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General News · 12th March 2017
ever since a rather tragic unfolding a year ago, i’ve been feeling alienated in our community. when expressing this sense of alienation, i’ve been told, by compassionate people, to “watch my words.” the sentiment, (and it is put to me gently and sweetly), is that by verbalizing my feelings of alienation, i recreate the very alienation i find so painful, thereby rendering it more real, etching its existence into the community tableau.

yes, in speaking we always risk lending force to the reality we seek to overcome. but…let me ask you something: if, from a fear of recreating the very dynamics we wish to remedy, we silence ourselves and refrain from speaking openly about those dynamics, where does that leave us? without speaking of our struggles within community, how can we, as a community, begin to understand and attend to the places where social breakdown and alienation occur?

it is in a search for remedies, and for a better tomorrow, that i wish to speak openly and transparently about something i am experiencing here on Cortes…something which i have never personally encountered before: being shunned. being shunned, even if only by a couple of people, is exceptionally painful. on a small rural island, it is an especially effective form of harm.

primates will do almost anything to avoid being shunned. as human beings we have a fundamental need to be recognized and accepted. when a person is shunned it radically undermines his or her self-confidence, leading to isolation, suicidal tendencies, and other things too awful to mention. being shunned fires the pain sensors in the brain. unlike physical pain, the mere memory of being shunned rekindles these pain sensors.

shunning is such a silent harm that a person can shun another in public without the surrounding people even being aware of it. like water torture, it is invisible. it leaves no telling mark, yet it powerfully and effectively crushes the soul.

Cortes is a resilient community with an overarching ethos of inclusivity and compassion. i know we all want Cortes to be a place which allows people to flourish, a place which does not tie people to identities in constraining ways, but which, rather, offers room for growth and change. i know we all want Cortes to be a place where, when conflict arises, it is readily transformed into peace and greater understanding.

it is in light of this that i offer the following suggestion: if you cross paths with someone you would rather avoid, meet his or her eye and smile anyway. that simple gesture of recognition makes such a difference. at the end of the day, we are all just human. we all belong, so let us recognize each other’s full humanity. in doing so, we lift each other up.
Comment by Nancy Beach on 20th March 2017
Dear Mielle and Community,
If you are among those being shunned in this community, then you will never be alone. That is not to say that you will always be shunned, or that there will always be those who shun. For we are not just animals. We are human. As such, there is always hope that we will reach our inevitable enlightenment sooner, rather than later.
And, if you stand with no human at your side, then you will NEVER be alone either. Remember That in your darkest moments. That is because you have more than one invisible friend, and multitudes of people worldwide, who love you beyond description.
Let us associate with these Dear Ones, & together we will patiently watch as "those who shun" merge with their true & uplifting identity.
After all, who in their right mind(s) would shun you?
Comment by Elizabeth Anderson on 13th March 2017
Well said Mille. A good reminder to all of us.
You are loved. <3
Comment by Josea on 13th March 2017
Hi Mielle ~ I hear you and I know others who have experienced this feeling here on Cortes. I'm not sure if it is a cultural issue amongst the primates of this island here or maybe it is the energy of the island itself which forces us each to face all of our greatest fears and shadows as an opportunity to heal. I think it is probably some combinations of the two. Either way, sending you love and hopes that you may find the strength, self love and connection with others to feel amazing regardless of what certain people are doing/thinking/saying. xxoo
Thank you Mielle
Comment by Lovena Harvey on 13th March 2017
for being brave enough to write this post. I understand your pain as I too have experienced this and it is silent harm.