How I found beauty and connection in pain and loss

Photo by Jacinta Christos on Unsplash

Twelve years ago on Mother’s day, my mother was dying. It was sad and painful and beautiful.

The day before Thanksgiving in 2008, my mom was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. She was given six months to live. One week later, I pulled my kids — then seven and five — out of school and the three of us drove from Minnesota to California so we could spend some time with my mom. We stayed nearly a month.

I’d like to say that this time was pleasant, full of fond memories and loving connections, but that would be a lie…


Why so many people think they’re not

Statue of angel facepalming
Statue of angel facepalming
Photo credit: Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

You’ve probably seen the memes: the text I have a feeling my guardian angel looks like this often and a photo of an angel statue facepalming. It’s meant as humor, self-deprecating though it often is, and it hides a very real fear that no one wants to talk about.

What if my guides have given up on me?
What if I pissed them off?
What if my guides-or Source/Spirit/the Universe/God/Goddess-hate me?
What if I’m not worthy of divine guidance?

These are natural, human fears, ones that many of us wrestle with at various times, and they are all based on…


Healing Birthday Trauma

Photo by Tore F on Unsplash

When I wrote this, it was my birthday.

Like many trauma survivors, my birthday has never really been a day of celebration and joy. Rather, it’s been a collection of traumas big and small, a message layered year after year that I’m not worth celebrating.

Until this year. Because this year, with a lot of help, I processed the trauma around my birthday.

I see now how I was taking other people’s words and actions (or lack thereof) and making it about me. That’s easy to do, and a normal part of child development. And as happens with trauma, we…


Poetry

Where do I belong? A poem

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

If I belonged
Really belonged
I wouldn’t feel the need
To prove myself
To show my worth
To defend every action
Every desire for connection
Every longing for love

If I belonged
I wouldn’t feel like I was trespassing
On someone else’s territory
Fearful of triggering
Someone’s anger
That I had overstepped
My bounds
Taken what was
Not mine
Expected more than
I was owed
As if friendships are transactions
And love can be meted out
In weights and measures


And how I learned to trust them despite everything that was going on

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

One day, after school, I walked into the house and the energy was all wrong. It was heavy, oppressive, and there was a horrible foreboding feeling. I found my mom in the family room, with my well-hidden journals in front of her, open. She’d been crying.

She started screaming about my talking with demons, and when I told her the voices spoke only of love and connection, she yelled that I was sick and crazy.

She hit me and shoved me to the floor, and then burned my journals as I looked on in shock. …


Chronic Pain | Healing

The Lessons of Chronic Pain

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

By appearance alone, most assume me to fit within the standard of white America: cisgender, heterosexual, Christian, and able-bodied. In fact, I am none of these things. Being non-binary, asexual, Jewish, and disabled have all created a very different lens through which I view and interact with the world, as all of our identities and experiences affect who we are.

Today, I want to talk about one aspect of one of these. One of my (several) disabilities is chronic pain. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2007, after a severe months-long depression followed by a very difficult pregnancy, emergency abdominal…


Healing from PTSD

Reclaiming My Voice After Child Abuse

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

I’ve told a lot of scary stories. Some are published; some aren’t. But there’s one scary story I’ve never told: mine.

It’s time because it’s been holding me back for thirty years. It keeps me at a distance from others, untrusting, wary, afraid.

It’s easier now for me to say publicly that I’ve been seeing and speaking with my spirit guides since I was little — running the risk that disbelievers will question my mental health while those on the religious right call me evil — than it is to tell this story of my past.

It is the last…


We Are All Connected

What a Jewish prayer has to teach all of us about communal responsibility

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

I’m white. I’m Jewish. I’m an abuse survivor. And I’m a former mental health counselor and current soul guides coach with a specialty in adult survivors of trauma. This collection of experiences and perspectives comes together and leads me to invite my fellow white people to be with me here in the pain and grief and rage and powerlessness in the time following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

I invite you, fellow white people, to be here with me and to consider another perspective.


Religious Inclusivism

A Parable About Multiple Covenant Theology

This is a story about a Mother with many children. The Mother, like mothers who came after, had difficulty getting Her children to behave. Sometimes the children would disobey and get hurt; other times they would hurt each other. Distraught by the pain which they so unnecessarily endured, the Mother decided to make a contract with Her children.

Like all mothers that came after, She began by explaining, “I love you and I don’t want to see you get hurt; besides, we are running out of Band-Aids. You are old enough now to take on some responsibility around the Home…


Fiction

Have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a lighthouse? I have. Of course, I am a lighthouse, so I guess it’s only natural. I’m nothing special. Wide and a little on the short side, I’m not even 100 feet tall, though I do sit on the bluffs overlooking a very large lake. The lake gets a lot of marine traffic, most of it well to my west. I’m on the eastern coast, where a few ships glide by and storms rarely hit. …

Sheyna Galyan

Soul Guides Coach • Author • Speaker • Connecting you to your true self and your kickass team of soul guides. https://soul-guides.com

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