A CHANGE OF PLANS

For a long time, as a society, we seemed to think that once it was decided what we wanted to do or what we wanted to be when we ‘grew up,’ we could not change, that we had to stay in our chosen fields, to stick it out, even if we were not happy with what we were doing.  These days, though, it is not unusual for people to have several, if not many, different careers.

As many of you know, I have had my own business for 24 years now.  While I enjoy what I do (custom home furnishings,)  I can get burned out and long for something different.  The truth, though,  is I am very good at it.   I love to create beauty for people’s homes and their lives, and I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  That being said, as you may also remember me writing about desiring a chance in my life right about the time I was sexually assaulted.  My attack resulted in me launching this website with the intention of helping other women who had been through a similar experience.  You may also remember that I posted pictures of my dream/vision board, which I had made in July 2012, about a month after the sentencing of my attacker to prison.  What I did not say at the time was how more specifically this vision board came about.  Just the other day, though, I came across what I had written the day we made our boards.

Rather than just making the board on my own, my local Hoffman facilitator held a special gathering, apart from our normal monthly meetings, where we did guided visualizations to help us clarify what we were hoping to manifest into our lives.  What follows is the notes I took from the various exercises we did.   Keep in mind that I was still a good four months away from finishing my EMDR, and, as it turned out, a few years away from being truly through my experience:

 

“Message from Spiritual Guide –  pay attention to ALL that is happening to you; it is ALL happening for your highest good.

What do I believe is preventing me from manifesting my vision?   Fear

Elevator question – What are my self-limiting beliefs that keep me from having what I truly desire in my life?

(What I got from the elevator exercise)  Very fancy elevator opens to a very pattern-rich (floral sky, striped trees, plaid grass, color everywhere) scene that is a cross between Dr. Seuss, H.R. Puff-n-Stuff and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, where everything is make-believe and happy and where nothing bad happens.  It feels like the happiest place on Earth (sorry Disneyland.)  Everyone is smiling, happy and helpful.  The sun is shining.  I don’t really seem to be a part of it though.  I am looking into a place I’d like to be.

(Then the question asked was, What is your vision for the future?)    My vision is to help women who have been victims of sexual assault by giving them a platform where they can tell their stories, anonymously if necessary, so that they are able to heal themselves emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually.  I also am affecting change in the ‘system,’ in how victims are treated though the entire process.  I see myself teaching the police. EMTs, DAs, and any and everyone who comes in contact with the victim so that they are more compassionate and understanding.  Just as it takes a village to bring up children, I think it takes a village to help heal those who have been harmed.”

 

 

I find it very interesting that my vision was so clear even though I was still in the middle of my healing process.  What changed for me, however, was/is the fact that most women simply do not want to talk about such a horrific event in their lives.  While I do understand the reluctance, I also feel that it is important they do it anyway.  Unless and until someone is ready to talk about it, though, there is not a lot I can do to ‘make’ them talk.  Nor do I want to.  Because of this, I changed the focus of this site.  Instead of a platform for others, it is simply a place for me to continue to tell my story.  I hope in this that it is clear that healing and recovery are possible if you truly want it and are willing to do the work.  Is it easy?  Absolutely not, but my experience is that it is absolutely vital.

 

THE FOUR AGREEMENTS – A TOLTEC WISDOM BOOK

I loved this book when it was first given to me shortly after I did the Hoffman Process.  I then bought and gave it to everyone I knew.  I have read it many times and now even have it from audible.com.  Just as with any other book, listening to it is a whole other experience.  Since I love being read to, it’s perfect!

The Four Agreements are:

“BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD  Speak with integrity.  Say only what you mean.  Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.  Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY  Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.  When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS  Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others  as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.  With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST  Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.”

Simple enough, yes?  Well, maybe simple, but not necessarily easy to do.  Any yet I know that when I actually practice these 4 agreements, I am much happier.  The book, though relatively short, is quite powerful; and I’ve also found, the more I read it, the more likely I am to remember the agreements and to live by them.

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The author, Don Miguel Ruiz, has also written several other books, which are also good: “The Fifth Agreement,” “The Mastery of Love” and “The Voice of Knowledge,” among others.  All are just as insightful and inspiring, though my favorite remains “The Four Agreements.”

IT’S NOT A STRAIGHT LINE

As much as I’d like it to be, as much as I’ve tried to make it be, it simply is not a straight line.    In my mind it goes something like this — you get attacked, you do whatever it takes to make sure your attacker is prosecuted and sent to prison, you go to therapy, and you are healed.  But what happens when you get attacked, you do everything you can to make sure your attacker is prosecuted and sent to prison, you go to therapy, and you aren’t quite healed?  If you are me, apparently, you beat yourself up for not being where you feel like you should (there I go, shoulding myself) be at this point.  I have been accused in the past of being too hard on myself, for holding myself to some impossible standard or ideal that pretty much no one could ever attain, and when I, of course, fail to achieve it, I then beat myself up.  This is a vicious cycle and it needs to stop.  The question is how to do I do this, how do I get off this merry-go-round?

I am not sure why I have such a hard time acknowledging and being proud of myself for how incredibly far I have already come.  I can easily say that I understand this to be true on some level, but I’m not sure I truly understand that to be the case.  I think I want it to be true, because otherwise all the work I’ve done, and it is considerable, would seem to be for nothing, and that might just put me over the edge.  Some days I do see the progress I’ve made and I feel good about it.  Other days, though, the most innocuous comment sends me off the deep end.  And, worst of all, sometimes it is me who makes that comment.  Like today.

I was accused (and rightly so) of being mean to myself.  At first I did not see it this way.  I was being sarcastic about what I was saying about myself.  I used to be a very sarcastic person (pre-Hoffman), but these days I rarely use sarcasm because I now understand that sarcasm is just thinly veiled anger.  And I make an effort to be kind, not condemning to others.  I somehow forget to include myself in that effort.  (How’s that for irony?)  Then it was pointed out to me that perhaps it is myself that I am angry at, for not being what I call ‘done with my healing.’  This, of course, starts me on the hamster wheel yet again.

All of this happened today in my energy healing session with Marsha Bliss.  I am still in physical pain, and though not a lot, it is still enough to make me want to do something to get rid of it.  While Marsha was working on me and we were talking about my post a week ago about my ‘new normal’, as in, is the way my life is now my new normal?  Marsha made up an example of someone who has lost a limb, and after a period of time, is now skiing.  This person has not let the lack of a leg stop them from moving forward.  This has become the new normal for them.  Something about that conversation triggered an incredible sadness in me and the tears to go with it.  Here’s the thing – when we see someone, (from the outside, because, really, unless you’ve been there, you can NEVER know what goes on behind the scenes, what goes on inside of them,) who has triumphed after a tragedy and we think, wow, this person is happy and has moved on and bla, bla, bla.  That’s just it, we simply do not know what happens when they go home at night, if they are crying themselves to sleep or are one step away from suicide or really are doing okay, in spite of it all.  We just don’t know.

 

I wrote the above paragraphs last night, and while I have no idea if they somehow influenced my dreams, I did have really weird dreams and woke up this morning feeling rather blue.  Then when I was going through my emails, I came upon the following quote, which gives me enormous hope:

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”   ~Benjamin Franklin

I’ve been nothing if not persistent in my desire and actions to move through this traumatic event.  And something else Marsha said yesterday has been running around in my head, and that is that we are never done with whatever it is we are doing in our lives.  If we’re done, we’re dead.  I get this, I really do.  I understand that once we get through, put behind us or in some other way move on from a situation, traumatic or otherwise, something else is bound to come up.  We’ve all heard the adage that God, Life, the Universe (whatever word you want to use) never gives us more than we can handle.   I believe this.  I even have it posted above my desk (don’t always remember to look up to read it, but it’s there.)  And as much as I subscribe to this belief, I always just as often forget about it.  I think what all this means to me is I just have a lot more stuff to deal with, and not all of it, maybe even none of it, has anything directly to do with my attack.  I definitely attribute, if not all, most of what I am dealing with these days to that one event, and that would be because so much of it seems to stem from it.  Physically, I have not been the same since, so it makes sense that it would be the reason.  And, really, it probably is.  At the same time, what this also means is there is still unresolved issues from my past that are arising now because I am finally at a place in my evolution that I am able to deal with them.  That is both comforting and annoying.   So, to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald from “The Great Gatsby,” I beat on, boat against the current, born back ceaselessly in the past.

 

 

THE BOOK THAT STARTED IT ALL

Back in 2000, when I realized I had to get a divorce, again, my husband asked if we could go to couple’s counseling.  I said yes.  My acupuncturist at the time gave me the name of a wonderful therapist, and we went to her.   Trouble was, it was very clear right from the start that therapy was not the answer, at least not as a couple.  I continued seeing Cate by myself, though.  Cate was also the person who eventually recommended Hoffman to me, which as you know if you read my posts about my experiences doing the Process, was life altering and life saving for me.  Anyway, I was just reading through my journal from the fall of 2000, looking for specifics about when exactly Cate recommended the “Conversations With God” series of books.  I found two references to it in my journal, but nothing more than that.  I do know that, although she told me about the books in November, after I returned from doing the Process in Wisconsin, I did not actually read the first one until later in December.

I came out to California to look for a place to live, and had no luck.  I needed a very specific house, with hardwood floors, a fenced yard, a garage, etc.  Rental properties in Los Angeles were so different from those in Chicago, so much more expensive, and Chicago in not an inexpensive city.  So after a week of searching, I went back to Chicago empty-handed, so to speak.  Then I read “Conversations With God,” and my whole outlook and way of speaking to myself changed.  Let me back up a minute here before I explain just how impactful the book was.  If you had asked me at any point in my life if I believed in God, my answer would have been a resounding NO!  I had had unpleasant experiences with religion as a teenager and had never seen anything good about it.  When I finally read CWG, Book 1, I suddenly understood why I had such a negative view of God and religion.  I realized that I did believe in God, just not in a vindictive, mean God, which was my understanding of what/who God was up to that point.  It was truly a life-changing book for me, and when I came back out to Los Angeles in January of 2001 to look again for a house, I found what I was looking for.  When I made the trip in December, I kept saying, ‘I hope I find a house.’  After reading CWG, I understood I had been ‘asking’ in the wrong way.  For the second trip, I said, ‘thank you for my new home.’  I knew I would be shown exactly what I needed, at a price that I could afford, in an area I wanted to be.  I KNEW!  And that’s what made the difference.  What I learned from CWG, and many subsequent books since, was it is all in the way we ask for or intend things in our lives.  In my daily prayers, I never ask for anything.  I simply thank God for whatever it is, as if it is already here.  So instead, as an example, of saying, ‘Please send me more work,’ I say, ‘thank You for all the great jobs I have.’  Because even if I don’t have any work at that moment, I know more is on the way.  And why was this such a life-changer for me?  Because right from the start it worked!  And continues to each and every day.

I went on to read CWG, Book 2 and Book 3, and have since read and listened to all 3 numerous times since.  I highly recommend them, especially if you have a ‘problem’ with organized religion or the concept of God.  They just made sense to me in a way that nothing else, to that point, ever had.  In the last few months, I have also listened to and/or read “The New Revelations,” “Communion With God,” “What God Said,” and “Friendship With God.”  I loved each one, though I think my favorite with always remain the first one I ever read, “Conversations With God, Book 1.”

FORGIVING DOES NOT MEAN FORGETTING

Still working on forgiving – my attacker, of course, and even more importantly, myself. I know it seems strange that I would in any way need to forgive myself for something I did not do, for something I never would have wished upon my worst enemy; not that I really have any enemies, but if I did, I wouldn’t wish a sexual assault on them.

In April, right before I left for a trip to Atlanta, to visit my parents, to go to the Masters and  to Saint Simons Island to visit my friend Kim, I was on my way to the outlet mall down by the border and passed a sign for the exit for Donovan. I have never noticed this exit before on any previous trip. When I saw it, the thought that popped into my head was, “I should go and visit DCD.” (A friend wrote me to tell me that I need to stop calling my attacker ‘cockroach boy’ and start using his name. While I agree that CRB isn’t very nice, what he did to me wasn’t very nice and the best I can do right now is call him by his initials.) And then I thought, ‘Whoa, where did that come from?’ I completely forgot about it until my last Hoffman gathering. Well, after doing some research, I found out that DCD is not, in fact, housed at Donovan, but at Kern Valley, which is about a 4 hour drive from here. And in order to visit a prisoner, you have to be on the approved visitor list and the person to approve me is DCD. You actually have to apply to be visitor, and even if DCD said it was okay, the prison system has to okay it, as well. I think my real reason for wanting to go visit him is to ask him WHY? I’m not sure I’d even get an answer and even if I did, it may not be one I want. I’ve thought about it a lot and come to the conclusion that going up to Kern Valley State Prison is not something I am prepared to do. A compromise may be to write him a letter. Again, I am not sure what I hope to really accomplish with this. I may end up writing him and not sending it.

At acupuncture last week, I was lamenting about how long the healing process is taking. Matt said to me, ‘You ARE through it. Right now. You are done.’ Okay, cool! Maybe it really is as easy as that. Yes, I am still dealing with some physical issues that have occurred as a result of the attack. Each day, though, I feel like I am one step closer to being completely healed. Will I ever forget about it? Doubtful, especially since I write about it. Will there always be certain things that are either very difficult or impossible for me to do? I have no idea. Only time will tell.

Whatever the case is for me, however it plays out for me in the future, forgiveness has been on my mind a lot in the last 2 1/2+ years. So as for forgiving myself, just as with DCD, I am much closer than ever to being able to say honestly that I have done it. I am not sure why I blame myself on some level, and I may never understand that. Don’t get me wrong here, I am very clear that I did nothing wrong, that the way I was dressed had nothing to do with it, that I was in the wrong place at the right time, because, to my way of thinking, if it had been the wrong time, it never would have happened. As I have said before, too, I do believe that it happened for a reason and though I did not specifically ask to be sexually assaulted, I had been asking for changes in my life. I am really okay with all of that, which is why it baffles me that I would in any way blame myself. Yet, it is still there to a degree. Clearly, I will be done when I am done. There doesn’t seem to be a way to make it go faster. It will take as long as it takes.

Because forgiveness has been so much on my mind, when the topic for the 7 March 2014 daily reading in my Science of Mind magazine, written by Joanne McFadden, was FORGIVE, this was just another validation that I am on the right path. I loved the essay so I am going to copy it in its entirety:

“After Olympic runner Louis Zamperini’s plane went down in the Pacific in World War II, he and the pilot floated for forty-seven days on a life raft. They survived a strafing attack by a Japanese pilot, numerous shark attacks and a lack of food, only to be captured by the enemy. They were brutally beaten, subjected to medical experiments, starved and worked to near death as prisoners of war. One guard, nicknamed “The Bird” by prisoners was determined to break Zamperini. Maintaining humanity and dignity was a daily struggle.

Zamperini survived. However, nightmares of his ordeal kept him emotionally imprisoned for years after the war, plunging him into alcoholism and despair. At first, Zamperini was convinced that vengeance was the only way to reclaim his life, and he became obsessed with it, making plans to hunt down The Bird. Grace intervened. Under protest Zamperini attended a Billy Graham meeting. He was about to get up and leave when he remembered a bargain he made when his raft floated in a dead calm. If God would save his life, Zamperini would serve.

That recollection changed his life dramatically. Zamperini forgave The Bird and went on to create camps for troubled boys, sharing his experiences and showing them a different way of life.

When I have allowed myself to have something to forgive, I like to remember extreme examples like Zamperini’s. If he could do it, so can I.”

Exactly. If Louis Zamperini can do it after the unimaginable things he endured, then so can I.

“It’s a healing, actually, it’s a real healing…forgiveness.” ~Louis Zamperini

THE ‘SIDE EFFECTS’ OF HOFFMAN

As I have already stated, doing the Hoffman Process, literally, saved my life.  Just as my last three posts were titled, it was a huge leap of faith for me.  It was truly an experience like none I had ever had before, nor have I done anything like it since.  I am forever grateful that I was able to find it when I did, that I had a very supportive (soon to be ex) husband and that I had the resources necessary to do it.  My life so completely changed afterwards.  Something very fundamental shifted in me.  It was clearly something that needed to shift.  BH (before Hoffman) I was a very pessimistic person.  Even after having ‘done’ the antidepressant drugs and therapy, there was still something not quite right in me.  It is very difficult to explain how I was different, why I felt so much better, though I will do my best.

When I left to drive back to Chicago, the world seemed somehow brighter.  I felt more alive, like every part of me was happy.  That feeling in itself was odd for someone who had been perpetually depressed and unhappy for most of her life.  Depression is a weird and insidious thing.  It’s not that I had a bad life, quite the opposite, but I never felt that good, let alone great, and certainly not happy.  Okay, maybe on occasion, for a short amount of time, I felt okay, or good enough to keep me going.  Believe me, that is no way to live, and, yet, I know many people do it, day in and day out, for their entire lives.  So, on my drive, I noticed something very strange: no more road rage.  None.  It was all gone, and it stayed gone for a good 9 or 10 years.  Sadly, it has started creeping slowly back in.  It’s not bad, certainly not like it used to be, but I do find myself getting mad at other drivers.  I have to make a real conscious effort to relax and realize that no one is purposely ‘out to get me.’  It was nothing I consciously decided to rid myself of, it just happened as a result of doing the Process.

For years, as long as I can remember, I have always had headaches.  When I was a teenager, I suffered from migraines that appeared every 6 weeks or so.  They did not seem to be connected to my periods, but they did show up just as regularly.  The worst one I ever had lasted 13 days.  Yes, THIRTEEN DAYS!  My (physician) mother finally took me to the doctor to see if there was anything that could help.  The doctor wanted to test my tolerance to pain (clearly I had a lot) and did so by giving me a shot in my hip.  I could tell that the needle was tiny, but it hurt so much that when he told me he could give me another shot that would make my headache go away in 20 minutes, I said, “No way!”  My thinking was I had had the headache for 13 days so it was bound to go away soon, even without a shot.

The really bad thing about my migraines as I got into my late teens and early 20s was how they affected me.  I had blind spots in my eyes and when I would look at a person, I could not see his or her face.  Everyone was headless.  This was a real problem when I was driving.  Not only could I not see people’s faces, now I couldn’t see whole cars.  I would have to pull over, carefully, and call someone to come and get me.  Over time, the migraines eased up a bit, but I still had regular headaches.  I rarely did not have a headache.  There was always pain, but I was so used to it, I mostly ignored it.  I have probably taken enough aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen in my lifetime to kill a herd of elephants.

Very unexpectedly, AH (after Hoffman) my headaches were gone.  Completely!  I had no pain at all in my head anymore.  As far as side effects go, this was a great one.  13 1/2 years later I rarely get headaches, and if I do, it’s because I really have a pain in my head.  All the headaches I suffered for all those years were, apparently, stored and repressed anger, and once I dealt with the underlying causes of that, they had no choice but to disappear.

I always had a potty mouth.  Not horrible, but not so nice, either.  I had read a book by Hugh Prather in the early 90s called “Notes To Myself.”  I do not have the book in front of me, so I cannot quote it exactly; but he said something to the effect of ‘when you swear, all I hear is the swear words and not what you are trying to say.’  At the time I had boyfriend who like to yell and swear and that’s all I could hear.  So, even then I was doing my best to be more conscious of not swearing.  Let’s just say, I wasn’t that successful at it.  AH, though, that all changed.  I was doing something and felt the need to swear.  When I opened my mouth to say, oh, who knows, ‘shit’ or ‘fuck,’ out of my mouth came, ‘oh, bother.’  I just started laughing.  To this day, I rarely swear, and when I do, it is way more effective.  And, really, I think it sounds crass to have every other word come out of your mouth be a swear word.  I will admit, I sometimes do swear when I am alone, especially if I am angry or frustrated at something or someone.  But, like I said, I hardly ever do it in front of anyone.  I have friends who have said they have never heard me swear, and that’s a good thing, I think.

These are just three of the ‘side effects’ I ‘suffered’ as a result of doing the Hoffman Process. All are good and all helped to improve my life, I’d say.  There are so many more, some big, most small, that I wouldn’t even be able to list them.  The entire 10 days was such a life-changing experience.  There are hundreds of Hoffman graduates in the San Diego area, and we have monthly gatherings to continue to work the tools we learned, and to stay connected to each other.  I know Bob Hoffman (founder of the Process) is smiling down on me.

A LEAP OF FAITH, PART 3

The following is the second half of my Summary of the Process, written on 18 November 2000:

My experience with the Emotional Child/Intellect/Body/Spirit confrontation and Truce was actually fun.  (Again, a lot of what I am writing about here will make no sense in the specifics unless you have done the Hoffman Process.)  All parts of me felt good that they were finally able to have their say, to actually be heard and to know that what each part felt and said was, and is, important.  All parts of me now realize that we all must work together, that no one part has more of an important role than any other, that we must all listen carefully to what is being said, and act accordingly.  The truce was a validation that we will continue to be there for, listen to and work with each other, all our parts, from that day forward. I found the recycling to be useful as a tool to get rid of negative thinking and patterns and to look at those patterns in a new way.  Some of the alternatives that came up seemed a bit silly, but, perhaps, that’s really the point.  In the end, the idea is to eradicate those patterns that impact negatively in my life and if rolling in a field of sunflowers, whether physically or only in my mind, does this, then it must be a good solution. My experience of expressing my vindictiveness and then finding forgiveness had a sense of being free of the need to lash out and try to get back at people for the perceived slights or hurts inflicted upon me.  Again, in the end, I am the only one hurt by carrying a grudge and feeling that sense of superiority or self-righteousness.  It felt good to let go of those feelings and the feeling of trying to show you that I am better because I am paying you back for hurting me, that I’ll show you.  The need to always be “right” has disappeared.  I’ve always felt that people should live and let live, but in reality, I didn’t actually practice it.  I thought people should live and let live, but by my rules, by doing it my way.  Now I feel able to actually practice what I preach, so to speak.

My experience with writing the Positive Letter to my parents isn’t complete yet since I haven’t finished the letter.  With what I’ve written so far and with all of the good thoughts I had surrounding it, though, I feel it’s a good thing to be able to think of both of my parents in positive terms instead of as all negative patterns.  And though at times it has been quite difficult to see, I do know that I did learn the virtues and strengths that I have, even if I don’t always recognize them as such, from them.

I have to say that play day was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.  The play session made me want to join, or if none is available, to start my own “Adult-Play Group,” just like those that exist for kids.  All the different games were so much fun and like one of my fellow Hoffmates mentioned, none lasted too long.  We didn’t have time to get bored before we were off to another game and/or adventure.  I especially liked the counting by 4s and then each number was given an animal and we had to find our other members with our eyes closed, of course.  It was all fun, though.  The magic carpet ride to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus was so cool.  It was an affirmation that I am a good and loving person since Santa doesn’t give gifts to bad people.  I don’t honestly remember going to visit Santa as a child, so it was a chance to experience something I wasn’t able to so long ago. It was great.  And so was the birthday party.  Although I do not remember such a large and elaborate party for me, it was a wonderful celebration.  I felt we were celebrating all that we had accomplished thus far in the week.  And to top it all off, we got to put on a play, just like kids love to do.  I don’t think the content of our play would ever show up in a play put on by actual children, but it was fun, nonetheless.  It gave us a chance to work together with each other.  Overall, I thought it was hilarious and showed what we can do when we put our heads, and hearts, together.  All in all, it was one of the best days.  I was truly sorry to see it end.  It felt kind of like when I was little and not wanting to go to bed because I was having way too much fun.

The next day we went back to the ‘hard’ stuff.  My experience with the Dark Side Process left me with a feeling of hope and calm.  And a determination to never let my dark side back into my life.  I know there will be times it’ll creep up on me, but I feel like I’ll be able to zap it and keep it from taking over.

I believe that if I am willing, and I am, to really listen to my spiritual self, I will never be led astray.  I know, without a doubt, that my spiritual side is very powerful.  I know that she has kept me alive for 40 years so that I could get to the place I finally am.  Even when I couldn’t see past the pain, she could.  I know, too, that she is a very loving and giving part of me. As I’ve always been a very visual person myself, I know that she must also be, since, really, we are one and the same.  She has helped me in the last several months, but especially in the last week, visualize my future.  And it looks good!

As I approach the end of the Process and prepare to go fully back into the world I left, I know that I can do it.  I feel so grateful that I’ve had this opportunity to grow and experience the last week, however painful and hard it was.  I am excited about what the future holds for me.  I am also a little bit scared.  I’ve got some major stuff to go through with J, but I KNOW I can face whatever comes my way.  I have the tools and the willingness to do it right, to keep the negative love out of my life.  I also know there will be pain and stumbling along the way, but nothing that love and my belief that I’ll come through it can’t handle.  I am free.  I am love, and I am lovable.

 

Okay, back to present day…just typing this out has been eye-opening.  As I said in one of the previous parts of this, I have not read or even looked at this stuff since I finished the Process in November of 2000.   One of the most powerful things that happened at the end of my time in Wisconsin, was opening my eyes and seeing all the past graduates who had come to participate in a particular ceremony we had, and knowing, I mean really knowing, that no matter what, no matter where I went, or what I did, for the rest of my life, I had a community of like-minded people.  And that alone was worth it.