Personal Growth

Freedom, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Don’t cry, Susan
My mother said as many of yesterdays’ horrific events
fade back into the recesses of my being …
my tears dried.

Don’t feel, Susan
the world told me as a diverse and risking life continued to teach me
well into the depths of my adult life. . .
Numb became normal.

Stop! my body tries to tell me
as I cry and risk and go on
well into the best part of my life and my work.
I go on working. . .

Don’t be a woman of possibility,
a woman who says the f___ word,
obey the message
“ be nice”
the world says of my ability to say no
because I am a female.

Smile, don’t cry, be nice, talk nice
holds me in a self-made prison of my messaging ...
when
I want to roar, shout, cry, be hated and
most of all not be nice!

I hurl myself through the wall of messaging
Plunging into the
Wild wonderful world
Of freedom and excitement and possibility
Of creative identity named
ME.

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

A Seemingly Insignificant Lesson in Loving Fully, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

A Seemingly Insignificant Lesson in Loving Fully, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

It is not enough for me to believe in love. I want to love fully. I don’t know how to do this, but I am learning. I am learning in small, seemingly insignificant ways. 

I Can Do Hard Things, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I Can Do Hard Things, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

“Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly,
Or do I choose to live and die in fear?”
                                                         Pema Chodron

I can do hard things.
 
I didn’t know that when I was younger. I thought it was all about being talented, special, and somehow gifted. I knew I was not those things. So, I believed I could not do hard and difficult things.

Do I Matter?, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

Do I Matter?, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe

I received a postcard the other day. I was excited. I thought a friend had visited a cool and exotic place and had thought of me while there. 

Then I read it. 

Dear Jacqueline,

My name is Brent* and we don’t know each other. I have been praying for you morning and evening for the last 30 days. 

May the peace and goodness of the Lord be with you and all you love. 

Brent (Awaken Nashville)

At first, it confused me. Then a strange “invaded” sort of feeling came over me, not unlike I’ve experienced when something of mine has been stolen. That invaded feeling turned into anger.

Ongoing Life...Ongoing Therapy, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe, MEd

Ongoing Life...Ongoing Therapy, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe, MEd

I have been in therapy for over 20 years, most have been here at the Estuary. I’m still coming and I now get to write for this place. It is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I get to write, something my soul has been longing to do since I was a young child. The curse is that I have to write and now I’m being held accountable. 

Love Letter, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Love Letter, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

This is a love letter.

A love letter to my husband, to my family, to The Estuary Staff and to our clients.
 
Every moment I spend thinking of you, talking with you, helping you, laughing with you is a lovely relational act where you become present to me and I am present with you. I gaze at the space between us as I look into the eternal You. Every breath of US is an eternal breath of You and Me.

Thanksgiving, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Thanksgiving, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

I watched my husband play the Incredible Hulk in a psycho-drama workshop we did together many years ago.  He startled me with his “acting” talent and ability, transforming from the kindhearted, tender man I knew him to be, when he appeared on set painted green and angry.  Freedom and power exuded from every cell of his being.  I felt joyful. 

I wanted to feel THAT! 

Spiritual Significance, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

Spiritual Significance, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

My husband and I were talking about the meaning and the journey of moving from external success to the internal, personal experience of significance. This is a very personal, internalized journey, individualized for each person and often requires a guide.

Forgiveness, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

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.