This was written by a student on retreat, April 2014. I encouraged her to write this after hearing and feeling her story, and it’s one of the most compelling pieces I’ve ever read. Please, take these words to your heart and share with friends for whom this is relevant. Know that this is possible, this transformation of deep pain into lasting peace. -Elena
From L., student.
This letter was born out of a complex and all too common experience of childhood abuse and neglect. My hope for those who read this letter of gratitude to my childhood perpetrator is that you will be inspired to gather your courage to transform your pain into peace. My vision for life, born out of this childhood experience, is to make the world beautiful. True beauty reveals itself when we embrace our shadow and light with grace. True beauty also reveals itself when we embrace our vulnerability and value rather than our violence and silence.
I was invited to write a letter of gratitude to my childhood perpetrator by Elena on our yoga retreat. Initially, I hesitated to receive such an invitation as I was concerned about being re-traumatized. However, some small whisper within asked me to soften and listen, indicating to me that I was indeed ready for such a task. Elena suggested it would not be for him, the perpetrator, but rather to release myself from all energy related to the experience. I was intrigued and resistant. I had spent the last three years devoted to my healing and was not prepared to unravel myself. That evening I began to consider her invitation. I said my prayers, asking Spirit to help me become clear on just what it was that I could be grateful for.
The next morning I awoke with my answer. I then set to work to write the following letter. Once I had finished writing this letter I had an automatic and powerful energetic shift in my being that released me from the deep grip of the traumatic experience. I shared this letter with a small group of people, some friends, many strangers, all dear to me, which was another liberating moment as I used my voice to break the all too common pattern of silence. It was incredible to be heard, validated, and held by a community of witnesses.
May we each find what we need within ourselves to take our next, just-right step inour personal journeys and pursuits of living fully alive.
Thank you for being exactly who you are… a perpetrator. Thank you also for being one of my greatest challenges, teachers, and sources of inspiration. From the eyes of a child, growing up with you was a horrendous hell of fear, pain, suffering, loneliness, rejection, and abandonment. I lived believing I was unwanted, unloved, and unworthy of belonging, love, and connection. I retreated and hid the most natural, precious, authentic, and right part of me deep into a cave when I had the birthright to be free, to explore, to grow, to dance, to become…to just be. I was left feeling never enough and so very confused and disoriented. Too scared to dream, filled with shame and unable to make sense of the dark world. I felt many things: frozen, trapped, hunted, stalked, stuck, caged, almost dead within, a shell of a human, barely able to breathe.
As a result of the years of horror I have discovered the clarity of my convictions, the value of love and kindness, how to listen to and be guided by my intuition. Because of the years of childhood abuse I now know my strength, tenacity and determination. I have learned how to sit with feelings of deep despair and thoughts of death, and rather than succumb to them, to reach instead for heaven, pulling promises of paradise into my heart to give me fire to live another day. I have learned that victory is possible, that demons can be shaken off, and that in suffering there is also overcoming, transformation and, yes indeed, liberation. I have retreated and I have also reemerged. My shame is being redeemed. I am reintroducing myself to my self. I am gathering my medicines for healing and gathering my power through this journey into the dark night of the soul. So thank you, thank you, thank you: for showing me through contrary teachings the way to connect with my inspirations, commitments, obligations, hopes, and passions.
Thank you for leading me to this very moment where I release you to stand in my own truth, light and glory, my own power, beauty and presence, my own worth, sacredness, wellness, goodness and my own breath.
Thank you for leading me to this very moment where I release you to stand in love with my own life…fully alive.
I now know I have a right to be here.
Because of you, my perpetrator, I am clear on this… I dedicate, yes, I devote my life to the children of this world, the little ones within and all around, yours, mine, ours.
To do all I can within my power, ability, and love to serve them.
To be a vigilant, protective, and nurturing adult who supports the flourishing growth of their radiant spirits.
To be one who vows, yes, I vow, to serve the children, the little ones within and all around, yours, mine, ours… with offerings of beauty and grace,
with offerings of respect and deep listening,
with offerings of affirmation and adoration.
I vow to serve the children, the little ones within and all around, yours, mine, ours, with small acts completed in the service of great love.
My heart is filled with my inheritance as a daughter, of the goddess and the great god who created me, yes, my heart is filled with my inheritance, my inheritance, of compassion and joy.
Let suffering cease.
Let compassion reign.
Let joy reign.
These are my convictions, obligations, and responsibilities. This is my contribution, passion, and hope; this is my yes!
From this day forward let me be known as a woman who stands her ground, defends her peace, fights fiercely for innocence, believe in the rightness of life – yours, mine, and ours.
From this day forward let me be known as a woman who radiates healing light, who paints the world in rainbow light, who bears a flag for love, who waves a banner saluting our transformation and yes our liberation, who holds hope for humanity – yours, mine, and ours.
From this day forward let me be known as a woman who stands in the glory of her beauty, so that we may all. Let me be known as a woman who stands in the gap, lives as a bridge, embodies the energy of a champion for the possibility of our greatness. Yes, let us be children, men and women, of greatness, who live in harmony – yours, mine, and ours.
From this day forward let me be known as a woman who embodies the Goddess. Let me be known as a woman who lives by and is ruled by love. A woman who in loving, loves; and who in being loved, loves more.
I welcome love into my life, I welcome love: fully, completely, truly, richly, vibrantly, sensationally, magnificently, and phenomenally into every facet of my being and my living.
Thank you for this sweet and savory blessing.
The curse is broken; the blessing lives!
Yes, it is so, this is truth, this is my truth.
May I live my life this way: liberated. May I live to aim and shoot arrows of truth in the direction of harmony with precision, clarity, and intention. May I help myself, as well as others, connect to their medicine, within. And on my dying day, as I lay my head to rest, releasing my spirit from this earth, may my heart be glad that not only was I born as a child into a life of pain but that I birthed myself from pain into a rich, full life of peace and beauty.