Today, December 12, 2017 is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It often slips by me without my being conscious of it, despite the devotion for her that has been growing within me over the last few years. Not today.
She is and has been calling to me, from the time I began making trips to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey, a monastery in Pecos, New Mexico, in 1999. She was instrumental in revealing the path of the Divine Feminine to me through my friend and colleague, Heather Neary of SHE (SHINE Heather Elizabeth). She has made the archetype of the Black Madonna come alive for me through conversations with my beautiful spiritual friend from high school, Deb Shine Valentine, my Jungian studies, and the writings of Sue Monk Kidd, and Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
Untie the Strong Woman is the name of Estes' collection of writings about the way Guadalupe's wild love for all of humankind has been revealed in our times, especially for the heart-broken and downtrodden, and especially for those who suffer because of the way the Feminine has been bound. (Read on past her picture!)
The Strong Woman is most definitely being Untied!!
I don't even watch, read, or listen to much news, but I can feel the rumblings that come with the revelations of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse that seem to just keep on emerging. It is awful and wonderful. It is disgusting and healing. I am so humbled and grateful for the courage of all the women - and men - who are voicing these experiences. We can no longer hide them from ourselves. The truth is erupting from deep down.
With these groans and cries that are ripping the blinders off of so many, comes not only exposure and witnessing, but also pain, anger, and grief. I have had numerous conversations in the past 2 weeks with women - and men - on a healing path, whose own experience of sexual trauma have been triggered by what has been unearthed and spoken out in the media. And I have it on my heart to speak to this. With the help and support of Our Lady, Guadalupe.
Make no mistake - the voices of those who are speaking out are courageous and healing. And the experience of anxiety, rage, disgust, flashbacks, overwhelming emotions, challenging though they may be, are part of the healing process. Once something like this suddenly breaks the surface, when it has been buried or at least locked away for so long, it hurts! Acknowledging it is only the first part of the journey of healing.
So, if you are one of the ones who is remembering past sexual abuse, or feeling intensely about abuse you already knew was part of your past, or in any other way are being triggered by what the world is just now hearing, know you are not alone. If you - or someone you know- is experiencing pain related to sexual abuse, the time is ripe for approaching that experience with compassion and caring.
Here are some common responses when past sexual abuse is triggered:
Remembering, reliving, or even "watching" an incident of trauma over and over again.
Questions like, "Why didn't I tell someone? Why don't I speak up about what's happened to me? Am I to blame for not speaking up?" (The answer is "NO!!!" There are SO many reasons why!)
An overwhelm of feelings of shame, guilt, disgust, rage; or intense anxiety, not knowing what feelings are deep within, and if they can be handled. (They can be!)
Sexually intimate relationships may become challenging.
Increased irritability that seems out of context, increased use of alcohol or drugs, or other numbing or distracting behaviors.
If any of this is going on for you, reach out to someone you trust to share your feelings and experience.
Click here to reach out to me, or contact another Healer who understands how to guide you through a process, to do the inner work of healing your experience of abuse. My intensive healing program Becoming Your Heart's Treasure is designed just for this kind of situation. The Independent Study/Healing program,Anxiety - Doorway Into Your Heart is not specific to sexual abuse, but can definitely support you through any emotions or anxiety that are triggered.
Call out to Our Lady of Guadalupe to guide you and be with you, either as a manifestation of the Spirit speaking to and loving you directly, or as that Divine Mother intercessor. We all have different ways of connecting with her - consider what that might be for you. Let her prayer wrap around you and bring you comfort:
...I am truly your merciful Mother, yours and all the people who live united in this land and of all the other people of different ancestries, my lovers, who love me, those who seek me, those who trust in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their complaints and heal all their sorrows, hardships and sufferings. Our Lady of Guadalupe
As I write this article, I am holding space and energy of love, of comfort, and of hope for the healing of all who have had an experience of sexual abuse of any kind. I believe I can speak for Our Lady, Guadalupe, that she is also here with us, loving us, encouraging us, and supporting us. The healing is happening, my companions and friends, it is here! Let us participate with open and committed hearts!
gratefully - Alisa
Alisa Carr, Eye of the Heart
Spiritual Director, LCSW, DreamWorker and Contemplative