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I Found Healing on Top of the Andes Mountain

This trip led to the creation of Healing Women Healing Nations

Use The Bathroom Where?

Let me begin by saying that I am truly a ‘girly’ girl. Meaning, I keep my hair done, nails did, and make-up flawless. I accessorize all of my clothes from head to toe – matching shoes, earrings, purse, etc…

Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to get down and dirty with the best of them. I’m not afraid of breaking a nail or getting my hands dirty or of manual labor. I can change a flat tire, hook the cables up to jump a car (if needed), and mow a lawn. I can even check the oil level in a car and top it off. However, due to being in a uniform looking like every other sailor for so many years while on active duty; I take advantage of the opportunity now that I’m a civilian to tap into my creative feminine side.

I didn’t think much about what our bathroom accommodations would be like on a No Barriers Warriors expedition until a fellow female veteran shared some tips in an attempt to prepare me for what was to come. I was shocked to learn there are contraptions that allow females to use the bathroom standing up. I was introduced to the “She-Wee” by way of the internet. She-Wee, a revolutionary portable device for women, is a molded plastic funnel that can slip comfortably into the zipper of your pants to allow you to relieve your bladder privately and easily in a standing position. What in the world? There wouldn’t be portable potties available? I really hadn’t thought about that aspect of the expedition. She went on to share that it would be beneficial especially when we were on rope-teams; roped to our fellow participants. I couldn’t argue with that, she had a point.

After purchasing one and trying it out at home. I decided that I’d take it along and use it as a last resort. However, I’d bring plenty of baby wipes stored in plastic bags. I figured that I’d find a tree or some semi-private area to squat and relieve myself. Hmmm… Did I really want to do this? What if there are no trees to go behind? Am I supposed to use the bathroom surrounded by male expedition participants?

Pull Over…

We were riding along the winding roads in the mountains called switch-backs. Our guides were driving us the three hours to the drop-off point when I heard one of the male participants say that he needed to use the bathroom. He asked if the driver could pull-over. Because of the elevation, we had to stay well-hydrated so we were consuming large amounts of water. This for me wasn’t so good, as the more water I drank the more I had to use the bathroom. So, I had to go as well but kept quiet because I didn’t see any places along the winding road that allowed any privacy. The female mentor had to go as well; so we stopped. The roads were pretty narrow so we couldn’t go too far. I looked as the guys walked behind the van and over to the side of the road near the edge of the mountain. I looked the other way and saw a few walked in front of the van a few feet to the edge of the mountain. The other female mentor went to the front of the van as well, dropped her pants and squatted. I hesitated, looking towards the back and the front of the van at the other male participants debating on whether to try to continue to hold it or not.

What did I end up doing? The need to relieve me won over my desire for privacy. I walked around to the front of the van, squeezed myself between the van and the side of the mountain, and relieved myself, all the while looking to see if anyone was looking. I needn’t have worried. The guys were perfect gentlemen. They kept their backs to us and their heads turned until we let them know it was okay to return to the van.

Further along on the journey as we trekked the mountain terrain, at times, they stayed within my line of sight when I said I needed to use the bathroom; but allowed me the privacy I needed. It was interesting, to say the least. But by this time, taking care of a basic human need, was more important. It helped me to realize that it was all a part of the journey. How so? The experience helped me replace bad memories with a sense of trust…a positive memory. That in a sense is part of the No Barriers Mindset – “What’s within you is greater than what’s in your way.” The wall I’d had in place for so long when it came to restoring the trust that had been broken was slowly being torn down bit by bit. Being outdoors, enjoying the scenery and the sound of waterfalls and bonding with the other participants in a non-threatening environment allowed me the ability to relax enough to pull on the inner strength I thought I’d lost to face my challenges and obstacles head-on. Nature has a healing quality that no medicine can replace or mimic.

Stopping Point Or Stepping Stone

Everyone encounters a ‘dark night of the soul’ at times in their lives. During these current times of uncertainty many are feeling unsettled and fearful. Unsure what the outcome will be, how long this pandemic will last or what the new ‘norm’ will look like.

I believe it is a time for us to look within to identify, dissect and deal with the uncertainties, fears and insecurities often buried with busyness, work-related constraints, family obligations and other distractions that previously prevented the opportunity to do so. As leaders, role-models, parents, spouses, and other roles we have in life; we bring to those roles personal experiences, belief systems and mindsets from our upbringing, some healthy others not so healthy.

It would be remiss of me as a leader & advocate for domestic, sexual and childhood sexual abuse survivors not to speak. Within households there are open secrets that have and continue to run rampant. Secrets that are now being exposed. With enforced furloughs, lay-offs and quarantine the incidents of domestic(40% increase), sexual and childhood sexual abuse are rapidly increasing.

How does this tie into this blog’s theme? As a survivor of childhood, sexual and domestic assault, I was challenged to address triggers caused by reaching out to a family member I haven’t communicated with in years. I reached out in support of and advocacy for my daughter, also a survivor, to prevent a set-back on her road to recovery.

Previous animosity and anger resurfaced within at the selfishness of family members who violated the trust given. Feelings I thought were resolved. What it also revealed is how deep the secrecy within families run. I had a very candid conversation with the mother of my daughter’s perpetrators during the course of which I learned she was not aware what transpired all those years ago.

This reinforces the reason for me to continue to advocate for ‘removing the masks’ within families related to domestic, sexual and childhood abuse. This is not an easy journey of advocacy. There are often roadblocks due to how uncomfortable it makes others to hear, desire to hear or at times believe survivors; especially when the perpetrators are revealed.

There have been times I have wanted to abandon the mission. I encountered a ‘dark night of the soul’ recently and was reminded of the need to continue even if it is not palatable for some.

I can only be as effective to the degree I am willing to be transparent about the journey within along the way. Some of my shortcomings were revealed in my ‘dark night of the soul’ that caused me to ask the following question. Will I use this current challenge as an excuse to STOP or use it as a STEPPING stone to continue to grow personally, spiritually and professionally as I continue to advocate and assist others on their journey to ‘Redefining their Life-Path’ after adversity? My resounding response is I will use it as a stepping stone.

What things are being revealed during this time that need to be addressed? Are you going to use it as a reason to STOP or as a catalyst to STEP towards the next level waiting on the other side of the decision you make? For every affliction you encounter in life there is a spiritual remedy. Your affliction is your call to advocacy. Will you answer?

Stopping Point Or Stepping Stone

Resources for Assistance:

To report any type of domestic violence call police or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-500-1119.


DirectionVision & Goal Setting

Abiding in the Glory

Being at peace even in dire circumstances knowing that He is protecting, shielding and comforting us; knowing that this peace comes from above because we are filled with His love and His joy. Knowing that His tangible presence surrounds us like a cocoon, reassuring us of His promise to never leave nor forsake us. TRUSTING Him and live being ever aware of His presence and still quiet voice. Seeking for and listening to His guidance even in the little things….what will I wear today? What can I do today to Honor You Lord? What will I eat that will nourish my body and preserve this temple you gave me? Being sensitive to His gentle nudging steering us in the direction He would have us to go; not allowing our own will to override His perfect will.

Finding Him in the simple things (a beautiful cloud, a blooming flower, a gentle rain, the quiet stillness in the morning, a simple meal with a friend). Taking the time to be ‘present’ and ‘in the moment’. Having the courage, the fortitude and the faith to try again when we feel defeated. Knowing that ALL things work together for our good. “Abiding in the Glory” is a wonderful place to be.

And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.’” ~ A symbolism of God’s divine protection during these trying times. ~

Scripture Ref: Zechariah 2:5

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