Scared or sacred?

When you encounter suffering, either your own or others’, do you close your heart in discomfort or fear and do whatever you can to distract yourself from feeling whatever comes up?

Or do you open your heart wide and approach whatever arises with compassion and kindness?

“Scared Sacred” is the 1st in a series of three films by Velcrow Ripper. It shows people who have been opening their hearts in the face of enormous suffering.

I am grateful to have run across this film now, available to view for free online via the National Film Board. (I hope the link embeds properly, I’ll also share the page link below in case it doesn’t)

Scared Sacred

In case the film did not embed above, you can find it here:


Some may wonder what MCS/ES has to do with the film, and although the connection isn’t direct, most of us who live with MCS/ES will relate. MCS/ES doesn’t exist in a vacuum… it’s all interconnected. All too often, we see and feel how people close their hearts and minds to us, choosing to use toxic and harmful products instead of changing to safer ones that would make our lives so much easier, and are also better for everyone’s health and the environment. I know of many people who are still struggling to access safe housing and health-care, all over the world, while being assaulted by toxic exposures from everyday products and materials, and by people who find it easier to ridicule than help, although fortunately, this is slowly changing as more and more people understand how their own health is also threatened by the harmful ingredients we are all exposed to.

Some very difficult personal memories of events from the past few years have been surfacing lately too, fragmented memories that I don’t know how to process yet, and the brain injury is making more difficult… Some are of human kindness, some of indifference, and others are of cruelty…

I’ve also learned that my dear 101 year old grand-mother whom I haven’t been able to see in years, is preparing to leave her body soon. It fills me with sadness that I can’t be with her, although I am grateful that for months I was able to talk with her more or less weekly until her birthday in March, it’s not at all the same as being there for her in person.

These are some of the things that are challenging me these days, and I often want to retreat from the pain, but there’s no-where to go. I try to open my heart, but it’s not always easy, yet I know my only real option is to find the love within, and to open my heart to the suffering of others, and to practice tonglen (as seen in the film) when I’m able. I also know that if we want more kindness in the world, we have to be kind with ourselves too, and that we are all in this together. I’m very fortunate to have a supportive online community, so I don’t have to feel alone during these difficult times, and I hope for a kinder, more caring world for all.

I’d like to say more, or to have said it better, but my brain isn’t co-operating. The HRV broke down almost 2 months ago and  there’s been a dearth of fresh, unpolluted, smoke-, pesticide-, fragrance- and laundry chemical free outdoor air here so my brain isn’t functioning very well. I have a jumble of thoughts, all connected in my life, without the ability to put them together now, but I can appreciate a good film when I see it.

I hope you find Scared Sacred and Velcrow’s other work as inspiring as I do.

Here’s the website where you can read more about the film:

Velcrow Ripper’s second film “Fierce Light” is here:

He is currently editing his 3rd film, “Occupy Love”

2 responses to “Scared or sacred?

  1. Thank you for sharing Linda, this is wonderful. Tonglen is such a beautiful practice, which, of course, I find incredibly hard. I need to do it more regularly. I’m about to take a bath right now, so I think I’ll bring Tonglen to the tub!!

    • Thanks Carrie. Tonglen in the tub sounds like a great, nurturing idea!
      It took me a long time to get the hang of practicing tonglen, and while I was really sick, I couldn’t do it at all, there was no abstract space in which to do it (if that makes any sense). I’m glad I am able to work with it again, that a sense of spaciousness is slowly returning to my mind, and heart…

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