From Trolls to Triumph

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When I first opened my Twitter account in March 2009, I was the proverbial fish out of water, navigating the subterraneous quicksand of a viral world with little couth, manners or self-respect. I began posting original content eager to share the volumes of poetry, prose and original quotes I had written for more than five decades but I never gave a thought to seeking fame or fortune. My goals were far more altruistic in nature.

My stream was filled with businesses promotions, sales pitches and fake celebrities, while a staggering number were seeking viral fame. There were those who would tweet or should I say SCREAM, IN ALL CAPS at celebrities, trying to get their attention. To say the least it was a diverse demographic of the success seekers, artists, lonely hearts and of course, the bizarre.

Very few were posting anything inspirational at the time and even fewer were posting anything about love, spirituality or God. I was one of the first, if not the first, to post the hashtag #PrayerRequest when national or world events occurred. I never considered how threatening that would be to atheists, witches and those who were the rallying cry for everything dark and ugly. In my naiveté, I began friending faceless beings who were sitting behind a computer waiting for something to jump on.

Within four months, the United Nations found a song I posted on Twitter and invited me to sing at the Spirit Awards, and that was the moment the trolls came out of their darkened caves.

At first it was just a small group of disgruntled tweeting, who were unhappy with themselves but soon it began to grow and fester like an oozing boil refusing to heal. Every lonely, angry, frustrated, weak-willed or threatened follower glommed on all looking for a villain to hide behind. Sadly, people do love a blood bath as witnessed with the recent rise in celebrity on celebrity feuds so the louder the leader, the greater the number of minions.

In 2009, Cyberbullying was a relatively new societal anomaly and there were no provisions in place to prevent or stop the onslaught. Statisticians vary on the volume of cyberbullying related suicides but to say there has been an increase since 2005, would be an understatement.

In my meditations I continually heard, “Don’t react, don’t respond,” so I didn’t for years and about every 10 months they would start all over again and each time with more fervor. I have always believed and even wrote the quote, “When you get defensive, you have already lost the battle,” and there was nothing to defend anyway. The fabrication of stories, lies and character assassination was complete with fakes videos, fake accounts, computer hacking and vulgar phone calls and tweets.

One day in their boredom, they contacted the Chief Operating Officer and branding phenome of a billion dollar corporation, reporting that I was infringing on the copyrights of their famed photographer. I had used some of her photography, found in google images, without knowing she was the photog. Finding the owners of such public images is often difficult, if not altogether impossible, with such an enormous volume of images in the public domain.

In his email, this COO stated that he’d be contacted by these folks but after having a look at my website, he found nothing alarming and instead thought my site was “inspirational.” He then gave me permission to use any of their copyrighted images, any time I wanted. It was a powerful moment witnessing hate backfire on those who hurled it at me.

His email was a beacon of light in a very dark storm and from that day forward, not only did I admire his business acumen but I soon came to know him better in continued emails and a lengthy phone call.

Over the years, more of the same continued from the trolls, each time the volume was deafening and each time I walked through the fire with few if any burns. I watched as one by one, they begin to die from heart attacks, cancers and strokes. To date 8 of the original bullies have left the earth and I tell you that in all humility because it is such a good example of how emotions affect health. I felt a sense of compassion for them because I knew they were victims of their own hate, and that is the most important message you can take from this.

Everything you put into the world emotionally returns to you without exception. The emotion of hate blocks arteries, anger kills human organs and cells, meanness and false accusations destroy well-being. When people project their own unhealed emotions and dysfunction onto others, the boomerang effect is inevitable. “What you think you are doing to another, you are in fact doing to yourself.” It is always a surprise to me when someone harbors, acts out or humiliates themselves by showing others who they are in such a public venue. It’s like watching an intoxicated friend, stick their head in the commode while you stand by helplessly. They are unable to see how they are being perceived by the public at large until the next day when they hang their head in humiliation complete with embarrassment and regret.

Since then, strict laws have been enacted prohibiting and dealing with social media bullies. Social media sites now have provisions in place to delete the accounts of those who use a computer to threaten, terrorize, intimidate or harass anyone online and in many states such acts are deemed felonies, accompanied by serious jail time.

In the more than 23 years I’ve been teaching higher consciousness, I’ve learned that embracing the dark moments of life is as essential as dancing in the light. All aspects have purpose and all challenges are nothing more than a catalyst to expand your consciousness. No matter how painful, no matter how difficult, the soul chose and attracted all of it on some level. You may not EVER know the reason why something happens in your life although most of the time, the reasons do become clear with time. You then look back, remembering the pain as you bask in the glory of where that road of heartache led you, which brings me to the capstone of this story.

I am grateful for every single person who contributed to the hardships, heartaches and trials of my journey through life. The purpose for the bullying had now led me to my future, a greater outcome than I could have dreamed.

On July 17, 2016, the COO of the billion dollar brand, the world renowned phenome of licensing, branding and marketing, the same one the trolls contacted just three years ago, became my Master Agent, for literary, licensing, public relations, branding and marketing. There could be no one more qualified to handle me, my company and the entire body of work I have been creating for decades. He is a giant in his field of expertise and he would not have found me, if not for those that meant harm to me. What they meant for harm, Spirit meant for good. The feeling ran akin and it reminded me of the Biblical Joseph who was thrown into the pit by his jealous brothers, abused as a slave of Egypt for twenty years, then lifted up as the second most powerful man in all of Egypt.

I now realize if not for those unhappy, hateful souls, I would not be aglow in the rapture of this incredible and fortuitous pairing.

 

Ariaa is a  Spiritual Life Strategist, Global Thought Leader, Huffington Post Contributor, Animal/Human Rights/Senior Advocate

http://www.Ariaa.com

Image courtesy of Anne Geddes – AnneGeddes.com

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Redefining Success

In the late 1950’s success in America was typically portrayed as a one income family, a middle income job, a modest home in the suburbs and a new Oldsmobile or Chevrolet parked in a one car driveway. Emotional, physical and spiritual well-being was all rolled up in a nice little Sunday go to church package in a time where preachers and doctors were considered gods.
As the human race has evolved over the past 60 years money has become the god of choice as a barometer for measuring success and happiness. Yet the divorce rate is at an all-time high, families rarely sit down to dinner together, doctors are seeing record numbers of heart attacks, strokes and stress related ailments and America is working longer hours for less pay.
Material wealth has become the great American remedy though many see it as a way to anesthetize and appease an otherwise malcontented society. Yearly we witness the annual ritual of “Black Friday” now revised to “Black Thursday” where shoppers wait in long lines and mow each other down in order to save twenty dollars on something they probably won’t use more than a few times.
Somewhere in the financial rise and fall of America’s ever changing economic horizon, character, integrity and core values was lost.
Oh there are still many in every demographic who value more than money and many who measure their life by greater than what they have in their wallet. The onslaught of scaling down began with the mortgage crisis a few years ago when people started looking for different ways to own a home and preferred a smaller, more ecologically friendly home as opposed to the one they lost without ever missing a payment. Downsizing has become the new norm with shows like Tiny House Nation and Architectural Digest featuring shipping containers tricked out to create beautiful, affordable housing.
With a nation willing to get rid of the excess of the massive quantities of stuff they have accumulated over their lifetimes, comes too, a new way to define success. Unlike previous times, success has become simplified; the less stressful a life, the more successful. The less overhead, the more successful, the more quality time with family and friends, the greater the measure of success. Having a roof over your head, a warm bed to sleep in, having food on the table every day and going to bed contented every single night with a clear conscious, THAT is success. Having quality friends love and support your dreams and celebrate your accomplishments, THAT is success. Having a strong, healthy body, free from fears or stress related sickness THAT is success. Being able to take your integrity and authenticity into the world each day, unafraid of being yourself, having the freedom to express yourself, THAT is success. Leaving a legacy and helping others knowing most will never know it was you who paid the tab or prayed for a better outcome for them, THAT is success. Being able to let things go easily, forgive easily and live without judging yourself or others THAT is success. Leading a life rich in diversity, philanthropy, and volunteerism and doing it with unrequited joy, THAT IS SUCCESS.
These are the things that neither money nor a college degree will ever be able to give you. These are the core valuables which should be in your safe and should be non-negotiable. Spend less time working for the almighty dollar and more time seeding and fertilizing that which has real worth, that which is invaluable, these add up to the truest measure of success.

Photography by Alejandro Marcos

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