Seek Teachers

The Universe will guide you to the light and knowledge that you need and seek, if you allow IT. But you must first learn how to tap into your inner voice. This takes work and practice. Seek to hear the voices of the people that have gone before. Read books, listen to podcasts that are going to build and grow your knowledge and experience. You don’t have to make the same mistakes of the people that have gone before us if you listen to their message. But you must search for teachers that challenge your thought process and your perspective. For me, that was turning to Oprah, Brené Brown,  and Gabrielle Bernstein. I needed to hear from a woman’s perspective to better understand the influence I had on others.

You can’t have unity without diversity… we need freedom of thought to have diversity. Freedom of thought is only achieved by learning different perspectives. You don’t know what you don’t know. It is also our holy responsibility to fill our heads with constructive and uplifting thoughts. Our minds are an empty stage fill it with positive influencers.

The first guide I turned to was Oprah Winfrey in her Podcast called “Super Soul Conversations”. I listened to her podcasts in the morning at the gym. When she interviewed an author that sounded really interesting to me, I bought their book. A lot of times those books would have other recommendations of books that impacted them. 

I also started to pay more attention to the conversations happening around me. I would hear book recommendations of my co-workers and friends with more weight and severity. It was strange because there would be times that I heard a book recommendation and I knew that I had to read it. I would get a strong feeling and impression in my gut and sometimes I would even get goosebumps when something or someone was telling me that I needed to read that book. Or the book title would stick in my mind until I could research more about it later when I had more time. Many times the same book would be recommended to me by multiple people, or I would hear the same book recommendation on multiple podcasts, so I would think to myself: “Alright Universe, I hear you, I will buy it on Amazon.”

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations lead me to author’s that excited me and lit me up. One example is the book “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success” by Phil Jackson. I have loved sports throughout my life. I have had so many positive experiences through sports. Phil Jackson is arguably one of the best coaches in my lifetime. Reading about his experiences with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, etc. was fun and exciting. I couldn’t wait to find some quiet time and space to read this book. Getting an inside look at the most successful people’s lives was so addicting.

Another example is when I asked my co-workers what books that they would recommend. A lot of them suggested “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight. This is the story of how Nike came to be. Some of you might cringe at the idea of reading about the history of one of the biggest brands in the world. That sounds boring. It is far from boring. It is a history book but one that highlights monumental moments in American Civilization. If you are a student of business, this is a must read. 

 I started a goal to read 24 books a year. I have heard many times that the average CEO reads 60 books a year, which is 5 books a month. I broke that down and set an expectation that I believed I could meet. I did it in my first year and I read more than that in my second year.. I post all of my books on my Instagram account, you can go check them out @shawnblymiller. 

Here is a link to a presentation that I did at my work covering the books that I have enjoyed:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/139z5_92yLUvkfP6V5hd1a8-hJNVdQAkb6jK3FPgZdzM/edit?ts=5d0961f7#slide=id.g5115b5050b_0_0

I believe that in order to serve others you must have resources to pull from. Reading has become my fountain of knowledge and information. It has driven conversations and deepened relationships because I can share my insights and passions that I have learned from my reading. First start reading the books that get you excited about life. This will help you build a foundation to really see who you are. Once you start understanding who you are, you can understand what you are lacking. You will start to see opportunities for growth and learning. Don’t ignore the Universe’s push to teach you what you need to know. You have probably heard the saying: 

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” – Theosophists Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni.

After a few years of reading books that I enjoyed. I came to a point in my life where I realized that I needed to read books that were going to stretch me. Stretch my understanding of the world. 

“There are problems women face that most men will never understand… because they never try to understand.” @alexbanayan – The Third Door.

I believe that the voices that need to be amplified to the men suffering from sexual and porn addiction are the voices of sexual violence victims. 

Tune in to the channel of change

Oprah interviewed Chanel Miller on SuperSoul Conversations and I knew I had to read her book. Sexual violence is happening everywhere. If you don’t realize that, then you are not paying attention. There are a number of stories on twitter and instagram with the hashtag #metoo and there are so many stories online being published telling the stories that are hard to hear. Even still, there are more stories out there that haven’t been told and that haven’t been heard because our society doesn’t protect the victim. 

Reading Chanel Miller’s book was shocking and eye opening to see how difficult it is to convict a sexual assailant. I think this book should be required reading for every High School kid in America, if not the world. 

The book not only depicts how difficult it is to convict a sexual assailant but also the waves of impacts that abuse creates. Chanel suffered the assault on a January Saturday night, but her family suffered for years. Her sister, her grandparents, her parents, her boyfriend, her best friends. The trauma was not limited to the sexual assault victim. When you hurt women, you hurt the people in their lives. You steal precious moments of clarity and effervescence from their kids, their family members, their coworkers, and their friends. 

Here’s The Powerful Letter The Stanford Victim Read To Her Attacker

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra

Here is a quote from Chanel Miller from her book:

“Denying darkness does not bring anyone closer to the light. When you hear a story about rape, all the graphic and unsettling details, resist the instinct to turn away; instead look closer, because beneath the gore and the police reports is a whole, beatiful person, looking for ways to be in the world again.”

Pg 312- Know my Name- a memoir- Chanel Miller

Here is another excerpt from Chanel Miller’s book: 

“My rape kit still hadn’t been tested in the crime lab. They told me it would be expedited due to media pressure, but months later I was still waiting. I figured it had something to do with results showing up slowly, some DNA sciencey who knows what. But I was told it was because of the backlog of kits. There were hundreds in line before me, some kits kept so long they grew mold, some thrown out, the lucky ones refrigerated. Immediately I felt ill. How could that be, this was not fruit rotting, it was little pieces of us in each one, an indispensable story. It also meant there was a population of victims in my vicinity, disguised in their everyday lives, going to work, refilling their coffee, eyes wide at night, waiting.”

Now I absolutely didn’t ever rape anyone. But even knowing that I never had raped anyone. How could I compare myself to someone that had? The quick answer is that I could start to see the grasp that the sickness had on me. Seeing women as objects to be conquered was a thought process that many times I operated off of. I searched for ways to win their approval and their admiration. I justified that getting sexual attention was the ultimate acceptance. My thoughts were that if I could get a woman to want me even when I was married to another woman, then I was very desirable. That feeling was addicting. The statistics would argue that I am not the only guy that has sought ways to feel desirable or to get what they wanted. 

For a while I had heard and read about this #metoo movement. There were all these famous powerful men being accused and convicted of sexually assaulting women. I started paying more attention to it because it concerned me. I would think, could this possibly be me in the future, or if I had their power and influence would I do the same thing? It downright scared me. I had to learn more about this #metoo movement and how it started. That is how I discovered Tarana Burke. 

Tarana Burke accepts the title of “leader” of the #metoo movement , but has stated that she considers herself more of a “worker.” Burke has stated that this movement has grown to include both men and women of all colors and ages, as it continues to support marginalized people in marginalized communities. There have also been movements by men aimed at changing the culture through personal reflection and future action, including #IDidThat, #IHave, and #IWill. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarana_Burke

Check out this text from the founder of the #MeToo Movement:

Sydney Peace Prize Speech- Tarana Burke

“In the U.S. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys will experience sexual violence by the time that they are 18. In Australia that is 1 in 6 girls and 1 in 9 boys by the age of 15. And around the world those numbers are about the same. 

Most of those children grow up to be adults who still carry those wounds. And if you manage to make it out of childhood without experiencing some form of sexual violence, statistics show us that there are several more instances where it is likely to occur as you grow old. Especially if you are a woman. Especially if you are a poor woman. Especially if you are a poor woman of color, or weird or Trans, or disabled, or indegenous. 

I am not surprised because Sexual violence can effect everyone. And because it is extremely isolating we crave community as survivors. And that is what the hashtag gave us, space to be seen, and heard, and create community. 

So how did a moment that was so desperately needed in order to boost a movement that is so desperately needed for people who have already experienced a spectrum of trauma get reduced to a witch hunt. I keep coming back to the idea of empathy and courage because both of them are at the core of what is needed for us to adequately respond to the millions of people who so bravely came forward. This movement is not about creating a witch hunt or targeting powerful men, or women’s revenge. And what does it say about the person who can witness the outpouring of stories across the world and reduce it to women’s historyonics or full outrage… 

The #metoo movement is so much more than what so many of us think. When a singular hashtag inspired more than 180 countries to translate it into their own language and countries like China  even to find ways to add their voices to the chorus. You are talking about a movement, about possibility. When thousands of people join together, put their bodies on the line, watching and protesting and saying that they won’t stand for sexual predators to take and be in positions that will make decisions about our bodies. We are talking about a movement about power. When an 83 year old survivor of sexual abuse feels supported enough to come forward and finally release the story that she has been holding in the pit of her stomach for 75 years, we are talking about a movement, about love. And when a little black girl from the Bronx makes up her mind that she will not be consumed by the thing that tried to kill her everyday of her life, but she will turn that pain into a pathway of healing for others like her. We are talking about a movement, about vision. I am grateful that this work is being recognized as peace work by the Sydney of Peace Foundation. I hope others will see that the work that we are showing our future generations can live without violence. Particularly sexual violence is social justice work and it is peace work. We are not out here simply working to simply raise awareness. There is enough data and stories and information to make everyone aware and as the brilliant author and scholar Dr. Demonti Perry says “awareness in and of itself is not a virture without a moral imparity. This is our moral imperative. I hope each of you carries that message with you when you leave here and know that this movement doesn’t exist without you. So I urge you to join us and if you are ready to stand with the survivors and allies around the world, don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, don’t worry if your hands tremble a little bit, there are enough of us out here to welcome you guide you and help you find your place. So if you are ready to join this fight to end sexual violence and ensure the survivors have what they need to craft their own healing journey. I can only leave you with these 2 words. #metoo”

https://www.instagram.com/taranajaneen/?hl=en

I also believe that every person in the world should see what Tim Ballard and his special operations team is doing to combat sex trafficking around the world. 

http://ourrescue.org/

Tim Ballard runs an amazing organization called Operation Underground Railroad @ourrescue. This organization rescues kids from sex trafficking. Follow them on Instagram and know their stories. 

Tim Ballard also created a movie called Operation Toussaint: Underground Railroad and the Fight to End Modern Day Slavery (2018). Tim Ballard and his special forces team go undercover in Haiti to bring a ring of sex traffickers who bribed their way out of jail, to justice. 

Tim Ballard also wrote a book called Slave Stealers. He highlights the similarities between modern-day slavery (Sex-trafficking) to the slave trade in the 1800s. I highly recommend this book.

#addiction #sexaddiction #pornaddiction #recovery #health #life #love #addictionrecovery #somaticexperience #hope #fightthenewdrug #nofap #metoo

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