Starting in high school I began to feel alienated and started eating to deal with stress. This started a long pattern of guilt and self-hatred, and thinking if only I had the perfect body, it would give me everything I wanted. College brought increased feelings of isolation and more compulsive eating and loneliness. I thought having a relationship with a man would give me what I was seeking. An abortion at 19 left me with huge guilt and longing—now believing a baby would solve my suffering. When I finally had a baby and heard the words, “Your son is autistic,” it was the beginning of a very long stress filled seventeen years of feeling inadequate and internally struggling, struggling, struggling.
By the grace of God, I became a student of A Course in Miracles while I was pregnant, but I still experienced tremendous stress. In 2004, my son’s suicide brought more guilt. Five years later, in February 2009, I found The Work at a women’s group. The moment I heard a quote by Byron Katie, I was in. I bought all her books and started doing The Work on my own. In August, 2009, I attended the School for the Work. The Work gave me a way to dive into the dirt—headfirst into the darkness—in safety. It broke it down into manageable pieces that could be looked at, rather than overwhelming generalizations and the huge mountain it seemed to be. I exposed all my thoughts, fears, shame, and guilt that I had held for 35 years around my abortion. Finally there was a legitimate place and forum for all those hateful, guilt-filled thoughts I had while parenting. My feelings of unworthiness could be expressed and shared and I was met with such love and compassion.
I finally experienced that I was not alone, that there was nothing wrong with me, that I had the very same thoughts as everyone else in the room. I finally found The Way. It gave me a connection back to people, to the concrete world—not an abstract spiritual world. It gave me forgiveness right here, right now—I really saw that what I thought happened didn’t. And I saw for the first time a way for beliefs to shift—not by trying to do anything, just by simply inquiring. I also finally got to express all my feelings and learned to value and honor them.
While training in ITW I began to start noticing and identifying my motives, practiced welcoming criticism, giving an honest no, and living my turnarounds. I have focused on becoming a better listener and communicating more clearly and honestly, especially with myself.
My daily meditation has shifted to sitting in a question and waiting for what comes. I feel like a way out of my suffering is always available. I am very happy to say that I have more appreciation, love, and approval for myself and I am very clear that I am the only place I can ever find it. I love being available as a facilitator on the Helpline. It so gives me the experience of being love. I’m incredibly grateful for the Love that has shown up as these four questions.
I am blessed to teach painting and sketching to a fun-loving group of adults at my home and the local community college. It’s another great opportunity to look at our fearful thoughts and play. I have done a lot of Work around death, being a “bad mom”, and needing love, approval, and appreciaton. I would love to hold the space for you when you are ready to do The Work.