In this story, therapist Jan Mullen tells
the story of a child who has a vision of a “Good Fairy” who comes and helps her
deal with her pain - adapted by Janet Mullen from a story by Vicki Gabriner.
From the corners where the silence remains, there came the urgency to go to a
mountain top and scream out the whole truth. I sent out a prayer to God, to the
universe - “It’s too painful, I can’t take it!” - and she came to me, the power
of my mind, the energy of the universe, an angel of God in blue, like the Good
Fairy in the Wizard of Oz, waving a wand.
I sat cross-legged on the floor of my bedroom, looking up, about 8-years-old.
She said, “Sweetheart, here’s the deal. There’s too much going on here and I
don’t have the power to make it be gone, to make it be okay, or even to help
you cope with it in a way that’s not going to cause you some pain. What I can
do, Sweetheart, is help you get through this time now, help you get through it
as it is going on. It will come back, but it will come back to you only at a
later time, when you’re able to handle it and there will be someone to help
So I said, “Okay, because I can’t take it anymore.”
She waved her wand and said: “I am going to send things that are happening into
different parts of your body, and your body will hold them for you like a
treasure chest, like a time capsule. Your heart, your heart is broken and I’m
going to have to let your rib cage close in around your heart and let your
heart constrict so that you don’t feel the pain of your heart breaking. And I’m
going to really tighten up your neck and let it be a fortress with very thick
round walls, so that what you are feeling doesn’t get up to your mouth, and you
can’t speak the words. You can’t cry out for help and can’t scream out in rage.
And you can’t breathe too deeply to feel what’s going on in your body. And that
fortress will keep the knowledge of what’s happening in your body from
connecting with your head, so that you will not be fully conscious of what’s
going on. And I will tie up your ears, so that you hear but don’t take too much
“And this is what I will do with your mind. It will store the truth in a deep
place, sealed away behind steel doors of fear. But it will, for now, help you
to live with, accept and believe the lies you are told, that you deserve this
and that this is the way your life has to be.”
“I want you to be fairly still as a child and rather shy, so we don’t interrupt
what we’re going to put very carefully in place. And it will stay this way. You
will have trouble feeling and being close to people, but it will be your way of
surviving. And you, my darling, will be a very functional human being in spite
of all this pain, because you have a strong spirit and can hold all this in.
And I will be helping you.”
“You will not forget everything. You will be visited by vague discontents,
questions, or flashes of images that will lead you, like markers on a path, to
explore what happened. And I will leave a voice inside of you, like a spark of light,
which will urge you to reconnect with your whole self, to find this person you
are now, who is calling out for help and whose heart is utterly breaking.
It may not be clear, this voice! It will manifest as an urge inside of you but
it will be your lost self-speaking as it can through your aching body to come
back and find yourself.”
“When the time is right, you will begin to open up. It will be a very long
process. It may take as long to heal as you’ve been in pain and in the frozen
place. Finally, your body will no longer be able to hold all this in. Your
muscles will begin to give way, you will feel an urgency to do physical
healing, and that will begin the process of really unwinding your body and
releasing what it will have been holding all these years. There will be
physical as well as emotional pain in the process. But by then you will be
strong enough, safe enough and old enough to bear the truth and you will have a
special friend, who will be the grownup you, who will hold you as no one else
can, as you find yourself again.”
“As all this begins to unwind, you will struggle to release your mind from the
falsehoods it had learned so you could survive, and the doors of fear barring
it from the truth. The mind may at first believe that only the person who gave
you this pain has the power to take it away, and there will need to be a period
of building trust that this is not true. You will struggle to release the flow
between the mind and body and come back together wholly. But you will do it,
because you are a capable person with a heart yearning to love. I don’t know
exactly how it will unfold, but the universe will move you through it. You will
have to be very patient, very brave, very courageous, but it will be your
training, your fire walk, your healing. And when you are through it, you will
be a whole person: new but still the same.”
“Now I want you to go to bed. I will wave my wand and you will go to sleep, and
when you wake up, you will forget I was here. You will forget you asked for
help and you will not feel your daily pain. This is the only way I know to get
you through this. You are a beautiful child. I don’t know the reasons this
terrible burden came to you but I love you and God loves you. You will have to
love yourself enough to heal, so that the rest of your life will be lived to
its fullest, full of light. The memory of pain will still be there, but it will
be in perspective. One day you will be whole again. Until then and for always,
I love you.”
Janet Mullen describes herself as a 'wholistic
therapist'. She writes, “When I meet a
child with a problem, I want to understand as broadly as I can what it’s like
to be that child - what are their thoughts, moods, feelings, what’s happening
with them physically and also spiritually - and all aspects of their outer
world - their home, school and other environments. Then we create a plan which
will release the child’s own resources and ability to heal or overcome the
obstacles creating the problem. The child’s parent is involved in every phase
of the therapy.” Jan sees children, families and adults in her practice and
weaves storytelling in various forms into her work, having seen that stories
appeal directly to the part of our mind which is attuned to emotion and imagery,
and strongly influences our mood and behavior.
Jan graduated from Loyola University of Chicago, School of Social Work, and has
had further training in family therapy and many other modalities. She has
trained in traditional child and family therapy, play therapy, Family
Attachment Narrative Therapy, Internal Family Systems, attachment
interventions, Theraplay and play therapy, EMDR and TFT. Jan is an avid writer
and teller of therapeutic stories and is a member of a local storytelling
guild. She has spoken at the ATTACh conference and Internal Family Systems
conferences. She may also use art, meditation, movement for brain enhancement
and other techniques. She has an extensive background in treating issues
stemming from sexual abuse, complicated divorce and custody, and post-adoption
care. She offers therapy for children and adults and currently works in
Oh, I wish that I could have written several times between my last entry and now. I have had so many discoveries and thoughts over the holidays.
After writing my last entry, I did find some hope in Christmas. I was able to leave my state of depression and look up a little. I have been contemplating my New Year's resolution. Although, it is part of my story over the last couple of weeks (I will write that later), I wanted to sit down and share the simple conclusion I have come to.... this quote from Charles A. Beard:
"When it is dark enough, you can see the stars."
Now, there is nothing too special to me about Charles A. Beard. I had never heard of him before seeing this quote on a Google search for Bible verses about Optimism, but I am sure thankful for his words and that they have been recorded.
I love it!! I think it may become my theme for 2015. Sometimes, we have to go through dark times to have the right perspective of those things we can't normally see... or, at least that is what I hope God allows me to do with me... and you.
Oh, negative thoughts.... let me count your ways. Rake leaves... more leaves fall. Clean the dishes... more get dirty. Do the laundry... it's never ending. Gifts and groceries... need more money. Where there are children... there will be arguments and clutter. Work. Chores. Changes. Demands. Ick!
So is the Christmas message you visited to read? I'm so sure it is...
I don't know what it is. Well, technically, it is Christmas Eve. Despite the calendar, my day has not been covered with holiday cheer.
I frown as I write.
Yesterday, I declared to myself that 2015 is going to be my "year of optimism". And, today, this is where I am at? Really!? No smell of cinnamon or sounds of jingle bells. I'm too exhausted to wrap gifts, get dressed up for the service at church, bake goodies for the family to enjoy or think of what new traditions I could start with my family. I'm discouraged.
Christmas is the time of year that we are supposed to be enthusiastic about the coming of Christ... intentionally celebrate our Savior's birth! God didn't think of this elaborate story so several thousand years later I could be sitting at my computer being defeated by the one who seeks to destroy Him, you and me!
I wish those word could change me... not slay me. Am I not strong enough to defeat the power of depression, disorganization, stress, quilt and sadness? Is it a state of being? Is it a choice? I don't know! I wish I did. I wish this answer would shine as bright as a Christmas tree and as special as a perfectly wrapped gift! I do.
And, this is where I usually like to leave you with an encouraging word! Words of strength and wisdom... if I am honest with myself today, I don't have it in me to give that gift to you this day. I suppose this is a day that I remind you that you are not alone, dear friend. Right or wrong about how we feel, we are not alone.
I suppose I lose so much of the life that God intended me to have because I frown about the little things. The big things, I can't control... most of the time. Abuse? A two year. A ten year old. An eighteen year old has no control over the sin someone else chooses. That is big.
No matter how much I hurt. No matter how many dishes are dirty. No matter how many rooms and cluttered and look nothing like I think Christmas should look. No matter how much I wish I could provide for my husband and kids... emotionally, spiritually and financially. I should deserve to not frown about the little things on Christmas Eve.
After all, I guess it is the little things in life that usually end up making the biggest difference.
I don't even have too much strength to ask God for help today. I may even feel a little guilty asking Him for more on His special day. But, I do know [deep down inside] that the only thing that can possibly change this day for me is that God sends a little star for me to follow out of my sorrow and despair. I only have strength to pray:
Sometimes, it isn't easy to see the positive in much of anything... especially during the holidays. Guilt, anger, regret, fear, anxiety and exhaustion of a weary soul [to name a few] can often be wrapped in everything around you. And, while you are busy keeping everything wrapped up and put together the best you can, you watch others around you celebrate the "it's a wonderful life" version of Christmas.
Well, sometimes it isn't a wonderful life. Everyone has their secrets and struggles, some are just bigger than others. It is OK to know your Christmas looks different. But, also realize that the abuse that happened is in Christmas' past.
So, how do you look at the present? There is a gift that you can allow yourself this year. It will not cost you anything but a little determination, bravery and knowing you are worth every bit of joy you are seeking. Find something that you admire in someone else or something that you find yourself wanting to be or wish that you were.
Begin to celebrate that very thing in yourself and soon, if it isn't that very thing you celebrated that you recognize in yourself, the journey of seeking it will strengthen your weary soul and replace sorrow with celebration.
"my soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word"