Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm In Denial

I see ten horses running at full gallop toward us. I'm pleased they are coming to say hello, but everyone else runs for cover. They claim I'm in denial; I compare myself with them and wonder what is wrong with me. Alternatively, they stay and I run, and we all understand I'm a coward. If our experience has led us to think the horses would hurt us, running is sensible. If our experience has led us to think horses are friendly, we stay to greet them. Some of us have learned one, some the other, and so we behave differently. By presuming my behavior doesn't make sense, you don't get to learn that horses may be friendly. - pg 57, On Becoming An Artist by Ellen Langer

A special thank you to Marilyn Brown for the photo of the horses!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Body Is

A body is a multi-dimensional field that extends into the space beyond the physical. It is an organized dynamic of 'material substance' integrating with 'energy fields' incorporating physical, mental, emotional and spiritual essence.

Quote taken from my Textbook at Educating Hands, "Touchabilities - Essential Connections by Iris Burman, LMT and Sandy Friedland, LMT.

For more information: http://www.touchabilities.com/about.html

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Don't Cry

Like many people, especially other guys (boys), I was taught that to cry was being a baby, not being grown up, and was something that you just didn't want to do. I remember the times when I was being punished and if I didn't cry, than I would be hit harder butt if I did cry than I would be hit for crying to much. You figure out the mixed messages in that one.

Unfortunately, all my life, I have been one of those very sensitive type of people. I would cry at the drop of a hat (whatever that means). I cried when I saw animals being abused or killed and there was no shortage of those events growing up for me. If I watched something sad on TV, I would cry and if I was at a wedding, I would be balling my eyes off. Being separated from my mom or saying good bye to someone I had been visiting, the tears would be flowing. I remember meeting Jeff and then having to get on an airplane to fly back home, crying most of the way and trying not to let anyone else around me see.

When I was a kid, crying was just not allowed but no matter how hard I tried, I did cry. I can't recall seeing my Dad cry and if he did, I just missed it. My mom on the other hand would cry some but not a lot and most of the time she tried to hide it. In my family, showing emotions such as crying or other things was just not the thing to do.

At nights, when I was so upset and just didn't feel like I could take it anymore, I would go and bury my face in my pillow and cry as loud as I wanted. I had to do this without being heard of course. If I was outside on my own somewhere, I didn't worry about crying because no one could hear me.

The thing is, I know I'm not alone. Boys should not cry is one of the most common messages that are taught in our society for some unknown reason. It is sad because tears do not show weakness or immaturity. Tears are not a bad thing. Crying can be a very big release for our bodies and a cleansing to our mind and our soul. It can bring about change within us that is needed and in many ways can help move us past whatever it is we are facing.

I think so much of it comes down to the fact that many people are not comfortable with someone crying. They feel inadequate to help the person and the tears being shed only seem to reinforce that. Yet, if someone is crying and you're not sure how to help them in that moment, just hold the space open for them. Be there for them with absolutely no agenda or anything that you feel you must do. Often, a person that is in a moment of crying just needs to be supported, held and reassured that they are not alone. Sometimes all they need is just to know someone is there. You do not have to make this an issue about your own fears and insecurities because at that moment, they do not matter.

So the next time you feel like crying, I say let it out! Be with those moments and feel the moments within yourself. Do not judge yourself and see yourself as being weak or immature or not able to handle your problems. Actually in all reality, those that cry are more in touch with many of their feelings, in my view. That may not be scientifically proven but I've seen plenty of evidence of it.

Feelings and emotions are a good thing. They are our barometers in life giving us release, cleansing and helping us move through things that otherwise would stay locked up within ourselves. The more we connect with our feelings and emotions, the more healthy our mind, body and spirit will become!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Doorways Of Life

When you walk through one of the doorways of life into a greater awareness, you will know it without a doubt. Once you have made the choice, either on your own or with a strong, gentle, nudge of the universe, than it is almost impossible to go back through the door - not that you would want to anyway. The door is an opening to things not currently seen but provide greater awareness, hope and possibility. It now becomes your awareness and everything in your life is now evaluated from that point forward.

This is something, I continually have to remind myself of because people try to keep convincing me that I do not really understand that which I know to be true for my own life. Others attempt to get me to understand my awareness from their point of view and their own awareness. However, that truly does not work for any of us. We can only evaluate some other person's view if we are looking through their mindset and their eyes. May we all never stop searching for a greater awareness and consciousness in our own lives and may we not try to mold others through our eyes but through our true heart with the purest of love.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You're Not Talented

"It is usually when we are young that we learn to think we are not talented; we are told so by teachers, parents, and other adults. Inevitably, their evaluations are firmly tied to contexts - to particular schools of thought in particular periods of time - although they are typically unaware of it. We accept their evaluations because we are inexperienced: we don't realize that the contexts in which we are being judged really say little about our talent."

I know I keep quoting this book but have you ever read one of those books that was just the right book at the right time and everything in it was what you needed to hear? Ok, that's how this book is for me. So, if you're tired of reading about this book, please forgive me! It is just having a big impact on my life at the moment. For that, I won't apologize.

When I read this quoted section of the book that I stated above, it fit me to a T! All my life, I was told how much I didn't know and how many mistakes I made and how I didn't fit in and how I really didn't know what was best for me. These things and more were reinforced through fits of rage, screaming, moments of beatings and just an overall mindset of daily mind control that was exerted upon me. Some of the things were very subtle and some of them could be easily recognized. Many had a role in this from my own parents and siblings to the teachers at school and those that I knew from church.

While I don't remember the exact specifics, I do remember being in first grade and not being able to do first grade math. None of it was sinking into me at the time and I remember my dad making me go through flash card after flash card of first grade math facts that we had to learn. He probably meant well, but when I would get one wrong, he would scream and belittle me. Of course that was during the time that I was first raped and things were pretty horrible in my life. So, it is no wonder that learning was difficult. The ultimate result was that I was held back from First Grade and put back into Kindergarten. I somewhat remember the knots in my stomach during that time and I'm sure my mind and body remembers more than I do consciously.

There were other times though I was put down and I distinctively remember when I was just creating with the songs that I was playing in the piano. I was allowing myself to hit whatever keys my fingers landed on. At the time, some were good notes and some weren't but I was just in the moment playing. Overall, the little tune that came out was pretty good but I remember hearing my dad state to me that there were sure a lot of mistakes in that song, what was the song? This coming from a man that had no musical ability whatsoever but in this moment, he had pronounced himself as judge, jury and executioner. It took me a very long time before anyone else ever got to hear me create in the moment.

We've all got stories that may be similar or different to mine. I could name thousands of them. I doubt any one of us could escape this type of behavior even if the adults around us were well intentioned. I'm sure we have passed the same thing on to others at moment we didn't realize it as well.

The best thing I find is to learn how to allow myself to be a kid again. Some people refer to this as getting in touch with the inner child. But, in simplest form, it is just connecting with that pure, innocent, child like part of yourself that exists in all of us. Freud recognized this back in his day and it is there, whether we want to acknowledge its existence or not. It doesn't mean we have to sit down on the floor and play with toy cars or dolls, although that could be a good start to the child connection within us. It can be much simpler than that.

If we go through our day, enjoying and loving everything we do - we are like the child that is having fun playing in the moment. If you have forgotten what that is, just watch some children playing and you'll soon remember. For they play as if there is no tomorrow, no rules and nothing else that has to be done. This is something I constantly have to remind myself of as well. For being in the moment, enjoying the moment and acting as if there is nothing else in our lives can bring us back to the basic, simple moment that matters so much in who we are as humans. It isn't any harder than that, although we as adults make it hard.

So for today, as you read this, see if you can find the fun moments in your day.
Enjoy your day. Have fun with it! Find the playful side of it. Think of the things you have to do as playful and fun events of your day. - Don Shetterly

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Many Dimensions Of Life

© 9/21/09 Don Shetterly - #1 (click thumbnail to enlarge picture)

This is the first painting I’ve ever painted outside of elementary or junior high school. I don’t really see myself as a painter but I do enjoy putting colors together and trying to find the different depths of dimensions that the eye may or may not pick up.

Maybe in some ways, this is how I see my current life at the moment. I guess if it is like my music, my creativity usually depicts my current mood, moments and life
In life, there are many dimensions and so is the same true in this picture. Even if you look at any one part of it, within those parts, you will see different dimensions through the use of colors, textures and the layering of the colors and textures. The dimensions of this painting are many and vary from the obvious to the almost hidden from view.

As life goes, there are always mountains. Sometimes we are climbing the mountains and other times we are looking at the mountains from afar. Within the mountains, there are many beautiful trees and snow covered peaks, but underneath, there is the grey rocky soil.

Nestled within the mountains is a lake of refreshment and peace and calmness. It is full of depth in itself and offers an oasis within the mountains we climb. While it may look out of place to the overall aspect of the mountains, this is usually true of how we find those peaceful moments within the challenges. They are not always straight forward and obvious but sometimes often hidden from view and from a different viewpoint than we may normally look.

Running through the lush hillside of earth and grass, is a winding river with many crooks and turns. Even sometimes before we get to the mountains, we follow a path which may not be straight and known. Often it is filled with the unknowns and the surprise bends and turns. But it leads us further into the mountains and the challenges and it also points the way to the lake we will need in the future.

Our house or our life is filled with colors and in this painting, it reminds us that each day we get to choose the colors we want to create the story book of our lives. There is no right or wrong in what we choose but there are many colors to choose from. Our life and our house may have many windows in it which some are open and others are obscured from view.

Following upwards to the sky, you may notice all kinds of things from the different colors and textures to the hint of clouds. Never when you look at the sky do you see one solid color. There are always varying colors and often clouds to some degree in some part of the horizon. Our life is much the same way in that even the way we see it, there is so much more. It isn’t just a one color “blue sky” type of life. It is much more than that.

Last but not least is the angel that stays close to me. I never fully feel alone even when I get moody and I’m struggling because I know the angels are around me. There is way too much evidence to refute any suspicions and denials. While my depiction may not be like others would see them, this is how they reference in my mind and my life would not be complete without an angel around me.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Mindfulness is an effortless, simple process that consists of drawing novel distinctions, that is, noticing new things. The more we notice, the more we become aware of how things change depending on the context and perspective from which they are viewed.

Pg 5, "On Becoming An Artist - Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity" by Ellen Langer.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Are You Mindful and Creative?

At one time in my life, to be creative in my mind, meant to be a painter, a writer, a musician among other things. Creative meant to me, something you did in your spare time that was only for these things. Outside of that, I always figured that creativity really had little place in my everyday life. Sure, many of the companies I have worked for gave lip service to thinking outside the box, but few rarely nurtured the concepts past an evaluation period or company meeting.

For most of my life, I did not think I was that creative. It was not something that was allowed to be in existence while I was a kid growing up except for when I put together model semi trucks or various crafts my mom would buy me for Christmas. It was always about finding a job that you could make decent income at and functioning in life like our society requires us. There was no time for creative moments unless you did them on your own time and there was no support for this.

Yes, I was able to practice and learn the piano as a kid, but whenever I tried to be creative and just play from my center of creativity like I do today, it was often met with criticism by those who could not even play one note. I still remember the time I was creating in the moment with some music and while it wasn't a polished piece of music at that moment, my father made sure he told me that I made many mistakes. This was not helpful and it led me to hide my create in the moment capacity if anyone was around within hearing range.

Following the rules of society, I went to college and pursued a degree in a field of study I enjoyed. After graduation, I found a job that was fun and rewarding which turned into a more technical computer role. As I began to look at life and evaluate where I was, I saw myself as someone working on a computer in a solitary office cubicle for the rest of my life. I did not see the creative side in me at all and so I brushed it aside. It was not until events later in my life that I began to embrace the creative side of myself which had always been there. I just had not been open to seeing this side of myself because I did not feel it would serve any purpose to accomplishing what society expected of me.

And as I evaluate all of this while I just started reading the book "On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity",
maybe - just maybe - I'm more creative. In fact, I know I am more creative than I ever let on to be. I'm just beginning to embrace that creativity and allowing it to be more of who I am, rather than something I pull down off the shelf when I feel like I have the time.

In the book, I am seeing that to be mindful is to be creative and to be creative is being mindful. Being creative gives us the essence and enjoyment of life that we so deserve. Yet, if we only attempt to use it on occasion, we are missing so much for our lives. Being creative and being mindful is not just for a select few but it is present in each one of us, if we allow it to be. It does not matter how we choose to be creative but that we choose to be creative and mindful. Creativity and Mindfulness are like partners that go together.

Page 4 - On Becoming An Artist - by Ellen J. Langer
This book is about the roadblocks that stand in the way of our natural creativity. It is intended to be a guide to opening up creative engagement on a daily basis in all that we do.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Broken Windows Or Openings

When I saw the picture that Marilyn Mott Brown posted on her Facebook page, I could not help but ask for permission to post her picture and write about it. (note: this picture is being used on my blog page per Marilyn's permission).

For most of us, if we had to write a paragraph about this picture and how it relates to our life, I'm sure each one of us would write something different. So let's do a quick exercise. Before you continue reading, why not write a paragraph about what this images means to you in your current life. And then when you do that, take a look at it and read what you wrote from an Observer's mindset. Now compare the two thoughts and contrast them. You might be amazed at the insights you receive from doing this and whatever you write is your truth. It is what you need to probably hear for your own life in this moment. It could be the next epic adventure in your own story book and be a life changing event or it might lead you to the next morsel of information that will help you move in the direction you need to go.

So before I share what it means to me, make sure you write your paragraph first and then come back and read what this means to me. Ok, are you writing? No cheating now. Write yours first.

Ok, if you did as directed and wrote something, please feel free to comment and share what you wrote. I'd feel honored as well as all my readers would to see the various insights. Who knows what I may learn as well from what you write. And what you wrote is just as valid as what I wrote. Please don't compare mine to yours. Each of our writings stands on its own.

So here's what I wrote: ..

The minute I saw this image, I thought - wow - what a story for how life sometimes looks. An old rustic shed with wood that shows every grain and fiber. It has weathered the storms of life and appears that even through the years, it may be leaning a little but it is still standing. The door is slightly ajar and may all most be off its hinges from the winds of time and the many times it has been opened. The tools and belongings just inside the windows are varied and act as if they were placed in that particular order for whatever reason which remains a mystery to the viewer of this picture. Two of the four opposing window pains have been knocked out as if the window was meant to be that way. The way Marilyn took this photo, it leaves so much of the image as a mystery. There is no way to know for sure exactly what is around the narrow view of the picture unless you were standing there. This gives possibility of so much more than what the picture shows.

And as I think about all of this, isn't this a good representation of life. We sometimes see all our faults just like an old shed barely standing there with the door hanging open and the windows broken out. Yet, we often fail to realize that we're still standing strong despite the winds and storms of time. We have the tools and responsibilities and pieces of our life organized in a way that works for us in that moment even if we have some broken out windows. And as we look through the broken out window panes, we stare in to the darkness of the shed, wondering what is in there and what we have not become aware of in our lives. It reminds us of how much we have not yet discovered. The narrow view of the pictures shows to me, that there is so much more about us than we can currently see and if the photographer moved just an inch it would reveal so much more. In many ways, that is how our own lives come to be, because if we saw everything in this moment, it would take away the excitement and possibility of what lies ahead. In addition, to see to much too quickly, it may overwhelm us as we would not be able to take it all in and understand it.

So for me, this picture says, look at the entire picture and see the beauty. Don't be concerned with each detail of fault that you can see but know that this shed has stood the test of time and through the open windows of my life, may I be reminded to look further into my life and discover all that there is. It is not about what I can currently see but how I can see this image in the context of my complete life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Traffic Angels

I just have to share something about angels (actually two things). A good friend of mine that is an Angel Therapy Practitioner has told us if you want to test things a little and see if angels really communicate (if you feel you can communicate with angels), than one thing she does is when she’s in traffic, she asks them sometimes to clear up space around her. She also talks about Parking Angels that help her find parking places to. (hey it does work) I’ve done this a couple of times but yesterday morning on the way to a job, the interstate was very packed with traffic.

So I asked the angels to help keep the traffic flowing and make it easier for me (I don’t recall exactly how I asked that). So for most of the way to the place I was going, there was this big gap between the front and back of me with no cars or very few. Please see the picture above that I included to show this and there was at least this same distance behind me that you see in front of me in this picture. Another proof of how this worked – it took me about 15 less minutes to get to the site on this morning than it did the day before and it was almost exactly the same time with the same amount of traffic. On top of that, another guy I was working with lives pretty close to me and he got there much later to the site. His comment about traffic that it was much worse on this day than the previous day.

So another thing with the angels is that I was getting the sense that my 3 day job was going to finish early and I know I needed the income. However, I also got the sense that if it did something else would fill in the gap. (this was yesterday morning before I arrived at the job site). So just like I sensed, the job was finished on day two. Then this morning, I overslept but saw a phone call and it was for an easy type of job today (at the last minute of course) that would pay well. (just what I’m asking the angels for). The only thing is, I was about 30 seconds to late calling the lady back and she had just lined someone else up. So I thought that was pretty cool even though I was a little too late in the call back. So I need to refine my request and say for this easy type of good paying jobs to have a little more notice and not be at the last minute.

The International Angel Day workshop I went to – the one message I got from the workshop was to spend time each day listening to my angels and asking them for help in whatever I needed. I’m not sure if I have to be shown this lesson in any more of a dramatic way than I have been with these two examples. I sometimes just don't stop and listen to what they are telling me like I should.

And once again, it proves to me that I'm not all alone in this world like I sometimes think I am. I hope this gives you as big of a smile as it has given me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

International Angel Day

International Angel Day, started by Dr. Doreen Virtue is observed through various workshops from all over the world. It is a time of coming together and honoring children as well as the child within. It is connecting with others who communicate with their angels and/or desire to learn more about this.

Yesterday, (September 12, 2009) was my second workshop at Cassadaga, Florida led by Robin Matutino (an Angel Therapy Practitioner) . Through the workshop, we not only shared some of the ways each of us receives messages but through meditation we were able to connect and just be there in that space with each other and the Angels. This year, we were especially treated with a short performance by Robin's husband, Henry, on the Didgeridoo. One of the biggest things I took from this is how I don't spend enough time each day just allowing the communication. I get to busy or too wrapped up in my day and shut this off. Than I get upset when I feel as if I'm in this life all by myself. So somehow, I'm going change that.

While some people may think this is preposterous that you can communicate with angels and while some may feel it is totally possibly, I know first hand from many situations throughout my life what is possible for me. There have been many times when I have seen, heard, felt things and just knew things.

As a child, I used to talk to the imaginary around me. Maybe you could call it the Universe or whatever. I just knew that as I was talking to "it", that "it" would listen and sometimes talk right back with me. It was the same to me as carrying on a conversation with a friend or with my animals. It was just something I accepted as fact from as far back as I could remember. Of course, some of the challenges I faced came along and it began to make me doubt as if "it" was really out there. So I went many years sort of brushing it all off and just thinking that I had to do all of this in life on my own.

After I got out of college and was in the workforce, I took a job with sales that I really hated. It got to the point that I just was about ready to give up. And so one day, while I was driving on the gravel roads to my next client, I just wanted everything to end. As I was going around a curve (almost a 90 degree turn), my speed was around 60 mph. If anyone has grown up on gravel roads, you realized that this sharp of a turn at this speed on gravel would mean that there is no way you could keep your car on the road. My car should have gone airborne and rolled, flipped, etc. There is no way, I should be alive today. Yet, my car never ONCE left the surface of the road. I remember stopping after this and just crying because at that moment, I felt the hands of angels holding me. I will never forget that day.

Another time, came when I was in the hospital after I was paralyzed and just barely hanging on. They were doing some muscle tone/tension tests on me and these were so painful. Because I could barely speak or move, I could not get the lady Doctor to stop the tests and my body basically shut down completely. When I came to and looked up, the doctors were saying "clear" and getting ready to shock me to bring me back. In that moment, the bright white light appeared and I will never forget it.

I remember other times when I was learning massage and doing massage on clients. If I got out of my fear and tuned into what was going on - allowing to happen what needed to happen - I would feel as if my hands were being physically led around the body. I saw this happen many times and it was as if I was doing the right thing at the right time for the people I was working on. I still remember doing a massage one day and looking over to the side of the room only to see an angel being sitting there. It was a brief moment but a powerful one.

There are so many examples I can give, so if someone says "angels" don't exist or we can not communicate with them, you'll have a hard time convincing me. There are times when I get all kinds of communications from them. These more often come to me as "strong forceful voices" in my head. I know that may sound like I've got some mental condition but if you've experienced this, you'll know what I mean. It isn't a mean voice but one that is full of compassion and love.

Other ways I get these things is through images. There are times that when I'm around people, a strong image comes into my mind and there is no way I would know or be able to create that on my own. I've especially seen this happen when I've been in a body work session with someone because it often gives me helpful clues as I'm in the session. Sometimes I get images when I'm around people in public. Often these images help protect me or give me insight I need at that moment. It isn't like I ask for these things either. They either show up or they don't. I don't seem to be able to turn the switch on or off. And sometimes, I get way too much information that I really would rather not know. During those times, it can be very difficult. The closer I am to people around me or in large crowds, the more this information can sometimes be overwhelming.

Other ways I pick stuff up is through a feeling or just knowing something. Sometimes I can not explain why I know what I do or why I feel what I do. Some friends used to call me "space cowboy" and when I asked why they said that, their response was that I just know things somehow. At the time, I thought they were the crazy ones! Sometimes some of the stuff I pick up is just a general sense of things coming and at some point later, I see what it meant. Often I really don't understand it but I try to listen to it more these days. There have been times, that these things have kept me safe or helped me to make a decision that allowed me to avoid trouble situations.

I could go on and on about all that I pick up or the many ways that I've experienced angels first hand. I've even had moments where I've heard some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard and there was absolutely no radio, cd or sounds around that were creating it. The moments are numerous and sometimes I will feel a very strong sense of heat around me during these times. I've felt their hands on me, supporting me and comforting me. The hardest part for me is to not be frightened by it because I don't understand it but to open myself up more to it. It took me a long time to acknowledge to myself that they did exist because I feared I was crazy or that if others knew, they would think I was crazy.

And yet today, I still hide from them and withdraw because I still question - why me? Why do I get chosen to get some of the communications I do. I'm slowly learning to let go of the fear and just be in the space that I'm meant to be in as I attempt to keep myself grounded to the earth.

Here's a poem I wrote about Angels in 1999, titled "Angels Are Watching Over Me"

(c) Don Shetterly 1999

A light shines to the stars
Glorius and radiant they are
As they shine from heaven with glee
These heavenly beings watch over me

You can see them in a child's eyes
They go unnoticed and unseen,
Humble and obedient they are,
Angels are watching over me.

They may be a helping hand,
A stranger in the night.
Or a quiet, silent type
But whoever they are,
Angels are watching over me.

A friendly face, a gentle touch.
Soft words of hope, letters with love.
A warm embrace, a lending ear.
May be the only thing that's near.
Angels are watching over me.

Fear trembles within as hope is gone
Ready to quit and not carry on.
Ending the pain but stopped once again,
Knowing all the time,
Angels are watching over me.

So many during my life,
Which I was not able to see.
For I had no strength,
To even worry about me.
But as I look back, I can see,
Angels are watching over me.

So many things we share
When our hearts join as one,
So many tears, so much joy
One with thoughts, one with love
Allowed just a few years
Angels are watching over me.

Now I know they are all around
From the smallest child to the oldest one,
In many shapes and tears,
They rarely stand out
But I know
Angels are watching over me.

(c) Don Shetterly 1999

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In The Mind's Eye

One of the things I have learned from Dr. Paul Canali is that by watching the eyes of someone on the massage table, you can tell so much. When a person is deep in the subconscious (or hippocampus), the brain is processing information and neural connections and neural pathways. The eyes have a movement that when you see it, you will know exactly where they are. This movement also signals that the person has moved past the fears and into the processing stage. By working with this, you can help assist and provide safety to the person as they process things that they may not readily think about or things that are in the conscious mind. This work allows you help the person move through some very traumatic experiences without having to completely relive all the horror and pain of those events in a conscious manner. It is very powerful and amazing to work with.

Here's an article that talked about some of the studies being done in this area.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Secrets We Hold

Lately I've thought about all the secrets we hold as humans and they are many. Often times, we do not even own up to the ones that we hold so closely. Yet, they are numerous. Many justify these subconsciously in our minds every day and reinforce them through behaviors, beliefs, rituals and routines. The secrets can range from the more subtle to the extreme, from the almost innocent in appearance to the ones that would make a sensational news story on the nightly news.

In my own life, I've been told some whoppers! The secrets that have been carried down were once referred to me as "skeletons in a closet". I was told that often it is best to leave the skeletons alone because everyone has them. But is it really best to leave the skeletons alone in our closets? Who does that protect or benefit or hurt?

While everyone could make a strong compelling argument that holding on to these secrets is a way of protecting various people in our lives, the same case could be made that these same secrets hurt many more than they protect. We don't often think of that or of the people it may hurt when the secrets are formed. We don't often think of the future ramifications and the distortion of events that will occur with years of continued secrecy. It is as if, we are only trying to protect ourselves or someone close to us at the expense of others around us.

In my life, I have spent many years trying to uncover the hidden secrets in my life and of those around me. I have attempted to remain as an open book as much as I can and yet, I'm sure if I think about it, I have secrets that I have formed. And now, as I try to heal the intricate pieces of my life, there are many that are missing because they are locked up as secrets. Some of the secrets have gone to a grave and some will just never be told.

I can just hear the chatter going on in minds at this moment including, you should just move on, you should just let it go, you should not live in the past and so on and so forth. Those are wonderful statements for people who want to sweep the floor and push the dirt under the rug. However, I am one that would rather sweep the dirt out the front door, just not under the rug.

If you think secrets aren't as bad as I'm suggesting they are, than consider this.

Remember back when the Catholic Priests were being accused of child molestation? Each individual child thought it was just them and them alone. They did not realize anyone else had ever been molested by this person (generally speaking). So if they were ever to tell, in their minds they would question if anyone would ever believe them. However, when they began to expose the secrets, others realized they weren't the only ones and they began to tell their secrets. When the secrets were exposed in unison, it gave validity to what was actually going on. Otherwise, it would have continued to be covered up and allowed to continue.

For me, I was told when my grandmother passed away and I was just a wee little child, she was walking home from the neighbors house across the street and she slipped and died. To a little kid, that may make sense and a child may not be able to reason that this sounds ludicrous. And maybe this was part of the story but when you begin to lay in other facts around that event, you can see that there is probably more to the story. My grandfather was a proud member of the Masons who was an alcoholic. I remember my mom telling me stories of how he would spend more time with his Mason brothers getting drunk and drinking away what little money they had. I also learned that he was a mean drunk where he would hit and abuse his wife and my mom. This continued I believe until the day my grandmother died. Right after her death, my grandfather had an auction to sell off everything he owned and I mean everything. He then took the money and checked himself into a nursing home. Keep in mind, there was nothing wrong with him physically that he needed round the clock care. So he checked himself into the nursing home and laid in a bed hardly ever leaving his room for the remaining 10 years of his life. One could say he didn't take her death well and that could be but when you saw how the family behaved and that no one except my mom went to visit him, than you had to question a lot of things. Even the day he died, there barely was a funeral with anyone present. Again, the secret of how my grandmother died will never be proven for sure but I highly doubt she died because she fell while walking across the street.

Take another example with my older brother. On the night of my highschool prom, my parents received a call and had to travel 90 miles to Des Moines because my brother had just been accused of molesting two little boys that he was babysitting in the family that was giving him a home. I believe the family was either from the same church he went to or the Faith Baptist Bible college in Ankeny, Iowa he was attending. I have no idea what transpired because I was not there but I know that somehow the charges were dropped. Those two little boys had to grow up with the after shocks of what he did to them for the rest of their life while my older brother went free. Of course, if I would have been strong enough to stand up and tell someone, maybe I could have prevented others from being hurt. But it was my secret and the secret was not only belonged to my older brother but to my father as well. And one has to ponder just how many more there are out there that were affected by this secret.

For a long time, I began to go to therapy but I kept it a secret from everyone around me. Those at work were told I had something personal to do and I would try to schedule therapy appointments late in the day. My fear was that if everyone knew, they would think I was crazy and would think there was something wrong with me. It was shame, guilt and a poor self esteem that kept me from talking. It was more though because I had been conditioned to believe that if I exposed the secret, that my life would be in danger as had been proven on many occasions as a kid. As I got closer and closer to talking about some things, my secret came out in full force because even though no one in my family knew where I lived or that I was even seeing a therapist, I was so afraid to talk. I was afraid of the secrets I held. I was afraid of the power the secrets held.

I could go on and on with stories of many secrets. They are so numerous and are bountiful beyond comprehension to most people. As I try to piece things together in my life, to fill in the gaps that the years portray, I am met constantly with many secrets. For me, it is more than just needing to move on and to get over it. For me, so much of my past seems so disjointed. I have many questions as to where I come from, where I lived, how different memories even fit together and those things act as volcanoes in my mind, going off when I least expect them. It is about piecing my life back together where I have very little connected contact to it. Most people are able to talk to friends, family and relatives and reflects upon points in their life. For me, this is virtually non existent. For a long time, I wondered if I was adopted because all I know is the town I was born in and where I am at now in life. The things in between seem to have never existed. They were covered up by the secrets.

Most of my secrets were pretty dramatic but even the less dramatic secrets have an energy all to their own that robs us as being human. They make us less than human because shame, guilt, fear among other things, place a blanket over them. They hide them from our view. They alter us from reality. These secrets continue to not only consume us but perpetuate themselves so that they consume others in our path. Secrets not only affect us but they also impact so many others that we know intimately or we casually meet in our lives.

The purpose for writing all of this is that I hope each person reading it will stop and consider the secrets they hold in their own lives. What ones have you created? What ones were created and forced upon you? What ones do you know about and feel you are the only one?

I hope that you will ask yourselves these hard questions because the more light that can be placed on the secrets to expose them, the more freedom we will have as individuals and as a collective universe. In order to be truly human, secrets can not take up residence in our lives for they are an organism of poison feeding on our mind, body and spirit. May they be found out and may they be exorcised from all that we are. Let the secrets wither and die in the light of truth and knowledge.


Blog Post And Images (c) 1/01/07 by Don Shetterly
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