I moved to Maine for love ~ ill-fated from the beginning, but I had failed to notice this.  By the time I moved from Cambridge in 1998, we had been together for over two years, and I believed we were “working on” all things troubling in our relationship.

I didn’t really want to move to Maine—palm trees, not pine trees swayed in the wind in my dreams, so the northern climate didn’t call to me.  I was seduced, I saw in hindsight, by my childhood expectations for my life that included a husband, a home, and a secure retirement.  He offered all of this.  I accepted.  Within two more years, this fulfillment of what I considered the American Dream, became a horrifying nightmare.

I remember waiting in my spiritual director’s office in Old Orchard Beach, across the street from a church that had burned to the ground the previous week…about the same time my relationship ended in a storm. 
I looked out the window at the mounds of brick and rubble, and I thought with despair—“This is my life.”  But, even then, early in the nightmare, I could see it – the Phoenix rising out of the ashes of my old life. 

As I rose from the rubble of that disastrous relationship, I discovered new interests that became defining, enduring elements in my life.

  • I began working with a spiritual director, and ultimately found this discipline to be so healing that I humbly applied to the Shalem Institute to become trained in this profession.  I have been a practicing spiritual director since 2003, and this work is a true expression of my soul’s purpose.

  • I started taking classes in improvisation to see if I could lift my sadness, and laughed so hard during classes that my cheeks and collar bone ached.  I also discovered the spiritual qualities and healing capacities of improvisation and created Healing Moments for Alzheimer’s.  This work led to the healing of my long-estranged relationship with my mother, the publishing of my nationally renowned book and the creation of a hope-filled play, has touched the lives of thousands of persons with dementia and their caregivers, and opened me to cultivating kindness and compassion.

  • I was introduced to Macrobiotic Cooking, and although I don’t follow this dietary method, specifically, these were my first cooking classes.  I learned the importance of “choosing life” by eating foods that would nourish me; and I felt the joy in preparing meals for myself.

  • While attending seminars, lectures and workshops at the Jungian Center in Brunswick, Maine, I discovered that my respected seminary professor, Brita Gill-Austern, would be leading a day-long program during the summer.  I wrote to her and told her I was a former student and would be there to hear her in Maine.  She welcomed me that day as a cherished friend, and being with her, hearing her speak again inspired me to apply for the Doctor of Ministry program and to work with her as my advisor.  Since then, she has inspired and supported me; and I have had the privilege to inspire and support her as the meaningfulness our connection continues to unfold.  I am now assisting her in the writing of her book on Christian spiritual practices for a flourishing life.

  • And then, in Maine, there was the ocean – Mother Sea and I developed a love affair, nurtured by my daily practice of spending time with her….noticing her ever present consistency and her ever present changing.  Being at and with the ocean every day was cleansing and healing and reassuring.  This was my spiritual home.

With all of these discoveries about myself, uncovered as I slowly rose from the ashes, I left Maine seven years after I had arrived…feeling victorious and free and new…transformed.