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“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty in their carvings.”–Elisabeth Kubler–Ross


Lynne Kaplan Artography

When I was a child there was a rule of thumb; rarely would you have two girls visit if you could at all avoid it. That could be a recipe for disaster–three girls together. I don’t know what it was about three when I was young, but it surely could elicit conflict. I wonder if it is specific to our culture or if it is a human characteristic. Triangles surely offer an evocative relationship dynamic. In relationship theory, there is a term called triangulation where a couple draws in a third person to relieve anxiety in the original dyad. Anxiety is usually a symptom of tension that is building when the couple needs to undergo change for greater authenticity. The tension increases when being confronted openly and takes much integrity and spiritual developmentto make the necessary shift, but this is the high road for which most people are not prepared. Often drama is engendered when the couple cannot meet the level of authenticity required.

Another manifestation of triangles is when the energy of two forces becomes polarized. As the two forces move toward changing to a greater equilibrium, the polarization escalates. When a mediating third enters the field, transformation can happen. The art of mediation is an example of this process.

When I went to the Grof Transpersonal Training I met many wonderful people who became my sacred community for three years; two of the people would help me to connect the dots from significant relationship traumas which would lead to my deepest relational healing. I will call the couple X and Y to preserve their privacy. In order to fully communicate the level of healing this represented, I need to describe the circumstances that ended my second marriage. This marriage held a great deal of love and an equal amount of childhood trauma. Although we worked tenaciously to heal the trauma, the wounds were too great and we were losing ground. My neurological symptoms had become evident and were slowly progressing. Intuitively I knew that if the circumstances didn’t change, I could die. All life choices were made from this perspective at this point in my life, extreme as it may sound. Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t understand the level of pressure I was under, nor did I know how to relieve it. Part of our attempt to heal childhood trauma brought us to Galisteo, New Mexico to work with a healer named Rick. Rick and I made a deep connection which was destabilizing for me for my marriage. I attempted to work with his wife, but found her to be emotionally distant. Suffice it to say that I was not developed enough to deal with the tension in the relationship and drama ensued and my marriage ended in a devastating way, with much betrayal and shame.

During the transpersonal training, I connected with X at the beginning of my training as a massage therapist which was very grounding for journeying for the next three years. Little did I know how auspicious this would be in healing my most primal trauma. Her husband, Y and I connected deeply as well. We became breathwork partners for most of the modules during the next three years. One auspicious day, I entered the training module late which was unusual for me. I claimed the only seat left in the large room which happened to be between and slightly behind the two of them. While I sat there this overwhelming wave of emotion overcame me. Sitting in a triangle with the two of them brought up my trauma from the New Mexico couple. Unwilling to repeat a scenario which brought so much pain, I asked X to talk with me. I told her the whole story of the last triangle and the pain it brought to all concerned. Contrary to what I expected, she was enormously empathetic and acknowledged MY pain, something I had not acknowledged through the shame. In her wisdom, she got the significance of the devastation. Her empathy in the moment provided the alchemical heat needed to transform lead into gold.

It was due to my honesty and her love that I was able to clear the shame I had been carrying all these years. This validated my belief that the only true elixir is love. I was able to understand the primal trauma that was being healed, the triangle with my parents. My mother, with her wounding from childhood, was unable to offer me the love and nurturance I needed. Unconsciously, I had wanted to heal this pathological pattern with Rick’s wife. When she was emotionally unavailable the old pattern kicked in exaggerating the importance of the man, a pattern I had unconsciously played out over and over in my relationships. When X offered love and empathy, she metaphorically offered to hold the kite string. Despite knowing my history she trusted me. These leaps of faith require courage and a commitment to love. Her generosity allowed for the most significant relational healing of my life.

The late Maya Angelou used to say, “when someone knows better, they do better.” Sometimes, knowing better can take a great deal out of you, but the alternative of living unconsciously is much more painful.

Y continues to be my doctor to this day. They came together to deliver supplements yesterday and I again thanked them for their wisdom and their love. With tears in our eyes we acknowledged the healing power of this triangle.

“First I was raw; then I was cooked; now I am burnt.” Rumi


Okay, sometimes I get totally thrown. During those times, there is no escape from my mind, from the feeling in my chest. It vacillates between a Shakespearean play and a banal soap opera. I have some control for redirection but the intensity remains unaffected.I sit. When I’m not standing every morning for an hour or riding a motorized stationary bike, I sit.

I sit facing multiple, snowcapped fourteen thousand foot mountains, or fourteeners to the locals. I love where I sit. I would rather be here than anywhere else. I sit and examine my life. It is a sacred task and one for which I feel much gratitude. Who gets to do this? When something from my past feels incomplete, it gets tweaked. If there is something that I haven’t said to someone, I see it and say it. There is a flow with every relationship in my life. I have corrected the imbalance of giving too much; I have learned to receive.

I believe that when we leave this majestic world, like nearly all of the near-death experiences portray, we have a life review. I’m fortunate to begin that self-reflection while still in my body. There is an old Hasidic saying, “on your deathbed, you never say,’ I should have worked more.’” Whether this chair in which I sit is a deathbed or a temporary place of rest, that is merely a matter of semantics.

I have partial use of one hand; that is it. From a competitive swimmer, runner, and horse rider, this is my Sacred Curriculum. I accept this curriculum and all that it involves. Would I rather be riding my horse or snow skiing? Honestly, there are moments I would. Would I rather be flying to New York City to be with my children and grandchildren? Clearly, there are moments, many moments that I would. However, doing this Work is what I am here to do in the present moment. All I have, all we all have, is the present moment.

It is in the present moment where true joy lives. For me, the past brings grief and the future, fear. That is generally true for everyone, whether dealing with a life-threatening illness or not. The present moment is where I try to live. Our bodies join with our spirits to partner with us in this endeavor.

Everybody gets thrown sometimes. It is a sacred practice to metaphorically pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and begin again. It is the means to the “end” that grows our soul. It is that perseverance that grows self-love. I believe that this is the essence of why we are here.


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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. more...

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