Grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
the courage to change
the things I can,
and the wisdom to
know the difference.
- Serenity Prayer
All that we stand for and worked so hard for seems to be slipping through our fingers . . .
Today, we received the shattering news of another strike -- this time in beautiful Barcelona. Thousands if not millions who've been impacted by the incomprehensible, vicious intentions of rising neo-nazi's, alt-right groups, and terrorists who are trying to deeply hurt and cripple as many unassuming victims as possible with pointed hate propaganda and the appalling events and attacks of the last few days. My heart goes out to all who will need to recover from the unbearable heartbreak, devastation, and misery that was willfully inflicted on them, their loved ones, their core identity and integrity.
It's only natural to feel a sense of rock-bottom, hopeless despair in regard to the state of humanity right now, considering the dubious leadership in handling these overwhelming societal problems that only seem to get worse each passing day. It's a feeling that is very familiar to me. I spent months and years there, digging into the cracks of the floor and walls, when all that I knew came crashing down on me in my early adolescence due to a military coup and hatred striking terror and chaos in our lives.
All I had was prayer and my connection to the divine. I didn't recite the exact words of the serenity prayer but I walked a very fine line not spending energy that was related to my ego-mind's desires and wishes how things ought to be. Not because that didn't matter. I had to discipline myself if I wanted to remain sane and not lose myself completely. I studied acceptance for years on end and it involved a lot of trial and error, from stuffing everything down to emotional explosion.
I learned that acceptance does not mean approval. Nor minimizing, rationalizing, repressing, bypassing, numbing, denial, avoidance.
On the contrary. It makes room for all that is. It has everything to do with my relationship to mystery and the divine. It has everything to do with service and devotion, with deep understanding of my human limitations and my ability to bring forth just a speck of the divine. It has to do with hairsplitting discernment. With self-care, not only for self preservation and survival, but as deep knowing and respect for my own energetic body as an expression of the sacred, however minuscule that is compared to the real thing. It has to do with humility and shining brightly at the same time.
It has to do with paradox and aligning fully with mystery, with deep understanding of how to nourish, protect, and empower myself for the greater good and knowing that nothing, especially not dark intention, will get me to dim my light and shake up my foundation of peace and love. I've finally learned that it's an indestructible, inherent part of me, and runs deeper than my bone marrow. It will still be there after my body decomposes. It's untouchable, unalterable.
The rule or law that caring means matching the darkness in others or what a situation warrants is the biggest BS story imprisoning us these days and manipulates the hell out of us. It causes us to energize darkness and its use of disempowerment, fear, helplessness, and despair to trap us.
Being whole and of light doesn't mean no capacity to feel pain, sadness, rage, disgust, devastation, outrage, worry, or any of these feelings. Nor that these feelings are darkness. Darkness is not accepting these feelings or not giving enough space to them and all other feelings. As a result, they can't fully regroup and reset our soul's natural state of wholeness.
Acceptance allows us to feel each and all of these, even in their most concentrated form, separate or together, and then some. The then some is the space to also feel care, concern, compassion, hope, love, simultaneously or as an unfolding process.
I thank my heartache, loss, and years of pain and devastation for teaching me one of the most valuable lessons in life and I hope to expand the sacred space that I hold for deep healing, raw and real feelings by offering an opportunity to practice and own this stance of fierce compassion and this kind of life philosophy with whoever it resonates with. I AM HERE. You know where to find me.
Wonder Woman's Success:
Are We Ready for Large-Scale Amazon Archetype Awakenings?
(press release - Amazon Wisdom Keeper)
According to Box Office Mojo, the recent blockbuster, Wonder Woman, ranked #8 in the top 100 superhero movies of the last forty years. These are impressive break-through stats, but it's important to place them into historical context. Electra, Cat Woman, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, are the only other female superhero movies on this chart and their ranking ranged from #83 to #98.
Just months before Wonder Woman raked in megabucks, the movie was considered "risky" and "unpredictable." This was not because Gal Gadot's star quality or the movie's cast or execution were lackluster and mediocre. Gal inherited make-or-break pressure (to blaze a trail for all girls and women interested in making and benefiting from similar movies) purely because she's a woman and prior superhero movies with female leads have fared poorly. This glass-ceiling is a familiar one and not unique to the movie industry. It happens in many male-dominated career fields, and, sadly, women in leadership positions carry the brunt of this unfair burden.
What will happen to the dragon that was awakened in the millions of girls and women with strong leadership potential who victoriously celebrated Wonder Woman's larger-than-life stereotype-busting superpowers (that still only scraped the surface)? Were they the same girls and women who readily hitched onto the "Like a Girl" reframe campaign by Always, and resolutely protested in the Women's March in Washington on January 21, 2017, the largest in US history?
Where are they now? Do their inner flames and inner Amazon warriors fizzle out when fighting the many battles to reach the top without much-needed support and guidance? Do they eventually get swallowed up by bouts of hopelessness, depression, crazy-making doubts and anxiety?
Loraine Van Tuyl deeply explores these questions in her debut memoir, Amazon Wisdom Keeper: A Psychologist's Memoir of Spiritual Awakening. She first dreams of writing a book at age 8 after reading Anne Frank's diary. Her book would be a "parenting" book to show adults what really goes on in the minds of Anne Frank-Joan of Arc-Helen Keller hybrids, like her, who have important gifts to share.
But before she reaches puberty, a military coup uproots her family. They move to Miami, and leave chaos, tyranny, and a close-knit community behind. Lost and devastated, she dallies in darkness throughout her adolescence. After a redeeming love leads her back to her childhood convictions, she recounts her rich spiritual upbringing and the story of her spontaneous initiation as a graduate psychology student and budding shamanic healer who's blindsided by startling visions, drumming, and her inseverable mystical ties to the Amazon rainforest of her native Suriname.
Along this trying path of unlayering and continuous awakenings, she relentlessly challenges both her soul's wisdom and what her field aims to do--to help people reclaim their inner wholeness--through her lens as a mental health professional as well as the bright and hopeful eyes of her heroine-inspired child-self.
Loraine Van Tuyl has forged a liberating path for those at the margins just as her ancestors once did. It is an absolute must for psychotherapists and healthcare providers seeking to make conscious social change.
- Tala Khanmalek, PhD, Research Associate, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Princeton University
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Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD, CHT, is a holistic psychologist, Depth Hypnosis shamanic practitioner, dynamic speaker, WomanSpeak leader, and award-winning author of Amazon Wisdom Keeper: a Psychologist’s Memoir of Spiritual Awakening.
She believes that the most effective way to heal and renature our denatured, patriarchal world is by excavating and supporting women’s deep wells of wisdom, bold dreams and soulful missions. Her two decade devotion to supporting fierce, wise women had led to the empowerment of hundreds of global game-changers in the fields of psychology, holistic health, academia, the arts, renewable energy, social justice, and entrepreneurship through her workshops, online presence, and at her holistic private practice, the Sacred Healing Well. Within the transformative framework of her signature Soul Sanctuary Alchemy self-healing model, she teaches them how to Be (a) Well and cultivate unwavering trust in their creative powers, clarity and intuitive ingenuity that’s honed by Gaia’s sacred 7 directions and their own dream team of spirit guides.
Her work has appeared in Elephant Journal and Birdie, and she is a regular contributor of Thrive Global and Rebelle Society. She has presented at the UC Berkeley Counseling Center (multiple times), the American Center for the Integration of Transformative Experiences, and the Native American Health Center, and has been interviewed by the Amazon Conservation Team, Divine Insight, All Things Therapy, Conscious Talk, Good Vibrations, Power your Life, Love your Life, Replenish Me, and more.