Tell yourself a better story…..
It was usually lobbed at me from a very angry parent, (read rageful) and it was usually because someone hit me and I hit them back.
I never understood why I should not defend myself.
Recently I visited my childhood home and as someone was telling a story about a child making a mistake, the saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right” popped into my head.
The storyteller was relaying that a teenager had taken a dish into their kitchen and showed that the dish was still dirty.
A family member of the teenager then said, “Get the HELL out of the kitchen and put the damn cup down!”
The teller of the story was chuckling, gleefully, because the teenager had been “put in their place.”
In a flash, I was filled with anger and disgust and said, “Was it really necessary to curse and embarrass the teenager?”
The story teller was not at all pleased with the way their story landed on my psyche.
The storyteller did not see that yelling at children and publicly embarrassing them was not the way to teach.
It constantly amazes me that “mature” people still think screaming at children is the way to their hearts and minds.
Children need love, care, feeding and watering.
Parents, if you are still screaming, embarrassing and denigrating your children, please take as long as you need to look at your destructive behaviors.
You are destroying the next generation.
Please sign up for some parenting classes and I do not mean any of the “spare the rod, spoil the child” kind of classes.
I mean the class that shows you, the parent, that children are gifts from a divine source and that they are given to us to cherish and protect.
Love and light,
This is the song of abuse.
Abuse is cyclical. Life is “good” and then there is an event, some supposed affront….then comes the violence, whether physical, verbal or both.
The cycle can be tracked. You can plot it on a calendar, just like a woman’s cycle.
The span of time between events can vary, but the “affront” will always be followed by violence. The abuser will always have VERY good reasons, why they were left without recourse, but to strike out.
It will be words like, “Look what you made me do.” Or “You always do this and I have no choice.”
One of the saddest and most telling stories I recently heard while in India was about a woman who had been set on fire by her husband. While in the rickshaw going to the hospital, the man fell at her feet crying that he was sorry but it was her fault for whatever she had done. He begged her not to tell the police that he had done it.
She lied to the hospital and to the police and she said it was an accident. She took the entire brunt of the incident, the physical torture, the emotional torture and the blame. She thought that he would “love” her more, since she showed how strong she was.
What she did not realize was that he cannot love.
If he was capable of love he would never have burned her.
He was only concerned with NOT being caught and put in jail.
This story is gruesome, and it is sad and you may be tempted to say “ah, my story is nothing like this.”
Be careful of dismissing this too quickly, as it holds many lessons for us.
It tells us to be aware of the cycles.
It tells us to have faith and courage in OUR TRUTH.
It tells us to be strong in our convictions.
Most of all, it tells us to allow the authorities to do their jobs.
What secrets are you holding?
What wrongs are you accepting blame for that were not your fault?
Who are you letting off the hook by making YET another excuse for their poor behavior?
Silence like a cancer grows.
Remove the cancers.
Love and light,
Yes, if only all of our fights could be fair and above the belt.
That’s so hard to do though, isn’t it?
We feel attacked and we strike back.
It’s that old fight or flight, right?
I can either run away or I can slam you right back.
Are there other choices?
There are other choices….but only for those who REALLY want to change.
There are other choices….but only for those who understand that they can only change themselves.
There are other choices….but only if you intend to invest the time to build a new muscle.
Have you ever gone to a gym and started a weight training program?
Did you start with the MOST weight on the rack?
If you did, did it work out for you?
I hope that you started out with smaller weights, even 3 lbs…especially for the small muscles like the triceps.
The small muscles fatigue a lot quicker than the larger thigh or butt muscles.
Let’s expand this triceps training metaphor to your resolve to fight fair.
When you start, the resolve is small and you can only hold the fight fair tenets for a short time. Then you fall back into the old habits that you have down pat.
You lob name for name, insult for insult and then you choose your partners weakest spot and WHAM! Then one of you falls first, and the other feels vindicated.
If you were to verbalize what the original fight was about you might not even remember.
Your head would be filled with “well she said my mother is horrible” or “how dare he say that I am a bitch?”
The list is endless.
The real issue is again buried under the rubble from this most recent battle.
So do you give up?
If you do what will happen?
Things will not change.
You will feel the same way next week, next month and next year about the things that irritate you today.
How then do you withstand the emotional onslaught without striking back?
It is as simple as a DECISION to STOP the WAR!
I mean STOP contributing to the war.
I mean stop the lobbying of the insults.
I mean SHUT UP!
I mean to walk out of the room.
I mean to withdraw your emotional investment from the fight at hand.
I also mean to STOP pretending that anyone is actually winning!
The pretense that there is actually a winner in all this personal rancor and nastiness is epic!
Epic Pretense is pretending that nasty will get your loved ones to:
1. Love you the way you want
2. Give you compliments
3. Clean up their mess
4. Do whatever you say they should do.
When is the best time to start these new action items?
Well, it would be great if you (the warring parties) could have a peaceful conversation when there is nothing “hot” going on.
Then together you can decide on some ground rules.
If there is no chance for a peaceful conversation, then YOU have to take the high road and begin to implement the peace treaty by yourself.
How can that look?
You can tell yourself that you will not accept name calling. If it happens you will leave the room.
You can also decide that cursing is not allowed in your home and if it happens you will leave the room.
These changes will not be magically manifested…you will have to work at it (like starting with the 3 lb weights during a tricep exercise). You will tire easily, but keep it up.
Slowly you will see that changes are occurring and then you will have to take a deeper look at what it all means for the rest of life.
There is a lot of work that goes into lifting 3lbs with your triceps to being able to lift 35lbs. It is possible, but only with consistent training and proper care of your whole body.
Likewise, it is possible to stop being at war with each other, but only if it is something you really want. You must want it as surely as you want a plentiful supply of oxygen and clean water.
Oxygen and water are essential to living.
Fighting fair is essential to a LIFE worth living!
Love and light,
What he said about is 8th grade teacher, however, made me cringe and weep.
She told him he would never amount to anything!
Blake Shelton said “SCREW HER!” Adam Levine asked “What’s her name?” The classy young man decided not to reveal the teacher’s identity and said “I do not want to do that”.
I hope she knows that she has LET DOWN her entire profession.
Why do some adults act like the children that they are supposed to be helping? An 8th grader may act up, be mouthy and whatever else… that is a rite of passage. He/she at least has an excuse….THEY ARE CHILDREN!
What excuses do the adults give themselves when they show these kids what adults are NOT.
For everyone who reads this, you probably have a memory of a teacher who was less than supportive. Take this moment to send light to that person as you pat yourself on your own back for having the courage to not give up.
If you did give up because of what some idiot teacher said, send them healing light and clothe yourself in light. You are bright and brilliant and you deserve all the success you desire.
Love & light,
I was recently on a flight and saw the movie A Thousand Words, it was funny and introspective at the same time.
I did not expect introspection from Eddie Murphy.
The premise of the movie (spoiler alert) is that Eddie Murphy’s character has 1000 words left and when he reached this quota, he will die.
There is an outer manifestation of this which is a tree in his back yard that loses a leaf with every word he speaks.
He loses three words (and three leaves) if he says “I love you.”
This becomes very problematic not only at work, but with his wife, to whom he cannot express his love because he does not want to die.
If he writes a word, the leaves also fall.
Ok, so it’s a movie and it all works out in the end!
BUT, what if it could be true?
Do you know how many words you have left?
This of course presupposes that you know how many years you have and you know how many words you will speak each day.
A daunting mathematical problem!
How many years do I have left?
I know not.
I have this moment.
What I choose to say in this moment can be uplifting or off putting.
It can be humorous or humorless.
It can be stated without judgment or it can be accusatory.
I can whisper or shout.
I have a plethora of choices.
How do I decide?
I have to KNOW who I am and how I want to show up in the world.
I have to know ME!
I have to be true to me.
I have to fight the lethargy that comes with everyday living and the urge to be “fed up” with knowing myself. I have to be ON.
That takes at first a conscious decision to be true to me, then it becomes like breathing.
It becomes a living testament to the William Shakespeare quote “to thine own self be true.”
I must live, To MY own self be true.
I recently had someone forward me a text that they received from another person.
This person just sent the text. They did not say what they wanted me to do with it.
I had to wonder, what should I do here? Should I ignore it, therefore ignore the person who sent it to me?
Should I comment?
I chose to comment, but with humor.
Why? Because I have chosen to try and find the lesson or the humor in my experiences.
How did the recipient take it? I do not know!
What did I accomplish?
Only being true to “MY OWN SELF.”
It’s a long and winding road, indeed.
Love & light,
“Hello story my old friend
I’ve come to fondle you again
Because your lies have me trapped in
The same old paths that are in my brain
And the stories, never give me any peace, any peace,
Wishing for the sounds of silence”
Ok, so I am not a real lyricist…. but I do pretend to be one once in a while.
My teacher and mentor Dr. Martha Beck, tells us that we all have a tendency to ‘story fondle.’ You know, telling the same dramatic story over and over again and looking for people to agree and to commiserate. If someone challenges our story, we tend to become defensive and lash out or sulk in a corner.
How DARE they not believe us?
Who do they think they are?
What right do they have to say that my truth may in fact be just a story?
Ask yourself this, have you told many someones the same story over and over?
Why do you feel compelled to repeat old stories?
Ask yourself, “Do these stories bring me joy?”
I know whereof I speak, I have used this technique, and it only kept me stuck.
I got tired of being stuck.
The only way I could free myself was to consciously not tell the story. Not ever.
I did vent in therapy where I could get some insight, but other than that I started to create new themes.
It is not easy to step out of the story.
The stories are familiar, and on a strange level…even comforting.
You know every word, where to place charged emphasis and where to shed a tear.
We are academy award winners in our own plays.
Do you need a different way?
Are you tired of being angry and sad?
Change the stories.
Make them comedic monologues instead of dramas.
Put on a costume and tell the story from that character’s point of view.
Tell the story with a fake accent and crack yourself up.
Do something different.
If you don’t, who will?
Love and light,
A few weeks ago I received an email from someone I barely knew regarding my classes in which she has never attended.
Her information came from some of those who had taken my class. These people had some sensitive nerves touched and decided their pain was my fault! The email was mean spirited and made accusations that were untrue.
What was I going to do?
Was I going to retaliate?
Was I going to react?
The first thing I had to do was control my mind chatter and control my emotions. I felt the tears stinging at the edges of my eyes and I blinked them back. After a while the tears did not need to show themselves. I got hold of my thoughts and I formed my next steps.
I decided that my steps would be based on my TRUTH.
My deepest truth about the work that I do is that IT IS NECESSARY! The pain of an abuse victim pales in comparison with the slight pain that I was feeling.
I asked myself, “Indrani, how far would you go to reach a woman who needed to hear what you have to say about resilience and courage?”
My answer was “as far as I need to.”
So how far would I go to reach the women that I had come to reach?
I replied to the email and decided that I would go as far as I could go without damage to myself.
What kind of damage? EMOTIONAL damage!
So I took that mean spirited email as a CASE study and I sent myself to NEGOTIATION school.
I had taken a class in negotiating a few months ago, so I began to apply the principles.
A negotiation is a two way street where everyone compromises and therefore wins.
So what did I want to WIN?
I wanted to win a chance to share something with the women.
What did this boss lady want to win? I had no idea!
I only had the email to guide me so I looked at what they were AFRAID of.
I charted what I read alongside what my true work was.
I very carefully began to craft my response and I held in my heart the women who would be in my class.
I did the class that afternoon for 2.5 hours and returned the next day for 3.5 hours. The women that took part asked me to stay longer. They even called the boss lady to ask and she said NO. She said that “they were not ready”.
How did she know?
I have no idea!
They felt sad and I left.
I felt like both she and I won.
I won the respect of the women and she won the time frame constraints.
As I write this I am resting in my hotel room, looking at THE VOW.
It seems like a great title because it lines up with the VOW I made to myself to honor my truth.
Love, light & truth,
The title of this blog may sound a little dark. I don’t mean it to be. I am taking 100% responsibility for the sentiments expressed here.
First a confession:
I have done harm.
I have dome harm to myself, to those I love and to those I don’t love.
There was a time when I did not care about the harm I had done and I happily continued to do more. Of this I am not proud.
I have learned to bring compassion to the person I was then and I know that I was doing the best I could.
Oprah said “when you know better, you do better”
I believe. I Believe.
On this side of 50, I know better.
I have tried to temper my words, my thoughts, my actions and my intentions, in such a way as to show respect for all things and people.
I am not always successful. Sometimes I recognize when I fail and other times I do not.
I am still in training; I will always be a student.
My mantra for 2012 is to
DO NO MORE HARM, at least to try.
In order to walk this talk I must be PRESENT.
PRESENT TO MYSELF, MY THOUGHTS AND TO THE WORLD.
I know that this will not be easy. It is actually harder than getting a PhD.
There are no set guidelines or rules or schools to help me get there.
There are however, guides, living and dead who in my opinion, have tried to live without doing harm.
I can learn from them, read about them and emulate them.
Some which come to mind are:
The Dalai Lama
I will be a student of these and others who cross my life. I will start today.
Will you join me?
Who are some of your models for DO NO MORE HARM?
Love and light