Free the Goats

By the time I climbed up on the ledge to free the goats, they were gone. At what point had I ignored a stimulating risk that caused me to pervert faith with such theatrics?

Those I blamed had persisted only in my imagination, since healthy goats refuse to be bound with ropes of shame or threats of what will other people think?

Soon, being fully alive was all that mattered. Goat inspired me to take a dose of independence and sure-footedness, for myself.

Scapegoating is an attempt to keep people small. When we cannot face reality, we often create a drama with a star whipping boy who takes the blame, diverting attention from the bigger issue.

If we invest in community, sooner or later we will face criticism. If we confront what is wrong, worse.

Over the years, two things changed the way I received disheartening words. First, I paused to recall my many encouragers. Second, I shifted from analyzing with my rational mind to sensing energy.

Once I made the adjustment from processing words to sensing energy, conversations faded. Whirling within the energy, I saw fear, heard loss of control, tasted unhealed trauma and felt stuffed down anger. Sometimes calm rationale concealed aggression and generosity hid possessiveness. 

Though my sensing did not change the way the other person saw me, it gave me insight and compassion.

When we have something to hide, or a position to protect, we may be tempted to leak information to a person who leans toward gullibility or co-dependence. Then we have someone to do the dirty work for us. Giving a few factual details with a self-serving twist creates otherness and tightens the emotional bond with the overly loyal participant.

If someone has scapegoated you, sense the energy. Read the signposts. Has anyone invited you to an open dialogue?

Such practices are common in communities; nevertheless, it keeps us from collective wholeness. Deep inside, we know how to treat people with integrity. Making Spirit flesh is not always easy. First step: free the goats.

Sacred Ruminations*

Free the Goats is a compilation of stories I’ve heard or witnessed repeatedly, plus a few personal experiences. 

Reflect on conflicting times when you made Spirit flesh. What kind of risk did it require?

Examine your motives in scapegoating a person. What caused you to keep Spirit small?

Have you ever been a co-conspirator? If so, did you consider another side of the story?