Whole Life Magazine

April / May 2019

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12 wholelifetimes.com F or many years when my parents used to send me gifts, I tried to make light of all the ridiculous, worthless bargains that made their way to my door for my birthday, my kids' birthdays, or the holidays. It wasn't the gift itself, but the reflection of how invisible I felt with them. Worse still, no matter what I said about these gifts, my comments would always ignite the spark to take a small, silly gift down the slippery slope of the emotional wreckage of my childhood. Without fail, my need to express my discontent would erupt into discord, and I would find myself marinating in the frying pan of my past, searing commentary bubbling up around me, and the familiar sensation of holding back the tears burning in my eyes. It seems I couldn't help myself; I would have to jump into the fire, even though as a child, I knew it would only be adding fuel to the dysfunction that I knew as my family. For a long time, it was the only way out. Maybe the best thing about aging is that it often takes years to understand how emotional fire can be healing too. It has taken time and a lot of practice to learn the trick of using the fire of the past as fuel for my own personal transformation. There is a kind of alchemical magic, a unique, transcendent form of self-love that occurs when we have the guts to embrace the heat of the moment and process it in our own inner fire, instead of being fodder for the searing blaze that keeps most families bound and estranged simultaneously. The transformational alchemy is ignited as we burn off the shameful residue that sticks to us long after the painful stories have ended. Shame strengthens our identity with our most harmful relationships because we believe we have something to hide and it is always what remains hidden that has the strongest hold over our lives. Burning off our shame internally forces the old stories and dysfunctional relationships into the light and what comes clear when we stop feeling ashamed about where we came from is that we are worthy of forgiveness no matter how many times we made it worse by jumping into the flames of our burning families. Believing in our own worthiness, to love, to be loved, and to be accepted as we are is the only gate that keeps most of us from the healing urn of forgiveness. The space when the old truly dissolves into less than memory, more like a building block to our truer self. The challenging thing about finding this space is that it isn't something we can make happen. Rather it is in the surrendering of our shame, the grasping of our worthiness, and the faith that something else can happen for us that creates this most miraculous experience of life renewed. For years I worked to try and find this place of forgiveness within my relationship to my father. It continually eluded me. I couldn't be with him for long before one of his off-handed cruel comments would send me back into the shame of where I had come from. At almost every visit, I would despair about my own inability to let go of the shame and worthlessness that would dominate how I saw myself in his presence. Forgiveness enveloped me after his death in a way that I could never have anticipated. And yet, all of the efforts that I had made to release the past, surrender my shame, and love myself, somehow invisibly coalesced into a peaceful and loving relationship with his memory and an appreciation for all the gifts I couldn't witness when he was alive. What rebirth story is waiting for you with this new Spring season upon us? What new life is waiting to blossom in you? Wendy Strgar, writer, teacher, and loveologist, is the founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, makers of Almost Naked 95%-organic lubricant. By Wendy Strgar Spring of Rebirth FUEL FOR THE FIRE healthy living SEX TALK

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