Empowerment – Moving Beyond the Victim Role

“I have a beautiful life now and not matter what you do, you will never affect me again” ~Elizabeth Smart

These words came from a young woman who was victimized by being raped and forced to drink alcohol and take drugs over a nine month period.  Yet she stood in court this week and faced her abuser with calmness, clarity and most of all Empowerment.  How many of us have faced a violent crime or situation where we were abused?  Have you taken the steps to move out of the victim role to Empowerment?  What if we used the words, “I Am Empowered” instead of “I Am a victim”?

I can personally relate to Elizabeth Smart because I experienced sexual abuse as a child by a family member.  It was so traumatic to me that I did not begin to remember the pieces until I was in my mid-thirties.  There were stages that I went through and the first stage was being a victim.  The second stage was anger and hatred.  Then I began to wonder why it happened to me.  Why would someone do that to a child?  Again relapsing into the victim role.  It took some time to work through my emotions before I moved on to the stage of saying, “I survived sexual abuse and I’m going to be okay”.  After a great deal of counseling and processing my memories I began to heal.  It was not instinctual or easy to move on but I felt guided to find some peace.  Until recently I was not able to coin a term to replace the word Survivor but being inspired by Elizabeth Smart’s story I have realized that the word I have wanted to express is “Empowered.  I Am Empowered”.  Another “aha” moment.

“We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude”.   ~ Charles Swindoll

Our attitude about our past directly affects how we act today and in our future.  We have a choice.  You can stay in the victim role, move to survivor and talk about it but not completely heal, or you can move on to Empowerment and not only heal yourself but positively affect others too.   Elizabeth Smart chose to be Empowered and I am certain that she will encourage others to heal as she did.

I cannot change what was done to me in my childhood but I CAN choose how I deal with it.  Sharing my story and helping others to heal is part of my healing process.  Forgiving the abuser was part of my healing too.  In spite of what he did, he taught me some very valuable lessons.  I am not grateful for the actual experience but I am grateful for the opportunity that I have had to move beyond the abuse.  Being abused does not define who I Am as a person.  Yet being Empowered is the gift that I have taken from my experience.

Following your spiritual truths

"The light in me honors the light in you"

There was a time as an adult when I belonged to a church who actively looked for converts going door to door.  At the time I did what I thought was best and joined in the door knocking.  I have since changed my outlook on religion and spirituality.  To some of my friends dismay, I walked away from that religion.  It did leave a bad taste in my mouth for a while.  I went from being overly zealous to anti-zealous.  Looking back I understand that it was all part of my spiritual journey and I learned a great deal from participating in that particular religion.  I also had to admit that even though my time ended with that church, it didn’t make it a “bad” journey at the time.  It certainly didn’t make it a “bad” journey for others.  As a matter of fact, everyone has a path that serves them best.  How’s that for a bust to the ego?  No more “I’m right and you are wrong”.  It became, “I am doing what is best for me and you are doing what is best for you”.  The moment the “aha” light went on for me, I was greatly relieved that I no longer needed to “save” the world.  That silly adage, “I’m okay, you’re okay” took on new meaning.

As a child I was raised in a non-denominational church that taught all the basics that Christians learn growing up such as the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and I observed all major Christian holidays.  Where I am today is directly influenced by the sum of my life experiences.  I have a strong faith in a higher power (my favorite name is Creator) and I believe in the power of prayer (even if I call it healing energy) and my “God” has many names including Yahweh, Elohim, Allah, Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, Krishna, Buddha, just to name a few.  What I have learned is that we all have a spiritual journey to take.  We are all such unique and divine creations that we express ourselves in many different ways.  But the bottom line of any spiritual or religious journey is to become more the like the god that we worship and/or respect; always having an eye on personal growth and being the best human being that we can be.

Wherever you find yourself on your personal path, ensure that you are following your spiritual truths.  You will know by the joy that it gives you and the spiritual transfusion that you receive when around like minded people.

Namastè  (The Light/God in me honors the Light/God in you)

Earth’s Tragedies – An opportunity to hold a prayer in your heart

Have the courage to keep a loving prayer in your heart

This year we have witnessed a multitude of natural disasters.  Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, it is enough to make the general population wonder if it is indeed the end of times.  It is sad that so many lives have been lost but here again is another opportunity that we have to hold a prayer in our heart for those affected by these disasters and for the earth.  I believe in the power of prayer and energy that groups can hold and send out for healing.  No matter what you believe, where you come from, how you pray…the intentions of your heart do make a difference.

Have the courage to hold a space of healing energy/prayer in your heart.

“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”  ~Dorothy Bernard

Envisioning that the healing is already done is even better.  Have the courage to imagine the big picture.  Imagine the earth being calmed, seeing families and communities coming together and becoming stronger.  Imagine random acts of kindness happening all over the world.  Imagine miracles and the faith of humanity being increased.  Love based intentions can provide the healing necessary for humankind.

“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy. ” ~Sai Baba

A Warrior to the End – Scizophrenia cannot define a courageous soul

If you have ever dealt with a family member who has had mental problems, then you know that there is fine line between holding them accountable for their actions and having compassion for them.  I’ll have to admit at times that having a brother who faces these challenges can be very frustrating for me.  But just when I feel that I am fed up with his antics and want to throw in the towel, a gentle voice reminds me to be thankful that I have my mental faculties and I can reason and function in society.  I know that he suffers from deep mental torment.  His world changes daily, oftentimes by the hour.  The question I always have in the back of my mind is, “When should I back off and allow him his experience and when should I try to intervene?”  There are no easy answers.  The best I can do is listen to my heart and hope that I can serve him for his greatest good.

In his more lucid moments we have deep convesations about life.  He is so intelligent.  I like to imagine him without the tortured soul.  In my mind he is gregarious, charming, and at peace.  Maybe peace is not in the cards for him this lifetime but I cannot help but feel that he is a courageous soul who once said, “Yes Creator, send me down to earth with a fragmented mind.  I will lovingly teach my family about compassion, unconditional love and gratitude.”  This poem is for you Dear Brother.  I love you!

A Warrior To The End

by Dina Neatherlin, Summer 2004

He hears the voices on any given day

They tell him what to think, what to say

He is in a far away place

He is neither here nor there

His mind transcends all reality

Making his life surreal.

He becomes confused at times

Not knowing what he feels.

He is like the glass that is broken,

Fragmented beyond repair.

He cannot be in the moment

Because he lives in the yesteryear

What is real, what is imagined?  He cannot say. 

He looks to others

To help him find his way.

In his mind the answers do not come

He wants peace, he wants love.

His tortured soul lives another day.

Where his journey ends I cannot say.

My heart aches for him and I say a little prayer

That he will rise above his afflictions

And conquer all his fear.

His divine soul he doesn’t know

He cannot comprehend

But I see his light shining bright

A warrior to the end.

Loving someone who doesn’t love themself

How do you love someone who doesn’t love themself?  Obviously it takes patience, setting clear boundaries of what you will or will not accept and loving them regardless of who they are to you or others.  It’s a big task.  I don’t like some people who I love and I’m okay with that.  I learned this lesson pretty young in life with my father.  He was such a great teacher in this regard.  I never liked him but I always felt conflicted about loving him.  My mom finally put it in terms that my young tender heart could accept.  She said, “You can love someone without liking them”.  Boy did I feel relieved!  He might have been the first person in my life that I didn’t like but he certainly wouldn’t be last!

The biggest obstacle I have had in dealing with people who don’t like themselves is taking their issues personally.  Instead of coming from a place of love (acceptance of what is), I have come from a place of judging (fear based).  I have come to realize that when I judge them, I also judge myself.  Wow!  Let me get that monkey off my back!

It’s time to look at this situation differently.  What if we simply looked at this person objectively and looked for the opportunity of personal growth within this relationship?  What could we learn from this person?

    “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”  ~ Carl Jung

I don’t know about you but I see plenty of growth opportunities in my life 🙂

It is what it is…

It is what it is…that’s my mom’s new mantra.  It doesn’t really commit to a positive or negative view yet there is a simple acceptance and acknowledgement that something has happened that we cannot change.  Sometimes circumstances in life are unchangeable but we still have the personal power in the situation to choose how we will react or respond.  Even better we can choose NOT to react.

I will admit that I have repeated that mantra quite a few times in the past few weeks.  Mom has a way of cutting through the crap and simply stating the obvious in such a way that even in the worst of situations, I can crack a smile.

Now is the time to be like Nike and Just Do It!  So here I am ready to share my reality with you.  I will warn you that I will be covering some pretty serious topics at times and sharing some very personal experiences but don’t let that shy you away because I happen to have a great sense of humor.  My wish is that you will be able to relate to my stories and spread a message of hope and healing.  There is never a wasted experience if it brings awareness and growth.   “Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”  ~Sigmund Freud

Thank you in advance for joining me…It’s show-time!  Stay tuned

“Whatever the question is…LOVE is the answer”

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