Liberation and Dedication

In 1964, I was born in NYC, then raised in rural PA as the product of a highly dysfunctional upper middle-class family plagued by my mother’s alcoholism, narcissism, denial, violence, OCD, ADHD, chain-smoking and whatever else goes along with that care package.

I was never allowed to be myself- my life was totally controlled and any idea or concept I had that varied from my family’s narrative and beliefs was ridiculed, and so was I. Consequently, my self-esteem and health suffered, and I remember regularly feeling tense and anxious growing up. By the time I was in my late teens I felt like I was going crazy. It had boiled down to just my mother and me, and I found myself having to lie to her just to live a normal life. Her second marriage ended in the middle of my junior year, about 6 months before, and she and I were getting in fistfights regularly as a result of her drinking. Luckily, I had rekindled my relationship with my dad, and he was encouraging me to come live with him in NYC.

It was the night before my junior year finals that I finally could no longer tolerate my mother’s abuse. I ran off to my boyfriend’s house, then got hauled off to my grandparents’ house 4 hours away, and within two days was living with my dad in Manhattan. What a whirlwind! A few weeks after I got settled, he invited me to come with him to a therapy session he went to regularly. The therapist was an angel. I wound up working with her steadily for over a year, and then intermittently for four. I’m so grateful for my father giving me this gift; it totally changed my thinking, my self-esteem, and my life.

When I saw what a difference a great psychotherapist could make, I ended up getting a minor degree in psychology at Smith College. A few years after that, my subsequent dysfunctional marriage, toxic job, friendship betrayal, and some hard Pluto transits forced me back into inner work, but this time I was drawn to esoteric work and recovery work. I began taking sessions from an empath where I learned how to be present and in body, especially at his small retreats, and I started doing a lot of Al-Anon work, too. Both of these were pivotal, and I began really tapping into my intuition and instincts, and letting go of a lot of control issues, negative thinking and limiting beliefs.

From here I went on to radically change my life for the better. I moved to California by myself and proceeded to make a wonderful living with my artistic abilities as a professional scenic artist, then muralist, and eventually interior designer. Although I stayed in CA many years past what I originally intended, and happily so, I was eventually able to realize my long-term dream of moving to New Mexico to create a rural retreat center for art and healing, which I then opened in 2012. What has been consistent yet diverse over these past 4 decades since I left PA at 17 is my dedication to inner growth, to following my heart, to listening to my gut, and to making the world a more beautiful place.


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