The Earth Angel

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“I would like to write the story of your life.” I asked.

“I don’t have a story, what do you want to write about?” she said with a warm smile.

“You have had an extraordinary life full of major challenges since childhood. You have been a source of inspiration in my life and everyone who knows you.”

“It is not me. It is God.”

“Your faith helped you through your life lessons. I know of many others who have not felt that connection and would benefit from hearing your story.”

“Why don’t you write about God?”

“I am a story teller. There have been millions of volumes of books written about God. Those who believe read them and those who don’t, won’t read them, and the separation remains. You reflected to me that my mission in this lifetime is to connect, bring people together. Your faith may open the heart and soul of many.”

She paused, thinking, “You know I am a very private person.”

“Yes, I would like to share only the message of your life.”

“Let me think about it.”

My mind took me to about thirty years ago when I met her at work. We worked for a County Agency serving the most wounded people of our community with chemical dependency and mental illness. Naturally, a lifetime of drug use results in serious health issues, loss of family and loved ones, loss of job, home, and transportation. Once a person is dependent on a substance, the addict is likely to do whatever to support the habit resulting in legal issues. They become self-destructive and zap the energy from those around them. The rate of burn-out is high for counselors.

I was new to the field and was informed by experienced counselors the only treatment that works is “Tough Love” aiming at breaking the denial and client’s manipulative defenses and building them up again. I was told that my illusion of being gentle with “criminals” would result in burn-out in less than a year.

I felt lost and confused, asked for guidance, for a mentor, a guide and the universe responded. She welcomed me to the clinic with a warm smile. After almost three decades, I still remember her kind eyes as it was yesterday, reassuring me. When one is new in a work setting, everything is a question. She took me under her wing. I watched her being loving, caring, compassionate and extremely firm in a gentle way with clients. Bingo, I had found my guide in the field of chemical dependency. I did not know yet that she was going to become a life mentor to me, a soul sister and a spiritual guide.

I watched her closely in action. She was as graceful as a swan, elegant like a queen, nurturing as a loving mother and an effective parent for the client; patiently teaching them every step of growth and living life. Most of our clients came from no structure, basically surviving life by doing whatever they had to do.

She was the bilingual Spanish speaking counselor. We were providing services to men who were convicted of domestic violence. I observed this petite, beautiful woman in a room filled with macho Hispanic males with anger and chemical dependency issues.

Within weeks, theses clients having been treated with respect, dignity, integrity and compassion started healing; being able to express their inner pain.

I witnessed many times clients who were going to be discharged from the program for violating the rules and being disrespectful while they had a chance to be in her groups, transformed.

Working with her, I observed daily miracles right in front of my eyes. The males in her group changed from violent, alcoholic, abusive men to loving, caring and thoughtful family men. They brought their families to meet her at the clinic and left with a world of gratitude.

She had a co-dependency group for Latina women. Many of whom were survivors of childhood traumas, having lost a sense of self-worth and self love. Even coming to the clinic was a miracle. The group was crowded with women who had been mistreated all their lives. Within months, the Goddesses gradually emerged from the wounded souls. The smiles came back to broken hearts.

I attended every group of hers I could, watching her closely. Her smile was radiant. Her eyes were kind and welcoming. Clients seemed to be at ease and safe with her. She is the loving, nurturing mother they all longed for. I witnessed clients sharing about their acts of cruelty under the influence of alcohol, feeling shame, unable to forgive themselves. She always offered a way out with dignity, a practical solution to restore the lost love back. It reminded of me of Gandhi’s life; when he fasted to bring awareness to Hindu and Muslim war. A Hindu man came to him in anguish. He said he knows he is going to hell for killing a Muslim boy. Gandhi suggested a way out; to find a Muslim orphan boy, raise him as your own with the Muslim faith.

She offered such solutions on daily basis.

I asked myself where does she get this deep wisdom. She must have been raised by spiritual parents with extraordinary wisdom. I wanted to learn as much about the becoming process of this Divine Woman as I wanted to know about Gandhi’s life.

“Please share about your mom with me. I asked.”

She had a big smile with a touch of sadness. My mother was a beautiful loving woman. I remember her singing at home. She had a beautiful voice. I lost her at age of five to breast cancer.

I was shocked with my own assumption.

“What do you remember of her?”

“Not that much. She loved beauty. I was her last child. I had reddish hair like hers. She would dress me in beautiful clothes. Looking back, I feel she was highly intuitive. She was most loving to me. I wonder if she knew she was going to leave soon.”

“I have seen her photo in your home. It feels as her eyes are communicating. Do you remember her being ill? I wonder what was your understanding of her illness at that tender young age.”

“I don’t remember much, she did not complain. As an adult, I understand she must have been experiencing deep pain.”

“You have had major heath issues in your life since young age. I have not heard you ever complain of pain. Remember when I came to see you in the hospital after an operation? I was amazed you were making the nurses laugh as they wheeled you into the room. Where do you get your strength and your sense of humor?”

“It is faith. After the loss of our mother, my father was unable to take care of the children, sent my siblings to my mom’s home country to stay with relatives. He placed me in a convent because I was too young.”

“How was the experience of being in a convent? I can’t imagine, suddenly being away from your family and all of your loved ones, all alone in a new environment.”

“When I was four years old, I went to the Bible classes with my older sister. I was too young to be a student but Mon Senior let met attend the class. One day, there were going to give a prize to those who answered the questions correctly. They would put the names in a hat and take a name randomly. The prize was a picture of Jesus. I wanted to have that photo so badly. When the teacher asked question, I would put my little hand up hoping she would call on me. My hand was up for every question. She was not calling on me because I was not considered a “student”. I think she was inspired by my enthusiasm. She looked at Mon Senior and asked. He smiled and said yes. I answered the question and my name was placed in the hat. I loved Mon Senior. He was kind and smiled at me. It was time for the drawing. My heart was beating fast. I folded my hand in prayers and closed my eyes. The teacher picked a name and it was mine!

I jumped with joy. That was perhaps the most precious gift of all in my whole life. The teacher hesitated for a second. The students were disappointed yet Mon Senior said I had won the prize.

On the way home, my sister said why didn’t you tell me the answers. You are not even a student, so she wanted me to give her my prize. I told her the picture was given to me and I feel the photo of Christ became my best friend and lifetime companion.”

“Looking at your life and many major health challenges, I have felt you have been guided and watched over, all your life.”

“Yes, I have.” Her smile was louder than any word.

“This journey has been extremely painful.”

“It is through painful life lessons that we grow spiritually. How can one come to the light without experiencing the darkness?”

“You have experienced physical pain related to health issues since a young age; what do you make of it?”

“I don’t question my life challenges. I try to do the best I can with my life. I have asked for a life of service and feel grateful for having been able to serve. I remember all of my clients. I may not see them again yet the memory is well and alive.”

“I have worked with clients who had Fibromyalgia and went on total disability. How do you manage a cluster of lifetime chronic pain?”

She smiled again patiently repeating herself like a Master.

“You have seen movies of the life of Christ and crucifixion. He was severely beaten, tortured and crucified to bring a message of healing. We are not our physical body. We are spirits. I am inspired by his life and by his love for humanity. He is my best friend. He is with me at all times. Do you think my joint pain can stop me from my calling in life?”

Tears are rolling, tears of joy and gratitude for having her in my life. I have an Earth Angel night in front of me; a healer who has touched the heart and souls of generations of families for a lifetime.

I feel the world must know about her as we know about Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela.

Maybe, one day she may choose to share her life story.

Red-Tailed Hawk

Perched Red Tail Hawk

It was a sacred experience sitting in front of a beautiful fire in a family cabin with our healer friend. He was going to attend a Native American Ceremony the next day. When he offered to chant for us, I knew that we were in for a scared ritual .

He brought a fan with beautiful feathers.

“What kind of feathers are these?” my husband asked the Shaman.

“They are the tail feathers of a Red-Tailed Hawk”, he responded

“How did you get this? Did you buy it?”

“Oh, it is actually an interesting story. Would you like to hear it?”

“Yes, of course.”

He started his story softly. He had worked as a bus driver for a school district, taking young students from the Head Start Program to school. Meanwhile, there was a highly expensive training that cost $20,000 that he really wanted to attend and did not have the funds. He was already in debt with his credit cards. He was debating with himself if he should attend the training. He decided to ask the Universe for consultation. A thought emerged; if he would find three feathers in 3 weeks, he would acknowledge that as a sign to attend the training. He was not sure where the thought came from. This was the very first time in his life that he asked for a sign, unsure about what to expect. He had heard about the technology of making a prayer.

On this day, he was driving to work when suddenly a Red-Tailed Hawk purposely flew towards his car with it’s wings all beautifully spread and hit the windshield with its feet and then flew away. He was taken by the experience! Was this a coincidence? Was that the sign?  He was thinking about the hawk all day at work. When he was driving home, he suddenly noticed the body of a red tail hawk from the corner of his eye in the exact spot in the middle of the highway. The bird must have hit a car. He wondered if it was alive.

He immediately turned around, pulled off on the side of the road. He was waiting for the traffic to clear. A car with few young Mexican men saw the hawk and stopped immediately in the middle of the road. They seemed to want to get out of the car to take the bird.

He took a big risk, ran across the traffic. There was no way he was going to let them take the bird. He picked up the body of the hawk. It was still warm. The bird did not appear injured, nor was it hit by a car.  It must have died a few minutes ago.

The Shaman let my husband examine the fan. He said “It was not an accident.”

“The bird gave his life to give me a sign.”

Later on, he found a friend who made fans of the tails.

Since then, this fan has been used as a sacred instrument in many healing ceremonies.

He attended the training.

The training prepared him for his journey to India; the next major step of his spiritual path.

On Friday May 15, 2015, my dear healer friend with the help of the red hawk fan gave me a healing and cleansing that was a remarkable experience. It felt as if all the old, chronic grief stuck in my body and soul had been lifted, moved and released through the beautiful, sacred feathers. I was sobbing from the bottom of my heart. I have cried like that only a few times in my life, a total release of chronic pain within my soul. It felt as if a dark cloud had left my heart, feeling the ray of the Sun again. Interestingly enough, it was raining in Southern California after years of drought. The rain was a blessing, a celebration of nature and by the end of our healing session, when I opened my eyes, the Sun was out, a symbol of the feeling the light again within my soul. During the session, the beautiful friends were holding my hands/feet, making me feel loved as I was crying my heart out. The feeling of being safe is a priceless gift that words are unable to describe. The reflection to me was  “you need to forgive your mother for not protecting you.” Yes, I could immediately feel the depth of the message.

I imagined the old pain leaving my body as the red hawk was flying high into the limitless sky. My heart was smiling.

Thank you to all my friends of the Fellowship of the Tree and the healing circle.

With love and gratitude.

Journey Of A Compliant Child

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I heard on the news that a nice, quiet, ordinary young man had suddenly acted out in a violent terrifying act having harmed many innocent people. Everyone was shocked and confused wondering what had triggered such an act. I quietly wondered to myself if he was a compliant child.

I was one and here is the inner landscape.  A compliant child is the Golden child. The hero of the family. The high achiever, well rounded, the dream of every parent. The good looking child who is well skilled in keeping all his feeling hidden inside. He is cooperative, well mannered, polite and respectful. What parents usually miss is the hidden shadow within this “perfect” child. A hidden volcano of repressed emotions. No one knows how or when the volcano may be triggered.

When a child experiences fear, real or imaginary, it seems that frequently the fear is internalized and imprinted in the memory. At times, the child may not have access to specific memories yet is likely to remember the feelings. The child may develop a distorted way of interpreting the events of daily life based on fear. Life events maybe perceived as frightening experiences. My life was fear based and at times when there was no rational reason for fear, the feeling was present. This can be confusing for a child not even knowing why he is afraid.

When a child feels unsafe,real or imaginary it is difficult to express feelings and emotions with fear of punishment, causing pain. The child learns to hold feelings inside, living under the radar, being quiet, passive and obedient. I felt unsafe growing up and learned to keep all my emotions inside. At times, the threat of the loss of the parent’s affection can play a major role in feeling unsafe.

The unexpressed emotions tend to build up with time and they become a volcano of frustration, anger and resentment; needing an opportunity to release. As an adult, I frequently reacted in extremes to insignificant stimuli not knowing where the intense emotions were coming from. The reaction was to the chain of unresolved issues of a life time.

When parents are not aware of child’s needs or unable to meet those needs, the child grows up feeling unloved, insignificant and unworthy. The younger the child, the deeper impact of feelings of abandonment. To a young child, parents are God-like. The child depends on them for survival. The child does not have any skills to become aware of the parents lack of parenting skills. A young child when mistreated is likely to feel that for some unknown reason, the problem is within him. Parents must be perfect, whole and complete in the child’s eye. It took me years of studying in psychology to be able to see who my parents were.

When a child is neglected, put down, disrespected, teased and made fun of, the self-esteem gets deeply impacted.

“Perhaps I don’t deserve to be loved” is a phrase frequently heard in clinical settings by adults. Many are not aware where this feeling come from yet the presence is felt. When a young child becomes the target of verbal, physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse, the psyche of the child is deeply impacted. When adults are out of control with anger, or act with intention to discipline / hurt, cause pain to the child, the need to have some kind of control for survival emerges. The child learns intuitively to read the adults non-verbal behavior in order to escape being the target of their volcanic inner anger.

At times, expression of emotions namely anger is associated with violent behavior in the mind of a child. For the vulnerable child, fear may show up when anyone is angry with fear of getting hurt.  For me, when my brother got angry, someone got hurt, frequently it was me being younger and available.

It took me years of counseling to become aware of repressed emotions and the physical and emotional consequences in my adult life. At times, the repressed feelings may show up as physical symptoms. I developed goiter at age fifteen, for not being able to express my voice, experiencing deep sorrow.

A compliant child consciously or unconsciously would do anything to avoid pain, hurt, and suffering only to survive the unsafe environment. It is human nature to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Once a young child experiences the deep pain or trauma, it seems as the trauma is for life.

I remember as a young child witnessing my brother handling our father’s gun, shaking inside like a leaf, intuitively knowing that he could fire the gun and I could be killed. He actually fired two bullets. I don’t remember how he got hold of the gun.

A compliant child unconsciously hopes that by being a “good kid”, sometimes a perfect kid may be able to avoid the hurtful acts. I became a straight A student and lived life with my books; an obedient child.

A fear based child does not ask and learns to be needless. When a child asks a parent for something and gets slapped across the face, he quickly learns to be quiet and self-reliant.

A compliant child may experience shame of his body, emotions or even his existence. Some may develop self harm behavior hidden from others.

When making a mistake he is likely to feel that – he is a mistake.

I remember learning about my shame of emotions in an intensive one week workshop after I had been a licensed Psychologist. The ego is clever and hides the shame under the facade of external success and looking good.

When you see a “Golden Child” as too good to be true, look deeper with a loving eyes of a keen observer. Frequently, the inner feeling of “not good enough” drives the compliant child to be an example of perfection. Many are “A” students, athletic and high achievers.  They look good on the outside yet often feel empty on the inside.

I remember in our family, adults used to criticize all the children in the family with their report cards comparing them to my report card.

Generally speaking, these children are easier to raise for the parents; having no demands or very little expectation, compliant with the household rules. They are the dream children of most parents. Some children are simply highly sensitive and in the absence of any abuse may become a compliant child.

Families are frequently shocked when they find the good kid is suddenly involved in an act of violence towards self or others. They are excellent pretenders, skilled in hiding feelings for a long time. Then a trigger of some kind breaks the well kept secret of ages. The volcanic emotions like hot lava that burns all those around him.

The final word about what might plant the seed of fear in the innocent mind of a child. There is a wide range in various cultures that promote children to be obedient . We may see them in military, religious or plain dysfunctional homes where parents lack parenting skills or abuse authority.

An invitation to look within, with love, searching for a glimpse of the compliant child in you, or those around you.

Then love, honor and embrace the innocent being and make the child feel safe to come out and be playful knowing it is safe.