Limited Seats: August 2012 Workshop for The Telling production


Never Be Afraid to Say What You Feel!

Listen: Tara Brach, PhD on Trauma

Tara Brach, PhD in Clinical Psychology, is a leading western teacher of Buddhist meditation, emotional healing and spiritual awakening. She has practiced and taught meditation for over 35 years, with an emphasis on vipassana (mindfulness or insight) meditation.

Listen to the following segment from her Meditation and Psychotherapy series, which is available for purchase on her website:

Podcast Powered By Podbean

For Good Awards Nominee Marta Luzim

Give Her A Voice President Marta J. Luzim, MS (right) and Board Member Rita Munoz

Founder and President of Give Her A Voice, Marta J. Luzim, MS, was recognized as a nominee at the For Good Awards luncheon on February 14th, 2012, presented by the Community Foundation of Broward.









Why Lying Broken in a Pile on Your Bedroom Floor is a Good Idea – Julie (JC) Peters

“When I lost my faith all I had left was expectation.” Lara Luzim

Akhilandeshvari: The Goddess of never not broken.

Why Lying Broken in a Pile on Your Bedroom Floor is a Good Idea ~ Julie (JC) Peters

You know that feeling when you have just gone through a breakup, or lost your job, and everything is terrible and terrifying and you don’t know what to do, and you find yourself crying in a pile on your bedroom floor, barely able to remember how to use the phone, desperately looking for some sign of God in old letters, or your Facebook newsfeed or on Glee, finding nothing there to comfort you?

Come on, yes you do. We all do.

And there is a goddess from Hindu mythology that teaches us that, in this moment, in this pile on the floor, you are more powerful than you’ve ever been.

This past week, I have been deeply inspired by a talk I heard on the Yoga Teacher Telesummit by Eric Stoneberg on this relatively unknown Goddess from Hindu mythology: Akhilandeshvari.

This figure has snuck up inside me and settled into my bones. She keeps coming out of my mouth every time I teach, and she’s given me so much strength and possibility during a time of change and uncertainty in my own life. I wanted to unpack a little bit about who she is for those that might be, like me, struggling a little bit in that pile on the floor and wondering how the hell to get up again.

The answer, it turns out, is this: in pieces, warrior-style, on the back of a crocodile. Yee ha.“Ishvari” in Sanskrit means “goddess” or “female power,” and the “Akhilanda” means essentially “never not broken.” In other words, The Always Broken Goddess. Sanskrit is a tricky and amazing language, and I love that the double negative here means that she is broken right down to her name.

But this isn’t the kind of broken that indicates weakness and terror.

It’s the kind of broken that tears apart all the stuff that gets us stuck in toxic routines, repeating the same relationships and habits over and over, rather than diving into the scary process of trying something new and unfathomable.

Akhilanda derives her power from being broken: in flux, pulling herself apart, living in different, constant selves at the same time, from never becoming a whole that has limitations.

The thing about going through sudden or scary or sad transitions (like a breakup) is that one of the things you lose is your future: your expectations of what the story of your life so far was going to become. When you lose that partner or that job or that person, your future dissolves in front of you.

And of course, this is terrifying.

But look, Akhilanda says, now you get to make a choice. In pieces, in a pile on the floor, with no idea how to go forward, your expectations of the future are meaningless. Your stories about the past do not apply. You are in flux, you are changing, you are flowing in a new way, and this is an incredibly powerful opportunity to become new again: to choose how you want to put yourself back together. Confusion can be an incredible teacher—how could you ever learn if you already had it all figured out?

This goddess has another interesting attribute, which is, of course, her ride: a crocodile.

Crocodiles are interesting in two ways: Firstly, Stoneberg explains that the crocodile represents our reptilian brain, which is where we feel fear. Secondly, the predatory power of a crocodile is not located in their huge jaws, but rather that they pluck their prey from the banks of the river, take it into the water, and spin it until it is disoriented. They whirl that prey like a dervish seeking God, they use the power of spin rather than brute force to feed themselves.

By riding on this spinning, predatory, fearsome creature, Akhilanda refuses to reject her fear, nor does she let it control her. She rides on it. She gets on this animal that lives inside the river, inside the flow. She takes her fear down to the river and uses its power to navigate the waves, and spins in the never not broken water. Akhilanda shows us that this is beautiful. Stoneberg writes:

Akhilanda is also sometimes described in our lineage like a spinning, multi-faceted prism. Imagine the Hope Diamond twirling in a bright, clear light. The light pouring through the beveled cuts of the diamond would create a whirling rainbow of color. The diamond is whole and complete and BECAUSE it’s fractured, it creates more diverse beauty. Its form is a spectrum of whirling color.

Photo: Justin Graham

That means that this feeling of confusion and brokenness that every human has felt at some time or another in our lives is a source of beauty and colour and new reflections and possibilities.

If everything remained the same, if we walked along the same path down to the river every day until there was a groove there (as we do; in Sanskrit this is called Samskara, habits or even “some scars”), this routine would become so limited, so toxic to us that, well, the crocs would catch on, and we’d get plucked from the banks, spun and eaten.

So now is the time, this time of confusion and brokenness and fear and sadness, to get up on that fear, ride it down to the river, dip into the waves, and let yourself break. Become a prism.

All the places where you’ve shattered can now reflect light and colour where there was none. Now is the time to become something new, to choose a new whole.

But remember Akhilanda’s lesson: even that new whole, that new, colourful, amazing groove that we create, is an illusion. It means nothing unless we can keep on breaking apart and putting ourselves together again as many times as we need to. We are already “never not broken.” We were never a consistent, limited whole. In our brokenness, we are unlimited. And that means we are amazing.


Julie (JC) Peters has been practicing yoga on and off from the tender age of 12, and it has gotten her through everything from the horrors of teenagedom to a Master’s degree in Canadian Poetry. She teaches creative and dynamic vinyasa flow, calm and fluid Hatha, meditative Yin yoga, and fiery core strength classes. Julie owns East Side Yoga Studio in Vancouver with Coco Finaldi, and is also a freelance writer and spoken word poet.

Quote by Michael Meade

This is a quote by Michael Meade (an author) taken from an interview
with him in the November 2011 issue of The Sun magazine, I liked
especially the line on what limits us:

“There are many things that constrain our lives, that limit us
somehow, whether it be a family history, a genetic predisposition, a
specific fault, or an omission that wounds us…I call these limits we
did not choose, but that we must live with, “fate.” When we face our
fate, we find our destiny, which is our soul’s destination in life.
That which limits us has within it the seeds of that which can help us
transcend our limitations. Through the exact twists of fate we find
our own unique soul.”

Letter to My Rapist by SSS

“Forgiveness, although frequently recommended by well-meaning (and not so well meaning) people, is not necessarily a stage of the healing process. Although some survivors naturally reach a place of
forgiveness after moving through the other stages of healing, it is not necessary to forgive the abuser in order to heal. Forgiveness is a personal choice and a personal experience, but it’s not the end of the healing process or the ultimate goal of healing.”

—  Laura Davis, Allies in Healing

“The black moment is the moment is when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”
—  Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Most want to say, ‘we are spiritual first’. But I see it that we are human first, and that is what makes the spiritual journey complex. Our spirit and soul guide us through this human experience, which is both painful and joyful. It is not one or the other. To forget the pain is to forget ourselves, our humanness and the millions of people who are still struggling to overcome tragedy and trauma.

Compassion comes from knowing pain. If we hide this pain then we can never build the spiritual and emotional strength to find the love our pain seeks.

No one can tell us what will heal us. No book, no theory, no doctrine, no practice. We can follow certain guidelines, rituals and the footsteps of others who have reached healing, but only we can know, through individual struggle and suffering, the answer that works. We need the support and guidance of others. But we need to be vigilant to find a wise teacher who can hold pain and know
joy at the same time. Someone who themselves has learned what self-acceptance and peace means to them through their own suffering. Who can help point the way. To allow for all human experience and expression to exist on every dimension and in every form.

To process this pain takes a holistic approach, a deeper ancient knowing and a deep hunger to reclaim our human heart and soul. It is not a perfect journey. And that is why the process of healing is human. It takes courage, surrender, impeccability, creativity, commitment and focus to stay on track of this deep transformation of the human spirit.

Read this poignant, fierce letter. Be open to what you feel and think.

Thank you for this sharing. May it be a blessing and validation to those who read it. This letter is what Give Her A Voice is about. To hold the space and forum for all who want to become whole from the effects and symptoms of complex trauma through their individual expression.

Letter to My Rapist
by SSS
I was a new mother. My daughter nearly four. I was young, at 26, but had seen more than most. I was sweet, beautiful, and I was strong.
Do you remember me?
That day that I went in to the bar where you tended to celebrate the end of a semester at school.
Full time mother, full time at work, and full time at school.
I deserved to relax and have fun.
We were friends, more than from time to time, and you fed me free shots. I think I had fun but it’s hazy.
Closing time.
I was driving home and gave you a ride. I should NOT have been driving but, hey, we all make stupid choices sometimes.
Even you.
Remember the stupid choice YOU made that night?
It goes like this…
Somehow you came into my house. My recollection is that you lived near to me so the ride that I offered was to get you home.
I sauntered into my house (luckily my daughter was safely with a sitter) and went straight to my bed which is, often, the case when people are wasted returning home from a bar.
Upon lying down, I got the spins so I got up from my bed, took off my shirt, and went to the toilet where I laid my head for long enough to vomit and pass out a few times in the dark.
When I felt my stomach and dizziness was eased, I returned to my bed and passed out. Ya know, PASSED OUT. From too much alcohol. I am sure that you, and other ladies like me, have been there numerous times.
What I woke to was you on top of me riding my limp body. My eyes opened, most likely, from the jolt of you entering me without me being wet. Without my permission. I wan’t even conscious.
I have ONE split second memory of you pumping me because I passed back out.
When I woke the next morning, I was naked in my bed, allowing the pieces of the night to fall into place. Alone with the knowledge that I had been raped.
By you.
I was a fucking Crisis Counselor for The Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center. I ADVOCATED for women who had been raped at hospitals. I KNEW that what you had done to me was WRONG yet I did not call the authorities.
Inside of me, I felt what so many women feel when raped because of what our society has taught us – that we, somehow, deserved it.
That, because you and I had been agreeably intimate in the past, you had a right to fuck me without my consent. Or, maybe, it was because my father sexually abused me and I felt frozen by what you had done to me.
So TRAUMATIZED that what you did to me STILL LIVES in me to this day.
It is a story I tell often to counselors and to men with whom I am intimate but cannot bring myself to trust. “I have been raped”, I say, and your face comes into my mind. Your face over top of me while you raped me.
You seemed to be enjoying yourself. Did you use a condom? Did you ejaculate inside of me? There was no evidence of it when I woke.
No acknowledgment of it when I confronted you about it.
I went back to your bar and wrote DANO IS A RAPIST on a stall in the girls bathroom.
In the process of needing to feel heard, I discovered that you had done that to another girl in our “circle”. Same scenario.
You were, in fact, in a relationship with your current wife.
I will be sure to forward this to her. Not that she doesn’t know all the evil things you have done. I would venture to believe that she was sexually abused as a child too. Ya know, to stay with a man
who continually cheated on her by raping other women.
Me writing this letter to you will not take away that memory or that trauma. I will always have been raped by you. My entire life.
It has affected me on deep levels.
Self Esteem, Trust, Boundaries, Anxiety.
Every time I have a panic attack, you are there. Every time I push someone away, you are there. Every time I say “no” and my voice isn’t heard. Every time I pick myself bloody to ease the internal
In these ways and more, you will always remain a rapist.
I do not forgive you.
I wish you nothing but to be fucked, beyond your control, in return.

Write your own letter or story…from these lines by Louise Gluck, Wild Iris…or use your own…

I did not expect to survive

I didn’t expect to waken again

Remembering after so long how to open again


Recommended Resources
Click the book titles for Amazon links:

Still Hurting? Find Health! Discover What’s Behind Your Symptoms (That Doctors Can’t Explain) by William B. Salt II, M.D. and Thomas L. Hudson, M.Div., J.D. –

Allies In Healing by Laura

The Courage to Heal by Laura

Join Give Her A Voice’s Online Cocktail Party!

The Hands of God

Photo taken in Alabama

Bob Frew sent this out:

“I took this picture on Int. 20, traveling to Leeds, AL. It has given me strength in the times of  trouble. I feel I should share it with the rest of the world. I hope it is an inspiration to you. It just goes to show what we already know…We have a God, and he’s watching over us.

I e-mailed this picture to News Channel Fox 6. I was contacted by Meteorologist James Spann. He said that this picture of the sky is showing up in all states and around the world. He wanted to know where I was from and  where I took it. He saw a similar picture taken in Texas. He said this is amazing to him.

Would you look at this picture? It reminds me of that song ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands.’ He is definitely in control. I needed this today more than ever. Enjoy and pass it along!”

Greatest Lessons on the Oprah Show