I had been self-employed for 15 years offering psychic readings, life coaching, Reiki/shamanic healing treatments. I was teaching meditation, Reiki certification, and psychic development when all of a sudden my next step in life became clear - I decided to go back to school. Many years prior, I had completed an associates degree in occupational therapy assisting; I completed the 2 years of study right on time for insurances across the country to stop paying for OTA services. Ugh!
Now, 10 years later, it was time to consider a higher education. I was drawn to social worker since I was a in high school, and decided to was time to pursue it. My goal of going back to school was that I could apply what I was already doing, combined with that which I would learn in school and be able to take insurances, which would enable me to reach more people / bigger populations. Bringing my alternative healing methods combined with new, clinical skills from studying social work inspired me. It would be an honor to provide more people the opportunity to embrace my services, which of course, excited me, and ultimately would excite them. I loved the idea of helping others heal and get empowered in who they truly are!
I completed a BA in Liberal Arts with a minor in holistic psychology not long before applying to Springfield College, School of Social Work for a masters degree. My initial reaction after receiving the acceptance letter was disbelief - obstacles started presenting themselves right away: Was I sure this is what I wanted to do? Is now the right time? How will my child do in the after school program? Perhaps I should wait until the kids are older…. Sabotaging possibilities just kept on coming. Although I knew this would actualize my dreams, I was faced with great fear! As always, when faced with such fear, I meditate. Just sit and breathe. Talk to spirit. Trust in the universe. Obviously if I got accepted, it must be a path meant for me to follow..... Then, with this reality, an excitement started to swell up inside me. New questions entered my thoughts: Are my dreams really going to come true? Am I actually going to do this? Is it possible for me?
The process had started, and as each layer was being peeled back, I got closer to my core self; the self that desired, the self that believed, the self that brought me through the doors of Springfield College, School of Social Work; and two years later brought me out the other side, with a masters degree in my hand.
But... let me go back a bit. I'd like to share a piece of the process that lead me to those very doors, a process that created the desire in my heart, a place that knows oh-so well what it takes to heal, and then come out on the other side; come through those doors and into a place of the empowered-self.
It was December, 2007 and my paternal grandmother died. I wanted to go to her funeral, but was faced with the biggest fear of my life: my father. Although I realized he wasn't the monster I saw when I was a child, I hadn't spoken to him for more than 15 years, and wasn't planning to change that. It was the way I decided to protect myself, and to make a stand for myself as an adult. I would not have the one who abused me in my life. But it was my grandmother who I remembered so fondly, many fun and wonderful memories, memories of laughter and connection. My first thought was to bring someone with me, but who can one bring to a funeral? It’s not like inviting someone to a movie or dinner.
As usual (since I was about 19 years old), I meditated; and because of my strong desire to be there, I was able to leap into action, in spite of fear. First, I made some calls and made arrangements to stay with friends (the funeral was out of the country). I traveled by bus.... I remember sitting in their dining room watching the clock in anticipation. They had gone to work, so I had the house to myself... time was ticking by as it got closer to the time that I would take the taxi to the funeral home. I hadn't seen or talked to my father for several years, but based on past experience, he played many roles well - child, victim, “nice” guy, charmer. I knew them all.
Using a variety of self-empowering tools, I stepped into the funeral home where I was greeted by relatives and friends. I was relieved when my cousin walked right over and embraced me in a hug. Next, her mother, my father’s sister-in-law, held me close and commented that I was trembling. She pulled me aside and started to share memories of my grandmother. She was always the understanding one in the family, someone I felt supported by throughout childhood and teen years.
After a while, my father approached me and asked if we could talk for a few minutes. For the first time, there was no fear present in me. There was no background noise about the past. There was just me standing there looking at my father. At the time, I was absolutely mystified. Literally, I engaged in a conversation with my father with complete freedom and ease. What happened? Did the 20 + years of therapy finally pay off? What was going to happen next? Would I actually have a relationship with my father? And if so, what would it look like?
When I was 23 (approximately 15 years earlier), memories of abuse came flooding into my morning meditations and disrupted my spiritual practices. Until that year, I completely blocked out all memories. That was when I stopped talking to my father, and announced to certain family members the truth of my childhood abuse. To my dismay, my family continued to have a relationship with my father, yet cast me aside as though something was wrong with me. I found this to be mind-boggling. Is it human nature to shun the victim instead of the abuser? Is it that much easier to deal with what's comfortable than to face hard truths? It seemed convenient for them to continue accepting my father as they had known him rather than facing the truth of the damage he had caused. Over the years, the members of my father’s family would tell me things like, “He’s your father. You should have a relationship with him no matter what. He misses you. He loves you.” Truly, they were living in a state of illusion. Truly, they had no concept of my experience, but only stayed stuck in their experience of who they knew my father to be. Who cares if he's a child molester, rapist, or murderer? He plays a great game of golf!
When I recognized that I had been accepted to Springfield College, School of Social Work I knew it was time to step up. It was no longer about letting the fear of my past make my decisions, but rather, it was time to acknowledge the fear, and do it anyway. It was time to break free of the constraints of the past, and step into my true calling.
The significance of looking at my childhood, figuring out the patterns that were carried into adulthood, and doing the work to heal and create my future has been extraordinary. My life now is based on the present, not the past. In fact, my father is in my life now and he has contributed so much to my adult life. He was not emotionally or mentally well when I was a child, but he, like me, has evolved. He has deep sadness and regret for his actions of the past, and this is something he lives with every day. I am not responsible for his actions of the past, how he deals with them or ignores them now, or adjusting his karma. I am only responsible for myself, and I figured out how I could have my dad in my life. I keep clear boundaries; I only visit him in public places; I decide when I want to see him or talk to him, and when it doesn't work for me, I speak up, because I have a voice. I am an empowered adult. I have the ability to choose for myself. I am no longer a scared little child that has to stay stuck in a chaotic home. I am a healthy adult that created her own beautiful and peaceful home, and I get to decide who enters my space; I get to decide who I interact with, and when; and I get to live my life with truth and conviction.
The past will keep coming up, over and over again, until it is faced and transformed. The point is though.... we already survived our past. It's over. It can't be changed, but we can change. We can heal who we are, we can truly be who we are now, whoever we want to be now. We can powerfully choose for ourselves, as adults, to live from a place of possibility; to live from a place of freedom & ease, a place of unconditional love and of contribution.
Experiences effect how life is lived and until they are overcome, we continue to live from the past, not the present. We make decisions based on what a 2 year old, a 7 year old, 14 or a 17 year old decided. But that was all based on what we knew then! Yah us! We figured out how to survive! I thank myself over and over again for surviving so much; for making decisions that kept me as safe as I could be kept at a time that I didn't have a lot of power. But now, I have all the power in the world. I have myself - strong me, empowered me, healed me. I create every day of my life, and I live my life!