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.