I’m having so much fun working as a psychologist, plus sharing my life experiences and knowledge with the world through my books. Here I am, in my late 70s and my career is going into a whole new dimension. If someone had told me when I was younger (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, even 60 years young) I would be writing books in my 70s I would have been incredulous and reacted with (being a farm girl) “Sure, and cows will be able to fly!”
My parents jointly worked hard and sacrificed for all of their children to get a good education. My mother wanted to be a geriatric nurse, but my grandfather would not let my mother get an education beyond grade 7 because there was “no point in education a girl who is to become a farmer’s wife.” Because of this, my mother was determined that her daughters get a good education.
My mother was an abused child, the youngest of six, who grew up in a family in which she witnessed and experienced her parents’ unhappy marriage. My grandfather was mean—he would not allow his wife, himself, or his children to have fun. Work was life, and life was work.
I am not grateful for my mother’s abuse, but in my book Let Go of the Outcome and Let Things Fall Together, all of the information inside stems from my trying to make sense of my life and others. The one thing my mother gave me that influenced me throughout my life and a big part of my career is she would explain things to me. When she did that (explained to me), I felt powerful sensations of satisfaction. My work as a therapist and my writings are about helping my clients and readers understand themselves and others—recognizing the wonderful sensations of knowing.
I am grateful to my father for adoring me and advocating for me with my mom (I was safe when my father was around)—and with teachers (I am left-handed, and my father did not make me change).
I am grateful for the education I received, plus all the activities I engaged in—my parents encouraged me and paid for all my lessons: music, singing, sports, and ballet. After elementary school, I attended a private school through grade twelve (Balmoral Hall School), followed by Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I attended Queen’s because, at the time, the University of Manitoba did not have a combined Arts and Physical Education degree. I had always loved and been involved in sports and dance and wanted to become a Physical Education teacher.
First of all—at the end of WW II
Life was peaceful and full of abundance.
Secondly—after Birth control was readily available.
I was 22, and my husband was 24 when we married. We both wanted a family but were not ready early in our marriage.
And thirdly—for the advances in medicine, particularly in the area of obstetrics.
I am grateful for the miscarriage I had at 28 because it gave me a HEADS-UP that I had the same genetic malformation that my Aunt Edith died from—the placenta does not separate from the uterus when the baby is born. She bled to death after giving birth to twins. In my case, the fetus died in the 5th month but did not spontaneously abort. I had a D&C to clear up the problem. This also happened when I gave birth to my son Colin. After he was born, my placenta did not separate, but thanks to modern medicine, I did not die.
2.5 years later, when my son Angus was born, the same doctor gave me a drug that helped to separate the placenta while in labor. After 2.5 hours of labor, I gave birth, and the placenta separated. What a relief!
I am grateful for being a mother. A dimension of myself that had been dormant came to life. I was delighted and fulfilled being a mom.
I am grateful for the Adlerian parenting influence and the program STEP (Systematic Parenting for Effective Parenting.) I was determined to parent my children differently than I had been parented and vowed I’d never hit my children (spank, strap, shame, punish). This program and Alfred Adler’s focus on social interest provided me with a solid emotional and physical way to parent.
I received therapy when our youngest son started school. Our marriage went into a natural reorganization that occurs after there are no more babies and toddlers at home. The marital therapy was not effective, but the individual work I did was transformative.
I’m so grateful for the therapy I had in my 30s. I would not be the person I am today without it. I learned to work with myself instead of against myself. I learned to interrupt my negative self-talk and do new healthy productive self-talk behaviour instead.
I was able to deconstruct my mistaken beliefs and replace them with healthy constructive beliefs. I “died” in a dream, but it was only a part of me that I could let go of—the part of me I developed to protect myself from my mother. I was not born with this part of me—I developed it to survive childhood. If that part of me had not been “deconstructed” I would not be the person I am today, and I would not be doing what I am doing today—sharing my wisdom and knowledge in my books.
I am grateful for going through my therapy in the 1970s. During my therapy, no one mentioned the left brain or right brain, neuropathways, or terms such as sympathetic/parasympathetic. I do not remember my therapists or anyone telling me to breathe through the emotions/feelings. I knew nothing about psychotherapy before I started or when I was in therapy. Only in hindsight did I realize that my therapist was knowledgeable and trained in Gestalt therapy which focused on the sensations experienced and staying with them.
I am grateful for my work with clients over 40 years. I learned so much from working with them.
I enjoy getting thank-you notes and testimonials. What makes my heart sing is hearing how people’s lives have resulted in positive change because of the work we do together and/or my inspiring them.
I love that I am a role model, not just for women but for men, just for being who I am. Many people from all walks of life tell me that I inspire them to be more of who they are, and their batteries are recharged from doing more with their lives.
Since I was eight years old, my mission in life has been to help others help in a significant way.
I am having so much fun! I get so much satisfaction and fulfillment from achieving my mission!