A CLEAR MESSAGE?

I attended an orientation yesterday afternoon for people who think they may be interested in becoming an advocate for victims of sexual assault. This is something I’ve contemplated off and on since my attack, and when I was recently telling my story, it was suggested that, perhaps, the time had come to think more seriously about it. At the time, my first response was “I’m not ready yet.” The more I thought about it though, the more the idea grew on me.

First up, I had to google sexual assault advocacy to find out what, if anything, was even available. I immediately found an organization that sounded really good. The more I read, the better it sounded. Then I realized they were located in New Jersey. As good as they seemed, I figure that’s a bit too far away to do me any good. So it was back to google with San Diego added to my search. I finally got to where I needed to be, which in this area is CCS, Center for Community Solutions.  The mission of CCS is “to end relationship and sexual violence by being a catalyst for caring communities and social justice.”  And its vision is “for all people to live full, free, expressive and empowered loves in a safe, healthy, vibrant and peaceful community.”

“CCS was first established in 1969 as the Center for Women’s Studies and Services(CWSS), a grassroots feminist organization that helped women overcome obstacles preventing them from achieving independence, economic stability and growth, and self-sufficiency.  Over the years, in response to community needs, CWWS narrowed its focus to address three core issues—relationship violence, sexual assault and the prevention of both.  In the mid 1990s, CWSS adopted a new name, Center for Community Solutions, to acknowledge that the elimination of sexual assault and relationship violence will occur only if everyone in the community becomes a part of the solution.”  This all sounded good and once I was able to read about all the volunteer opportunities, I thought, “Yes, now is the right time. It has been a little over four years and I think I’d be able to use my experience to help others in a similar situation.”

The times I had to choose from were 3-4:30p or 5-6:30p at their Escondido office.  From where I live, neither of these was a great option, mainly because of traffic.  I decided on the earlier time (less traffic getting there) and planned on dinner at Fatburger, which would be a huge treat since it is the only one left in this area and I particularly love their milkshakes!  I thought by the time I finished with dinner that traffic would have let up.  Ha!

While there are many volunteer opportunities with CCS, the only one I was/am interested in is SART, Sexual Assault Response Team.  “SART volunteers provide immediate, in-person support for sexual assault victims during the forensic exam process.  All SART volunteers must complete a 60-hour Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Training and a Live Scan criminal background.  A twelve-month commitment of 4 six-hour shifts per month is required.”  Again, all this sounded fine with me, so the next step was to attend the orientation, which I did yesterday.

All day yesterday I had a stomach ache.  I attributed it nerves more than anything else.  The actual orientation was no big deal, much to my relief.  After listening to all the available positions for volunteers, I realized a few things:  first of all, they really do not need help in my area of town, and because one must be a 20-minute (ideally, but no more than 30 minutes) commute away, even if I wanted to help out in North or East County, I really cannot; secondly, my experience of being sexually assaulted really isn’t an asset in their minds; and lastly, the way the system currently operates there does not seem to even be a place for me.  What I think is important, what would have been incredibly helpful to me, is an advocate who is there every step of the process…from the forensic exam all the way through the court and sentencing phase, someone who will go with the victim to each and every court date, who can help explain what is going on and what is likely to happen, someone who has actually been through it and knows firsthand, not just in theory.   This type of volunteer position does not exist, at least not at CSS.

When I got home last night after my yummy dinner and one hour of traffic, I still had a stomach ache.  (I thought it might have been the giant milkshake that was so thick I had to eat it with a spoon.)  J and I talked about it for a long time and at the end my questions were, “What am I supposed to be doing to help other women who have been sexually assaulted?  Why did I go through it if not to help others?  How can I make a difference if no one wants my help?”  J wisely said that the answer would come to me, maybe not today or tomorrow or even next week, but it will come.  So I went to sleep, not feeling that great about it, but not as upset as I had been.  This morning, though, I woke up with a knot in the right side of my upper back.  This is a place that I’ve never had an issue with before.  As soon as I felt it, I knew.  You cannot get a much clearer message than that.  I know, with certainty, that CCS, though a wonderful agency, doing important work, is not for me and I am not for them.  I also now understand, clearly, that as ready as I’d like to be, my body has other ideas.  The body really does keep the score and it was/is telling me loud and clear that now is not the time.

To be completely honest here, I feel like I’ve failed.  I thought I was ready.  I told everyone in my (amazing!) women’s group and my Thursday morning beach yoga class (also pretty amazing, I might add) what I was doing and every single woman was so supportive and so encouraging, and now I have to go back and tell them all that it isn’t the right time yet and I was not received with the open arms I kind of thought I would be welcomed with.  So for now I will continue my journey and helping process by writing on this site and will keep my ears open for the kind of opportunity I am seeking.

FOUR YEARS AND A DAY

Today is the 4th anniversary of the day my life changed forever.  But, really, every single day is an opportunity for our lives to be changed forever.  It’s not so much the events of our lives that determine what happens next, but, rather, it is what we do with those events, how we respond to them.  And how we ultimately deal with and grow from them.  While it would have been far easier to not actually deal with what happened to me on 24 September 2011, for me at least, this was not even a remote option.

 

I wrote the above paragraph on Wednesday, which was actually the day before the anniversary.  It was as far as I got because I thought I should wait and see how the day unfolded.  Let’s just say it rather sucked.  The following is what I wrote in my journal yesterday afternoon:

I thought, mistakenly as it turned out, that the discomfort and sadness I felt at the end of last week and into this week, up to today, which I attributed to the 4th anniversary of my sexual assault, might be all I had to deal with this 24th of September.  No such luck.  The good news, I suppose, is no nightmares/flashbacks have come up today.  Well, that’s not quite accurate.  Every time I close my eyes I feel DCD’s weight on me.  You better believe I snap them open as soon as I can.  I was okay in savasana this morning, I think because I was mentally chanting I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.  My neck and back are killing me.  This is all muscle memory.  There is no physical reason that I should be having pain in either place today.  I guess this whole week has been a build up to today.  I am ever hopeful that tomorrow I will awaken feeling back to my normal self.  Right now, though, I have splitting headache.  ///J was so loving and patient with me this morning.  When I got home from beach yoga, I was pretty much covered with sand, which meant I had to shower.  After my shower, I laid down on the bed and just stared into space.  He came and laid behind me and simply held me, not saying anything.  Eventually, I was able to talk about what I was feeling.  The first thing I said was, “I just wish he {he being DCD} knew the effect of what he did to me, and how it continues to impact my life.”  Not that it would make a difference if he did know, but maybe, just maybe, it would in a tiny way.  I cannot imagine that he won’t do it again once he gets out of prison, and because he must register for the rest of his life as a sexual predator/offender, he’s pretty much screwed.

 

At the end of each day, for the last 2+ years, before I go to bed, I write down 5 things I am grateful for.  Yesterday all I managed to write was, ” I am grateful I made it through.”

And by the way, I do feel a lot better today.

 

TRUST AND FAITH AND TIMING

How many times have we heard that we need to trust the process?  That we need to have faith that everything happens in perfect and Divine timing?  While I think both of those things are important, the truth is it all comes down to timing.  You can meet the right person at the wrong time.  Or who turns out to be a wrong person at the right time.  But until the planets align and everything else conspires in your favor, for lack of a better way to put it, you are probably barking up the wrong tree.  I know I was.

After my breakup with B, I so wanted to be ready for another relationship, and to that end, I tried March.com.  Twice.  Nothing happened, and I do mean nothing.  No response from anyone, let alone anyone I might have fancied.  Clearly, I was not ready.  I seemed to have a negative force field surrounding my photos and my profile, that, basically said, STAY AWAY!  Seriously, this was not a healthy thing to put myself through.  I finally realized that I still needed time to heal and grieve; heal from my attack and grieve for my lost relationship.  And while I missed B horribly at times, I also realized it was not so much him that I missed but being in a relationship.  Because in spite of what we went through with my sexual assault, we did have a very good, even great, relationship.  Unfortunately, as I’ve said before, however good the relationship was between us, it did not survive my attack.

Finally, this past January, 2 years after my breakup, I joined a Coronado singles group.  It was, as all these groups seem to be, mostly women.  I did meet a guy who I thought was a potential partner.  In the end, though, it was not a good match.  And speaking of Match, I would periodically look to see if there were any (new) interesting men on the site.  What I discovered to my dismay was that it was all the same men who always seem to be on there.  Not very promising at all.  I truly was on the point of giving up completely, of deciding that, perhaps, I was not meant to be in a loving relationship, after all.  This did not make me happy, but I simply was not willing to compromise on what I want and know I deserve.  So, one more time I was checking out Match.com and, on the spur of the moment, I joined.  The difference was I was actually ready.  I knew it, and I knew I’d meet someone this time.

It happened very quickly.  I joined on a Wednesday, was contacted by J on Thursday, talked on the phone with him on Friday, met on Monday, had a second date on Thursday before leaving town for a family reunion, texted with him while gone, and have had several more dates with him since.  I think you can kind of get the picture.  What was so cool, what is so cool is that we both knew right from the start that it was exactly what/who we had both been looking/hoping/praying would show up for, well, ever.  I knew as soon as I read his profile, but was hesitant to say it out loud , even to myself.  But I KNEW.  I just knew.  And he knew, too.

So what it really does come down to is timing, trite as it may seem.  I was ready, he was ready, and we connected.  And I can honestly say, he was worth the incredibly long wait!

Just a few quotes that seem particularly on point:

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THE HUNTING GROUND

Today is the first day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2015.  As unpleasant and difficult a subject that sexual assault is it is still vitally important that we, all of us, do what we can to change it.  I saw THE HUNTING GROUND on Sunday, and though I cried through most of it, I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.  I only wish it was required for all high school students.  Sexual assault  is an epidemic that we have the power to stop, and we must stop it.

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“THE HUNTING GROUND

From the Academy Award-nominated filmmaking team behind “The Invisible War” comes a startling exposé of sexual assault on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. “THE HUNTING GROUND” debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival and is being released by RADiUS and CNN Films. The film has captured attention across the country, and it has even made it to The Daily Show where Oscar-nominated filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick talk about the film’s impact and the scope of this problem.

This film is powerful. Through stories and statistics this film highlights the far-reaching scope of campus sexual assault. It adds names and faces to the many reports, trends and articles on this timely issue. Most importantly, it looks to engage audiences to take action to end sexual assault on college campuses.

NSVRC is partnering with The Hunting Ground this April to help spread the word. We know this film is going to be a conversation starter, and we want to play a role in building this conversation toward action. Stay tuned to hear more from us about how you can be involved.”

For more about the film and a list of screening locations, go to www.thehuntinggroundfilm.com.

CRASH INTO ME

While trying to decide on which book to choose for today’s post, this one practically jumped off the bookshelf and into my hands.  CRASH INTO ME, by Liz Seccuro, was published in 2011, and that’s when I read it.  How I was even able to at that point, I’ll never know.  The only thing I can think is I was still in shock and my brain simply shielded me from the horror of what I was reading.  (It continues to amaze me how my body and brain protect me when I don’t even realize that’s what’s happening until much later.)

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From the inside dust jacket:  “Dear Elizabeth:  In October 1984 I harmed you.  I can scarcely begin to understand the degree to which, in your eyes, my behavior has affected you in its wake.

In September 2005, Liz Seccuro  received an apology letter from William Beebe, the man who had raped her twenty-one years earlier.  Liz was only seventeen when she was assaulted at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia.  Although she reacted as best she knew how–going straight to the hospital and taking her story to the college administration–the school’s deans discouraged her from going to the city police, and effectively denied her the kind of justice she sought.

For years, Liz struggled to put the trauma behind her and lead a normal, happy life.  The letter brought it all raging back.  Terrified that her rapist had tracked her down, Liz began an email correspondence with Beebe, and became determined to pursue the criminal investigation that should have happened years earlier.  She wanted justice, and the case seemed clear-cut: she had a confession from the man whose face had long haunted her.  But as the highly publicized investigation progressed, a narrative unspooled that was darker than she had believed: a gang rape with at least two other assailants and numerous onlookers, and a wall of silence among the fraternity brothers that persisted two decades later.

Liz Seccuro’s experience of campus assault and justice deferred is an all-too-common one, but it is a story we too rarely hear.  In CRASH INTO ME, Liz tells her story with candor, courage and hard-won hope.”

 

Truly, I do not know how I read this book, as I was right at the beginning of my ordeal.  It is easy now, though, for me to see and understand that as difficult as it was and as hard as I had to fight the justice system to make sure my attacker was convicted and sentenced to prison, I actually had it better than a lot of women who suffer similarly.  I had the support of family and friends.  I also had the maturity to not let anyone keep me from what I knew was right and necessary to do.  The ignorant comments from the police (Are you sure it wasn’t a robbery? I HAD NOTHING TO STEAL! and Are you sure you didn’t just trip? YEAH, I TRIPPED AND MY CLOTHES FELL OFF!) not withstanding, there was no way, NO FLIPPING WAY, I was letting this drop.  It was too late for me to be safe from him, but getting him off the streets and keeping other girls and/or women safe was my responsibility.

Although Liz Seccuro’s book is a difficult read, I do recommend it, especially if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted in any way.  It is also another example of how it is possible to go on and live a normal, happy life after surviving a horrendous event. In the end, getting the justice you deserve is its own reward.  It may not be easy, but is it ever worth it!

A QUESTION OF TRUST

I was recently asked, given what I went through because of my sexual assault, if I trust again.  I was pretty sure what I was being asked, but I replied, ‘You mean people in general?’  Hesitantly, he said, ‘Yes.’  I suspect he was asking if I trust men again.  What I told him was, ‘Yes.’  He thought maybe I look for ‘the lie’ when dealing with people.  No, no, I don’t think I do.  I’ve thought about it a lot in the last 10 days or so since the question was posed to me, and the longer I think about it, the more I know this is true.

I have definitely been accused in the past of being naive.  Seems hard to believe that someone  would think that of me just because I tended to expect the best from people, and tended to give people the benefit of the doubt.  As Anne Frank said, “Despite everything, I believe that people are good at heart.”  I do my best, though I am not always successful, to live my life this way.  The truth is, even immediately following my assault, when I was still in shock, afraid of most everyone, men, women and children, I still knew, deep inside, that in spite of what had happened to me, most people were not bad.  And just as I really hated living on Coronado for a long time after 24 September 2011, I also knew that it wasn’t the island that had done something to me.  It was one person; well, and the entire process did not help, but it was never Coronado that hurt me.  Didn’t make it any easier to live there though, until I got through it.  I can’t even tell you exactly when it changed back for me, but one day I was walking home from uptown and it suddenly hit me that I no longer wanted to move away anymore.

I believe what I am told…is this the same as trusting someone?  I don’t think people are going to lie to me.  If you tell me something, I trust that you are telling me the truth.  Somerset Maugham said, “It’s a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”  I prefer to live my version of his quote:  It’s a funny thing about people: if you expect the best from them, you very often get it.  Or as Claude M. Bristol said, “We usually get what we anticipate.”  I think Anne Frank, Somerset Maugham and Claude M. Bristol sum up the way I used to be pre-attack, and the way I have, finally, gotten back to after a whole lot of work.  Part of what made my healing process so difficult was getting my head around the fact that it happened to me at all.  The only thing I did ‘wrong’ that morning was be tall, thin and blonde, and was be in a place that a predator was looking for just that type of woman.  I never expected it to happen to me.  Never.  And in spite of doing everything I was ever told or ever heard about how to behave in a situation like I found myself in, nothing worked, starting with no warning bells going off in my head when I first encountered DCD.  I attribute that to the fact that I didn’t expect to be attacked.  I trusted that I was safe.  Turned out I wasn’t, and my world turned upside down as a result.

What I do know with absolute certainty is I cannot, I will not, live my life being afraid.  Part of the reason I worked as hard as I did to heal from this was because no way was I letting one person, one awful event, determine the rest of my life.  I was very lucky that at the time of my attack, I was in a healthy, happy, loving relationship.  I know that my healing process would have been very different, and much more difficult, had that not been the case.  The fact that my boyfriend was very supportive and encouraging made all the difference, and even though, ultimately, the relationship did not survive, he was there for me through the worst of it.  For that, I will be eternally grateful to him.

Back in 2013, I chose TRUST as my word for the year.  This is what I wrote then:

“I TRUST that everything is working out. I TRUST that I am right where I am supposed to be. I TRUST that I am doing just what I am meant to do. I TRUST that everything happens for a reason. I TRUST that even if it may not seem like it at the time, everything truly is happening for my highest good and to make me a better person. I TRUST that the right people, the people who can be helped by my story, will read my story. I TRUST that the right people show up in my life at the right time.  I TRUST that even in the darkest hour, there is light. I TRUST that I am safe. I TRUST that even behind the clouds the sun is shining. I TRUST that I am making a difference. I TRUST that all my dreams are coming true. I TRUST that everything happens in perfect and Divine timing.”

Yeah, what I said more than two years ago!  And since I am two years further along my healing path, I can honestly say that, yes, I do trust people again, though I’m not positive I really ever stopped.  And last, but not least, my new favorite quote from Pinterest:

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And while the patience part is challenging, I do TRUST my journey.

 

THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE

I loved this book by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.  I just finished listening to it yesterday, though during the middle of it, I ordered the actual book, too.  I knew it was one I’d want to have and be able to reference.  It was a tough listen as times, but it explained a lot of what I’ve been through and continue to go through.

 

 

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What makes this book even more relevant to me is the fact that it was just published in 2014, which means it has the latest information about trauma that is available.

The inside dust jacket has this to say about Dr. Van Der Kolk and the book:

“This profoundly humane book offers a sweeping new understanding of the causes and consequences of trauma, offering hope and clarity to everyone touched by its devastation.  Trauma has emerged as one of the great public health challenges of our time, not only because of its well-documented effects on combat veterans and on victims of accidents and crimes, but because of the hidden toll of sexual and family violence and of communities and schools devastated by abuse, neglect and addiction.

Drawing on more than thirty years at the forefront of research and clinical practice, Bessel Van Der Kolk shows that the terror and isolation at the core of trauma literally reshape both brain and body.  New insights into our survival instincts explain why traumatized people experience incomprehensible anxiety and numbing and intolerable rage, and how trauma affects their capacity to concentrate, to remember, to form trusting relationships, and even to feel at home in their own bodies.  Having lost the sense of control of themselves and frustrated by failed therapies, they often fear that they are damages beyond repair.

THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE is the inspiring story of how a group of therapists and scientists–together with their courageous and memorable patients–has struggled to integrate recent advances in brain science, attachment research and body awareness into treatments that can free trauma survivors from the tyranny of the past.  These new paths to recovery activate the brain’s natural neuroplasticity to rewire disturbed functioning and rebuild step-by-step the ability to ‘know what you know and feel what you feel.’  They also offer experiences that directly counteract the helplessness and invisibility associated with trauma, enabling both adults and children to reclaim ownership of their bodies and their lives.

Readers will come away from this book with awe at human resilience and at the power of our relationships–whether in the intimacy of home or in our wider communities–to both hurt and heal.”

What this book also showed me is the things I did, EMDR, yoga, to name just two, were the ‘right’ ones to undertake and have contributed mightily in my healing process.  I also realize I still have more healing to do –dang it– but that it is possible to rewire the neuro pathways in my brain even more than I’m sure they have already been rewired.  It is a process and as much as I want it to be finished, the simple truth is it’s not.  I think, too, that for people who are on a healing path, it is lifelong endeavor, whether you suffered a traumatic childhood event, a devastating car accident, the death of a child or spouse, or just the day-to-day living of life that can sometimes be unbelievably difficult.  I’m realizing more and more that we are never really finished.  As I always told my therapist, I do not have a choice in this.  I have to keep moving forward.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has suffered a traumatic event personally or knows of someone who has.  The knowledge and insights you will gain will be invaluable to understanding the why of how trauma affects the body and mind.

 

DYING TO BE ME

From the back cover of the book:  “In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks—without a trace of cancer in her body! Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish her career and find true love, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge. As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, Anita had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she was a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself . . . and that there are miracles in the Universe that she’d never even imagined. In DYING TO BE ME, Anita freely shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, “being love,” and the true magnificence of each and every human being! This is a book that definitely makes the case that we are spiritual beings having a human experience . . . and that we are all One!”

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I listened to this book while in the middle of my healing process (not that is it actually over at this point) from my sexual assault, and I realized that I, too, had had a NDE, a near death experience, though not in the way that they normally occur.  Because my assault was interrupted, which prevented my attacker from following through with his intention to rape me, I was also saved from the punches that were coming my way.  The last thing I remember before hearing my guardian angel’s voice was DCD’s fists getting ready to beat the shit out of me because I wouldn’t stop screaming and fighting him.  The only way he was going to be able to get control of me was to knock me out.  As I’ve said in the past, I was literally fighting for my life.  And in doing that, I dissociated from myself from the situation I was in.  It wasn’t so much that I left my body and was watching what was happening to me as it was the feeling that I simply was not there.   Dictionary.com defines a near death experience as “an unusual experience taking place on the brink of death and recounted by a person after recovery…”  Given that definition, that’s exactly what happened to me.  I am sure I’ll have plenty more to say on this, but for now this post is about Anita Moorjani’s book and her experience.

I loved the book.  Her story is simply amazing.  She was, literally, hours away from certain death when her near death experience occurred.  What she ‘saw’ and ‘heard’ changed her life forever.

 

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YES!!!

It’s that time again. Time to figure out what my word for the coming (tomorrow, for goodness sake) New Year should be.  I’ve had some difficulty deciding.  And really, it’s more of a phrase than just a word, though it can be either, I suppose.  The point is it’s an action more than simply a feeling; a reminder to: Just Do It, to Go For The Gusto, to Grab Life By The Horns, to stop waiting for whatever it is I’ve been waiting for, to say YES to everything. I said back in September on the 3rd anniversary of my attack that I had survived and was ready to thrive. It’s time to take it a bit further and stop being so guarded.  Do I have a good reason for continuing to hold myself back?  For my heart and mind still being the slightest bit closed?  Perhaps, but where does that get me?  Alone…not necessarily lonely…but definitely by myself a lot of the time.

So my word for 2015 is YES!  And my phrase is Say Yes To Everything!  Well, most everything.  I am all for dancing like no one is watching, loving like I’ve never been hurt (or, for that matter, sexually assaulted) but I draw the line at singing like no one is listening, because the truth is I simply cannot hold a tune.  Okay, not only cannot I not hold a tune, I can’t even get into tune.  So, no singing; any and everything else, though, I intend to say YES to.

I also intend to continue my twice a week posting.  Last week I was in Atlanta for Christmas and decided to skip it since it’s more challenging to do it on the phone.  Overall, though, I did pretty well throughout the year with my intention for 2014 and consistently posting.  I find I really do need a set schedule to make it happen.  Some weeks I didn’t post on Wednesday, but I discovered that Thursday is just as good in case I can’t get my act together for Wednesday.  As for my Sunday posts about books that I read that have made a difference in my life and in my healing process, I’ll continue with those for the foreseeable future.  I love books and love to read, so I don’t think I’ll run out of recommendations for a while.

Thank you to all who continue to read my story.  There is so much yet to be told.

And as the sun sets on 2014…HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone.

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May 2015 be full of love, happiness, prosperity, peace and joy for us all!

WARRIOR POSE

I just finished reading, (yes, I actually had to read it as it is not available on audio), this book, and it is amazing.  AMAZING!  It is Brad Willis AKA Brava Ram’s autobiography, the story of his life as a war correspondent, how a devastating injury changed his life and the unbelievable power of the mind to heal.

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Warrior Pose is Indiana Jones merged with Gautama Buddha…a miraculous affirmation of the power of self-healing, a war story, a love story and a spiritual journey of epic proportion.  It is your story, my story, the human story.”  ~Dr. Emmett Miller, Pioneer of Mind-Body Medicine

Also from the book jacket:

“From covering the front lines of the Gulf War to investigating Colombian drug lords to living with freedom fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan, war correspondent Brad Willis was accustomed to risk.  But when mortal danger came, it was from an unexpected. direction.

At the pinnacle of his career, a broken back and failed surgery left Willis permanently disabled and condemned to a life in a body brace.  Then came a diagnosis of terminal, stage IV throat cancer.

At his 50th birthday party, friends gathered around Willis, who was crippled, almost mute, depressed, strung out on narcotic medications, and dying.  Halfway through the celebration Willis realized the party’s true purpose–his friends were there to say goodbye.

Everyone knew Willis was on his way out…everyone except his 2-year-old son, who urged, “Get up, Daddy!”

His son’s words ringing in his ears, Willis chose to abandon Western medicine and embrace the most esoteric practices of Yoga to heal his body, mind and soul–ridding himself of cancer and fully restoring his back.  As a symbol of his journey, he took the spiritual name Bhava Ram, which stands for “Living From The Heart.”

Warrior Pose is an adventure chronicling some of the most momentous events of our time through a journalist’s eyes, an unforgettable story about the power of love between a father and son, and a transformational journey of self-healing, inner peace and wholeness.”

Candace Pert, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, RAPID Laboratories, Inc; author of Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d and Molecules of Emotion: The Scientific Basis Behind Mind-Body Medicine had this to say about the book:

“Remarkable recoveries and miraculous healing of incurable cancers and other terminal disease have been the topic of many recent books.  Bhava, born Brad Willis, has written the most exciting, original and vividly relevant book yet on this topic.  Its concise, hard-hitting prose makes a page turner about the shockingly grim world behind the nightly news as revealed to a top television reporter.  Ram ignores his progressive physical collapse, stuffing his feelings and internal life to focus entirely on his macho career.  Using his fierce will to survive and strong intellect to question medical authority, Bhava draws inspiration from the miracle of his son Morgan, halts his self-sabotaging habits, chooses ‘right living,’ and heals himself via a selfless emotional life dedicated to teaching and healing others.”

I have said before that yoga was instrumental in my healing process, that it definitely contributed to saving my life during my healing process from my sexual assault, and it was and it did.  I am in awe of just how dedicated and determined Brad Willis was to save his own life and transform himself into Bhava Ram.  I highly recommend this book.