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07 February 2011

Leslie Schwartz and Talking Weeds

"I am a very strong believer that you never throw away people; you might put them on the side, but you never throw them away."
-Leslie Schwartz
New York City

To reaffirm the theme of this blog and why Leslie Schwartz's story fits so well with it, one only need to look back to the title "Talking Weeds". In our modern world weeds are thought to have a less than desirable connotation and thereby something to be ignored or eradicated. From a healing point of view, I, of course, do not see it that way. The majority of the healing plants I know and use are considered weeds, especially Stinging Nettle. Weeds can be used for food, healing, and even appreciated for their unique beauty, strength and resiliency. We have an entire industry based on killing weeds, yet the weeds live on. How quickly and thoroughly this earth energy returns when we turn our backs on the open field for a few minutes! Sun, wind, and some rain, even just a little, and the weeds always return. Stop the cascade of pesticides for even a short time and the weeds return to the once pristine lawn! It certainly is a lucrative business killing them, eh? Like the Military/Industrial complex, enemies and wars on which to sustain one's livelihood are never in short supply.

This concept of weeds also applies to people's attitudes about one another. Throughout history there have always been groups of people the "dominant" group declares unfit or undesirable or worse. World War II and the Holocaust are recent and blazing examples for all eternity of the end result of such thinking, elevated to a grand stage and given all the intention and energy possible by very creative and industrious peoples! That it took the collective efforts of the free world and 60 million lost lives to quell temporarily that energy only underscores how easy it is for large numbers of people to get on board that death train with their thoughts and deeds. We take our shadow side, and, instead of embracing it, project it onto other people and groups to demonize it and them, so we can eradicate it, always "once and for all" even though the peace lasts only until the next war. Regarding disease and healing modalities, as well as politics and even religion, the same approach often takes shape.

Think of all the "wars on. . ." something phrases put out there. War on cancer, drugs, terror, poverty, and so on. Fighting a war requires a duality and this shadow side projection of (and giving energy to) that which we wish to eradicate in ourselves, projected, of course, on the enemy of choice. The idea of embracing that shadow side and making our "enemy" our ally, as Susun Weed says in her book Healing Wise is a complete change from the either/or, right/wrong, dualistic mentality still so prevalent in our thinking.

This blog is a shift from that energy of dualism to one of wholeness/holiness. That's how Leslie's story fits. As we strive to embrace all parts of our human experience, not throwing any of them away, but seeing what gifts even the darkest realms of our psyche may yield, we transform our lives as we stop giving energy to the struggle we can't ever win anyway. In this process we have the opportunity to return to wholeness and to reclaim our tremendous power as individuals and collectively to manifest a wonderful, miraculous life, one in which we can begin embracing the gifts of Creation while sharing our experience with others in order to help them along their unique paths in life.

There is no other way to explain Leslie's story. Why would someone return (whether literally or in his mind), again and again, to the place of so much pain if not on a quest for wholeness? Think of the way in which Leslie embraced the small yet bold acts of kindness he experienced by just a few German people in the middle of one of the greatest nightmares in human history. This affirmation of humanity has been what has fueled his renaissance and so many good things have happened to him since. The smallest acts of kindness and compassion may ultimately hold the most power!

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