Tag Archives: truth

Self Responsibility…….

sunset-401541_1280Self Responsibility… The “Philosophical Principle (that) entails ones acceptance of a profoundly moral idea. In taking responsibility for our own existence we implicitly recognize that other human beings are not our servants and do not exist for the satisfaction of our needs.”

The above quote is from the book Six Pillars of Self – Esteem by Nathaniel Branden.

Can you take some time to read the above sentence out loud, maybe more than once.

When I first came across this sentence in the book, I was stopped in my tracks.

If the above is true, and it is, then all of us who have been abused in one form or another would KNOW without the shadow of a doubt that we were wronged.

We would not have to ask others for their opinion of whether we were enough wronged as to take swift action and demand justice.

The married woman who is forced to be a servant to her husband and in-laws would know that she is not there for their implicit or explicit exploitation. She would know that she had the right to say an empowered NO.

If she could accept that she will not be made into an unpaid servant, how might she approach marriage differently? Might she ask the intended in-laws how they expect to treat her? Might she tell her future husband that she will not be forced into a life of servitude and sexual slavery?

I really have no answers to these broad issues but I do know that we must empower women BEFORE marriage to ask harder questions than “do you have a job and where will we live?”

The college woman who is gang raped would know that she needs to report the crime as often as she needs to until something is done. She would have to find the courage to stand against the friend circle who will most likely accuse her of being disloyal and being short sighted about her reputation.

Where did I get these examples of what the friend circle might say? It comes directly from the report of the gang rape at a frat house on the UVA campus.

The 18 year old woman was made to question her loyalties. She was made to stay silent about the horror that was done to her body and her mind by silently suffering.

If we could get women, especially High School and college women, to respect themselves as much as they respect what their friends say, we might be able to bring more rapists to face the music.

Please do not think that I am putting the burden of this whole thing on the shoulders of the survivor of the rape, I am not. I am, however, sure that taking responsibility for extracting justice for a crime that was done is one of the most powerful ways to begin the long and arduous process of healing.

We cannot expect society to change without each individual taking a stand for what is no longer acceptable.

This is how we got rid of slavery.

This is how women got the vote.

This is how dictators fall.

It is only speaking up, as often as we can, and as loudly as we can, that will bring change. It will still be slow, but we can never. ever give up.

Ever.

Love and light,

Indrani

My friend Ray and the lesson of black tape…..

Recently, I had the great fortune to be in Trinidad with my only brother, his lovely wife and our childhood friend, Ray.

We were all headed to the store to purchase a 60th birthday gift for another friend.

My brother was riding in the passenger seat up front while Ray drove and in the midst of recanting an old and funny story, he said very casually,
“Hey brother, what’s that red light on your dash?”

Ray, quite nonchalantly said, “Doh worry ’bout dat man, I put a piece of black tape over it, I don’t want to know what it is.”

And in typical Ray style, he started to laugh.

My sister in law, sitting next to me in the back then says, “So why is there tape over the locks in the back?”

Ray says, “Oh the locks are broken and I just don’t want people messing with them.”

We all start howling with laughter and start teasing Ray about his ability to block out the everyday annoyances of life.

I immediately say, “You know that I am going to have to write a blog about this, right?”

The thing about using black tape to cover up warning lights and broken bits of a machine made me think of the hoops we jump through to hide our shameful abuse from others.

Women will use any amount of makeup to try to hide the black eye.

Teenagers will lie to their friends and wear long sleeves to try and hide the cutting they started as a result of the incest they are suffering in their homes.

Young children know that they dare not tell about the knock down drag outs that their parents engage in and they instead begin to create a fairy tale family that they trot out to mask their pain.

Recently, during a Train the Trainer, one of the participants told the group that he never knew his parents because the state had taken him away due to abuse. He then explained that he made up  a fairy tale of benevolent parents and used to tell fairy tale stories about the imagined family.

We use black tape in our everyday lives so effectively that we often forget the tape is there.

We begin to see the tape as the reality and we fight for the right to deny the reality of our pain.

What parts of your life have you taped over?

What is the tape hiding?

What would happen if you pulled the tape off and allowed yourself to face the truth?

I pull the tape off my own bruises every time I tell an audience that my abuse began in my childhood. When I am honest with my listeners and when they are able to receive the truth of what I am saying, they witness the absence of black tape.

I let them see my scars.

I let them in on my pain.

As a result of my being vulnerable, they give themselves permission to do the same.

Will you remove some black tape from your life today?

I give you permission to look at your truth.

 

Love and light,
Indrani

Researcher or Drama Queen….

dcbf965b004317b524a5cda135406191I was having a lovely discussion with a very dear friend the other night and I heard her say, “Am I just a drama queen?”

I listened to her words and I listened to her heart and I listened to all the words she and I have spoken over some 6 years.

I tried to look for Drama Queen, but I could not find it.

What I did hear was a woman who was so brilliant that she chooses to unwind her life, experience by experience, to look at it.

She turns over events so as to uncover the deeper truths and meanings behind the things she chooses to do and those things in which she chooses to not do.

Our conversation brought to mind a passage I had just read in Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

“Three things differentiate living from the soul versus living from the ego only. They are the ability to sense and learn new ways, the tenacity to ride a rough road and the patience to learn deep love over time. The ego, however, has a penchant and proclivity to avoid learning. Patience is not the ego’s strong suit.”

Yes, dear, dear friend, you are fully aligned with your souls’ purpose when you question and turn over and question yet again, the events and lessons that life has given to you.

You do me the honor of speaking aloud your truths, even as you dive for deeper more resounding tidbits.

I am honored to be the one whose ears are privy to such gifts from your soul.

The next time any of us get branded as a drama queen, ask yourself this….

Am I just complaining for the sake of complaining, to wrench some pity from an unsuspecting someone OR I am being a true scientist and researcher by turning over each bit of evidence, patiently waiting to see the truth underneath.

If you do indeed feel like a drama queen, just say it out loud and proud… I am a drama queen, hear ye, hear ye, all my subjects…. and watch people scatter like flies!

Or maybe you can choose to be an inquisitive scientist and look for evidence that your life is taking you exactly where you want to be taken.

You see, it is really just a choice…YOUR choice.
Love and light,
Indrani

Total recall…or false memories

black-blackandwhite-fun-grey-memories-favim-coThere is a new movie out called Total Recall. I have not seen it and this is not a commentary on that movie.

Rather, this is about what we remember and what we choose to forget.

I know for a fact that three people will have three different interpretations for any particular event. They may get the facts right, like who married whom, but their memories of the service and wedding will be different.

I am wondering if what I remember is really what happened or could I have been convinced that I remembered wrongly?
People are quick to interrupt us and tell us how “it really happened.” I have been witness to many a marital fight that was based on who remembered “correctly.”

How have my memories been changed/affected by what others tell me?

When a child reports abuse and is told that it did not take place, how do they reconcile the feedback vs. the facts. When someone tells you that you were “rude” such and such a time and you don’t remember it that way, what do you do with the information? When an abused woman tells her mother-in-law that she is being beaten, will the mother-in-law believe? And how will that change the intensity of the woman’s memory in the moment?

Do you ever doubt your own memories?
Have you ever been challenged on your memories and have you felt like you are losing your mind?
By this I mean, you really, with absolute clarity, recall some event, only to be set upon by others, hell bent on changing your mind.

I don’t mean the give and take that happens between good friends, or people teasing you. I mean the mean-spirited verbiage that can erupt when you least expect it. I believe that people attack our memories when the memory makes them uncomfortable. Of course, I have no empirical proof of this statement…it is simply an intuition that I have having lived for more than 58 years.

Will they try to talk us out of our memory if it was a favorable memory to them?

Do you ever talk people out of a memory they have of you?
What would you hear if you asked a TRUSTED friend about something you both experienced together?
Would you be surprised at what they remembered? Would you be happy or upset?

Would you think that they judged you?

Would you judge them or yourself based on their recollection?

I have found that memories are like water….they slip away quietly but leave evidence of having been there.
I am oftentimes surprised by the amount of time I waste trying to wrestle a memory from its hiding place.
When this happens, it usually means that I am trying to “build a case” to prove something in the present.
I have come to loathe “case building.”
I hate when I do it and I despise when someone does it to me.

So, the next time you remember something, ask yourself these helpful questions:

  1. Will this help me to navigate what’s happening in the present?
  2. Why do I feel the need to unearth this memory now? Will it be a joyful experience?
  3. If it will bring me pain, what can I learn from the pain that I haven’t already learned?

Life is but a series of memories…make sweet ones.

 

Love & light,

Indrani

The power of one word…..

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Recently, in the WSJ, there was an article on how a disaster was not properly named. The word SURGE was used instead of the truthful word TSUNAMI!

Wow. One word could have saved thousands of lives.

Let me remind you that….
Domestic Violence is not “just punishment” or “I only shout at her” or “she needs to know who is boss”.

Domestic Violence is VIOLENCE. Simply and truthfully!
If you named it correctly, what would you do differently?

Fuel enough to burn through gravity!

rocket-launchHave you ever seen a shuttle lift off?

From what I have read, shuttles use over half of their fuel supply to break out of the earth’s gravitational pull.
After the shuttle breaks free, the fuel usage drops significantly.
If there is not enough combustion and the propulsion does not quite allow the shuttle to break out then all that initial work, all that burning will be for naught!
The shuttle will fall back down and shatter.

I like this metaphor for looking at what it takes to leave an abuser.
In order to leave, you have to have some initial fuel. Perhaps it’s a threat that you finally believe. Perhaps it’s yet another physical attack. Something fuels you to run for your life.
If you do not have the reserves of fuel to help you to stay gone (breaking free of the gravitational pull of the abuser) you will fall right back into their pull and burn up, all over again!

What are those reserves of fuel?

Those reserves are LOVE for yourself and your children.
Those reserves are finally realizing that your abuser tells you LIES!

The lies are that you are worthless, that you cannot survive without them, that you will live under a bridge or that NO ONE could ever love you.

Lies… All LIES!

The deeper you dig to find YOUR truths the better chance you have to stay gone to continue to free yourself of the gravitational pull of the abuser.

Abusers, like gravity, like to pull you DOWN.
They do not like you to move and think on your own. If they want you to think, they will TELL you what to think, when to think and how long to think it.
Abusers like to see themselves as mind readers, as purveyors of Truth!
The world revolves around them and the only thing that matters is what they believe to be so.
Read this former blog post, Bricks are for building and get an insight into some real life abuse.

How do you reserve enough fuel so that you can stay gone?
Some of the things you can do are:

  • TALK to professionals about your abuse.
  • Gather information on how abuse and abusers work.
  • Begin to identify the pattern in your abuse. 1. Event 2. Abuse 3. Honeymoon** 4. Apologies

**Note that in this 3rd stage, The Honeymoon Stage, is when the gravitational pull to go back to the abuse is strongest. You WANT to believe that he means it THIS time. You want to believe that he WILL never hit or rape or threaten you again. Oh, how you LONG to believe it. Beware of this gravitational pull.

All abuse follows this formula.
Sometimes the time frame between the stages varies from minutes to hours to days and even months. I have also seen the stages take years, but it still follows this formula. The abuse is still present.

Keep notes (in a VERY safe place) and note how many things you are being accused of. Ask yourself if you are really that powerful as to make those things all happen.
If indeed you WERE that powerful, would you not make the abuser stop hurting you?

You cannot fight this fight alone. It takes a whole team of qualified engineers and staff personnel to safely send that shuttle off into space. You need a team of qualified people to help you to blast away and more importantly, stay away.

Find your team.
Refill your fuel reserves.
Blast away.
Stay away.
Far away, until you love yourself SO much, that you will never again believe the lies.

Love and light,
Indrani

IT’S YOUR CALL…

thankful via chebec.wordpressOne Sunday night, I was watching the Mentalist on TV (LOVE that show) and one of the male detectives asked his male partner if he should get married.

The partner simple said, “You want it to be my call?”

Simply Brilliant Writing!

 

How often though do we ask others about some of the MOST important decisions in our lives?

We PRETEND that others have more wisdom about our own selves than we do.

YES… PRETEND.

It has to be a pretense because YOU are your own expert.

The trick to accessing your wisdom is to be silent and to ask yourself a simple question about the “thing” you are trying to evaluate.

 

Let’s do an example:

Let’s say you have met someone and want to know if you should go on a date. Instead of calling up all your friends who HAVE NOT MET this person, sit in silence and look for signs in your body of serenity and peacefulness and YES, excitement.

Not an anxious excitement, but a buzzing and soft excitement that alerts you to something sweet about to happen.

In order to access these messages you will have to practice with everyday decisions and get fluent in understanding your own body and the way it talks to you.

It will help to do meditation on a fairly regular basis and you will learn how to “read” your body.

Here is a short meditation to help get you started.

 

Love and light,

Indrani

Dancing with Wild Abandon

WomanDancingonPorch via chatelaine.comI had seen her many times during the past few months. She is small and cute and always smiling.

For some reason, she always hugged me as soon as she saw me and we exchanged pleasantries.

When she danced in Zumba her hair flew, her hips spoke volumes and her arms were as expressive as the rest of the Latin lovelies in the class. She used her hair as another appendage and her golden locks flew every which way.

I always admired her ability to move fluidly and effortlessly, as I stomped about and pretended to be effortless also.

A few days ago, she lingered a little longer and I asked what she did when she was not in Zumba. She said she had two little ones, ages 2 and 5 and she takes care of them. I was surprised since she seemed to be 16 years old!

We talked a few more minutes and she asked, “You work in shelters?”

I replied, “Yes, I do.”

Without erasing her smile she said, “I was in a shelter in 2011.”

I am not easily surprised and I usually am not in “work” mode when at Zumba.

I paused and said, “The same man or another man?”

She said, “The same man.”

She continued, “He is not so bad these days.”

Then she said, “That is why I dance, to forget.”

She walked away with a sweet “Bye.”

I looked at her as she left, wanting to run to her and say I will always be here for you.

I could not, she did not ask me for my help.

I took comfort in knowing that she felt comfortable enough to speak her truth and that she has found a way to forget and deal with her pain.

Cardio for her heart…Zumba now holds a whole new meaning for me.

 

Love and Light,

Indrani