Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Creating, Sustaining or Destroying

First, thank you for reading this blog.  So much information is now available all the time; it can be a bit overwhelming and time consuming.  I appreciate you spending some time here.  :)

Do you remember the movie Groundhog Day?  Every day the central character would wake up to the same events.  Every day he went through the same routine experiencing things again and again.  Sometimes my life feels like that - getting up to do the same things again and again.  Sometimes it feels as if life is on autopilot and I have little power to shift things.  That's not true.

At Connections we teach about the "power of agreement."  When you align your thinking and your emotions with a concept, a belief or a behavior, then your personal energy, or personal power, is utilized to either create, sustain or destroy.  You are daily exercising personal power, even in your "groundhog day" life. 

It works like this.  You are either:
  • Creating: Our definition of creativity is approaching a need, task, or an idea from a new perspective. And letting go of the old perspective. Don't like the way things are unfolding for you?  Create a new possibility. Shift your power of agreement away from what needs to shift and align with where you want to go.  You can open a new door by shifting your power of agreement.
  • Sustaining: At the core of the groundhog day experience is keeping everything the same.  Often our power of agreement sustains the wounds and dysfunction that hurts.  We accept the belief that we can't change; or that we are unlovable, and the outcome that reinforces that belief is sustained. On the positive side, you can sustain the healthy aspects of your life as well by aligning your power of agreement in that direction.
  • Destroying:  I have made a conscious decision to shift unhelpful legacies within my family.  Legacies are those often overlooked patterns of thinking or behaviors that are passed from generation to generation.  I no longer agree with the ones that stifle or hurt.  I'm shifting my power of agreement and destroying those hurtful legacies.
Yes, there are patterns that shape your life.  But you are not powerless!  You don't have to live a groundhog day life!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Carrying the Broken Pieces

I've got an idea about what I want to share with you.  I have a picture in my mind that I'm trying to describe - but when I ponder it, I experience a heaviness of heart that slows me down; because I know the picture is so real for so many people, including me.

None of us are perfect parents or siblings.  And none of us are perfect friends, wives or husbands. That leaves each of us, with at the very least, wounds of heart and more likely, broken pieces of self. Most of us hardly acknowledge the broken pieces.  We put one foot in front of the other, meeting the expectations of life and just keep going. Carrying the broken pieces of ourselves with us as if there is no alternative.

The picture I'm pondering is just that. Unacknowledged disregard, the unexpressed emotional pain of rejection; the secret of sex abuse and its accompanying impact. All broken pieces carried inside.  The heaviness of that burden robs us of joy, contentment, connection and fulfillment.

I want to shift that picture.  You can shift that picture. It hurts more to not acknowledge and process your reality than it does to know your reality and move through it fully engaged. That is a truth I understand personally and professionally.

Oh my!  As I envision all of us advancing through restoration and healing the broken pieces of self, the picture does change.  And our world changes as all the amazing aspects of you are reinstated, they become available to unlock the treasure you carry.  You have a unique contribution we all need!

The core skills of restoration:  recognizing, internalizing, the power of agreement and responsibility are the tools to change the broken pieces into wholeness.  Join us as we journey.  We need the treasure of you!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where love begins

I first saw Teagan, my dog, from a distance.  She was living on a hill of dirt, chained to a makeshift dog house.  I was drawn to her circumstance and walked over to meet her.  I sat down next to her and she crawled into my lap, shaking and grateful.  We were bonded in that moment.

How did that instant connection and sense of love and belonging happen?  Teagan, who had been denied her freedom, had no reason to trust any person.  I actually was in a similar state. I was alone and experience had taught me to be cautious about connection and needing someone.   And yet, there it was; that sense that I needed her and she needed me.  And together we could fill that need.

As hard as we try to ignore it or deny it, we are created with a deep need to be loved and to love.  Love begins in the created heart.  It is a core part of us.  We are created with a need to connect to love and with the capacity to give love. The design was that our families would be the place of experiencing that accepting and nourishing love.  That doesn't always happen.

Families riddled with sex abuse distort and deny authentic love.  The victim is left to learn how to trust love, how to recognize authentic love and how to express it.  A tough assignment for sure!

Hope can be found in the fact that within your created heart and spirit is an imparted knowledge of what authentic love is.  When you do the challenging work of recognizing the distortion of love you experienced; acknowledge the pain of it and exchange the deceitful representation for the authentic reality, you can live out of where love begins.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Is it a Crime or a Public Health Issue?

How we use words makes all the difference in how we shape the world around us.  If you've been hanging with me for any length of time you already know that I ask questions to highlight how the words we use can set a direction or thought we didn't intend.

I'm known for challenging the use of the word prevention.  For me the word has a subtle undertone that says: "Sex abuse exists in our culture, but don't worry, I'm going to do everything I can to keep it from touching you." That means I have passively accepted that it exists. I use the term "Zero Tolerance" as that is what I'm after!

Now I'm spending time looking at how we "do" prevention.  The Center for Disease Control and other high visible agencies working on preventing sex abuse have said that sex abuse is a "public health issue".  Hmmmm.....I find some inherent difficulties in that framework.

Typically when I hear that something is a "public health issue", I'm programmed to believe that if I get the right medication, or shot or follow a prescription, I can get better. If I have not experienced this public health issue, then I have no need to pay attention or get involved. So, first, we haven't done a very good job of talking about "why" sex abuse is a public health issue.  I don't think the average person has any real clue about how sex abuse impacts the culture.

Secondly, the subtle message in a public health model is that whoever is involved in this public health issue will be the one who does what is necessary to "get better." They will get the shot or the prescription. They will fix it. This thinking keeps the collective community from seeing it as something we should all address. This framework allows for individualistic complacency and passivity, it does not build capacity for a community response.

Let's use stronger language! Why don't we call it what it is?  A CRIME!  A crime against the human spirit!  A crime against the possibility and potential of people!

When we call it what it is, perhaps we can ignite the movement to fight against it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm taking names!

I'm taking names and making a list!  And it's a good list!  Be encouraged! My last blog post focused on wrestling with why people are slow to respond to stopping sex abuse.  I took that discussion to Linked-In and have discovered a group of people who are passionate and ready to go!  Their names and their thoughts are now compiled.

The thoughts about "why" are enlightening and right on.  Fear, apathy, the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde nature of those who abuse, cultural views of children and much more.  I'm pondering this list, looking for the connections and identifying tangible starting places. 

The sense of being powerless has permeated our culture.  The issues of our day seem to huge for us to address.  Fear partnes with denial and a culture of complacency develops.  And we believe the lie that there is nothing we can do.

We are not powerless!

We are a creative people!  We are a strong people!  We design the culture in which we live!

I am determined to gather these creative and strong people and ignite this movement! One major advantage of social media and the connections that develop is that suddenly a collective voice can organize across a nation.  Sense the strength in connecting this way!  Sense the power that will be unleashed!  We are organizing, getting focused and we are taking down this insidious presence!

Want your name on my list?  Just let me know!

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Don't Understand

It is so deeply embedded in who I am, I have no idea how not to feel it. How not to live out of it. It both haunts me and drives me. It is core to me. "It" is the presence of injustice in our world coupled with the depth of the battle required to shift it.  It pains me to see injustice!  It rips at my heart and gut to see any destruction and disregard of people.  It rips at my soul to see so few people step up to stop it. It confounds me!  I don't understand!  How is it that we, "the people", allow any kind of disregard and destruction of others to continue? My eyes fill with tears at this moment because I don't understand! 

Last night I watched the movie "Lincoln" and wept as I saw the burden he carried about the issue of slavery.  I wept because I recognize that kind of burden.  I know the call to a burden for a disregarded people. I know the opposition he faced. I also know the cost of that burden. 

I don't understand why people aren't outraged at the presence of sex abuse in our culture.  I don't understand why we passively accept it.  I don't understand why we are comfortable with "risk management."  I don't understand why the resources I need to do the battle aren't in my grasp. 

I'm willing.  Always have been.  I've put myself in the thick of it.  I get it.  Not everyone has the stomach to be on the front lines.  But where are the troops to support those of us who are?
I don't understand.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Seating the Jury - How Can this be?

I actually went this morning in support of the family of the abuse victim.  Today the federal trial of Fr. Poandl, a priest accused of molesting a then 10 year old boy, began with the jury selection process. The courtroom appeared packed and I was glad to see the full room - thinking, finally, people are taking this seriously!  And then I realized that 70 of the people there were the potential jury pool.  As the realization dawned that maybe 20 people were here for the trial, I was perplexed:  How can this Be?  Why aren't more people here?  Why isn't there standing room only?

The procedure of screening jurors as to the ability to be "unbiased" continued and I experienced another shocking awareness.  The question was asked of the jury pool: Is there anyone here who has a framework or philosophical belief either religous, personal, etc...that would keep you from being unbiased in this trail?  Not ONE person responded yes.  I was shocked!  I said to myself, "They have to be lying or afraid to speak up!"  Surely SOMEONE in 70 people has an internal bias about sexual abuse that would impact their presence on a jury!  How can this be?  Why aren't people outraged?

A few minutes later, when the jury pool was reminded that this case involved the molestation of a 10 year old boy, and asked again about their ability to remain unbiased in light of that; 3 women raised their hands.  All had family members who were 10 year old boys. 

I have just returned from IVAT, the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma where I presented on a panel about how to prevent sex abuse.  I challenged my colleagues that it was time to rethink our approach.  I suggested that current prevention approaches have inadvertently made it an individual's responsibility to prevent sex abuse.  I suggested that we have not done a good job of making it a community problem.  (More on that in future blogs!)

And today I watched that play out in a courtroom.  As a community, not one person felt an internal reaction to nor an outrage about sexual abuse.  Only individual mothers stood up.

How can this be?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Moving obstacles out of the way!

I always try to leave home early, especially when I'm the scheduled speaker! Last night I was so glad I did.  The road I was traveling was two lanes, with one lane designated as no parking, from 4:00pm-6:00pm.  It was now 6:09pm, and there up ahead in my lane was a parked car.  Rats!

As I pulled up behind the parked car, simultaneously in the left lane a car slowed down and stopped, directly next to the parked car.  The driver valiantly tried to restart his car several times.  It became apparent that his car was disabled and he wasn't going anywhere! 

I was stunned.  For my way was totally blocked.  I could see my destination just down the road as a wave of "oh no" washed over me.  Those that know me, know that I'm a pretty determined woman.  Fierce sometimes in my determination to not give up.  Passionate in my resolve to accomplish the assignment upon my life. 

My mind began to look for solutions, for NOTHING was going to stop me from showing up to this important gathering! I got out of my car, and first wondered if I could find who owned the parked car, prepared to knock on the door of the house. Then, the driver and the passenger in the disabled car got out and came towards me. Meanwhile the backup grew and people sat in their cars, watching, probably grumbling.  Together, we decided to push his car to the side as his passenger got behind the wheel to steer.  Another man joined us, and we pushed the car out of the lane, releasing the traffic flow.

As I got back in my car I realized that now my lane was still blocked and the people who had sat unresponsive were now moving freely.  Not fair!  Once again, determined not to be stopped by the  choices and circumstances of others, I thrust my left hand out my window, used my hand as a stop sign, and forced my way over into the now moving lane.  (My Chicago driving habits kicked into gear.  Ha!) I will not be denied the movement I desire and need!

Friends, The journey to connect to authentic identity and become all you were created capable of being is much like my drive last night.  Obstacles will rise up.  Others will block and impede your progress.  Moving forward in light of that means that you dig deep, tap into your determination and desire and PUSH the obstacle out of the way!

Some people will help, some will sit complacently by the side and enjoy the benefits of your hard work.  It will be difficult, it will be challenging.  But you reap the rewards of the freedom to keep on moving and discover that you CAN!

Why was I so determined?  Because I was going to speak to a large gathering of people desiring to hear about the impact of sex abuse and find hope in restoration!  Obstacle get out of my way!  I am a woman on assignment, living out of passion and purpose!  I and those who will join me will not be denied.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Living in the moment

We are having an unusual summer in Cincinnati.  Cool temperatures with no humidity!  I find myself really enjoyng it, but waiting, poised for the REAL weather to show up. 

My grandchildren are off playing and I hear the giggles, but I'm waiting, poised for the cry that will come when one of them gets hurt or disappointed.

I catch myself in these thoughts of waiting for the bad stuff to happen, and sigh - then feel the tension in my body.  Why is it that living in the moment is so difficult?  Why is it that I rob myself of experiencing the pleasure of the moments I'm in? 

I find this challenge is something many of us struggle with.  It is the history and experience of our past that informs our preparation for the future, and we skip right over the now.  And when we do, our expectation of the negative is fulfilled as we pull it in to our atmosphere and miss the pleasure that is available. 

Just being in the moment isn't safe.  I hear all the "should's" in my head: You must be prepared to manage the emotion that will erupt in a minute.  You must anticipate the needs of others. You must not take in the joy because that will make the sorrow even bigger.  You've got to be in control so you don't acknowledge your lack of power.  All the should's, they rob me.

In this moment my 5 year old grandaughter runs into the room laughing as she brings me her dress up clothes to help her become Snow White.....I look into her eyes, see the joy in her "now".  I'm drawn into her world, and decide to drop all my shoulds.  Some moments are too precious too miss.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Expectations and Disappointment

Quite a balancing act this connection between expectation and disappointment!  Disappointment is linked to expectation in that we feel disappointed when what we experience is not close to what we expected.  When our expectaions don't meet the reality in the experience, we are disappointed.

Feeling disappointed is uncomfortable and is an emotion we would like to avoid. How do we typically manage that?
  • We lower our expectations, or we have no expectation at all. That way we can manage the emotion of disappointment by not giving it a place to land.  Works in the moment perhaps, but by denying expectation, several things happen.  One, we kill the power found in hope and we lose motivation.  Second, the people around us slip into complacency as there is no expectation of them.
  • We deny or do not process the disappointment.  Again, several things can happen.  We become angry at ourselves for having a hope of expectation and internalize a self-destructive emotion or message.  Secondly, that unprocessed feeling of disappointment ultimately feeds into disheartenment and the snowball of depression grows bigger.
What's the answer?  Truthfully, sometimes we need to lower our expectations. An example:  when your past experiences tell you that Sam is not going to listen with an open heart, you might need to protect yourself and adjust your expectation that keeps saying, "if I say it this way..." and not share things of the heart.

Sometimes we need to hold out an expectation and stand strong.  An example: Expecting to be treated with respect is absolutely an appropriate need.  Standing strong in that expectation will produce an atmosphere around you that moves people to respond.  If their behavior does not leave you feeling respected, you will be disappointed, however, your self-respect remains intact.

And so very important and core to this issue:  When disappointed, own it, name it, feel it, work your way through it!  Denying the uncomforable emotion only makes things worse.  Owning the disappointment says, "My hopes, needs, etc., have value."  Learn from the emotion and make an adjustment in either your thinking or behavior as necessary.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stand Up

Huh - just seeing the title, it appears that this blog post will again have a "fight" flavor to it. Why?  Because at the core of me is a fighting warrior tired of a world that compacently accepts violence and the presence of sex abuse. 

I see hundreds of people turn out for a walk against breast cancer - and yet the numbers of victims of breast cancer are not near the numbers of victims of sex abuse!

I see hundreds of people turn out for a walk to support issues around mental health - and yet many of those issues originate in the trauma of sex abuse.

I see hundreds of people turn out for a walk about autism, cystic fibrosis and now Alzheimer's.

What the heck?!?  We issue a call for people to Stand Up against sex abuse - and we have little response!  I'm sick of the powerless feeling.  I'm sick of the shame keeping us from addressing it.  I'm sick of the passive acceptance of sex abuse as something we have to "prevent"! Let's not tolerate it!

STAND UP!  When we asked 300 people what their first response was when they heard about sex abuse, the word most used was "sick".  I'm calling you to move beyond that first response!  Yes, it is "sick", but let's get angry about it.  Let's take this down.  Let's Stand Up and battle the mindsets that allow sex abuse to exist. 

If you are in the Cincinnati area - join us on August 17th, in Ault Park as we walk and STAND UP OHIO.  This will be unique!  You won't just walk, although showing up alone will make a statement.  But you will have the opportunity to visit 3 action stations where you will help unearth and combat cultural norms and mindsets.  We are attacking at the root!  COME UP TO  A HIGHER PLACE AND BATTLE WITH US!

rsvp: connections2602@gmail.com  or http://standupohiowalk.brownpapertickets.com

Monday, July 1, 2013

Occupy your land

This journey of restoring authentic identity is a battle!  Think of it this way:  someone has crossed a boundary and has invaded your territory.  This invader has imposed new rules of thinking and behaving and your healthy sense of identity has been submerged under this tyrant.

You have decided to declare war on this invasion and throw out the rules, thoughts and behaviors the invader left behind.  These rules, thoughts and behaviors cripple you and unless defeated, will define your life. 

You are going to stop running from "knowing what you know", turn around, face the reality of what you experienced and "occupy your land."  It is a place of great strength to stand by your core, recognize your innate value and take it back - occupy it!

It is an action.  It is a reclaiming.  Draw your weapons of restoration by taking responsibility to fight the battle, recognizing the impact of the invasion, identifying your power of agreement and internalize the new truth.  Occupy!

It is victory that is possible! 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fighting the Wrong Battle

The honest truth is that life is difficult.  It is full of disappointment, hurt, confusion and often trauma. How we make it through these challenges, and what we do with them is were the value lies. You have to fight to overcome.  And far too often we end up fighting the wrong battle.

Consider a woman now in domestic violence. Thinking that her only means of stopping the attacks is to adjust her demeanor, or words or behaviors, she battles herself, denies her needs and adjusts.  Consider the adult man victimized by sex abuse as a child.  Thinking that his sexuality is the problem, he battles and denies his natural responses.  A battle has an objective - what would you say is the objective in the battle these two people are fighting? I suggest that in these examples, the objective is to manage the trauma and it's impact. It's the wrong battle.  It's wasted energy.  And it does not produce freedom.

We have to fight for the freedom to be who we were created to be.  We have to fight for our rights, fight for our authentic identity and the power and direction it provides.  We have to fight the belief systems developed from wounding and trauma that tell us we don't matter or have no value. 

Deep inside is the essence of you.  It has not disappeared, it has not been destroyed.  It waits, holding the treasures of your potential and the provision to accomplish it. 

That's the correct battle!

Monday, June 17, 2013

What inside of you needs saving?

I could see the confusion on her 3 year old face.  Corrected for asking too many questions, she was confused, but complied and put away her curiosity.  Thus began her separation from an important part of her identity. 

I could see the confusion on his 43 year old face.  When asked what he enjoyed about his personailty he looked puzzled.  I knew that somehow and at sometime he had separated himself from really knowing and enjoying himself.

Not so unusual really.  As we grow up and experience relationship, we quickly learn what parts of our identity are acceptable and appreciated and which ones cause trouble and anxiety.  And we make adjustments appropriately.  And we lose connection to parts of ourselves.

So, what inside you was put away and needs to be saved?  It could be your determination, your joy, your desire to do or be something, your sense of humor, your creativity, your longings, even your emotions.  What about your internal make-up did you step away from?

You might be wondering, well, if I put it away, it was for a good reason. WHY would I want to reconnect to it?  Because every part of how you were created has purpose!  I believe in the Creator God who designed you and in that design He has a purpose. Everything about you, yes, even the quirky aspects of your personality, fit together to supply you with exactly what is needed for the assignment you have in this life.

I am a tenacious and determined lady!  However, when people could not control me, they would call me stubborn and unteachable.  Neither of which is true, (Okay - in total transparency, I might be stubborn sometimes.  Ha!) Although this tenacity might cause me (and others around me) problems, I absolutely must be tenacious to do the work I do! It is an important part of who I am, even if it causes be problems. 

Take the risk.  Look deeper inside you!  Listen for the whisper inside that longs to be heard. Go on the Restoration Journey and look for what needs to be saved inside you.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We can't educate our way out of this!

The gut reactions I have are becoming stronger than my will to silence them! Whether I am speaking to a victim or to a colleague, I see the fog of passivity that has developed because we have  allowed "education" to be the focus of both our recovery and prevention efforts. 

Knowledge alone does not change the deep seated presence of sexual assault of children in our culture. Knowledge alone does not change the impact for the victim. We have to fight to rid ourselves of its presence.  We have to convert that knowledge into action! We have to declare war and unearth and change the stakes of thinking that hold this in place. 

As we watch the military rework the reporting of sexual assault within its ranks; or as we watch Congress add another law, we must not breathe a sigh of relief and think, "someone is doing something."  Because I can guarantee you - no stricter laws or changed reporting systems will actually stop sexual abuse. There are already many laws in place and structures of justice in place and they do not stop the perpetration of sex abuse.

We can't educate our way out of this one!

So, I'm declaring war!  I'm going deep - I'm diving in. I will unearth these stakes and yank them out!
Stay tuned!  Sign up for the army today!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Our Invisible War

The documentary is eye-opening.  And you would think by now that my eyes are opened!? Yesterday I watched "The Invisible War" about sexual assault within the military.  Horrific reality about the system set up that keeps perpetrators empowered and women silenced and victimized. 

How were my eyes opened?  I had a revelation: why are we surprised?  This dynamic of a system that keeps perpetrators empowered and children silenced and victimized exists everywhere a child is sexually assaulted. 

Sex abuse typically happens within a structure of authority.  The person assaulting the child is usually a person who has authority over that child, i.e. parent, coach, pastor, babysitter, teacher etc.   And to whom does a child reveal?  Someone close to that person in authority.  And what is the typical reaction?  Denial, silencing, investigations that lead nowhere, puny penalties, re-victimization, lack of support and help for the victims.  The military is only playing out what is happening in our backyards and next door.

In the documentary, several of the sexual assault victims filed suit against the military.  The court came back dismissing the case saying, "Rape is an occupational hazard of the military." 

It is no different in our neighborhoods - "Sexual abuse is an occupational hazard of being a child."

It is time to speak up, own up and STAND UP!  Join our movement as we shift our cultural thinking!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Put aside the story assigned to you!

Her eyes tell me she doesn't fully grasp what I'm sharing.  As a young child she was repeatedly molested by family members and she has deep beliefs about her value and who she is.  Hearing that she isn't what happened to her - that the story the molester assigned to her isn't hers - rocks her foundation.

The beliefs based on trauma are so deep that she feels threatened when I offer an alternative.  I get it.  We build our relationships and our world based on internal capacities defined by our experiences.  And it limits us and how we interact and move.  When I suggest that there is more to her, she feels rattled and wonders about this hope.  Can she really become all she was created to be?

Hope comes in strange packages.  It can come in a song, in a whisper from your heart, or in the words of a speaker.  Hearing it is not enough.  The next step is up to you.  What will you do with the hope offered?  Will you explore it?  Will you do the hard work of internalizing it and shifting what you think? 

Put aside the stories others have written for you and discover who you really are!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Victim or Survivor

The language we use in talking about sex abuse is so very important.  Words shape the direction of our lives and our thinking.  The words spoken to us, around us and over us create pathways upon which our lives play out.  Words can build up or tear down, set limits or promote freedom, encourage or discourage, bless or curse.

When we too quickly use the word “survivor” to describe someone who has been traumatized by sex abuse, we are negating the reality of the impact of sex abuse and “promoting” them into a place that doesn’t allow for the necessary healing.  On the outside they adopt the identity of survivor, meaning “I’m Okay”, “I survived it”, while on the inside all they know is fear, uncertainty, intense pain, and loss of personal identity.

It is no wonder the victim of sex abuse hears, “put it behind you”, “why are you still thinking about that”, for we have told them by denying their victimhood that it IS over.  We have told them in the use of our language that it IS all better – you survived!  This is wrong and destructive, and perpetuates and prolongs the damage of abuse.

Saying, “I’m a survivor” is not more empowering than saying, “I’m a victim”.  Victims have more power to get freedom than survivors do because first, victims can place the blame where it belongs – on the person who hurt them.  A victim knows that something was done TO them.  Using the word “victim”, helps shift the sense of responsibility that “survivors” typically carry.

 Secondly, when someone says, “I am a victim of sex abuse”, they create an open space and a direction to travel to the place of being a “survivor.”  That space allows for looking at the impact of sex abuse.  The impact is found in what one believes about self and the world, and is where the real damage of sex abuse lies. 

First a victim, then a survivor, once the impact of the trauma has been cleansed and overcome.

P.S. – Another thought about use of language: I would also suggest we lose the “I AM…”  That denotes identity and connects who you are to the trauma!  You aren’t your trauma! Rather say, “I was victimized by sex abuse” or, “I experienced sex abuse.”

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Courage to be You!

I'm reading a book by Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage, and I'm struck with his understanding of what true courage is.  He says, "The word courage comes from the Latin cor, which literally means heart.  The original use of the word courage means to stand by one's core."  No wonder I'm drawn to this book!

I love that definition!  In the language of restoration it reflects our concept of reconnecting to authentic identity.  Simultaneously I see two pictures of what that means.  First, I see myself drawn to that core, intrigued, standing by it, discovering it, embracing it and protecting it.   And I recognize the courage that it takes to do that exploration.  All the things that have "shaped" my life have left behind a definition of what the world assigned to me as who I am.  And yet, beyond that is the true me.  Pushing through others expectations and definitions to discover me is costly, risky and hard work- it takes courage!

Secondly I see myself standing by my core, living out of what I've uncovered! Immediately I feel the peace and joy of living from authentic identity.  It means that the things I attempt are managed with the power that lies in knowing fully what I bring to the table. Living out of my core means I know my limitations, I know my strengths and I live in that balance without fear or regret.And it takes courage to do that, especially when others object. 

The best part of standing by one's core and living out of authentic identity?  Because I believe that my authentic identity was created with the heart and handprint of God, I'm living out of the intimacy provided in that connection.  And I feel loved, accepted and powerful!