"Forgive me father for I have sinned..." well, I haven't actually, but since my Blog often feels like a confessional, it seemed appropriate to start this post with those familiar words!
Since I last wrote, life is continuing to improve and expand in the most surprising and wonderful ways as I continue to find myself and stay open to possibilities. People are asking me whether this "new me" is real... checking to make sure that I'm not putting on an act. And I find that really very refreshing.
In my "old life" I was known for being positive, optimistic, energetic and always on top of my game. I was expected to be bouncy, full of fun, and always have something on the go. No questions asked, no checking, because this was the reality of Mel. And in many ways it was - although, as I've discovered, there was much of myself and my life that I was denying.
Over the past few months, my friends and family have seen me at absolute rock bottom. Unable to pick myself up, and unwilling to put on a pretense. Uncomfortable at first in asking for help and support, I became more receptive as the days and weeks went past. My friends will tell you it's been a battle, since I'm stubborn as a mule! And I have to agree...
Today, I'm sitting at the table outside my kitchen, the weather is perfect, and I am waiting for my son to arrive back from England with his father. All is well.
And now, when I look back at what has happened over the past few weeks - couple of years in fact - I can only smile and feel grateful, right to the very depths of my being. It has been a journey that, at times, I feared I would not survive. With my promise to fully feel emotions, and conscious of the fact that many of these would involve past experiences who's roots were deeply buried in my psyche, it's taken every ounce of courage and energy to go there. To explore the places I feared would engulf me with the intensity of hidden pain I'd chosen to lock away over the years. The small hurts, and the life-changing shocks that threatened to destroy me - all had left their mark.
And, I must be honest, given half the chance I would quite willingly have left them there, never to have surfaced again. But when I made my silent vow, the tiny whisper 18 months ago to "call in my soul" I knew some major shifts would have to take place. Little did I realise that the catalyst for this would have been my beloved husband. The person to whom I'd freely given my love and my life, and who I worshipped more than anything else. This same person who then cut me down, betrayed me, with such callous precision that I had to make a real choice.
Would I blame him? Would I fall and crumble? Or would I take responsibility, accept my own part in this journey, and find the courage to change within myself so that I could heal and secure my escape and freedom. Of course, I chose the latter.
I honestly believe that this is the route I've always chosen - certainly in consciousness since I started studying self improvement as a serious way of life. And I honestly thought I had it sussed. I truly believed that I had cleared out all my old blocked emotions, and had truthfully dealt with the painful issues of my past. And I had - as far as was possible for me at the time.
One of my great teachers, Dr Patricia Crane, once said to us that the spiritual journey is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Just as you think you're there, there's another layer to discover and more tears to shed. It was 1997, and I was on the Louise Hay Teacher Training Programme, and boy, I'd shed enough tears that week to float a battleship! That particular experience put me in good stead and, I believe, has kept me rock solid for more than a decade.
This latest "gift" from Cam has allowed me to remove and explore more layers. To shed more tears. To open my heart more than I knew was possible. To remove the blinkers of habit and reassess my life. On my own terms.
And this time, I know I've gone deeper than before. It's already been excruciatingly painful, and more terrifying than any of the nightmares that would often haunt my dreams - and I accept there are still plenty more battles to fight and win. But now I know that I have my own army with me and within me. Not just the bouncy, noisy, laughing soul-army of previous times, now I have the added battalions of peace, measured wisdom, and a gentle inner knowing that is now part of my every day life.
I've pulled, poked and prodded at the old scars - opening them up one by one, scraping out the hurt and betrayal, facing my deepest fears... and through that process I've found myself. More of myself than I ever realised existed before. Yes, I've grown. And, like the sunflower in the picture, my face and soul now turns automatically towards the sun without me having to think about it. My scars are healing, leaving marks of experience in place of my old battle wounds. Scars I'm now proud to show, proud to know are a part of me - they're proof of my journey of love, innocence and courage to find myself. A rite of passage that I wear with pride.
Daily, now, I automatically notice the gifts in every situation, and accept the good in my life with gratitude and a sense of excitement. And the surprises are coming along thick and fast. Opportunities are showing themselves in the most unexpected of places, and I'm enjoying life more than I ever have before. At last I've discovered what it means to be truly authentic. To say when I'm feeling lost or sad, and to accept the love and support that surrounds me every day.
Life IS good, and I celebrate the gifts that have ultimately been bestowed upon me through the absolute betrayal of the person I trusted most in the whole world. Was that person Mike? Or was that person me? That's an added gift to ponder. It keeps me chuckling, my soul basking in the warm feeling of acceptance that is deeply engrained in my being.
So I'll finish this post once more with thanks. Thanks to Cam for his treatment of me, thanks to my friends for rallying around and showing me the richness of my relationships, and thanks to myself, for having the courage to face the impossible and come out victorious.