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Hearing Bells

February 28, 2011

I’ve worked really hard to get here well, and whole, and strong because happy endings don’t arrive of their own accord. They take persistence, dedication, clear vision, and a clear mind. Like Captain Sully who perfectly crash landed flight 1549 in the Hudson River with a fully loaded airbus, saving everyone on board, crash landing a life requires an experienced, well trained, fearless pilot. Little did I know after struggling with breast cancer in 2003, that in addition to the year-long battle waged with chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and more chemotherapy, I would have to face an exponentially increasing paradigm shift. Brought about by loss, loss, and more loss, the price of enlightenment was the death of many illusions. Within the space of two years following the initial diagnosis of cancer, I had lost my health, second marriage, home, job, and many friendships.

The angel of death is really an angel of mercy. Understanding this lesson allowed me to accept action’s new template, providing the strength to simultaneously recover from devastation while building a new life. Even though a tragic time when it seemed that loss would be never ending followed the initial diagnosis of cancer, I felt well enough to begin graduate school in the geography program at UNC-Charlotte, starting in the fall semester of 2005. And please notice here, in 2011, 8 years since the initial Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) diagnosis, that I lived.

Highlighting graduate work was a final capstone project where I had the luxury of choosing a topic and developing the entire work from start to finish. The purpose of my research was to assess perceptions of community food systems from within the sustainable agriculture movement and from policy makers in North Carolina. Yielding one surprising theme, some of these activists were providing new solutions to problems in the agribusiness system by helping to build a local food economy in the Charlotte Metropolitan Region because they believed that the current food system was not only unsustainable, but already failing.

It was another alarm bell which helped to wake me up to the issues being researched and to my own personal mission. Investigating material for graduate work in 2007, I stumbled upon Renfrow Hardware store in Matthews, saw non-hybrid seeds for sale in Ball jars displayed upon antique shelves, and was smitten by the implications of what lay within those historic walls. Finding such an obvious visual clue leading to the sustainable agriculture movement in the Charlotte Mecklenburg region was unexpected and exciting. A year or so later, while walking by the store after the annual farmer’s market barbecue next door where farmers had been interviewed for my capstone research project, I literally heard ‘heavenly music’, being played in my head like a lullaby softly floating out of the store on a breeze. It was another obvious clue, but what did it mean? Was it an indication of psychological pathology or was it indicative of something wonderful?

And if that wasn’t strange enough, on July 22, 2008 memories and emotions of such a horrific nature surfaced that recovering from their psychological repercussions became a first priority. Life flashed before my eyes and this painfully drawn out near death experience caused a reformation of sorts. Rather than taking the traditional path expected of me, it was finally time to recover from the devastation from which I had run all of my life, moving through suffocating trauma and taking responsibility for being who I was. No more ‘Bah Humbug’ for me!

Through it all, I was blessed with consistent divine intervention. I’ll try to describe how, after surviving a crash landing at a family member’s house alongside the Intracoastal Waterway in South Carolina in 2009, this story came to be written. Truth be told, however, mysterious forces so vast and powerful are working to help humanity join the larger human family that the real scope of this intervention can never be explained. This book is not only for those who are fearless or for those who have walked in similar shoes. These words are also for the faint-of-heart, that you may find your own generous well of courage located deep down inside.

You will hear what it was like to begin waking up as an incest survivor, not only to memories of serious childhood abuse, but to a new identity and spirituality. Be careful because a story courageously told creates expansion and power for the listener and reader. I use gentle restraint to shield you from too much information which might cause harm experienced as a result of knowing my story. My promise to you is that when I share, those most delicate of attributes like kindness, tenderness, and compassion will be used to buffer the unpleasantries of violence. You do not have to know the details in order for us to connect, heal, and grow together.

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  1. Book-marked, I love your blog! 🙂

  2. Can anyone help me donate to support Japan?
    I’m so unhappy about what happened in Japan with the earthquake plus tsunami and I actually want to assist all of them through donation.

    Does anybody know an internet site or anything where you can donate to support Japan?

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