The Ultimate Protection System
I have been thinking a lot about this year’s United Nations Commission on the Status of Women’s priority theme. It’s about social protection systems and special systems and infrastructure that can empower women and girls.
From all my lived experiences, I have found no greater social protection system that empowers young women and girls–and all people, than the internal compass. It is personally adapted to each one of us, it is ever-present and ever-powerful in any and all situations. It is the ultimate social and personal system of protection, if we can just learn to recognize it and utilize it as such.
While my family was on vacation to California this summer, I witnessed a young woman being sold for prostitution right before my very eyes. The pimp was there, the buyer was there, and the poor defenseless young woman was moved from one abuser to another as a mere commodity and transaction. In horror I could only watch as she walked past me from the clutches of one slave master and into the car of another, a 70-year-old man perfectly content with his latest purchase. I will never forget the cold and empty look of resignation in her eyes, the shame and hopelessness of defeat that exuded from her as she walked past me.
That day marked a transitional moment for me in my life, and it has everything to do with this month’s tenet, “We recognize and follow our intuitive internal compass to speak and act with integrity.” This tenet is much more than simply finding your voice or taking courage to speak your truth. It is about recognizing the most powerful tool we have, and how to use it to the best of our ability so we can all truly create a massive interconnected system of protection to safeguard and improve our lives and the lives of others.
As I watched this young woman pass by me, close enough to touch, I looked at her face, and my heart was filled with love and compassion for her. There were people walking all around us, yet from the first moment I saw her standing next to the pimp, I was alerted by my internal compass that something was wrong, and that I needed to keep my eye on her. The situation was difficult. I knew that the pimp knew that I knew. I felt my compass guide me in what I should do. Even though it didn’t make any sense, I trusted in those familiar and intuitive feelings. I had used my compass countless times before, and I trusted in what I was being prompted to do. So I walked over to the pimp, I looked deeply into his eyes, and I told him with great love and concern that she deserved better than this. When I looked into his face I could sense that perhaps he was exploiting his girlfriend for drug money. With love and concern I reprimanded him and told him he could not do this to her any longer, that she deserved better than this and that she was of infinite worth.
I rushed into the nearby store and through muffled sobs I tried my best to explain what was happening to my very confused husband. Feeling frustrated with myself, I doubted if what I did was the right thing. But as I peeked through the window of the store I watched as the young man stood there uncomfortably with his head down. When I had looked at his face I had the sense that he was ashamed of what he was doing. When I spoke to him, I could sense that he knew that what I said was true. I felt that something within him was touched.
We proceeded to notify the authorities and gave record of the license, model, and make of the car, etc. I don’t know what became of this young woman or the two men that were using her for their gain. What I do know, however, is that my internal compass alerted me to the situation, gave me an action to do when I was at a loss for guidance, and gave me words to say when I had none. After some time of feeling inadequate and frustrated for not being able to do more for this young woman, my internal compass also helped me channel that frustration into productive motivation. Rather than feeling defeated, it inspired me to become better trained and skilled in recognizing and helping victims of sex trafficking.
As you move throughout your day, every day, be sure you do so with the power and protection that comes from your internal compass. You can do this best when you are connecting daily with your higher power which is the ultimate source of abundance and goodness. Take time every day to pray, ponder, meditate, or read as a means of connecting with your infinite source. This is the best way to ignite the compass within you. I have full confidence that as we all do this, and inspire others to do the same, we will truly be building a special system of protection around us!