As I Remember It by Guest Storyteller Ginny Taylor

As I remember it, #365StrongStories by Guest Storyteller Ginny TaylorAs I remember it, three of us physician assistant students sat around a table, a group project before us, “What is Child Abuse?” It was 1979. Child abuse was just emerging then - even though it has been in the world for thousands of years - as something criminal. Definitions appeared in texts with photos of cigarette burns on young arms, of babies’ bottoms blistered from hot water.

As PA students, we needed to recognize these signs to treat them as burns and referrals to social workers. This was physical abuse.

But then there was also this other term, sexual abuse. Old men flashing children. Rape. Molestation.

And suddenly, for the first time in ten years, a memory resurfaced. A man old enough to be my grandfather. A trusted camp counselor, a man we called Uncle Jim.  Positioning me, my back to him so I couldn’t see his face. His hand between my thighs. Groping the crotch of my bathing suit. Fondling.

Then, on the heels of this memory, a realization hits me.

I had been molested. In 1969 while at a summer church camp, I had been sexually abused.

And I say to my group, “This happened to me.”

At least, I think I say this aloud, for it’s always at this point my memory blurs. I know I say it to myself. And I know there is silence afterwards.

Perhaps it’s silence from the group. But even if they had spoken, what would they have said? We were only being trained on treating the physical signs. We were years away from inserting PTSD into our lexicon. We are still are years away from de-stigmatizing mental illness.

I don’t blame my group of peers for not speaking up in my watery memory, just as I now no longer blame myself for the decades of silence that followed. All of us were only coping the best we could with the tools we had.

Just like that molested girl… Just like that 10-year-old girl who, when Uncle Jim let her go, ran down the path to the swimming pool and dove deep… Just like that girl who resurfaced still holding her breath.

WomenGinny Taylor #365StrongStories guest storyteller of Wonder founder Ginny Taylor teaches holistic practices like those in the WONDER COMPASS Story Art Pages, that can help women become the heroine of their own healing journey.

In recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness month, special pricing on the WONDER COMPASS Story Art Pages is available.

Writing prompt: Defend what you hold sacred

Writing prompt: Defend what you hold sacred. #365StrongStories by Marisa GoudyI came across this cartoon in The New Yorker. Though I don't have much experience with reflexology, I think there's something to the acupuncture points that correspond to the overall health of the body. I felt the usual "there they go, judging the healers, the ancient wisdom keepers, and the 'airy fairy' contingent" and just kept reading the Annie Proulx short story that had my interest.

This is something I'm used to. And I bet you are too. If you're a vaguely interesting human you hold opinions that will be ridiculed by the mainstream press, the intelligentsia, macho culture, you name it.

Today, I invite you to write into a time you had to defend something you hold sacred. Perhaps it's a story about a time you didn't speak up and you still regret it. 

Tell me about the writing process in the comments, share your story and tag me, or submit you quick piece for publication in a future #365StrongStories guest storyteller post.

On Mentorship, Evolution, and a Book We Were Destined to Write

"When you constantly allow yourself to be human you constantly become more conscious" - Eleanora Amendolara, #365StrongStories by Marisa GoudySome stories become so well lived that forget that how you got there is a story worth telling. That is how I feel about my relationship with my mentor and teacher, Eleanora Amendolara. More than a decade ago a Lyme disease diagnosis brought me to a local healer Sue Fick’s table. Within two years I remembered that I wanted to be a healer too and I decided to join Sue at class. After all, I had become a Reiki master in college and I had long yearned for those superpowers to become real in my life.

That was when the Sacred Center was first woven into my life. Though I followed the signs and made the choice to show up, it all seemed meant.

And that’s the way it’s been as healing trainings evolved to become a Mystery School, as those stones that Eleanora uses became the sacred tools behind Chumpi Illumination. Because I was there at the heart of this organic transformation, I barely noticed that the work was sitting at the core of my life.

In the middle of this journey I gave birth to two babies. I clung to the couch fighting morning sickness, I dozed during my third trimester, I brought along infants to class. There were two growing reasons to say "I'll be back when the kids are older," but the decision to make it work seemed as predestined as all the rest.

Becoming Eleanora’s go-to writing and marketing person seemed natural. Writing a book together seemed like the logical extension of our work together. After all, she had evolved from being a teacher to being someone I knew would be one of the surest guides in my life.

Today, however, it’s time to pause and notice how far this work has come. Please take two minutes to watch this gorgeous trailer for our book, Chumpi Illumination: Gateways to Healing and Transformation.

There's a Reason They Call It a Mystery School

There's a Reason They Call It a Mystery SchoolIt’s time for “class.” At home, that’s all that needs to be said about mama’s quarterly disappearing acts. “Healing class” suffices in most casual conversations, especially in professional circles where I’m known as a writer and a writing coach, not as an energy medicine practitioner.

Only amongst the tribe of fellow healers and seekers do I dare call it what it is - a Mystery School. Four times per year a community gathers to journey into the Greater Reality, to practice a sort of magic, and to heal the wounds that keep us from participating fully and joyfully in the adventure of life.

The Sacred Center Mystery School has been at the heart of my spiritual practice and my self-care routine since 2007. It’s my church and my spa and my therapy couch all mixed together and decorated with crystals and feathers and sacred tools called Chumpi stones.

Ask me what it is I do there, and I am not likely to get too specific. I suppose that is because it is a private practice as full of intimate details as another person’s devotion to prayer might be.

Then again, what more do I have to say considering I co-wrote the book on the subject? Though I don’t talk of it often, I worked with my teacher Eleanora Amendolara to write the guide to her signature healing system, Chumpi Illumination.

This work isn’t a secret, but it is an unfolding mystery. I go to the Sacred Center to resolve the conflicts in my life - that should make for lots of great stories, right? Not yet. Not yet.

For me, this place is the setting for stories stories that need to be held close and told in whispers. Their time may come, but not yet.