Letting Go and Getting Strong by Carolyn Ballenger

Letting Go and Getting Strong

This deep inner work is so necessary to our sacred creation story. We will continue to die a little every day until we move from fear to honoring our feelings to freedom.”
— Rev. Dr. Temple Hayes

The class that most transformed me in my journey as an ILLLI student was the first course I took, and it changed everything. 

As Rev. Temple says: “We all long to become fully present and alive. It is our true sacred creation story.” 

In this course, we were asked to feel the feelings of past events of our lives. We were given the opportunity to release those feelings, so that we could move on from them and memories of past events without those feelings holding us back and ruling our lives. I didn’t realize how much an early memory of being lost at the fair at the age of three had actually been ruling over my whole life. Feelings of being abandoned, alone and unwanted.

I had memories of the events from the moment I got off the ride and realized I was alone to the moment I saw my mother come walking towards me while standing on the park bench in front of the Police Station. (My thought in that moment was whether the snow cone the officer was bringing me as a bribe to tell them my name would reach me before my Mother would and if I would still get the root beer snow cone if she did.)

To be honest, I was scared to go back and feel those feelings of being frightened and alone as a 3-year-old so I reached out to a licensed therapist to walk me through those emotions. These were some deep held emotions of fear and abandonment, which had caused me to sometimes not feel welcome and safe in my own home growing up.

We spoke about the idea that my Grandma and Mom had probably been frantic looking for me and none of my family had given up the search until I was found and wasn’t it a great feeling when I was held in her arms again? It was an honest mistake for a young, single parent of three young girls in the 60’s. I actually spoke with my sisters about the incident it seems the whole time I was lost was only about 30-40 minutes, but in my whole 60 years of life I had been giving this incident so much weight.

I realized it had affected how I operated with those I loved and even if I loved, whom I trusted and the fact that I really did not trust completely. After truly feeling these feelings I wept like a child. I was able to let go of not feeling loved or wanted or worthy and I have been able to step into a greater, grander version of myself without the weight of these false, negative feelings about myself ruling my every decision.

I feel I am growing into a better Chaplain and a more compassionate Minister and person as a result of letting go of these old misguided thoughts about a long-held belief surrounding myself.

Students are asked to pick a symbol of strength for themselves as part of the practical applications of this course. The concept is that when we are in need of strength we can picture this symbol in our minds to center in our Truth.

The symbol I picked is Niagara Falls. As a child, my first vacation and the first time I had ever spent time overnight with my father was on a road trip where we visited Niagara Falls. I remember the water washing over the mountain and standing on the mountain behind those falls. The sheer power of that water and the rumbling of the mountain reminds me of my own strength and ability to know I am never alone or abandoned.


How One ILLLI Course Transformed Me

If you have been feeling disconnected and drained and want to be impassioned and energized, this is the moment of your new beginning. Declare and affirm this to your energy field:  I am ready to stop dying a little every day and to start waking up! I am ready to be impassioned and energized! 
— Rev. Dr. Temple Hayes

I love classes that make me dig deep into my shadow self. I love to talk about the elephant in the room, to bring it to the light, to love it back into myself as acceptance, peace, and part of my divinity. The course that did this for me was When Did You Die? with Rev. Dr. Temple Hayes.
Spoiler Alert: There is an exercise that helped me dig deep. It is the same exercise as the title of the book. I spent four hours straight, writing more than ten pages of experiences that caused me to die inside. I knew my past, what I had survived, but I had never listed it all at once. Add to that the things that I did to others and to myself that went against my spirit, my truth and I had a healing, cathartic, purging of my past, my pain and the shame that accompanied it.
As I brought each one to the light, the pain was overwhelming, and simultaneously beautifully freeing. I realized that I survived it all, even the things that I did, and none of it defines me any longer.
Rev. Dr. Hayes guides you to finding a couple of signs from the universe, one to ground you, the other to guide you. The signs I was led to by Spirit were astonishing, and they have become a part of my daily life now.
Included in this class are many chances to experience God, forgiveness, and peace in my life. It gave me a deeper experience of where God is and how God shows itself, and its compassion within the fabric of my life.
I have a much deeper understanding of my divinity and my divine powers because of this course. I also dug deep into a realization of my lack of boundaries and self-esteem in some of my closer relationships. The information is helpful, and the exercises are profound. 
As a result of this class, there are three teachings that I embrace every day:


Each experience is just that, an experience. It was not done to me; it is something that God experienced through me. And while some may have been bad, they could have been so much worse. Staying grounded in that perspective helps me not attach to the experiences.


Spiritual relocations are truly a gift. I have learned to surrender to them, as I go through them, rather than fight them. When I surrender, the ride is so much more spectacular.


I have stopped being someone else’s version of who they think I should be.

Some of my familial relationships have been re-worked and re-defined because I have stepped into the truth of who I am.
This course was the first course that I completed, and it is still the most transformational for me. I highly recommend it for anyone who is ready to really step out of the shadows and into the light.