Kiara was in the care of a wonderful therapist and as part of that care, she was asked to close her eyes and think about her childhood. The first memory she had was being on the school playground sitting alone on a park bench. She was drawing with a pencil on a pad of paper with her head down, looking sad and lonely. She was about eight or nine years old. “Speak to that child, Kiara,” her therapist said. “Comfort that child. Tell her what you’ve learned over the years that helped lessen the sadness. That sweet girl is waiting for you.” As Kiara listened to her therapist’s words, she looked at her younger self and suddenly wanted nothing more than to ease her pain.
“Kiara, I’m the grown-up you. I’ve been with you over the years and am with you now as you experience hurt feelings, prejudices, and injustices. I want to apologize to you for so many things you’ll have to go through. I know you deal with school bullies who criticize your dark skin color, make racist comments, hit you, and make you cry daily. When they say you are unlovable and unworthy, you believe them. I’m sorry we thought they were right. They are not right. What you have not understood just yet is that bullies are extremely insecure people and only pick on those they perceive as vulnerable. That’s their problem, not yours. You think that sweet and nice girls were not supposed to tattletale, so you never told anyone about your problems. I’m sorry that I didn’t ask for help. But I want to assure you things will improve, and life will gift you amazing experiences and adventures ahead. You are a beautiful and loving person with a happy and prosperous future. I know it’s hard to believe this today, but you’ll gradually grow from a shy child into a confident and resilient woman. One day a lot of women out there will recognize you as a source of inspiration to them.”
Kiara opened her eyes as her therapist handed her a box of tissues.
“Good job, Kiara. Now, let’s fast forward to your married life. I want you to close your eyes again, go down memory lane, and in graphic detail, think about your moments of abuse. I know this is hard, but in order to let go of old ghosts, you need to confront your discomfort,” said her therapist.
Kiara closed her eyes and clearly visualized the first time her husband pinned her down, putting all of his weight on top of her as he almost strangled her to death. Then she had flashbacks of the second time he assaulted her, when he cornered her against the wall and strangled her almost to death. She had vivid memories of seeing her black and blue bruises, and the shame she felt making eye contact with herself in the bathroom mirror. The photos she took of those bruises are a painful reminder of the events that haunt her till this day.
“What would you say to that young woman? Talk to her and remind her of the power and courage she forgot she had.” said her therapist.
“I would tell her that this is not your fault. You did nothing to cause a man to raise his hands on you. You have no reason to feel ashamed. Abuse is all about power and control. Please do not ever blame yourself for this abuse. You need to leave this relationship immediately and tell your family first. You have been thrown to the wolves so many times and you have ferociously protected yourself each time. You saved your own life. You are braver than you think.” she said.
Tears flowed down Kiara’s face as she thought about the topic of abuse. She now understands that violence against women is not just a woman’s issue, but a man’s issue as well. Men, she believes, should be equally responsible for creating a safe and healthy home. Kiara opened her eyes at the bidding of her therapist and looked around. She was almost shocked to find she was in an office, her face wet with tears and mascara smeared all over.
Her therapist asked Kiara about life lessons she’s learned. Kiara responded. “You know what I believe in my heart. Despite all of my tough experiences, I still believe that there’s a lot of love, compassion, and forgiveness in the world.”
Kiara used to be hard as a person who found it difficult to forgive others. But during a
recent trip to the Bodhicitta Temple in India, she began studying her own karma: the good and bad. Somewhere during the trip, Kiara started softening up and became more spiritual. As a part of this spiritual journey, she began understanding compassion and forgiveness a little better.
“Even in the Bhagavat Gita it says that we all hurt others intentionally or unintentionally all the time. And as difficult as forgiveness is, it is associated with the qualities of wisdom, truth, self-control, and nonviolence, so I do forgive others for the pain they caused me and hope they can forgive me for any pain I’ve caused them. I forgive myself for my mistakes and the pain I’ve caused in anyone else’s life. I want to apologize to anyone I’ve hurt, including myself.”
Kiara said as she continued bawling her eyes out.
She then said, “I’m also hoping that by default, this forgiveness will purify me of any sinful deeds. I’m finally ready to leave behind old ghosts.”
“So, how do you feel now, Kiara? Did you find it helpful going back in time, and talking to your younger self?” asked her therapist.
Kiara smiled at her therapist and said with great emotion: “OH it was very healing seeing my younger self. If only I knew then what I know now….”
“Her Brave Journey” releases May 1st, 2021.
For eBooks, the Amazon discount day is also May 1st, 2021.
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