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The other morning I pulled a Goddess card with the message “You are stronger than you think.”

A Goddess Guidance Oracle Card looks like a Tarot card but features ladies that resemble your hippie elementary school music teacher who never left the 1960s; flowing hair, lute, a super comfy lap and a fire-breathing or rainbow-shooting animal companion. The cards come with a guidebook which provides all the answers to life. Sometimes the messages give broad directives like avoid negative thinking. Other times they provide specifics like go outside or get a cat. If the Goddess Bast could promise me a non-puking/non-scratching cat, I’d probably own one right now. Part of the power of the goddesses lies in the fact they neither beg nor whine.

Goddess

Oh, wait. I forgot to give you a moment to digest the fact that Goddess Cards even exist, and that I am a Woman of Mystery who uses them. As a Woman of Mystery, you should also know that I went to the vein clinic last week for the first time, wore someone else’s shorts for two hours as I watched my veins via ultrasound, and walked out with my very own compression socks. Now you know a bit about Goddess cards and what happens in a vein clinic consult! Naturally, this monologue turns next to the Holy Land.

I have family living in Israel. Since forever, when you mention visiting Israel or anywhere in the middle east, the response includes some version of Is that safe? Be careful! Can you bring me some Ahava hand cream? The threat of random violence is real and persistent. However, in my experience of Israelis, they don’t allow that fear to dictate their lives.

Terrorism used to happen “over there.” Now it happens “here” sometimes affecting “us” directly and with increasing frequency. I use quotes recognizing how many Americans live in a constant state of fear and violence in their own homes, and neighborhoods–nothing new about that, with the exception that our gun problem keeps getting worse. The internet, however, now provides us a constant and devastatingly unrelenting stream of terror–often in real time– even for those of us not living it.

If I’m giving you emotional whiplash in this post, it’s only partly unintentional. One of my aims in life is to laugh and find hope wherever possible, and to share it. For those of us not directly in harms way, not surviving the aftermath nor struggling/loving someone struggling, a reminder that we are stronger than we think seems well-timed.

Staying informed is important. Speaking up about injustice is important. Bearing witness is very important. When you listen to the heartbreak, do you also look for the resilience? Do you concentrate on how miraculously the body and soul can heal after a trauma, and marvel that people who survive the unimaginable can go on to create meaningful lives anew? The media doesn’t typically report that part of the story, and I know I don’t focus enough on the strength that lies therein.

For those of us not in the line of fire, for those of us not picking up the rubble of our lives–and now that we have no choice but to face the reality of violence all over the world, too close too home, and far more often than we wish–we have an opportunity to find our strength, support others, and live our lives–laughter and joy included.

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ELEESE BOHANNON-SCOTT reads at our 2016 DC show, by Julie Lowery Photography

The Listen To Your Mother videos are here! The LTYM YouTube channel serves as a valuable resource and source of comfort. Whether you need to laugh, need to know you aren’t alone, need a good cry, or simply need a little escape– you can search by topics as vast as ‘humor’ or as specific as adoption, single-parenting, divorce, loss, twins, etc. We invite you to experience voices from our shows all across North America featuring powerful true stories that capture all facets of contemporary parenting (as well as stories about our own upbringing) including very timely personal narratives given the recent events in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Shaker Heights, and Dallas. On the Listen To Your Mother YouTube channel we feature a variety of playlists by topic, and for 2016 we’ve added two new playlists–one with stories about race, and another with stories from LGBTQ families.

Here in Madison on Mother’s Day hundreds of folks gathered at The Barrymore to listen to a diverse group of Madisonians sharing their humorous, moving, and profound words. You can watch the 2016 Madison show by clicking this playlist.

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