“I was a math teacher, turning 30 years old, when I walked into a classroom one day and was drawn to a sign on the wall that read, ‘You are the author of your own life story.’ I thought, ‘I would be bored reading my story!’ While I enjoyed many aspects of my life, I was also experiencing deep sadness, insecurity, and fear. I had no way to manage the debilitating self-talk that occasionally brought me down. My soul was longing for meaning and a sense of purpose.
“Within months, I quit my job and traveled to the Far East. While I was in Thailand, several people suggested I go to a silent meditation retreat. I was not interested in spirituality but followed their suggestion. It was profound. Something shifted within me where my personality faded and a deeper Self emerged that was more powerful, loving, and real than anything I had ever known. I cried in the relief of coming Home for the first time.
“When I returned home, I went back to teaching since it was what I knew. Despite the Awakening I’d had, my reactivity and blaming continued as I did not have the skills to effectively merge my newfound Self with my personality. I had to find a way to let go of the ‘craziness’ I recognized in myself and my relationships, so I researched and found the University of Santa Monica’s Master’s Program in Spiritual Psychology. I hoped that this program might help me integrate my spiritual Self with my everyday life.
“My Second Year Relationship Project with my dad was a turning point for me. I had distanced myself from him based on resentments and judgments of his past choices and four what I considered ‘crazy’ step-moms. But when I examined my judgments using the USM Skills, I recognized the judgments as projections—reflections of my own self-judgments. I started making peace with my own ‘crazy’ parts first, then with my dad, and then with his wives.
“After not having spoken with him for three years, we reconnected. The Person-Centered approach to healing helped me understand with Compassion and Heart-Centered Listening. Seven years later, the outgrowth of my inner work is that all of my relationships are much more fulfilling, creative, and joyful … especially the one with myself.
“During a USM process, I was working with a facilitator around feelings of being stuck. She asked, ‘What’s under the stuck?’ I responded, ‘There’s Love … .’ When she then asked me, ‘What’s under the Love?’ I shifted back into the place of Self, where I experienced expansion, peace, and deep understanding.
“Issues continue to come up in my life, but I now see these challenges as growth opportunities. And I have been able to use Spiritual Psychology in both my personal and professional life.
“I have a Thai massage practice in which I assist others in their mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. While volunteering as a chaplain at a local hospital, I was hired when the head chaplain recognized that the deep work I was doing with patients, using my USM Skills, surpassed those who had worked there for years. I also work as a funeral services director, where I create a space of loving and compassion that supports families through their grieving process. As a result, I am gifted by a greater sense of connection, Authenticity, Gratitude, and clearer Purpose in my life and my relationships.”