction of a man of such stature that did unconscionable evil.

What Harvey Weinstein ignited fueled movements and a meteoric cultural recalibration. Cosby’s conviction is the best worst-case example of how society’s bullet-proof protections for sexual predators have disappeared; perhaps, at last, forever. What was once okay is no longer okay and will no longer be ignored and swept under the rug. At last, a woman’s voice can be heard.

The movement, like the Cosby conviction, should be considered not only a game-changing, needle-moving event, but also a moment and opportunity for national healing.

After experiencing sexual abuse as a child, I’ve worked through it all my life as a writer, speaker, and spiritual teacher. I wrote my first book, Truth Heals, because healing should be our highest priority. Even now. Especially now.

The verdict isn’t just a victory for #MeToo, and it’s much more than a victory for women. It’s a victory for all of us, women, and men, too.

Equality of rights, opportunities and treatment under the law – for everyone.

Perhaps it’s time for #MeToo to consider a companion movement.

We could call it #AllofUs.

We’d love to read your comments.

Pink Moon

Let April’s Pink Moon Shine for You!

Pink Moon

You may have heard that April showers bring May flowers. That’s a lovely positive affirmation when spring is taking a little too long to arrive and the storms won’t stop rolling through with showers that are white and icy! That is probably how we got the Native American’s traditional name for the April full moon. The Pink Moon of April usually coincided with the appearance of blooming ground phlox, a stunning pink carpet of tiny flowers. Ah, Spring at last! This year’s full Pink Moon appears on April 29, and with a little reflection, it might bring you a very special spiritual bouquet!

Think about how sweet it is to spot the first flowers of spring—whether they are crocuses peeking through the snow or daffodils, tulips, or hyacinth pushing up through the soil in your garden. The ground phlox that inspired the Pink Moon’s name is a North American native whose meaning in flower lore is “harmony” and “sweet dreams.” The first-blooming flowers of spring do bring a feeling of hope, sweetness, and the excitement of new possibilities. Which one is your favorite?

Bring yourself into the spirit of the Pink Moon with a nature walk in a spot you love. While you walk, let your eyes take it the details of the setting that make it unique. Are there any plants, trees, flowers, or rocks that you have noted in passing but not truly studied? Take time to look closely and focus on the light, the color, the shape, or the feeling of one or two familiar features. If you can find a flower, look inside—like modern artist Georgia O’Keeffe loved to do. (Watch out for bees and bless them for their vital work in pollinating the plant kingdom.) Try to really examine your flower’s form and consider the complexity, artistry, and beauty you see. Are there any birds or small animals to observe? Could they be present with you right now for a purpose?

Take a deep breath as you enjoy the natural surroundings you have chosen to visit. Remember to give thanks for your senses of sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste which allow you to experience the natural world on multiple levels. You are part of the natural world, too, part of the work of the creative universe. During the last few days before the full Pink Moon, think about ways in which you can make your life more joyful and purposeful. Each cycle of the moon marks the passage of time, and this Pink Moon marks the beginning of a new month and a new beginning for any dream or endeavor or developmental step you have been thinking about.

Here are three questions to consider as you prepare for the next step:

What do you know?
Do you know yourself deeply and truly? How would you describe yourself? What are your greatest strengths and abilities? Do you know the desires of your heart? Do you know what you really want to do? Do you feel that you know your life’s purpose? Where do you want to go? How do you want to feel? Who and what do you love? What do you believe? What are your values?

What do you want to know?
If you know your life’s purpose, do you want to know whether your present actions are taking you in the right direction? Or do you still need to discover your purpose? Do you want to know how to do something that interests you? Is there some knowledge or skill that you want to explore? What are the biggest questions in your life that you would like to answer? What are the biggest challenges in your life that you would like to face and find ways to overcome?

Who can you ask?
Where do you go to seek wisdom? How do you fill your need for spiritual guidance, fulfillment, and inner peace? Where do you turn in times of need? Who can you call? Do you seek help from the Divine—“Ask and it shall be given”? Do you rely on friends and family for solace? Do you have a tool kit of practices for comfort and healing? Do you call on the angels, guides from the spirit realm, spiritual teachers and counselors, sacred texts, or the energies of nature? From whence cometh your strength?

Exploring the answers to these questions helps you connect with your higher Self, and brings comforting knowledge of who you really are and why you are here. Self-discovery brings peace, joy, and a sense of what is possible for you in the new span of days opening before you.

May the full Pink Moon bring you a new awareness of the miracle of being you. And may you be blessed with the radiance of healing moonlight on the evening of April 29.

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Earth Day: No Shortage of Terrifying Topics

Today the environment is on everyone’s mind and ominous reminders why just keep coming. Earth Day only brings it all above-the-fold for the day, so I’ll briefly touch on three everyday topics that deserve our everyday attention. There is no shortage of things we could talk about.

Until the late 20th Century, few of us thought much about the environment. There weren’t many headlines about the health – or lack of it – of the planet. Oh, how things change – and in a hurry! Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River caught fire after years of chemical waste dumped into it; in 1969, Southern California’s pristine coast suffered a catastrophic oil spill of three trillion gallons killing thousands of birds, fish and sea mammals; and Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, the deadly truth of pesticides was addressed as never before.

The environment and our future became topics no longer reserved for academics, it was everyone’s business. In response to it, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and U.S. Representative Pete McCloskey of California organized the first annual Earth Day in April 1970. Now, almost 50 years now, April 22nd is official Earth Day, marking the anniversary of the modern environmental movement.

Earth Day goes beyond politics despite vastly different red and blue narratives. Regardless where you fall on the political spectrum, everyone should be concerned about how our activities impact the land, sea, and air. The price paid isn’t like the national debt left to our children and grandchildren. We’re paying the environmental price today and it should send chills down everyone’s red or blue spine.

Here are three examples of how serious things have become. If the trend continues as expected, consider how bad things could get, how concerned we should be, and why Earth Day 2018 should be the year we all draw the line in the polluted sand.

Weather – It Really is Different

Climate change isn’t about the weather in a vacuum. Weather isn’t an argument for or against climate change, the issue is violent weather and extremes we’ve never witnessed before. It’s not imagination but fact and getting worse. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/extreme-weather-will-occur-more-frequently-worldwide/

In the past year in the United States, we’ve seen it in three areas:

First, it’s a fact that every Hurricane Season is more severe and the storms more catastrophic. What happened last fall in Texas, the Caribbean, and Florida from Harvey and Maria, leave no doubt. Eight months later, power still hasn’t been completely restored in Puerto Rico. People are justifiably nervous about the next Hurricane Season.

Drought has been so severe and lasted so long that fears of tinderboxes burning out of control have become the horrific truth. Fires in the Western U.S., in California, Oregon, and Washington, were the worst ever seen. Concerns about this year’s season are real, and drought in the Midwest and Southwest make those residents fearful and for good reason. And the aftermath may be as bad or even worse; heavy rains devastated Santa Barbara with mudslides after fires burned hundreds of thousands of acres.

This past winter’s blizzard bonanza set records across the country. Big storms, deep snows, more storms, and they just keep coming. It’s now mid-April and Major League Baseball has seen snow-covered baseball diamonds and dozens of snowed-out games.

Plastics and the Oceans

How bad is it? Estimates are that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Currently, we are dumping the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute. 8 million tons of plastic every year.

The damage goes far beyond ruining beaches and harming marine life; plastic is becoming a permanent part of food chains and ecosystems breaking down into dangerous micro-plastics and tiny particles that absorb chemicals. These micro-plastics have made their way into ecosystems as remote as the Arctic Sea.

This Earth Day will educate millions about the health and environmental risks that come with plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing evidence that decomposing plastics creating serious global problems threatening our survival. We can take a stand by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics and promote government regulation to tackle the problem. Here’s a link to learn more: https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/plastics-in-the-ocean/

Fracking is More a Problem Than a Solution

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a drilling technique used for extracting oil and natural gas from deep underground. Shale oil and natural gas production is big business. The question is whether it’s good business, sustainable business, or socially responsible business.

For years, its advocates have assured us it’s a safe and economical way to extract clean energy. In recent years, we’ve seen the truth: drinking water contaminated with chemicals, fires that vent directly into the atmosphere, increased air pollution, and wholesale erosion and destabilization of the earth triggering earthquakes.

Proponents point to fracking’s benefits. It has created jobs that have rescued dying towns and regions, and, at least temporarily, reduced dependence upon foreign oil and lowered prices at the pump and for heating oil. These are short-term fixes and short-sighted thinking because the long-term damages are forever. Even worse, fracking delays development of sustainable and more responsible solutions.

“Oil is a rental business…When the industry goes south — and it will go south — they just walk away.” ~Dan Kalil, Chairman of the Williams County Board of Commissions in North Dakota, where shale oil and gas production has been an economic boon.

Walking away is the point, after all. We can’t just walk away to Mars.

Confronting our environmental future by facing the truth is what Earth Day has been about for nearly half a century.

I invite you to commit to Earth Day this year as never before:

  1. Contact Congress and demand that the EPA be put back to work protecting the environment.
  2. Donate to the environmental cause of your choice.
  3. Find ways to volunteer.

It matters more than ever before.

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