Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Connections Family

The weeks of Christmas and the New Year are typically weeks that I step back from the daily routine and rest and reflect.  Wise business people tell me that it is a time to reflect on the past year and set goals and direction for the coming year.

I'm having trouble with that.

I could list for you all the things I've done.  All the places I've spoken, the displays I've manned, the groups I've facilitated, the sessions I've sat in as I work to address the issue of sex abuse.  (Actually as I look at the list it is no wonder I need this time to rest).

But those things aren't what are dancing in my mind's eye and heart.

For what I see as the real treasure of the year are the people who embrace the heart of our work and unearth the treasures inside themselves!

  • I see them trusting us, including us in their lives!  
  • I see the discovery of their uniqueness exploding.
  • I see the women who return each year to our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
  • I see the traditions established in our community and know they bring stability.
  • I see the weddings I've been invited to as part of the family.  
  • I see the women now out of state who still connect.  
  • I see the Connections "grandchildren" growing up
  • I see a special sense of humor that only Connections can experience.   
And I experience and embrace the meaning of family.

I am so grateful for you all.  You make my life count.  
Merry Christmas to the Connections Family!  
May the Presence embrace you with peace and comfort!
Love you, Rebecca

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I Saw Her Become

I'd been weeping most of the morning when I finally followed my own advise, and asked, "why am I so emotional?"  I knew that attending the play, "Celebrated Silence" last night had moved me.  But, come on, I know the impact of groping and what it does to lives. Why was it echoing inside me still?
I remember the day Anisha, sitting in our Advance! course, asked me, "Is groping really sex abuse?" "Absolutely!" I replied. "Sex abuse is about what it does to someones heart and soul." Anisha looked at me with shock. The worksheets were revelation to her as she began to uncover the deep impact of realizing how having been groped had shifted her thinking and behavior patterns.  Anisha completed the course.

When I went on my own restoration journey years ago, I stepped into my destiny and Connections was birthed.  My passion lies in giving victims of sex abuse tools to conquer the impact of trauma and move into living out of authentic identity where destiny lies.

Last night, I watched Anisha walk into destiny!  And I was shaken at my core.  My tears were not about the reality she shared, as challenging as the content was.  But my tears were at seeing someone do the hard work of restoration, reclaim their authentic identity and walk into purpose.

You see, she wrote and starred in the play.  "Celebrated Silence" is about the personal damage of groping and offers a challenge to each of us, who in our denial of outrage, celebrates keeping victims silent. Through restoration she unlocked her passion.  She left her profession as a doctor and established All Shades Theater, a theater group designed to start conversations about difficult issues. She moved out into destiny!

Someone who will see that play also carries inside a locked destiny. Perhaps it is the destiny designed to help us really take down sex abuse as a way of life in our culture.  That play has purpose woven into it.

One more thing Anisha did last night.  Two weeks ago she contacted me to tell me about the play. She acknowledged that it was the Advance! course that started her journey.  She invited me to participate in the evening so that she could give recognition to Connections.  Today as I explored my emotions, I was reminded of the story of Jesus healing the 10 lepers, and how 1 came back to thank Him.  Anisha was doing that - she was thanking God for helping her conquer trauma and unlock the destiny she carries.

I was one of the first to see her backstage and we held each other and cried.  She gave me the gift of seeing my walk in destiny be multiplied and bring forth fruit, because she stepped into hers.

15 year ago I made significant changes in my life to open the doors of Connections. Anisha walked through those doors, did the hard work, and now will do even more than I did. Anisha leaves in January for India where she will present the play.  Upon returning, she will share "Celebrated Silence" around the United States and unleash a movement.

I am so humbled, proud and grateful.  My cup runneth over.  Thank you Anisha!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Compassion Redefined

You've seen them - the commercials about abandoned and hurt dogs.  I have to turn them off.  Those sights and sounds tap into my compassion and compel me to go to the local SPCA.  I can't take in another dog!  The commercial is very effective.  We respond from the heart and want to fix the problem.  We are spurred into action, either we write a check, volunteer or go to the pound.

Now refocus on a news report about the latest arrest for the sexual violation of a child. You may have to turn that off as well.  And look away.  Not out of compassion, however, but out of fear and denial. We take no action at all.

This post is a call to exercise compassion in a new way!

Next time you see a report of sex abuse, or think of someone you know who has experienced the trauma, don't look away.  Look through eyes of compassion!  Silence your fears and take a hard look at what is happening around you. We are not powerless over this issue! Consider this:

1. Recognize and have compassion for the victim! Somewhere the victim is reeling.  Trying to make sense of what happened.  Wondering what to do next and how to overcome the reality of trauma.

2. Turn compassion into action!
  • Write a letter to a judge or prosecutor who is involved in the news report you saw. Ask them to do everything they can to hold that perpetrator responsible.
  • Attend any event you can to gain skills to be proactive and learn how to address the reality of sex abuse in our community.
  • Begin to recognize how the use of language in ads or television contribute to a climate of objectifying women and children. Point it out and do something to challenge it.
  • Support those of us who are on the front lines.  Provide a scholarship for counseling.  Ask what you can do to help their efforts.
Let your heart be touched by the reality of sex abuse.  

Connect to your compassion and then ACT!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sensitivity Hijacked

Restoration - becoming all you were created capable of being!

We have this amazing sheet art piece, the "Handprint Banner", on which victims of sex abuse have written about how sex abuse impacted them.  Central to many of the statements is the question, "Who am I?"  Thus, core to our restoration model is the process of reconnecting to parts of identity by removing any disregard or damage done to them.

We typically start by exploring character qualities - we all have them and can be discovered pretty quickly.  Character qualities are those guiding principles behind the scene.  They can be impacted by sex abuse and require some adjustment.

This week we have explored sensitivity.  Sensitivity is an awareness and understanding of how other people are feeling. The victim of sex abuse absolutely has sensitivity - an often heightened and distorted sense of sensitivity.  For example she is sensitive to:

  • The nuances of the perpetrator:  They are sensitive to such things as movements and breathing; always vigilant to sense the mood shifts in anticipation of the actions of the person who hurts them.
  • The nuances of even "safe people".  On guard to protect themselves from rejection or possible hurt, they are sensitive to body language, i.e. facial expressions, breathing, tone; anticipating what they might need to do to protect themselves.
  • The escape route in the room:  Sensitive to where the door is, perhaps choosing to face it in order to have a sense of power.
  • Sensitive to read people in a room; who appears to be a danger; who might be safe.
The character quality of sensitivity was designed to create intimacy and connection.  The appropriate use of sensitivity allows me to recognize your emotional state and need so that I can meet you there; so that we can feel connected.  Sensitivity was not designed to be a means of discerning danger.

When the victim of sex abuse does the work of recognizing how a character trait has been hijacked, they then have power to shift it - clean it off - and gain the freedom to connect to their authentic identity in the purpose and design in which it was formed.

Freedom to have access to all aspects of identity and live out of their authentic purpose is AMAZING!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I don't need these anymore!

"I have something to give you," she said as she withdrew these rocks from her purse.  "Remember when we did that activity with writing the negative things we believed about our self?  These are from that activity; I saved them. I've held on to them and felt the heaviness of them. But I don't need them anymore - I've shifted these beliefs, they don't belong to me!"

AWESOME!  We celebrated and congratulated her!

It absolutely is possible to conquer the impact of childhood sex abuse!  Utilizing the tools of Restoration, you can be restored to your authentic identity and become all you were created capable of being.  The core tools are:

Recognize:  Work on hearing what you say and what you do that stems from trauma, and see the impact of sex abuse playing out in your life.  Recognize the negative messages and the positive messages.

Power of Agreement: Whatever you agree with, your energy and focus empowers.  You have the power to shift from aligning with negative beliefs to aligning with positive beliefs.

Internalize:  That means you intentionally make a part of your thinking the positives and the truths necessary to defeat the thinking that negates and hurts you.

Exchange:  When you've recognized the negative, and been exposed to the alternate positives, you consciously exchange the old for the new.

Responsibility:  Ultimately you have to take responsibility to do this hard work.  Only you can do it!

Our Advance! Workbook gives you a taste of how to utilize these tools. I'm excited to tell you that now, if you don't live in the Cincinnati area to participate in our group - you can now GET THE COURSE ON LINE!

Check out the free video and worksheet and order it here:  CLICK HERE

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Really? We're Still Having this Discussion?

The very first conversation I had at this interfaith conference about human trafficking and domestic violence was astonishing.

The concerned father was telling me how he told his daughter that her dress was bait; that she was tantalizing men.  When I explained that those types of comments contribute to victim blaming, he pushed back by saying, 'my daughter isn't a victim.'  When I asked that if she did become one, would his first response be, 'I told you not to wear that skirt', he paused and said, 'I never thought about it that way.'  And when he stated, 'women have to demand respect,' I countered with, 'why aren't we demanding that we raise boys to respect women.'

He walked away.  I hope he doesn't forget our conversation.

I was left with a deep angst and concern of my own.

  • Why is it we are still holding women responsible to control men's sexual behaviors?
  • Why is it that childhood sex abuse, a contributing factor to human trafficking, and more prevalent than human trafficking, has to fight to be included in the discussion?  (It took me two years of lobbying to get invited to the discussion.)
  • Why is it that conferences are still focused on information, when what we need are personal challenges to the mindsets that keep it all in place?
I'll keep going to the conferences.  I may even hold my own conference.  The focus being: ask the attendees to take personal responsibility and do some self-confrontation.  To take a look at their language and mindsets so that we can obliterate sex abuse, not just manage it.

I wonder if anyone would come.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Overcome a poverty mindset

Learning to" live without" is actually an overlooked impact of being victimized by sex abuse.
  • The victim learns to live in silence and live without voice.
  •  Losing the ability to trust means you live without connection and intimacy.  
  • Realizing you are not safe in your home  means you live without a sense of well being. 
  • Having your body violated, you learn to live without boundaries.
For the victim of sex abuse, this "living without" translates into developing a poverty mindset.  This mindset keeps the victim trapped in thinking "I can't have", or "I don't deserve." Couple this with the emotion of shame, and the poverty mindset becomes really strong.

Safe people around him show him love and acceptance and he can't receive it.  She is encouraged to ask for what she needs, but she doesn't.  She makes sure her children have the latest style clothes, but she won't get them for herself.  A poverty mindset at work.

Why is it important to recognize this concept?  Because a poverty mindset keeps the victim of sex abuse trapped in patterns of behaviors that reinforce the belief that she doesn't deserve.  In addition, it has the potential to set up a pattern of behavior in which the victim needs to have constant validation of worth in order to silence the whisper of her wounds.  Because the poverty mindset blocks her from internalizing the safe intimacy, and safe love offered, she must hear it again and again.  That can get tiring for the people around her.  And that can trap the victim in thinking she needs to hold onto the wound so she can hear the affirmations she needs.

Use your power of agreement and take down the poverty mindset.  Align your thinking, will and emotions with the truth that ALL human beings deserve and need love, care, nurturing and acceptance.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Trigger is Gone!

It happens almost every time.  The push back when I share the possibility of restoration. People are skeptical - I get it! Our culture is so blanketed in the status quo, that we dismiss our power to change.

Last night one of the attendees at the training could not believe that it was possible to conquer the impact of sex abuse.  Her question to me was:  "Do you mean to tell me that if the perpetrator came near her (the restored survivor) she would not be triggered?"  My response: " She would not be triggered.  She most likely will have an emotional reaction in the now moment, but she has the tools to process that now emotion without experiencing the trauma again."

Then this morning I had a conversation with a Connections alumni who spoke of seeing a former husband and feeling disgusted and shameful.  She was worried that she would fall into old thinking and behavior patterns.  As we talked further, she stated that in the moment she had a new awareness of what she had lived through, and felt emotions that reflected her experience. That is healthy!  She did not, however, get flooded with memories or experience the internal reinforcement of being shameful.  Her trigger is gone!

Here's what I have understood as a result of these two back to back conversations:

A trigger is something, i.e. a smell, a sound, a piece of clothing, an emotion,  or anything that has the power to take you back to re-experiencing unresolved trauma.

Your emotions by themselves are not a trigger! The unresolved trauma connected to the emotion, (or smell, etc.) is. When you do the hard work of facing the trauma, processing emotions, shifting beliefs born of that trauma and reconnect to authentic identity - the trigger dismantles.  You are free to experience life in the now and not from the past.

Yes, you can learn to relax when it is dusk. 
Yes, you can learn to receive a hug and not quake.
Yes, you can smell that aftershave and not get nauseous!

Yes you can dismantle triggers!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Message Senders

"Our feelings are always with us, but we are too seldom with them. " Daniel Goleman

Perhaps scariest of all to victims of sex abuse is the mountain of emotions perched behind walls of denial. Often a belief exists that if I don't acknowledge them, I'm okay and they don't exist.  Neither of which is true.

You are not okay - You are crippled.  You operate without the benefit of what your emotions can tell you.  You are living isolated, not able to connect with another person at the deep level of emotional intimacy that ultimately fulfills us as people.

And your emotions exist whether you acknowledge them or not.  They exist in headaches, sore backs and shoulders, ulcers and any number of physical conditions.

But that's not my focus of this post.

I want to encourage you to accept that your emotions have something to tell you.  That gut reaction you have is valid, it is your personal wealth of wisdom and judgement.  That gut reaction is not only valid, but vital to providing you with information that will guide you. Often victims of sex abuse do not trust their gut reactions.  Why?  Because the secrecy of sex abuse coupled with the facade a perpetrator lives under, messes with the victim's ability to accept her perceptions as real.

Gavin deBecker calls apprehension the "gift of fear."  This radar alerts you that something is off.  It is valuable and necessary for making choices that keep you safe.

Your emotions are your inner rudder!  You need them.  Decide to connect to them, learn from them and step fully into your life.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Destiny is Purpose Fulfilled

Remember the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  Did you want to be that fireman, or that nurse?  I wanted to be a teacher, mostly because I thought it was the only option for me.  I had no concept of authentic identity or the idea that I carried within me a recipe for what I should be.  And then I met victims of childhood sex abuse and discovered through their desire to overcome, the concept of being restored to authentic identity.

Each of us has experiences in life that cause us to make adaptations in what we believe about self. These beliefs overshadow the truth of who we were created to be.  The victim of sex abuse may believe they are disgusting and disconnect from a sense of value. The person who thinks creatively may disconnect from that attribute believing it gets them in trouble.  The person who is curious disconnects from that attribute because people get tired of dealing with it.  Yet, all of those characteristics are absolutely part of what makes that person whole.  AND those attributes are exactly what are needed to accomplish destiny, or the purpose of one's life.  Your internal blueprint, your authentic identity, holds the key to walking in destiny.

The title of the recent bestseller, "The Purpose Driven Life", resounds with the desire we all have:  to live a life that has purpose and meaning.  It is natural to want to make an impact, to accomplish something that brings a sense of fulfillment. You were designed with purpose in mind.  Your authentic identity contains everything you need to do just that.

Unfortunately, often we end up living out of fate.  Fate is the path we take that is defined by the circumstances we live.  Destiny is the path we take defined by our authentic identity.

It takes hard work to override some circumstances. Poverty, neglect and sex abuse are circumstances that can be very challenging to override.  Restoration skills, such as recognizing the impact, recognizing your internal strengths, internalizing new truths, and using your power of agreement can absolutely shift you from fate to destiny!

And that means you live a purpose driven life!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Stop Fighting it

The look on her face says, "That is not true. Don't say that out loud!"  And I know that we have hit a core roadblock in her restoration process.  It's an important insight.  We stop and refocus.

My goal is not to get her to accept the reality she experienced. If that becomes the focus, the battle will keep her stuck and keep us going round the same mountain over and over again.   

My goal is to help her recognize her unwillingness to accept what she already knows. It's an important distinction in focus.

I've been here many times with many victims of sex abuse.  I get it!  An entire internal system has been built for protection.  And I understand that it is scary to shift it.  I understand the need for support - that's why Connections exists!  I also understand the need for the CORRECT support if the goal is to truly overcome the impact of sex abuse trauma.

The best support I can offer is to help that victim accept her reality - the reality of the now! She decides what that is, i.e., she decides if she will accept the reality of the sex abuse, its impact upon her; or accept the reality that she won't or can't do the work of restoration. She really may be unwilling to shift her coping strategies or shift the way she thinks about herself and the world.  I need to accept that and so does she.  When we shift focus to what she is willing to accept, we can help quiet the internal conflict created in the therapy process.  Our focus can become how to live with the internal systems she has built and remain safe.

Stop fighting it?  Stop fighting knowing what you already know-on all levels.
Acceptance brings freedom!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hope and Hope Deferred

In the corner behind me lies the pile of things I hoped for that didn't materialize.  In front of me lies the possibility of that next new hope. Most days I can choose the hope in front of me and keep on moving. Some days the pile overwhelms me and I decide that hope is not only useless, but hurtful.  Those are the days I believe, "Hope is what you do to set yourself up."  The internal reprimand resounds: "Why did you go and get your hopes up again?"
And the pile grows bigger.
Hope is a function of the heart.  It is a combination of two other feelings:  expectation and desire. An expectation is waiting for something; looking for somehting.  You just know that the object of your hope is just around the corner.  Desire is a longing for something you want.  Between the expectation and desire is a thought, or hope, that says it just might be possible.  
When things don't come about the way we hoped, we are disappointed and perhaps deeper than that, we are disillusioned.  Those are difficult emotions to master, so we often ignore the emotion and through hope into the pile in the corner, telling ourselves we were foolish to hope, or that it really didn't matter. 

This disappointment left unprocessed becomes hope deferred.  And deferred hope makes the heart sick.  It causes physical problems such as stomach and headache issues.  Hope deferred can result in depression, cynicism, or the development of a guarded heart.  It can leave us immobolized, unable to set goals or go after what we want or need.  Deferred hope is toxic.
Having hope is so important to restoring you and getting the life you want.  Here are some thoughts about how to manage hope:
1. Examine what are you hoping in? Is it realistic?  Are you hoping in another person, in a situation or outcome, or in the inner strengths and capacity of who you are? 
2.  Combine hope with action.  If you are hoping in a new job, you'll have to do something to find that job, send the resume, interview, etc.  If you're hoping to be restored to all you were capable of being, you'll have do the hard work of making exchanges in your thinking.
3. Process the disappointments.  Acknowledge that you are disappointed without making excuses or beating yourself up.
4.  Learn from it - was your expectation unrealistic?  Did you need to take more action?  What can you do differently.
5.  Choose to try again!

Hope keeps you moving.  Hope deferred keeps you stuck.  Choose Hope!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Change your mind

I remember saying it to her - "Make a different choice."  She looked at me kind of shocked, almost offended looking (don't worry, it wasn't one of my ladies at Connections!)  I realized several things in that moment.  First, she didn't understand she could make a different choice.  And secondly, she didn't know what her options were.

It made me stop and reflect about how we make our choices.  What information do we use?  Often I think we make a choice based on our experiences and what we've interpreted them to be.
  • If your experiences have been the trauma of sex abuse, and you've interpreted that to mean that you are shame, your choices will be made from that perspective.  But is that really true?
  • If you've had trouble in school, and you've interpreted that to mean that you are not smart, your choices will be made from that perspective.  But is that really true?
One of our exercises in our Advance! Workbook requires the reader to explore this concept.  What is the distinction between reality and truth?  Here's what happens:  You have an event or experience  (realty), you interpret the event and assign a meaning to it that you live out of, (your truth); except your assigned truth may not be the truth at all!

An example:  Reality/event: I was molested.  Assigned truth:  I'm disgusting.  Truth:  Something disgusting happened, I'm not disgusting. 

An example:  Reality: a little girl is at her dance recital watching for her parents.  They don't show up.  Assigned truth:  "I don't matter."  Truth:  Her parents were delayed by a traffic accident.

When you separate it out and recognize your assigned truth vs. the truth of the situation, you can then use your power of agreement and align with the truth, not the destructive assigned truth that is impacting your life. I'm often asked, how do I know it's truth? Our definition of truth: truth is defined as the concepts and thoughts that move you closer to a sense of freedom, hope, purpose and destiny. Truth is about knowing the accuracy in spite of what the reality of events may tell you. 

You absolutely can change your mind!  You have a choice! Choosing the truth will lead to new freedom to make different choices! That's power!  That's truth!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Art of Complacency

WARNING:  This post is not for the faint of heart!

There is no magic formula.  There is no 1, 2, 3 step program.  There is no book you can read.  And there is no therapist who can fix what is destroying your hope and stealing your future.  Any of those things are simply tools - they don't create the change and freedom you seek.  YOU DO!

We have become complacent. 

We think if we have read that book we have done something.
We think if we hold a heated conversation about a volatile topic we have done something.
We think if we attended the meeting, or sat through the conference we have done something.
We think if we enact that new law, we have done something.

And things remain the same.  Complacency.

It kills new ideas.
It repeats patterns that bring destruction.
It breeds hopelessness and despair.
It diverts us from our potential and power.

You have to come out of complacency!
You need to be discontent and unwilling to accept the status quo. 
No longer is it okay to only identify what is in your way of change, i.e. fear, rejection, insecurity.  If you want to change your life and thus change the world in which you live YOU will look at that obstacle and say, HELL NO!  

YOU have to USE the tools.  Don't just say the words. SHIFT from the inside.  That is where you connect to your power.

YOU must do the work of internalizing new truth, making internal exchanges and stop giving your power away.  

DO IT! - fire up your resolve - connect to your passion - DO IT!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Can we shift the story we live in?

The women gathered around the table were of varying generations and perspectives.  It was an eclectic looking group with one goal: create a follow-up event to a recent "Status of Women" expo.  Our first task was to select a focus for the event, i.e., around what topic would we build?

When the brainstorming session began I was struck with an understanding that each suggestion was framed around the individual stories that each woman carried.  Each brought to the table the "story" either assigned to her by culture or applied to her by experience. The suggestions focused on what had happened to women.  I could feel the room drain from hope to gloom. 

So I opened my mouth and spun a different story.  "Can't we create a different conversation?  What if we shift our stories to focus on the strengths of women, the core qualities and positive aspects of women rather than stay under the labels and barriers?"  They were stunned.  And the hope rose in the room.

The stories we tell, and the stories we invest in create the framework for how we conduct our lives.  They either confine us or create possibility.

It's the difference between fate and destiny.  Perhaps you've heard me talk about this before.  Fate is the path that we take when we allow circumstances to define us.  Destiny is the path we take when we shift the story by living out of the strengths of our identity.

Restoration is about identifying the restraints of story and shifting them.  It's about changing the relationship you have with "the story".  It's about fighting back, standing up and saying, "I will not be confined by your perspective or actions." 

You absolutely can shift the story in which you live!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Birthing Wisdom

"I am so excited about what you are experiencing."  I know it sounds funny when I say it. I even cringe sometimes, because I say that when I'm sitting with someone who has just understood a difficult truth about the life she has lived. 

She has paid a great cost to arrive at that truth.  It comes wrapped in pain and discomfort.  Its companion, denial, has worked hard to keep the truth from being revealed and explored. Your truth provides wisdom.  I don't know of any other way to unlock that truth than to unwrap the pain and labor through the obstacles to birth the wisdom that will set you free.

Obstacles such as denial, fear, the expectations of others and your own emotions can trick you into thinking you 'can't."  Each obstacle holds its own wisdom.
  • Denial - The stance that once "protected" you, is now the doorway to the answers to the questions that keep you wondering "why?"
  • Fear - A legitimate emotion that hovers over either truth of experience or unhealthy adaptations made to create a sense of safety or control.
  • Expectation of others - Wisdom here is gained in being able to identify safe or unsafe people as you unpack those experiences.
  • Your emotions - Provide an opportunity to explain what you are experiencing and explore deeper beliefs that drive emotional reactions.
Wisdom is found in self knowledge and self confrontation.  You hold the secrets to changing what you want to change. You can't fix what you don't know, and you can't shift what you're not willing to confront. 

Only you can decide if you are willing to do the labor of birthing your own wisdom.
I hope you do!


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Carrying Burdens

This picture moves me! A picture like this flooded my awareness as I listened to a group of victims of sex abuse talk about the burdens they were carrying. I could see all these aspects:
  • I see burdens placed on the victim of sex abuse, tied on so he (thinks) he can't shake them loose. 
  • I see weariness and resignation in the donkey's (victim's) face. 
  • I see the person who tied on the burden leading him with the full expectation that the donkey (victim) carry the heavy load.
That reality troubles me!  How many of us are like that donkey?

I responded with a profound sense of sadness when I heard their burdens.  Sadness for what they have experienced; but even more a sadness that they are afraid to untie the burden and leave it in the dust.  For unlike the donkey, you have a choice!  You can say, hell no, I'm not carrying it!

The conversation has caused me to take a deep look at why's? 
  • Why is it that the desire and determination to be free is not as big as the fear of being without the burden? 
  • Why do we hide behind fear?  Because we do - we use fear as a reason for not progressing.
  • Why do we we think we need the burdens?  If I won't let go of it, it is meeting a need.
I wonder if it all doesn't boil down to being unwilling.  Unwilling to take the risk; or take responsibility for our own behaviors, yes, even those behaviors that are an adaptation to trauma. And how do we shift this - how do we nurture and develop a willing spirit? 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Alleged - Really?

Does it bug you like it does me?  The use of the word "alleged" when a perpetrator is identified? I understand the concept of our justice system - don't think it works well - but I understand the concept.  I don't think that the court jargon should be mandated outside the courtroom. 

An alleged victim - The alleged perpetrator - Are you serious?

We know the crime of sex abuse is shrouded in silence and secrecy.  That alone messes with someones perspective.  Then add to that the reality that the mother who volunteers at PTA, bakes cookies for the class parties and checks on the elderly neighbor is the same mother who comes in at night and molests!  Living in both worlds leaves a victim wondering if her truth is just an unfounded allegation.  Gut instincts become blurred and the loss of a major safety indicator; one's gut instincts, becomes crippled.

Don't get hung up on if your memories or experiences are validated.  That will stall your progress in restoration.  Whether it happened the way you remember or not is not the issue.  What it did to your heart and spirit is.

You know your truth!  You may never have it confirmed.  You may never have complete recall; but your know your truth!  You see the impact in your thinking, behaviors and heart. You know what happened to you.  And in that knowing, accepting it as fact, lies the power to undo the damage.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What is worth fighting for?

I heard this question today on the radio.  What is worth fighting for? I posted the question on Facebook and got some wonderful answers:  me, life, love, dignity, truth, justice.  All worth fighting for.

But my mind didn't stop with that question.  In tumbled additional thoughts:
1. So, fighting means there is an adversary - so who am I fighting when I choose to fight (as suggested), for me?
    • I could be fighting restrictions from others.
    • I could be fighting my internal thoughts.
    • I could be fighting me.
Or if I'm fighting for dignity, or truth, who or what am I fighting?  You have to have some knowledge of the adversary.

2. If I choose to fight for any of the above mentioned things, what are my weapons?  What do I use; what is in my hands, my heart or my thoughts that will help me win this battle? You have to be equipped.

Pretty good questions!  Why ask them? 

Because every day I spend time with people fighting back. People who are living on a battlefield they didn't create.  People who now have to find the strength to identify what they are fighting for; who is the "enemy" and what weapon is needed to take out that enemy.  And it is exhausting!  And they need our support!

I remind them "you have to fight for it."  You have to want whatever "it" is more than you want to stay where you are.  You have to fight through the denial, the pain, the shame, the fears.  I remind them that they were created with power.  Inside them are the tools to win!  They have what they need to do the battle.  And I'll help them as they go.

Because it is SO worth fighting for!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Denial is not a safe place

Some things are really hard to know and accept as reality.  Who among us really wants to be faced with the ugliness and hurt of the world? Sex abuse falls into that category of "I don't want to know."  It is extremely difficult to acknowledge that it is present in our world - or even more difficult to acknowledge that it might have been in your world. 

That's why we so often choose denial!  It appears that denial brings relief from feeling the pain of an intolerable truth.  It appears that denial insulates you from being hurt again.  And it appears that through the glasses of denial you can move successfully through life.

And for a time, denial may accomplish all those things.  But not really.

The truth is still there, impacting your beliefs and thus your behaviors.  The emotions are still there, perhaps causing you digestive problems or severe headaches.  And most challenging, the thinking and behaviors adopted in trauma, and often not recognized, actually create vulnerability in your life.  Denial does not keep you safe. What do I mean? 
  • Suppose you choose to deny the disregard you experienced in sex abuse. You now have no radar to recognize when you might be experiencing disregard in current relationships.
  • Suppose you choose to deny that Uncle Jim molested you.  You now have no power to stay away from either the Uncle or anyone else who is unsafe.
Choosing to come out of denial and "know what you already know", provides power to live in authenticity. Knowledge is power.  That knowledge equips you to make decisions based on truth. You can make decisions that create safety and honor the value of you. Fears that may have haunted you are understood and conquered. The truth does set you free - to be a powerful you!

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Disrupter

I still laugh with satisfaction as I recall a former co-worker saying to me, (in affection) "I think you like being a thorn in my life."  My reply was, "what if I was sent to be that thorn for you?"

I didn't always grasp that this passion to disrupt the norm was part of my internal character - and that it is a good thing!  I've always been inquisitive, asking lots of questions, trying to grasp what is in place and pondering, asking does what I see match what my heart tells me is reality. 

I learned something about myself yesterday - yet again!  As a child I was in touch with that ability to see beyond what is in front of me; and it was too difficult for me to handle.  My passion, and ability to disrupt the norm was silenced as a result.

The atmosphere around me when I was growing up presented one way; but the reality was different.  It appeared to be an encouraging and supporting atmosphere.  It appeared to be a safe place.  It appeared to be a place in which I could succeed and become.  But my heart knew differently. The reallity was different. And I knew it deep inside. The awareness that what was being seen wasn't my reality was too much for my heart to manage.  So I made a decision as a child to allow my mind to agree with what I saw - and ignore what I sensed was my reality.  It worked while I was a child; it helped me silence the anguish and fear of living in an emotionally unsafe atmosphere.

But it is hurting me now.

My mind and my faith are in battle. My faith tells me that my circumstances, or what I see, is not the reality God has in place for me.  My mind, because of a power of agreement I set in place as a child, accepts what I see and tries to figure out how to manage it.  That cripples my ability to disrupt the norm! And that ability is core, God given and a necessary part of my assignment to shift the presence and impact of sex abuse in our world.

So today, I am shifting my power of agreement with my mind!  I'm deciding that my mind will no longer stand as a protective defense against what I know as reality.

I am a disrupter!  I'm equipped to disagree with what I see and bring forth reality
Wow - more of my authentic identity released!  That is RESTORATION!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stay on the Path

Yesterday I took down the Christmas tree and "officially" closed the holiday season in my home.  I now face January; the start of 2014.  I'm standing at the head of a path, peering down into a new year and wondering.

Before me I see possibility and challenges. Sometimes more challenges than possibility!  I have a choice to make:  Do I focus on that looming challenging mountain, or do I look through the mountain to embrace and push through to reach the possibility?  Can I muster what it will take to overcome?  Where do I find the strength and hope needed to get through the obstacles I will face? 

And the answer resonates within my heart:  In my authentic identity!

I was created with a deep determination and an "I won't stop" attitude.  I also was created with a heart for God and a connection to His leading.  I determine today to tap into those aspects of my identity. That will give me what I need to stay on the path in 2014!

Join me in entering 2014 and keep in mind these things:
1.  Who you were created to be is exactly what you need to maneuver through what lies ahead.
2.  Don't let the obstacles ahead draw you off the path of your destiny!  Stand your ground.  Fight for it! Whatever is on your path is yours to overcome!  In overcoming you develop the key to open the next door to destiny.
3.  Don't settle and rest in the negative oppression of what you know or experience.  You were created for more and have what it takes to move into the new!  Your inheritance is secured on the path.
4.  When faced with a crossroad, be still, recalculate, look at the consequences and rewards at the junction.  Contemplate, reflect and choose with wisdom and strength.  Then you can move forward in confidence.

I will journey with you!  Stay connected! 
Happy New Year - Stay on the Path!