Monday, 11 April 2011

You're very strong, one day you'll see it...

This evening I looked back at old posts that I wrote on a forum, the majority of which I wrote when I had a major crisis in 2006. There’s an interesting post where I mentioned something that my therapist once said to me, which was:

“You’re very strong, one day you’ll see it.”

When I finished having therapy due to the sexual abuse I experienced as a child, I felt so strong and confident. However, 2 months after finishing therapy I was raped. I suddenly felt like I had taken a massive jump back. Because I was working as a teacher, I had to take time off work as I lost a lot of confidence. Unfortunately, some people showed their true colours during that very low time in my life and now that I’m strong I want to write about it here. I want people to realise what it feels like to suffer so much injustice in life and the effects it has.

I confided in the colleagues at my school and I was shocked when one colleague asked me if I thought I had really been raped as I had been drugged. Of course I had, the flashbacks in my head were very real! How dare someone question me in such a time of need.

I’m glad to say that I confronted that person the following day and said that they had no right to say what they did. That person apologised and said that they were playing devil’s advocate…

I never have been a fan of management and unfortunately the managers at that work place were the most insensitive I’ve ever come across. I trusted that my situation would remain confidential. However, when head office put pressure on my manager he buckled and told them the reason I was off work. I felt betrayed, especially when I had confided in him about what had happened to me.

When I returned to work, I told my manager I would have to leave early one day a week, as I had to go for therapy. Again, I was shown insensitivity and the area manager said:

“Tell her to put it in writing.”

Someone has just been raped and you want her to put it in writing?

Insensitive is an understatement!

I’m proud to say that when I later saw that manager at work I had a private word with him. I told him that what he did was very insensitive especially as he knew the reason I was taking time off. He apologised and said that he was still learning….

My therapist was right, I am strong and looking back, I’m amazed at the strength I showed at that low point in my life too.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Spiritual fasting

Though I’m not tremendously religious, I’ve been known to fast at Easter time. This year I decided to do a spiritual fast again and so far, it’s been very insightful. What I’ve noticed in the past is just how greedy some people can be and how much people take luxuries for granted. Just the other day I had lunch in a place where a buffet was available. As I sat writing and mainly drinking coffee, I couldn’t help but stare at the stacks of food people were piling onto their plates. There was enough food to feed an entire village of poor people but instead it was feeding a small group of hungry vultures. I didn’t even get the urge to splurge and stuff my face, instead I just lost my appetite.

I think that fasting is a great way to discipline oneself and realise how fortunate we are to have food and water, some are not as fortunate. Although I’m on a good wage and live in a nice flat, I am still very grateful for what I have and realise that one day it could all change and I could have nothing. When I’ve had nothing in the past, I’ve wanted nothing except love and happiness. Sometimes I feel that people spend money or eat and drink just for the sake of it and because they have the means. I don’t want to change and follow the crowd, I walk at my own rhythm.

A memory from a few years ago when I first moved to China often springs to mind. I was due to be paid in the New Year but due to a banking problem, my salary didn’t go through. Unfortunately, my UK bank card, which was my only source of funds, had expired on New Year’s Eve. Given the fact that it was the New Year holiday, the company was closed so I had no way of getting my salary until the office reopened. Therefore, I had approximately £1 to live off! During that time, I realised that I was able to survive; I was able to eat, drink and appreciate life. What I noticed around me were people with paper cups of coffee, food and bags bulging with shopping. It didn’t make me envious or hungry, if anything it just showed me the amount of unnecessary human consumption in the world. I felt like some of the poor people I walked past who had smiles on their faces and looked content. What I realised is that money sure doesn’t buy happiness and in fact not having money made me feel really carefree. I noticed things around me more and appreciated life. I’ll never forget that experience, it remains with me and I often refer to it.

Fasting can be done for health or spiritual reasons. Spiritual fasting cleans the body and mind and feeds the spirit. Fasting increases energy and extends life. I can personally recommend it to anyone wishing to detoxify the body and mind; it’s worked wonders for me anyway.