Several years ago, I was mugged at knifepoint outside of my home. Fortunately, I wasn't injured; the only thing I had to give up was my phone and the few spare dollars I kept in my purse for coffee money. I was very, very lucky. But it didn't feel that way at the time. You never know how you are going to act in a situation like that until you're actually in it. I had always imagined that I would be fairly cool, calm, and collected during a mugging, because that's the way I am in most stressful situations. I never visualized just how pissed I would be. I was enraged. Here I was, just minding my own business outside of my own home, my (formerly) safe place. I was doing harm to no one, and now two men in ski masks were messing with my safe, secure world. I could feel my fight or flight response kicking in, and I had no urge to run. All I wanted to do was start kicking, scratching, biting....whatever it took to get my power back.
In the next moment, though, I had a knife to my throat...and with that came the realization that all I had to lose here was a few bucks and a cell phone. Satisfying my vengeful side wasn't worth my life, nor was it worth reconstructive surgery. So I handed over my purse, simmering with rage and disappointment in myself. I felt ashamed to be giving in so easily, ashamed of surrendering to my terror of getting hurt. The two men ran off, and I sincerely hope that karma has gotten them back since that night.
This morning I started thinking about how important it is to feel safe in your world. Our desire for safety plays such a huge role in who we become, and in the choices we make throughout our lives. And sad to say, the world doesn't feel very safe these days. Just today, I received a message from my sister that my father's workplace is on lockdown, due to the sighting of a gunman in the area. Thankfully, no one has been injured, my father is in a safe location, and so far all is well. But this is our world. We are always on high alert, constantly vigilant for the next sign of random, unprovoked violence.
We can't spend our lives waiting for the hammer to fall, because that is not truly living. We do, however, need to empower ourselves. This means something different for everyone, but I do feel that staying strong physically is a good start. When my muscles get stronger, I can feel my confidence grow. Would I be able to win in a fight against a large male opponent? Maybe not...but I could do some damage. And more importantly, feeling strong within radiates on the outside, as well. This is a powerful tool for women, as we naturally tend to come across as easier prey than males.
From a mental standpoint, I find that acupuncture always helps me to rid myself of fears that do not serve me, which plays a huge role in my overall sense of security. Like everyone, I can over-analyze and obsess over things that I can't control. These fears and worries simply dissipate after a good needling session. It's so hard to explain, but I can feel all of the negative thoughts, always centered around fears, simply lift away and vanish. I find it actually challenging to hold on to a fearful thought when I am in my happy, acu-stoned place.
I wish that I had access to acupuncture during the period of my life when I was mugged; it could have given me some of my power back. I'm not saying that I was traumatized-I know that I was lucky and many people have been through far, far worse-but losing your sense of security and power just feels so miserable. It took me a few weeks to feel safe again, and longer than that to regain my typical sunny outlook. If I knew then what I know now, I could have bounced back far more quickly.