What is your weapon of choice? Sarcasm, bitterness, coldness…maybe even anger? Sometimes it feels like you against the world, right? Oh I know….I wage my own battles.
My favorite shield and swords are stubbornness, detachment and narrow-mindedness. Yes these weapons keep my feelings, heart and my soul safe.
Hiding in foxholes is part of my warfare, arms at the ready waiting to lunge at my adversary. I stand guard to protect myself.
Are you a fearless warrior?
Fearless front-linesmen we can be, fighting for the safety of our hearts, the invisible war of words and feelings between foes and ourselves.
And as we pick and choose our battles, in the end we may have escaped fresh wounds of the heart and soul but we are callused with the scars from cuts and abrasions of past skirmishes.
We wear our scars like badges of courage.
We retreat back to our castles, the doors swing down allowing us to cross over the moat we have built to keep others out.
The cold stone walls run high….too high for the marauded invaders to scale.
Here we are safe. Here we can be at peace. But within our walls do we have comfort? Do we have warmth?
I ask myself if my castle walls have really turned into prison walls.
Am I now my own prisoner of war?
I am disconnected and isolated.
This world war is over.
And the bigger question now is do I have the courage to take the walls down?
Do I have the courage to drop my weapons of the crusade and walk out in peace?
Like the strength that kept me going in the heat of battle, can I find that strength to reach out and connect with the world around me?
Can I drop decorations of a brave soldier and strip off my chain mail suit and see myself naked in my authenticity, see my genuine needs and honor the needs and feelings now that there are no more dragons to slay?
I don’t know, but I will try. For if not, I remain behind the walls I have built.
I ask you to look the conflicts you have.
Can you lay down your weapons, walk out from behind the walls around you to step out and stand in your own truth?
When animals get hurt, their wounds heal a little thicker and stronger.
Maybe that’s where the saying “thick-skinned” comes from.
This thickened flesh is called Proud Flesh.
Recently, I visited a shelter for women who had been burned by fire, and survived.
Their scars were visible and clear and it transformed them into people they did not recognize.
These transformations not only took place on the outside, with proud flesh, but also on the inside.
Some of them realized how precious their lives were.
They realized how much their children needed them, in ways they had not before the incident.
They found ways to fight through physical and emotional pain and to come out ahead.
One woman lifted up her arm to me and I thought she wanted to give me a high five. The therapist then told me she was showing me that she had regained control of her muscles and that meant she was a winner. I ran over and hugged her so tight, I may have squished her.
We were both giggling.
One of the stories stuck with me. One woman’s husband suspected her of infidelities that were all untrue. He wrapped his hands with a cloth soaked in gasoline, set them on fire and then he rushed and embraced his wife so they would both die. She managed to get away and her daughters are proud of her. She has healed and she is teaching her girls to be strong and fight back.
While at the shelter, the girls sang and danced for me and the mom, stood proudly on the side beaming with both her thickened skin and her thin skin that was not scorched. Her girls hugged her around her waist and one said to me “This is my mother.” The pride in them was palpable and the joy in her eyes could’ve lit up a whole city.
This woman has found a way to transcend her tragedy and focus instead on the love that still exists in her life.
When I think of my own life, I wonder at how I have overcome my hardships and am thrilled at the lessons I have gleaned from them.
One of my biggest gifts is Presence. The presence of mind to see, hear, taste and feel what is happening in the moment.
Recently, I had such an awakening. While steeped in the “tea” of the argument, I saw all the stuff around me. I noticed who was doing what, how they were responding, how I was responding and how I was processing the storm that was raging around me. I heard a soft voice say, “Save yourself” and I immediately stood up and left the toxic situation.
How could I hear that soft voice?
I could hear because I was listening. I was tuned into everything around me and NOT to defending myself.
There was no defense needed.
I was being accused.
I was put on trial.
I was convicted.
However, I remembered that I WAS NOT in a court of law. I was in my life. MY LIFE!
I choose to leave. I was already convicted, so what was the use of sticking around?
I offer the tool of Presence to you.
Try to stay in your own business.
How do you know if you are OUT of your business? The moment you ask, “Why is he/she acting/doing/behaving like…..”
These questions are a sure sign that you are trying to be in someone else’s head.
Devote your energy to questions like…
Why am I doing this?
Why do I want this? Or not want this.
What pattern can I see here that distresses me?
Do I really want to change that pattern?
Am I ready to suffer the emotional pain that I will feel when I attempt to change the entrenched patterns that are causing emotional turmoil?
*********************** Try to stay out of defense.
You know that you are defending yourself when your words just want to erupt. It feels like you cannot hold them back. Your mouth is controlling you, instead of you controlling your own mouth. You feel
that if you speak THIS ONE thing to THIS PERSON, then you will be vindicated.
Both of you or a whole LOT of you are no longer in HEARING mode. Only mouths are working, and it is verbal diarrhea. You are puking and pooping all over each other AND you must leave the situation. If you
feel that you will be physically attacked if you try to leave, then you must call the authorities.
You are unsafe. You must get out.
Try to realize that NO AMOUNT of explaining can stop your accuser from
******************* Try to, as the soft voice said “Save yourself!”
How do you save yourself?
First, go to safety, a different room or house or city or country.
Only you can decide how far you must go to get away from the madness.
Then call a few trusted friends with whom you can weep and grieve.
Expect the pain to be severe and swift and expect to feel like you will die or at least drown.
It will also feel like you cannot breathe.
Yes, even breathing will take effort.
Your friends will remind you to breathe.
They will remind you about how wonderful you are.
You need SUPPORTIVE people.
Do not call people who will judge you or reprimand you.
Remember to treat yourself like a trusted friend.
Remember too, you must change to affect change.
Einstein said the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
You must DO something different to GET something different.
Allow yourself time for healing.
Stay connected to you; stay present by not building cases against the other person and stop going over old scenarios of past hurts.
That is a waste of good energy.
Go for a walk.
Give these techniques a try and let me know how they work for you.
Love and light,
Give to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your support will be used towards covering the costs of the free one-day or two-day, in-person training the ILF Team provides to the advocates at domestic violence organizations across the United States. Your support has already paid for training in Texas, Oregon, Washington, California, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Illinois.