The roots of victimhood

Today, forty years ago, I was getting ready to get married. I had turned eighteen years old on April the 10th of 1976. I have looked at those pictures and seen the look in my eyes, determined and resigned, trying to fit in and look like a happy bride. I prepared carefully for that day, a white wedding dress borrowed from a friend, new shoes, my hair style picked out, the cake being iced with white frosting and yellow roses cascading down over a set of fruitcake stairs. I hated fruitcake. I hated the dress. I really hated my hair style, so fake and so full of hairspray that it was stiff. The thing that I loathed the most of all was myself. I was rigid, inside, with self loathing and despair. Stuck in some kind of inner jail of my own making. I looked like a sacrificial lamb being led to the slaughter, resigned to the fact that its throat would be slit and that it would be served up as a feast for a family that evening.

I look at myself today across the span of time and feel so much compassion and caring for this young self who really wanted to do what was right. I did not love the man I married. i had no idea what love was and what it had to do with marriage. I was terrified of him and also felt a sense of superiority towards him, both of these feelings guaranteed my captivity in a prison of self that was practically indestructible. I married him on May 1st, 1976 convinced that it was the only solution, the only way forward, other than committing suicide.

I just needed to get that out today so that I can bear witness to my younger, 18 year old self, who still resides in my body and is filled with grief today, remembering that she threw her life away in order to fit in to her cultural landscape. We were all doing this at that time, getting married young, having children and living life in conformity to cultural norms and standards that were like high fences through which no glimpse of the horizon could be seen. Yoked together like cattle, pulling the wagon of stuff that constituted family life, marriage and community.

Fast forward to my daughters teenage years and I can remember telling them all the warning signs of a jealous boyfriend and how they had to be very assertive and have strict boundaries so that they did not become ensnared in a toxic, violent dynamic. I can remember telling them the story of how their father and I had gotten together. I told them how he had followed me right across the country and tracked me down at my father’s apartment because he could not bear to have me out of his sight. I told them that if their potential boyfriend exhibited any of these signs they should run the other way as jealousy, anger, control and sexual violence were absolutely and categorically, unquestionably wrong on every level. I actually believe that my daughters have listened to me and followed my counsel and so have my three sons. I, on the other hand, listening to those words coming out of my mouth, started to awaken that part of myself that had been so cruelly frozen into submission. Skewered onto a rigid path of the wife role, the good wife who supports her husband no matter what. I cannot say that I did a good job at that, my husband must have suffered terribly from the repercussions of his actions as I gradually found ways to get back at him. The expression “Wherever there is a dictatorship, there is guerrilla warfare” was definitely the way I operated. I felt he was the dictator and I did everything to make him pay.

Mercifully there is a way forward out of this state of victimization, a way that is wholesome and healthy and full of infinite possibilities. After the official divorce that took place, ironically, on February the 14th of 2013 I took a program called Conscious Uncoupling, taught by Katherine Woodward Thomas. That program set me on a path to understanding the underlying, unconscious programming that had led me to be so numb and disconnected, not all of it since that is a process of self discovery but some of it and that is just so rewarding. I became charged with a mission to study with her but she was not offering a program. So, instead I started studying with Crystal Andrus. But, that, my friends, is a story for another day.


Trauma and Recovery

As part of the Conscious Uncoupling Institute coaching training I have been reading the book Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman M.D. who gives an incredible rendition of the history of scientific research into this subject. There are many points of interest in this book. The one about how Freud buried his own thesis on the causes of trauma in his female patients was a revelation. In 1896 Freud had published his report based on eighteen case studies, entitled the Aetiology of Hysteria. He put forward this dramatic claim:”I therefore put forward the thesis that at the bottom of every case of hysteria there are one or more occurrences of premature sexual experience, occurrences which belong to the earliest years of childhood, but which can be reproduced through the work of psycho-analysis in spirt e of the intervening decades.” Fraud repudiated and buried his work because in the social context in which he was living he could not reconcile what his patients were telling him about such widespread sexual misconduct with the social propriety of his culture. He did not have the moral strength to combat the denial so he capitulated and blamed women, returning to the social setpoint of embedded misogyny.

Visions and Reality


Pointe Amour Lighthouse

Pointe L’amour Lighthouse, Labrador

It’s been just a little over a year (January 17, 2015) since I started this blog. My first post was as raw as it gets. I had just realized the extent of the wounding in my heart. It was agony to deal with it. I want to record a brief history of how I have arrived where I am today, for the record.

Back in 2012,  I had originally envisioned becoming a Feminine Power coach with Katherine Woodward-Thomas and Claire Zammit. I also had, in this vision, some kind of idea that I would be teaching with horses and using equine wisdom. It was a huge vision and at that time the Feminine Power community was not offering any coaching training. I spoke to my sister about it and she encouraged me to join the Simply Woman Accredited Training with Crystal Andrus Morrissette. I was accepted into SWAT in November of 2013. (This was an excellent decision and I have had a return on my investment approximately one hundred fold already and still have not completed the certification process. Crystal and her community are absolute angels in my life.)

The thing was that in my personal life I had separated from my husband in May of 2012 and the divorce was finalized on February 14th of 2013. We had five children together and a 36 year marriage. There was a lot of baggage, to say the least. After the divorce I still had so many family possessions plus the family pets (two cats and two dogs) to deal with. I was convinced that I could move on and start over rapidly. I certainly did my best to do just that. However, I was pushing through while handicapped by this broken heart, not realizing the consequences of neglecting its messages. I did not know that I had a broken heart. It is simply not in our culture to admit to such a problem.

During the year of 2014, I had invested a lot of time and money in becoming an entrepreneur and a life coach. I felt an urgency to get out there and really help others. I enrolled as a Dream Builder Coach with Mary Morrissey in March of 2014 because her system was aligned with how I understood the art of manifestation. I found it brilliant.

Then, at the invitation of Crystal Andrus Morrisette I went to Toronto in May of 2014 to be part of a workshop taught by a business coach, whom I shall name Wanda, this is not her name.  I do not want to reveal who she is because this is not about bashing her at all. It was a three day sales and money business training. She was offering an exclusive “Circle of Life” business coaching opportunity and we were all encouraged to fill out the application and see if we could be accepted. There were two options, either a one year membership, or a lifetime membership. When I filled it out I applied for the lifetime membership. The next day Wanda took me aside and told me that she saw something in me that she wanted to work with and told me that I was accepted. The thing was that she accepted me only for the one year. I overrode my qualms about the pressure of having a one year deadline to get a business off the ground, when in reality I had no business, and be successful. I accepted her offer and signed on the dotted line. I was thrilled at the time and felt that I was guaranteeing my success in this field.

I worked very hard during that year and even went through two other programs with Mary Morrissey as a Life Mastery Consultant and with Quantum Leap. This program is about changing the way you think in order to attract greater abundance and prosperity in your life. It is the law of attraction, but university style. I went to the US three times, once to the central US to participate in another of Wanda’s training’s, once to LA for the Life Mastery Training and  then back to LA in late October for a women’s conference organized by Wanda. I went to this conference only because I could hear Wanda’s desperation about needing support in order for it to come together. It was a huge effort and I think she got very little financial compensation from it, from my perspective. It seems like it was a huge disappointment to her. I was broke going there and it made me so stressed out that I was not coping well at all. My behaviour was out of order. Some of the experiences I had while there were bizarre. Wanda resented having to deal with me in this state.

Parallel my personal life, I had started a relationship with a man in mid 2013 and I decided to move so that I could pursue that relationship. I rented an apartment near him, in an isolated village. It allowed me to start over. There were many good things about that decision. It was because I was trying so hard to make it work with him that I bought Wanda’s setup because her husband is of similar fabric as this man was. I can remember having made the decision to leave that relationship on the way to Toronto just before the workshop with Wanda. But, during the workshop I had an intuition that I should stay with him and that there was something valuable for me to learn. I have always listened to the voice of my intuition which is what led to me signing up with Wanda and to continue to try to make things work with this man. However, I left that relationship with him in early November of 2014, right after coming home from the women’s conference. I woke up out of the trance I was in and got out before being crushed by his oppressiveness. I moved again, this time into a little house in Williamstown, a village where I finally began to address this heart of mine.

By January of 2015 I had a breakdown. I got on the phone for a call with Wanda and a small group in the circle and told them how I was feeling. Wanda called it “hitting a wall”. She seemed to be compassionate on the call and encouraged me to write which is why I started this blog. Over the course of the next few weeks it dawned on me that she had washed her hands of me because I was excluded from further contact with the group. She had decided that I was not doing what she had planned so I was not welcome to participate in their activities. She did not like my behaviour. This was extremely difficult for me to deal with as I really needed support. In fact, I was so driven to accomplish my goal of being a life coach that I had hired, behind her back (in December of 2014), another coach who actually got me doing videos and getting something concrete out there using the Dream Builder system. When Wanda found out she became very angry and said words to the effect that she should slap me. I no longer wanted to speak to her either. I ended the coaching contract with the man who was actually getting me to produce good work, and sank into despair. I take full responsibility for everything that happened in terms of my coaching contract with Wanda. I feel it was an expensive learning experience. One of the many lessons I learned from this is that being a coach is a sacred contract and it must be carried through to the end, no matter how difficult it proves to be. That is the way I see it in terms of my own coaching business. That was a major lesson and it will serve me well.

Fortunately, I still had the Quantum Leap program and Mary Morrissey’s weekly calls to nourish and support me through that time. I also had the SWAT community and their support system.  I began the work of tending to my broken heart. In doing so, I have found my life’s work, my path, and it is very rich and rewarding. As a part of my healing I used Mary’s voice to write over the frayed and disjointed programming in my nervous system. I used what she said as a healing agent to rewire and re-knit my heart to myself, to my own soul. Attachment is the first connection we have as a fetus to our mother. It is so vitally important that if a baby does not have some kind of attachment they will die, even if every physical need is taken care of.

Attachment and love are one and the same, so, if there was something off in our initial attachment with our mother then everything else in our lives is colored by that issue. For example, when I was a fetus I was floating around perfectly joyously until the stress my mother was under came through into my system.  I could feel her despair as she realized what this pregnancy was doing to her perfect plan for her life. She was now going to be forced to marry someone she did not love in order to protect the family name in the name of the Catholic church. I got the idea, the false belief that I was not wanted even before I was born and had any language to express it. It became part of my most primitive survival mechanism, the amygdala being the first formed part of the brain. My brain was formed with this belief and it made me feel that I was not safe. The amygdala is like a crocodile, it cannot be reasoned with, it just feels. In order to change that programming you have to go very deep and clear out all kinds of cellular debris. I understand how attachment works with every cell in my body, with all the particles of my soul. I can sense that connection within myself and in doing so, perhaps I can help others heal themselves as well.


Conscious Uncoupling Coaching Training

Just wanted to share that there is a very special training taking place to train coaches in the Conscious Uncoupling five step process. Created by Katharine Woodward-Thomas this five-step process helps individuals heal their broken heart. Their heart is broken by experiencing a break-up. A break-up can be such a difficult experience that it can make a person feel like they are going crazy and to behave in a completely irrational manner.

Those of us who have the privilege of being coaches in training are now looking for dedicated people who want to transform the pain of a break-up into a catalyst for personal development. The reason that I am in the process of becoming a Conscious Uncoupling coach is that I used this process through my own personal journey of separation and divorce. Such was the transformation that my daughter in law has praised me for my positive behaviour.

If you feel that you would be interested in going through this process please contact me through email at:

For more information please refer to the Conscious Uncoupling site:


Stairway to Heaven

This has been creeping up into my consciousness, this story of “what could have been”, brought on by listening to the song Stairway to Heaven, a song that this man used to play over and over again. It was the soundtrack for his various acts of rape of my body, the tune to which he would bend over me and force me into submission, my mind and his locked against one another, my breath jammed in my throat, only gasping it out as if it were shards of glass, breathing it in that domination, that endless, mindless physical invasion. I could not feel anything at the time, it’s only in the last few months that the sensation in my vaginal walls has come alive as if a magical spring has started to gush from within, released from its former bondage, gurgling with delight, and life itself. All brought about by answering the question that Mary Morrissey drilled into my head: “What would you love? What would you love, Shirley?” That question is the one that has broken down all the inner walls of resistance, allowing the Venus within to become apparent.

It’s a beautiful thing to reclaim this part of myself and to restore the balance within. I recognize that feeling this is my healing path, I acknowledge that it feels like absolute agony at first, however, once it arises it is such a catharsis to let it dissipate out into the ether.

Gratitude to all.

Processing What Love Is

This morning, during meditation, it became clear to me that I have the power to choose who will be close to me more wisely than was previously the case. It seems that one of my strongest virtues is that of being loving. It is easy for me to love everyone I come into contact with. In the past, I believed that everyone was like that. This is not so. In fact, it seems that very few people have the ability to love as one of their primary strengths. Most people are very selective about who they love and how much love they give. They dole it out in small doses, like a bitter pill.

Now that I done all this excavation work in my interior landscape and rooted out so many of the false ideas and ideology about who I am, there is space in there to plant my love seed. Everyone, to some extent, loves themselves. However, I was afflicted with an inferior ego, one where there was a constant negative barrage of doubt, fear, anxiety and terror. I was always worried about the sky falling in, like Chicken Little. Chicken Little is an old story of a chick who is knocked out one morning by a falling pine cone. He leaps to the conclusion that the sky is falling and runs around broadcasting this to all the farm animals, causing them to be fearful. Chicken Little is the inferior ego, the one who is always focussed on everything that is wrong with them and with everything coming at them. The opposite is the superior ego which believes that it is inherently better than everyone else. I just want to have a healthy relationship with my ego, a balance that gives me peace of mind. This balance is being restored through learning to deeply and completely love myself.

My love seed, as I call it, is like an oak tree seed. I prepared a huge field for it to grow. I nourished it with a lot of aged manure (remember all the old beliefs) and dug the soil so that it is weed free. This is a magical seed that, since this morning, has grown a full three meters! There is no stopping this tree, it is going to extend out to the heavens and spread its branches out into the clouds. So many varieties of birds will flock to it in order to feed, breed, raise young, and learn to fly that birdwatchers will stream to it with wonder. In my vision this love will reach its full potential along with an expansion of my being. It feels really great.

The reason why I was able to realize this truth this morning. was due to a conversation I had yesterday morning with Garry, the man who has been my horsemanship instructor for nearly five years. Garry gave me my horse, Trevor, in August of 2013.

At the time, I was still quite wrapped up in a shell of the inferior ego. I had made up my mind to leave behind my horsemanship hobby because I felt that I was never going to get a horse, that it was not for me. So, imagine my incredulity when Garry told me that I was being given Trevor, a Morab, as a gift. I think it has taken me the last two years just to process this. Trevor is a purebred Morgan and Arab cross, bred for long-distance endurance racing. He is now thirteen years old, in the prime of his life. Learning to be his leader has been the greatest challenge I have ever taken on. The rigor of it exceeds anything I ever did giving birth and educating five children. If I could live my life over again that is the only thing I would change, being taught horsemanship skills prior to having children. Children need leadership and as a mother I most often failed to deliver on that front. I have to continually practise forgiveness on myself in order to be able to move forward.

Garry told me yesterday that he discussed his idea of giving Trevor to me with some people. Apparently they thought he was crazy to do this as they had me labelled as a loser, a person who would never be able to give this horse what he needed. Garry gave him to me despite the negative press. He said these words to me yesterday: “Shirley, you have never given me cause to regret it, it was the right decision.” These were the sweetest words I have ever heard spoken to me, up there with my children telling me they love me, up there with the little voices of my grand-daughters. Up there with the gentle tones of the angels in the heavens.

That is when I realized that love is leadership. Leadership is comprised of justice, equity, kindness and love. It’s a recipe for greatness. With that in mind I took Trevor’s saddle off and rode him bareback for the first time. He was so shocked he stopped and looked at me before walking, I could feel the excitement in his body as he took his first steps. This magnificent horse, with his huge heart and his incredible strength carried me forward as if I was his precious princess. It was truly a magical morning, filled with so many gifts. I am so grateful.

photo (17)

Standing and Facing Pain

I have been faithfully journalling and what has happened is that I have had a tremendous personal breakthrough in terms of that very vulnerable part of myself that wanted to die and wanted to run away, yesterday presented herself to me, I got into my bed and let her express herself and just held and consoled her while she released so much pain. Although I have been leaning into loving myself this truly was experienced at a whole new level of compassion and tenderness such that it was miraculous in a way. I think that I have tried for so long, my whole life, to demonstrate my love by spending money on things that would help others and at the same time I would not give myself that attention. I know the reason for it is comes from my treatment as an infant and I understand and forgive. But, it has caused me so much pain, up until now. Now, I am deeply aware of my needs, desires and longings. I hold myself with respect and consideration. I am a Soul. This life I have lived is my Soul Contract and I am committed to evolving and helping others do the same.
Thank you very much for helping me in this community setting. I felt your prayers and deeply appreciate your sacredness and presence.
Bless you.

What’s in a Name?

Recently I went through a name change and stepped into being Shirley Jones. I have a feeling that this is the most empowering step I have ever made. Had I known how important it was I would have done it sooner. Jones is my birth name. It is my father’s name and because there was so much animosity between my parents it became a name that was coated in shame. I had to do quite a bit of clearing around it so that I could reclaim it.

Being Shirley Jones means being aligned with myself and my path. Choosing the path to be Shirley Jones is having the effect of making me accountable to myself for all my thoughts, deeds, actions, and dreams. I believe that in the process of discovery I will find a woman who is shining a light for all those around her. I really want to believe that. I feel that my heart is filled with love for myself and for others. I truly want to be of service in the world. How? Well my dream has been to be a women’s empowerment coach and I have invested myself . The one thing that is lacking is confidence in my ability to attract clients. It’s like I have this magical thinking that it is just going to happen. However, I suspect that I might have to do a few actions in order for this to take place. People cannot hire someone who is practically invisible on the internet. Nor will they want me if they do not see me in public. So, this writing exercise is of great importance.

Survival Mode

photo (8)Just wanted to write my observations about things that I have done that have kept me low and, therefore, in survival mode. I have two triggers: one is the smell of my dog. Hannah is part Husky, she is a rescued dog from the coast of Labrador. She is now seven years old and as she matures she seems to have a body odour that permeates her fur. It does  help if I wash her once or twice a week. This is not easy to do when it is minus twenty degrees outside. Her odour makes me stressed and that triggers anxiety. To deal with it, I wash her, I spray an odour remover on her and in the house, I burn incense because the previous solutions do not always help. It is manageable.

The second trigger is the cold. I live in eastern Ontario and we have had several cold snaps where the temperature went down to minus thirty Celsius. I am living in a small heated by a propane furnace and it is the first winter I have had to deal with this type of heating. It is inefficient and expensive. The company that fills the tank is local. The agent acted like it was a big deal for them to come and fill up my tank and that I had to have a credit check. I just told her to bill me monthly, they want it paid upon receipt. I made arrangements and then she said it would take them a week, maybe, before they could come and fill it. I went into survival mode where a big story of lack came up. I turned the furnace down and bundled up. Two hours later the propane truck showed up and filled up the tank.

It was too late for me to realize that something primordial had been triggered. Not only did I keep the heat down, I stopped buying food, I started thinking thoughts of lack and not enough. I began to make plans to move to some cheaper housing where everything was included. I began to wonder if I should give my dogs away because it is very hard to find a place that will take pets. It all began to spiral down. I am fortunate to have the ability to push the “pause” button on all these stories and to reset everything.

I put the temperature up to twenty degrees and told myself to leave it there. I figure that it will be most cost effective to keep the temperature stable rather than have it fluctuate up and down. I took a hot bath every day, I heated up wheat bags for my bed to keep myself warm. I bought food and scheduled myself to eat it. I reached out and talked to people as I have a tendency to isolate myself, which contributes to the feeling of lack. All these things seem very obvious now but at the time they had crept up on me. Such is the nature of lack, of under achievement and of stuck-ness, it becomes a companion that we do not even know is there. It is familiar, it is invisible, it feels safe. But it is a deadly enemy and it has to be recognized as such.

To counteract it I have been getting out and walking, cold or not, here I come. It really helps to get out and even in the weak winter sunshine to breathe in all that clean, crisp air and to feel the snow under my feet. The birds are so amazing to be able to survive these temperatures, the chickadees and the woodpeckers are busy making their living, showing me the way to be enterprising and cheerful. The trees, covered in snow, radiate their strength and beauty. It is good to be alive.

I am grateful for my health, my home, my pets and my circle of support and friendship. As Deepak Chopra says “Gratitude is the doorway to abundance consciousness.”