Mind Matters: Moments that transcend

Sacred moments of connection to another person happen in the oddest places.

The other day I was shopping at one of those big box stores. It must have been an in-between time since there were only a few shoppers. A woman, even older than I, was handing out samples of a drink and I stopped to try some. She hesitated for a moment, then spoke quietly, “Yes, we need to vote.”

At first I didn’t know what she meant. Then I realized I was wearing a button that said, “Someone paid the price for your right to VOTE.” The pin marked the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March of 1965. I responded, “Ah, yes!”

With no one in the vicinity, we launched into a conversation about the present political atmosphere. We both acknowledged that our being over 70 years old meant that we had seen and experienced a lot over the years. However, her experience of being a woman in the 50s, 60s, and 70s was exacerbated by her being a black woman during those times. We lamented for our daughters and granddaughters who now face how repressed our society is becoming for both the rights of minorities as well as for women.

We discussed how we worry that things will get worse before they get better, noting that bigotry and hatred has been given free rein and that violence could erupt because of that. And, yes, we cried — and hugged.

We must all recognize that these are not sane and civil times, when white supremacists such as Stephen Bannon are running the White House and when some arrogantly flaunt the confederate flag on their vehicles and display it on their houses. The racist meaning is loud and clear.

We now have a whitelash happening against eight years of having an African American president. The majority of Americans accepted President Obama — they are not racist, are not homophobic, are not fearful of immigrants. However, right now we have bigotry, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia being mainstreamed by this administration and many of our legislators.

If you are white — especially white male — and you think you don’t have to worry about what’s going on, think again. Do you have children or grandchildren, daughters, mothers, wives, sisters? Do you care how women are treated?

Do you really want sexual abuse and harassment of the women you love and care about to be acceptable? Furthermore, do you want your daughter to be considered a “host” and therefore her body is subjugated to the whims of an old white male lawmaker? Several women I know have already been openly groped and grabbed. Have the predators been given carte blanche?

Oh, and what about bullying? Do you want bullying to be the norm? Do you really believe that bullying is okay — whether it’s done to a child, a disabled person, a woman, a minority, a gay, a trans? Is this what you want to see happening in our nation? That bullying and fear mongering becomes a way of life?

Or what if you are a farmer? Are you worried about who will help you? Vermont dairy farmers are very concerned that they will lose their cows and their farms if their reliable and hardworking immigrant farmworkers are deported. If you are a mushroom grower, do you worry? If you grow apples, what about you?

Just like many farmers, most of us are concerned about what is happening in our nation and we want civility and good citizenship to be restored. Meanwhile, we can all be on the lookout for transcendent moments of grace in the everyday with the people we may meet in the oddest of places.

* Kayta Curzie Gajdos holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and is in private practice in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. She welcomes comments at MindMatters@DrGajdos.com or 610-388-2888. Past columns are posted to www.drgajdos.com. See book.quietwisdom-loudtimes.com for information about her book, “Quiet Wisdom in Loud Times: The Rise of the Wounded Feminine.”

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to: editor@chaddsfordlive.com


About Kayta Gajdos

Dr. Kathleen Curzie Gajdos ("Kayta") is a licensed psychologist (Pennsylvania and Delaware) who has worked with individuals, couples, and families with a spectrum of problems. She has experience and training in the fields of alcohol and drug addictions, hypnosis, family therapy, Jungian theory, Gestalt therapy, EMDR, and bereavement. Dr. Gajdos developed a private practice in the Pittsburgh area, and was affiliated with the Family Therapy Institute of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, having written numerous articles for the Family Therapy Newsletter there. She has published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin, the Family Psychologist, and in the Swedenborgian publications, Chrysalis and The Messenger. Dr. Gajdos has taught at the college level, most recently for West Chester University and Wilmington College, and has served as field faculty for Vermont College of Norwich University the Union Institute's Center for Distance Learning, Cincinnati, Ohio. She has also served as consulting psychologist to the Irene Stacy Community MH/MR Center in Western Pennsylvania where she supervised psychologists in training. Currently active in disaster relief, Dr. Gajdos serves with the American Red Cross and participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as a member of teams from the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Now living in Chadds Ford, in the Brandywine Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Gajdos combines her private practice working with individuals, couples and families, with leading workshops on such topics as grief and healing, the impact of multigenerational grief and trauma shame, the shadow and self, Women Who Run with the Wolves, motherless daughters, and mediation and relaxation. Each year at Temenos Retreat Center in West Chester, PA she leads a griefs of birthing ritual for those who have suffered losses of procreation (abortions, miscarriages, infertility, etc.); she also holds yearly A Day of Re-Collection at Temenos.Dr. Gajdos holds Master's degrees in both philosophy and clinical psychology and received her Ph.D. in counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Among her professional affiliations, she includes having been a founding member and board member of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Pittsburgh, as well as being listed in Who's Who of American Women. Currently, she is a member of the American Psychological Association, The Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Delaware Psychological Association, the American Family Therapy Academy, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board. Woven into her professional career are Dr. Gajdos' pursuits of dancing, singing, and writing poetry.

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