When I was a child, my sisters and brother and I ran wild and free over the land my grandparents took care of. Almost 3,000 acres inland of San Diego, CA, bordering Mexico, we were the only ones there. Heaven indeed!
Practically penniless, usually barefoot, always full of imagination and creativity and passionate connection with the land and each other, we spent holidays and summer vacations there.
And I had my books. Beloved sanctuaries they were, rich with stories of exotic adventures and girls who conquered all sorts of suffering. The Girl of the Limberlost. The Secret Garden. Yes, Nancy Drew.
But it turned out that heaven had a monster. My grandfather thought it was all right to incest his oldest grandchild. One of the results is that I’ve devoted my entire life, both personally and professionally, to re-claiming myself, healing the sacred wounds, and leaning into my dreams.
It’s been my life’s work to understand how to live reaching for the stars, rather than be swallowed whole by those monstrous experiences.
Tried drinking for a while, which didn’t work out so well. Got sober, which took a while because I had to drink for a while; then fail for a while.
Eventually, though, I got it.
Finally went back to school, but not ’till I turned 40. I’d never even finished my bachelor’s degree, so that’s where I began. My father only made it through the 8th grade; my mother was pulled out of the 9th grade to travel with a carnival. Her new stepdad, the grandfather I knew, was a carnie.
Eventually, I finished my bachelor’s degree, and went on to get a summa cum laude master’s in clinical psychology. And then took all my life experiences, and dreams, and education and poured everything into earning a creative PhD.
Along the way, I experienced a lot of “alternative” educational trainings, including vision quests, which helped me remember the utter joyful abandon of being on the wild land, and some good (and too much bad!) psychotherapy.
I learned to meditate.
Feeling my way through it all, I began coming home, to myself.
I got to learn how to live from the inside out. And it’s been a helluva journey, can I just tell you?!
These days, I’m blessed to be doing work I love, with people I love. I’m immersed in stories, all day long, every day.
And in the process, I continue to re-write my own story into one of redemption, and living an authentic life, built on the foundation of real happiness.
I’m blessed to help others hear the stories they tell themselves, to that they can live beyond the older ones of suffering and danger.
I mentor folks into living, loving and working from their own best selves.
My biggest joy is showing my clients how to get their arms around just how freakin’ amazing they are.
And guess what? No one starts working with me knowing how to do that. Many don’t even believe they have much to offer. Which is why this poem, from Hafiz, means so much to me …
I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.
Let’s talk. Email me? firstname.lastname@example.org.