Today is my birthday and it’s -10 degrees outside. My birthday lunch plans were rescheduled due to the extreme cold. Does this bother me? No, because I’ve learned that birthdays come and go but my life experiences will last forever. For instance . . .
Twelve years ago I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and given a six percent chance of survival. As dreadful as that sounds, I survived. The past 12 years have been a blessing to me and I will never take these years of life for granted. I’ve learned more about myself and this world than I ever dreamed. My greatest blessing was that I had the resilience to survive and see my wedding day! I am grateful for this miracle.
Yes, my wedding day is a miracle. I lived long enough to watch as our Minnesota governor sign the “Love is the law” legislation on May 14, 2013, making marriage legal for same sex partners. My wife, Rita, was at my side while I went through surgeries after surgeries, chemotherapy, two near death experiences — all to heal from cancer. And she is still by my side as life entertains and baffles us.
I’m grateful for this birthday today to remind me of all the people and things I hold dear. I’m a fortunate woman with a blistering past, but today I am whole and healed. Thank you Divine Spirit for all the good people in my life and the immense love that I feel every day.
I didn’t give up because I believe in love, truth, healing, and hope.
NEVER GIVE UP! EVER!!!
Hi Never Give Up Institute Blog Readers:
I so apologize for not updating my blog site for a while. I’ve been in a funk lately — yes, it happens to all of us. I’ve started a new novel and I’m thrilled to be back in the land of fiction. I’m resorting to fiction because, frankly, reality is too scary for me. Every morning I search the newspaper headlines for some hope that our world isn’t going down the drain. But, alas, the news is all about what we can’t do rather then what we can do.
I attended the Women’s March in January in St. Paul, MN. I was there to add my presence to the six million people (my alternate fact) who feel the funk like I do. It was an amazing day! We were surrounded by a peaceful recognition that our country is seriously in trouble. And, our MN legislators know it, too. I found several hours of solidarity with people who believe in hope and not fear. If we want something to change we often must fight for it. I’m a funk fighter.
My calendar today has the quote: “There is so much that [the Divine Spirit] wants to show you, but your fear gets in the way. Give it to [her], right here, right now.” And this is what I’m going to do right here, right now. I understand now that my funk is really fear and I need to find a sense of hope. I’m glad to have my calendar to help me understand my feelings. So here I go . . .
I LOVE my country! I LOVE my freedom! I LOVE my friends and family! I LOVE my life! I LOVE my wife and dog!!! And, I LOVE the Divine Spirit for protecting me from fear!
Okay, I feel so much better. I hope you do, too.
NEVER GIVE UP LOVE & HOPE!!!
Okay, I admit I lost my soul after last year’s election day. We didn’t reach the outcomes I wanted, and I didn’t see how I could possibly live in a country where misogyny and predator behavior is lauded. I even stopped praying. I gave up the hope that our world was being watched over and protected, and that right is always right. Dark clouds seemed to be everywhere and I knew I wasn’t alone in my feelings and fears.
Then I opened a 2017 calendar I got for Christmas. The quote for the day read, “Don’t be afraid. The Great Spirit loves you. And she has heard your prayer.”
WOW! Was my prayer really heard? The quote prodded my soul and I began to feel love trickle into my being. I spent 40 days and 40 nights in terror and now I was told to be unafraid. What am I afraid of? Of course, it’s always the things I have no control over, like hatred, abuse, and ignorance. I only have control over me! So, it’s time for me to stop being afraid and to start living again. I need to start today and take small steps in reviving my soul.
I hope you will take today and revive your soul, too. Fear can’t exist where love does. Choose to love yourself and others — even if they don’t have the same beliefs as you. Maybe they are trying to teach us something new. If we turn away we may never see the true miracle.
It’s a new year — zoom, zoom your soul!
And, never give up!
[Damiian Mario Lang is in my writer’s group. He shared this writing with us and I was so moved I asked him for permission to reprint it here. He thankfully agreed. I ask that you read his words with the love he wrote them with and with an open soul.]
The spirit of Making Love is in the heart of the human being. There are so many more of us now, aching, reaching out, speaking up, connecting, and expressing this spirit of our hearts. It’s an evolutionary surge, a revolution of emotional exuberance. This emotional awakening is a rapids flowing into a massive integrity of loving kindness.
One of the beautiful things about this emotional exuberance is that it is pushing the old traditional beliefs up to the surface, exposing them for the no longer functional ways of relating. Take Donald Trump, please, somebody take him and love him into loving himself. He represents the old crusty painfully wrong dysfunctional way of relating — the dying patriarchy. People have moved on from this abusive dark age mentality. It’s clear we are seeing him for what he is, a misguided, deeply wounded, reptilian brain dominated human. The collective consciousness will not allow this kind of perspective to live much longer. This is beautiful! This is a natural course of evolution. We evolve involuntarily. Our hearts are the center of our spiritual connection to the larger mystery of the cosmos. Mental power without heart tends to strengthen the ego. We are becoming more emotionally aware, braver than before, less tolerant of abuses that are clearly not progress. It is this surge, this bravery, this awakening emotionally that is happening across this country that is at the core of Making Love!
Your ability to choose to open your heart is the healing we all need. Your inner world is a priority over the outer world. When that awareness hits you, you begin to know and understand how the universe operates within the human being. When you start to accept your feelings as meaningful ingredients rather than scary unwanted disturbances, your heart grows. By putting attention on your heart, which is your emotional field of play, you start a habit of feeling and feeling leads to knowing. We have been taught that our mental powers are the best — #1. When we start learning how to live with our opening hearts, we come to realize that being the best or #1 is not as important as a strong courageous integrity of love. By integrity I mean a container, we are containers of love. We have been taught that love is soft, squishy, girly, pie in the sky, undefinable and basically just a fleeting feeling. The premise was that Love happens in fairy tales, movies, books, poems but not in the real world. Love is real. Love is real in the world because it’s real in me. And because I have come to have faith in love I see it and feel it and experience it out in the world. Love lives inside your heart. Love is so strong and constant it’s like a raging waterfall endlessly pouring forth, constantly beating against our hearts…our fearful, scared, hurt, wounded, tired, abused, lonely hearts. I’ve come to know that the saying is true, we are either choosing fear or love in any given moment.
Love is expansive, it grows and blossoms, it’s gloriously beautiful, radiantly warm, overwhelmingly powerful. What’s in our hearts causes us to surrender in a puddle of utter release. In those moments we feel the oneness, the integrity that all of us are connected by. Love is our essential being. If your heart is hardened it’s really difficult to initiate heartfelt anything, including valuing human life. Healing needs to happen. Love heals.
The littlest gesture of kindness and friendliness in public is healing. Wearing colorful friendly clothing in public is a kind gesture. Being fully present out in public is a revolutionary act of loving your self. People love people who are fully present. It shows they care. Caring is love in motion. People all over this country are opening their hearts and starting to care. The emotional world of humans is just beginning to be explored and comprehended. It’s powerful beyond our knowing but it is not a power to be afraid of. We do know that this thing we call our heart has shown us consistent kindness and caring. Trust your heart. Trust the essence of love that you are.
Although I am male by definition of my body, I see myself as a fluctuating, persistently balancing, emotional field of energy, intelligently conscious field of energy, contained in a physical form of energy, governed by an essentially invisible mysterious life source, with the capacity to make real what’s imagined. It’s my belief that my heart, my emotional field of power is my true north.
I am a feeler and I play on the feeling team and we are undefeated, there’s no contest. Go team Go!! Love, love, love!!!
In gratitude and honor of all loving human beings,
Damiian Mario Lang
Who is Damiian Mario Lang?
Damiian Mario Lang lives in Minneapolis. He has a loving history of theatre, creative writing, and leadership experience. He loves mountain biking at Theodore Wirth Parkway, hanging out with friends, strangers, dogs, and wild places where nature is abundant. Damiian is currently finishing a book and exploring the urban scene of connection. Truth be told he’s been daydreaming about cross-country skiing since May, which is when he arrived here from Grass Valley California. Damiian is a native of Dinkytown and would happily blow your mind with stories of the 1970s if you so inquire. His door is open to all depths of connecting, playing, learning, and growing. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks, Damiian, for sharing your feelings and for never giving up on love.
For many adults, it’s difficult to understand why a child would ever be silent about the fact they are being abused and not actively seek help. Countless courtroom juries charged with determining the fate of alleged perpetrators have questioned that same behavior, often leading to doubts of the validity of abuse charges or claims. After all, who in their right mind would ever put up with horrible treatment without trying to find refuse or stop it?
In most cases, the sad fact is children will NOT immediately tell someone they’re being abused. As we peel the layers of the child abuse disclosure onion and try to understand what may seem to be odd behavior to many, please keep these key child abuse facts in mind:
- Over 90% of abused children know, love or trust their abuser. So, in the majority of cases, the person harming the child is NOT a stranger and, in fact, may be a caretaker or someone providing the child’s basic needs (i.e., food, shelter, clothing, etc.).
- Nearly 65% of all child abuse happens at the hands of a parent, step-parent, relative OR boyfriend/girlfriend of the parent.
- Around 40% of child sexual abuse is committed by a family member. The younger the victim, the more likely the perpetrator is a family member: 1) under 6 years of age, 50% of perpetrators were family members; 2) ages 12-17, 23% were family members. (Snyder 2000)
Disclosure is a process, not a one-time event.
It’s extremely common for children to keep abuse to themselves or slowly disclose abuse over a period of time. In fact, 73% of child victims do not tell anyone they have been abused for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years, while still others never disclose their abuse (Smith et al., 2000; Broman-Fulks et al., 2007).
There are 8 primary reasons children remain silent about being abused:
1) “Keep this a secret.” In my humble opinion, this is the #1 reason children do not disclose. Abusers will direct children to keep the molestation or abuse a secret, sometimes making the child feel guilty or responsible that something bad will happen either to the abuser, the child or the child’s loved ones if the child “tells”. Children, especially younger ones, want to “behave” and “follow rules”, so if they are told to keep a secret, they often do their best to oblige.
2) Threats: The strength and courage of children never ceases to amaze me. Predators often threaten to harm a child or even someone a child loves like mom, dad or a sibling. Thinking they are protecting their families, they remain silent and go along with the abuse. Threats can also be made against a child’s pets. In fact, in the course of abuse investigations, children are often asked about how family members or friends treat their pets, as animals are often used as leverage or even tools to manipulate children in the course of abuse.
3) Fear: Sometimes kids are just flat-out scared or intimidated by the person abusing them. They may fear further retribution or more severe “punishment” from their abuser if someone finds out.
4) Love: Given that such a large percentage of children know their abusers, children often love the person harming them, be it a parent, sibling, another relative, boyfriend or girlfriend. They may know what’s happening is wrong, but will try to protect their abuser and keep quiet because they love them. Another example of love is when a child tries to protect the feelings of someone else. There are countless cases where a mother’s boyfriend sexually abuses a child and the child remains silent, so mom won’t be sad.
5) “No one will believe you” is an all-too-common seed planted into a child’s head by an abuser. Children are led to believe that even if they tried to talk about the abuse, people around them will think they are lying for one reason or another.
6) “It’s all YOUR fault” is another common blame-game perpetrators will play with children. They will lead kids to believe the abuse happened because of something the children did or didn’t do. In turn, kids often remain silent because they feel they caused the abuse. They may also fear getting in trouble if they believe they are at fault, so will keep abuse to themselves.
7) Grooming: sexual predators often “groom” children for abuse. They will test the waters and progressively become more sexual in their interactions with targeted children. Depending on the age or development of a child, the child may not know the predator’s actions are wrong. In fact, if grooming begins at a young age, this behavior may be all the child knows, so she views it as “normal”.
8) Dissociation: in order to deal with the stress or anxiety resulting from traumatic experiences, children will sometimes “dissociate”, defined as :”The splitting off of a group of mental processes from the main body of consciousness, as in amnesia.” Essentially, they forget (or suppress) the trauma. I’m not a doctor or psychologist, but it’s my understanding that dissociation can actually be helpful to someone *during* traumatic episodes or events, but it is not a healthy way of dealing with that trauma over the long haul.
PLUS one more…
9) Shame: sadly, victims of sexual abuse often feel an overwhelming sense of shame. Predators often shift blame for the abuse to victims, making them believe the abuse was their fault. Read more about “Shame Through A Survivor’s Eyes“.
In my next blog, we will address key points every child should know about keeping their bodies safe from sexual predators. These points will also help them feel comfortable coming forward and disclosing should they ever find themselves victims of abuse.
Reference: “Understanding and helping to prevent Child Sexual Abuse“, ©2008 Channing Bete Company, Inc.
About Ginger Kadlec
Raising awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse has become Ginger’s life mission. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, Ginger regularly blogs about child protection issues and has produced printable references for parents and other caring adults including “12 Scary Apps”. Click here for your free copy of this informative 13-page report. Along with her husband John and pets Lexi and Chase, Ginger enjoys traveling, skiing, hiking, brisk mornings, colorful sunsets and just hangin’ at home with “the Pack”.
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Thanks, Ginger, for your wisdom and care. Never give up!