Last Friday was my birthday.

I was alone much of the day, in quiet and contemplation and self-love and care, which was glorious. I was with life-long friends and dear family, in celebration and deep conversation, which was spectacular. I was surrounded and lovingly bombarded with calls and texts and messages of love and life-affirmation, which was life-affirming and healing and exuberant and wondrous.

It was all joy and magnificence and love and connection…and I breathe it all in.

It has been a long, tough year. It’s been a long, tough number of years. I feel it in my body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit.

There is also joy and magnificence and love and connection…and I breathe it all in.

I am fortunate that my life – and recovery – have given me tools and practices and an intentional chosen mindset that help me move through the pain and hardship and choose…always choose…love and ease and joy. I am thankful that I have opened my heart and my life to be “love embodied” and that my heart and life are full and filled with so much love and ease and joy.

I breathe it all in.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a few sobbing moments yesterday. That’s how it all hits me. The challenges and the pain wash over me, and I sob for a few moments. And then I breathe and it eases. I know there also is anger beyond anger that sometimes slips out and that probably needs to full-out come out as well.

And there is joy and magnificence and love and connection…and I breathe it all in.

I breathe in the sunshine. I breathe in the breeze on my skin. I breathe in the health I have through this health challenge. I breathe in all the love in my heart and all the love surrounding me.

I have my 41st high school reunion tonight (there, I said that out loud), and I breathe in all that connection and friendship and support…especially from my dears who knew me “before” and saw me “through” (before leaving the cult and through leaving the cult).

There is joy and magnificence and love and connection within and around me…and I breathe it all in.

How about you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

If you have been in ANY high control group or religion, share your story with the hashtag #IGotOut. Share on your own platform OR if you need to be anonymous and/or would like support, there are resources at the @igotout_org website.

When you see a survivor share their story, let them know they have been heard. This is such a meaningful part of the movement. We all need to know we’re not alone.

If you know someone who has been harmed by a high demand group, share #igotout posts or stories you think would help them.

Together we can bring awareness to how many of us have been harmed by high control organizations and end the shame or stigma we might feel about our experiences.

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