02:05 Amy – Guilt and shame triggers.
07:28 Discussion about Guilt and shame triggers.
13:16 Indrani – Working from your strengths.
19:50 Discussion about Working from your strengths.
24:40 Jeremie – What happens when you don’t set boundaries.
29:30 Discussion about What happens when you don’t set boundaries.
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When I hear the word Ninja, I think of a person who is stealthy, nimble and agile and uses the forces of his opponents to his advantage.
He only fights when necessary, and then too, only to defend himself or his family, or to right a terrible wrong.
My father is a Ninja.
He never let on to any of his three children how difficult it was to put food on the table. He never allowed us to suffer the stigma of “poverty” and always found ways to provide what we needed to succeed as students and young people. He encouraged all of our friends to visit, sleep over (often in drunken hazes when we were teenagers) and never once do I remember him lecturing or making us feel like losers for our immature behaviors.
He always led with love and followed with well placed stories with metaphorical lessons that somehow always made sense.
As my father lays in a sedated coma due to a severe stroke, we his children are left to remember the greatness of the Ninja skills he wielded so magnificently and we are left to wonder IF we managed to become the adults he always believed we could be and if we told him we loved him and showed it as much as we could.
I am so grateful that he never considered that his daughters be married off at young ages so that he would be relieved of our care.
He always stressed as much education as we were capable of and never wavered in his belief in our abilities to become fully functioning members of society.
I read about fathers and mothers who sell children into prostitution as a solution to bring money to the family. I cannot even imagine what my father would say to theses practices.
I read about parents dragging their girls out of school so that they can take care of the house and the younger siblings. I cannot even imagine what my Ninja father would say about that.
I cannot imagine lots of atrocities that I hear about fathers around the world. I am grateful that I had a DAD who would have given his last ounce of blood to keep his children safe and secure.
My father was a Ninja and as he sleeps in his coma, I can only hope that his dreams are of better times with me in Texas, where he loved to be.
He loved to go to the giant grocery stores and to buy what he wanted and came home to cook it for me and my children.
He loved driving my son to elementary school almost 25 miles away from home while I took care of a new baby.
He loved to go to Target and to be able to buy whatever his heart desired and it always desired very little.
If he had two pairs of pants, it was enough.
If he had four, he would say something like, “but I can only wear one pair at a time while I wash the other one.”
He was not a hoarder of material goods. He spent wisely and knew the value of a dollar.
My Ninja father taught me so very much and most of all he taught me the value of the relationship between Father and Daughter.
A bond that should never be taken lightly.
A bond that sets up the girl for a life of happiness or dread.
A bond that cements the way a girl feels about men.
My father, the Ninja, is my everything.
He is and will always be my hero.
Dad, As you sleep know that I respect what you have taught me and I hope to continue to make you proud.
Love and light,
Daughter of Ralph Augustine Nathu.
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Photo Credit: Flickr/Shiv
Recently, on a learning journey to Trinidad, the Island of my birth, I was in a deep conversation with a dear family member and he said that he was not the “need to know” type.
I was not surprised. I had always known this person and had seen over the years a certain acceptance of many things and a certain trust that things would work themselves out.
I instantly had a flood of memories of all the times I had wished I was not the “I need to know ” type. I wished I could be the “let sleeping dogs lie” type. It seemed to me that type had a life that was stress free. They seemed to be more accepting of things as they were.
I remember this family member just “doing what he was told” without question.
But I also remember that most of those things were not to his benefit. I began to remember that him not asking “why” made his life extremely stressful. He was swindled out of time, energy and money that he did not have.
He was always doing the bidding of others, doing the work for others and taking the blame for others.
He never seemed to be able to connect with the “why me” part of the question.
In other words, this person was NEVER able to say NO!
He was a man without boundaries.
It is very curious to me now, having grown up in this environment, that I dedicate myself to not just having boundaries and being able to say a positive No, but that I teach about boundaries and being able to deliver a perfectly placed NO.
Every time I return to Trinidad, I uncover another little piece of the “raisin d’être ” of Indrani.
I discover another deeper layer of what makes me tick and why I do what I do.
As I love this family member and am flooded with all the memories of all of his sacrifice, pain and torment that he had suffered, I give him thanks. From the time that he was a small boy who was tremendously abused, to being the 10-12 year old who was yanked out of school so that he could go to work washing busses to help feed the whole family to the menial jobs he had to accept because of his lack of education, I give him thanks and praise for NEVER giving up on me. For never giving up on all of his children.
I will forever be in his debt.
He is my FATHER.
With deep love and respect for my 86 year old father who now has Alzheimer’s, I remain your devoted eldest daughter.
Do you know what the phrase “full court press” means?
My novice understanding of basketball tells me it’s when the opposing team exports most of its players to guard your players the whole length of the court. Especially the greatest players on your team like the one who scores a lot or the one who is the 3 point expert…the player most like a young Michael Jordan. I think that Michael Jordan was the recipient of many a “full court press”.
When faced with the wrath of the opposing team, one must use all of one’s wiles and wits. One must pull every trick out of the hat…make any move, even if it seems counter intuitive. It’s either make a move (a swift move), find someone to pass the ball to or just go for the shot anyway, before the ref blows the whistle that you’ve held the ball too long.
Ok, big deal, why should you care about the theory of the full court press?
So glad you asked!
Let’s use our eagle eyes to zoom out from the basketball court and soar way above our lives and take some close looks at the predicaments that we have gotten ourselves into.
When you were a kid and another kid hurt you, did you want, even long for, your parents to come to your rescue? If the answer is yes, then you longed for the full court family press to save you because you could not save yourself. You wanted your team to surround you and help you to navigate the challenge at hand.
Did your parents ever go to your school to stand with you against an unfair accusation by a teacher? If so, you were the recipient of the Full Court Press. You see the full court press does not always work the way you want it to. You may not get the teacher to admit that they were wrong BUT you will have seen that your family came to your aid and that may be all that you needed. You were NOT being blamed by your people, only by the opposing team. Your people had your back!
The full court press can work in the exact opposite way.
Take for example, your spouse hits you, so bad that you had to go to the hospital. The doctor BY LAW must report alleged domestic violence. The police begin to question you and you finally break down and all the secrets come tumbling out. The secrets of many years can no longer be held in.
Be aware that the Full Court Family Press is about to be UNLEASHED on you. The press will probably be from the side of the battering spouse, maybe even the battered spouse side may jump in.
You may be pressed and pressured with words like;
He didn’t mean it.
What did you do to upset him?
What kind of mother are you to put your children’s father in jail?
What kind of wife are you to not know how to make your family happy?
What will the rest of the family say?
What will the priest/imam/rabbi/guru/scientologist say?
When you start being barraged by the Full court press, whose only goal is to get you to go back to being abused in silence, you MUST find someone on the outside that you can “send the ball” to.
This will be someone who wants to help you live a life of JOY.
This will be someone who understands your pain.
This will be someone who has your back.
The Full Court Press to repress your rights to a peaceful life may NEVER go away.
They may vow to make your life miserable and spread rumors about you throughout the town/village/Internet.
You cannot control their actions. You can only control your own actions.
So suit up and look around. Identify those on YOUR team and give them a heads up that you may be calling on them.
Gather your team slowly and purposefully. Don’t accept people who make you feel bad even when things are good. These people may not be able to hold your pain and be a part of your full court.
I hope this got you thinking about who is REALLY on your team.
In fourteen hundred and ninety two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue…
And all hell broke loose
Hell? Yep! HELL!
Indigenous peoples were summarily killed off by exotic diseases, bayonets or gunfire…at least from their points of view!
There are many off shoots of the original Columbus story…may I present my own?
Hundreds of years ago my innocent ancestors were shoved aboard British Cargo ships and taken to the West Indies, which Columbus had earlier discovered.
My ancestors were packed like sardines into the hulls of the cargo ships along with other precious human cargo from the African continent.
The Indians and the Africans were transported to the faraway islands to be slaves and indentured laborers.
They did not have to have any actual currency…they only paid with their lives!
If they survived the torturous journey they got to disembark IN chains!
They were then immediately put to work in the sugar cane fields and that is how hundreds of years later a baby girl called Indrani Nathu came to be born in Trinidad and Tobago!
My great, great, great, great grandfather was unceremoniously transported to the newly discovered West Indies…a ONEWAY passage into a life of Hell.
He left all that he had ever known and would never be able to see his parents or siblings again… just think of this for one minute.
Imagine someone coming into your city and taking one of your sons and you never see him again. He is alive…just unavailable to you!
All alone on the other side of the world and probably not speaking a word of English, he made a life for himself. He found someone to marry and his offspring belonged to his Master.
In 1953, I was born into an East Indian family, now completely living a West Indian life.
I never thought about my ancestors, I lived my life and accepted all that had happened without giving thought to their hardships.
BUT now, I am going BACK to a city that I have never been to…except through my ancestral blood line.
I am completing the ROUND TRIP for my ancestors who were so sadly stripped from all that they knew.
I am heading to Chennai, India to teach my workshops on Domestic Violence.
I feel so honored to be completing this journey for my family. I only wish I knew where to find my people so I could tell them that their beloved sons survived and married and eventually thrived.
In the absence of knowing exactly which families I came from, I will honor all the people I meet and treat them all as family knowing that some elements of my DNA probably lives within them.
This journey has come full circle…and it does feel like coming home.
Love and light,
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Your donation will be used towards eradicating gender violence, training community leaders and sharing behaviour-change tools with people who are ready to leave violence behind and create a brighter, more peaceful world.