If your know much about me or you’ve been following the Dancing Hands Journey on our Facebook pages, you may know that I’m a survivor of horrific intimate violence many years ago, and an advocate for women, children, and families adversely impacted by such violence – working most diligently with my beloved 1736 Family Crisis Center (13 shelters in LA County for families women, children, Vets, and homeless teens), as well as people everywhere. My story is part of a saga that hasn’t yet been fully told as my perpetrator still walks free even though he went on to hurt other women. It’s a long story for another time, but gives context to the following.
Almost two years ago I received a message from a woman who knew my story and because she was terribly worried about her niece, she asked if I could speak with her. Amanda, the niece, had recently survived a brutal attack in her bedroom while her new infant baby slept in the room beside hers and her husband, children, and extended family were celebrating at a big, noisy party in their backyard. Amanda was understandably depressed and anxious about her attacker, still at large, and was battling with serious PTSD making it hard to return to her important job at the hospital. And although my hands had just begun to dance when we had our first conversation, I simply listened, quietly as they “took in the information,” and counseled her about next best steps with reporting, important therapy, and how to move forward in the healthiest, most supportive way. We talked many times before I shared with her about how my own assault, while brutal, also taught me the protection that lays within me (and all if we can access it), and that roared to life to help me escape. I told her I was sure she, too, had that same protection and then I shared more – I told her about the gift of my dancing hands and shared that while it sounded kind of kooky it was in fact, helping many people inexplicably feel more peaceful, positive, balanced despite what the picture of life was throwing at them. I asked if she’d like to just see if it might help her get on her feet again. And she said yes.
For those who have heard this story before, I will share what happened next and then more I’ve not yet shared with anyone…. Sometimes when my hands dance I simply observe the energy moving. Sometimes I hear things – insights, suggestions, stories, and clues, even questions for me to ask. And sometimes I see things and/or hear things. As I danced with Amanda on the phone, not seeing her at all, not knowing what she looked like or where she lived a whole landscape presented itself to me. I saw at a distance a woman in a very specific color of blue, veiled, but upright and bending over from time to time to grasp a long, running fence.
I asked Amanda, “Do you live on a farm?”
“No,” she replied.
“Well, it looks like Mother Mary is here outside on a ranch or farm. Are you a Catholic?” I asked.
“Not practicing…” Amanda answered.
“Well, Mother Mary is here – and while I usually see her up close, I recognized the color of blue she is wearing — a heavenly blue weave, not of this earth – and she is at a distance. Funny, it seems like she’s ‘riding the fence.’ Do you know what that is?”
“No,” Amanda answered.
“Well, it’s what we did on our farm – ride along the fence every night — to make sure the cattle didn’t damage the fence – so they would break through. You don’t have cows…”
“No,” Amanda laughed.
I shook my head perplexed by what I was seeing. Mary, still veiled, but without question Mary, as given away in her gait and demeanor, was also was not on horseback, but walking and leaning over and checking the strength of the fence every few feet, when she reached the gate she rattled it extra hard to make sure that it held firm.
“It’s funny, this fence is so low. I can’t imagine…” I began, sharing to Amanda. After those words, Mary rattled the gate hard, and then, looked back at me with the face of a mother angry with worry, a face I’d never seen on her before, and she sternly looking straight into my eyes loudly said, “It’s to keep the pigs out!”
I would have laughed if she hadn’t given the message so emphatically. It made perfect sense. I shared this with Amanda. And as soon as I did I saw and felt the Presence of Jesus the Christ step forward, beside his Mother Mary.
“You have been very brave in your journey,” Jesus said, looking at Amanda. “And this is not an easy path ahead, but you can do it. You are stronger than you know. You’ll see. More, I want you to know that Mother Mary and I are with you anytime you need. You are so loved and honored for the work you are doing, and the work that is to come, and I want you to know that we are always here. Always. Just call. Look up in the sky. Can you see them?”
Amanda did look up, but said, “No, she couldn’t see what I shared with Amanda, that as far as I could see, much like when one looks in the mirror and you can see thousands of your selves, I saw tens of thousands of angels lining up behind her in every direction, to support her if she needed anything – anything!
Jesus gave Amanda his blessing, as did Mother Mary, but she with a deep, sisterly and motherly embrace. This brought tears to my eyes to think of their familial love again, and I began to weep feeling this support for Amanda’s journey that I wished every survivor could begin to feel.
He then gave me instructions to give to her in not so much words as thought blocks, on how to behave, stand, and even answer in a court of law. Her perpetrator was on the lam, but he told me they would soon catch him and once they did, she’d have all the support she’d need to not only fight him and win.
I encouraged Amanda to blog her experiences, but to guard their contents carefully. Through a series of perfectly and divinely orchestrated events Amanda’s perpetrator was at long last caught, but crazily evidence was botched so badly it looked like all hope was dashed. But as divine fate would have it, just enough ire was raised in the botching, and because she was intensely upset with how her team was handling (or botching) this case the District Attorney assigned herself to handle Amanda’s case before the judge. This was great news!
It’s been two long, scary, depressive years for Amanda, but she’s been in the ring slogging away at this white bully in court for long enough. We’ve had many conversations, some as important for my own mental balance as hers, and lately Amanda drove many, many hours to attend a Dancing Hands Circle Event in Santa Fe, NM to experience the work in the round, with her own completely supportive sister and mom.
Yesterday, not realizing that it was D-day for Amanda, I inadvertently read and found that the perpetrator of Amanda’s case was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to the maximum time in jail for rape — 8 years. Amanda won her case! This is HUGE in a state like hers where rape is often barely registered as a crime in the world of the “good ol’ boys will be boys” but justice prevailed. She won. Jesus and Mary were right there beside her, as promised. This isn’t simply a Christian thing, but a story of Masters who come through to help and I am so honored to be able to share this story.
After hooting YES YES YES and calling Amanda to hear how she was, and sharing with Amanda my thanks on behalf of all survivors of intimate violence who couldn’t get their case into a court of law, I burst into tears. I cried and cried ugly, hard, soundless tears. Survivors of intimate crimes often speak softly or forever forth have a hard time screaming or laughing aloud and still, after all these years, even I was shocked that no sounds came as I sobbed – just air clapping the back of my throat like the sound of wings saying, “Thank you, Amanda, for saying what we could not. Thank you for being a shero and doing what I wasn’t able to do. Thank you for everything courageous and faithful and true. Jane’s story found inspiration in Amanda’s and again … I am so grateful, humbled, and honored.
Today, I asked if she’d be okay with me sharing all this as well as her link to her blog so that you, too, may find inspiration to be courageous in your own stories, to share with your whole heart the righteousness of harmony, the divine right of peace, that honor must be demanded when it is stolen, and integrity and order must be supported with love and trust once again, and Amanda said yes. I’ve encouraged her to turn her blogs into a book, and yes, that is in the works, but for now you can find her on Facebook on In the Eyes of a Survivor FB page. It’s beautiful writing from the heart and truth and yes, the eyes of a survivor who someday will feel the thriving heart push up through these hard grounds to find spring and the blue skies of a more peaceful existence. It may take a little time, but the thaw of mean fear has begun and love and trust in the workings of the Universe are returning little by little.
Thank you for your prayers and support of my new friend Amanda. Thank you for doing all you can to support all survivors of intimate violence, or violence of any kind. We can do so much more when we realize there are other compassionate, loving ears and arms that we can lean against when we fall into fear, worry, or scary patterns of life and together we all can break free into the truth of the sacred path that we are held, we are infinitely supported and we are forever loved.
Blessings to all for a glorious weekend of seeing the miraculous spring giving way to summer’s warmth and joyful freedom. I look forward to dancing with you soon – in person or online.