QUESTION: I have been told I need a teacher. I have been led to you. I think you can help me with my resistance - my resistance to simply living my better life. I somehow believe you will understand where I am. I am in the middle - the middle of the mess. I am in the "in between", the place where there is no way back, only agony in the movement forward. In short, I’ve been broken wide open and now I know the truth. The truth about myself. It’s laid out before me, and I need guidance in the integration and acceptance of it all.

I am not a nut. I’m an “upstanding” mother of three from the suburbs. I have reclaimed a tragic life and am trudging the road to my happy destiny. I have 23 years of sobriety in AA. I get recovery, I get spiritual awakenings. I didn’t account for this.

ANSWER: All you have been through has been a preparation for this moment: “the place where there is no way back, only agony in the movement forward”. Recovery and spiritual awakenings are steps towards hearing our Self and its needs. As brutal and joyous as they may be, they are the foundation, but not the building. You are fortunate to have the sobriety background. One can have a spiritual awakening without the sobriety and that, in itself, can be an arduous maze.

Of course you “didn’t account for this”, none of us do. The “I” that does not see this coming is the part that wants to keep the status quo. Our egos will always attempt to go back, even mask the regression to look like forward movement. Egos do not move forward, they get dragged there kicking and screaming every inch of the way. Do not drop your guard even for a moment at this juncture of your journey back to your Self. There is much talk in the 12-step program about surrender. Here is your chance to take surrender to the next level. Transformational moments like this (that seem to be happening in rapidity all around us) bring with them everything we need. One has to slow down and FEEL. That is not easy in the best of circumstances, but here you are. Good for you for arriving here. Despite the brutality of it, there rarely is another way back in/forward/inward.

A trusted guide can be useful, and I would certainly and strongly suggest working with someone as you dismantle all that does not serve you and put back together or introduce what does. The depth of our Self-betrayal, and hence the betraying of ourselves, is profound. Awareness of it will bring up a torrent of emotions that need a safe place to be released and integrated. Deep bodywork, breathwork, and meditation will also be useful. Stay open, internally quiet, and do your best not to add to your burdens beyond your duty as a mother right now. You are your fourth child, mother accordingly.