Cambria, October 9-11, 2015. My heart goes towards the circle and the idea of exploring how we heal the deep passive impulse in ourselves. Knowing that it has a protective reality, a reason to exist and demands compassion, I want to bring the stories that shaped us up to the light. To see their edges and shadows and wonder what healing will look like in the deep recesses of our spirits. I want to love the parts of me that froze, that stopped trying, that didn’t even know she had needs so there was no need to express them. Some of you over expressed, some under – but always beneath the expression, the story, there is a part of the Self that, liberated, explodes into creative energy we need to live our lives. Cambria, October 9-11, 2015. What stories shaped you?
Here is one of mine:
Once a month, we each get a dollar allowance. I save mine for months until I can buy a Barbie. They cost $3.00. I keep her in a box and carry her to first grade with me.
Mrs. Paul is my first grade teacher. She has a kind face and a round body. I wait each day to walk her to her car after class. I leave Barbie on the curb outside our classroom and walk out with Mrs. Paul. When I return, my Barbie is gone. The box has been torn open but left. I am confused. Looking out onto the playground, I see the tanbark has been disturbed. I walk over to it. My Barbie’s head is buried there. I look around. Other little mounds. One by one, I uncover her arms, her legs, and her torso. I put the pieces in the broken box and begin walking home. As I leave the school’s gate, Gwen and Liza and Sue are laughing hysterically and shouting “teacher’s pet.”
Trauma is not only a singular event. It can be reoccurring events in a hostile culture.
The I Hate Debby Club lasts all that year and into the next. From Mrs. Paul to Mrs. Elkins. That it would go on so long never occurs to me. I cry with my older sister and go back to school.
I sit in a sand box. I look up and see five or six girls surrounding me. They start singing and moving around in a closed circle, holding hands. I am captive in the middle. The words pierce through my confusion slowly. “We hate Debby We hate Debby Yes We Do Yes We Do…” I wait, and go inward to stillness.
One day, Liza asked if I want to play with her. We go to my house to play Barbies. As we dress them in new outfits, I hear a sound outside my window, muffled whispers, then a shout. “Liza’s a spy! Liza’s a spy!” The look Liza gives me is a mix of pity and confusion, but maybe it is just jerk psycho girl. She runs out to join the club.
My sister Terry is a year older and nothing like this has happened to her. She can muster the needed strength to fight back. I have collapsed into the unreachable.
She pulls out a piece of the beige newsprint paper with the green dotted lines on it, the paper we use to learn to write. On it, in her careful third grade hand, she writes, “Dear Mrs. Elkins, please make the girls stop being mean to Debby. Mrs. Allen.”
Deborah has been facilitating women’s retreats since 1990. She has a private practice as a counselor in Santa Cruz, California, with a focus on women’s health, trauma, and life transitions. She studied for seven years with Center for Intentional Living-a psychology post-graduate program, as well as ongoing training as a group facilitator. Deborah has been invited to lead groups in the United States, Europe, Japan and Africa. Deborah excels at creating an environment that is not only safe but also filled with laughter and discovery.