What's Wrong With Me?
When suffering becomes the deepest truth about our lives, we can become imprisoned by its memory and the way that memory has come to define us. We can even label ourselves according to the events, hurts and symptoms that have dominated our lives. For those who have been abused, many of the repetitive, compulsive behaviours we struggle with, the relational style we adopt or the habitual shame we feel about aspects of ourselves have their roots deep in the original trauma of abuse. They originated as intstinctual, unconscious reactions to what happened to us, a defensive reaction to an utterly abnormal level of threat. . They helped us survive the trauma in the first instance, but they are not long-term solutions. People with post-traumatic stress can live with the same level of arousal as the original event, it is like a live memory. At the slightest trigger the past intrudes with flashbacks, abreactions, nightmares, sickening thoughts. This may alternate with periods of numbness or dissociation in which we can feel nothing, care for nothing, not even our basic needs. Like an earthquake, the initial trauma continues to send after-shocks through our daily living. By tracing the pattern of the present back to its source in the past, it is possible to change it.
Why Grief to Grace?
In order to heal a loss, that loss must first be acknowledged and grieved. Abuse remains all too often a guilty secret; my energy is directed towards keeping it hidden. The loss of integrity, security and sexual dignity, are so fearful and shameful that they may never have been fully acknowledged even to myself. Grief to Grace gradually helps you to face the pain. We have ways to soothe it as you tell it, to prevent your being overwhelmed by it. By facing it in this way you rob it of its power to dominate your life.
Why a group process?
Our process is group based. Though some are initially anxious about this, the group itself quickly becomes a powerful source of support and healing, changing previous experience of abuse as something to be kept secret, something not understood or believed. The group witnesses to what each has suffered. You share only as and when you yourself choose. The exercises in your specially designed personal retreat journal allow you to reflect on and express your feelings at every stage in a way that puts you in complete control.
The Paschal Mystery
Our retreat journey is through grief to a new vision of life and hope. In our meditations and exercises we follow the sorrowful mysteries of Christ's own Passion to arrive at last at his glorious resurrection. We can then see how this is to become the pattern for our own lives. Our sorrow and grief is laid in the tomb with Christ. We then claim and celebrate the power of his resurrection and new life, and with confidence re-dedicate ourselves to his service.
The truth is that you are not weird, dirty, insane, or any of the other names you may have been called or called yourself. The truth is that something terrible happened to you and because of a noble spirit, you survived it. The truth is that you are a child of God and 'fearfully and wonderfully made' (Ps 139). You are precious to Christ. We want you to recover your own unique beauty and worth, hidden by something terrible, but now ready to be claimed as your truth, as the real you.