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Like so many others, I have experienced my share of hurt, pain, heartache, struggle and confusion in life -

and, like so many others, these painful and traumatic experiences became internalized, influencing my beliefs, ideas, and feelings about myself. Feeling shame, guilt, and alone in my suffering, I tried to bury it all deep down and keep it hidden away from the world. I built defenses and walls in an attempt to protect my fears, vulnerabilities, and insecurities.  

This approach “worked” for many, many years.

By all outward comparisons, I have had an extremely happy and successful life. I have a big, beautiful, supportive, and lively immediate and extended family. I am happily married to the love of my life and together we have raised a blended family of four children. I am the mother of two beautiful, smart, witty, talented sons of my own and step-mother to my husbands son and daughter.  We live on 30 of nature’s finest acres, in what I consider to be my dream home. I have owned and operated my own commercial flooring business for over 16 years and consider myself as having led an amazing career in the corporate industry. “Life is Good” has always been a favorite saying of mine.

However, in my early 40’s, a shift began to occur in my life. I began to suffer from severe vertigo attacks, leaving me bedridden and unable to move for days at a time. These incapacitating attacks were accompanied by hearing loss in my right ear. I was diagnosed with Meniers Disease and entered into what ended up being a 2-year battle that took a heavy toll on my physical, mental and emotional well-being. In this midst of suffering from this debilitating disease, personal and relationship struggles began to unfold, and several painful life experiences occurred. Every ounce of heartache and confusion from my past resurfaced as current events triggered my old wounds and buried beliefs. Suddenly, I found myself, and my life, completely undone.

Though I have always been a spiritual person of deep faith, I was feeling an overwhelming sense of disconnect from life as a whole.

I was in the middle of an existential crisis - and I began searching for answers to all of life’s big questions: Who am I (really)? What is the meaning of my suffering and pain? What is my purpose in life?

My search for answers catapulted me into an intense, personal process of self-healing and discovery. I enrolled  into a SoulArts program with Ronda LaRue, where I learned the art of alchemically transforming life conditions, wounds, fears and stories into a soulful adventure. I brought curiosity, creativity, play and spontaneity back into my life. I re-membered that which was Truth and slowly let go of the false beliefs and masks that I had been wearing. I dove deep into the pool of dreamwork, ancient healing practices and energy medicine. In all, I began to experience an entirely new level of connection to God (Source, Divine, Spirit, Creator) and find a renewed appreciation for the Mystery of Life and living authentically. I emerged from this depth process physically healthy, emotionally integrated and balanced, with a strong spiritual calling to be of service to others, and with the understanding that to give from that place of woundedness is the greatest healing of all.

 
To become healed is to become the healer - bringing the beauty and meaning you found into the world.
— Alberto Villoldo
 

I now consider the time of crisis that I endured (as well as all of the painful and traumatic experiences encountered throughout my life) to be a “rite of passage,” a necessary time (or moment) in my life that helped me to gain the knowledge and experience needed to help others through their own physical illness and emotional, spiritual or psychological crisis. This doesn't mean that my wounds do not still exist. They are all still a part of my past, my history; but my relationship with them has changed. They no longer define me. They have been brought to the light for healing, accepted for what they offer, and allowed to be transformed into a gift that can be used for others.

The founding of Opening Hearts is my way of stepping in to the next chapter of my life, honoring that which is being revealed to me, and following my unfolding life path.

As one who has suffered from personal tragedy, trauma and physical disease, disciplined myself to heal and recover, and then dedicated myself to discovering and learning healing skills, I have a lot to offer. Because I have been forged in the fire of my own experiences (because I have personally been there), I am able to offer you genuine understanding, love, compassion, encouragement and support. Because I have found my way out, I can also help you open the door to healing, freedom, and new possibilities.

Healing can happen. It begins with the opening of the heart.

Just the fact that you are here, now ... curiously seeking … brings you one step closer. Listen closely. Can you hear your heart calling? Can you hear that gentle voice beckoning you forward? Will you heed the call?

In humble gratitude and service,

 

Kaleidoscope

A bright, white light casts itself
onto the path that leads into the darkness
The unknown
A strand of coral and amber
lies covering the heart
A kaleidoscope of shadows
plays just beyond the thin, black veil
of separation
constantly teasing the understanding
of the mind
Eyes remain closed in fear
Guided only by the sound of the fierce voice
beckoning me forward
One blind step
One blind step
A testament of love
An opening of faith
The unknown becomes known
and Grace surrounds

© Amy Barkley