MA Medieval French Literature (UVic)
I didn’t set out to be a healer, but I was fascinated by my own life. I wrote, “An unexamined life is not worth living” (Socrates?) at the beginning of my journals. At 19 I started working with active, intentional creation. At 26 I learned shamanic journeying techniques and began developing my inner seeing landscape. All through that time I was also studying French literature, living in French-speaking places, learning archetype and human nature and experience through language and story. And I was cleaning up my life, learning what it feels like to live with integrity and to be kind, not “nice”. At the end of my 20s I thought I was doing pretty well: married to a good man (finally able to choose a good one!) and starting a PhD in Medieval French literature. I had my shit together, and believed that I saw clearly how everyone else should get their shit together.
Turns out I was wrong, and sometimes I was a jerk.
At 31 and 33, my babies were born. I did not cope well. I know now that I had intense post-partum depression. I didn’t know that then. All I knew was overwhelm, core exhaustion, shame, self-loathing, rage and a desire so strong to hide my struggle that I could not ask for help. What I could not know was that this period of intense breakdown would be my greatest teacher and would wring the arrogance out of me. I didn’t know that I was overwhelmed with feelings that I was not letting myself feel. I was not even aware that I was stopping myself from feeling. I didn’t know that I had no love for myself. I didn’t know I was deep in a family pattern of making the child responsible for the emotional expression of the parent. I learned all of these things, and more, by engaging in the ways of inquiry that I had already put in place in my life and by adding others. Slowly, slowly I crawled out of my depression, humbled and scarred, having learned that grieving the big and little things opens the heart, that even the most together-looking human has a story of pain, and that my heart falls softly in love with anyone once I hear their story.
I’m still more than a bit of a rascal. I still swear a lot. I learned that part of my work in this world is to stand as a doorway and a witness for another to step through deeper into their own juicy life.