By: Marla Frees
Last week I attended a program for survivors of trauma and abuse when I was gently guided in a meditation by a very gifted facilitator. She invited me to connect to my four-year-old self. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to see what would happen. I saw this precious little girl standing beside the only rose bush that grew against the side of my childhood home. She was picking off the Japanese beetles that were eating away the single rose. I could feel the prickly sticky legs of the green-headed marauder, and then the therapist said, "Hold her and see how she feels."
The girl was anxious, wanting to get back to the rose bush and save it from being ravaged by the beetle that was just doing what a beetle does. Already the pattern of codependence was set up. There I was at such a young age trying to stop the destruction that seemed an inevitable pattern of my family. As though the hunger of my fearful unhappy parents were just doing what they did to survive and the child was the rose. The analogy was daunting.
Tending to the garden of our soul is not something we think about often. But Spirit, in it's divine wisdom, set up a situation for me to heal the foundation of my roots as well as protect how I bloom.
A few months ago I was getting ready to set course with a production company on a project when Spirit told me, "We want you to heal some of your history." Hum, well, of course I wondered how that would happen, but our agendas or what we think about how such a thing can transpire is often contrary to what we WANT to have happen. I like to have things be loving and copacetic so that communication can be resolved in a harmonious way. But this time I could not make that happen because Spirit had a different idea.
What transpired was that I ran smack into a situation with people where fear was at the core of every one of our communications. This triggered me the same way it did with my parents and I literally began to do what I did as a child - vomit.
Spirit told me as my head was in the toilet, "You now can see the damage and feel the pattern of abuse; time to heal it. We want you to go to The Meadows."
The Meadows on one hand is a place for the rehabilitation of many different addictions, but they also have a workshop that was suggested to me by my therapist friends and colleagues who knew about this place. They all said I must do the "Survivor" program. This weeklong workshop investigates the origins of adult dysfunctional behaviors by exploring early childhood trauma that has led to various addictions, depression, eating disorders and painful relationships. In this revolutionary educational and experiential process, participants learn to identify and address family-related issues that took place from birth to 17 years of age. The primary focus of the workshop is to learn to deal with the emotions that accompany any less-than-nurturing past event, and then to work on resolution of the consequential grief and anguish.
The Meadows was an oasis of healing. And in the middle of the very powerful program I had a brief experience of connecting to my inner child who knew the beetles would be trouble, but also loved their sticky legs and the beauty of their metallic green heads and shiny copper wings. Their nature is just to survive. My four-year-old now knows the cycle of beetle and flower: in the destruction of each rose, the bush will bloom even more the next year.
May we all be lucky enough to have the gift of Spirit to help us see the healing and beauty by tending to the garden of our souls.