I Stopped Fighting Because I Can’t Win

All my life I’ve had to fight.” Sophia, The Color Purple

One year after leaving an abusive cult where we have spent our childhood merely surviving, my sister and I curl up on a second-hand couch in a mobile home sitting on a Tennessee, small-town trailer park, and we weep together as we watch “The Color Purple.”

It will be the below scene that will stick in our minds forever. When we become adults, we will smile together, softly making fun of ourselves, recalling how real the separation anxiety and fear of abandonment was for us.

This movie scene will make my brother’s face come into my view, time and time again, a nine-year-old little boy clinging to my father’s legs as our mother pulls him away. The sheer helplessness in my father’s eyes will never leave my peripheral vision. I will hear my brother’s screams echoing inside of Sophia’s words. I will see the white blonde of his sweaty hair pasted to his forehead, the redness in his cheeks and the shuddering of his heaving shoulders from so many sobs.

This movie scene will remind me of Prins Samuel, a man from India, who came to the cult in the early 80’s and took a liking to my teenage, older sister. Terrified that she would be taken back to India, I write in my memoir, “Cult Child”, about the afternoon Prins and his travel companion come knocking at our cabin door.

“I pick up my book to read for a while when there is suddenly a loud banging on the door. It’s louder than usual, but I ignore it for Leis to answer. The banging continues so I go to the top of the ladder. Leis is at the door with her back pressed up against it. She signals to me with her finger to her lips.

“Ssssshhh…”

“Who is it?” I say in a loud whisper.

“These two guys from India who are here visiting. Prins and Max. Shhhh! I’ll tell you in a minute.” She whispers back.

We stay silent as the men continue to knock, and I lay flat against the floor of the loft peeking down as one of them cups their eyes with their hands to look inside our cabin through the bay window.”

Cult Child” excerpt

Body memories come in waves, signaled by rapid heart beats and sweaty palms. I recall ducking down the cult compound pathways with my sister and avoiding the men from India at every turn. The days they were visiting seemed endless. We worried. We hid. We were terrified of being separated.

So many moments in an abused child’s life are filled with the anxiety of abandonment and separation. As a child, my sister was my only lifeline. If she was taken away, my last strand of feeling any severance of “protection” would have been erased. In abusive situations, when the children are removed from the abuse environment, keeping children together is crucial, unless one of the children is harming the others, of course. Abused children can create a deep bond with one another; a bond which helps them survive. Separating them becomes an additional wound.

In my song, Capable, I write:

See ever since I arrived I’ve been fighting to keep all the pieces alive; from drowning.”

To live a life of fighting is exhausting for a child. I was already exhausted physically, psychologically and emotionally by the time I was a teenager. This is part of why abuse victims struggle so much when they become adults.

Imagine you begin working at three years old. You rise before dawn to do field work. You work all day until you go to bed at night. Your sleep is often interrupted and limited to 4/5 hours a night. Riddled inside of these grueling work days you are also subjected to physical and emotional abuse, neglect, sexual molestation and extreme mind controlling beliefs. Additionally, you witness this same abuse happening to other children.

Imagine spending your whole childhood fighting to process every moment of your day. In later years, I can tell you, that you will want to sleep for hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes years. You will want to somehow rest your mind, but by the time you get to a place in your life where you can rest, your mind won’t be able to sleep anymore due to its inability to expel the insomnia that years of trauma memories create.

If the first eighteen years of your life are filled with fighting to survive, by the time you enter society after high school, when you should be excited about starting your independent life, you are already very tired. When you reach fifty-years-old, the cusp of your life, you feel as if you are seventy-years-old in spirit. That’s the weariness which sets over the mind, body and soul of an abused human being.

No child should ever begin their life fighting through environmental combat battles day in and day out. They fight to protect their mind until adults break it and fill it with their own ideals. Children fight to have just a voice, a choice, an opinion or any respect in their little lives. They are often brushed off by adults and the system and not even considered an actual “person” until they become eighteen.

Yet, they are people. Children are individual little beings, who have entered this planetary dimension with their own unique DNA.

Everything my siblings and I did was a “representation” of our mother, according to her. When I fucked up and became incarcerated at the age of eighteen, she wept embarrassingly in the visiting room…. EVERY TIME SHE CAME!

Where did I go wrong? How can you do this to me?” My mother lamented.

Ah, the sweet scent of martyrdom, almost confessing before blaming me. In my lowest moments, she somehow succeeded in always making them about her own failures, failures she never really ever identified, though. If she walked the edge of accountability, it was only in private and always to her own advantage, vauge and hollow.

To hear my mother tell it, I was the “wild child“; the “black sheep” of the family. I had always been the difficult one, the loud one. You know, the youngest ones usually are, she’d say. Enter her fake lipsticked smile and an invisible hand to the forehead in angst.

In Rise Of Sila, the totality of my mother’s psychosis emerges, manifesting sad remnants of a cult that starved her and snatched her mind the moment she stepped foot onto their first compound is emerging even more. It’s not easy to examine. Some days I can dig in. Other days, I must rest.

All her life my mother fought. All her life my grandmother fought. Into my Moravian ancestry, women fought to survive, working themselves into death, sick in body and shattered in soul. This is why I decided to stop fighting. I had to break the generational trauma of lives filled with suffering. Why I stopped fighting is a multifaceted thing.

I stopped fighting because I cannot win. I stopped fighting because I don’t want to win.

Who was I fighting? Everyone, including myself.

Why was I fighting? Fear. Fear of abandonment, loss and hurt.

Most humans fight out of sheer fear.

I’m a major Game Of Thrones addict. Arya Stark is one of my favorite characters. The child in me relates to everything about her journey in this series. She was born having to fight. She lived having to fight.

SPOILER ALERT

In one season, Arya finds herself inside of the arena of the faceless man. He teaches her to become no one. She becomes blind so that she can see everything. She spends days, hours, minutes, fighting off her inner demons and rage, and when she is finished, she emerges as a mighty warrior, able to wield her slender sword with exact precisions. She develops the ability to become the very person she must eliminate. She becomes a woman wearing her emotions like a badge of honor, yet still, she understands that being no one is the true way of the warrior.

I am nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore I am perfect.

All of my childhood and a large part of my adulthood, I felt like a “nobody”, the kind of nobody who was lower than the swamp. My mind battered my own existence in deep ways. My thoughts told me I was destined to be an overweight food addict all of my life. I believed I was a “Jezebel” just like the cult pedophiles had described us young girls. To myself I was not worthy of anything good. I would never “have” anything good. I would never “be” anything good.

Then one day, I just stopped in my tracks. I had no more energy left to keep fighting. I had to make a choice. I turned to myself. I looked at the “nobody” that I am.

I explored her and I learned so much. What was I trying to win at? Being me? Who was I? I had to go faceless. I was fighting no one. I re-defined my understanding of what it truly meant to be “nobody.”

I dove into myself blindly.

Straight into the bottom of my own nothingness I sank. Do you know what is inside of the dark matter of yourself? Let me tell you, loves. There is infinite possibility. You will fight the darkness fiercely at first. That’s what you’re used to. Fighting. Your whole life you’ve done it. You’ve been separated from yourself, trying to win a war with no one.

The truth is, we are actually ever morphing, infite streams of something. I stopped fighting because without me fighting, I had no one to fight with. Everything I projected outward was really about my innards. Faceless, I roamed my own hallways. I left slain apparitions in the dark corners, lighting them on fire as I passed.

It takes two or more to tango, and so I merged every one of my inner enemies into my nothingness. They evaporated inside of me and became one with my existence. Without me fighting, they don’t have to hide. Together we stand in the Light of truth.

When I accepted that I was no one, I realized I am all of me.

I am everything I observe and absorb. Now, I dance with all of it; the fear, the danger, the anger and the evil. I dance it into my own joy and worth. More can be eliminated in synced-together movements, than in the brutality of battles and war. If this isn’t clear to you yet, stop fighting. Stop trying to win. Be still for a while. Observe yourself.

Stand within your nothingness so you can be all of who you are. Inside the nothingness there is no need for validation. Worry dissipates. Fear gets sucked into your self love. Anger expresses its pain, processing itself inside the brilliance of your confidence.

I ceased fighting, and now, standing in the silence of the nothing, I hear everything.

The Moment I Went Invisible Is The Moment I Became Invincible

Traveling within our own beings we find the universe that we were born to be.
You have universes inside of you.

Five Ways To Maintain Your Critical Thinking During Socially Triggering Times

1. STAY MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU WATCH/READ IN REGARD TO NEWS

I wouldn’t watch the news these days without a pen and a piece of paper in hand. Why? I’d need to take notes as to what is being presented TO ME. There are two phrases that make me shut down immediately toward a journalist who has taken upon themselves the ethical responsibility to investigate and report facts about important situations, doing so SEPARATE from their own personal opinions or thoughts on the subject. “Just the facts, please.”

The two phrases that make me turn it off, turn the page or click that X in the top right hand corner are:

“I think…”
“My opinion is…”

This is not journalism. These are opinion voices.

I don’t care about a journalist’s opinion. Again, “Just the facts, please, along with fact checking to back it up would be nice.” I can form my own conclusions from facts.

Listen very carefully to what is being said by news anchors about what is happening in the world and your country. There is a side of NLP called Dark NLP. It is a neurolinguistic programming used from a negative angle to control your mind, the way you think, react and feel about a subject. NLP existed long before the trend of using it as a “therapy” tool. NLP originated in the 1950’s and soon became a very handy tool of the CIA.

How CIA and Secret Agents Make Use Of NLP

Dark NLP is language purposefully used to skew your mind. It is filled with specific words and body language strategically inserted into information that is being fed to you visually and audibly.

A very simple example of the use of NLP by media is dropping name brands into music. Not only does the name brand pay for the artist to promote their brand, but the listener now feels a deep desire to buy and boast the brand in order to be “cool” like their peers/fans of the artist. That is a win/win for the music industry and the brand. Below is an exploration of the use of mind control techniques in music.

A Look At Music and Mind Control

What is happening to your mind when you are engrossed with a speaker in all ways, from their verbal to non verbal language and the speaker is telling you possible falsehoods as if they are truths? Will you be able to spot signals of things you do not want sinking into your subconscious mind? If not, this video may give you a little kick-start into how you are fed repetitive sequences of information. This video is posted only for the purpose of showing you identical speech patterns through multiple news outlets across the United States.

News and NLP:

In NLP the meaning of any communication is the response that you get.” David Snyder

NLP is not only verbal. It is also visual. Hand motions, facial expressions and body language is a science that is known to influence the average person’s mind even in observatory conversation. Mirroring is taught at sales seminars, where salespeople train to watch their consumer’s behavior and listen to their conversation so the salesperson can behave like them and seal the deal. This results in the sales target becoming comfortable enough to buy. It is rampantly used by politicians, pastors, self-help gurus and corporations around the world.

Peter Bull, from the Department of Psychology at the University of York, studied the use of hand gestures in political speeches. He includes some case studies in this fascinating abstract:

The Use of Hand Gestures In Political Speeches: Some Case Studies

Mega-church pastor, Joel Osteen is one example of someone who uses both verbal and non-verbal NLP.  These are techniques taught in pastoral schools. Learn them and become adept at spotting them. Joel’s most popular non-verbal gestures:

e6115688583c9a0974304b5fe68a2755--hand-signals-joel-osteen

Joel Osteen using NLP to avoid questions and respond in a form of crazy making conversation in this interview with Larry King.  It is important to listen to vocal tone, when his voice goes soft, such as when he says “they love God”.  These are very subtle ways of creating an ebb and flow in a person’s emotions.

The Forbidden Knowledge Archive is an interesting 49-page thesis which explores the many facets of the uses of NLP.  As with all information I share, I in turn urge you to do your own study, dive in, find and read information for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Lets face it. The news is meant to make you feel like shit. The world is ending. Everyone’s at war. A race war is coming. A civil war is coming. The economy is crashing. The list of fear-based information goes on and on. The commercials inserted between this continual rocking of your minds, not just in news, but in mainstream media in general, is a consistent up and down of humorous commercials meant to pacify you, coupled with brand based pieces geared to make you have buying urges, or fear based programming commercials such as, “if you have [this grave disease] you need this [pill] which will also cause another [grave disease], but there’s a [pill] for that” and so on.

Do you ever ask yourself where the positive mainstream news channels are? Have you ever asked yourself why there isn’t at least one mainstream channel in your community which reports only on the great things which happened in your area during the day? It’s because that won’t leave you in trauma, and that is an ultimate media agenda, to create and blast multiple traumatic scenarios at you every day, resulting in filling you up with fear and anger.

Real-time Murder Shows
Lifetime Murder Movie of the Week
Dramatic Reality Shows
Craziest Police Chases
Cops

The list of shows and news outlets which have increased over the decades is extremely long and disconcerting when it comes to the way media can make a person panic that the world is self-destructing, causing them to turn on one another, have increased social anxieties or severe isolation. Stay very keen if you choose to let yourself be subjected to mainstream media.

If fear is not the media’s agenda, then the public would simply be watching more positive media than fear-based media.

2. WRITE DOWN THE FACTS AND MISSING PIECES AS YOU HEAR THEM AND TAKE THE TIME TO CRITICALLY CHECK THEM

Remember that pen and paper I mentioned before? This is where it comes in handy. When you are watching, listening or reading the news, use mindful thinking. Listen to all versions of the story while writing down what you would consider facts.

How do you equate facts? I look at what would stand up in a court of law. I look for holes in the story, and then I research that hole. I go inside of it. Is there a missing piece? Why? Where is it? What is off with this story?

The key here is to ask questions. Question Everything. In doing so, you will be able to equate the truth.

Is there evidence, even circumstantial, upon which a case could be built? Does the story hold weight? Is it a story built off of someone said something that someone said, or are there experiencers being showcased telling their personal stories? If a news story, for instance, is about certain regions of the world or social constructs, write down your questions.

Then take the time to connect with people in those regions or social constructs, and ask them the questions. They are your counter weight to global news. Citizens in your community are your counter weight to local news. Social media can be used as a very good information source if you actually TALK to people, not just watch one minute videos, believe it to be truth, and then pass it on as truth.

When things began to really get worse between Israel and Palestine over the last few years, I purposely sought out through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, average citizens like myself, who lived in these regions. I let them know I’m an American, and I want to understand their stance on this issue. I found out something very interesting. They all actually didn’t hate one another. They all wanted peace. They did not even express religious views about the conflict.

The patterned feedback I found in my conversations with people inside this conflict was that they all are just trying to live life, and were ALL most concerned about the peace and safety of their families. It convinced me that the issue is a political game and these people are simply collateral damage. This was never reported in American news, and undoubtedly never will. Yet, you could easily understand it by having simple conversations with the intent to listen and understand. You have access to people across the globe. Why aren’t you conversing with them?

I find there to be no excuse for individuals not having conversations that will help them understand the perspective of other individuals who are on the ground in certain situations. If you want to know what it’s like to live in poverty, talk to some poor people instead of watching the news. If you want to know about race relations, talk to people in your community. If you want to know about sexual abuse, talk to some survivors. If you want to know about cults, seek out those who grew up in them. If you want to understand politics, get into your community and see what is happening around you. What change would improve your community as a collective?

It hasn’t been hard for me to connect with people. If you are reading this, you are online. Therefore, it shouldn’t be hard for you either. What you must do, is the work. What you must do, is open your mind to the answers, and accept they may not match what you saw on the news. Accept that what you find may change your reality, and allow that to exist. It’s called growth and evolvement.

“If you heard it on the internet, it’s probably true.” Abraham Lincoln

 3. HAVE THE ABILITY TO HAVE A MULTI-PERSPECTIVE VIEW

The way I separate the “wheat from the chaff“, so to speak, is a combination of listening to my intuition and letting it work in sync with a mind clear of anyone’s influence, including my own. I look at information from all angles. I don’t immediately take sides. I investigate. Once I’ve done that and deducted the truth, then I make a decision if I want to take a stand, walk away or simply observe and hold space.

Take politics for instance. I make a point NOT to follow any one side. Why would I ever immerse myself into situations which are focused on being devise when I can move in an Independent arena, taking no sides, and instead, focusing on politicians working on issues which are important to me? I may support a politician on some things and not others and decide not to vote for them because what I don’t like overshadows what I do like and vice versa.

I’ve watched people shouting about the blue and red, and I realize what I’m observing is America’s re-play of the 90’s Crips and Bloods battles, only the politicians’ drive-by shootings are their disinformation and defaming of one another.

If it’s not okay for the streets, it’s certainly not okay for any institution which is ethically supposed to be committed to having the best interest of the people at heart.

If you can’t have a multi-perspective view, you may be looking at a situation from your own trauma foundation mindset. This can result in you projecting your own traumatic experiences into someone else’s situation. This is very self-deprecating behavior. Please don’t take on other people’s situations as your own. I talk with dozens of people about a myriad of things, from select friends in war torn countries to individuals in my own community who are struggling, to trauma survivors, veterans and more. While I care very much about their well being, I also keep my critical thinking intact and remember that their situations are not my situations. So I am able to listen, observe and not let it turn me into a triggered ball of tears. I do so on my terms and in my own time.

Being able to have a multi-perspective view will also help you see holes in stories, because you are using your critical thinking mind instead of running solely on emotion that is being projected from unresolved personal traumas. Gain the ability to look at a situation objectively over time. With keen eyes and an open mind, you can see the truth for exactly what it is, even if it goes against what you have been told you’re supposed to do/believe/be.

4. DON’T BE A FOLLOWER

One of the worst things a human can do is become a follower and stay complacent in that space. People become followers for many reasons. Some follow an institution or a cause because it makes them feel relevant.

For example, I know of anti-cult “experts” who claim to be know everything about Scientology if that’s what’s trending. Then they’ve moved now to knowing everything about Jehovah’s Witnesses, because that’s what’s trending. They will move on to whatever other new cult subject comes up when that starts trending. But they are NOT experts on these cults. They are people adept at trying to stay in the spotlight. This is not an intention rooted in having anyone’s best interest at heart. That is the behavior of a follower with an ulterior motive disguising themselves as a leader.

Someone with the motive to let truth be known and to help without needing recognition, for instance, would know there are dozens and dozens of Jehovah’s Witnesses on social media speaking out and would encourage the media to talk with the experiencers to get the truth. Understand the myriad of people with agendas that serve only them or their latest book. Research the people you are following. Read everything about them and get to know who they truly are. Talk to people who have had experiences with them and listen to their stories. As humans, we have an innate ability to know truth vs lies when we don’t deny that ability within ourselves.

Others follow because they’re terrified to stand alone. Some follow because they love the frenzy of being a part of a big crowd. While I believe in peaceful protest, there are some protests that have held so many people in frenzies, I think about how many individuals they could have helped if they had taken those plane tickets and hotel money and poured it together into a support fund.

The women’s march in Washington DC would be a good example of this. Almost a million women bought plane tickets to the 2017 march. They financially supported the airlines. They financially supported the vagina hat maker. They financially supported the hotels, hostels, motels and/or Air BnB’s they stayed in.  A million women spent almost 1000 dollars or more apiece to gather and protest.

Let’s do that math: 1,000,000 x 1000 = 1 BILLION dollars. Let me repeat that. 1 BILLION dollars.

How can a million women not take a billion dollars and actually create action to help one another, but they can organize to wear vagina hats and vie to be on the news? Why can’t the average American woman look at that with critical eyes and see how counter-productive that was in the larger scope of how those finances were used?

Would those same women have donated that money if that had been an option? I believe some of them would have, but I do not believe the majority of them would because that wasn’t their intention. Their intention was simply just to march and say they were there as if it was a political Woodstock. This is a follower mentality, in that they are not clearly thinking about the best plan of action for their agenda or the best plan of action for the finances they’re willing to invest into their cause.

Do you see the problem with American society here? I do. It’s action vs. attention. Attention, too often, wins.

Americans are used to protesting, but many are not used to doing on-the-ground work to actually help the causes they are so passionate about. Instead, they spend a few days worked into a frenzy and then head back home to continue on with their lives. Be careful of this behavior in yourself. Be willing to donate your money to help someone in your community in regard to causes you are passionate about. Make that money WORK with education and support. That will last someone a lifetime. Action changes lives.

Group think is a dangerous ground to tread on. It is a quicksand which often builds blinders around a human’s eyes so that the person can only see what the group wants them to see.

We must gain the ability to stand on our own two feet and stop following along after other people’s beliefs. We must re-tie the strand that connects us to our individuality and clear thinking. If we all look into our own lives and focus on PERSONAL change, this requires NO following at all. It simply requires work and motivation to be SO incredibly strong that no group nor gust of frenzy can shake you.

5. TAKE A BREAK, DAMMIT!

Turn those damn electronics off. Shut that computer down. Put that phone in the other room. Turn off the news notifications. It is OKAY to take a break. In fact, I beg you to take a break if you cannot clearly see the world outside of yourself with open eyes. If you’ve become one-sided about issues, you may want to ask yourself why? No issue is ever one sided. When in doubt, shut it down.

If you are being pushed into a personal negative mind space as a result of what you are seeing or hearing, give yourself a break.

Get into nature and take a walk. Turn on some music and dance. Bake something. Go play some pool. Go to a movie. Do anything except watch the news, read the news or deal with social networking. Clean up your feed. Un-follow anyone who you feel may be posting triggering opinions. I just went through a major social media cleanse on all of my networks. Now, when I sign in, I’m seeing who and what pertains to my passions. I have to tell you. It felt good.

You are ultimately in control of what you watch and what you take in. You are in control of when you turn it on or off. You are simply in control. The moment you believe you are not in control is most likely a signal that you need to take a break and re-ground yourself into your own reality so you can regain your inner balance.

Your reality is hopefully rooted in your own path; your own healing, your own growth and especially your own personal community. Inside of us is where true change begins; when we continue to promote healing and resist falling prey to fear frenzies, a very easily used mind control tool, given a wide open platform by the internet and media, we realize that beyond the trauma, beyond the social triggers, is a possibility for teaching moments and healing. This starts with the conversations we have with ourselves. our children, friends and family, and dedicating ourselves to a healing path.

So please, please, take a bubble bath (those aren’t just for chicks, by the way). Invite a friend over for dinner and a board or card game. Watch a funny movie alone. Clear your mind. Sit with a sunset, a sunrise or beneath a tree.

Take care of yourself and your mental health. We cannot carry the weight of the planet’s pain within us. Before you dive into anyone else’s trauma, make sure you are grounded into your own healthy reality.