Friday, December 31, 2010

The Post In Which I Mention God & My Vagina In The Same Sentence!

Sex and My Body as ‘The Enemy’

I was 26 before I had my first orgasm. I spent years feeling frustrated with my body. I blamed it. There was something wrong with me. I felt self–punishing. I wondered why the wild sexual abandon and fulfilment portrayed in the movies felt like a land to which I had no visa, no passport, I was forever barred and it was my fault.

When I finally decided to have an orgasm it was no easy task. I did it alone in my bedroom and for years, although I managed, I struggled to climax with or without a partner.

It wasn’t until I met AJ that he reminded me that my body was not the problem. He told me that my emotions control everything. I didn’t have a design fault in my body. It was just my stored, unfelt emotions shutting down my body’s natural responses.

I wasn’t very open to this idea. My body has never really felt like my friend. I realised I was far more comfortable blaming it than realising that it may not look, feel or respond the way I would like it to, not because I was just made that way but because of something I could do something about, the experience of my emotions!

Gradually I came to feel and realise that that I had spent my life out of touch with many of my body’s physical responses. I had always prided myself on my high pain threshold until I considered, perhaps that is because I’m not really feeling much of what is happening to my body. I had struggled with fluctuating weight in my teens and twenties, no diet, however strict, seemed to work. Could this be because I was constantly trying to numb the emotions that my body held by filling up with food? And of course there was the issue of orgasm and sexual pleasure.

I began to explore what my real relationship to sex was. How did I really feel about it? What was my behaviour like around it?

I found that:

  • In day to day life I would distract myself from my sexual desires. I would make tea, do the washing, call a friend, stay up late, get up early – all to avoid connecting sexually with my partner.

  • When I did have sex with a partner I would avoid it lasting a long time. I would ‘run away’ literally and emotionally after the act.

  • Sex really felt like a ‘requirement’ in a relationship, not a joy or pleasure. It was a sacrifice I had to make in order to have a close friend, security or to feel loved.

  • And finally, on the occasions I did actually ENJOY sex, I found myself running away even more, my body cramping in uncomfortable places, I felt ASHAMED.

When I looked more closely at what I was actually doing and feeling around sex I realised that this picture did not match what I had always thought in my head sex should be about. I always believed that sex in a loving, monogamous relationship should be pleasurable and desired by both parties. So why wasn’t it like this for me? If I loved my partner why did sex give me a tight knot in my stomach? And what was that knot really about?

I had a number of intellectual realisations. I began to see my parent’s judgements of a woman who is sexually expressive. I began to connect with some big, scary first century memories about sexual shame and torture. I began to see that the ‘morals’ I thought I held didn’t match with my sexual conduct in this life. But I could also see that I was afraid to feel the feelings associated with these realisations. Slowly the reality that my suppressed shame and fear may be affecting my body began to hit home. 

Owning My Pain

Sometime after this AJ and I were lying in bed one morning and began to make love.

After a few minutes, AJ abruptly stopped and said; ‘Babe, I just feel like you are so angry, I can feel all of this anger coming from you, especially when I touch your vagina’.

‘Angry?’ I said ‘I don’t feel angry’ (and I began to feel angry that he would even imply that I was angry).

Sensing my growing rebellion at this discussion, I checked myself. I realised I had a choice. I thought about it rationally. AJ loves me, he wants to have sex, and given that, he would only be saying this if he really felt something was going on. I lay there for a few moments and tuned in to my body. Oh, OK, actually, I could feel anger. I didn’t want to be touched, I felt like men only wanted me for this one thing, to take from me sexually and leave me. Suddenly I was seething.

I turned to AJ and confessed; ‘You’re right, I feel really angry.’

‘Just go let it out babe’ he said ‘Its OK.’

I got out of the bed and went to the spare room. I found a cushion and something to bash it with. I sat and looked at the cushion.

I started shaking.

Although I could feel the anger inside I was terrified to let it out. It felt big and bad and I didn’t understand really why it was there and where it was coming from. I was also mortified that AJ would feel I was angry with him as he has only ever treated me with gentleness, respect and love.

But by this time I had come far enough to know that my suppressed emotions were ruling my life, and limiting my ability to love and grow. I summoned up all of my courage and started hitting that pillow. I gave voice to the painful feelings that were bubbling up inside of me.

‘Men own my cunt.’ ‘I don’t want to give to a man’ ‘Men are just going to hurt me. They only want me for one thing.’

I really owned the feelings as my own and let them come flowing out.

I committed to the process of understanding and feeling what was stored up inside of me.

At this point I have to say that I am so grateful to have such an amazing, caring and loving partner in AJ. He completely trusted my ability to heal this part of myself and that by owning my anger I would get through to the other side.

For the next week morning and night we would start to make love and I would have to stop, and head to the spare room. I raged and bashed that cushion. I yelled and very often dissolved into sobs.

I discovered a deep, deep pain. The belief that my vagina is just an instrument that can be used to violate me, degrade me, for men to overpower and shame me. I hated it.

I have to admit I began to worry that I would never get through these feelings. I stayed committed to owning my anger whenever it arose during our attempts at intimacy but by the end of 6 days of my processing I began to feel dismayed.

I took myself off the spare bedroom in the middle of the afternoon and had a serious chat with God. ‘I’m worried I’m never going to be able to have sex again. I feel so angry. I feel so dirty and I feel like I’m never going to get through it all’ I prayed to God. I had a cry and wrote in my journal some.

I began to feel all of the rage rising up again. I sat at the cushion with my tube of rubber hose and began again to verbalise and express.

I found myself yelling:

‘God, I don’t want my vagina! I hate it!
God take it back! I don’t want to be a woman!
Why did you even give me a vagina? It doesn’t belong to me, it belongs to men and it doesn’t bring me any pleasure, only pain?’

I was full of rage and rejection of this part of my anatomy. I couldn’t understand why God would have created me with it. My vagina was just a way for me to be violated, to be overpowered. Men could harm me. I wanted God to take it back!

I was overcome with grief. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed for a long time.

Afterwards, sitting on the floor, I crawled back to my journal and began to write.

There came a sudden, quiet dawning; God, who infinitely loves and has a purpose for all things, made my vagina. God loves my vagina. God made my vagina as a part of me.

God doesn’t have a problem – I do!

In a quiet tear filled moment I made a decision – to start to love my vagina.

I knew it was going to be difficult because I was really unhappy with everything that had been done to me by others, everything that I had done to me, and how afraid and ashamed I felt of my vagina and of me. But I decided to trust that God wouldn’t have created me not to love every part of me, including my vagina.

I also knew God’s Truth about sexuality and relationships. That God has designed me to experience sexual pleasure as a part of my soulmate relationship. That God did not want me to barter sex for security or for affection, as I had done in the past. However, She did design me to enjoy the sexual side of me while it was in harmony with love.

Letting My Body Share Its Secrets

Now I’m still dealing with issues of fear and shame, and I still don’t LOVE all of my body all of the time. But I do now feel that God created my sexuality as an integral part of me. I no longer hate my vagina and feel it as an alien, yuk part of me. I don’t try to distance myself from the feelings down there.

I’m tuning into my body more and more and allowing it to share its ‘secrets’, allowing the expression of these stored emotions to free me.

I’m still processing issues of shame that I used to avoid through anger and avoidance of sex. I’m still stretching myself to really tune into my own sexual desire that is real and present inside of me. I’m still connecting to my terror, and letting myself shake and cry and release feelings of being raped and abused. But it’s getting easier and easier.

As I own my pain more, I connect to my desire and my pleasure more. And do you know the best part? Not only is orgasm easy now, it often happens more than once! And I also experience more connection, closeness, love and trust with AJ – which is almost better than anything else.

It’s New Years and I’m laughing because I’ve just written publically and in detail about two things that I once would have thought impossible to even mention – GOD & MY VAGINA!!!

May the New Year bring you the courage to talk about the difficult things, to explore the darker recesses of your heart, so that you may heal your shame and step towards acceptance and love of every part of you! I’m telling you – IT’S WORTH IT!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reflections on 2010: Gratitude

Gratitude 2010

All of Queensland is covered in cloud and the rain hasn’t abated in a week.

AJ & I have spent the past few days visiting with dear friends, Raj and Sue, and Mike and Fi. It has been such a beautiful time filled with moments of tears and laughter, Truth and tea. Raj and Suz’s home is nestled amongst the clouds on a mountaintop surrounded by eucalypts and rather than feeling boxed in by all the rain we have found cosy spots for chats on the deck or alone time for individual processing. 

All of the rain and conversation has only intensified my usual propensity for self-reflection at this time of year. This morning we were due to go home but our roads are flooded. I found myself with my journal on the deck contemplating the year that (almost) was and the one to come.

2010 has been a good year for me. I’ve begun to shift and change and embrace this Path more fully.

There is so much to be grateful for. I find myself quite overcome by all of the gifts that I have come to recognise were always there for me, and all of those that I have opened myself to receive. My journaling this morning gradually became a chronicle and catalogue of the things that have opened, challenged and inspired me this past 12 months. I thought I would share some of them with you.

Finding God, Finding Faith

The further I journey along this path the more I am filled with awe of the great Love that God has provided to us. This infinitely challenging, beautiful and rich journey of self-discovery, of development in love and growth in Truth, which He has designed as our journey back to Him, has begun to feel more and more like a gift.

In 2010 I feel that I regained a connection with God and words can’t really do justice to the emotion that this stirs in me. I spent 31 years in disconnection from the most Loving, the Wisest and most Nurturing Being I will ever know.

It wasn’t such an easy process, reconnecting with my Creator. I’ve had to work through many preconceptions and injuries about Her. My Dad is angry at religion and as a child I took on a lot of these beliefs and associated ‘God’ with ‘religion’. I was so angry about the hypocrisy, judgement and violence I saw in supposed ‘followers’ of religions that I associated God and religion with judgement, hypocrisy and violence.

I never wanted to mention God because I was afraid of other people’s opinions of me (remember I’m the girl who always wanted to ‘fit in’). I didn’t want to be labelled the names I had heard bandied around with derision by others in my childhood i.e. “God Botherer”, “Bible Basher”, etc.

I was also a little confused by my dalliances into ‘New Age’ circles that made me feel that God was not an entity to be known, but a ‘life-force’ or that simply She didn’t exist except as nature or as the great energy of love.

Gradually I have been working through my fears about how others would perceive me, and the need for my father’s approval (which had previously kept me very aligned with his views).

This helped to free me up to begin to feel what I felt about God. Unfortunately then I realised that, quite separate from religion, I was quite angry with God. I couldn’t see the love in what had happened in my life. I raged at God feeling that I didn’t have a choice about being Mary Magdalene and what that meant for my life. I swore and yelled, I refused to move forward, I believed there should be another way or some concession should be made for me since it was all so bloody difficult and overwhelming! I wanted to be just like other people, not perceived by others as some cuckoo re-incarnation nut.

The great thing is that God didn’t mind. He let me be angry. He waited for me to get it out. And after I did some of His Wisdom began to enter me. I began to see that God wants me to discover me for a loving reason, to become the best I can be, and to connect again with Him in this process. All my rage and fear and desire for approval had blocked the message God was trying to get through to me. He was waiting for me experience my real emotional state before He could communicate with me some of His Personality and Love. He wanted me to embrace my fear and darkness so that I could be free of it forever.

God desires to know me, and desires that I know and feel myself. He wants me to embrace who I am – even if in the beginning ‘who I am’ is angry, sad, fearful or ashamed. He knows that in doing so I can begin to connect again with my true self – the passionate, unique, desirous and loving being He created. This was such an important turning point for me this year – realising that I may want God but if I didn’t want me, how could He and I have a relationship.

The truth was; I didn’t want me. Especially I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that I am her, Mary Magdalene! I was OK if ‘me’ could just involve Mary Luck and all of her pain and shame, but to accept and embrace the real me? That seemed impossible.

I remember the moment when the realisation hit me – I can’t connect to God if I continue to run from who I am. I cried for a long, long time, because the fear of finding the real me, embracing her in her sorrow and shame, seemed excruciating – but – I really wanted God. It was this desire, to know and feel God that helped me push through the fear I had of being labelled a freak, through my fear of dying from the immense pain and loss inside of me. This was one of my greatest gifts in the year 2010 – connecting to my yearning for God. And in turn that passionate desire gave me the courage to step into the darkness and uncertainty of my emotions and life.

And do you know what? The truly the beautiful part of this process, the part that feels like a miracle (but is really just a reflection of the Coolness and Lovingness of God) is that God was there waiting for me. Her arms of Love were open and welcoming. And now, whenever I feel myself to be stagnate, or flagging, I remind myself of God’s Great Love and Her desire that I become whole again. God has made so many beautiful provisions for me – not the least of which is the Care and Love She provides to me when I am willing to step towards my fear, towards my true self and towards Her.

Words seem feeble to express my gratitude for my life at this very moment. I could not have reached this place that I am, closer to contentment than I have ever been before in this life, if I had not been humble to God’s Way of Love. I am so inspired about what the next year may bring. I am still afraid but I now know that God is Loving and if I continue to be humble, allowing God’s Laws to guide and assist me, I will be delivered into God’s Love and know true joy. I believe that this is the gift of Faith – something that many times I thought I would never feel again.

A Quick Run Down of a Few of My Favourite Things in 2010

  1. God; rediscovering the true nature of God, finding Faith.

  1. Yeshua a.k.a AJ Miller (my favourite person in the entire world, giver of Truth, wisdom, tenderness and honesty, thankyou for being in my world, you are so beautiful I can’t believe you are the other half of me).

  1. Deciding to find the real me, Mary Magdalene– I’m still so afraid of this decision!
“What if nobody likes me when I stop being the old me?”,
“What if I’m too passionate and ‘big’ for everyone to handle?”,
“What if I can’t cope with all the grief I’ve shut down for so long?”
But in the end I’m tired of being someone I’m not and I decided to face these fears rather than live in them. So far its working out!

  1. Prayer – my greatest tool and now hourly habit that helps me when it seems like my fears will swamp me and shut me down, I really learned the power of prayer in 2010.

  1. Time Alone – in our eco tent, no food, no internet, no distractions, just me and my feelings. I spent 31 years avoiding how I really felt about myself. Now all the low self worth and shame comes bubbling up when I’m alone, but allowing these things has also allowed me more connection to my joy, my creativity and to my soulmate.

  1. My Journal – the space where I have developed my self-reflection and found courage to face hard truths about myself.

  1. Letting Go Of Anger as my defence against fear and grief, as my major method of ‘control’, what a relief! All that anger was tiring and yuk and left me feeling unhappy with myself. I’m now saying a big ‘Hello’ to fear and terror which is full on, but every piece experienced and released brings so many rewards!

  1. The books of Alice Miller – I recommend these books to everyone, titles include: ‘The Drama of Being a Child’, ‘The Body Never Lies’, ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’, ‘Thou Shall Not Be Aware’ (thank-you Alice; may your journey in the spirit world be joyous and rewarding!).

  1. Opening to God Workshops – Oh the growth! I feel so honoured to have shared this workshop with so many people in the past year. I find your desire for Love and Truth beautiful. Of course, I often wish I could go back and give it all again, knowing what I know now and growing as I have done. I feel that I would reflect everything more perfectly! But truly the whole experience challenged me to go deeper, to find true humility and to start to embrace my passions again. I have so much gratitude for the experience. Thank-you Anna and Peter Patella for providing the venue and resources that enabled us to present the Truth so readily to others.

  1. Finding My Creativity Again – my passion for drawing, writing, digging in the earth all lay hidden under feelings of unworthiness and self loathing, as I let them go I am finding my creative, feminine self again.

  1. Rochelle Adams – body worker, kahuna masseuse, friend (thank-you sister for helping me take my first faltering steps towards experiencing my terror).

  1. Books, Movies & Media – that inspired my growth &/ or that I just love!
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers – Karyl McBride
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers

Movies (a random selection)
Time Travellers Wife
The Road
Up In the Air

Battle Star Gallactica – (I’m as surprised as you are – I LOVED it!)
Modern Family – Helped me to remember how to laugh!
Glee – I love it and I’m not ashamed!
The Good Wife

  1. Those People Around Us that I see stepping towards their fear and pain in the faith that it will lead them closer to themselves and to God – you walk the road less travelled and inspire me so much.

If you dig gratitude and self-reflection you might also like Melanie's beautiful Gratitude Diary.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Whole World Afraid To Feel - And My Struggle To Surrender - Part I

The whole world is afraid to feel in one way or another and it is my belief that that is where most of our problems begin…

We are afraid to feel shame, so we hide ourselves, we create barriers within. We harbour things we don’t want anyone else to see and through this process we become false, we loose connection with our true selves.

We are afraid to be different, ridiculed, so we suppress our true selves to fit in with the crowd and through that we limit change, not only in our selves but in our communities and society

We are afraid to just grieve and feel loss and devastation, so we justify unloving actions, like violence, to save or avenge a life.

We fear the afterlife and the end of relationships through death, so we go to extraordinary measures to cling to the physical body. Because we are afraid to explore the true causes of disease i.e. all this suppressed emotion, we push modern medicine to the limits, creating empires of drug companies who now invent illnesses in order to make more money from our fears.

We don’t want to feel powerless, we are afraid of others taking advantage of us in our vulnerability so we seek status as individuals and as nations we go to war.

We get angry and lash out instead of feeling our fear of change or attack. We try to control every last variable in our lives, including our ‘loved ones’, in order to avoid our terror of loss, of change, of the unexpected.

We are afraid to look stupid, so we stop asking questions. We stop seeking and in doing so lose our largest asset to learning, the thing that as children helped us discover so much; i.e. our wonder and curiosity. In its place we breed cynicism and doubt.

We are afraid to love in case we loose it, afraid to open our hearts and be vulnerable because the feeling of being rejected feels unbearable. We can miss out on the greatest happiness; of being connected and honest and close to our partner, if we let the fear of grief and pain hold us back.

We are afraid to hope because we once hoped and believed in magic and were disappointed. We shut down the grief of this disappointment and instead vowed never to be so naïve again. Not understanding that if we cried for our loss we would not be afraid to hope again (and cry again if need be).

We believed our parents were heroes and then they turned out not to be so now we don’t believe there ever could be heroes.

If we could all learn to just submit to our grief, our shame and our fear we would free ourselves to take steps that were driven by real love and care and consideration for ourselves and for others. These things I know to be true. In fact I believe in the power of these things to change the world so passionately that I dedicate every one of my days to understanding what it is I am avoiding and releasing my fear and pain. I do all this because it helps me to grow in love. And I know it works – I am a different person today than the one I was three years ago.  

That doesn’t mean however that I don’t still struggle to submit, to surrender to ALL of my grief and pain. I still fear loving AJ with my WHOLEheart in case he suddenly dies. Sometimes I still prefer to punish myself rather than feel my shame about things I have done in the past. I still fear complete surrender to my deepest grief, and sorrow.

Yesterday I came face to face with how much my lack of surrender to all things was impeding my progress towards God, towards my soulmate and towards true joy.

Its one thing to become more emotionally aware, to ‘cry it out’ regularly, quite another to submit at all times to whatever emotion pops up and kicks me in the guts.

‘Omigosh!’ I hear you say ‘Why on earth would you want to even do that?!”

Well I believe we are all born in a state of surrender. And we like it! As infants and toddlers we feel totally comfortable and natural just letting our emotions flow freely. We don’t try to protect our hearts; we open them in trust and joy, whenever we desire to love. Until we are taught to fear our pain, we don’t need someone to hold our hold while we cry; we just feel the hurt until we’re done. We don’t try to look tough; we don’t avoid being a ‘cry baby’. We are born knowing that it’s natural to feel. We arrive with the innate the ability to experience and to surrender to ALL of our emotions. It’s only as we grow that our environment and the people who are most dominant in our lives, alter our relationships to emotion. Some of us get taught to fear our grief, that it is weak or self indulgent. Often we are shamed for our fear, told not to be ‘silly’. We instantly learn that it’s not acceptable to show our fear or that we are foolish to have it, and we bury it deep inside. We get teased for our excitement and wonder. Others of us get taught to use our tears to manipulate. This takes us down a path away from our true feeling state, and into a world of self deception and false emotion, used only to control. One way or another, by the time we are three or four, we end up far away from our natural, feeling, connected state. A state in which we cry when we feel pain, shake when we feel afraid, express joy and excitement without reserve. We surrender, without censorship or shame, to the kaleidoscope of emotional experience that colours our lives.

This is the state that I long to return to.

The only problem for me, and for all of us really, is that, because as kids we were shut down so much, alienated so often from our authentic emotional connection, we all have A LOT of grief and pain stored up inside. There are so many past hurts and pains that were squashed and still now cry out for expression. We carry so many fears buried under our everyday rage and control. To surrender means, not only submission to our feelings in the here and now, but letting go to feel what lies beneath them. The real beauty (and pain) of true emotional processing is that when I submit to each current pain it leads me back to pain stored from the past and if I am humble I will feel and release it all so that that childhood injury will be gone from me forever.

Until now I have been dealing with my past pain and hurt in bite size chunks. Letting some of it go has been life changing in the positive to put it mildly. I feel happier and more whole than I ever have. But deep down I know I am still resisting the place of ultimate growth. I am feeling my hurt and fear in bits and pieces. It feels safe and manageable. In short I’m on the slow track. You cannot ‘surrender in stages’ and the very fact that I’m not surrendering means that I still harbour fears and insecurities about the very process of allowing my emotions, about being emotional. Sooner or later I’m going to be stuck for good.

I know I need to surrender. I find myself time and again coming up to my emotional cliff face, seeing that over the edge lies the place where I just let all of the grief and suffering pour out of me, where my emotions lead and my intellect takes a back seat and……

I get stuck. I feel afraid. 

I shut down and find myself saying “I can’t cope, I can’t do it, it’s too much, how can I feel this?”

So why is surrender so hard???

Stay tuned for what I have learnt about surrender in past two days.

P.S. If I happen to reach a place of surrender before tomorrow I may not post for a while… Days of tears, sobbing and snot will ensue – which I think will strangely feel like a sweet, painful victory and cause for celebration! After which I promise to return and tell you the secret to it all.

If I don’t reach that place in the next couple of days I’ll be back to share what I think is the secret and why I’m still struggling to implement it. (Along with; common ways I avoid surrender but pretend I’m emotionally processing fear vs. surrender, the power of truth, and other tips and truths AJ has helped me out with.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Where To Begin?

I have been afraid for a long time. Afraid to remember, afraid to tell my story.

Its hard to know how or from when to start telling my story…. Do I start three years ago?.. do I start 32 years ago?... 2000 years ago?... or in some space in between those points?

I’ve decided to start today and write what I think will become my story in a blog format. What will be in part my daily journal, in part a chronicle of my first century life and spirit life and I suspect in the main part a description of my ongoing struggle to come to terms with my identity, my passion for God and my emotional journey in striving to come to love myself and others in the Way that God loves each of us.

Why Tell My Story???

I want to try to explain why I have decided (feel compelled) to start this project. I’m struggling to find the words to do so and am reminded that AJ always says to me: ‘stop trying to explain and just say what you feel’ :-) so here is how I feel;

Mainly I feel ridiculous, awkward, self-conscious. Who would want to read my story anyway?! I’m afraid of being judged as self-involved and a freak… the intense vulnerability of it is terrifying..

I have been on this path for sometime now, teaching it even, but I have largely avoided sharing of myself and my experiences.

I have been full of the terror of judgement, ridicule, speculation, mis-interpretation… but fear is not love and it is not truth.. in fact I’ve been reflecting lately that fear is usually my excuse NOT to love and NOT to give myself a voice. I have become more able to see that even my smallest, seemingly inconsequential decisions, when driven by fear, inevitably result in more fear and pain for myself or for those around me. So I have been starting to view my fear as just an emotion, to experience some of it rather than live in it, to challenge it rather than accept it as truth and as I have been doing so I keep feeling that I need to share more of myself, to find my voice, to be more vulnerable.. to tell my story…

So here goes!

An Introduction – of sorts… :-)

There is no simple or easy way to summarise my life in the last three years, since I began to understand my emotions and memories, so I’m not going to try to do it all at once. I’ll just give you an introduction of sorts, some context hopefully and no doubt in future posts I will reflect and recount on it in other ways.

I’ve always considered myself a fairly down to earth person. I’m not really sure how others have perceived me. While I have always had an interest in things spiritual; it has been mainly a personal and fairly private interest. And I’ve always considered myself somewhat of a pragmatist. i.e. ‘OK so you/ I…. (insert various ‘spiritual practices here e.g. chanted for two hours/ attended a church service/ wear crystals/ went to Israel/ etc). …and how does that make you/ me a more loving person in daily life? How does that love reflect in your lifestyle? How does it translate to your shopping list, your voting ballot, the way you talk to your kids or the waiter, or the guy who just asked you for a dollar for the bus?’

Frankly a lot of times I just didn’t see it. I don’t believe that wearing crystals is the key to our spiritual enlightenment; I don’t believe that if you are on the church committee you are therefore a loving person.

What bothered me a lot was that I seemed to also encounter, in those people who had God or spirituality in their lives, the same injuries I thought were problems in the rest of  the whole human race. It seemed that the only difference was that they dressed up their judgement and separation in ‘spiritual’ words. I felt like New Age throw away comments like: ‘you know we are all one, its all an illusion, a reflection, we are all God, etc…’ were actually ways to distance the person from love and connection with others and from their real emotions, when I was discussing things like mothers dying in Africa, refugees in the Middle East (OK so they are big topics, but these were the things I wanted my spiritual life to help me understand and respond to… and by the way I don’t think we are all one, life seems pretty real for those refugees, I don’t see you going through what they are going through and I’m sure God is not an axe murderer…’ which is of course vastly different from loving the axe murderer!). I couldn’t come to terms with Christianity because it excluded homosexuality, and it seemed to me at the time to be full of fear and exclusion, not acceptance and love. I couldn’t meditate.. my mind kept thinking all of the time and just what was the point again? I didn’t feel that peace and calm my yoga class was supposed to induce, my hamstrings are too tight.

I’ve always wanted to talk about the deeper pains, the things that are important to others but I have also always harboured a bigger insecurity. I wanted desperately to ‘fit in’. I felt so different as a kid, being the only one at school in a tiny farming community with homemade brown bread sandwiches and dried fruit in my lunch box, wearing second hand clothes and no TV. So as I grew up I never strayed too far from the mainstream (only enough to be fashionably cool and different) and I never wore my passion for understanding God and Love on my sleeve.

I want answers! Actually.. maybe not these answers…

This is why when I met AJ Miller in December 2007 it was simultaneously the most scary and exciting time in my life.

Here were the answers, they seemed infinitely loving and they translated into a practical world view. But I was also very afraid… ‘this man is saying he is JESUS… and I am Mary Magdalene…. This means NEVER FITTING IN AGAIN…’

Sadly my terror of rejection, ridicule, being perceived as a freak, arrogant and, insane interfered a lot in my early relationship with AJ and also in how I communicated my feelings and experiences to my family, friends and to others on this path

Not long after I met AJ I began to have memories in full force (I want to write more about this another time). I became very afraid. I felt disorientated, thought I was going mad and I grappled then (and now) with the bigger picture of what it all meant.

I shut down, I ran away, I got angry…. My family decided none of this was true and I was actually being manipulated by AJ.

This was an incredibly painful time for me. I have always felt so close to my family and for the first time in my adult life I felt that I thoroughly disagreed with them… but it was difficult for me to stay true to these feelings as the pain of their disapproval and rejection of my experiences was quite intense. I wanted desperately for them to understand and accept what I was going through.

There were many times when I tried to pressure AJ to change so that he would be more acceptable to my judgemental family and friends. There were also times I flat out rejected him because I felt I couldn’t trust my own feelings and the fear was overwhelming. I blamed him for my memories, I raged against my own inner knowing. I rationalized, I thought up other possible explanations.

I did not want this Truth.

I still feel so much sorrow over these times – the power of my fear to shut down love and trust of myself is a lesson hard learned.  And during all of this AJ only ever respected my feelings and decisions – he stayed away when I demanded it and came back with a heart of love when I felt so lost and desperate and alone, as I often did.

The year following meeting AJ was one of the hardest in my life. I was full of terror about the experiences and feelings that I was having, regardless of whether I was around AJ or not. I knew the Truth lay with AJ but I risked loosing my family’s approval and my relationships with friends. I felt torn between changing the world in a socially acceptable way i.e. completing my Masters degree and heading off to a remote African village to work with disabled children, and following my heart and being regarded forever more as a crazy, cult lady by the majority of the world. There were many times when I quite seriously thought of packing up my backpack and getting on a plane to anywhere other than here.

Ultimately my heart won out. I’m ashamed to admit how long the decision between love and fear took, years really, and my relationship with AJ suffered as a result. I also now no longer seek out the company of my immediate family as when I do I am still met with their harsh judgements of my experience and of AJ, whom I love.

Today I still have great fears of ridicule and rejection, I still have pain at the lack of my parent’s approval and their anger but I have decided to stop letting these thing prevent me from sharing of myself.

My heart is full of love and passion for the message of God’s Way of Love, the Divine Love Path. My fears still make me feel that I would like to talk and teach about the Way while ignoring who I am and my personal journey, but that would be hypocritical. How can I encourage others to tell the truth, to be vulnerable and humble while I hide what is happening for me and how I feel?

I have decided to teach this path for the rest of my life – as I have done for most of the past 2000 years – and this online journal, however long it may last, is about me sharing that journey with whoever would like to hear about it.