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!