Good News, Bad News



“Love is the fundamental energy of evolution….Our challenge today is to trust the power of love at the heart of life, to let ourselves be seized by love, to create and invent ways for love to evolve into a global wholeness of unity, compassion, justice and peacemaking. As a process of evolution, the universe is incomplete, and we humans are incomplete. We can change, grow, and become something new. We have the power to do so, but do we have the will? We need a religious imagination that ignites our energies to move beyond mediocrity and fear, one that anticipates a new future of planet life.” ~Ilia Delio. The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, p. xxv

First the good news: The first draft of my new book is finished. From here on out it’s just a matter of refining it, a process akin to socializing a child so it’s fit to be seen in polite society. It’ll take me a while to do that, then off it goes. Sending it to the publisher is like sending a child to finishing school after basic training. An editor will offer suggestions, I’ll make revisions. A marketing person will review and adjust the promotional plan, make the necessary arrangements, and so on.

Now for the bad news: I’m living in a country whose collective shadow is manifesting in so much nasty, ugly, uncivilized, territorial, competitive, top-dog, mine’s-bigger-than-yours animus masculinity that I’m losing hope. Just so you know, my book is about how psychologically and spiritually, men and women both contain the masculine and feminine principles/drives. So I’m not just talking about men. There are plenty of women around exhibiting that same shadow.

Here’s what I’m on the verge of seriously asking myself: Why am I spending so much of my life energy creating this new child who’s all about love and partnership and creative, unitive consciousness? How can it possibly survive in such an environment, let alone thrive? How can anything soft and vulnerable—like an innocent child or a human soul—bear the toxicity of our time?

I know the answer to the first question is, “Because I have to.” And I know I won’t rest until it’s done. Nevertheless, I really, really, need to hear some good news.

Two Monday mornings ago, I awoke with the usual dark cloud over my head from watching the late night news about the latest political brouhaha. This time it was the Brett Kavanaugh supreme court nominee hearing and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s upcoming testimony about an alleged abusive encounter with him. I didn’t want to think about it. I couldn’t wait to make my coffee and get to the newspaper so I could solve the sudoku puzzle. I needed a distraction from my gloomy thoughts, a problem I could actually resolve.

Part of my morning ritual is to read my horoscope which shares the same page. Occasionally a comment will resonate and spark some creative thinking. That morning, mine said something like, “Instead of thinking about what you need to change, ask yourself what would improve your life.” The answer came almost immediately. Being with a kind, compassionate, psychologically savvy and spiritually mature woman who has a good balance of masculine and feminine energy would definitely improve my life right now.

So I sent an email to a friend I haven’t seen in several months, and invited her over for tea one afternoon. We agreed to meet a week later, last Monday afternoon. One of the first things she said after we’d settled into comfortable chairs was, “Are you in as much pain as I am from watching Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony last Thursday?” She was already reading my mind. I hadn’t actually watched it that day, but I’d been seeing it on the news ever since. And yes, I was in much pain about it.

After we talked for a while about how much Ford’s testimony had moved us she said, “But you know, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Kavanaugh and his wife too. Did you see her face? There was so much devotion and concern for him in her eyes.”

And that’s exactly what I needed to hear. Her compassion for both Ford and Kavanaugh—her ability to put herself in their shoes and imagine the impact this ordeal was having on both their families—was the voice crying in the wilderness I’d been longing to hear. We spent the next two hours having one of the most pleasant, light-hearted, and affirming conversations I can remember ever having. We laughed a lot. And I teared up a few times. I’ve felt much better ever since.

If there’s a moral to this story, it’s that if the current political situation is dragging you down, find yourself a gentle, compassionate, feminine voice with “a religious imagination that ignites [y]our energies to move beyond mediocrity and fear, one that anticipates a new future of planet life.”

Thank you, Ilia Delio. Thank you, Pat. I’ll be doing more of that from now on.

Image credits: Ford, Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty. Kavanaugh, Unknown,

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

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18 Responses

  1. This brought tears to my eyes plus a smattering of goose bumps.
    That was a special day. More to come.
    All Love, pat

  2. I agree! I think we should look for compassion at every turn. However, in these circumstances I am stuck with real anger from the planned and perpetrated grave injustices surrounding this event. How can one become compassionate in such circumstances and more importantly, should one, given the challenges ahead?

    1. Hi Mary, it’s good to hear from you.
      For me, compassion and anger aren’t mutually exclusive. The opposites of compassion are indifference and cruelty. One can hold anger and compassion and still work for change. I think everyone has their own unique way of doing this. I usually channel my anger into my writing…as you probably noticed in my second paragraph above! Perhaps you do that too. I also voice it when I need to, but I try to do it without being cruel.
      The people I most admire are the angry activists who show up and get together and work for change without being cruel or destructive to others: civil disobedience, non-violent demonstrations, etc. Gandhi and Martin Luther King showed us how to do this. Women are doing it now and they are my greatest hope. I’m just afraid they’ll get discouraged and stop! We need the voices of women and men who care more than ever at this moment in history.
      Thanks for writing, and blessings on you and your work.

  3. Congratulations, Jean. I was in awe of the growth of your child and your courage as it is socialised and released into a sometimes tough literary world! Your metaphors brought a smile to my heart. Thank you for the Ilia Delio quote; it is a challenge to grasp it firmly and yet so necessary as we navigate through disturbing and disquieting times – internationally and here in Australia. I hope autumn is bringing you moments of joy.

    1. Hi Catherine.
      It’s so good to hear from you, and thank you for the kind words. Yes, it truly is a challenge to muster the intention, energy and focus to hold on to love, imagine a better world for all, and move past mediocrity and fear to make it happen. Those who can do that are true spiritual warriors. I am fortunate enough to know a few women like this. Pat, my friend in the story above, is one of them. Elaine Mansfield, my writer friend, is another. I’m pretty sure they’re both inspiring younger women to do the same. The justice, protection, and equality we’re fighting for may not come to pass in my time, but it will come to pass. I’m certain of that.
      Unfortunately, there are still no signs of autumn here in Central Florida. I’m going to have to go to the Smoky Mountains for that, and hope to do so soon.
      With warm blessings,

  4. A ‘religious imagination’ – those words stood out for me Jeanie. The rest of your post is lovely – good news all round at the end. BK being elected to COJ is unreal .. and it’s as well to remember the unreality of it and to imagine that the reality of love and compassion will surpass it. Such ‘stuff’ is happening in our country as well. I see this whole drama as being a birthing process with all its attending labour pains but hells bells this is a difficult birth with the danger of the umbilical cord strangling whatever is being birthed.
    Your new book is awaited eagerly. The emergence and merging of masculine and feminine divine energies bring hope to all of us. All success Jeanie 🙂

    1. Hi Susan,
      Yes, those words stood out for me too. I think of Jung’s belief that we are all born with a religious function that compels us to grow into love. I believe this is so with all my heart. However, despite their best intentions, patriarchal organized religions have been so fixated on the other world and a remote masculine God that, unlike the founders of their religions, they’ve had a very difficult time listening to that inner voice with a blend of masculine and feminine compassion, kindness, and care. Still, it’s there. And I hear more religious leaders addressing this reality today. Ilia Delio is one of them. Richard Rohr is another. I highly recommend their books.
      Blessings on you and your work in the same vein. And enjoy spring in South Africa. 🙂

  5. Beautiful. Thank you for this post. (((BIGHUG))) I have added a couple of Ilia Delio’s books to my wish list; she sounds like someone I would enjoy reading. I’ve been reading a lot of books by Matthew Fox these days; I’ve admired him for decades – his approach as one of Original Blessing instead of Original Sin, his creation-centered spirituality instead of fall/redemption. You wrote “Her compassion for both Ford and Kavanaugh—her ability to put herself in their shoes and imagine the impact this ordeal was having on both their families—was the voice crying in the wilderness I’d been longing to hear” and I was so pleased that you and your friend had such a lovely conversation. I visited old friends a couple weeks ago and it is hard sometimes for the angry activists (even though I knew this person was coming from a place of good intentions) to pause and allow for compassion to enter toward everyone involved, hard for them to understand this doesn’t excuse immoral behavior. I’m eager to read your latest book! Yay! Blessings to you.

    1. Thank you, Darla.
      Your kind and enthusiastic response to this post brought chills…of happiness and love! I so appreciate you. And I’m thrilled to know you’ll be reading Ilia Delio. Her words are exciting and soothing and filled with wisdom. It’s been exciting for me to discover her. I know you’ll enjoy her.
      I adore Matthew Fox too. His books have opened so many minds to a bigger reality and continue to do so.
      And yes! Compassion doesn’t excuse immoral behavior. It is simply a natural human response to the pain of another human being, regardless of their ethics, integrity, or humanity. It’s born of love and respect for the miracle of life. And not easy to come by, for sure.
      It’s always good to hear your compassionate voice.
      Blessings, Jeanie

  6. Dear Jeanie, That’s great news on your book front! It’ll be brilliant I just know it and when the editing’s complete, I believe, “The Soul’s Twins” will be a very much needed and exceptional book at this precise moment in time. I’m truly delighted for you! The best of luck with the final editing (polishing of the heart!) process.
    As a rule I don’t follow political news (here in the UK or abroad) or watch any of the many current news programs on television … far too busy listening to the birds and writing poems! However my ears did prick up when you spoke of recognizing the need to hear good news to balance it all out … with kindness and compassion ruling the day.
    Holding the tension of the opposites in these challenging times feels vital if we’re to continue evolving on our own individual and collective journeys. Today, I feel prompted by my psyche to explore the archetype and mythology that surrounds the Hermaphrodite … especially what Jung and the post Jungians have to say! Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Dear Deborah,
      Thanks so much for the good wishes for my book and its outcome.
      I tend not to follow politics too much either, because it has such a toxic effect on me. But now and then a political issue will grab my attention and interest and compel me to learn more. Painful or not, I couldn’t completely look away from this latest issue. It sits at the core of my being and the tension of it inspires everything I write. How could I not learn from it? And I did, thank goodness.
      I look forward to seeing what you’ll write about the Hermaphrodite. This, and the Androgyne—a very similar archetype, if not identical—is profoundly meaningful to me as well. And, in her book Androgyny, Jungian analyst June Singer wrote that it’s the oldest archetype but one. I’m not sure what she meant the oldest one is…I read that book about 20 years ago. Maybe I’ll have to reread it, considering I mention the Androgyne in my new book. Anyway, if you haven’t read Singer’s book, I highly, highly recommend it. It’s about the psycho-spiritual mixture of masculinity and femininity in us all.
      Sending continued blessings on your beautiful poetry, dear sister. Love and light to you too.

      1. Re not being able to look away, I totally agree, there’s always something there for us, something so important no matter how uncomfortable or despicable the view! Thank you so much Jeanie, will definitely check out June Singer’s book for sure.

  7. Thanks for this reminder of what helps. Thanks your coming book. I’m disheartened and grieving about the political, environmental, and social unjustice mess we’re in. It’s important to offer your book because these ideas are needed more than ever. I hope it gets to many people.
    One benefit of hearing loss is I don’t listen to any political proceedings or newscasts, but read about them. It makes the gut-wrenching impact one step removed.I agree we need compassion for all sides. Always. The tortured and the torturer. This is the highest place to stand. I, too, saw the devotion in Kavanaugh’s wife’s eyes. I’m glad for him. I didn’t trust his melodrama (a coached performance) and know of many apparently nice family men who get on their knees and weep about hitting their wives or getting drunk once again and promise to do better. Such promises are often/usually broken) or his body language. More rage. It’s heart-breaking what we’re doing and I have to remember that there is good and evil in the world and some things are clear. It isn’t good to choke the oceans with plastic. It isn’t good to pollute our water sources. It isn’t good to take children away from their parents and give them to adoption to nice white Christian people who will surely give them “good” homes. It isn’t good to attack women (or men) who speak out about assault of any kind.
    I find solace with dear friends and walks in nature, with hospice work and with writing. Since June, my greatest joy was raising, protecting, and releasing ~95 Monarchs. I had a powerful synchronicity experience with a Monarch appearance while in my dream therapist’s office a few days ago–right out the window as we talked about a caterpillar dream. I’m writing about it. Pure Joy! I’ll miss them and prepare for their return. I’ll protect this land with hope and watch for signs that Nature, as always, is preparing for new life with seedpods and mushroom spores and other wonders. I find comfort in addressing piles of postcards reminding registered Democrats in my district who didn’t vote in the last midterms that we need them now–said gently on beautiful cards designed by local artists to “get out the vote.” I’ll keep working on compassion for all.

    1. Thanks for the kind words and good wishes for my book. I hope it will bring more understanding and compassion to dialogues about gender inequality.
      And thanks for your many thoughtful observations. I especially like, “…there is good and evil in the world and some things are clear.” Yes, but apparently the things you mention that are not good to do aren’t clear to everyone. Or if they are, they don’t care enough to do anything about it. As you say, it’s heart-breaking.
      Your ways of finding solace are so inspiring. It’s comforting just to know about them. I love what you’ve done with your beloved monarchs. And the beautiful and artful way your activism manifests. I should think your soul should be feeling very grateful for your ego’s conscious and deliberate ministrations!! Would that more of us thought and acted like you….in the interest of being true to their souls, which really just want to love and be loved. I fear that things might have to get very bad, indeed, for us to wake up to the disregard we have for the health of our own souls!
      Enough morbid thoughts. Back to work. Thank you again for your always thoughtful words.
      Love and blessings, Jeanie

      1. P.S. You and the women who have written comments here are all examples of the “kind, compassionate, psychologically savvy and spiritually mature woman who has a good balance of masculine and feminine energy” who are helping me improve my life right now. Just knowing you makes me feel better.

      2. I feel the same about you, Jeanie. I wish I were close enough to your place to come over for tea or go for a walk. I’m grateful for my community here, including the artists who created the postcards and the activists who printed out address labels and conceived this idea to gently remind people to vote using beauty, humor, and art. I hope it works. Love and blessings to you and your book baby.

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