“The Worst Form Of Injustice Is Pretended Justice” Plato

This past month, the announcement of Felicity Huffman’s 14 day prison sentence for her role in the college admission scandal sent social media ablaze with comments of righteous indignation. She used her power, influence, money, and connections to cheat her daughter’s way into college with an inflated standardized test score. This sits in stark contrast to numerous legal cases over the past decade in which mothers…usually poor and of color….were handed down sentences ranging from 5 to 10 years in jail for registering their child with a false address to give them the opportunity to attend a better public school. The irony and injustice of these cases spurred a brief outcry from the public that received media attention. And then silence.

Don’t even get me started on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal; the poster child case of a broken system that heavily favors the rich and powerfully connected. The heinous crimes he was accused and convicted of; the laughable first sentence he received; the bizarre circumstance surrounding his most recent incarceration and exit from this world; should make every citizen outraged and embarrassed of our supposed justice system. Why has the mockingbird media suddenly gone virtually silent over this scandal?

Closer to home in Pennsylvania and on a much smaller scale, let me tell you about two separate cases involving individuals charged with a DUI. The first young man was convicted of his Third DUI offense and sentenced to 3-6 months county jail time. He appealed his conviction to the state Supreme Court, where it was upheld. The entire case has taken almost 3 years to wind its way through the system and during that time, this young man has been free on bail pending the receipt of all the Supreme Court case documents back to the original sentencing county. During this time, this young man has been charged with several other offenses including a gun charge in another county and a Fourth DUI just a few months ago. However, he is still driving around illegally and living free on bail while the wheels grind slowly forward. The contrasting case involves a young man charged with his Second DUI offense in the same county. This particular young man had several things working against him from the start. For one, he lives off a fixed social security disability income because he has diagnosed severe mental illness. Due to his multiple mental health challenges, he does not always get the treatment he needs and self medicates with illegal substances. In a moment of clarity, he realized that he needed help to stabilize and found inpatient long term treatment at a dual diagnosis facility. While there, he found out that he had missed a court appearance. Well, maybe missed is not accurate. He told his public defender and social worker that he was self admitting into this long term treatment facility and assumed that they would inform the judge and prosecutor. He found out that didn’t happen when a warrant with his picture was posted on social media and brought to his attention while he was receiving treatment. He panicked and immediately left the facility and turned himself in. His case was heard very quickly by the courts and he officially received a sentence of “Other”. He didn’t understand and couldn’t explain to family members exactly what his sentence meant. He rather quickly then was transferred to two different state prisons and has been incarcerated for close to a year now with no end date in sight, or at least none that he can effectively communicate to his family. A deeper look at these two cases reveals how a person who arguably could be classified as a menace to society with resources at his disposal can receive a different kind of justice than a poor person with documented disabilities.

Change to our current world paradigm is never going to happen from the top down…only from the bottom up. We the people need to be the change we want to see; we need to keep shining light in all the dark places. As our own understanding and consciousness begins to increase, we need to gather together to find our collective power. As the quote from Benjamin Franklin states: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

More on this: Our Criminal Justice System Broken Beyond Repair

Epstein, His Victims, and Our Broken Justice System

New Research Reveals Some Secrets Behind Ketamine’s Ability To Treat Depression

Ketamine, once used frequently as a battlefield anesthetic during wartime and more recently as a club drug, has found new acclaim in its use to treat depression. Scientists and medical professionals have documented Ketamine’s ability to alleviate depressive symptoms in just hours, but didn’t really understand how it worked. Now new research hints at revealing the secret mechanism of action. In the most recent study, mice were injected with a stress hormone and then recorded exhibiting depressive symptoms such as refusing to eat in addition to recording the loss of synaptic connections in their brain. The mice were then given a dose of ketamine as investigators recorded surprising brain changes. The synaptic connections previously recorded, started to repair themselves after only twelve hours. In addition to repaired neuronal connections, the depressive symptoms that the mice had shown disappeared almost instantly. Ketamine therapy holds great promise in being able to quickly treat suicidal thoughts and depression, and this research helps uncover its secrets.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/04/11/712295937/ketamine-may-relieve-depression-by-repairing-damaged-brain-circuits

https://www.wired.com/story/lasers-highlight-ketamines-depression-fighting-secrets/amp

My Six Word Memoir

Passionate                                                                                                                                           

Damaged

Grandmom                                                                                                    

Empathic                                                                                                        

Survivor

Advocate                                

                                                                                                                 

Hey Universe, I Hear You This Time!

Juanita-Lewis Universe is callingThis post is about a tremendous AHA moment I experienced on Friday. It is so powerful that I needed to share it with all my fellow seekers out there. You see, like many others I am aware of way too many moments in my daily life where stress, anxiety, depression, and a sense of despair threaten to undermine if not destroy my happiness. With all the daily practices I have in place to increase my conscious awareness, I still am a work in progress and prone to ruminating about the tragedies in my past and fretting over my future.

I begin each morning with a silent gratitude session, before my feet even touch the floor. This small ritual is a fabulous way to set the tone for the day. After I drink my deliciously flavored coffee, finish with my personal hygiene, and dress – I then have my morning meditation session. There are days when I am not as religiously adherent to this schedule as I would like myself , but on the whole it is a steady routine of mine. Later on, typically about 6 PM, I have an evening meditation session and finally about thirty minutes before I go to sleep…..or attempt to go to sleep at least…..I put on one of my self-help relaxation CD’s and drift off. Sounds good, right? So what is the problem…..you might ask? Well, even though these steps have positively impacted my physical, mental,emotional, and spiritual health…..I still find myself in states of extreme anxiety throughout the day with a feeling that there is a giant boot poised right above my neck about to stomp down and crush the life out of me.

So, I muddle through day by day, seeking solutions and tools that will help me increase my life satisfaction. I am a firm believer in the concept of Go Give. I find that by giving back and helping others…..even in small ways such as offering a smile to a stranger…..I gain just as much satisfaction as the person I am helping if not more. One activity I do in that vein is volunteering as a legal advocate in the local courthouse for people who want to file for PFA’s…..or protection from abuse orders. This is where, on Friday this week, I met her.

She was a well dressed middle-aged woman with piercing green eyes wearing what looked like elasticized bandaged sleeves on both her arms. She was glad she had made it here….. in the tiny coat closet sized room given to the woman’s advocacy center I volunteer for in the basement of the courthouse.  As is my custom, I offered her a seat and a box of tissues and asked her how could I help her and what brought her to here this day. As she began to tell me her story, I found myself so captivated that time just seemed to stop. Over the next hour, she shared with me story and why she was seeking a protection order that day. But it was not so much her story that hit me like a bolt of lightning hurdled from the sky…..it was her attitude, the peace and love that radiated from her, and the sense of unflappability that she displayed. The universe was speaking to me, through the form of this brave woman…..and I was listening this time.

She is a survivor of childhood incest and adolescent rape. By 24 she had given birth to four children and escaped from a tortured and abusive marriage. At 37, a devastating car accident landed her in a coma for 17 days and more metal in her body holding her together than I can imagine. Then at 45 she started the journey of dealing with the  big C…..stage 2b metastatic breast cancer. This lead to lymphedema which is why she was wearing support sleeves on her arms. She had psychiatric hospitalizations for earlier suicide attempts and takes medication daily for bipolar depression. During that time of mental health crisis, she found herself in the wrong place with the wrong people and is now facing two separate legal battles that could potentially send her to prison for decades. Oh, and they found tumors in her uterus so she is undergoing a hysterectomy at the end of this month. She found herself on this occasion filing for a PFA for her 3-year-old grandson against his biological mother’s new boyfriend. Wow…..and that is the short story.

As I was struggling to comprehend the enormity and pain of her journey through life and offer her support and compassion, I realized that I was more shook by her account than she was. Is it my imagination or is she just exuding this amazing steadiness and calm? And it wasn’t an act…..she truly gave off a vibe of peace and serenity that I have only witnessed before in yogis and advanced meditators. I politely asked if she would be willing to tell me her secret for seeming so happy and at peace while facing what seemed like overwhelming circumstances. She paused for a moment, taking a deep breath, and said she would be happy to share it with me.

“It didn’t happen overnight, and it hasn’t been easy,” she replied “but I have finally learned to deeply love the person I am. You see, I have been at rock bottom for most of my life and it got to the point that I only had two options left….end my life or turn things around and go up. Naturally, I tried the former approach first and when that didn’t work I began to research and look for ways to radically transform my life. I spent my whole life trying to give…..it was my job to keep everyone else as happy as possible. I didn’t mind giving to my children. I wanted them to have a happy life. But I didn’t give to myself and I didn’t know how to receive anyone else trying to give me help. ”

Boy, did that hit a nerve with me. How many of us are programmed to give but don’t have a clue about how to receive? I was just mesmerized by her and wanted to hear more. “I learned that if I am constantly putting energy out and not allowing any back in, the message I am sending out into the universe is there is no space for abundance in my life. I also needed to learn to love myself and appreciate the moments, people, and things I did have. I spent so much time and energy worrying about what HAD happened to me and what MIGHT happen to me that I never got to appreciate what really WAS happening. When I finally learned how to be present in the moment…..to live in the now as they say…..I feel like my whole life changed and I became almost reborn.”

I have read about this concept before. I do try to practice being present and enjoying the moment that is. Yet, I heard this from her as though it was a brand new revelation. For whatever reason, this time and in this space with this woman, I got it. If she can take the practice of living in the now and implement it in her life in a true deep way to make it automatic, then I can too. This woman came into my life looking for my assistance and help, but instead gave to me a gift that is truly so precious. Live each moment as if it is the only moment, because it is truly the only moment that ever matters. And practice loving yourself as deeply, truly, and profoundly as you give love to others. Pay attention, bring conscious awareness to your thoughts and emotions. Allow yourself to feel and to think as you may, but stop and witness these thoughts and feelings and consider that you do not have to act on any of them…..only acknowledge them and watch them. Live in the now…..what a concept! Hey universe, I heard you this time.

sign from universe