I had the honor of attending Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation annual celebration last week. This organization that Mariska started works to heal, educate and empower victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. They also have a strong focus to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.
I had an even greater honor in that my company, AZIAM, partnered with Joyful Heart by creating a "Wife Lover" tank with the words, "I Am Pure Joy" printed center front. AZIAM is donating 10 percent of all sales of this shirt to the Joyful Heart Foundation.
The evening was divine. It was powerful and it was real. Three assault survivors shared their stories in a collective live reading. Their stories were mixed with the voices of other survivors, read by Joyful Heart supporting actors, including Hilary Swank and Blair Underwood.
I felt stillness in the air during the readings. I heard and saw tears roll down many faces (including my own), and I watched several men drop their heads in discomfort.
It is in the expose and revelation of experience that lends to the healing process and transformation of such travesty. Having a compassionate witness is crucial in the processing and release of the victim's pain, and it is extremely difficult to heal without this witness. Unfortunately, our society is not currently compassion-dominant; it is sadly more dominated by judgment, pre-judgment, clique and gossip -- all of which isolate a victim of abuse.
After the live readings, Antonio Villaraigosa -- the mayor of Los Angeles -- stood and spoke about his quest to end the rape kit "back log" problem in L.A. I was not aware of this national problem. According to EndTheBacklog.org, sexual assault evidence kits (referred to here as a "rape kit") is the collection of DNA evidence from a rape victim's body. If the victim decides to report the crime to the police, the rape kit is booked into police evidence. Not every one of these booked rape kits will get tested and they become part of what is referred to as the rape kit backlog -- untested rape kits in both police storage and crime lab facilities.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of law enforcement jurisdictions do not require that every rape kit be tested. Experts in the federal government estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits in police and crime lab storage facilities throughout the United States. Mayor Villaraigosa made a verbal pledge to progress the processing of rape kits in Los Angeles and to help end the back log.
When designing our "Wife Lover" shirt, my business partner and I really wanted to express the joyful aspect of transformation. We wanted our shirt to not only stand for female empowerment and self-respect, but also to be a daily reminder to transform back to our natural states of joy.
This blog and this partnership with Joyful Heart are about being new -- about the transformation and restoring of joys to the tired and broken. It is about the process of change. It's about moving along a trajectory away from the dark and towards the light. It is about knowing where you're heading while you are present with your process, somewhere in the middle.
These concepts remind me of the essence of Kabbalah, the ancient Hebrew discipline and esoteric teachings of Judaism. It is in these teachings that I have learned the power of alchemy, where clean water is wonderful and light, but it does not hold transformative power in its naturally pure state.
The alchemic power central to the laws of Kabbalah explain that water that became dark and muddy; then transformed back into pure water is able to access the infinite power of transformation. According to the law of Kabbalah, it is in that moment of transformation that one makes contact with the 99 percent realm of Light, where power sources. And not only is that alchemist transformed, but they obtain the power to transform everything around them.
The clearer you become, the less reactive you are, the more powerful you will be, as you release subconscious darkness from past experiences. These lighter, transformative behaviors dissolve the obstacles and past, negative experiences that keep you from being fully you.
Below are some exercises to assist in your transformation, keeping any unexpressed pain from fermenting inside of you:
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." -- Anaïs Nin
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