There is currently much talk of bullying in the brand new Lyttelton school and we can thank the children for bringing a very important aspect of life in greater Christchurch to our attention. It is possible that what is being experienced in Lyttelton is merely a snap shot of what is happening in wider Christchurch, because children spontaneously reflect the undercurrents of family and community, even entire nations.
Children respond to the unseen, the non-physical aspects of life that many adults have lost sensitivity to. Regardless of whether words go unspoken or actions undone, the emotional and mental energies are still present and very, very potent.
What is the consciousness that lies behind bullying? There are two parties required for bullying to occur. Both partners are sitting on the same continuum of consciousness but each one sits at the opposite end of this invisible fence line. The name of this particular continuum where the bullying arises from is ‘self-empowerment’.
When empowerment is out of balance it shows itself to us in varying degrees as two forms; over -powered or under-powered. The former takes expression as control, domination, bullying and so forth while the latter takes expression as subservience and victimhood. One cannot exist without the other; if self-empowerment is in balance, there is no room for either of the unbalanced expressions to occur.
When we take a look around us we can see how we are doing in our own empowerment by noticing what is being reflected back to us. Empowerment begins with each of us on an individual basis and then gradually extends out to reach all those we are in contact with. Starting with self, are we empowered or strong enough to draw to us all that we wish to? Next we can look at those we are in close relationships with; have we drawn to us the kind of person/peoples we wish to? Going further out into community places such as schools, work places; have we drawn to ourselves that which we desire?
Now, adults are wonderfully adept at ignoring and avoiding situations that they are not necessarily happy with, but children are (thank goodness) still outside of the reach of the heavy conditioning that often demands us to remain silent or inactive on issues that we really should be attending to. Most of humanity tend to sit on the under-powered end of the empowerment continuum as a direct result of this conditioning. Meanwhile children are walking receivers and transmitters of all that is going on around them. They unconsciously soak up and spit out their environment, reflecting back to us what they are experiencing on both seen and unseen, heard and unheard levels.
Let’s take a look at Christchurch. Beautiful beleaguered Christchurch; a city once famous for its gardens now sitting uncomfortably in recovery transition with road cones replacing rose bushes. If we could hover above Christchurch and feel into the pervading consciousness of thoughts and emotions of the citizens below us what would we have a sense of? Would we sense a compassionate, expedient, fair process of recovery was underway, or would we discover a culture of greed, inefficiency and inequality was at play?
Christchurch earned much admiration from the rest of New Zealand in those initial days of urgency and turmoil created by quake after quake. Emergency services, community and governance rallied together to form an army of rapid response and resourcefulness, all within an air of compassion and concern for one another. It was truly inspiring to witness humanity at its best when faced with devastation and trauma that was liked to a war zone. Now, five years later, the hour of urgency has been replaced with a plodding pace of recovery, dogged in many cases by corporations determined to take advantage of a potential windfall as money-driven opportunity attempts to deliver the rebirth of Christchurch.
The newspapers carry story after story of misuse of power as citizens have been subjected to bullying from insurance companies, incompetence from city leaders and shoddy work and inflated housing costs from opportunists. Is it any wonder the people of Christchurch may be bending under the oppressive mindset of victim hood? Is it any wonder our children are the mirrors showing us this discordant culture of Christchurch?
It is ironic that a brilliant new playground for the children of Christchurch is located right in the heart of former commercial land where the order of the day was bargaining and vying for the best position. It is not difficult to imagine the kinds of conversations that occur in many households as families’ struggle with emotional and mental fatigue borne of five years of negotiating the best outcome. The members of these families are also our neighbours, colleagues and service-providers including those with a public job such as teachers, doctors, nurses etc. We can easily imagine the frustration and at times abject despair as people have felt broken in spirit and treated unfairly. Even if unspoken, these feelings and thoughts are still felt keenly by children who must then relay them back to us/ remember, they are walking receivers and transmitters and they don’t conform to the codes of silence that adults do.
The first reports of the suffering of our children took the form of bed-wetting and hair loss amongst an array of fearful responses. These passive responses to stress are perhaps now being over-taken by a more outward expression. Thank goodness, because now that it is more visible, it can be healed.
Lyttelton, take a bow. You are leading the way for other Christchurch communities as a beacon of light for many families striving to restore a sense of balance in their lives. But before balance is restored, the clearing or healing of the imbalance must come first and this is what may well be occurring in Lyttelton. It is interesting to note that Water is the element of cleansing on many levels, not just the physical, and that the ocean-side town of Lyttelton may well be performing a collective purge and healing for greater Christchurch. It is our tears of water that help us wash away emotional pain after all. When we heal ourselves we spontaneously heal others, such is the nature of the collective consciousness.
It is not the first time Lyttelton took on such a role of collective healing. In the years of the early millennium when New Zealand held the unenviable record of highest teen suicides per capita world-wide, an alarming number of deaths were happening in this quaint port town. I recall the village being rocked by a spate of deaths of young teens and the outpouring of compassion for families. Seen at a local level of Lyttelton there was no reason that could satisfy the logical mind for the events that had rocked the town. Yet when viewed again from the hovering place above, there were those who saw the bigger picture. Most of these children had been born around 1980, the first wave of children who were to come to be known as the Crystal Children, and who are now considered to be the empaths for humanity, here to help heal the many wounds of collective humanity. They do this simply by holding energies of unconditional love and compassion themselves, and this affects others around them. For the first wave, the world they found themselves living in was too harsh, too loud and many simply didn’t stay very long. I was a mother of two teenagers at that time and was active in the Lyttelton Youth Council that had been formed out of concern for our younger community members. Of my own two children one left this Earth early and I know the power of compassion.
Although I don’t currently live in Lyttelton, having been displaced by quakes, I have two grandchildren at the school and follow their growth keenly. One of them has been subjected to bullying and there have been several telephone calls from my daughter, who, frustrated with the lack of support shown for her child, asked me for my advice as to what could be done to bring about an effective outcome. I shared with her the same dialogue written here and said that at the end of the day, we all draw to us what we are already holding ourselves. If we have attracted a bully, then we have unconsciously signaled lack of self-empowerment in ourselves to another who is currently holding the energy of over-empowerment; both are equally unbalanced and both need addressing. To think of ourselves or another as a victim is in itself incredibly disempowering and to focus on the bully is only doing half the job. In this sense there is no right nor wrong person, just a need for some work to be done. Meanwhile, hold the other child and the family in compassion, until they can do this for themselves.
We cannot do the work for another, and we can’t demand this of another, we can only do this for ourselves. However, once we have rebalanced our own energies again and released the need for blame, we are in a position to respond rather than react, and one of the responses that wields the most power, so to speak, is compassion. Imagine the power of a community that practiced compassion full time! Compassion comes from the Heart and defies logic or judgment of who is right or wrong. It is completely sustainable, in fact it grows exponentially and it’s free! If you need to kick-start compassion, look to your children; they have heaps of it!
Former Lyttelton resident and author of ‘Dry Your Tear’s – a mother finds the gift of love through grief’