I've been thinking a lot lately about a certain Lion.
And if you think you know where this is headed, if you've about had it with the saturation of this lion in the media, or if you're reading this in the future, and the name Cecil the Lion has lost the charge behind it (as it likely will), I dare you to hear me out anyhow. Because as Cecil is the catalyst behind this writing, what I have to say just might surprise you...
...or piss you off.
Before I continue, a piece of information about myself: I am a vegetarian. Nearly a vegan, really. Partly out of compassion, partly due to my opinions regarding health, and partly due to necessity for my daughter's life.
I've been thinking a lot lately about connections, or relationships with others. How these connections are mirrors for us to examine ourselves for the purposes of our own Spiritual growth and evolution. Because we are all interconnected, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we like it or not. I believe there will come a time in our evolution when we will cease to identify so strongly with what we perceive to be our separateness. Agree to disagree with me, if you wish.
The news of Cecil's murder has pained me. In a deeply visceral way. I can feel the collective heartache and anger of the outcry against the events that transpired, and as they continue to unfold, even now.
I haven't always recognized the strength of my empathy for what it is. I used to wonder why large crowds often made me feel anxious. Or how the news of someone's death - someone I barely knew- could make me quite literally physically ill, as I grieved and took on the energy of those who loved them. In University, my lack of awareness for my ability to be an "energy sponge,"- coupled with other interconnected factors, some mentioned here before, some not- lead me to a prescription for depression and panic attacks. At the time, I wondered if I was going crazy and I longed for control. I'm learning now how to harness this sensitivity, how to differentiate when the sensations are originating with me or elsewhere, and how I can use it to contribute to my purpose in this lifetime.
I am deeply pained by another piece of the Cecil story.
The story of his killer. Or rather, the story that has been written by media and social media.
I hesitate to name this man- I do not wish to give glory to his actions. I hesitate to not name this man- I do not wish to further dehumanize him.
I am not condoning or excusing the actions that this man chose to take. And for the purposes of this post, we'll call him Man. I understand that some of you reading might question the choice of that label, but I feel it fitting on many levels.
The drive I feel to write here doesn't involve exploring Man's actions, the rightness or wrongness of them, what the consequences should or should not be. There is enough of all of that already floating in the atmosphere. It is heavy and thick with judgement, accusations, and what at times, from my vantage point, seems like gross imperceptions. It doesn't seem to me that these energies are at all conducive to respecting Cecil's memory, or to coming to any sort of healing around the event.
Do you know the stories of Man? Not the stories in the media, or the stories within the words hurled on social media. I'm speaking of the stories of his life, his inner workings, his past, his woundings. Because, despite what is said or thought of him and his choices, he is a human with a Soul and I guarantee he does- as you do- have stories and pain. All of mankind, humankind, all of life has stories and woundings.
I am not okay with the actions that Man took against Cecil. I do not condone or excuse his choices, and my Heart breaks and breaks again for how this most majestic creature was treated. Man's pain does not give him the right to inflict pain on another living being- be it human, animal, plant or Mother Earth herself.
And I do believe that Man's actions have consequences.
But so do the actions of those of us on the outskirts, looking in and casting our opinions.
We're all empathic, on some level. We all have empathetic abilities- whether used or not- because we are all one. And what we see in another- what we feel most repulsed by or drawn to- can oftentimes be a calling to look within. Relationships are mirrors. Relationships to people, events, and the things we feel most passionately about.
We push, deny, or run from what we don't want to examine within ourselves because it can be scary and painful. We close off the possibilities of empathetic connections because connecting to them might mean acknowledging that we're not so different, we're not so separate. And there is a WHOLE LOT of complicated mess within that. There's also the possibility of a whole lot of necessary healing within that, as well.
You, I, all of us- we are not superior to Man. We are man.
What Man did, what happened to Cecil, is really another calling for us all to stop and examine where we, personally, react from our places of pain or fear. Where do we objectify the sacredness of another life for our own Egoic gains? Where are we thoughtlessly disregarding the sanctity of life? Where are we neglecting to consider the vulnerability, pain, or fears of another? Where are we lashing out unconsciously in fear?
We expect the whole of humanity to come from a place of decency, love, and respect. Yet, we don't give what we need. We hurl words without regard for their affect. We expect compassion without giving it. Our pain does not give us the right to inflict pain on another living being- be it human, animal, plant or Mother Earth herself.
The words, opinions, and interpretations concerning Man at this time are not conducive to the healing needed- for Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants. Man's actions stemmed from wounding, perpetuated wounding, and the aftermath continues to do the same. Until we recognize our interconnectedness, until we take the opportunities our mirrors give us for introspection and owning our own flaws, healing will not take place.
We ARE One. All of us.