Compassion for Myself

I’m 75 years old. I worked for about 15 years as a hands-on healer, stopping when I moved from the urban environment where I’d been living to the woods in West Virginia. I’m sort of a hermit with friends now, most of whom live far away, all of whom I treasure.

I’d endured a rough childhood, a rather risqué young adulthood, and a dangerous and stupid couple of decades as a so-called grown-up during which time I actually, consciously but unconsciously, placed myself in exceedingly dangerous situations. My two beautiful, loving children were a gift I ‘knew’ I didn’t deserve so when I left their father for a man of dubious nature, I left them with their father who was a kind, sensible man.

In common parlance, I fucked up… I fucked up on a regular basis… and that continued. I hated myself for it. Then came my ironic lifesaver: an incurable fatal disease, a rapidly advancing case of diffuse progressive systemic sclerosis. My skin turned to leather, slowly and painfully contracting as it caused my legs and arms to assume a permanently bent position; my fingers turned in towards my palms upon which they still almost rest, permanently U-shaped although the rest of me returned to being as normal as it ever was. I should be dead. There is still no cure for the disease and no one “gets better.” But I did. I’m convinced by now that my hands stayed this way just so that I could prove I’d actually had the disease.

So, when an archangel appeared in my bedroom one morning about 30 years ago, not long after my ‘miraculous’ recovery, while I was doing yoga, and told me that I had to help people as I had been helped… I figured I’d better listen. The light had been blinding; the energy literally knocked me over. (More on that here, if you’re curious: )

I know… I know! It sounds impossible. But it wasn’t a dream. I’d had a similar thing happen once when I was just a little kid, this voice had come out of nowhere and had given me some odd instructions… it was good and necessary information for me but, still, you know… a disembodied voice. Some members of my family think I am “delusional.” Fine. Maybe I am, but it’s been very helpful… and not just for me. I helped a lot of folks during the 15 years that I was actively practicing as “the healer” the Voice had told me to be.

About 13 years into my practice, I was gifted again with a voice, this time in dream, that told me how I could help the folks who were coming to me for healing to help themselves heal so that they wouldn’t have to pay me! It seemed counter-productive at the time, but I ended up moving down here not long afterwards and put the information into some books that have since been published by Ozark Mountain Publishing. It is valuable and useful information and I make about ten cents on every book that sells… clearly, making money was never the point. Happily, by that time Social Security had kicked in.

Since I moved to the middle of nowhere my life has been quieter. I like it like that. I have had the opportunity to focus, again, on my own healing. I found, by accident, an amazing acupuncturist whose gifts have allowed my body to release the emotional dregs of childhood abuse and my later life self-generated dysfunction. Along the way I finally digested the fact that abusers are not born, they’re made, and that my own very bad behavior as an adult had been the result of what I’d been through as a child. I ultimately realized that my abusers had most likely been abused themselves, perhaps not in the same way as I, but in some way.

I sat with that idea, walked with it, and ultimately found my way to having compassion for my abusers. I was kind of proud of myself until I realized that I was still, at some level, beating myself up for all my own past bad behavior, most especially, for giving up my children… and then it hit me: I needed to have compassion for me. I’d been a broken individual, much as my abusers had been broken, perhaps in different ways, but broken none the less.

I had to forgive myself.

In order to develop compassion for myself, I have used the same technique that was gifted to me in dream, the same technique I’d been mentoring others on for years. I needed to release my guilt. I have let my body know that I felt that I had behaved badly at a time when I was desperate to be loved and accepted as an adult woman, that in order to satisfy what I felt were my ‘needs’ at the time, I had sacrificed my right to raise my children, the children that she, my body, had nurtured inside her. I had done that in order to satisfy my own selfish needs. So, I gave her — my body — that night, permission, if it felt right at that point in time, to let go of the guilt that my body may have been carrying for me all these years.

(Author sighs heavily while briefly contemplating various painfully obvious shortcomings.)

As I pondered my situation, it struck me as ironic that I had been, after I’d given my children up, “hard on myself,” so hard on myself that my body literally became hard all over, even inside, so hard on myself that my body had developed an auto-immune disease — diffuse progressive systemic sclerosis — that should have killed us both… there’s no cure for it… but, miraculously, we — my body and I — recovered. No one knows why… except perhaps my body… but she’s not telling.

So today it began, only a week or so ago, that I started consciously training myself to have compassion for the many mistakes and missteps I have made that have unintentionally hurt others and occasionally put my own physical body in danger. It’s never too late… and I feel just a little lighter already.



Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor of two 'fatal, incurable' diseases and a healthy dose of CSA

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Victoria Pendragon

Artist; Author of self-help books on healing with Ozark Mt. Publishers; survivor of two 'fatal, incurable' diseases and a healthy dose of CSA