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By winner123 All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Romance

A new beginning.

On the walk home, I sense a shift in me, a new guarded protection about me. I used to let anyone say anything they wanted to say about me to me. To my face. No more, no more, no more unkind words in my presence. I go straight to the hammock and check on the horses. And the horses check on me. They are so funny. I love watching them and they love watching me. I walk

over to pet them and talk to them, telling them how beautiful they are, and that they are loved

and appreciated.

I feel so blessed and astonished by the events in the forest today at Angelica’s. I continue to meditate, recalling the messages and fall asleep in the hammock. I awake refreshed and decide to find Melissa. She left a note: “At Christina’s for dinner.” I eat an early dinner and spend time in my room journaling about the day’s events and the power I feel about owning my own body. Grateful sleep ensues.

I awake in a state of grace. This is so surreal, what I have longed for all my life, unconditional love. I am learning how to love myself unconditionally, give that love to myself. I am happy with me, with my life, my existence. I prepare for my day, feeling somehow mystical, wondering how our meeting will be today

Melissa’s nowhere in sight. Busy girl. I forgo the coffee and take off to Angelica’s. The sunlight seems to be following me and it is shining, dappling through the segmented spaces between the trees. Everything is as it supposed to be. Magical. Especially me.

She’s on the porch in a bright yellow linen blouse. She waves me in. “My dear, dear, Grace, good morning.” I just smile. I am speechless.

“Let’s have some tea this morning.”

“Wonderful,” I say. We go inside.

“Tell me of your day yesterday.”

I tell her about the hammock and a quiet evening. And how I still can critique myself in the mirror. After all that work we did yesterday, I still do it to myself.

“Grace, be gentle with yourself, as an observer. Changes don’t come overnight; these are seeds we are planting in your subconscious mind, tiny little seeds. Now I can see the soul of your mind has been prepared and cultivated. Who has been assisting you in doing that? I tell her about Sharon, my therapist, and Carol, my long-time friend, and of my wonderful group support and several really good friends.

“After we are done here, you must continue with Sharon,” she says. As she pours the hot water into my cup, she may as well have been pouring it on my body. She sees my dismay.

“If you want to get well, if you want permanent results, that is what you must do.”

“Go back?” I ask sadly.

“Go back,” she says, smiling and lovingly. I promise you continued success. After you are done with this work, you will be able to do anything your heart desires. Your soul is too fragile now to negotiate life. I slump in my chair, overwhelmed at the idea of going back to Tampa.

“You must understand the importance of this work!” Angelica insists. “This is of utmost importance. You must make this life’s work your priority. You must be willing to go to any length for your recovery. I see you in a year from now, strong like a tree, your roots going deep into the ground, your branches reaching to the sky. In the process of change your tree will transform from roots of fear, rejection, isolation, and inferiority to the strong roots of love, self acceptance, forgiveness, wholeness, true friendships, and a complete adequacy, with yourself, and then others. It’s an inside job, Grace. You are feeling despair now. It will not last.”

She serves the brown bread. A silence falls while we sip and eat. I know she is right, even though it feels all wrong. I sigh in deep acceptance of what I must undertake for my healing.

“Come, come, my dear Grace, it’s time.” I am breathing deeply, holding my face in my

hands. I manage to get my shoes off, and frustrated, I can’t rest.

“I just arrived in Ocala,” I blurt out. “My Dad doesn’t want me in Tampa.” I start shaking inside. She says nothing, lights the candles, puts the music on, and oils my feet, lightly massaging the heels, the balls, the arches, the toes, and the ankles, over and over while she takes me into deep relaxation.

“Repeat in the depths of your soul, in the dark crevices of your psyche, I am safe, fill yourself with the light of these words.” She says it calmly and slowly, but with loving authority. I am safe, I am safe, and I am safe, I am safe, I am secure, wherever I am, I am secure. Everything I need is provided for me. Safety and security are mine here and now. I am safe. I am OK just as I am; I am OK as I am. She stops talking and continues massaging.

I repeat the words to myself. I continue saying them inside. These words are powerful.

These words are my salvation. I am safe, I am free. I am secure. I am OK. It’s OK to be me. All is well, everything is working out for my highest good. Out of this situation, only good will come and I am safe.

“You are safe, my child, Grace,” Angelica pronounces in a whisper. Then— I’ll get you some water. She leaves me in a deep meditative state for a while longer. There is no sense of time now. Life seems suspended. I fall asleep and awake, not knowing how long I slept. I drink the water, put my shoes on, remember to take my sunglasses from the glass table.

Angelica is on the back porch. “Dear, dear Grace, you look so refreshed.”

I thank her, hold her tightly, not wanting to let go of the embrace, and I kiss her cheek. I look deep into her golden-brown eyes and I am overcome with gratitude. “Be on your way, we have much to accomplish tomorrow. Rest up today, you’re going to need it.”

I feel as if I’m walking on air and make my way straight to the hammock. The horses come over to check on me. I don’t want to think of Tampa or anything, and just come in and out of consciousness, resting my soul and body.

A call comes in from Pete. “What’s up?”

“Your father asked me to call you. He misses you and has a message for you.” There is a pause and dead silence for a few moments. “

Thank you, Pete,” I say, amazed, my mouth drops open.

“I am reading a new book on vitamin K2”, he says.

“Is it good?”

“Yes, very informative.”

Pete is probably one of the few people I would tell about Angelica. And I briefly do. I am not surprised when he says, “That’s wonderful, Beth Anne. Come home, you can stay in my garage apartment. My renter has moved out and I have been preparing it for you. It’s ready and waiting for you. I won’t bother you, I crave my privacy and solitude and I know you do also.”

“Thank you, Pete. Yes, yes, sounds good to me, but let me sleep on it.” Pete’s place is beautiful, a restored two-story home on Bayshore Boulevard overlooking Tampa Bay. “I’ll get back you tomorrow, OK?”

He says, “good talking to you.”

“ You also, Pete, peace out.”

Melissa approaches me as I lay still in the hammock.

“Beth Anne, I was worried about you. I couldn’t find you all morning. Where were you? “But you haven’t been here,” I say.

“Well, I took Amy for a ride early this morning.”

“Oh, nice,” I say, interrupting her. How was the early ride through the trails?”

“It’s the best thing in the world. Listen,” she says, “I couldn’t sleep last night and I want

to apologize for being so hard on you about Jack.

“Accepted,” I say. “And I need to tell you my stay here is going to be shorter than I thought. I am going back.”

“What?” she says, shocked.

“Yes. I’m not sure when, but soon.”

“ OK, I hope it’s not something I did.”

“No, Melissa, I’m going back for me. I’m going to commit to my recovery with Sharon, my therapist.”

She just looks at me, puzzled.

“Thank you for the time here. You’ve been so gracious to open your home to me,” I smile at her.

“You are welcome,” she says and we hug.

“Are you hungry?” I ask.

“Starved, I brought home dinner and a movie.”

“Yay!” I cheer.

We go get the fixings and get comfy in the TV room. “Thank you, Melissa, for renting one of

my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun, so sweet of you.”

Melissa says, I know how much you love it.”

I thoroughly enjoy the movie but can barely stay awake for the ending. Melissa can tend to be a night owl though. I sleepily stumble to my room. I dream again of the waterfall; this time, however, I step out of it and walk away. I wake up wondering about today.

As I approach Angelica’s fence, a wild white wolf is standing at the gate. I ask him telepathically, may I pass? And he sits. She waves, “let him in, he’s harmless.” I open the gate, and I see he has a gentle strength as he moves; he is soft. Angelica comes down to the steps, sits down on them, pets him and talks to him. She kisses him and hugs him. She tells me to go in the fridge and get the dog treats and his bowl in the closet. I do so and hand them to her, she opens the box and pours it into his bowl. It is his pleasure to eat. His water bowl also, please. I get it and fill it and bring it to him. He’s come for a reason, my dear Grace. The wolf’s message is, listen to your inner wisdom and enjoy the gift of freedom.

“Come inside,” she says, and she prepares the tea and brown bread. “The problem is, your inner wisdom is not aligned yet. That is why you need the year to correct it.”

“Yes,” I say. “My wisdom is clouded and confused and that is why I give my power away so easily and often don’t know what I truly want.

“Yes, that’s it exactly.”

“After a time of sorting things out with Sharon, I discovered that was true. This one is different and special, right, different from the others?”

“ Yes, she is.”

“She understands you truly, yes? She is the reason you have to return.”

“I am much more complete today than yesterday in my decision to return.”

“And you have found a place to stay?”

“Yes. I just look up at her.”

“No worries, it’s all divinely planned for you. This is your time of healing; all you need will come to you. The hawks, don’t forget the waterfall, the wolf, and it will continue. Now go to the healing room, the wolf will be with us today.” She brings the wolf in. “Grace, his name is Wisdom. His gift to you today is his presence.”

As I am resting he’s lying down sniffing my shoes. “He’s so beautiful,” I say.

“As you are,” she says. “We all have our own unique gifts and talents. Today’s lesson is wisdom. The wisdom to know who you are.” She lights the candles and turns the enchanting music on. “The wisdom to know what you deserve. All good. Wisdom to know your heart and what is right for you and no one else.” I am already relaxed and breathing deeply. “Good,” she says.

She starts the reflexology with slow and steady strokes. “You are going to learn how to love your family by having boundaries, inner and outer boundaries. You can take care of your inner self, your inner life. No one can penetrate your shield. You protect yourself with your words, with your voice, with your self-love, self-care and nurturing. Your voice, your intuition, your wisdom was taken from you as a child. You will reclaim it. This is your power. This is the work of your life. Your life and relationships don’t work. Your relationship with yourself is fragmented because of childhood abuse and neglect. No longer will you abuse yourself by not listening intently to what is going on inside of you. You will not abuse yourself with degrading thoughts or low self-esteem. Wisdom is self-esteem. Wisdom is always talking to you, as are your body, mind, and spirit. It is for you. For your success and your happiness. It is your job to be happy and content to the best of your ability. It takes time; little by little, slowly you will heal.”

I must have drifted off again. I think as I wake, Wisdom is sleeping too, but he comes to with my stirring. I sit up. “Come here, Wisdom.” I pet him, look deeply into his blue eyes. “Thank you, Wisdom.” He gives me his paw and we shake. I smile, refreshed, and get my shoes. “Let’s go, Wisdom,” and he follows.

Outside Angelica is rocking. “Dear, dear, Grace, this is your last day. I sense that.

“How can I ever thank you?” I say.

“ By living your life. By doing your recovery work. By becoming free.”

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