I suppose this letter manifests from the eclipse...or just from knowing...I didn't realize it at the time, but after my novel, Pushing Upward was published, I'd checked out for a while. So much angst had been pent up for so many years, I didn't know how to release the post partum, navigate those high and low tides. I only knew a move to New York was essential, as I needed to get back to my roots.
Shortly after the move, I went for a walk along Riverside Drive and stood in front of a building that looked like a castle. I continued to stand there, experiencing a powerful vibration emanating from the bricks. A man walked out of the door just then and I asked him, "What is this place?" He replied, "Come on in. I'll show you."
Long story short, I had entered the Fortune Society, a re-entry facility whose mission is to support men and women who have just come out of prison. (It didlook like a castle.) I started to attend their weekly meetings, meet the powers that be, and within a few weeks asked if I could offer a four-week course to the clients of The Castle (their nickname), as a pilot program.They saw my years of presenting workshops, my work at rehab and drug and alcohol facilities, and invited me into their home. The workshop, entitled "Choices: Creating a New Future," has been, to say the least, a mind-expanding experience.
After only a few weeks, my heart blew open as I watched participants transform. They experienced their souls' destinies and solidified them through a vision quest. They played and interacted via improvisational theater exercises, wrote down their visions, learned to meditate, moved through their fears, and mind-mapped their future.As each session progressed, they moved deeper and deeper into a new vision of themselves and how they wanted to be in the world.Working with men and women, some of whom spent up to 30 years incarcerated, now eager to create a better future for themselves, was heart-altering. They were so open, so receptive, so willing to step out of their comfort zones. Step by step, they dove into the unknown and shifted their perspectives. They began to understand that the only prison is the one created in the mind, not in an external space.
They taught me that those who have been in jail are people first. They reminded me how our society places them in a box, labels them, and casts them aside. You learn that most of them had very challenging lives. They were brought up in very difficult environments and, as a result, they made some very bad choices.
What can you say to someone who has been raped by everyone in her family? How do you not forgive someone whose parents beat them every day of their lives . . . until they were old enough to leave? How do we expect them to live productive lives and behave the way they "should" or to make good choices? How do we not have compassion, teach them they have choices, facilitate their awareness and inspire them to experience their own enlightenment?
I understand the 50 Shades of Rape now more than ever-and how easily we can become victims of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual rape-and how the repercussions of this act can be enormous.Offering my work at the Fortune Society has helped me to come to terms with the prison within my own mind. The experience has given me the courage to admit I was raped, and why I had to write Pushing Upward[www.pushingupward.com) in the first place . . . to face my own truth and to get out there and speak out about rape . . . because I had gone through it!
It doesn't matter if it happens once or multiple times - rape is the ultimate invasion! It changes you in ways that are humiliating and painful to admit. It took me years to unblock the trauma . . . years! But I stand in my power now, talking about it, writing about it, wanting to help others move through it. Remind them of the capacity it has to numb us, to stop us from succeeding, and to create futures that do not serve us. And as I createmy new future, I want to support other people to create new futures of their own.
So, in addition to consulting and offering Holistic PR workshops, I am supporting those challenged by overcoming their past.The people at the Fortune Society opened the door. I'm here to pay it forward.With great love and great respect,Andrea AdlerIf you know of an organization that may want the CHOICES: Creating a New Future program (re-entry facilities, rape crisis, victim services, sexual abuse survivors, girls at risk, etc.) in NYC, N.J. and CT., please let me know.I invite you to become part of the CHOICES story.
I'd like to be able to offer this program to facilities who are financially deficient.
If you would like to donate to the cause,
please send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Adler (See BLOG "50 Shades of Rape") on the Pushing Upward websitehttp://www.pushingupward.com/blog].