My boyfriend goes into the kitchen and there's dishes in the sink. I’m sitting on the couch aware that this is one of his only pet peeves, the instantaneous trigger reaction begins and my whole body begins to pump adrenaline. Then I take a breath, then another deeper one and remind myself that this is now. This is my boyfriend, the most gentle, loving man I have ever known who touches my body with so much kindness it has melted me into puddles of tears on more than one occasion. The trigger reaction, locked deep within my molecules, comes from living with a man whose reaction to dishes in the sink very likely could have been screaming anger, a rage of dishes being broken or a fury of physical violence… afflicted against my mother for any interpreted wrongness a child may have created. I lived with that man for the first eleven years of my life.
The leftover seeds of post-traumatic stress come from growing up, during a child’s most impressionable years, in a house that was more a war zone than a nurturing nest. The standards of perfection that can never be met and were always changing could result at any moment into fits of anger, rage, fury and violence. Going to sleep at night, regardless of bedtime stories and snuggles, could mean being awoken to the sounds of screaming and hitting sometimes followed by our mother leaving to seek the safety of a domestic violence shelter for the night. Waking up in the morning, as much as I can recall wasn’t about the joy of a new day, it was about avoiding and side-stepping the unknown thing that would provoke an outburst of anger and violence.
Sometimes it was about being the fierce voice of reason and pleading for the peace and joy childhood craves. Other times it was about being the courageous action of dialing 911 to literally save life. Always it was about preserving an ounce of hope for a different future.
I just returned from a vacation in Italy with my boyfriend, a whole week with 17 of his family members enjoying life together in a fourteenth century villa in Tuscany. The experience was utterly beautiful in more ways than I could have imagined. It was also utterly uncomfortable to choose and pushed me way beyond my comfort zone of what I could have, receive and contribute to creating. Childhood vacations, few and far between, were always riddled before, during and after with like everything else…anger, rage, fury and violence. What I have always known, before I could form the words until now, is that kind, loving, generous and gracious love and living is quite possible.
What I’ve been more willing to acknowledge is that people have a lot of opinions, thoughts, feelings and viewpoints about what domestic violence is and what it isn’t. Whom it affects and impacts and whom it doesn’t or who ‘gets off easy’ from the experience … because they weren’t the one being hit.
In this lifetime I have pioneered a journey for myself of traditional therapy, western medicine, life-coaching, spirituality and intense trainings in energy therapy and consciousness work. Access Consciousness® classes, facilitation and hands-on energy healing work have been the most dynamic source of change for me. Many bright lights, healers and mentors have contributed to the elimination of about 90% of my PTSD along with the tools I have learned to create my sweet, beautiful life. I have learned to be my own leader. I am smart enough to know I will always be learning, creating and leading myself to the something greater and that I inspire, cultivate and catalyze that in others.
While there are still threads of the past that show up, today they contribute to my weaving a fabric of conscious choice to create the kind of life and living I always perceived was possible. People always say there’s a sweetness to me, a brightness that I am forever grateful was potent enough to provide me with the constancy of whispers of something different. To me that’s the true, infallible energy of possibility and gratitude that children are.
Whether you know someone who has experienced abuse (in any form), know someone who is asking for something greater in their life and living, or know someone who loves to connect and contribute to expanding awareness and consciousness for a happier, healthier planet here are some possibilities for them:
Luscious Leadership programs, talks and workshops http://www.dannalewis.com/engage-with-danna
Dr. Lisa Cooney’s San Francisco ROAR Tour which includes her facilitation of the Access Consciousness® Bars, Foundation, 3-Day Body Class and her specialty 2-Day ROAR Class and evening taster, “The Lies of Money” taking place in San Francisco beginning September 1st. I will be hosting this tour with a team of people in my home city. I am looking forward to being the warm, caring welcome for all the participants and ‘so beyond my comfort zone’ that’s being created with my awareness of the change I’m choosing, contributing to and the possibilities of Dr. Lisa’s brilliant facilitation and healing capacities. Http://tinyurl.com/SanFranciscoROAR
The NDVH (National Domestic Violence Hotline) http://www.thehotline.org/
The NDVH (National Domestic Violence Hotline) 20th Anniversary Gala on October 13, 2016. I am on the event committee and am honored to be able to promote this organization for the assistance they have provided over 4 million people in the last twenty years. My wish is for this organization to have the support it requires so that it can exponentially expand their capacities for assisting people and bringing awareness and resources to anyone asking the question, ‘what else is possible?’ Information and tickets: https://support.thehotline.org/san-francisco-event-101316?
Please know that any choice you make to create a change for yourself or contribute a change to someone else (that can actually receive that assistance) is conscious kindness to create a more loving and grateful world. Lead Lusciously, Danna