janet r





AGE: 55

"Having spent half my life both sides of the Atlantic my story deals with not only personal experience but also the way in which cultural influences effected my healing. This self-portrait was painted at a massive turning point, expressing both personal and spiritual growth."

CONTACT INFO : Email: Janet_R@thehealingbridge.com






A second part of life
Whenever I talk about this time period - the rehab experience, and then of course the most important experience of all, my spiritual awakening, I am so deeply moved. Sometimes I don’t consciously think about it at all - but then when I do talk about it, or it comes up in any way - I am always amazed at it’s enormous significance in my life.
Now came the time to start the second part of my life - a totally new beginning. In many ways I really was like a new born baby. Everything had changed. One of the things that I really learnt in rehab was that we could put the drink or the drug of choice down for years, but if we didn’t change our ways, our old way of being, then really nothing would change. I understood this completely - and I believe to have that deep understanding was another gift from God.
Although my marriage was over, we were living at that moment in a very dysfunctional manner. I was living in the main house with the children, and my husband was living in the carriage house which was probably 500 yards from the main house! Therefore I came back from rehab to the ‘family’ home – and it seemed as if the family was tip toeing around me. But the old worries, and concerns, were gone, and so I knew that I had to just get up every day, pray a lot, go to meetings, and trust.
As I told you praying was new to me, and to begin with I found the whole process very embarrassing. I would lock myself in my bedroom so that my children or husband wouldn’t catch me on my knees. I can smile at that now - and I know that God smiles about it every time a new person comes to him. We humans are so amusing at times. It took a while for me to feel comfortable praying, but the results were immediate. Today I have no fear or embarrassment around praying - I just find it to be one of the great joys and comforts in my life.
So the massive turning point in my life was in that rehab in 1987, when I was 41. I now saw my life and myself as a physical, emotional and spiritual entity - something that had never occurred to me before. Not only was the fear removed, but I started to see more clearly as an artist. It was as if God was giving me this bonus, this extra gift. It all came flooding in at once. There were times and moments, when I didn’t know if I could take it all in. It was so amazing.
I was finding that as the fear and anxiety was removed, and I put my trust and faith in God every day I was no longer crippled. In fact, I found that I was able to do things, and express myself in ways that I never dreamt possible. I am still amazed today, when I stand in front of a large group of people and give a workshop or a painting demonstration. These were only things that I could fantasize about in my old life.

Healing’s purpose
I was healing and I knew it had something to do with being an example for others. As I said earlier, I had always been this person who seemed to have it all. But in fact during my first life I had very little in the sense that I couldn’t enjoy any of my blessings, such as my children, or my art, or friends, or anything because of the crippling fear. It’s interesting, after the turning point, the change, the awakening, the entering into my new life, to the outside my life probably looked like it was falling apart. I was living in my studio. I had no money. I gave a lot of my expensive clothes to the homeless shelter, in short my life looked so different. However, the fact was I now had the ability to enjoy, to love, to feel compassion, and most importantly to be myself - without fear. It’s ironic, because when it was perceived that I had power in my old life in fact I had none.
Then in my new life when many people initially thought that I had lost all power, in fact I had it for the first time in my life, and by that I mean, God’s power, not my power. God’s will, not mine - and such a deep understanding of that. Before I had nothing, but afterwards, when I had so little in terms of material things, I had everything.
I believe that we all have a purpose on this earth. We might never really know what it is - that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are our God given selves. The life we have been given is such a gift, and so we must honour that gift by accepting it for all of its unique wonder. In my old life when I saw a baby, I thought it was cute, but I saw work. In my new life when I see a baby, I see an amazing gift to this world.
People around me started to see that there really had been a fundamental change. They really couldn’t put their finger on it, but they knew that something had happened. I think some thought I had gone completely mad! I say this with a big smile on my face now. My son, who was really quite angry with me for about three years, accused me of joining a cult. I can understand his anger, and with the help of God was able to let it go at the time. Slowly our relationship heals. My daughter was so confused - but now that she is almost 26 she talks to me freely about how happy she is that I made these changes, because they have given her the strength to make changes in her own life. I am fortunate that in my own work, I am able to tell artists and others that I work with, who are feeling anxious, and fearful, that I had also felt these things, and that together we can work through them. Because what I tell them is the truth, it has an impact. Maybe these are some of the reasons why this happened in my life and maybe there are many more that I will never know about.

A symbolic self portrait
During this time I painted a symbolic self portrait. To me the quilt in the painting symbolises both peace and turmoil. The quilt is a very nurturing object, and yet as you see it in the painting, it has a very tumultuous look to it, and I feel that is symbolic of my life. During this period, there was much serenity as well as turmoil.
One of the most exquisite things that happened was a sudden understanding about everything being totally connected - that there are no lines or edges around anything - that there are rhythms and energies that we can tap into which help us to see, understand and connect with a much higher level. This knowledge, and understanding came almost as suddenly as the awakening. But as I moved forward and lived this new life, I began to understand it more and more. In my life today, I am fully aware when I am out of this way of being. It is very different, and I might add, painful. This knowledge, this deep understanding, has allowed me to teach in a different way. Because of the knowledge I now know how to bring a group of people into the present moment, free of all the little chattering monkeys that invade our minds - and it never ceases to amaze me how joyful that is for me and for the students. It then allows the session to flow in an intensely beautiful way.
Up until being reborn, I was always too scared to give workshops. Since my awakening, I have been so excited about working, it’s almost as if I have been trying to make up for all of the lost time. Meanwhile, bearing in mind that it is the journey that counts, my real learning, has come from, and continues to come from my first hand experiences.

Looking to the light
There was a time when all of a sudden I realised that I was experiencing and seeing everything in an entirely different way. There was a specific moment that will always stay in my mind - funny how that is. Funny how often it is seemingly the most insignificant thing that becomes the most significant. We really never know do we!
I was walking to my studio one morning, and it was one of those beautiful spring days, when its about 65 degrees with no humidity. There was a young girl walking in front of me, and all of a sudden I was intensely aware of the shadow play on her trousers. And incredibly it was at that moment that all the knowledge that I talked about before clicked in. The deep understanding of light and dark, and I don’t just mean in a visual sense, but also in the sense that this is what the world is about...light and dark. And each day, each moment, we can choose in which direction we wish to look. There it is again, free choice. Up until the awakening, and then this point, I recognise now that I had been sort of numb and in fact when I took the tranquilizers it was to anesthetize myself. I wanted to be numb.
For some reason it felt safer that way. I think since a young child I had been aware of there being much more, that there was the ‘unseen’ but maybe fear stopped me from wanting to look at it. In fact, I can say positively that it was fear again that stopped me from opening up to that other part of our world - the beautiful part of our world. From then on I recognised how important it was for me to always look towards the direction of the light - again when I turn away from it, there is great pain.





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