Power gives the illusion of freedom. Self-empowerment is freedom.

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Power gives the illusion of freedom. Self-empowerment is freedom. Freedom from what? From suffering. Preparing talk on forgiveness, it has not been easy to forgive these abusers, who are the darkest criminals on our planet, perpetrating the worst horror stories, in a calculated, organized way, skillfully hiding these crimes from the public, themselves above the law. It has been hard to overcome my envy, imagining my perpetrators in spectacular houses on the Mediterranean, on their yachts, respected and admired by the public, while I was struggling, feeling all the pain.

However, feeling is the gateway to the self, and my journey led me back to truth and myself, and the ability to assert myself without guilt or worry. Just to be me, I find the greatest gift of all. It took this healing, that I should be content with all the circumstances in my life, not identified as a victim anymore, to stop feeling envious of my perpetrators. My journey gave me the lived understanding of the self to be more than the physical body, and in that knowledge, from a place of empowerment, I can indeed forgive my perpetrators, knowing I would never want to trade the wealth of being me for the poverty of spirit of the psychopaths who rule the world.

But much harder than that was to forgive myself, for all the times when, affected by trauma, I was incapable of responding in a self-empowered way, and was left with desire for revenge or some kind of power play to get over any small negative incident. Today, I refuse to engage in stories. I refuse to be shamed. A woman tried to shame me yesterday, and I was present enough to stop her just by fully allowing my awareness to show in my expression. In the past, I was not able to stand up for myself and would fall back in the victim role - not wanting to be aggressive and associate myself with the perpetrators, but stuck with frustration and negative feelings of the impotent victim.

The child I was whose wings were clipped, and the adult who couldn't fly, now need to be forgiven for not soaring freely.

Photo: Marcel Chambon, Paris, 1982.

M Becker