Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Mindfulness as Survival Means | "Finding the Axis Mundi" on My Birthday

Article 15 of New York Human Rights Law of the Executive Law (chapter 18 of the Consolidated Laws of New York) prohibits "discrimination on the basis of "age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status or disability" and 'under the Human Rights Law in New York, every citizen has an “equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life.” Since 2014 my "opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life.” has been denied by many parties. While I was undergoing traumatic divorce proceedings I was subjected to prejudicial treatment, harassment and abuse of power by the co-op board of an Upper West Side building where I have been a resident and shareholder since 1989.
    Perhaps my personal story is an autoethonography which also can be contextualized in gentrification: NYC neighborhoods have been transformed in the past decades, but the increase of real estate value is proportional to the decrease of community values.
   My divorce case is somehow similar to a multitude of cases.   Families are destroyed by the greed of attorneys and anybody else involved in the "divorce industry": the main victims are the parties with economical and social disadvantage. The lack of assistance from agencies who are supposed to support victims of domestic abuse aggrevates the situation. For years I have been trying unsuccessfully to get legal assistance from the NYC Center for Family Justice. My case involved mental cruelty, emotional abuse and financial control—which are recognized as domestic abuse—but I was never provided any legal support or counseling. I was referred to private legal practices who would not even consider my case since did not involve physical violence.
   Due to such course of events, this year celebration of my birthday in New York was extremely difficult.  I am a middle-class, middle-age intellectual and seem to have become a scapegoat for everybody's anger and frustration.  As a designer/artist and yoga practitioner I resort to creativity, a healthy lifestyle and meditation as means of survival. A yoga practice at sunset by the Hudson River reminded how the beauty of nature and the urban energy can help to overcome my immediate social context.
   A movement practice in a urban space is a way to a collective healing, bringing a personal expression to a public statement, I do not believe my story is isolated and am trying to make it public. I hope that sharing with others the abuse and bullying I have been subjected to, will help not only as narrative for the healing process, but also for public change.
    Quoting Audre Lorde,  “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences.”