It has come to my attention that I may act one way while feeling another. “The church face” was how it was phrased to me. I felt the internal cringe as the words were uttered. I’ve learned that this is the way my body says, “Do something.” Now, on the surface being “fine” or “good” sounded normal and right in line with how I grew up. No sharing of dirty laundry needed…ever…at least not your own. Conversly, this suppression can dampen the positive emotions as well – those of love, gratitude and joy. No wonder so many are uncertain how they feel. This laundry often gets funneled into some neurosis or addiction – symptoms of dis-ease. Cleaning up one’s own laundry is essential for our mental health. .
Recent news about the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell for the sexual abuse of young women reveals layers of deception and grooming. I can’t help but feel the sting of victimhood from my own life and the pain of the abuse cycle seen repeated endlessly year after year to others. We live in a culture that makes it easy to minimize, justify and look the other way and often we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Grooming can happen in many walks of life. Values are skewed, emotions reacted upon and instant gratification is promoted…while the inside voice of the heart is often silenced. Often, the consequences show up as suffering or pain depending on the each individual’s path. Mine involved physical and emotional pain, self esteem and relationship stress.
What is that inside voice of the heart? When does a person get to that tipping point where they are able to discern for themselves what that voice is about? The ego can be quite elusive and good at avoiding deep emotions. I wondered about the drama that must have played out in this woman’s life and how adept she must have been in living out these parts meanwhile ignoring others. It’s like we’re all living in our own parts party drama. I could have easily fallen for the lines Ghislaine Maxwell used on those girls and what were the lines used on her growing up? How did those experiences translate into bad choices and hardening of the heart? The answer to these questions as it usually is for me – look within myself and ask myself the same questions. What were the lines I was given?
Malcomb Gladwell in the book Talking to Strangers refers to that tipping point where there is a perceptual shift from one way of thinking to another. In the case of the me-too movement, there was a moment of time, several key cases of abuse and the tide shifted. I was moved at that time to write my own story of abuse as an adolescent and speak up to myself mostly. My family was surprised at how things like this can happen in a family and community without really being noticed.
It was something about that young woman, Emily Doe as she was named, lying by a dumpster in CA, her perpetrator, a student from Stanford was basically caught at the scene by two passer bys. He was convicted of assault with the intent to commit rape. He served 3 months in prison. This light sentence reverberated throughout the country as the sentence was so minimal considering the crime. Chanel Miller had someone read a 12 page statement as to the impact of this act. This was in 2016. Since then she revealed her name and wrote a book called Know My Name. In it she refers to her anger at the system and the unseen impact on the victim. “The slivers we show, the mountains we hide.”
While I’ve learned that my body gives signals to “do something” I was unaware that it really “did something” to react to the assault I experienced. The body constricts to protect – commonly known as the fight, flight or freeze response. If the the emotion isn’t fully processed and the signal for safety given, our bodies can hold on energetically. This holding on isn’t something we may be conscious of; in fact, most of the time we’re not, but the chemicals of stress are kept active and often result in symptoms due the vulnerability that is created by the stress. For me, trauma associated into muscle tension, lack of flexibility and anxiety symptoms. Many symptoms and conditions are stress/trauma related. The first step is always awareness and knowledge of how this struggle in the body works. Identifying the lines we believed about ourself is also important in healing and living with vitality. I often suggest working with skilled body healers that are tuned in to such energy patterns to help heal and find that safe place once again. Talk therapy is a great place to uncover traumas and reclaim your power.
Ghislaine Maxwell has been described as “evil monster, a narcissist and cruel. She comes from a family of wealth, deception, complex legal problems and entitlement. Wealth and power can corrupt people and it’s a fact that most people don’t grow up in similar circumstances. Consequently, there is speculation after speculation. Eventually, her story will emerge and point out the craziness of living with the belief that something external will make us happy. Whether it be money, power, sex, status or possessions, history has traveled this path over and over. What makes these times unique? Technology and information has transformed how the world is operating.
The pandemic, Black lives matter, the climate crisis are combining to “force” a shift from an external to a more internal source of power. Most people have been traumatized just by living. Now, we are seeing the chance to go within, be kind, and live from the heart and live with a new type of abundance….less things and more love. Love continues to be the most powerful energy of the universe. Let’s beam into our own healing and find a new path into our own abundance and power.all the arrows are pointing in that direction. Looking within is not as optional as it used to be. Finding new ways to think are beginning to be the norm. It’s a crucial time to face yourself in a different way. In past blogs, I referred to the importance of mirror work where you have the opporunity to take a mask off and feel the feeling of who you are at that moment. I believe each one of us carries a precious soul blueprint that waits to be revealed…or not. The choice is ours. Effective strategies in healing are learning mind calming practices and online supports. I joined several practice groups that I wouln’t have prior to the crisis. Leaders and teachers are stepping up to offer many free opportunities. A meditation group and Spring Forest Qigong are ones that I gratefully take advantage of each morning.
The reveal for me is clear – I don’t need to hang on to the old “church face.” My intention is to act on those activities that create healing, freedom, beauty and love. Life is a work in progress at any age. What do you want to create?