What can you stand to lose?
What can you see is getting in your way?
What can you let go of, for this moment? For forever?
What can you see no longer serves you?
What can you know was never truly yours?
What can you release to the universe?
What can you set free, with love?
What can you say goodbye to, with gratitude?
As I work on my new site, Ensoul Magic, I’m a bit lonesome for this one. The in between is never the easiest place to be, and I am more than ready to be posting again, yet my new home isn’t quite ready for occupancy. So here I am, sharing some insights that arrived this morning in my meditation. Maybe they hold something for you, too. It’s a time of change, of letting go, for many of us, in really big ways.
Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.
A week of looking inward, being fed in every way, brilliant company.
My life is forever changed. Stick around and yours will be, too.
Trust that you can be yourself,
and know that only you
bring that magic.
Trust that there will be enough time.
Trust that there is enough of everything,
Trust that the world holds mystery,
and will reveal it to you when
you are ready.
Trust that you will be loved.
Trust that you are welcome in the world.
Trust that those around you wish you well.
Trust that your body knows
and that your brain can let go,
just for now.
Trust that the way will make itself known,
that all you need to do, really,
is show up.
Trust that when you reach out in love,
someone, somewhere, reaches
back to you.
Trust that it’s all good,
and before you know it,
Steubenville, Ohio was once a steel town. More recently, their pride and joy has been centered on their football team.
And now all that has changed.
The exact story – which is all over the news right now – isn’t really critical here.
(A teenage girl was raped by two teenage boys at a party. Not the first time, not the last. Thirty five years ago, I was the girl.)
Here’s what I want this young woman to know. What I want the two boys to know. What I wish everyone involved could see.
Their lives are not ruined.
And we can help by not condemning them. By letting them know all the possible ways they can grow from this experience. We can send them hope.
Dear Young Woman in Steubenville,
I have no way of knowing if you’ll read these words – I can only write them, and hope that you will. Or that they will find their way to those who need to read them.
It seems that many, right now, are focused on the two men who were convicted in your case a few days ago, and so I thought you might like to know that someone is thinking of you. Chances are that many people are concerned for you, for your welfare, for the fact that you’ve been vilified by some and ignored by others. It’s just that they don’t know how to say what is in their hearts, or that they are afraid, or both.
I, on the other hand, have written about this subject before – the last time, actually, to someone else in Ohio, interestingly enough. I can speak for many – and I know I do by the responses I get from women all over the world who have been raped and never spoke of it. Or who have buried it. Or are still living in fear.
It’s not that it’s easy to write about this. It’s that it is so needed, so worth it.
So here we go.
I want you to know that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, all the public outcry and the long history our world has of condemning rape victims, you are not ruined.
You are not ruined.
And neither are the young men who assaulted you. You all made choices that you may now regret. And that’s okay. From thirty-odd years down the road, I’ll let you in on a secret. We have all made choices we regret. It’s not about going back and changing that.
It’s all about the choices you make from here on out.
I know this because I made a choice, a long time ago, not to tell. And I suffered a lot, for a long time. Until I chose to heal. To use my experiences to help others find a way to allow their bodies (and their lives) to become their own again. To forgive those who hurt me, not for them, but for me. So that I could let go of the pain and begin again, and again, and again.
I chose to find strength in my pain, and to, in time, let go of the stories. To rewrite them.
You can do that, too.
You get to choose. You get to write your story, from here on out.
I hope you’ll choose well. I hope you will, given the notoriety of your case, decide to use it, rather than let it bury you.
I can see you helping schools develop a curriculum, a new one that teaches students to see their bodies as worth valuing, protecting, caring for well. Starting in kindergarten, maybe! Or talking to media folks about how it feels to be written about – sensitivity cultivated in them would help us all. Or maybe working with coaches to break the cycle of “Don’t tell, protect the team at all costs”. Whatever floats your boat. Your choice.
Or maybe you’ll decide to live a quiet life, putting this episode behind you. That’s fine, too. I see you leading that life with compassion, as well, in all the myriad little ways one can do that.
I see you with a family, nurturing strength and wisdom in your own children, and in the kids in your community. Counseling other moms around the pool in the summer, and answering them, when they ask you where all this wisdom comes from, with a smile. Telling them that you learned it the hard way, and that you wouldn’t change a thing.
That you see that the greatest gifts come through the hardest times. And that we have to walk into pain, sometimes, to retrieve them.
That it was worth it, to know what you know now. To do your life’s work.
I know this all may seem preposterous right now. Absurd. Crazy, even.
It’s not. It’s possible. I’ve lived it, and I want you and all the other girls in your position – and yes, the boys who commit these acts, too – to know that you are not ruined.
That you get to choose.
We all can write our stories, no matter what society or the newspaper or Twitter says.
Whatever you do, I hope you find a way to find compassion for yourself. And that it leads you to bringing compassion to others. That, my dear girl, is the key to living a good life.
And I wish you a very, very good life. I see it, laid out ahead of you, waiting for you to claim it.
I see you, shining brightly, and stepping into the power you have always possessed inside. I see you choosing kindness, always, and blazing the way for others to do the same.
With a great deal of hope and love,
The gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world but to fully belong to it. It’s not possible to save the world by trying to save it. You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering the unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift – your true self – is the most you can do to love and serve the world…and it is all the world needs.
~ Bill Plotkin