Forgiveness, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

“Forgiveness is nothing less than the way we heal the world".

   -- Desmond Tutu, The Book of Forgiveness 

I was a terrible oldest sister.
 
In our dysfunctional family filled with addiction and anger, yet held together in intense love and loyalty, I raged and cried and felt isolated.
 
I am the oldest of three sisters born in three years. I bullied and screamed and took advantage of my younger siblings with a horror I cringe at today! At the same time, we laughed, played together, and dreamed big dreams we believed to be uniquely ours. We held tightly to each other in every chaotic moment throughout our lives.
 
One of us is gone now.  It feels like a limb of mine has been removed.
 
I was texting my remaining sister last night. We laughed, cried, said what we were worried about and laughingly blamed each other for hurricane Florence as if we were small children. “Its my sister’s fault” we texted with intimate smiles and memories.
 
After I put my phone away, my heart was filled with love and gratitude. It welled up in me like a wave of beauty and light that is indescribable. No other light or love comes close to matching that glow.
 
It occurred to me in that moment that this was the result of self-forgiveness. My path to forgiveness has not been an easy one. It has resulted in self-hatred, shame as well as deep sorrow and grief. I would change many parts of my past if it were possible. I have been the one who has been hurt and the one who has caused hurt. All of it resulted in deep pain and rage.
 
I then remembered a discovery I made in my internship to become a counselor many years ago. I had been assigned to the VA hospital where so many war veterans were also recovering from drug and alcohol addiction as a result of PTSD. I discovered something then that has stayed with me all of these years.
 
Here is what I learned.  
         Show me an addict, and I will show you a person so sensitive, so holy,
         so real, they could not figure out how to function in this world.
 
So, I bless my addicted parents and the generations that came before them. I bless my chaotic childhood and the beautiful sisters that helped me survive. I welcome the sensitivity and love that was the legacy of all of that uproar and anger.  
 
I am grateful for my love and sensitivity that are my gifts as a result of addiction.  Holy, Holy, Holy.
 

Susan Austin-Crumpton
   Executive Director & Founder
   The Estuary, Inc.

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Susan Austin-Crumpton

Susan Austin-Crumpton, Executive Director and Founder of The Estuary and The School of Healing Arts. Susan’s intention to be fully present and alive with passion and joy requires an authenticity that is her hallmark. Dedication to study and commitment to her clients and students provides The Estuary and the community involved with purpose and meaning not often found in traditional leadership. Susan Austin-Crumpton speaks of The Estuary as being like a wheel, with the staff being each of the spokes, the programs and services as the rim and she is the hub of energy and identity at the center. As the founder of The Estuary and The School of Healing Arts, she has developed the healing techniques and skills taught by the school and integrated into the individual practices of the staff. Susan’s leadership, innovative practice methods and classes have created the foundation of The Estuary and The School. Her varied career history as business owner, a teacher, and a psychotherapist, make her uniquely qualified to bring grounding to healing practices that originate outside the medical and psychological mainstream. Her techniques are truly complimentary to allopathic medicine and traditional psychotherapy, not in conflict with them, as is evidenced by the community support and acceptance over the past twenty years. As the primary teacher at The School of Healing Arts she combines the techniques of energy healing and psychology with Kabbalistic principles into her psychotherapy techniques that bring lasting change into the lives of those who work with her. She works with individuals and groups specializing in depression, anxiety, couples, health issues, addiction, and spiritual connection to life’s meaning and purpose. Susan has completed four years of study in healing science with The Barbara Brennan School of Healing Science and three years of study in Integrative Kabbalistic Healing with Jason Shulman's A Society of Souls. She also holds a degree in counseling psychology from the University of Louisville. She is a pastoral counselor ordained by The Estuary. Susan specializes in integrating transpersonal psychology with energy therapies effectively embodying the mind, body and spirit connection. She has been in private practice for 18 years serving individual processes, coupleship work, group experiences, and health related issues. She is the primary teacher at The School of Self Healing Arts and teaches transpersonal psychology, energy anatomy and therapies, world religion, and experiential therapy techniques. Susan is married and has two daughters and two grandchildren. She loves to study, to learn and grow personally and professionally, and is committed to the well being of her family, students and clients.