seeking guidance from Question 6 in Chapter 9

I find valuable guidance from Question 6 at the end of Chapter 9. I feel it accurately fits my current situation:


How can I get in touch with any deep feelings of anger and abandonment I may be harboring?

How can I then find helpful ways to deal with those feelings?

The second question feels more relevant. Abandonment is a core issue for me, with roots in my painful childhood. I remember having these feelings many times before. Now they appear magnified because of the importance (to me, at least) of this “big” birthday. But, on reflection, I remember often being disappointed when people did not step up on other occasions that were important to me. This time, I have done a wise thing and left the scene of my disappointment.

I do not need to inquire more deeply into people’s motives. Or psychoanalyze me. I am disappointed. It’s a pattern that I can break — or at least I can manage it better. It will pass. Life is short.

Forgiveness: I give myself a hesitant, tentative check.

gateway 4: engagement

My birthday dilemma is not directly related to this Gateway, as far as I can tell. But I approach it nonetheless. Here, standing before Engagement, I imagine my challenge this way:

I choose to engage with the Giveaway of my loved one in my unique way by transmuting my loss into service to others.


I sense that in this instance, my lesson could be this: even though I still need the support of others, my broader community needs the gifts of the activism I can now bring to it.

With a growing sense of relief, I approach the Engagement Gateway. This familiar terrain feels like my activist home. As I sense my discernment returning, I can evaluate my options for getting out and about.

I recognize the buzz that comes from being in the flow, in the zone of service. It beats sitting home, feeling rejected.

The Moore Hotel

As I’m sitting in Seattle’s Moore Hotel lobby, watching rain beading on the windows, my phone rings. It’s Kev, my activist co-conspirator. Calling from a Queensland mining town, Kev inspires and enlivens me.

It still feels magical to be speaking to someone in another hemisphere, 7500 miles away!

“G’day, Wendy,” Kev hollers down the phone. “How’re ya doin?”

Kev is still working to achieve our survivor mission: to get that dangerous killer of a road repaired.

“Yes, Kev,” I holler into the phone above the crackle of distance.

“I am here. Yep, ready for another round. Bring it on, mate!”

As I hear my own words, I realize that together Kev and I are searching for creative and effective ways to draw our survivor mission to a close without feeling perpetually angry and frustrated. We’re seeking a healing conclusion to months of acrimony.

Kev and Karl, Blackwater, 2011

Kev loved Karl. (It was mutual.) So my engagement in activism with Kev helps to heal Karl’s grief, as well as to support my healing. Some of my learning gained in the Engagement realm is transferable to other domains where I am currently struggling. It’s all one, after all. It’s only me. Lighten up, Wendy!

And remember Wendy: part of your passage through the Engagement Gateway will be the book that you will write and the blogs that will illuminate its contents.

Engagement: a big check!

Unfinished “forgiveness” business

While it’s encouraging to sense my growing competency in this familiar realm (Engagement), I must remember my unfinished Forgiveness business. That brief text from my estranged family member did not fill the deep hole in my heart created by their initial rejection and nearly two years of silence. There is more work to do there. It’s my birthday, after all, and my emotions are running high. I will need to revisit and dwell in the challenging realm of Forgiveness a bit longer.

(Maybe after dinner.)