My intention in writing this book is to share with you the story of my own trauma and the difficult, often circuitous and self-destructive path I took to acceptance, forgiveness, and love. First, tenuously, acceptance of those who had hurt me. Acceptance, in time, unfolded into forgiveness. The longer, harder path was to learn to love myself: it can be easier to love others than it is to truly love our own flawed, fragile selves. My hope is to show that suffering is not meaningless, and that, in fact, the very thing that brings us pain can, in time and with care, bring us a sense of liberation and purpose. I believe that inherent in suffering is an opportunity to transform pain and consciously use the experience as a progenitor of a new way of being, a new way of living, a new way of seeing the world, and perhaps being able to help others do the same. We are all unique individuals, many of us with deep wounds from our pasts. But we do not need to let those scars define, or defeat us.
The shape of my life, including my career as a psychologist and specialist in community-wide crisis management, was imprinted on my psyche by traumatic events in my early childhood. My journey of self-exploration, of learning and deeply knowing myself, required, requires still, years of reflection and personal reckoning. Looking back at my formative years and experiences, my travels in search of spiritual meaning and comfort, and the arduous route to recovery from alcoholism, I know that all these elements in time formed my perspective, my work, and my very soul. While my life was filled with poor decisions and bad choices, my experiences created the tapestry of Me.
Colored in hues dark and brooding alongside bright tones of lightness and hope, all threads twist and intertwine. I can no sooner disentangle this complicated tapestry now than I can predict its completion.