Spirituality and Sexual Assault: The Literal Mind Fuck

Kristen Johnston was recently on my favorite podcast (you guessed it, What’s the Tee?) and she mentioned an article by Nancy Colier. In this article, titled “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in it is Not More Spiritual,” she details the immense pressure we put on ourselves to be open and forgiving to those that have wronged us, for fear that we have not achieved a heightened sense of spirituality.

When it comes to certain trauma, like abuse, we are taught that forgiveness will set us free. And when we still have emotional responses to triggers or actually seeing our abuser, it’s possible to feel that we actually haven’t forgiven at all.

However, these emotional responses are a product of our reptilian brain, the oldest and most basic part of our brain that is only focused on survival. While you can decide on forgiveness in your prefrontal cortex, your reptilian brain may not follow suit. And that is ok. In fact, the forgiveness we practice should be turned towards ourselves. Rather than pushing the limits of our instinct to be “higher” and more “elevated,” we should accept ourselves for what just is.

If you have experienced this kind of immeasurable betrayal, as pictured in the Ten of Swords, forgiveness is not something that just happens because you decide so. There is a natural ebb and flow to healing, and while self exploration will help move things along faster, you cannot cut corners on healing from trauma. This is because new questions arise every day, concerning what you did to deserve this kind of treatment. And the answer is nothing. The answer is forgiving yourself for every feeling and honoring your emotions. THAT is where the spirituality lies.

As the Five of Cups suggests, it is time to move on and forgive. But the only person you owe that to is yourself. And in time, once you’ve accepted your space and have healed properly, you may forgive your abuser. But, as the article above stresses, you don’t need to push yourself in that direction. Your fight/ flight/ flee responses will always try to protect you, and they don’t need to be shamed. Suffering through these responses by being around your abuser, just to prove you’ve forgiven them, is not helping anyone.

So, forgive from afar. Protect yourself and honor yourself first. You don’t owe anyone contact if it doesn’t serve you. Remember that, and stay witchy ( *)

WednesdayWisdoms: Appreciating Your Body

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The above photo is from a few months after my battle with bulimia. I wasn’t doing the work, I just stopped throwing up. And I still looked completely miserable.

Regardless of how much work I have put in into loving myself over the years, I can still look at myself in the mirror and pick out reasons to not love my body. I can pinpoint them and mock them for not being “perfect” like they “should” be.

But that is absolute and total bullshit. My body is configured the way it is because it serves a purpose. It allows me to live and breathe, and any other judgement I pass on it is merely voicing the brainwashing tactics of the media.

So for this week’s exercise, I want you to do what I did when I wanted to stop harming my body with bad eating habits. I want you to stand in front of a full length mirror, naked, and complete a body scan.

Start from your toes, and thank them for the purpose they serve as a functioning member of your body, and name that purpose. Move to your feet, up your ankles, to your calves, knees, thighs, butt, hips, stomach, and so on. Thank each part of your body for what is ACTUALLY does, without any scrutiny, and appreciate your body for moving you through life.

I think the biggest reason why I abused my body so much is because I didn’t see it for it’s purpose. I saw it as an image, instead of a vessel for important work. I saw it as “too” this or “too” that, instead of the machine that carries me through life. When we start to take note of the reality of things, away from the messages we receive through the media, we can gain our own clarity and peace. Stay appreciative, and stay witchy ( *)

Where Are You In Your Journey: Episode 10

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witchywisdoms.com

Episode 10 is live! Here you’ll meet Lydia Georgantzi, a sweet young actress from Greece who practices self defense. If you’d like to follow up with Lydia you can find her on Facebook or Instagram!

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Tune in below and on iTunes ( *)

Sexual Harassment

Yesterday a friend shared this link with me:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3713155/NYC-groper-knocks-woman-ground-repeatedly-punches-confronted-grabbing-buttocks.html?ITO=applenews

If you can’t open the link (or just don’t want to) here is the short synopsis:

A woman was groped on a high traffic block in New York City’s East Village, and when she turned to confront her attacker, she was mercilessly beat before the attacker fled.

I hope I don’t need to express WHY this is so horribly disgusting.

A similar situation happened to me not too long ago, and, as a writer, I penned a short statement in my notes as I was shaking on the train on the way to work. Here is what I wrote:

EVERY SINGLE DAY women are sexually abused and assaulted. We are treated less than. We are snubbed by our male counterparts when we don’t use our sexuality to get ahead. We are judged when we do. We are called bitches when we are strong. We are called bitches when we get stuff done (thank you Tina Fey). We are called bitches when we turn down sexual advances. This is a battle that we seemingly cannot win. But, in fact, we absolutely can. It starts with us, and again EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Lets make a promise to ourselves and to others right now that we will do everything in our power, no matter how small or how big, to end discrimination towards women. Stay strong. Stay feminists. Stay bitchy. And stay witchy. ( *)