lunes, 21 de noviembre de 2011

Should women feel guilty about past abortions?

 Excerpt from Dancing with Duality:


es, three weeks later, I was pregnant for the fourth time! This, despite using my usual birth control methods that included anything but the pill. Again, I got an abortion as soon as I could, at six weeks. Again, the emotional turmoil, with my analytical mind winning the debate, while tears streamed down my cheek during the procedure.
I lost some sleep and nearly aborted this book because of the topic of abortion! Nearly all my friends have had one abortion, And most people will forgive you if you’ve had one. Every woman is entitled to one. OK, so she made one mistake. But some would argue that I was using it as birth control. Could I face all the judgmental attitudes against me? I thought, why write this book and become a target of angry opinionated people? Maybe I should skip these chapters. Later I thought, this might be the reason to write the whole truth: to show people what it’s like to be in this position and try to loosen their prejudices. To spread the insight of what goes through a woman’s mind when faced with this decision. All I can say is that I saw it as the lesser of two evils. In all but one case, I had used birth control. I didn’t want to get the procedure, but knew I wasn’t capable of supporting a child.
Before considering the abortions, I prayed for guidance. I consulted with female friends who encouraged me to go through with it. “This is not the right time, obviously.” I prayed to the soul to wait because the circumstances weren’t right. I didn’t want to bring a soul into what I considered a dysfunctional situation. I didn’t want to be a single mother. I could barely support myself financially. How would I raise a kid while working full time? Obviously, other women have similar situations and have managed to pull it off. But for me, even having a child in a solid marriage with a man who made enough money to support me, would have been overwhelming. The idea of being fully responsible for another human being was too much. I could barely take care of myself and my own needs. It sounds selfish. Yes, it might even be. But why is it considered so bad to want to take care of oneself first? Only then can we truly care for another.
Furthermore, I have an older brother who has lived out his life in a mental institution. At the age of one and a half, he got a fever that damaged his brain and reduced his IQ to 70. For me, the possibility of having a special-needs child was an imaginable possibility, made all the more intolerable with the idea of being a single mother.
Some women go on welfare, but that wasn’t my style. I was opposed to the idea. Maybe for others, but not for me!
I also knew women who had given birth, then given the baby up for adoption. They were tormented with the pain of that all their lives, haunted by lost loves and wondering if their babies had been raised right.
I knew people who were adopted and didn’t have the best upbringing, as well.
I’m not saying adoption is a poor choice for everyone, and often it works out quite well—especially with modern open adoptions in which the woman can choose the adoptive parents and visit the baby or at least stay in touch with the parents until the child is 18. At that point, he or she can decide for himself or herself whether to meet the biological mom.
My research on the soul led me to believe it didn’t enter the body for any great length of time until late in the second trimester, or even third trimester, well after the time when an abortion is usually given (six to ten weeks). Therefore, I wasn’t aborting a truly conscious being. I was merely dismissing an opportunity for a potential child. And if some soul were already prospecting my fetus as a potential new reincarnation, I really and truly felt I was doing the soul a huge favor by closing the door. There were much much better choices for a mother. My current husband says I did all of those souls a favor, as I would have made a horrible mother.
In a recent book, Growing Up in Heaven, medium James Van Praagh states: “From a spiritual perspective, abortions are lessons for the mother to learn self-love and self-worth. In the case of abortion, the soul always knows that the fetus will be aborted and does not attach itself to the physical body of the unborn. Therefore, no one is murdered in an abortion. Here again, both souls have agreed that they will go through this experience for growth. This matter can also be about one soul paying back a karmic debt to the other. Perhaps in a prior lifetime, the soul of the unborn was a mother who gave away her child and so must feel the effects of abandonment and/or betrayal.”[i]
You might judge my decisions. But at least I was true to my philosophy concerning bringing children into this world: Don’t do it unless you’re prepared on every level. What a different world it would be if everyone shared my values in this area.
If the world were underpopulated, we might begin to see abortion as more of a crime. There would be a need for people at all costs. Instead, we are faced with the plight of a lack of resources to support a population explosion predicted to reach nine billion by the year 2050, according to the United Nations. And it’s not like this place is paradise. If Earth is a kind of hell, as so many people believe, why would you want to bring more souls here? One of my anti-abortion friends claims that “life sucks.” So why, with that outlook, would abortion be so damning?
It’s so easy for people to sit in their ivory towers and judge all the women who have had abortions. But not only have I benefited from abortions, I’ve also been a teacher in the inner city, where there are crack babies and children with severe learning disabilities because their moms drank or took drugs while pregnant. Many of their mothers refused abortions for ethical reasons, but couldn’t quit taking drugs. One mother actually told a fellow teacher of mine, “Don’t expect me to come to teacher conferences. I had that baby just to keep getting welfare.” How many more have done that, but won’t admit to it?
When I was a sophomore at the university, I wrote an essay explaining that if I got pregnant, I’d commit suicide by jumping off a cliff, rather than face my strict and conservative father. Because of the shame, fear, and poverty centered around illegitimate childbirth, many such women risk their lives, or do die, in botched attempts where abortion is illegal. When I was in Brazil, I saw a woman who looked like she was on her death bed due to a coat-hanger abortion. Even in the U.S., girls have died from illegal abortions due to laws saying that their parents must consent in order to have safe legal procedures.
Ironically, one of the people I’ve been friends with longer than almost anyone is Jayne, who, with her husband Michael, has been an activist in the anti-abortion movement. For a period of many years, they were in the news. A segment on the TV show “20/20” was done on them. Their photos and names have appeared in Newsweek, Time, and US News magazines. We got a great laugh when one magazine had Mike’s photo, with the caption: husband of Jayne (as if he were merely in her shadow and not a major player himself, despite spending four years in prison for allegedly bombing an abortion clinic).
In one of our every-five-year reunions, Jayne told me about her beliefs and how she supported the concept of killing abortion doctors. “Now, these people are killing innocent babies. They are just like the Nazi prison camps in which people were being murdered. History will show that the anti-abortionists were valiant and brave to defend the rights of the unborn. Can you see how we feel?”
I closed my eyes. I tried to imagine having the beliefs that Jayne and Mike had, that the soul has only one chance at life. I quietly answered, “Yes! Yes, I can see your point of view.”
Never mind that I didn’t agree; I could feel how she felt. This disagreement did not stop us from being the dearest of old friends, friends since third grade.
Just as I’d taken an extreme approach in thinking, “If I can’t marry my first love, I’ll have many lovers,” Jayne had an all-or-nothing approach to children. She wanted none, but thought, “If I do have one, I will have as many as possible!” She and Mike ended up with 11 kids, all biologically theirs, though you’d never guess it from Jayne’s trim figure. I teased her that whenever I had an abortion, I would tell the soul, “Go to Jayne instead!”
Some fundamental Christians believe that children who die “before the age of accountability” will automatically go to heaven. Since very few people actually become “saved,” according to them, wouldn’t it make more sense to be in favor of abortion, since it guarantees the child automatic entry into eternal heaven? In fact, by that logic, we should kill all children: better they miss out on a brief life here and be guaranteed eternity in heaven than live here and risk eternal damnation!
I’ve heard various spiritual teachers say that if you’re not prepared to raise a child, the highest path is to abort. I’ve also heard others say karma is involved in abortion, just as with any other action. Years ago, I pondered what karmic repercussions might await me, after having several abortions. I read somewhere that one who has aborted will be aborted. That, to me, sounds like perfect justice. Or perhaps one who has aborted will try to reincarnate, but will not be able to. Again, perfect balance. Another possible scenario: During the life review, after death, a person is shown the parallel universe in which the abortion didn’t happen. She’s shown a beautiful child whom she loved. For me, this would be the worst “punishment”: being shown an opportunity that was missed because of fear.
Abortion is a multiple-edged sword, a no-win situation for everyone involved. So why does it exist? Not every pregnant woman is in a position to care for a child. Abortion, quite simply, sets a woman free to continue her life.
As such, now I was free to be single again.

0[i].    Van Praagh, Growing Up in Heaven pp. 98-99

Review for Dancing with Duality by Reader Views

Dancing With Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit

Stella Vance
CreateSpace (2011)
ISBN 9781466326651
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/11)

Beginning with her parent’s divorce in the 1970s, Stella Vance shares a life journey that takes us with her through to the new millennium.  Not holding anything back, Stella shares it all.   Beginning in the United States, Stella fearlessly takes off on adventures that take her all over the world.  Her incredible jaunts introduce her to some interesting characters.  While some of her experiences were quite painful, she still manages to reflect upon the lessons learned from them. She also establishes some lifelong relationships with people who come in and out of her life at different times.

Stella begins her journey as a very conservative Christian.  As time goes by and she starts to question what she has been taught, she begins exploring other belief systems that also include metaphysics, alternative healing modalities and reincarnation.  By expanding her mind into these new areas, she gains greater insight that allows her to look deeper into herself and learn greater lessons.  By sharing these lessons with her readers, we are able to learn from her experiences. I really appreciate having this opportunity to do so, because while I have had some great adventures, they are nowhere near as exciting as hers.  Personally, while I admire her, I would rather experience what she did vicariously by reading “Dancing with Duality,” than by living it myself!

I learned many important lessons while reading this book. I was given a great deal of thought-pondering material to journal.  The author does not blame others for her choices even when they betray her. She focuses on the lessons that she learns and moves on.  Making the choice to live this way has kept her from becoming stuck in anger and regret. I also appreciate that she takes responsibility for the actions that she has regretted.  She cannot be accused of hypocrisy, and I personally feel like her lessons are that much more valuable.

I highly recommend “Dancing with Duality” for individuals who are looking to further their personal growth and for reader’s groups who will find a great deal of controversial subjects to discuss.

lunes, 14 de noviembre de 2011

Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit

Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit

Betrayed at the age of 21 by the first love of her life, Stella Vance embarks on a life of fearless adventure. She travels the world, adding notches to her lipstick case with lovers from all over the world, and surviving harrowing experiences, including abuse, addiction, abortion, date rape, and cult involvement. Along the way, Stella undergoes a spiritual transformation. Once awakened to the reality of nonduality, she gradually realizes that life is just a game, that death is just another dimension, and that nothing “out there” can really hurt her.   
This inspiring page-turning memoir begins in the 1970s, with Stella as a Christian zealot. Subsequently questioning all religious dogma, Stella’s mystical quests leads her to delve deeply into the realms of dreams, psychic readings, astrology, tantric yoga, reincarnation and her own past lives, the entheogen ketamine, Indian holy men and women, revolving-door relationships, the seeker culture of southern California, and finally, the ultimate path of Advaita Vedanta. At the same time, she deals with anorexia and bulimia, addictions to cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol, unwanted  pregnancies, teaching in public schools, the death of several  loved ones, foreclosure, and emigrating to South America.
 The life of Stella Vance embodies all the adventure,   drama, romance, humor, and philosophy of a free spirit set loose in the ’70s and finding its way into the new millennium. Reading Dancing with Duality provides  evidence that life is meant to provide entertainment, as well  as to teach us how to be grateful, forgive, and heal from all its vagaries.
                 In the end, Stella’s free spirit journey takes her on the path to the ultimate freedom: freedom from the mind with all its fears, judgments, limiting beliefs, and worries.

Praise for Dancing with Duality

 Through all the ups and downs, it is obvious that Stella Vance has gained much in clarity and wisdom. By sharing her journey and putting herself out there, flaws and all, she is helping others seeking to go beyond the intellectual understanding of truth to the actual experience of truth.

Linda Jean McNabb, author of One Again

In a nutshell, my experience with Dancing With Duality was one of the most humbling and levitating I’ve ever had with a book — leaving me in a state of transcendence: beyond the games of space, time, and best of all, words.

Deke Castleman, author of Whale in the Desert

Get ready for a wild ride with a courageous woman who reveals in stark honesty her journey through many diverse paths of life before she lands on the one uniquely her own. A must read for anyone looking for the courage to seek their own truths.

Scott Stevenson, author of Looks Easy Enough: A Joyful
Memoir of Overcoming Disease, Divorce and Disaster

Vance’s “examined life” is an excellent example of how enlightening it can be to review one’s past as a powerful exercise in finding patterns and recurring lessons. The author shares her ups and downs in an admirably objective way to impart the vast wisdom she has amassed from remaining flexible and open-minded. This memoir is as heartfelt as it is genuine and I believe its message will impact many lives in unforgettable ways.

LindaJoy Rose, Ph.D., author of Your Mind: The Owner’s Manual and Raw Fusion: Better Living Through Living Food

Check it out on here, with its Look Inside feature: