Friday, December 27, 2013

Calif. Law To Help Domestic Abuse Victims Escape Violence

by J.D. Hillard

In California, it's about to get easier for abuse survivors to break their leases.

The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, will allow domestic violence victims to give their landlords a simple form as proof that they have been abused.

Counselors say it will make abuse survivors safer because they'll more easily be able to move away.

Virginia's Story: 'An Extreme Hardship'

It took four years for Virginia to leave the man who abused her. (We're not using her full name because she's afraid he might still stalk her.) He went to prison for the abuse, and Virginia, aiming to get her life back on track, found an apartment with affordable rent where she thought he wouldn't find her.

"I was safe. I was in a confidential location," she says.

But then her abuser got out of prison, and a neighbor reported someone who looked like him had broken into her car. Virginia locked her door, "and I looked out my blinds and I remember seeing him. And I hadn't seen him for 2 1/2 years, and I don't know how he found me."

She decided to move out quickly, but there were two months left on her lease.

Read more here.


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Where Do I Belong?

By: Angela Mayah Solstice

When I was around 13 years old my parents moved us from Chicago to Arizona for a business opportunity. I hated it. Here I was coming from a diverse and culturally stimulating city to dry heat and not a brown person in sight. I struggled. Although I am certain either way I would of continued to act out (I had some hellish teenage years), perhaps Arizona came into my life as a buffer. Maybe it was my saving grace that didn’t let me go through my phase in the inner city streets of Chicago. Yet in still, I always thought of Chicago as my roots. Michigan as well, it was close by and my birthplace, and where all my favorite memories were created with my grandparents, aunts, and cousins.

Throughout all these hectic years, it feels good to know that I am where I belong geographically. For now, that is Chicago. In fact it was one of the most boldest and courageous decisions I ever made and I'm glad I did it.

When I was married I lived in Long Island, New York. I made it a point this year to continue my tradition of sending out Christmas Cards to friends and family, the last one being sent four years ago when I was still married. Tears literally came to my eyes as I brought out my old New York address book and thought of the families who would receive my card in the mail. Long Island was my home, my community. It is where I created my first real family of my own and it was where for a number of years—felt like I belonged. Yet during my final year in New York and going through a divorce I felt anything but a since of belonging. In my children’s circle of friends divorce was an oddity. In fact with my son who is fifteen now, within his core group of friends since first grade, I can think of only one family that had a divorce. So between the divorce, single parenthood, and financial troubles by the end I felt downright shameful and embarrassed—but didn’t show it. I projected my guilt on the community. I branded them as superficial and judgmental. I was a victim and wanted the whole world to understand—and well, I’m sure you can imagine what that looked like. Pretty hopeless. The residue of the storm still lingers in my mind as I wonder what they will think receiving my Christmas card this year. Will they see the picture as I do, me as a strong and capable woman, or will they see a fragile single mother holding it all together. I force myself to dismiss the harmful mind chatter. 

I believe we all come into adulthood and especially parenthood wanting to be “stable”. Buy a house, raise our children, and make a good name in the community. If your really shooting for the moon, no divorce, all your children by the same person, and lots of family offering a helping hand nearby. I have lots of family that actually live that ideal—making me the spiritual, quirky, can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on granddaughter-cousin-niece. I also knew of an older woman friend who was a quintessential  “hands-on” mom and wife, even going far as baking fresh bread for the family a few times a week. Yet she cried herself to work everyday.  

There is a great book by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes named, “Women Who Run With the Wolves.” I would like to share with you an excerpt from where she is talking about the luckiness in failing to fit into the mold:

You may be an exile of some sort, but you have sheltered your soul. There is an odd phenomenon that occurs when one keeps trying to fit and fails. Even though the outcast is driven away, she is at the same time driven right into the arms of her psychic and true kin, whether these be a course of study, and art form, or a group of people. It is worse to stay where one does not belong at all than to wander about lost for a while and looking for the psychic and soulful kinship one requires. It is never a mistake to search for what one requires. Never.

Even though there are negative aspects to it, the wild psyche can endure exile. It makes us yearn that much more to free our own true nature and causes us to long for a culture to match. Even this yearning, this longing makes a person go on. It makes a woman go on looking, and if she cannot find the culture that encourages her, then she usually decides to construct it herself. And that is good, for if she builds it, others who have been looking for a long time will mysteriously arrive one day enthusiastically proclaiming that they have been looking for this all along.

I have come to peace with the fact that I am that wild soul. Slowly but surely I’ve even become less critical of the world for not being the same, although I deal with the harsh judgment that is a result of me being this way. In the meantime I continue to build and live my life, raise my children, and be of service in a way that is true to me in the moment, knowing the next season may be different —and that’s okay. I’m okay.

You are okay.

The holiday season can be very confronting for an array of reasons, years ago I had a friend share with me a small quote that has helped me so much it goes, “Go where you are adored not ignored, celebrated not tolerated.”  I’ve allowed it to be my mantra when I am struggling socially with friends and even family.

Perhaps there are those of you who are struggling in more severe or hostile environments. I will share with you another quote from Dr. Estes:

If you are surrounded by people who cross their eyes and look with disgust up at the ceiling when you are in the room, when you speak, when you act or react, then you are with the people who douse passions—yours and probably their own as well. These are not the people who care about you, your work, your life.
A woman must choose her friends and lovers wisely, for both can become like a bad stepmother and rotten stepsisters.

I pray you find the courage to change and the strength to remove yourself from such harshness. It’d be better to be alone—even if for one Christmas day. No one deserves such abuse.

For all, I hope no matter if you're married, single, widowed, a parent, or childless—that you find your since of belonging this season. It may not fit into the common mold, but I am confident you will be happy nonetheless J

Be bold & courageous and create your happiness. Create your tradition. If your way already brings you happiness—God bless you—invite someone in who could benefit! If your somewhere in between action and inaction, it’s okay, we’ve all been there and had an uneventful holiday! Ha!

We are in a beautiful new moon and the New Year is approaching. It is a great time for reflection, gratitude, and the creation of new goals. I send you all Loving and Healing energy!

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Paula Schargorodsky, Filmmaker, Explores What It's Like To Be 35 And Single

Over the past 10 years, I’ve been compulsively filming everyone and everything for no particular reason. All my love stories and breakups have been recorded and systematically kept. 

As I continued to change boyfriends and hometowns every two years or so, I filmed my friends with their boyfriends, then husbands, then pregnant bellies, until they were surrounded by children. When my last single friend from school married, I fell asleep the evening of the wedding and didn’t show up.

I’m 35, Argentine, Jewish and single. 

And these four categories don’t seem to go smoothly together. So I decided to make a film about the questions I have struggled to answer. Can social mandates be disregarded, or is my extended youth finally coming to its end? 

After I finished filming, I met someone. He is imperfect, and I love him. This time I realize I can live with unanswered questions, and that’s fine.

See the video here.


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wisconsin panel provides $10.6 million for domestic violence center

The state will provide $10.6 million to help build a new Family Justice Center in Milwaukee that will consolidate domestic violence services and programs under one roof.

At its meeting Wednesday, the State Building Commission approved the $10.6 million for the project. The state will borrow the money to pay for the project.

The new center is a partnership between Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Sojourner Family Peace Center and others, including the Milwaukee County district attorney's office and the Milwaukee Police Department.

The 78,000-square-foot center will be at 619 W. Walnut St. and include a 56-bed domestic violence shelter, along with mental health services, a legal clinic and an education and conference center.

"This project will make an efficient use of resources as we look to consolidate law enforcement, prosecution and child welfare resources for those affected by domestic violence," said Gov. Scott Walker, the chair of the building commission.

"This project will provide better care and treatment for mothers and their children to the greater Milwaukee area, and will also benefit our state as a whole."

Read more Here:Journal Sentinel:

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ten Thousand Villages

Do you like to shop? Did you know you can shop for a good cause? This is your chance to do just that! I will be volunteering this Sunday to help support The Dreamcatcher Foundation in their mission to combat human trafficking in Chicago. Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retail store, will be hosting a community shopping event where they will be selling handcrafted items in order to raise awareness and funds for The Dreamcatcher Foundation. I would love to meet you there and tell you more about The Dreamcatcher Foundation.

The event will be held on Sunday, December 15th from 12:00p.m. to 4:00p.m. at Ten Thousand Villages, 840 W. Armitage, Chicago IL 60614. For more information feel free to contact: Diana, via e-mail at or Jill,

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Hiking Bell Rock Vortex In Sedona Arizona

Visit Crystal Magic if your ever in the area!

Learn more about Bell Rock Here.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

By: Angela Mayah Solstice
I just got off the phone with my grandmother. She shared with me how her son, my uncle, was going to spend Thanksgiving alone just him and his son. I could tell she was trying to sound optimistic but I knew the thought of it hurt her. He moved away to another state during his divorce and I believe my grandmother took the divorce very hard. I shared with her that I had holidays like that post divorce. In fact, one Thanksgiving I purposely did it on my own, just me and my girls. I didn’t search frantically for ways to compensate for the lack of family around us nor did I allow myself to slip into self pity. I made plans and created a holiday just for us. It was a turning point for me and a great confidence builder. 

Believe it or not I struggle with being grateful! Ha! In fact, I am on week 5 of Oprah's Lifeclass with  Dr. Brene Brown on The Gifts Of Imperfection. It’s all about gratitude this week and I’ve found myself feeling highly irritated! I can do beating up on myself and looking for problems in my life with natural ease—what’s been hard is being gentle with myself and being grateful. I’m sure I am not alone, and if you are struggling today I encourage you to be gentle with yourself to. I encourage you to find at least one thing you’re grateful for today. I encourage you to make this day however YOU would want it to be, remembering , there is no right or wrong way. If all you do is give one hour of your undivided attention to a loved one today—you have done more than most will do today. I encourage you to pray or to meditate. To look in the mirror and say to your self , “I love you.” Be grateful for the food you eat today, if it’s a feast fit for a King, or just enough. Be grateful for whoever is surrounding you right now, if it’s one person or many. Remember you are loved and you are important!

I am mindful of so many this day. I send you all my love and blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving,

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude Ritual

A Gratitude Ritual

by Debbie Ford

The beautiful gifts of gratitude begin at home
so today invite a healing to happen
in your own body
in your own consciousness
in your own loving heart
that feels blessed to be alive

Notice all the riches you've been given
the feet that allow you to stand
the legs that allow you to walk
the stomach that allows you to eat
the lungs that allow you to breathe
the throat that allows you to speak
the mouth that allows you to taste
the nose that allows you to smell
the eyes that allow you to see
and your beating heart
that allows you to love
Honor them all

Become present to the treasures of your life
the opportunities that you have been given
the ones that have effortlessly opened up for you this year
Reflect on your family, your kids, your partner, your friends
Look through appreciative eyes
the eyes of what's right
the eyes of the divine
Give thanks in a way that you never have before

Allow fear, doubt, struggle and pain
to melt away in the presence of this all-loving appreciation
Thank God that you have a consciousness
that is able to shift and transform in just a moment
Thank God that you are courageous enough
to take a moment to bless yourself
to bless the universe
to bless all those who love and guide you
and then to bless all of the world

Send your tears of love and gratitude
to those who are in pain
to those who are alone
to those who are confused
Allow the heavenly vibration of gratitude
to puncture their fearful illusions
and open up their hearts to what is truly divine

Today, take this vow of deep self-love and gratitude
knowing that when you are in the presence of this kind of love
you - as well as all of those around you - will flourish

Take five slow deep breaths, breathing in love, appreciation, gratitude and joy
Know that you are never alone and you will never be alone
We are all here surrounding you with love.


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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Abuse-Free World


By: Angela Mayah Solstice

So George Zimmerman was arrested for domestic violence. It seems to be a surprise to some but not to me. I was enraged just like many were when he was found not guilty in the Trayvon Martin case. I have a 15 year old son walking around in the world and just as Obama himself said, Trayvon looked like my son. But it went deeper for me. There was a familiar energy I felt and could recognize. I didn’t see George Zimmerman as a racist, I saw George Zimmerman the abuser. The lack of emotion, expressionless face, a sense of entitlement—all showed me the signs. I would like to share with you a few excerpts from a great book called, “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft:

A large part of his abusiveness come in the form of punishments used to retaliate against you for resisting his control. This is one of the single most concepts to grasp about an abusive man…

The abuser tends to see his partner as less intelligent, less competent, less logical, and even less sensitive than he is…

Abuse grows from attitudes and values, not feelings. The roots are ownership, the trunk is entitlement, and the branches are control…

Abusers are unwilling to be non-abusive, not unable. They do not want to give up power and control. You are not crazy. Trust your perceptions of how your abusive partner treats you and thinks about you.

What I take from that is that Zimmerman along with any other type of abuser does not discriminate among there victims. Zimmerman not only disliked black people, he disliked himself, and anyone in his path who didn't share his reality in that he was all important and knowing.One of the first things I said aloud following the verdict in the George Zimmerman case was that his life would never be the same. I didn’t say it in a vindictive spirit, but a knowing spirit. Although I do believe in justice, I trust more in the Universe. I knew that life would catch up with him. I knew that his darkness ran deep and a not-guilty verdict did not set him free for real.

Do you feel you know the signs of abuse or of an abuser?

As many of you know I have been completing my forthcoming book The Courage to Change. In it I share many of my own personal stories of abandonment, loss, and mainly abuse. I feel drawn to many topics, because I’ve been through so much, but none am I drawn to more than abuse. Because I feel it is the root of so many of the other problems in the world: sexual exploitation, homelessness, drug addiction, eating disorders, inequality, etc…I can guarantee you among all of those, abuse of some kind played a major part.
I recently had someone close to me go through a domestic violence situation that ended in complete abandonment of her and her children. I was enraged at the lack of resources and options for her—I was disappointed in my home state of Chicago in its lack of advocacy resources, it was a far cry from what was available to me in New York. More than anything It brought back so many memories of my own. I instantly could empathize with others who shy away from these situations because your heart grieves along with being confronted with your own fears and vulnerability. Many of us have experienced or know of someone who has been abandoned by an abuser. It is our biggest fear, the reason why we try and pretend that everything is okay when it’s not, it’s why we judge, why we fight for our independence and look down on those who are not. Trust me I understand. I also understand the feeling of defeat-- of seeing your abuser get the seemingly not-guilty verdict of life after the court systems, friends, and family have made their judgements and moved on as you are left with the broken pieces. Yet let me reassure you there is a divine magic and grace that comes with being empowered, getting educated, healing yourself, and in turn helping others. Below I will share an excerpt from my book where I talk specifically about abuse and give a charge to my readers along with resources for victims of domestic violence. I ask that you take a moment to read through it and make a pledge today to help yourself or others.

Millions of women, young and old, are abused daily. It is your responsibility to get educated on the signs of abuse as well as resources available to women in your area so you can pass along information when needed. If you know of someone in an abusive relationship do not put them down in any way! Give them love, encouragement, and assistance if you can. You have an obligation to the women in your care, family, and community to speak out. If you are in an abusive relationship, know that there are resources and support available to you if you need it. I was fortunate to have family who could help me financially when I stood up to my Goliath, which is a hard cold fact of why many women do not leave for fear of abandonment. Even so, there are some well run domestic violence organizations that can help you with counseling; legal representation, and even housing—free of cost and without involving the police. I pray for miracles and that an abundance of Angels come into your life right now…You can heal your life.

Write down the following contract and sign it at the bottom, place in your wallet or in your journal (somewhere you will see it often):

I _____(name)______commit to giving my love, encouragement, and available resources to whoever is placed in my path, and are being victimized due to domestic violence. I declare this moment that I am against domestic violence. I am a woman of my word and will stand by my declaration. I am committed to do doing my part, even if it is a simple prayer, to help make this world abuse-free for the young women of the future.

Meditate or Journal upon the following statement: Abuse affected my life when

Prayer: (Higher Power of your understanding) I pray for abused women (me) today. Please send an Earth Angel in their (my) path to help them (me) onto the road of recovery. Protect them (me), heal them (me), and guide them (me).

Affirmation (preferably say in a mirror):  “I WILL NO LONGER BE A VICTIM IN MY LIFE”

Reading Recommendations & Resources:

The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships By: Patrick Carnes

Peace from Broken Pieces By: Iyanla Vanzant

The Verbally Abusive Relationship By: Patricia Evans ***

Why Does He Do That? By: Lundy Bancroft *** (Excellent resources & info)

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