Today is a day of resurrection.
I was born on Good Friday, and always felt its meaning because of the extreme violence and injustice of my past. Today is a day of resurrection. The New York Times published an article about my advocacy work. I'm in Philadelphia to speak at University of Pennsylvania about sex trafficking and healing. It's the start of a very industrious time of using what I learned to create change. The Liberation Prison Yoga teachings are centered around examining our own inner and outer power dynamics, so that we can use our position of authority as teachers to reverse the trauma story in our students.
Every child freely gives love and expects authority figures to return that love just as freely. Children only expect wonderful things from the adults who care for them, because they are pure, and free of darkness. When that expectation is betrayed, and the child is abused, a lie is introduced, stoking the fear that "I am not lovable," or "I am not innocent," etc. Liberation Prison Yoga teachers are often seen as authority figures just because we teach, and then go against expectations also - expectations built up through the trauma, where students seek the familiar result they know from past authority figures, seeking confirmation of the same painful lie, that "I am not lovable," or a variant such as "No one loves me," or "No one understands me."
Positive affirmation is great, but the positive messages don't stick to a trauma survivor, unless their trauma story is revived. When we are seen as authority figures because we teach, we enter that subtle power dynamic with awareness, to go against our students' expectation that we will confirm the lie that they are undeserving, or unlovable. They may test us, or placate us. We don't judge, or we aren't fooled by the flattery. We remain humble, and present for the other person. After we've gone against our students' expectations a few times in this way, they are confused, and this not knowing makes them vulnerable. That is moment the child was abused.
The fear that is revived in the vulnerability is nothing less than the fear created during the abuse. When we have the privilege to witness this moment, we get to bring back the reality of that soul. We affirm something positive about them, something we have observed and know is true. Thus the psychic process of abuse is reversed, and innocence is restored. I have seen this at work, and seen its power. The affirming statement has its impact and changes that person's life forever. This has been my own journey. I've been healed by the mercy of the kind-hearted who had enough self-love and awareness to love me in those rare moments I was receptive. They were the agents for many resurrections. Happy Easter.