(Written in December 2010)
Dear Guides & Guardian Spirits, I’m looking over my early life, especially the trip to Europe after college, and I’m feeling very sad.
Dear Jenny, sadness is appropriate. You were so desperate for love, and you expected to find it from men. You had no knowledge of any other kind of love. You were trying to find beauty and adventure with your soul full of shrapnel. Your abandonment issues were triggered in every relationship. You measured yourself against your traveling companion, who was so much more knowledgeable about how to do life. She’d brought a wardrobe suitable for traveling in Europe. She negotiated relationships with much more skill. You thought you were defective, but no one had taught you any life skills at all. Of course the wonderful adventure was underlain by pain and confusion. Offer compassion to that lost girl, it was never her fault. She had a lot of gifts and no way of sharing them.
Writing a positive autobiography is an exercise recommended by Martha Beck in Finding your own North Star. When I started it, I remembered that I had been lucky enough to go to a very fine elementary school. Though high school was somewhat lacking in support for my creativity, there were still some good things, and it prepared me for an Ivy League College. When I graduated I had no idea what to do with myself so I thought of going to Europe. Fortunately, one of my classmates offered to go with me, and I was very lucky because she was knowledgeable about travel, and knew places and people who were helpful. Martha Beck is also the source of the phrase “shrapnel in your soul.” When I first started reading her book about how to find the life that was right for you, I felt a lot of discouragement. I often feel, in the presence of someone who is always positive, that they are giving me an assignment that I can’t do and it makes me feel worse. Fortunately, Martha Beck acknowledges that you can’t to this work if you’ve been wounded, and you need to address this issue first. I felt strengthened by her understanding.