About Susanne

I am a 45 year old married woman who is a survivor of child abuse, addiction and low self-esteem. I hid it well and battled it privately. I spent 10 years reading self-help books, watching videos, going to therapy and seminars, and as I healed, I was able to guide my friends through their own healing journey. I have been compelled to start this blog in the hope that, if you are reading it, you are looking for answers I may be able to provide, guidance on how to walk through the spiritual quest we call healing.

Live the Life You were Meant to Live

It’s been an insane year, in a good way! Book published, workshops, caregiving and bringing my business back on an even keel. So I’ve been dormant on my blog and want you to know I am moving to more normal time-line postings!.

This post was written on February 24, 2015

I’ve really been struggling with my depression recently.  It seems to take more and more of my emotional energy to get through the day, so by the time I get home, I am emotionally drained and don’t have the energy to be happy. Tears seem to be always threatening, and there’s a heavy pain in my heart that doesn’t go away.

I.   Just.   Don’t.   Care.

I’m not suicidal (I’m much too interested in what’s going to happen next), but I am feeling that my life is pointless.

I was talking to a friend today. Her daughter wants to be a writer, and is attending Tulane University in Louisiana. She is studying creative writing, and her mother encourages her.  But her father, more practical (Like you, my friend says, pointing to me), thinks she needs to get a degree in a field where she can make a living.

It’s a reasonable thought.  Engineers, scientists, lawyers, doctors make more money than writers, unless they are Ann Rice, J.K. Rowling, or Stephen King.  For me to make the same money I do selling insurance, I’d have to sell 10,000 books….a year!….just to equal that. At this moment that seems a bit daunting.

It’s funny, my friend sees me as practical.  I have learned to be practical, but it’s broken my heart in the process.

You see, I listened to my father, and I got a business degree.  I don’t regret the business degree in that I met my beloved husband Ernie at Pepperdine, and it has helped me with my insurance agency….but it’s not what I dreamed of.  My dream was to go to Columbia and study writing.  I wasn’t strong enough emotionally, nor did I have the backing of a parent telling me to chase my dreams, and my parents made too much money to get any kinds of grants or scholarships, so I took the money path.

After all, in my childhood, money was our family’s god, our idol.  I’ve written about my father’s insane chase of money, and how it in the end destroyed him and our family.  In the end he was abused by a woman who wanted his money and married him when she thought he was dying.  She took everything and he missed living life.  The last words he ever spoke to me was “I regret my life.”  He spent his life craving money yet left it to a stranger.

So I’m a little warped by money.  I make good money, but I’ve created a golden trap for myself.  There are bills to pay, mortgage payments, vacations I like to take.

I want to run away and join the circus, but the reality is I can’t. Or at least, I have chosen not to. (See how we speak to ourselves?)  I have married a man with tap roots deeply entrenched in the soil, and he wants to stay put.  I want to stay with him, so I am tethered by a love-chain to the ground when I want to fly.

This is the kind of typewriter I used to write my first novel when I was 14.  Image courtesy of Just2shutter at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is the kind of typewriter I used to write my first novel when I was 14. Image courtesy of Just2shutter at FreeDigitalPhotos.net









Since I was in elementary school I have wanted to be a writer. I devoured books, and loved to escape into different worlds. It made childhood easier.  I wanted to create those magical worlds myself, and scribbled furiously on my novel while driving around the country in our camping trips.  Being a writer seemed to be the noblest calling I could think of. Writing allowed me to vent onto the pages what I was unable to verbalize in my family. But I didn’t. I chose the safe path, the predictable path, and it has crushed my soul. I love my Ernie, but I yearn for the gypsy wanderlust life.

Ernie is good for my soul. He lets me be me.

Ernie is good for my soul. He lets me be me.

I tell my friend to let her daughter take the creative path.  Don’t smother her daughter’s soul in business, or engineering, or law, if her heart is not in it.  That’s a deadly trap that takes 40 years to kill you.  Maybe she won’t make as much money as she could being a professional, but hopefully she will be happier.

And in the end, isn’t happiness what we are all really chasing?

Now it’s Your Turn! Tell us how you find happiness.


Khalil Gibran and Healing

Khalil GibranOut of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. —- Khalil Gibran

I have always resonated with Khalil Gibran’s words. This quote helps me get through the darkest days that I have while I continue to heal and forgive.

Most days I am happy; I have learned to forgive those who have harmed me, whether physically or emotionally.  By forgiving them I do not condone their actions, but I allow it to not affect me as much.  I have found it is impossible to hate or be angry with someone you have forgiven. Forgiveness allows the light of happiness to enter your soul.

Just because I am mostly happy, this doesn’t mean the wounds are not there, and that my soul is not pock-marked with scars like the moon is.  I’ve weathered too many emotional meteor showers for my soul’s skin to be smooth and glossy. But like the moon, I reflect the light of the healing. There is the dark side of my moon, the side very few people see when they look at my smiling face. That is a big reason why I started writing this blog — to share the dark side so others could realize that even someone who seemingly ‘has it all’….a great marriage, owns a business, owns a home, has lots of friends —- can be silently struggling behind the smiling face and big smile.

Going into nature helps me heal. www.HealingJourneyBlog.com

Going into nature helps me heal. www.HealingJourneyBlog.com

I seem to write best at 3 to 4 AM. Perhaps my ego is still sleeping and the words can flow out of me faster and easier than when I sit down at an appointed time to write.

I write because I must.  I write to be a witness to life.  I write to help you with your journey.  I am always hopeful that my words help you overcome your own struggles, give you courage to explore the dark places, allow you to cry, to grieve, to mend.

You are stronger than you think you are.  Your soul may be seared with scars as the amazing Khalil Gibran says.

Much like these Pioneer Trail ruts are still here, my scars will always be there. But as with this field, beauty can cover the scars

Much like these Pioneer Trail ruts that were created over 100 years ago are still here, my scars will always be there. But as with this field, beauty can cover the scars

I will never be a woman who was not emotionally and physically abused by both her mother and her father.  I will never be someone who had a happy childhood. I will never be a child who wasn’t afraid and did her best to be good, fit in, and be invisible.  The things that happened to me are a part of my history and will always taint my perspective. But I have learned to remove some of the filters my family placed upon my vision and see life as the wondrous and beautiful thing it is.

I have been reading a book by Cheryl Richardson The Unmistakable Touch of Grace. Just as I am writing this I realize that Grace is what led me to Khalil Gibran. I was given a wedding planning book and in the suggestions for vows was a passage from Khalil Gibran’s book The Prophet on marriage. I immediately read The Prophet and was profoundly affected by this book.  Khalil Gibran’s words have always helped me. Now it’s Your Turn! Tell me how Khalil Gibran’s words resonate with you.

Essential oils and Pets

I am training my dog Molly to be able to travel with me amongst large groups of people, and part of her training is getting her used to the noise, stress and confusion  large events essentially create.

Molly dog

Molly dog







To this end I took her to the San Diego Pet Expo, held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, CA.  I forgot to take either a stroller or her front-backpack with me (I’m learning as we go too!) and ended up carrying her quite a bit as the room was crowded, and with Molly being black and small, she is not easy to see, and ended up getting stepped on.  Not a pleasant experience for either of us.

Molly suffers from acute separation anxiety, to the point where she will froth at the mouth until she is soaking wet.  I had her up over my shoulders to give her a good dog’s-eye view of the happenings, but she was not a happy camper and I felt like a terrible mother.

Then lo-and-behold, I stumbled across an essential oils booth.  I use essential oils myself to calm myself down and help me breathe but I had never thought  about using oils on dogs.

The woman at the booth said yes, you can use essential oils for dogs, and she specifically recommended lavender.  Molly was a hysterical mess at this point, ready to jump and run into the crowd, so I had nothing but $20 to lose.dog vita flex points








I rubbed the oil on the tips of her ears, and more between the pads of Molly’s feet.  I’m not kidding, it was almost instantaneous the change that came over her.  She calmed right down, and stopped straining at the leash.  Ah-mazing!

I think it’s interesting that the oils absorb faster into the bloodstream in dogs from their feet, just like with humans.

Now, a caveat. Not all essential oils are made the same.  “Pure” is a relative term, as is ‘Organic’.  “Pure’ means that if at least 10% of the bottle has pure oil in it, it can be called ‘pure’.  Hmmmm…. In Califormia, when the weatherman says there’s a 10% chance of rain, we go out in flipflops and no umbrellas.  Not even at 30% do we worry about rain.  So “Pure = 10%” doesn’t cut it for me.

Also, never, ever, ever use Melaleuca tree oil on cats or terrier-type dogs. Ever. Always check with your vet or dog health-care provider before using essential oils.

Now it’s Your Turn! What essential oil is your favorite, how do you use is, and why?


Hockey and Healing

photo courtesy of www.theepochtimes.com-

photo courtesy of www.theepochtimes.com-

Hockey games are not quiet, civilized affairs. They are noisy, fast and hard games played on ice-cement and require not just skating skill but also strategy, physical stamina and a warrior’s will to win.  The audience becomes another player on the team, cheering the wins, groaning over losses and screaming to kill the referee over unjust penalties.

Hockey games are punctuated by loud music. Blaring horns on a goal. The thump of bodies slamming against the fence. Hockey games are fierce rivalries of warrior factions. This is not a dignified polo or baseball game. Blood is drawn and there penalties for tripping, high-sticking, and unsportsmanlike conduct,. The audience becomes the voice of the team, screaming in jubilation and crying in defeat.

Hockey is a fast game requiring insane athleticism and lightening fast hand-eye coordination. Hockey is the one sport I can sit and watch with undivided attention.  Even if there are no points being won, the movement on the ice is mesmerizing.  I know from the very small ability I have to both roller-and-ice-skate how much training and practice went into these men becoming world-class hockey players.

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty throws off Coyotes winger Shane Doan after they tackle each other at center ice late in Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Finals.photo courtesy of framework.latimes.com-

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty throws off Coyotes winger Shane Doan after they tackle each other at center ice late in Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Finals.photo courtesy of framework.latimes.com-

One of Ernie and my first dates was a hockey game.  I had no idea how to react; I had never been to a sports event.  My father was very anti-sports, so I didn’t know the rules or what to do. He thought sports was a waste of time.  I had no idea how to get involved in this communal event and was fascinated watching people get so worked up over a game. I felt phony rising up from the bench with everyone else….kind of like I did when I went to church with friends and they would rise to sing hymns.  I didn’t know how to react.

private box photo courtesy of www.nba.com-

private box photo courtesy of www.nba.com-

Fast forward 15 years of marriage and an invite to a private box at Staples center to watch a Kings/Flames game.  I was not feeling well (ended up with the flu) but I still got caught up in the excitement of the game.  I felt a part of the community. I understood how the game was played. I understood the language. I belonged.

Saint George slaying the dragon, Unterlinden Museum, Colmar. Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org-

Saint George slaying the dragon, Unterlinden Museum, Colmar. Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org-

My father was wrong.  We no longer have dragons to slay or marauding armies at the castle gate.  We don’t barn-raise or have quilting circles.  But we do have sports teams, and that’s the closest many of us in the modern world get to that feeling of community.

Now It’s Your Turn! What is your favorite sport, and why?