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.
She was only 16 or 17 years old. I had just given a short presentation to a group of students and I asked for questions.
She was brave.
She asked what she could do after she had been beaten, and still had to stay in the house.
My heart hurt for her. I knew her pain at a cellular level. I knew her well. I WAS her. I remember being beaten so badly and having welts all over my body, and having to dry my tears. I was told to “go wash your face and when you come out I better not see any crying, you asked for that beating.”
Of course, dear reader, I did not ask for any beating. I had made some childish mistake and I was whipped like I had murdered someone. I remember going to the bathroom, and I was not allowed to shut the door, the abuser needed to “see” that I was not going to have any more “crocodile tears.” I had to suck up all my pain and come out smiling like a good girl. This behavior lasted well into my 50’s.
Don’t let them see you cry those crocodile tears. “They don’t care “…was the voice in my head.
To this day, I still have a hard time owning my pure emotion and I have to fight really hard to not push them down, allow them to morph into anger or rage, or blame. It will probably be a life long lesson. Some days I win and some days I lose.
I told the young lady to try to find a place of solitude in her home and tell herself that one day, she will be out of the house and the abuse will stop.
She could not tell her parents, her parents would be angrier that she “embarrassed the family,” and she would be beaten even more. I told her to use school as a respite. I wish I had someone to tell these things to me. I did not. I had no one to tell me that the abuser was wrong, even though they were caregivers, and said they were beating me because they loved me.
They were wrong. They were telling lies.
We do not hurt what we claim to love.
I deserved love and attention and guidance, not rage and anger and beatings. I have a clear memory of being about 12 years old and kneeling at the side of my bed, praying. My abuser came into the room and asked what I was praying for, and I said for strength. The abuser was pleased.
Yes, I was praying for strength, but strength to live in my hellhole called my childhood.
If I could not get the strength, I prayed that God would take me that night because I could not go on. I was praying to die, at 12 years old. I was not taken, so I guess I got the strength …… and that strength has been parlayed into the work I do now. We are resilient beings. We can stand a lot of pain. If you are in a hellacious situation, and you are an adult, reach out to your local shelter for confidential help. Even if you don’t leave, there are services you can access. They can help you with a plan.
There are people who care that you are in pain.
If you know a child living in a hellacious home, try to be a point of comfort to that child. They need to know you will keep their confidences and that you are a safe place to lay some burdens.
Be that safe place for someone. Someone needs you.
You might be wondering how “someone like you” can change the world. You might try to convince me you are afraid to speak in public, you are in introvert, or you don’t feel you could say the right words to comfort someone in pain.
Well I’m here to remind you that you don’t have to speak on stages, you don’t have to be a “socialite,” and you don’t have to always find the right words to comfort someone.
Here is a simple “everyday” story that Indrani shared with us the other day. This may help you understand how you can be an activist by just sitting on a train.
Indrani’s Train Scene:
I am sitting on a train.
A woman enters and is very nervous.
Woman: “Does the train to go city hall?”
Indrani: “Yes it does.”
She sits and I can feel her anxiety. We talk …she has important business. Her breathing is very shallow.
I teach her how to belly breathe. She does it for the whole time.
Woman: (Smiles at me) “Where do you teach?”
Indrani: “Right here.”
What is the lesson in this story for you?
You see, people need YOUR wisdom. People deserve YOUR compassion. And you CAN make a difference in the world by just sitting on a train.
Let’s pretend we know the ending of this story. How did this simple breathing exercise that Indrani taught this woman make a difference, and how did the actions of this woman at city hall eventually effect hundreds of lives in a wonderful way.
Yes, YOU can do this work. You can be an activist in a quiet way and still change the world….. One woman at a time.
I invite you to join Team ILF, and our mission to end violence against women. You can begin the journey to be an activist by listening to our FREE Live-A-Brighter-Life recordings, available here at: http://indranislight.org/engage/intro-course/
You can also become a Master Trainer for ILF by enrolling in our brand new ONLINE TTT Course beginning October 16th! Yes, you can be trained from the comfort of your own home or office. Click here for the details of this amazing opportunity.
With deepest gratitude,
Director of Outreach & Training | Indrani’s Light Foundation
Some of you will have read the title of this blog and have no earthly idea where I will be going.
Others of you will say, “But of course, everyone knows this!”
Still others may just be amused that the title may seem trite.
Let me tell you a story to make this topic come alive. A few years ago, at a business conference I heard a CEO of a large company recall an instance of how this manifested in the C suite.
He was sitting and engaged in his work when he was interrupted by his personal secretary to say that someone from Marketing had a very serious issue.
Being a benevolent CEO, he stopped his work and took the unscheduled meeting.
The Marketing employee came to to tell the CEO that EVERYONE in the Marketing department hated the manager. She listed (painfully) a long string of names of those who had been wronged and how they were wronged and just how affronted she was at the whole state of affairs in the Marketing dept.
The CEO, leaned back in his chair (sure fire behavior that she had lost his attention) and asked her ONE question.
This was it…”Were you appointed by the WHOLE department to bring these atrocities to my attention?”
The answer was a halting and faltering “no.”
He continued, “No one asked you to come to me with this litany of complaints.”
She said, “no.”
He said, leaning forward, “What is YOUR specific problem with your job?”
She blurted out that someone who did less work than she did was making more money than she was.
The CEO, then simply told us these words, “If she had come in with ONLY her problem, we would have looked at it and made a correction. The fact that she was in everyone’s business was so unprofessional that she threw herself under a bus.”
I heard that story many years ago.
I really had not assimilated it to other life incidents as efficiently as I did a few days ago while I was mediating between a home owner and a domestic helper.
I started with the domestic helper first and I asked what her concernS were and she began a litany of past ills NOT against herself but against others she had heard about.
She told me about “Mary” who was underpaid and about “Janice” who was put upon and “had” to ignore her own family and on and on.
I could NOT find a way into this woman’s issues and her individual problems.
Every time I tried to speak she blocked me with another litany.
I then asked her to STOP.
I said I am going to tell you a story. I told her the story from the CEO, the story above. She was enthralled.
I asked her, at the end of the story, to tell me what the CEO was disappointed about and why.
She was able to identify that the employee was in everyone’s business but her own!
Then, I said “Are you in other people’s business with all the stories you were telling me and not able to identify your own issues?”
She agreed that she was indeed NOT in her business.
I had been observing her facial expressions and body language as she retold the stories that were not hers to tell. She was agitated and closed in and contracted.
When she began to be in her business she was open and her face was not contorted. She was actually able to smile and laugh at some of the humor that I was pointing out.
The moral of this story is:
When we stay in our business we practice self care at its finest.
Byron Katie has a great worksheet for understanding whose business you are in.
It was a faded gray and it had roll up windows, an AM radio and no AC. The heat worked sometimes.
The dash board had a gas gage and a speedometer.
A manual steering wheel was the driving mechanism.
I loved that car!
It took me on my first long trip from Ohio to New Jersey after Graduate school. There was enough space to stuff my meager belongings and drive off.
These days I still drive an import, just not a Japanese import.
My car has power windows, power steering, power adjusted seats that can be heated or cooled, a lumbar support that I cannot live without as well as a head support.
Air bags in the steering and the doors.
The dash board….
Well this is a thing of beauty.
I have a speedometer AND I can see a numerical display of my speed on the windshield.
The rest of the dash looks like I am in the cockpit of an aircraft.
I know when tire pressure is low. I know when there is a snail walking behind my car because of the rear camera. The car tells me when I am too close to objects in front and in back.
There are bells and whistles… Real bells and whistles that I have NO idea what they mean. I have to remember the sound and look up the sound in the 2000 page owners manual that came with the car.
I will NEVER understand this car! I won’t even try.
This car was the play thing of very inspired engineers and when the first one rolled off the line they all applauded and pretended that all the future buyers would give a damn about all the fancy schmansy stuff.
We buy the fancy cars and very few of us really give a damn about all the bells and whistles BUT we would never go back to the old car, like that first Corolla.
Yet, in our private lives, we keep using tools that are as outdated as that Corolla.
The tools we learned as a child to manipulate our parents, we try to use on lovers and partners.
The tools we learned in High School when we were first dating are the tools we insist on using in relationships that are way beyond the immaturity of High School.
We scream and pout as if we were teenagers and expect that people will just give up their positions to keep us quiet and happy.
We expect those tools to still manipulate like they did in the past.
We refuse to better equip ourselves to fully step into adult relationships.
What do I mean?
The tools I am talking about are readily available in e-books, book stores and libraries. It’s the billion dollar industry of the Self Help Movement; while most of us have purchased self help books, how many PRACTICE the tools inside?
It’s the practice of new tools and skills that will get us away from the “outdated dashboard” we keep going back to so that we can install a newer updated version.
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.
I was never taught how to say No.
I was taught to be “nice” and say Yes to all that was asked of me and furthermore to be sure to do it with a smile on my face.
I did this for many years.
Almost killed myself doing this.
The few times I said NO to things, I did it with such anger and animosity that the people around me looked at me like a had two heads.
Like Medusa, if someone tried to get me to be reasonable, I felt like they were chopping off one of my heads and so two would grow in its place. The multiple headed monster was what I would become.
I stumbled upon the book The Power of a Positive No by William Ury quite a few years ago.
I read it, re-read it and read it again.
The simple tools for saying NO were right there.
But, would they actually work in real life?
How would I know unless I practiced them?
I was at a small conference once where I told one of the participants about this book and how it changed my life and she said, “make it into a workshop. People, women need these tools and many won’t read the book. Give them a taste and then tell them to get the book and feast on it.”
I called the workshop, “Not Your Mothers Assertiveness Training.”
I did the workshop.
A few paid to attend and the rest of the seats I gave away.
It was a hit.
People loved the work.
I encouraged them to buy the book and to inhale the wisdom inside.
I heard from them from time to time that they were indeed using the principles.
A few times when they called to complain that they were being forced to do one thing or another, I simply asked, “What’s your YES!” (read the book to understand this question)
They got it and did the required work to make the decisions that would work for them.
There was a time when I would have readily accepted that “people like like me” don’t belong on global and powerful platforms such as the UN stage.
There was absolutely nothing in my background that would have prepared me to think that I was worthy of this honor or to belong to this exclusive club. “Spoke at the UN” is indeed beyond my wildest dreams.
What right do I have to claim such esteemed membership?
I received this right from the other clubs to which I belong.
I belong to the club of the abused. I belong to the club of the oppressed.
I also belong to the club of the women who said NO MORE.
The club of domestic abuse ends in my lifetime…. the club of claw and scratch your way out of stinking thinking and claiming a life of joy and peace.
These are the foundations upon which I stand to celebrate the new club membership that I have earned.
I urge you to begin to name the clubs to which you have belonged and to begin to lay the foundations for and build the bridges to the clubs you wish to join.
I should tell you that I never dreamed of being in the UN club and that is ok. You see, I was laying these foundations as I strove for other memberships such as:
The club of women over 50 who do Olympic distance triathlons and come last and have the nerve to still feel pride.
The club of 2 marathons the year I turned 50 and several half marathons in the ensuing years.
The club of founders for a non profit.
The club of motivator and encourager of all I meet.
So it is with this beneath me and behind me that I urge you to gain membership to new clubs. These memberships will require hard work. The price of admission will often seem to steep. In times of such stress, take a break, take a breath AND continue to strive. The membership is worth the effort.
Let us all belong to the club called “I too took a chance.”
I was speaking to a very dear friend the other day.
She said that she had 6 beautiful bowls that someone had given to her a long time ago.
The other day she noticed that there were only 3 and she realized that some of them were broken.
She felt happy that she had 3 left.
She began to tell her young daughter who had been helping with her dishes.
She turned away to do something and heard the awful sound…
She froze and realized that something had broken.
She did not know what it was. She turned to the sink full of dishes and saw her sweet daughter, shaking and fearful and she heard these words, “Sorry mom it was an accident, I did not mean it. Sorry mom.”
My dear friend said, “Now there are two.”
And then she smiled.
The worry on the daughter melted away and the mom showed her child how easy it was to show compassion and to to teach her child that mistakes can and will happen.
As my friend was telling me this story I saw the realization on her face that her child had been shaking because she fully expected to be yelled and screamed at.
My friend knew that she had been a teller and she had parented with anger in the past.
She also knew that she had been intentional in the way she had been parenting the past few years and that she had significantly changed the energy in the family.
She had been able to forge a deeper connection with her son and she had been showing her daughter what unconditional love really is.
Here, at this moment, it meant that she loved her daughter MORE than she ever could love those dishes.
She chose to NOT break her child.
She chose to parent with understanding and respect.
I have known this woman for a long time. I know how hard this woman has worked to get to a place of peace and tranquility.
I applaud her willingness to change the way she used to parent and to seek new ways and to know that she was doing the best for her kids.
Most people say, “My parents did it this way and I turned out ok.”
My view is why just settle for OK when we can be wiser and better than OK?
Let us thrive as parents and constantly better ourselves so we can raise a brighter generation. One that will know more than we will ever know and will be in charge of the welfare of our grandchildren.
Betsy Rapoport is my friend and she is a an amazing coach for writers. I saw on Facebook where she was hosting a writing class…A Memoir writing class.
I have been longing to write my memoir. I know, I know, I don’t NEED a class…after all I write blogs and I just get an idea and begin to write, much like I am doing now.
Somehow though, when I think of writing a memoir I get all flummoxed and confused and I don’t know where to start.
So, when I saw her class offering, I jumped on it. I registered on line and I began to communicate with her about accommodations etc.
I was thrilled to get the homework list…I love homework.
And there… as I read the list, I laughed out loud.
Here is what was on the list:
What memoirs have you read, and what did you like about it?
What scares you about this class?
What excites you?
Send a sample of your writing, preferably a work in progress.
Simple enough, right? So why my outburst of laughter?
I immediately wrote an email to Betsy and it sounded a little like this…
I have not completed a whole memoir of anyone, only bits a pieces from folks like
I tend to get bored!
I have read loads of other books. I love to read!
The thing that scares me about this class is that my life cannot fill a memoir.
The thing that excites me about this class is that my life is too much for one memoir.
I have NO unfinished works of writing, but I can start one.
Then I pressed Send.
I waited for Betsy to say something like, “you are not at all qualified for this memoir class” or “if you have not even read a whole memoir why would you expect anyone to read yours” or “perhaps you have nothing in progress because you are not a writer.”
Let me tell you why, IF she had said any of the above or worse, it would NOT have affected me in any way.
In 2003 I had decided to do an Olympic distance triathlon.
I began to search online for a trainer, one that would train a newbie triathlete and a rank beginner.
I finally found a web site that touted training beginners and that looked promising.
I began to complete the on line form.
1. What distances do you currently swim? And how often do you swim?
My response: I do not know how to swim competitively and I used to splash around in the pool with my kids when they were young. I know how not to drown. I have not been swimming in a very long time.
I should have added “I hate wearing a swim suit.”
2. What races have you participated in and what was your finish time?
My response: I have not participated in any races so I do not have a finish time. I do not like to run. I like to walk a lot.
3. What cycling distances do you currently do and what is your average mph?
My response: I used to ride with my kids in the carrier seat about 18 years ago and still know how to ride a bike.
I figured they would see I know how to walk and I know how to ride a bike. I know many women my age who do not know how to ride bikes. I thought I was going to be just their type.
I pressed Send.
I got an e mail from someone at the site wanting to find out if I was serious about the Triathlon. If I was why did I not insert the values they needed to create my program.
I assured them that those were indeed the facts and that I had ZERO numerical values to input.
I never heard from them again.
So I began to train on my own and my dear friend Donna was my guide and helper and General ass kicker.
I began to walk slowly with Donna I would count the concrete squares on the path in my town to see how far I had walked.
Then one day I was able to run 5 concrete squares and then walk again.
I felt like calling the trainer to tell them how great I was doing.
I did not.
I bought a really nice bike and some of those clip in shoes and almost killed myself. I used to have to tip over onto the grass to try to get unclipped.
I got tired of falling so I went to spin class and practiced biking with my clip in shoes and also practiced clipping in and out…. but those were stationary bikes so I still almost killed myself when I began to practice on the real bike.
I tried to find a swim teacher who could teach beginners and got fired from about 3 teachers. One guy even took a video of me in the water and showed me what I looked like.
I looked like a spider, I had arms and legs all over the place.
That video was not pretty because I had this image of myself slicing thru water as I had seen Mark Spitz do in the Olympics.
Also I tried to wear cute swim suits with frills and decorations all over and was told that those suits would cause drag in the water. I knew what they knew… my unstreamlined body was causing drag in the water, not these three cute frills on the suit.
I did not give up.
I continued on my very unorthodox way of training.
Six months after attempting to engage the online trainer, I completed my Olympic Distance Triathlon.
I was dead last.
I never gave up.
In the hotel lobby that night, I heard a seasoned triathlete say, “man I got out of the lake, I got kicked in the face and got pissed off!”
I thought, man I never even thought of getting out of the lake and I wondered if I was the spider who had kicked him in the face.
Start where you are…. it’s your only choice.
See you at your finish line, I will be smiling and waiting for you, no matter how long it takes.
I was visiting a very close relative a while back and the conversation turned to a favorite brand of candle she loves. I am always aware to bring some of those candles for her. She is in the winter of her life and a candle makes her happy.
The last time I brought candles, I had intentionally brought more than she could use in 8 months. I remember being in the store and purposefully filling the basket with more than I had ever purchased.
So, during my visit, as she is filling me in on the stories of her life, she says in a sheepish whisper “you forgot to bring more candles.”
I was quite shocked and thought for a few seconds that I had not sent the full compliment of the candles I had bought just a few months ago.
“You are out?” I asked.
She said, “Almost.”
I asked, “How many do you have?”
“A few.” she said.
I have history with this person and her inability to say the truth without having to twist it to serve her purpose.
“Few” is not a number.
I pressed, “How many do you have?”
She looked very uncomfortable and squirmed in her chair and said, “One big bottle and eight small ones.”
My first instinct was to lash out and say, “Why are you so greedy?!”
I did not.
Instead, I got up, went to the kitchen to get a glass of COLD water to calm down and then I went back to sit next to her.
I said, “I want to ask you a philosophical question.”
She asked what that word meant. I explained. She seemed to understand.
I began to ask her how she felt when she though she did not have enough candles for her immediate needs.
She answered as best she could and after a few more questions, she said
“I feel afraid that I don’t have enough.”
Then I explained the concept of scarcity and abundance. It took me about twenty minutes before she understood. I was not rushing her, I was not rushing myself. I had actually already accepted that she may not get it and that would have to be ok.
She did understand the concept. Then I said, “How might you feel if you BELIEVED that you had enough candles for your immediate needs?”
She said, “Well, if I use them all what about the rest of my life?”
I asked her “How long are you going to live?”
She said she did not know.
I said, “None of us know, we all just like to pretend that we do!”
So again, I asked about her how she would feel if she believed she had enough.
She said, “I would feel comfortable.”
I asked her to choose the believe in “enough and abundance” instead of “not enough and scarcity.”
She asked if I thought it would be wasting money.
I said, “I think it’s a waste of money to buy more stuff for you to STORE, instead of you using the STORES of stuff you already have. I could use that money for things that are immediately necessary instead of using it for stuff you already have.”
I do not know if she got the concept, I felt like I had done a good job of explaining and using an example with which she was familiar.
My question of you is this…
Do you get this concept?
Whether it’s as simple as candles or food or money?
Do you know when you have enough?
I invite you to look to your own life for your areas of not ENOUGHNESS!
If you are human, there will be many.
Take just ONE small area and do some inquiry around it.
Ask a friend to help you with the inquiry.
Ask a friend who LIVES in the abundant philosophy. You will know which one, they will be the ones who are happy and joyful and always ready to give to others.
Let me know how this goes for you in the comments below.
Love and light,
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