Nine years ago today, I was robbed at gun point.
I was walking home from a bad blind date, laughing about it on the phone with my sister, when a scared young man followed me into my condo building. At first I didn't see him, but when I put my key in the front door I felt thick hot breath on the back of my neck. I turned around and was within inches of these big, sad, saucer brown eyes.
“Are you going in?” I asked him. I thought maybe he had a friend who lived there.
He paused and then looked down at my belly. I followed his eyes and saw that he pointed a gun my stomach. I fell to the floor, with my arms over my head, screaming, “Please don't hurt me, please don't hurt me!!!”
Thoughts raced through my head, “Tell my parents I've had a good life, thank my grandparents for me.” I remembered my 3rd grade birthday party and envisioned my funeral. I looked up at him and now the gun was pointed at my left temple. I could see down the steel barrel.
At that moment, a strong, calm voice came over me: “Oh no,” she said. “You're here for purpose. People are waiting for you.”
So I made a promise with G-d: “If you let me live, I promise to pursue that purpose.”
At that moment, the man took my purse and he ran.
See, I had known that I wanted to do this Purpose work for years, but I had been too afraid to do it. I was afraid I'd fail, afraid you would all hate me, afraid that no one wanted to hear what I had to say. I was afraid I'd never make money and afraid I'd never be published. I was afraid of everything.
So I stayed stuck. Stuck in my job, stuck in my relationships, stuck in my life. And staying stuck made me severely depressed. I called myself horrible nasty names for not following my dreams. I went on heavier and heavier depression drugs and I got shingles at 34.
I was a mess – all out of fear.
But that day, with a gun to my head, I made a decision: I was doing this. I was going to use every talent G-d gave me for purpose. I was going to use my life to make a difference in the world. I was going to become PurposeGirl.
It was all I ever wanted. It still is all I want. When I die, I want millions of women saying, “She impacted my life.”
And I will tell you my friends, this Purpose-thing is not easy. I've had many days of crying and fear. I've been terrified of running out of money. I've compared myself endlessly to coaches who have bigger audiences than me. I've been excited one day, felt like shit the next, and called myself a loser. At various times, I've become obsessed with winning your “likes.”
But as I was working on my book today and realized that TODAY was the day 9 years ago that changed the trajectory of my life FOREVER, I KNEW that I would not change that experience for any amount of money or “likes” in the world.
I'm a survivor. I'm a warrior. I've survived so that I can inspire you to thrive. And I don't take my mission lightly. As of this moment, I'm more serious about it than ever. I want EVERY woman on earth to know and love who she is. I want EVERY human being to realize his true purpose. I want ALL of us to live and love fully with open hearts and giving souls. There is so much more I can do. So much more I want to do.
When this young man was sentenced, I went to court and his attorney handed me a letter that the young man had written to me. He explained how he had grown up without a father, how he had 2 babies and one on the way, how he robbed me because he needed money for diapers. Tears streamed down my face and sobs left my throat. (They are again writing this.) The judge asked if I wanted to say anything. I stood up and faced his sweet sad eyes once more. “It's not fair that I grew up the way I did, and you grew up the way you did,” I said. “And I don't want your kids growing up this way. I want them to go to college.” Tears now streamed down his face.
I meant it. I still mean it. I'm remembering it all today in vivid color and I'm really wanting to make a bigger impact. I want to serve. I want to empower kids in challenged situations too. I don't know how and I don't know where.
And I want to empower EVERY woman to RISE UP. I just know that we are ALL PurposeGirls! We are ALL here for SOMETHING! We can't let raw talent go wasted. You can't let your dreams get lost. If you don't know your purpose, let's figure it out. If you know it but aren't following it, let's get you on your path. Please don't hide behind fear anymore, my friend.
You never know when a gun will be pointed at your head.
Written in complete and utter love. Sending love tonight to C. H., wherever he and his children may be.
Carissa Crowther says
You are my inspiration and because of you I decided to pursue my dreams. I’m forever grateful. Your stories motivated me to find my own purpose from within.
Carin Rockind says
Thank you, Carissa — women like you are the reason I do what I do! xo
You are forever and always an inspiration. I hate how it happened but I am so glad you were spun into your purpose path. You move the universe with your spirit.
Carin Rockind says
Thank you, Jean, that really means a lot to hear you say that! And I hope you noticed some of your amazing photos on my new website — you’re such an amazing photographer!!!
Dear, Sweet Carin,
I knew the trauma of you being held at gunpoint because I read about it in the book in which you were published “Pebbles in the Pond”. (for anyone who needs a collection of amazing and uplifting essays by inspiring women, please get this treasure). As you know, I gave my copy of your book to a woman I met at the airport whom I felt needed those inspirational messages. So. lately, I am thinking about forgiveness. Not the regular kind of forgiveness, the person who pisses you off at work or in traffic or a family member that says something hurtful- but instead the person that has hurt you so deeply that you could never forgive them, that the crime or pain they have caused is so heinous that everyone around you says, ” What they did was unforgivable” (i.e. – giving you permission to stay angry). So, lately I have been thinking about forgiveness. My husband was killed by someone with a gun. The person that killed my husband is dead. There are certain times of the year, our wedding anniversary, my husband’s birthday, the date my husband went to Heaven, these dates are sprinkled throughout the year, and even though the person that killed him is dead, if it’s one of those days that I am feeling deep pain and crying and still missing my husband, I think, “What would I do if the person that killed him was still alive?” And then I think about forgiveness. I think about what causes one to take such extreme and desperate acts of violence. Pain. Sometimes it’s mental illness, organic in origin. But sometimes extreme pain. I read your post and didn’t know that you took that stand in court. I don’t know if I would have been as open to that position of forgiveness if I had to face the person that killed my husband. But, reading your post made me stop and think and for that I am grateful to you my Spirit Sister. Much Love, Paige
Carin Rockind says
Oh sweet Paige, I’m so deeply honored and touched by your post. The idea that my experience can bring support to your experience and your life is truly humbling. I can’t even imagine the pain of what you’ve been through. Of course it tears you up!! I wouldn’t blame you if you never forgave him, and yet, here you are thinking about forgiveness. This just shows what a beautiful heart and soul you have, and what a beautiful woman you are in every way. Forgiveness isn’t easy and it never means condoning. I’m still learning how to forgive (there are other situations I haven’t yet forgiven) and I don’t know if I could ever forgive someone if they killed my husband. I also know, though, that this pain has made you stronger and helped you grow in ways that you never would have otherwise. The best I’ve ever been able to make of the horrors of the world is that all of our pains have been for purpose. They all have made us stronger or wiser or more courageous. The same is true for you here. Me too. Allow your heart to lead you through this chapter, Soul Sister. Your heart always knows the way. I love you.
Lori G says
I love your posts. I so appreciate everything that you share, and it always motivates me! Thank you for sharing your fears and your emotional roller coaster of being excited one day and crying the next, and calling yourself a loser…
Thank you for teaching me yesterday to be kinder to myself. Today, I didn’t scold the little girl in me that went on a binge and didn’t exercise. I didn’t lament over the actions but instead felt compassion towards her and understood that she thought it would make her feel good at the time, and I suggested that we find more-constructive ways to feel good — like through art or being in nature, and it sure feels better to react with love and compassion than to be disappointed in or angry at myself! You’re wonderful, and I am so thankful for you!
Carin Rockind says
Aw, Lori, THANK YOU! I’m so, so happy that self-compassion is working for you. It feels so much better and you deserve that! I have absolute confidence in you to follow every dream in your heart. And thanks for telling my how my posts impact you. It means SO much to me! It’s often scary for me to share the whole vulnerable truth, but I do it so that you all know that you’re not alone. I really appreciate knowing that it makes a difference. We’re in this together! XO