(If you didn’t read The Energy of Freedom Part 1, you will want to start there for the extraordinary story that led us up to this point.)
I wasn’t free.
I was called to set captives free, but how was I going to set people free when I was so bound up myself?
I was afraid to step onto elevators
Or a train
Or fly in planes
I was afraid of touching a menu or ketchup bottle
Or a doorknob — or pretty much anything in public
that might have some germs
I was afraid of being alone at night
Or alone during the day
I was afraid to die
I was afraid of not going to heaven
And slip-sliding myself
From a high mountain lined with banana peels
All the way down to hell
I was afraid of God.
I mean, the flying thing was a great example — I wouldn’t get on a plane except for the rarest of occasions. And when I did, it was in complete and utter terror from the MOMENT I thought about making the reservation months before. I mean, seriously diarrhea for MONTHS. Then, when I did fly in complete terror, it was only with other people like my husband who I was CONVINCED was a better human than I was and who God liked better than me and wouldn’t take him from the earth. So, I treated Rock like he was my flying lucky rabbit’s foot.
Or you know, those thoughts about being afraid to die or going to hell?
Those were every day, all throughout the day and every night, all throughout.
My life was an OCD mess of fear, anxiety and stress for YEARS.
I was afraid to try traditional remedies to help me because I thought I would die.
I was afraid to try alternative, woo-woo remedies because I thought God would get pissed and send me to hell.
I was constantly in a no-win situation.
How the heck was I going to be the fearless leader to set the captives free?
Didn’t I need a map myself?
I mean, I certainly wasn’t given a map growing up.
The crazy, Italian-Catholic upbringing was one huge feast of incredible food and crippling guilt. Fear of family, fear of shame, fear of God… Fear was the emotional garlic of our Italian culture: It was in everything.
Plus, I went through truly horrendous things that I couldn’t tell anyone about. Secrets of things that happened to me from my childhood that cemented my personal shame and self-loathing.
Then, as a way to process that pain, I became entrenched in another religion that shackled me with a lot of “Don’t do this” and “Don’t do that” — and so many rules to keep you straight in line and terrified, second-guessing yourself all the time. And you just knew that God was like that space on the Monopoly board: “Do Not Pass ‘Go’, Do Not Collect $200, Go Straight to Jail, I mean Hell”…
I was paralyzed in my life. Even though I looked normal on the outside, I was a Tornado Circus on the inside.
I remembered hearing the phrase, “You can’t take people where you haven’t been” so, the answer was clear:
I needed to go on the journey to being free.
The next years were an ever-evolving quest to find those spacious, restful places inside of me. I diligently and dedicatedly focused on my commitment to being free. And then, several years beyond that I was still untangling the stressful beliefs that were so ingrained in my upbringing, my life’s circumstances, and my religion. It was not a one-time, “done and won” kind of thing. This was a daily, and sometimes, minute-by-minute holy unravelling.
I documented a significant part of the journey and healing in my upcoming book, “God Loves Me, I Think… Stories from Hell, Heaven, and the Other Side of Texas” but the road to freedom has been filled with many ways that supported me in getting to the point I am now.
The practices that helped me:
– Reading ancient texts and modern journeys of people who had gone on similar paths.
– Fasting from food for periods of time for the purpose of breakthroughs
– Pulling myself away from toxic people who felt the special calling of judging and criticizing me as their life mission
– Eating raw foods only for a season of time (food has vibration and man, that processed stuff and super sweet stuff was like an anesthesia to me. – – – Raw foods brought the real stuff up and helped me to see and face me.)
– 100-Day Gong
– Stream of Consciousness Journaling
– Losing Weight (when you strip the layers, you strip the layers)
– Humanism workshops (like Landmark Education, PSI, and Mindspring)
– Honest communication
All of these practices (and more) over the last 20 years helped me to get to the roots of my fear and the heavy-burdened beliefs they were hinged to…
I’m not enough
I’m not worth it.
God likes other people better than me because I failed and I’m ruined
And so many more…
These practices and the spiritual pursuits shifted my body, brain, and perspective enough to see things from other angles. And in seeing that I had other ways of looking at my life, past, future, and me — I was able to choose different thoughts and beliefs. They gave me a chance to re-evaluate and release the crippling ideas I had about God and gave me access to the person I feared most:
I got a chance to meet the wonder of who I was.
Because I was finally able to separate who I was from what happened to me.
And in that surgery, I stopped identifying and over-identifying with the events that happened to me or through me — or the failures or successes of my life.
I didn’t have to keep pulling this trailer filled with All That Happened and All That I Fear Might Happen as I traveled on.
I could let them be what they were and use the lessons for my good moving forward.
And I could create a new future, not based on past events, but on the big dreams that live in powerful me.
So freaking amazing!
This messy, beautiful, rigorous, grace-filled process allowed me from stuck places to spacious places. Places that were filled with more freedom and peace than I had ever known.
I’m still learning (because I’m still living) and even though I’m not done, I’m different.
You know how I know?
I have the proof of my LIFE to show me:
Getting on planes to take my family to Italy for months at a time
Leading Italian retreats with women and traveling by myself for weeks at a time
Writing 7 books (so far — 3 are released, 4 are waiting in the wings) that are about universal questions and discoveries that are making a healing, inspiring, and entertaining difference in the world.
Raising my children in freedom, joy, and peace which is evident to almost everyone they meet
A 30 year marriage of imperfectly perfect love and process, friendship and connection, and forward movement toward who we are, together.
Losing 90 pounds (that I gained with a thyroid and autoimmune issue called Hashimoto’s) and shedding the protective barriers that were keeping me ‘safe’ from others and myself
Coaching women all over the world for the last 15 years on their journey from fear to freedom and toward their dreams coming true.
The proof is in the life we live.
The love we are willing to create
And welcome in our lives.
In how we handle our mistakes
And our flaws
And the hard times
And how we climb back up on the horse
Or into the plane
And continue on the journey to our wholeness, happiness, and peace.
I’m with you on the journey.
Trust me, I get it.
You’re not alone.
I’m going to Italy and would LOVE for you to join me for the beautiful retreats I’ve planned just for you.
Are you feeling stuck and wanting to be free? Coaching is available to walk you through. I know what it’s like, I’ve been there. You’re not alone and freedom is available for you too. <3
Too many thoughts racing through my mind right now. But I wanted to say, Thank you Stacey!
Stacey, i so get it and want it and fear it and…i don’t know. Years ago i took a meditation yoga class (back before the yoga craze took off). And always ALWAYS during the one chant my hands would grown so hot, like HOT hot, but not the rest of me. The rest of me felt energized and light headed, but in a good way. I went to the classes alone, everyone else was with a friend or friends, and no one ever said a word to me. After a few classes i asked the people around me if their hands were hot afterwards. They looked at me like i was insane and just shook their heads no. So i asked the yoga instructor and he said he didn’t understand. The next class after that particular chant, my hands burning with the heat, i walked up to him and placed my hand on his shoulder. He pulled away from me and said “this should calm and cool you, it is goodness. The heat is wrong and associated with evil. You’re doing something wrong” I was mortified. The next class no one would even sit near me. So i left. The feeling i had inside wasn’t bad when my hands were hot though. It was calm and had a good energy and i felt like i needed to transfer that, but then i was confused and kinda shamed by their reactions. So i stopped. That was over 20 yrs ago.
Now I have moments filled with such a feeling, like it will burst from my chest, that i need to do something because i am meant for so much more. But what? I look around at the bars of my cage and just think “well, some day, some day” and try to quell the powerful feeling. It eventually passes.
Thank you so much for sharing, everything. Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s nice to not be sitting in the dark alone. Thanks for being a lighthouse for me.