Friday, February 25, 2011

Spirituality and healing from incest

Spirituality and healing from incest 
 © (2011) by Avigail Goldstein
 The Awareness Center's Daily Newsletter - February 25, 2011

I don’t know how old I was when I started being abused.  It was right after my fifth birthday that I decide I had to find a better place to live.  I truly believed I would be safer living in my childhood playground, then I was in my parents home.   My gut told me I had to leave.
As I was packing my suitcase, I heard my father coming up the stairs.  Out of panic, I ran and hid in my bedroom closet.  I was at the age that I believed that I could make myself invisible.  I remember trying to stay perfectly still, closing my eyes and did my best to slow down my breathing so my father couldn’t hear me.  
A strange thing happened as I was hiding. All of a sudden a bright light came around me.  Somehow I felt as if this light was holding me and acting as shielding.  I remember thinking no one could harm me as long as the light was around me.  I remember wanting to stay in this light forever.
As soon as I felt safe enough, I started looking up and noticed I could see through the light that surrounded me.  It was at that point I noticed several other small lights dancing around  and then saw them merge into the light that surrounded me.  
Suddenly I started hearing a voice speaking to me.  This voice wasn’t a voice you could hear like when someone is talking to you, it was as if the light could enter my mind and was echoing thoughts deep within my soul.  
I felt a great deal of comfort as the voice let me know that I was a part of the light.  It told me that everyone has choices to join the light or spend their life within darkness.  The voice continued saying it was not my time to merge into the light, and went on to say that I needed to stay in this world for now.  The voice told me that I was placed in my family for a reason, and that some day I would understand that reason.  It also let me know that there would be a time that I would use my abuse experiences to help others. 

During the time I was inside the light and as it was communicating with me, marked the first time in my life I felt so safe, nurtured and so unconditionally loved.
As the light slowly disappeared, I felt this immense sense of calmness within me.  I totally believe that the light kept me hidden and protected me from my father that night.
Throughout my childhood when the abuse got very intense, the light returned.  It felt as if it was holding me, and then somehow took the pain away.   The light would remind me to remember that no matter what, the light was within me.  The voice would always remind me to take deep breaths and to slowly exhale.  By doing so I would be able to disconnect from the physical pain and control my fears.
As a child I could never connect to the formal concept of G-d as I was being taught at my childhood synagogue.  I remember trying to ask my families rabbi about my experiences with the light, yet felt as if he discounted what I was trying to ask and say.  I also felt as if he thought I was asking childish questions.  As I got older I stopped sharing my experiences with the light with anyone, even though the light has always returned to me at times I felt helpless or hopeless.  It has always guided me though some very difficult situations.
I have never been able to connect to any form of organized religion, yet I always believed that the light was coming from a higher power, that was safe and really showed me unconditional love. 
Though I doubt my beliefs are based in the way Judaism is presented by our spiritual leaders, I do believe that each of us are born for a reason.  

From my heart I believe each of us can use our own personal power for the light or for darkness.  I also believe that if we are not able to accomplish our life purpose in this lifetime, we come back again and again, until we are successful -- and then are allowed to merge into the light for eternity.  
I personally believe that my high power is not a person, is not human, does not have a gender and does not believe in segregation of the sexes or that one religious belief system is better then another.
I realize my beliefs go against what most rabbis teach, yet I personally believe that what ever this high power is, really does not care if we daven (pray) correctly, keep all the mitzvah’s (which is totally humanly impossible), or does everything our rabbis tell us to do.   I think we all need to find a way to experience a connection to the light, which I personally found to be the most comforting way to heal.
Avigail Goldstein is a Jewish survivors of incest who has been working in the domestic violence field for many years. Avigail grew up in what she describes as a traditional Jewish family.  She is using a pseudonym to protect her identity. 


Anonymous said...

Avigail, I know exactly what you're saying in this article. I agree with you 100%.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you for writing this.