The past week was rather hectic for me. We had family come to visit for 3 days just before we left Hot Springs for a weekend trip to meet up with friends from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We met them south of Shreveport, Louisiana for a Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Mansfield, Louisiana and the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. That is my husband's and son's current hobby. They dress up as soldiers and march and participate in battles from the Civil War. None of us believe in slavery of other human beings. It is a terrible thing that happened and it is a part of the history of the United States in the 1700 and 1800's. I sometimes dress up in period dress as a southern belle and participate in the dances. We meet people from all over the U. S. and sometimes even Europeans who come over to participate in the reenactments. The reenactments are supposed to be a big event in England and Europe right now. It is another way besides video games for men to play war games. Cooking around campfires and sleeping on the ground either in dog tents or under the stars is fun to do occasionally. I would not want to do it all of the time. Actually I have done that as a Union soldier in one of my past lives. I died at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia of a gun wound to the leg. I bled to death, but that is a story for another time.
In the past few weeks because of reading the two Byron Katie books that I mentioned in my previous two articles, I have started to look at any incest issues that I may still have that haven't been addressed. I have also searched out other incest or child abuse survivors online who have blogs. I found one new forum just for child abuse survivors and joined it. I have been reading stories written by other survivors and joined the discusssions that were listed in the forum. I also sent my last article "Incest Is One Of My Stories" ( http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2009/04/incest-is-one-of-my-stories.html ) to the April edition of the Child Abuse Carnival which comes out on April 17.
Since I am again working on my issues, I started reading one of the daily meditation books that I have which is written by Maureen Brady and called Daybreak, Meditations For Women Survivors Of Sexual Abuse. It is a wonderfully encouraging and yet realistic look at sexual abuse written by someone who has also survived the abuse. It is a Hazelden Meditation Series book. I want to share the April 6 daily reading with you.
"Purpose April 6
I will take the time to focus on my purpose and realize my path is being guided by my higher power.
We each have a purpose. Mine may sometimes feel elusive but that is not because it has disappeared; it is because I have lost awareness of it. My purpose is guided by a design of which I can see only segments at any one time. I trust I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and I do not need to do anything but wait if I cannot see an open door before me.
One of my jobs as an incest survivor is to regain my personal power. My relationship to power was distorted by the perpetrator's abuse of it. When I am living in my past, I become powerless again. I feel weak, prone to victimization, and crumble easily at the thought of needing to take action. But in the present I can learn to come into my power. It is not a power over, in which someone else must be oppressed. It is the power of being present in a relationship of oneness with the universe. It is the power of my faith in the notion that if I seek guidance, I will intuitively know the next right thing to do. It is the power of deeply knowing my spirit is fully entitled to the life I have been given. I do not need to barter for this power by giving up parts of myself."
The above passage was so important to me that when I read it the first time, I put 4 large handwritten stars on the page to call my attention back to the page for any future readings.
Before I got into a recovery program, I knew nothing about personal power. I knew about power over another person. I lived my childhood up until I was 19 under the power of my abusive father and the apathy of my mother who played the role of victim. I knew about abuse of power and I knew about victimhood. To survive, I built walls around the inner person that lived in FEAR. When I first started in a recovery program, I learned how unhealthy walls were for keeping you out but they were also keeping me in as a prisoner of the abuse and all of my fears.
FEAR was the voice in my head that told me that the universe was not a safe place. FEAR was the voice in my head that said to not trust you or myself because you couldn't protect me and neither could I.
The opposite of fear is fearless. Fearless is taking stupid risks that can get you hurt or taken advantage of again. Neither is healthy. I have given away parts of myself because I didn't know that I had the choice to do otherwise.
Personal power means having an opinion without having to weld power over others or without using that opinion and power to hurt others. In the beginning, I did both of those things. I discovered that learning new ways of behaving sometimes means swinging like a pendulum from one extreme of behavior to its far opposite until I find the middle and balance where my actions are no longer extremes. Personal power is about not allowing others to hurt you. It also means not using your power to hurt others. Personal power gives you the freedom to be yourself and also allows others to be themselves. Personal power is not about controlling others. Live and let live is one of the slogans that I learned in Al-Anon that I use today.
For any child abuse survivors who are interested you can find a forum of child abuse survivors at the following link. You have to sign in with an email address and a password.