A superhero is not just for the movies and comic books. They can be you or me, refusing to be a victim. For anyone thinking about stealing a cell phone, targeting tennis champion Serena Williams as a victim would not be an obvious or wise choice. Last year, Williams made headlines after she spoke about a video in which she is shown in some security camera footage chasing after the hapless thief.
Williams said that she had an intuition about the man standing near her in a busy restaurant. She felt uncomfortable about his presence, and then in an instant her cell phone was gone from the table, and so was the man. With the lightning speed of an ace tennis champ, Williams chased after him and caught up to him. But did she do an epic Serena overhead smash?
No. What was so interesting about her ensuing actions to reclaim her phone was that, although not confrontational, it was by no means passive. She recounted that she firmly asked him if he had ‘accidentally’ taken the wrong cellphone. The man hesitated at first, then reached into his pocket, apologized and said that yes, he had taken it by accident. He gave it back, and the encounter ended there.
Clearly, Williams was not interested in being a victim in this incident. Feeling her own moral strength and power, she did not feel the need to wrestle the man to the ground and call the police. Nor did she give him a verbal tirade. She did not even appear to be angry. Though unusual in an often-confrontational society, she graciously treated her would-be victimizer with dignity and gave him a way out.
Later, in sharing the incident on social media, Williams explained her actions and said:
Always listen to your superhero, inner voice.
In that one statement she is telling us that there is no need to be a victim. Williams’ reference to this inner “superhero” presents us with some powerful imagery to think about when we are tempted to feel like a victim.
Some of us have experienced terrible, hurtful events that are difficult to move on from, while others play the victim for things as trivial as missing their bus, or a restaurant being out of a favorite dish.
Whether the experience of being a victim comes from horrific or silly circumstances, no one truly wants to harbour this feeling for long. And, we don’t have to!
Feelings of vulnerability come from thinking we are alone and powerless; separated from any protecting source of strength and goodness. But we can change our thought about that. As much as a hurt may seem like a fixed fact, if we’re willing to change our thinking, our experience simply can’t stay the same. And, that “inner superhero” is key to this change.
Throughout history, individuals of all cultures have discovered an inner voice that is powerful and active in consciousness. In Jewish history, for example, these messages were called angels and were often powerful agents for shifting a person’s view of things – from the fear, weakness or loneliness of the human mind, to the strength of the divine Mind. They often came to individuals in a time of great danger, oppression or desperate loneliness.
Rather than thinking of angels as human-like creatures with feathery wings, as depicted on soon to arrive Christmas cards, we can see them as powerful spiritual intuitions. And we don’t have to find a quiet place to hear or feel them. In Williams’ case, she was in a busy, noisy place when she felt that intuition, and acted. These divine thoughts can come to all of us anywhere and at any time when we are listening and alert.
You could say that entertaining angel thoughts gives us a glimpse of the nature of real consciousness – the presence of the divine Mind with which we are continuously connected. We don’t have to be athletic powerhouses like Williams to be empowered by our intuitions. Each of us can become aware of this inner voice on a more consistent basis, and experience how it moves us from feeling like victims of life’s events to being victors over the difficulties and challenges of life.