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Classroom of Life

Over the past few weeks I have been purging discomfort in my body from memories, core beliefs, habits and reactions built over 60 years of reacting to my outside world. The walls to protect and the rules to hide behind and the goals to stay safe have been at the forefront of my existence as I have moved year to year through my experiences.

I never understood how busy I was batting away violations to my sensitivities from the outside world to build a safe harbor inside. I condemned myself for not joining in wholeheartedly as I never understood the walls and borders I made for myself that kept me apart and safe.

I always held the belief I was wrong. I was less than. I wasn’t with it. I was not good enough. I was stupid. I was not important. I didn’t count. I didn’t deserve it.

My daughters are my teachers. I entered a life classroom when I became a parent. When my first daughter was born, I was mesmerized by the joy of her curiosity and innocence which stirred my commitment to hold the utmost respect and integrity as her mother to give her an experience nothing like mine. She was a joy.

When my second daughter was born, I entered that classroom believing I had life figured out and my commitment to continue my ideals were set in place. Little did I know I entered an accelerated advanced learning class that shot me down a rabbit hole.

An innocent baby not abused by adults entered the world with a damaged body the medical professionals could not explain. It didn’t make sense. No child of mine would suffer was my mantra and yet her suffering lasted for 32 years. My choices of survival were clear. I could choose to disappear. I could choose to intoxicate myself with substances that lessened the hurt. I could be present for her and stay by her side.

My choice to stay catapulted me into uncovering my childhood pain and abuse. My choice forced me to connect deeply with the meaning of life. My choice cultivated a journey into myself while parenting my children. In reflection, I believe my childhood experiences helped me have the perseverance to hang in there.

I never knew how capable I was of dealing with problems until I dealt with them. I never knew how deeply I could feel until life carved out the edges of my heart. I never understood my gifts of perception and intuition until I was forced to accept them. I never knew how deeply I could love until I cleared away the debris around my heart and met myself.

There’s no normal for me any longer. I’ve graduated from that classroom and have stepped into a new classroom in a new chapter in my life. I’m the teacher and I’m the student. I am able to access Universal wisdom and at times find myself sitting at the desk learning with wondering eyes at new possibilities and discoveries about myself, about life.

I am humbled by my life’s experiences. I believe without a doubt my love for my daughters saved my life. My commitment to their joy unburied a commitment to myself I never knew I had.

And miraculously as I write my experiences, the pain in my body lessens. Life continues to be a journey with lessons and discoveries.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • I’m at our family camp compound and I am remembering the first time my son came here with a heart monitor and oxygen because he was born premature. He healed here. It’s an incredible example of how community and family heals. The kids, now adults, are together in joy.

  • Your list at the beginning of the reading is my list. I lived defending and protecting myself from threats. It helps to hear other people experienced the same. I have joy today in letting it go.

  • I’m wanting to break the chain. As a mother, I also didn’t want to pass down the abuse I experienced. My mantra in the 1980s was ‘break the chain’. My son had ADHD and I would hold him, feeling powerless not knowing how to console him. I found community. I am crawling out of a shame cycle. In the meditation, I breathed through it, let it be there. Finding joy is elusive. Joy is an action, it doesn’t just bubble up. Today I will actively search for joy.

  • I appreciate people who are being authentic. I’ve been communicating with people who are not authentic and it is a difficult position to be in. I marvel at how authentic nature is. I want to hug a tree.

  • This reading was so authentic. I am reminded of a workshop I attended where they talked about being in a wanting state vs a being state. My therapist said ‘be like a tree’, bold and beautiful.

  • As a child, I saw the smiles on my family members’ faces but I could feel their pain. It was a mismatch and I realized I could see energy that was all knotted. My best friend was a horse, and when I was with her, I saw smoothness. That smoothness is authenticity. The knottedness is inauthenticity. Animals are authentic.

  • I never wanted to be a mother. I appreciate how you gave love to your children. I poured love into my students.

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