“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Victor Frankel

I am developing a working theory. The population of my study is T=3. I am using a small population based on a limited field of study, myself, a woman that I know personally, and a woman in a documentary I watched a few nights ago. Different from my graduate school thesis, I am the sole creator of this theory and I can choose any number of individuals for my study. Unlike in graduate school, my theory can be totally wrong. My own subjective experience represents one third of the accumulated data for my inquiry. It is liberating to be able to be wrong. After all, this is my blog, my journal, my thoughts that I offer with gratitude, reverence, and generosity (and a little satire). I invite anybody to please enter into the conversation, if you have input. And separate from right or wrong, this is how I would like to share my process, my inquiry, and I hope that it will resonate for others as we may collectively inquire into our most challenging curricula with love and empathy.

The hypothesis of my inquiry is that some individuals with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis become regressed physically to an infantile state of development in order to heal our deepest wound from this lifetime, an interruption in the bonding process with the primary, maternal parental figure. Early in my disease process, I had an insight that was my greatest fear actualized, that I might become completely disabled in order to heal this very early fracture. The insight came in a flash and I did not have the courage to entertain the concept in much depth, due to my paralyzing fear. Coincidentally, around that time I had contact with another woman facing similar circumstances. She referred to her mother as a non-nuturing type. I thought it was coincidental that my mother, too, was certainly not wired for nurturance and could be quite combative and emotionally abusive during her worst moments.

My mother was raised with male siblings, exclusively, and she was strongly bonded to her father as opposed to her mother. This family constellation mirrored mine exactly. For at least two generations, there was little feminine bonding. Although I had many girlfriends in my childhood, I identified as a tomboy. When I entered intensive psychotherapy during my twenties, the therapists suggested that I associate with women. My greatest therapeutic intervention involved a triangle with a male and a female. I was convinced that I was being rejected by the male and while doing the emotional work, communicating this with much vulnerability, a deeper pattern revealed itself. To my shock, it was actually the fear of the loss of my female friend that actually devastated me. This piece of work shed light on the greatest illusory pattern in my life; realizing that I would not meet my emotional needs with my mother, I transferred these needs to my father. This revealed a recurring pattern of making men overly important in my life, and now I knew why.

After this revelation, my life turned completely around. I became much more available for deeply fulfilling relationships with women. However, I still had a long way to go in healing the Feminine, but I, at least, was finally on the right track. My relationships with men were still mostly compulsive, but something significant was balancing internally.

In 1990, during the beginning stages of subtle neurological symptoms, I met a woman who would be my mentor for the next fifteen years and began holotropic breath work, an experiential form of transpersonal psychology that opened my world to the deepest healing of my life. Mathilde was unconventional to say the least, but for the first time in my life I was able to let in nurturing to my deepest wound by a woman! Mathilde observed that my process of letting in nurturance was like feeding a Biafran baby, sometimes one drop at a time. I would travel to New Mexico many times a year to do this Sacred work and relish in the the freedom that this unconventional modality provided. There were many nights that I climbed into Mathilde’s waterbed and slept beside her. Never had I felt this comfortable with a woman. Today, so many young couples have “a family bed,” but that was not a part of my acculturation.

Finally, I was able to see my pattern of entering into serial, addictive relationships with men. I was able to extricate myself from this pattern to spend three years developing a relationship with myself exclusively. Initially I felt terror at the prospect, but over time I found tremendous joy as I deepened my understanding of who I was. As I grew, my profession grew, and the feeling that my clients experienced deepened. It was soon after that that I met David. For this discussion, I will go into part two.