I cannot passively sit by, watching this election, seeing a man who would be President, use the language of abuse. This is personal. I'm triggered recalling old wounds from the impact of sexism. It hurts like hell. It's hard to look at, much less experience the emotions that come are showing up. I never gave permission to be groped. I didn’t mean to dismiss an inappropriate remark which lead to the violation of my body/my psyche. I wasn't aware of the shame I carried but tried to hide. It wasn't until recently I realized where and how I've internalized the role of perpetrator in my own life, using outdated strategies of blame, numbing, and holding back my voice.
The personal and cultural work at hand feels like a relentless unlayering of limiting beliefs—turning the hubris of old pain into potent compost for new awareness. And there's something to celebrate about being in the “mess” or the “goo” of transformation. I see this happening through recognizing my personal reactions, and through witnessing our country struggle with an old-school ideology that must die in order for something new to be born. The energy of transformation is playing out before us on the political stage through the media. We are smack dab in the middle of a great call to consciousness that is collectively challenging. This is where the personal is as messy as is our contentious political environment. As we come to own our hurt, the damage of rape culture is revealed, showing us what we can no longer tolerate. We have an opportunity to use this trauma to break old patterns. No one ever said evolution was easy, however, the alternative is far less appealing.
Here are a few questions I encourage you to reflect upon. Find some time to be with yourself and gently ask:
• Where I internalize negative messages from external sources about who I am?
• When do I become the perpetrator of limiting beliefs in my life?
• Where and to whom, do I give up my power in order to fit into a system of cultural norms?
• What have I tolerated? And what has it cost me?
• When do I diminish my beauty, shy away from being seen, hold my tongue in order to stay safe?
As you sit with these questions, do a body scan and see what you notice. Discomfort? Tension? Constriction? Anxiety? Tight belly? Numbness? What happens around us, impacts us whether we acknowledge it or not. Finding the strength, the courage to sit with the discomfort of feeling your emotions, is the first step of empowering yourself to create change.
Here's a useful formula I learned through studying with Leza Danly and Jeanine Mancusi of Lucid Living: Recognize/Acknowledge/Forgive/and Change: Recognize what’s going on around and within you. Notice your reactions. Give yourself permission to acknowledge your emotions, behaviors, beliefs and their impact. Look through the lens of love to forgive yourself and others for being a participant in a system that separates us from ourselves and each other. Choose to change. What new choices will bring you closer to your own goodness, your self-authority and your unique contributions to our world?
When we engage with the full range of our emotions, we own of all of who we are. Recently, I listened to a recording with Henry Kimsey-House, (co-founder of the Coaches Training Institute), where he defined transformation as an “elemental shift in being.” That's the good news. We are in the process of transforming—changing at the level of our being for the sake of creating a better world together. Like it or not, evolution IS happening! This is what we humans are designed for. This is what our species does—we adapt, we change from within. We've been doing it for centuries in the name of survival.
You have the power to change on a personal level that can, will, and does make a difference in the world. It might be messy, but in our DNA, in our essence, we know how to do this. Lean into each other, lean into yourself, and trust in the courage that is the goodness of your heart.
Here's a link to Michelle Obama's moving speech, just in case you haven't seen it yet: http://mm4a.org/2ewf8EW