Category Archives: Blog

This Valentine’s Day Will You Put Flowers in Water To Keep Them Alive?


There was a time when I used to buy flowers and hang them upside down for them to dry. I had a notion that I could have a small business making dried floral arrangements. This illusion did not last long. 

These days I buy beautiful flowers and rush home to put them in water to keep them fresh. I take pains to prepare the water. I use a few drops of chlorine or a crushed baby aspirin in the water and I lovingly arrange the stems. I change out the water and try to make the flowers last as long as I can. 


I realize that taking loving care of the flowers with preparing the water is a lot like raising children. We try to give them an environment where they will thrive and bloom and grow up to be strong and kind. We pay close attention to how we behave around them, except for when we don’t.


If we live in an environment where there is violence, be it emotional or verbal or physical, and we pretend that it does not affect our kids, we are deluding ourselves. 
This year on valentine day if you get flowers or buy them yourself, ask yourself if you care if they live or die. 

If you don’t care then just throw them away. 

If you do care, notice how much attention you give to them. 

Our kids are our precious blossoms and they need nurturing and pretending that violence is not affecting them is lying to ourselves. Take a step back and access the situation and ask for help if you need it. It’s not easy to look at what’s really happening and making a few changes, but I guarantee you that it’s worth the time and effort. 

Love and light,

Indrani Goradia

Say NO to abuse. Don’t leave yourself unfinished.

Say NO to abuse. Don’t leave yourself unfinished. Inspired by business executive and author, Seth Godin. Read the post here.

If you don’t have time to clean up, you don’t have time to cook.


Professionals understand that the project is the whole project, not simply the fun or urgent or interesting part of the work.There are countless productive shortcuts along the way. But not finishing the project isn’t one of them.

I have been reading Seth’s posts for a whole year and I am amazed that his posts take the simplest things and make them mind blowing business advice.The above post made me realize this:If your lover/husband/anyone feels they have the right to hit you then you better feel you have the right to leave.

You see, when we stay inside of abuse we leave ourselves unfinished.We were sent into the world to work on ourselves and complete the work we need to do and accepting abuse is not part of a success scenario.

Love and light
Indrani

Getting Hot Or Getting Cold Or Getting Burned Is A Never-Ending Game..

Getting hot or getting cold or getting burned is a never ending game with abusers.

I love a hot shower and I realize that it is a privilege to have both water and to have it hot.

This post is not about water privilege but I will use the mechanism of the water heater to illustrate some abusive behaviors. If I take a shower about 30-40 mins after a family member I can usually get a little bit of tepid water that is still in the pipes and if I forget that this is simply left over from the last person and jump in without thinking, sooner rather than later, I will be shocked with gallons of cold water coming out of the shower head. I have to have the presence of mind to allow the water to heat up again so that all the water I need or want is at the temperature that is comfortable for me.




If I am living with an abuser and he comes home in a good mood, it’s probably left over warmth from a work friend or his girlfriend and if I pretend that his “ warmth” has anything g to do with me, then I am in for a big shock. I might find myself saying things like “but you were in such a great mood” what happened?

The answer will be that the warmth left over from his friend has run thru his veins and his emotional distance has reappeared. If I push and push for the “warmth” to return, he may jump from ice cold to scalding hot in seconds. Scalding hot could look like punching, screaming, cursing or worse.


When we normalize abusive behaviors and pretend that we are strong enough to fix the chronic dysfunction, it’s like pretending that we don’t know that after the cold water runs out, the hot water will appear and we will get burned. I do not mean to suggest that dealing with these mood swings is easy, but pretending that the mood swings are not happening and continually bending over backwards and tying ourselves up in knots trying to figure out what we did wrong, it’s ignoring reality. 



We need help and advice and we must be steady enough and grounded enough to look for it. 

Love and light,

Indrani Goradia

Feeling Like A Broken Record

Can I tell you a secret?
Well, after I tell you, it’s no longer a secret!
Here it is…I AM SICK of saying the same thing.
What thing?

The ONLY thing that remains crucial to the health and welfare of the world and that is END VIOLENCE to WOMEN and GIRLS.Are you sick and tired of reading these messages from me? I would expect that you are. It’s Ok..I know you don’t mean you are sick and tired of me as a person.

If you are reading this, you probably like me. Know that I am also sick and tired of asking people to dissect their lives and find the ways where the violence is silent and insipid.

What areas? Here are just a few…Telling your daughter to lose weight because no boys will like her. Telling your self boys will be boys.Allowing your spouse to disrespect you.Allowing yourself to accept disrespect. Making excuses for religious institutions to treat women as second class citizens. Repeating lies like “ she must have been asking for it, look at how she was dressed” when you see or read about sexual and physical violence.

I could go on and on, but you are smart enough to get the idea.
Take an action to end violence, please.

Taking Chances

We teach young kids to take chances from a young age. We encourage them to take the next step and when they stumble we cheer them on. We try as best we can to allay the fears of middle schoolers who are afraid of a multitude of things, some real and some imagined. We ask our teenagers to stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves. We recognize when humanity rises to challenges like defeating the Hitlers of our world and tearing down the stupid Berlin Wall and the greatly needed work that so many non- profits do in our ever-closer world.

The thing that still surprises us is when a BRAND like Nike uses controversy to do the right thing (Colin Kaepernick) and when Gillette puts out an ad calling for the males of the species to Be the best.Some people are very upset and vowing to never buy their product again. I am sure many new customers will. I plan to buy razors today to give as gifts!
Some of people are saying that their men are “fine.” Yes, many men are fine and many need to be reminded to be better. We can all be better.

If 1 in 3 women is being abused then as many men are committing the crimes. Visit UN Women for statistics if you want to challenge the above statistic.

We need more brands to use their powerful voices to move the needle on this issue. Now if only the feminine hygiene people could throw their weight behind ending violence to women. Maybe they can put ads on the packaging?

Well, until they do, the rest of us must use the platform we have.

Link: UN Women Facts and Figures

The Challenges Challenge and Always Will

I am absorbing Scott Kelly’s book Endurance. It is thrilling.

On page 108 he talks about that cold January day when he saw the Challenger explode 73 seconds after launch. He reminds us that it was a rubber O-ring on one of the solid rocket boosters that failed. The rubber was compromised due to unusually cold weather.

Ok, so a small thing like a rubber O-ring brought down that massive piece of equipment and killed everyone instantly.

That gives us pause about the little things, right?

But wait, on page 109 he tells us that this was a MANAGEMENT FAILURE.

Engineers working on the solid rocket boosters had raised concerns multiple times about the performance of the O-rings in cold weather. In a teleconference the night before Challenger’s launch, they had desperately tried to talk NASA managers into delaying the mission until the weather got warmer. Those engineers’ recommendations were not only ignored, they were left out of reports sent to higher level managers who made the final decision about whether or not to launch. They knew nothing about the O-ring problems or the engineers’ warnings, and neither did the astronauts who were risking their lives.”

Perhaps you are wondering what this has to do with any of us mere mortals.

It has plenty to do with us. We rely on car makers to make safe vehicles and not lie about things like carbon emissions etc, and they fail us time and time again.

We depend on corporations to make their manufacturing plants safe so that we can not only work, but work safely, free from serious health risks, and yet we have many stories of corporations failing us.

We read about intimate partner violence and see the horror that abusers heap on women and children time and time again, and yet, we continue to believe (or pretend to believe) that it’s a private matter and not a public health epidemic. The world loses 5.2 trillion dollars every year due to violence to women.

We continue to hit and physically abuse (and pretend that it’s discipline) our children and wonder why our daughters accept violent boyfriends and why sons do not understand what violence is. (Listen to Indrani’s TedX talk: “Expressing Love With Violence is a Lie”)

Let’s believe the research that tells us about the effects of physical abuse (Take the ACE quiz and read more about Adverse Childhood Experiences)

Let 2019 be the year that we end domestic violence in our homes.

Let us believe the science that tells us our children deserve to be parented with kindness and love.

Kindness and love are the parental equivalent of believing the O-rings will break and our families will be very damaged.

Will we be brave enough to question the status quo and allow the violence to stop?

Love and light,

Indrani Goradia

The Sewing Machine Worked Just Fine… Until It Didn’t

The other day I was preparing some small quilts to take with me to India for a program I planned to visit. The quilt squares had been decorated by children of the mothers who had been burned by fire or acid. I had met these kids years before and never got a chance to finish up the quilts. I was going to India in a few days so I was inspired to finish them. This work reflected all my hearts passions: meeting the survivors, speaking to the kids, remembering to bring them fabric swatches, saving the swatches for the right time to finish it and of course sitting at my beautiful machine and finishing the project.

All of a sudden, the machine would not work. The needle would not stay threaded.The bottom thread would not catch. I rethreaded it about 6 times and then I yelled, to no one really, “what the F is wrong with this machine?”

I began to hyper focus on the threading mechanism and tried to use a pen to poke the thread into one of the moving parts and of course it could not work. I had never threaded the machine with a damn pen before. Why was I trying to do that now? I have been sewing for 50 years. I used to make my own Catholic School uniform skirts. I KNOW how to thread a sewing machine.

Then a heard a voice in my head say “Indrani zoom out, close your eyes, and use muscle memory to do this. Nothing is wrong with you or the machine.”

So.

I closed my eyes. I allowed my hands to float up to the machine and I held the thread a loft. I mimicked threading motions and saw that my left hand floated behind the presser foot to check if it was in the down position.

I opened my eyes.

I smiled.

The presser foot was NOT in the proper position.
I put the foot down and threaded the machine and finished the quilts.

Then, it dawned on me that this episode mimics what women do to themselves. We KNOW how to be in the world. We know how to be brave and courageous and yet, when we forget a simple thing (like lowering the presser foot) we begin to judge ourselves and we accept the judgment of others. I love that it was the “putting down of the foot” that brought me out of my trance of feeling inadequate and stupid for not successfully completing a task I have done 1000’s of times for 50 years. How can you use this in your life?

The next time you KNOW deep in your heart how to do something, or WHO you are at your core, put your foot down on the knowledge and do not allow any one (even your judgmental self) to convince you otherwise. If others in your life say unkind things, let if go in one ear and out the next. Put your foot down and don’t let others define you with their words. Maybe use a simple phrase like “I am not sure whom you are describing, but that’s not me.”

Believe the words. You know you!

Now, go be the full YOU. The world needs all of you.

Love and Light from Indrani

New Year’s Resolutions: Do They Work?

One of the beautiful things about the New Year is that it traditionally makes us feel like we can start over, improve on what was not working, and gives us an opportunity of “letting go” of what went wrong during the past year.  As 2018 was approaching a few weeks ago, I reflected on all of the things I just mentioned.  I listed the people, things, events, and work that served, or didn’t serve me in 2017.

{Amy Jaffe with Saza in Chiangmai, Thailand – 2017}

I made New Year’s resolutions last year, as I do every year, and I had to force myself to recognize that I can’t remember one year that I stuck with my resolutions religiously. I gave many a good try, but I have not been fully committed after the excitement fades. Last year was another one of those years.

Here were a few of my 2017 resolutions:

  1. Develop better communication skills, and be clearer about my own needs.
  2. Develop a regular yoga and meditation practice.
  3. Be more aware of my body weight, diet, and exercise. Plan a diet that fits in with my life and body. Lose weight, and exercise on a regular basis.

Do any of these look familiar to you?

These are some common resolutions that I hear quite often, and I jumped on the bandwagon last year on all of these.  At the end of the year I actually celebrated one of the resolutions regarding my weight, diet, and exercise.  I lost over 40 pounds last year that had been creeping up on me the past 6 years, and I feel great!  I’m on the treadmill at least 5 days a week, and my diet is mostly gluten free, vegetables, a few grains, and vegetarian.  I have kept my weight off all year and grateful to feel healthy and whole.

Now, for the “not so celebrated” resolutions….

What kind of feelings do YOU go through when you reflect on your failed commitments?  Do you feel like a failure?  Do you believe you shouldn’t try again because you just know you’ll fail again?  My feelings are similar, AND the feeling of fear rises up when I want to try them again.  How can I be better at these commitments?  Why are these resolutions so important to me? And how can they become habits?  I am sitting with all of these questions and feelings, and ready to stand up and move forward with the desire to keep trying.

Brené Brown is one of my teachers in life, and two of her books, “Daring Greatly” and “Braving the Wilderness” are my new bibles.  At the end of every year I beat myself up with guilt because I did NOT stay committed to my New Year’s resolutions.  I am a perfectionist at heart and mind, and when I am not perfect …. the guilt and anxiety take a hold of me.

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Where do I go from here?

I am setting my intentions and resolutions again this year!  My intention is to follow Brené Brown’s advice and focus on healthy striving in my life.  I am one of the hosts of Indrani’s Light Foundation’s “Caring for the Caregivers” podcast.  Indrani Goradia, Jeremie Miller and I publish a bi-monthly podcast to support our Caregivers who work as staff members in domestic violence shelters.  (Available on iTunes)  In our newest episode for 2018, the three of us discussed how we can reflect on our current self-care practices, and plan for new ones as an important step in being intentional about our self-care.  We also talked about what practices worked for us in 2017, and which ones need improvement in 2018.

I am excited about starting this New Year free from guilt and shame, and acknowledging that intentions and striving for a healthier life is what my New Year’s Resolution will be!

I would love to know if this blog and our podcast episodes have been helpful for you this first month of 2018.  What have you learned so far?  Have you freed yourself of guilt, and discovered your New Year’s Resolutions?

With gratitude,

Amy

Amy Jaffe | Director of Education & Outreach
Indrani’s Light Foundation

Natural Disasters Perfect Storm for Domestic Violence

What happens when a family is in turmoil from domestic violence and a natural disaster hits?

(Photo credit: KPCC Radio 89.3)

An increase in violence

In circumstances like these I have not seen any agencies speak up about the increased violence that is likely to happen.  If victims do not seek help before a disaster, there is even less help available during, or after a disaster.  The stresses on the victims become more acute and the rage and lack of control of the abuser can skyrocket.

Violence affects one in three women globally and stress can increase the levels and the frequency of domestic violence.

More time at home = More violence

Let’s think about it logically.  If an abuser has a job and is out of the home 8 to 10 hours a day, there is a chance that the other household members get a reprieve from screaming, name calling and physical violence.  The children may have a few hours after school to feel a little “freer,” and may be able to even forget their circumstances for awhile.  Intuitively the kids know when the abuser is most likely to be home.  They have an internal clock that turns on when “stuff” is about to happen.  The parent at home is likely to give verbal cues such as, “Be quiet, you know your father/ mother does not like noise.”

The children may begin to curtail their childish ways and begin to try to behave in more acceptable ways.  It really does not matter what they do as the abuser does not need any reason to explode.  The abuser is the explosive and is watching and waiting for any reason to allow the explosion to burst.

If this happens when the abuser is only home for a few hours, imagine what happens when the abuser is home for days on end.  Days on end with NO water or electricity, or distractions, and a house of scared children and an equally scared spouse will raise the levels of abuse in significant ways.


(Photo taken by unknown publisher)

How can communities help these families?

We can be vigilant for behaviors that are disturbing in the youngest and most vulnerable.

We can be vigilant for outward signs of physical abuse.  We can be brave enough to alert the authorities if we see or feel that things are amiss.

We can live by the adage, “See something, say something.”

Remember, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Will you be the one to step up and be the change you wish to see in your world?

With gratitude,

Indrani Goradia
Indrani’s Light Foundation | Founder

#TBT Special Interview with Janine Shepherd

Defiant_J.Shepherd_CVRIn 2012, Indrani Goradia hosted her “Unpasteurized Joy” podcast.  She had the honor of interviewing her friend, and author, Janine Shepherd, who is an internationally renowned speaker, and inspired over a million people who watched her TED talk, “A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person.”  She’s was featured on “60 Minutes”, “This is Your Life”, and CNN’s “Turning Points”, with Dr Sanjay Gupta.  Since then, Janine has written a book called, “Defiant: A Broken Body is Not A Broken Person.”

janineJanine is also known as the “walking paraplegic,” after a tragic accident stripped her of her Olympic dreams and changed her life forever.  You can watch her TED talk here:  https://youtu.be/bX32U_hfri4

 

Since the political climate in the United States has been incredibly polarizing in recent months, we wanted to share some inspiration and hope with you today.  If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions of hopelessness, this #TBT podcast is for you!

Please SHARE this interview with a friend or family member if this inspired you.  Also, Janine’s book, “Defiant” gives a detailed account of her story, and it will blow you away. Purchase her book HERE!