#metoo

Practicing Peace with Ourselves for the Benefit of All

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The #metoo movement, the Time’s Up Campaign, and the massive energy behind women’s empowerment and what we expect from others as women has me all fired up in so many ways. 

It’s kind of like waking up from a life-long dream… 

Wait.... of COURSE, we need to speak out about the daily misogyny we experience as women! 

How could I have just been letting the cat calls, the uncomfortable comments like 'your jeans look like they fit really well,"or the lack of respect I feel, every time someone chooses to comment on a physical attribute of mine, instead of commenting on the attributes of my mind, my intellect or my kindness? I was just letting that stuff “go” as “part of the life in this world”. 

It is majorly messed up alarmingly often women get sexually assaulted in their homes, places of employment, etc and don’t speak out about it because they are worried about retribution, judgment, and being seen as the one who “stirs things up.” 

Well it’s over, time is up now. We WILL STIR THINGS UP, because we are all humans beings who deserve to be respected and seen for more than our bodies. 

This is a great rule of thumb. 

This is a great rule of thumb. 

The thing I want to write about today is more about the source of this misogyny and how we, as women, can also be the perpetrators of violence. In our society when we think of violence we generally think of physical violence: inflicting physical harm to someone else. However, I want to expand that definition to any type of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual harm we cause to ourselves or others. 

We must realize that gross and extreme examples of violence aren’t just random acts. Like all things that go against the goodness of human nature, they build up slowly over time. Definitions and boundaries; slowly being eroded with small toes over the line of decency. Something, and then another thing, and then another thing, gets shoved underground, passed off as "normal", and eventually all these subtly not-OK things begin to fester, become toxic, and turn into something really ugly. 

In the case of extreme acts of violence, it’s the more indirect acts of violence that are consistently permitted on a larger, broader scale. When these seemingly “small” harmful acts are allowed, deemed normal, or seen as necessary, it is inevitable that larger, more extreme acts of violence will eventually take place. In this way, the violence we perpetrate on ourselves on the seemingly inconspicuous levels contribute to the society-wide severe violence we seen in our culture. That is why, as women, we must say “no” to any and all violence inflicted against us by other people, but more importantly the acts of violence we inflict on ourselves. 

Internal violence is pervasive. These violent sentiments can show up in so many seemingly “normal” actions. Suppressing our hunger is an act of harm to our bodies. Overeating to fill an emotional void is an act of harm to our emotional state as well as our physical bodies. Deciding to push our bodies way harder than they want to be pushed in the gym is harmful. Eating junk food mindlessly. Starving ourselves. I would argue, that certain types of plastic surgery could be considered acts of violence towards our bodies. Literally cutting our skin, manipulating precious body parts to be closer to a standard of beauty that society sets for us and has nothing to do with our worthiness. The way we talk to ourselves, treat ourselves, and the disrespect for our bodies and what they need/want/are asking for, is a massive source of “subtle’ violence in our world. 

We can’t expect people who don’t love themselves to be able to love other people. It truly does, and always will, start with us. {This isn’t a call for the victims of sexual assault or violence to blame themselves, and if you’ve been violated or had violence done to you by someone else it was not your fault in any way, shape or form.} We all have to realize that we must stop the violence where ever we can. We must say “NO” to the violence perpetrated against ourselves in the form of negative self-talk, cruel self-commentary, and the assumption that we need to use harsh language or action with ourselves to create internal/external changes. 

Non-violence and peace starts with you and me. It starts in our ability to forgive ourselves. It starts with allowing ourselves to be flawed, and still speak to ourselves lovingly. It starts with complete and radical self-acceptance. It starts with having grace with ourselves. It starts by refusing to inflict violence on ourselves. 

Practicing peace towards ourselves, daily, will allow peace to overflow from our hearts and into the collective. As we are less judgmental of ourselves we become less judgmental of others. As we become more kind with ourselves, we notice we are kinder to others.

So let’s say “time’s up” to the violent, abusive thoughts, behaviors we have been perpetrating on ourselves. Let’s bring awareness to where we are allowing violence in our daily lives, and start to choose Love instead. As we build the momentum within our own lives, we will see it spread out to others. 

I'm with you relearning how to treat myself with more love, forgiveness, and allowance every step of the way. 

The Healing Power of Anger

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As a lot of women and men out there this week I’m sure, I’ve been thinking a lot about the #metoo phenomenon. The sheer amount of social media posts from friends, family members, online influencers, etc who have posted this message of solidarity against the objectification of women, doesn’t exactly surprise me but it has definitely required me to sit with some unpleasant emotions of sadness, outrage, hopelessness and anger. 

When our world is swept up into a movement like this there are always so many voices, wise and unwise, true and untrue, so many subtleties that go unaddressed or are spoken about to the point nonsense. I would never want to assume I understand or know more than I do about the uniqueness of every woman’s deeply personal experience of degradation or injustice. 

But, there are some things I do know for sure: I know that I have personally, on many levels, been harassed, exploited, and used by men. I know that I feel and carry with me the unspeakable wounds inflicted on my precious body and my sisters’ bodies and minds every day consciously and unconsciously. I know that when we humans hurt each other we are not just hurting the other person, we are hurting ourselves. We cannot give without receiving, and we cannot hurt without being hurt. I know that women have been raped, abused and mistreated for lifetimes and that this weighs on each and every one of our souls. 

I also know that to truly heal we must brave the sea of despair. We must look at the Truth of the abuse square in the face, and step into the darkness beyond it. That is why, I know for sure that outrage is part of the healing process. I know that for us to truly heal, as a society and as individuals, we must allow the cleansing power of our anger to wash over us, and give us the inner light to navigate the unknown territory of forgiveness. 

Anger reminds us of the Truth of our worth. To recover from being violated, personally and collectively, we must use the alchemical fire of anger to transform the hurt and pain into power. We use anger to realize and take action towards reclaiming our power, without apology. It gives us the power to sail on that sea of hopeless and trust that there is another shore, a better shore. If you feel sad, shocked, abused, mistreated, properly channeled outrage is the power that moves you through. 

As Bethany Webster said so perfectly: “Do what so few dare to do: Give your anger a safe, empathic space to be fully, completely felt.  Harness it, listen to it. Anger has so many gifts. Not indiscriminate, projected anger, but the energy of outrage, felt and placed where it truly belongs. Collective female outrage is a nectar that this world needs.” 

So be brave. Feel the anger. This is what healing feels like.