learned that I am not alone.
learned that healing the body takes time.
learned that I am the doctor.
learned who were really my friends.
learned that illness gives focus and purpose to life.
learned that the body doesn't lie and it accepts lies as truth.
learned that no matter how spiritual I am hurt does hurt.
learned that healing is a cyclical and lineal process.
learned that I have to honor my body's use of energy.
learned that the metaphor is not just a metaphor (i.e. it was
in my face).
learned that why something happens to us is not as important
as how we deal with what happens to us.
learned that broken-ness is wholeness.
to the top]
Buddha said, "When one is truly ready for something, it puts
in its appearance." I can only say that this wisdom keeps me
getting up in the morning because it speaks to the journey and not
the destination of life. When I was ready for a brain tumor in my
unfolding mystery story, it showed up. The way that I have moved
from surviving this experience to thriving again has been forgiveness.
Thank God, forgiveness was in my personal and professional healing
toolbox before I went into the operating room.
The process of creation and the unfolding of wisdom in our lives
are not lineal journeys that bring us to a concrete destination.
I have found that wisdom or knowledge brings the awareness that
there is more to discover. The movement between the dark and the
light of the Taoist symbol of yin and yang, this never-ending spinning
from consciousness to unconsciousness, is what I experience daily
in my quest for the divine in my life. This humbling, of moving
from the known to the unknown, keeps me in the state of innocence
described in the Christian teachings "that I must be like the
child to enter the kingdom of heaven."
For me to write on forgiveness as a path of peace is to write my
own story. I am unable to separate my self from my beliefs and worldview.
Never is it more profound than when trying to explain my perspective.
It is "in my face." This colloquialism is the metaphor
for my personal healing story and forgiveness process. Writing is
a confrontational experience as I must face my knowing and try to
put words to what I trust is miraculous awe. My perspective can
never be completely yours, nor yours mine. We have all been given
the gift of our own unique point of view. However, there is a place
that we can meet and it is compassion. Witnessing my wounds and
forgiveness as I witness others' shows that we all have the similar
challenges. This ends the separation of us. It can be enriching
with inspiration and instruction. Choosing to move this inspiration
to action becomes our point of empowerment. Courage is our reward.
Courage is not given but earned by our willingness to face our fears
and go beyond them.
In the three years since my own health crisis, life continues to
fill me with awe, wonder, and miracles. My recovery period has been
a very arduous and mourn-filled epoch of my life. Without forgiving
God and myself I would be incapable of functioning within the parameters
of a post-modern society. Without forgiving myself for the damages
to my ego, my beauty, my communication, my facial function, my hearing,
and my short-term memory, I would not have the simple joy of living.
This joy somehow eventually creeps into my heart no matter how difficult
the days became. The light invariably would shine through the darkness
and I would be renewed with hope.
Apparently, it is necessary for me to tell the story of my healing
in order to be free of it. To be free of something, to let it go,
to give it to God, is to forgive it. I must forgive my story now
so that I can begin again. As I finish this cycle of growth, it
is obvious there is a ‘new life’ emerging. There is another
saying in Buddhism that "We must empty the vessel to fill it
up again." Whenever I have needed to let something go, or taught
someone else about letting go, I remind him or her of this simple
Buddhist common sense. And indeed, something else always follows.
The realizations of truth that have come to me usually come this
way; not in the storm of the emotions but sometime later. The wisdom
is through the storm waiting quietly on the other side. These moments
bring me back to the center of my being. The new center of consciousness
is usually larger than the last center because it unites the wisdom
of the past with the new wisdom of the lesson learned. Of course,
my assumption is that the center of my being is my divinely connected
heart. Coming back to this center reminds me that I have survived
something serious. These moments remind me that I have had to recover
my life. I have had to establish a new level of self-confidence.
I have had to rewrite my regulations, rules, and standards for what
qualifies as self-esteem. I have had to learn how to walk, how to
talk, how to listen, how to blink, how to smile, and how to love
myself again. These lessons have not come like lightning but like
the tree in my yard that suddenly is taller than I remember. It
was growing every day, and suddenly, I am aware that change has
Consciously working for change does not make it happen in the moment
that I will it to happen. Magic is much more mysterious than simply
pronouncing it so, and then witnessing it unfold. Time, I have learned,
is the power that gives the most in healing. Time combined with
Love is omnipotent. These qualities partnered give us the courage
to endure. I will get through this healing because I know these
things. I know these virtues because I am a person of faith. I have
wondered often since my brain surgery, What do people without faith
do? How do they endure? I know the only prayer for me when I witness
struggle for others now is "Please show them the way."
Again, and again, and again, and again, I have been shown a good
way. If it has happened for me, it can happen for others. I must
tell my story to show others a good way they also could chose for
we all deserve to have peace.
My courage was profound when I walked into the surgery room at California
Pacific Medical Center in the early morning of September 8, 1998.
At midnight I had stopped having any foods or fluid. At 5:20 am
I walked the Labyrinth out in front of the hospital. My mother sat
on the meditation bench and waited for me as I ceremonially moved
with conscious prayer toward the center of the maze chanting to
myself, I let go of my fear of dying. On the way out of the labyrinth
my prayer was Love is my way. The courage also included profound
ignorance of what I would undergo. I thought I knew about healing
and then I found out there was much more to learn.
In the years since the day of my brain surgery to remove an Acoustic
Neuroma, a benign tumor on the auditory nerve, I have questioned
what God gave me. The proverbial "they say God never gives
us more than we can handle" has been put to the test. It sure
didn’t seem that I could handle my share! I have been humbled
again and again. My intuition was that I would survive the surgery
but possibly not survive the recovery. My intuition was right on.
This prediction gave me some comfort as I was thrown into the deepest
depression I could imagine. I had been pre-warned that it would
be the tough part of the experience. Coupled with the depression
was the physical damage to my body. The ignorance of what I would
need to heal was perhaps a blessing. It was obviously the next step
on my spiritual path or it would not have been what was happening.
I had to persevere. What healing was to come first, I did not know.
My fundamental understanding is that the physical, emotional, mental,
and spiritual are all connected. My recovery then had to happen
as well on all levels.
Love is what got me through, the love of my family, the love of
my friends, the love of my clients, even the love of strangers.
The love of life that lives within me, my eternal faith in something
greater than me, and the presence of love from all of these souls
supported me through such a difficult journey back to balance. I
am not saying the journey is over. I think we are always in healing
whether or not we have a health crisis, illness, or injury in the
body. Life to me in synonymous with the ever-present quest for something
greater. That quest ultimately is love, and yet, it is where we
all originate from to start. This is my assumption and I do not
know how I came to this worldview. It is just how I see life.
The brain surgery story is not where forgiveness begins in my life.
As a child who also experienced sexual abuse the wounds in my life
are very deep. In a therapy session at 29 years old, I remembered
deciding at 7 years old that I could no longer be the person who
had had so many wounds so young. I had as that child intentionally
forgotten much of my story. I disassociated myself from my pain
and memories. It began to come back to me simultaneously as my tumor
symptoms also began to appear. This synchronicity is not mystical.
It is logical and another perfect example of the need to expand
the conceptions of the inter-relationship between the dimensions
of being. There is no need to separate body, emotions, mind, and
soul for they are all ultimately one.
The tumor for me is where I stored those memories, fears, and angers
of my early wounds to my body, heart, and being. It made perfect
sense to store them until later. When they surfaced I had to integrate
their presence into my understanding of me in this world. My first
sexual abuse memory came when I was 27 years old. It was devastation
to the false self that I had built around me to adapt to the world
I lived in. This transformation occurred once I created a family
of friends and a support system that would hold me when my internal
world collapsed. The memories surfaced to conscious awareness when
I was ready, just like the presence of the tumor. When I was ready,
it surfaced to conscious awareness.
The knowledge of the presence of the tumor came at the moment when
I needed a purpose to my life. Every crisis comes in the perfect
moment to serve the process of awakening our spirits to heal more
of the wholeness we have forgotten. The tumor was a symbol for how
much I wanted to change, to heal. The physical symptoms of my tumor
had been present for at least 15 years before a MRI confirmed its
presence in my head. The diagnosis came in the perfect moment to
receive the wisdom and healing for not only myself but also for
my family, friends, and clients. Though it was physically in my
body I learned, only by going through the painful experience of
the diagnosis, surgery, and long recovery, that I was not the only
person who had the brain tumor. I was never alone in the process,
the healing, and the transformation of the pain. Not only was God
my constant companion, so were all of the people in my life. I truly
learned how arrogant it is to say, "I am alone." We are
never alone, ever!
By November of 1997 the dizziness, balance problems walking at night,
the babbling in my sleep, the numb right bottom lip, and the deep
fatigue had escalated. I had noticed maybe 6 months before that
I no longer chewed food on the right side of my mouth. It was just
an observation but no mental light bulb or emotional warning bell
had gone off with the discovery. The most common symptom of my tumor
was someone saying to me, "Sally, you have food on your lip."
I was on my way to Switzerland to work and visit friends. I had
been traveling there since 1995 and looking forward to being with
people that I loved and admired. I stopped in Chicago on my way
to see clients and family. While there I was very triggered regarding
my issues with men and left for Switzerland in a strange mood.
The trip itself was strange. When I landed at Charles Degaull Airport
in Paris I was to layover for 2 hours for a direct plane into Bern.
It is the center of the Swiss government so there is a small airport
that I usually flew into. The Bern airport, however, this morning
was fogged in. I was flown to Zurich and given a train pass to Bern.
The airline announced that a special customer service agent would
be at the gate waiting for all of the passengers that had been rerouted.
Because I was the last off the plane, the person with a broken leg
ahead of me slowed my departure; I missed the group going to the
train station. Cross Air then did not know who was supposed to help
me. Needless to say, I was very tired by the time I was on the train
headed to Bern. I had been traveling all night. I was emotionally
hung-over. Still, with all the chaos, I knew something new was being
During that week I had a dream: My soul mate was with me standing
in the doorway to a blues club in Chicago. He was standing right
behind me with his chin resting on the top of my head. We were looking
for my sister whom we were to meet at the club. When I awoke I had
the sense that I would meet a man very soon. That very week in Bern
I became involved with a client I had done phone work with and within
days we were together. He proposed almost immediately sweeping me
off my feet in the most romantic tale ever....dancing me in the
moonlight under a canopy of trees in the castle gardens at Lake
Thun, ahhh!…or so I thought in the moment. During that same
time, I damaged the cornea in my right eye. It was quite painful
and it triggered some deep healing on the issues with men in my
life. It all seemed perfect and in divine order.
When I returned to Chicago to spend Christmas with my family, I
was quite in love and very ungrounded, to say the least. My sister
was now concerned and insistent that my numb lip should not be ignored.
I ignored it anyway and went on with my plans to move to Zurich
and be with Lukas for the rest of my life. As with most passionate
encounters, this fire did not have adequate fuel to keep it going.
By April the relationship came to a very painful crash-and-burn
kind of ending. Being the eternal optimist and the woman who bought
all the lines, I was convinced that if I just kept being the good
girl, Lukas would come around. By the end of June, I left Switzerland
It was now July 1998 and my sister Karen insisted that I had to
see her friend because of my emotional state and a neurologist
because of my numb lip. Thank God for my sister Karen! She connected
me with a woman in Chicago who was a psychotherapist in private
practice and who also worked at Northwestern University Hospital.
Cathy was impressed with my professional practice as a healer and
wanted to do trade work. Her feeling was that God had sent me as
her next teacher. Cathy was ready to embrace a deeper understanding
of her faith and take her traditional psychotherapy practice to
a more spiritual dimension and our connection was another miracle
on my healing path.
My days began with tears about Lukas. My days ended with tears about
Lukas. I was working on a manuscript for a book called The 44 Faces
of God. My Chicago-land clients didn’t know I was there and
I could not get myself organized to tell them. My parents moved
July 10th so I became their personal assistant. They lived about
2 hours from the Chicago Loop in a rural area. I was driving back
and forth from the city to the country. Another miracle manifested
for this to happen by my Uncle giving me a car to drive while I
was home. His rental fee was that I came to visit him, which of
course I obliged. We were taking care of each other in the ways
that we could. The neurologist that I decided to see was a small
town doctor in the area that my parents had just bought their retirement
duplex. Angela was another one of those angels along the way. She
gave me the standard tests, had me stand on one foot at a time,
walk a straight line, checked to see if both eyes tracked together,
and prescribed an MRI ‘just to rule out’ anything major.
It was already the 12th of August before I had the MRI scheduled.
I had explained to Angela that the symptoms had come and gone for
years. I was absolutely convinced they were psychosomatic. It was
the trauma of the break-up and I was going to be fine. After seeing
Angela the first time, over the following weekend, I traveled to
Dore County Wisconsin to perform a wedding that had been scheduled
for a year for Chicago clients. It was a very large affair with
200 guests and an emotional challenge to facilitate after my recent
Lukas incident. The day before the MRI I even bought a plane ticket
to attend another wedding of a good friend in Cape Cod in early
September. I was acting ‘as if’, as they say in Alcoholic’s
Anonymous. I was just depressed and despondent over my heartbreak,
but someday I would recover. Since my heart has been broken before,
my healing affirmation was: My heart is bigger. Breaking it means
my heart is now open, larger, and has even more space to love and
By that time Cathy and I had done several therapy sessions and I
was getting myself back together. I had managed after the very first
session in July to produce a mailing to my mid-western clients that
I was in Illinois and available for healing appointments. I designed,
printed, produced labels, stamped, and mailed about 220 post cards
in approximately 24 hours after my first appointment with Cathy.
I arranged with my best friend from college, Jane, to use her psychotherapy
office in downtown Chicago. I was feeling better though my sister
reminded me recently that I was not eating a lot at that time. I
do not remember this detail at all. I knew my clothes were fitting
well but not aware that my appetite was diminished enough for her
to remember this fact years later.
The day of the MRI, I was in the country again. The test was done
in Peru, Illinois, and the town next to where my parents now lived.
The small town hospital had a traveling MRI unit that made the rounds
of local hospitals in central Illinois. My appointment was a week
after Angela had first examined me. My parents and I decided that
after the test we would road trip to my older sister’s in Bettendorf,
Iowa for dinner. We planned a shopping trip as well to find a dress
for the black tie wedding that I was going to attend on the East
Coast. We were all continuing to be brave and act as if there was
no problem. Bettendorf is just 1.5 hours away, and it seemed to
be a good distraction.
When I lay down and my body was slid into the tight tube of the
MRI machine, immediately I began to feel panicked. I had been told
it was claustrophobic, but I was not prepared for the sense of compression
that went to the core of my being. Immediately I began to pray and
talk to my spirit guides. I began to take controlled breathes in
through my nose and out though my mouth. This focused breathing
is what I use in my rebirthing work and teach in my meditation classes.
I called out mentally to my alchemist guide, Wu Lon, who helps me
with healing others and myself. I practiced my deep breathing to
calm down. Quickly, Wu Lon came into my present vision and showed
me a future vision.
The future vision was: I am wearing a green hospital gown, laying
on my left side and having the hair on the right side of the back
of my head shaved off. Wu Lon explained that the MRI would show
a growth in my head, that I was to go back to California to have
surgery, and that I was going to be fine. Well, I was not so fine
in that moment! I was clear that I would not be able to stay in
this noisy, painfully loud, test for 45 more minutes if I was in
a panic attack. This is the kind of news that can be disturbing
at a minimum. I knew it was not just my fantasy and imagination
going wild. I told Wu Lon that he had better show me what happens
after the surgery or I would not stay in the machine. The technicians
had already told me that they would take me out of the MRI machine
if I freaked out. The next picture that came into my vision calmed
my spirit: I am very pregnant on a beach in a floral dress with
red, pink, and fuchsia flowers looking at the ocean with my hair
being blown by the breeze. A man comes up from behind me and puts
his arms around my big belly. It is the heart of all of my dreams,
my own family.
Surprisingly, after Wu Lon presented me with these insights, I relaxed
totally. The rest of the noisy, disturbing, MRI went very quickly.
The first moments had seemed like hours and the last half-hour seemed
like moments. When I saw my Mom in the hospital waiting room, I
said nothing about my visions. We went to the mall and she bought
me a lovely black beaded gown to wear at the wedding. The dinner
at my sister’s house was delightful but with an undercurrent
of fear from all of us. The optimism was harder for me to hold,
or actually the denial was harder to be in, as the evening progressed.
That night while at my sister’s, Angela left a message for
me to call her in the morning regarding the results of my MRI. By
the sound of Angela’s voice, we all knew the results were not
good. At 5:30 am on August 13, my parents, already up and about
having coffee, awakened me. They were supposed to travel to Madison,
Wisconsin, that day for their own doctor’s appointments. My
mother had recovered from bladder cancer two years earlier. My father
had a heart attack the year before. I insisted that they go on to
their appointments. They did not want to, but I assured them that
if there was something wrong it would not have to be solved that
morning. I needed them to just go on with the day that they had
planned. Their doctor’s appointments were difficult to schedule.
It was important to me that they took care of their own needs, especially,
if I might need them to go to California with me soon.
At 8 am they had left the house and I sat down to meditate. Once
again Wu Lon came into my vision and repeated the information that
he had shared the day before. He also instructed me not to return
Angela’s call till 9 am and to remain in prayer and meditation
until that time. Exactly at 9 am the phone rang and it was Angela.
She was not happy that I was without transportation to come into
her office right away. Angela did not want to tell me the results
of the MRI over the phone, but I insisted, and she obliged. "Yes,"
she said, "there is a growth on your auditory nerve."
It was like being suspended in a dream and yet being very centered
at the same time.
Angela arranged for her nurse to come and pick me up so that we
could review the results together. I hung up with her and immediately
went into total fear. I called my sister Karen to tell her the news
and burst into tears as I relayed Angela’s diagnosis. The emotional
waves were intense and yet my mind seemed to be crystal clear. Karen
told me she loved me and that we would get through this together.
I had to suddenly go to the bathroom. The toilet has always been
a great spot for me to talk to God. I had my first real conversation
with God regarding this situation right at that moment.
It was necessary for me to take an inventory. I reviewed my life
have adventured, discovered, and explored as much of the world
as I have been able.
have been in service to many, many, people in many places who
are seeking a better way to live.
have created by poetry, art, imagination, and writing, gifts
that I have brought to life.
have loved, been loved, and participated in life with many of
presence and influence had been experienced and felt by others.
had forgiven my family, my sexual assailants, and those who
scarred me in such deep and profound ways.
had been a model to others and myself to trust in the Divine.
taught A Course in Miracles to the best of my ability, understanding
that always being a student kept me humble, honest, and open
to chose love over fear as often as possible.
believed the Course's teaching, "Love created me like Itself."
had been able to let go of material wealth as my comfort and
11. Safety was in my relationship to God.
it occurred to me (please remember I am still sitting on the toilet)
that I had still not created my own husband, children, and therefore,
my own family. So, I let God know in prayer that there was no possible
way I done with my life as Sally Aderton. I had to live!
Calmly, I explained to God that I was a free agent working on God’s
behalf in a world that was desperate for value. I explained to God
that because I was an independent working without specific doctrines
except "love is the way" that I was needed on the planet
more than in spirit. Since my greatest dream had not been realized,
I intended to get through this challenge to experience my own heart’s
desire. Now, I was by myself, at my folks, in the middle of cornfields,
in the middle of Illinois, in the middle of the United States, in
the middle of summer, in the mists of a crisis, however, I never
once felt alone. I knew that I was going to be all right no matter
what happened. What I did not know is how hard it was going to be
to heal myself.
The phone was ringing so I finished my business in the bathroom
and went to answer it. Angela was calling back to tell me she was
on her way to fetch me. Her 10 am appointment was a no-show. Angela
decided to pick me up herself and go to the hospital to get the
MRI films and report. This is not the kind of behavior of a neurologist
that I would expect; it was above the call of duty. Angela was acting
out of kindness, generosity, and compassion. She had called a neurosurgeon
who rotated through the small towns in the area and who "happened"
to be in Peru that day. He could see us after 11 am. Wow! That to
me is another miracle in the story. These are the proofs I need
that there is a divine plan in action. We are not victims to life;
when we are in the flow, it is so obvious it is hard to not be in
gratitude. I was even smiling when I got off the phone knowing the
Angel Angela was on her way to carry me into the next scene of this
The neurosurgeon was quite casual about the whole thing. He told
me it was probably benign, it had been in my head a very long time,
and I could go to Cape Cod. The surgery could wait till my schedule
was free. It was "elective" so I should go to California
to have it done where my insurance would better cover the costs.
My anxiety and fears were beginning again. I could feel the heaviness
of the situation begin to grow. It was like walking through deep
water with all my clothes on, but Angela was right there with me
the whole time. Angela then took me to a Bagel shop for coffee and
comfort and we talked about my options for healing. She was in favor
of me returning to California but felt that it was important to
get different opinions. This included my general practitioner Dr.
Lockyer’s opinion, before making any decisions.
When Angela dropped me off at my folks, I immediately called Switzerland.
Lukas had known that I was having the MRI and wanted to know the
results. I reached him at home since there was a 9-hour time difference
and for him it was nearing 10 PM. Lukas’s first response to
my news was "I am reminded of Stuart." How amazing: my
latest heart breaker, Lukas, bringing to my attention, my first
heart breaker, Stuart. Stuart was my first love who died of a brain
tumor when I was 28 years old. Wow, again! Lukas had said to me
that I was not capable of loving him because of my fears around
losing someone. For him my behavior was too controlling because
of my fear that every man would leave. Of course, the fear came
from my direct experience of my first love Stuart who did leave,
Here forgiveness of what has been creates another way to my self-healing.
I had tried for years since Stuart’s death to enter healthy
love relationships with men. They never worked. Now, Lukas was pointing
out one of the obvious reasons why. Though I had addressed these
issues many times in therapy, never did the therapy impact me in
the way Lukas’s words did that day. The diagnosis of the tumor,
the epiphany of having my dream-come-true vision during the MRI
exam, and the wisdom of my fear, the men I love leave me, all collided
together in that conversation. This is the way consciousness evolves.
It is truly the ongoing journey and not the arrival at a destination
where the story of our lives are written. The destination is not
even our death when one believes as I do in reincarnation. I believe
that God knew about recycling before the invention of newspapers,
aluminum cans, and plastic. Lukas and my brain surgery were already
serving the purpose of creating the changes in me by showing me
what I needed to forgive to be that woman on the beach barefoot,
pregnant, and partnered.
From the moment of the diagnosis, I was forced to make decisions
and choices to change my life to save my life. I came back to California.
My family came to California. Letters were sent to 1200 people in
the United States and 200 people in Europe to pray for me during
the surgery. Apple computer donated a laptop computer for me to
use. Miracles happened and are still happening everyday. The only
way for these miracles to occur has been for me to trust, to stay
in faith, and to change. I could no longer live the same life. Although
I have greatly mourned its passing, I also know that it is the only
way for me to survive. Survival, however, is not enough; I want
The deepest wound was to my confidence in my Self. I still trusted
God, but I no longer trusted my body or my choices. I needed a reason
to get up in the morning. I chose graduate school to be that reason
and it worked! Now, I want to live love even more fully than BBS,
Before Brain Surgery. Like I said before, I want to thrive! In this
epoch that is now dubbed ABS, After Brain Surgery, I have truly
been reborn. My first waking thought in the Intensive Care Unit
was powerful: I have this body to teach people about God! This first
imprint into my mind, after a 12-hour operation, violently sick
from morphine, and physical pain, which I hope never to experience
again, was about my life purpose. I have no doubt why I am alive.
I have no doubt that each one of us is here on this planet for our
own unique reason. God has given us all lives to love and be loved
or we would not be.
In the recovery of my smile, literally and figuratively, I have
used the principles of my own 5 Steps of Forgiveness which I began
teaching in my healing practice in 1995. Ownership, Empathy, Release,
Understanding and Change are the steps to freedom from pain. I have
walked my own talk! This outlined path brought authentic forgiveness
and resurrection. I had to own my shame, my hatred, my ignorance,
my blame, my arrogance, my anger, my victimization, my hopelessness,
my sorrow, my judgement, and mostly, my humanity. I believe that
I am well because I faced myself and fell in love with myself by
seeing again that innocent child of God.
The most difficult part of my forgiveness has been to myself that
I came out of the brain surgery with a new face. The 7th cranial
facial nerve became the major focus of trauma physically and metaphorically.
The miracle of my nerve regeneration is the power of faith in action.
It was the same nerve that had caused my lip to numb as the tumor
grew the nerve was stretched. When the tumor was removed, the nerve
died. When I woke from the surgery the right side of my face was
totally frozen, my hearing was gone, but I was alive.
One year after the surgery I still had only 3% of function to motivate
the right side of my face. A respected doctor at Stanford told me,
"Sally you will NEVER have any function on your face."
I realized that he did not have the power to heal me nor was I willing
to take on his diagnosis as my truth. In my meditation that evening
I heard God tell me specific things I needed to do if I wanted my
face to function again. I had already been giving myself daily acupuncture
sessions but there was more commitment necessary. Following my guidance,
being courageous, and the blessing of tenacity have brought the
nerve back to life. I am receiving the best benefit possible as
my face changes. I am smiling again inside and out!
Thank God I am never alone. Thank God love is real, available, and
now in each day. Thank God when the pain comes I know that there
is more to forgive which lightens the burdens of being alive on
planet Earth. Thank God I am able to speak my truth. Thank God I
have the ability to embrace my humanity. Thank God I have a job
to do. Thank God I am willing to do it. Thank God that there are
those who want to listen to my story. Thank God there are those
who show me ways to heal myself. Thank God that it is possible to
be reborn. Thank God that we are all given the same gifts of love
and free will. Thank God that by changing ourselves we do change
the world. Thank God I am facing the future again with hope as the
story continues forever. Thank God eternity is a very, very long
time to love and be loved. Thank God for miracles. Thank God I am
headed to that beach for it will happen when I am truly ready.
when I was 14 years old I attended my first personal growth workshop
called "Micro-cosm". My progressive Methodist minister
used it as the basis for our confirmation class. The first exercise
was to write a story about a bird. I still remember my story:
There was a bird which lived in a cage in a pet store window.
She would not sing. Every day a little boy came by the window
and talked to the bird. One day he came inside, bought the bird,
and took her home. When he let the bird out of her cage, she began
to sing the most beautiful song. I am that bird of course. I am
out of my cage and here is my song....
the past 16 years I have been working as a non-denominational
spiritual teacher and healer. The numerous tools in my tool bag
are supplemented by an accumulation of a lifetime of spiritual
seeking mixed with my well-developed intuition. I am a medium.
I am clairvoyant, clairaudient, clairsentient, and a knowing sensitive.
I am a rebirther, Reiki Master, and facilitator of past life and
inner child regressions. I teach intuitive development, personal
power, and meditation based on creative visualizations. I have
helped thousands in the United States and abroad on the path to
enlightenment. My best work is with a box of Kleenex; it’s
my most powerful tool. Tears flow as the result of the deepest
compassion and love in my heart when someone heals with joy or
The dance of my life is about making magic. Through process work,
counseling, and play, I have been a catalyst for others seeking
to understand the ‘why’s’ of their lives. This
part I have played in the cosmic drama has come from my own investigation
of my own ‘why’s.’ I have found the answers are
most profound when they are sourced from within. Forgiveness is
a constant theme in my healing practice and I have developed a
process that I call "The Five Steps of Forgiveness."
I believe as Desmond Tutu says, "Without forgiveness these
is no future." Not only do my clients and I discover together
the nature of their problems, we discover their solutions.
People have always been my interest and curiosity, especially,
in relationship to self-esteem and self-actualization. I moved
to California in 1983 after receiving my undergraduate degree
in Anthropology with minors in Women’s Studies and Sociology.
My logical intention was to continue with my Anthropology studies
at Berkeley. At that time women’s concepts of personal power
in modern culture would have been my focus. My intuitive intention
was to follow my heart. I knew my destiny was in San Francisco
from a vision I had at Fisherman’s Wharf the summer of 1975.
Once here, then Life showed me a very indirect path to Graduate
The Buddha said, "when the student is ready the teacher appears."
I have always seen and recognized my teachers. The quotation can
also be changed to "when the teacher is ready, the students
appear." I have always felt the best teachers are those that
never stop being students. In September of 1998 I had an Acoustic
Neuroma tumor removed from my head. The brain tumor has been the
greatest teacher yet for me about the ways of healing. When we
think we know something we get an opportunity to find out if we
do. My practice still continues, however, I am inspired to learn
more ways to teach social justice, personal empowerment, and creating
When my life was threatened by the surgery and during the subsequent
recovery, my full tilt boogie pace came to a fast stop. I had
always been in healing but physical illness was very different.
My compassion has grown 10,000 fold for those physically challenged.
In my holding and caring for my body, and child-of-wonder within,
I remembered that I moved to California 18 years ago to go to
Graduate School. I think the brakes came on to finally do it.
Since I am also a party to evolution, instead of Berkeley a more
appropriate school was in my path.
May I graduated from The University of Creation Spirituality/Naropa
University with a Master of Liberal Arts Degree in Creation Spirituality.
This program was my medicine. UCS/Naropa connected me again with
my vision, my talent, my hope, and my passion for transformation.
My belief is the same as what Gloria Steinham talked about in
Revolution from Within, that the revolution begins with each one
of us. I needed to be in a structured system, which supported
and inspired my spiritual teaching, to know I could function in
the world again. I have had to practice what I preach. I believe
that it has substantiated my theories; as only living them can.
Though most of the students come to UCS/Naropa because of Matthew
Fox, he was not my reason to be there. Though I deeply appreciate
his work, his vision, and the wonderful program that he directs,
I was there to be in an environment that was of like mind while
I healed. Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry’s book The Universe
Story was the great love affair of my Master’s program. It
was my favorite book, and continues to be my favorite, that I
have read in the past 2 years. I studied anthropology as an undergraduate
there were not cosmologists...now I understand that I am one!
My spiritual path began as I mentioned with being raised Methodist.
Even today I still belong to Glide Memorial Methodist Church in
San Francisco. However, the reality of my spiritual truth is the
tradition is not what makes us spiritual. It is not the ritual
that makes us spiritual. It is not whom we know or whom we serve
that makes us spiritual. It is not how we pray or meditate that
makes us spiritual. The only thing that makes us spiritual is
our relationship to God and that relationship is between the individual
For me it is easier to use the word God because it is what I was
raised with. I could also use a variety of other words that mean
the same thing to me: love, Divine Intelligence, All-That-Is,
the Source, the Force, Universe, Fred, The Creator, My Creator,
Goddess, the Great Mystery.... In its essence is its knowing,
and in its knowing is truth, and in its truth there is simply
is-ness. God really just is. I defined God as such before I learned
in my Master’s program that Meister Eckhart said the same
thing! Sweat lodges to me are as wonderful cathedrals. Rock music
is as wonderfilled as silence. New York City, or small town USA,
are sacred sites to me as much as Sedona, Arizona or Glastonbury,
England. I find God in buildings as I find God in the trees. Nature
to me, like God, is everywhere all the time. I do not need to
go to a vortex. I am a vortex.
I will pray anywhere at any time with anyone. I learned an important
lesson at a meditation retreat with the Dalai Lama in France in
1997. The Dalai Lama said, "You must first study the tradition
you were born into before you seek elsewhere to find your God.
We must know what we are rejecting." This fueled my passion
to teach forgiveness from the same perspective, knowing what we
are letting go. The title of my Master’s Thesis is "Forgiveness:
A Path of Peace." At this retreat, organized by the Karma
Ling Dharma Center, there were 4 days of Buddhist teaching followed
by a day of prayer facilitated by representatives from 13 religious
traditions from all around the world. This day was my dream come
true. For me, as I said, God just is. People are the ones that
separate, categorize, create hierarchy, and measure what has no
measure, limit, or definition. What a beautiful moment of claiming
all ways to God as good.
I had to choose turning points of my spiritual path it would be
a challenge. My mother says what I am doing now is nothing different
than what I have been doing all my life. I really taught my first
self-development workshop in high school. As a senior I was the
student council district president of the state student council
organization with 44 schools in my district. To attend the annual
convention in Chicago I had to contribute. I chose to lead a discussion
group and was very excited when I was selected to do so by the
state board. When I got to the convention and looked in the program
to find my time slot, reading the roster was a clue to what I
am doing today. There, listed with topics like: "Fundraising
Tips", "Updating Your Constitution", "Homecoming
Themes", was my discussion group...."You: Where It All
My discussion group included a guided meditation, communication
exercises, and creating a symbolic shield drawing. After the group,
one of the high school students was putting her shoes on and asked
me, "Sally, what are you going to study in college?"
I replied that I didn’t know. Her response was, "You
should do this...you’re good at it!" The road of life
is not a straight path. It took me several years and thousands
of miles to live my purpose. I proud to know that 18 year-old
is inside of me and carried me forward to 40. I love opening up
others to the possibilities within. I am committed to helping
others do what they love too. This world would be such a different
place if we just instituted this one change!
In the years between undergraduate school and when I began working
as a healer full time with no other income source, I worked as
a Realtor. Even in this occupation my spiritual teacher was present
as my boss and mentor. This is a part of what I think is the key
to understanding the mystery of life...there is no separation
on any level other than by perception. Real estate was just another
way for me to be in service. I wish we all realized that was the
bottom line behind all job descriptions. Again, a change in perception
that would revolutionize the world!
I left my real estate practice in 1990 it was after the Universe
had given me a coming out party and shown me my destiny. I was
a speaker at the 2nd World Congress of Healers for Peace. Though
I had just been teaching small intuitive development circles in
San Francisco, somehow (hah) I was invited to be one of 66 speakers
from all over the planet that gathered at Waikato University in
Hamiltion, New Zealand. It was impossible to go back to my old
life after this experience. Just like I can not go back to traipsing
around the planet as the wandering mystic after my brain surgery.
The call to change comes in many forms. Sometimes they are hard,
sometimes fun, and sometimes frightening, but always change is
The greatest thing I have learned in this time is that I have
never been with out love, support, and the care of my family,
friends, and clients, worldwide. Our presence in life is the most
infinitely valuable thing we have. I may not have much material
wealth but I know what I have acquired that is far more valuable
to me, my intimacy with others. I have invested in relationships
with time, attention, and the greatest gift of my participation
in life with them. Brain surgery rocked my universe and slowly,
with the help of my treasured circle, I returned to my right rhythm.
I am blessed, grateful, and thriving again.
after I attended a Science and Spirituality conference hosted
by UCS/Naropa in August of 2000, featuring Brian Swimme and Matt
Fox, I received a book in the mail from Fred Frohock, Ph.D. Fred
is a public policy expert who had just published another book,
called The Lives of Psychics: The Shared Worlds of Science and
Mysticism. This was serendipity. I am featured on pages 204-207.
I am mending the separation everyday by just being. My Master’s
affirmed my Mystic now I want my writings to affirm my Scientist!
My own healing, though I can tell stories of many whom I have
served, has been the most awe-filled affirmation of faith that
I could imagine. My life has been incredibly rich. When I woke
up in ICU my first lucid thought was, "I have this body to
teach people about God." Sometimes I am uncertain of ‘how?’
I am going to do God’s work. Yet, I know that I will always
be shown a good way. My ‘why?’ has been clearly answered.
Through my intellect, my intuition, my creativity, and my courage,
I will figure out the how?, what?, when?, and where?! Trust in
the Great Mystery is all I really need.