“A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is in the journey where she will become strong.”  -Unknown

For someone who has experienced her share of tragedy in her life, I have a ridiculously optimistic attitude.  In fact, the refusal to give in to the darkness presented to me may have been what saved my life, over and over.  It may be the reason I am still here and able to tell you this story.

It’s my 48th birthday today, so I am going to allow myself to share with you a bit about my extraordinary life; maybe it is NOT that extraordinary, but rather the fact that I am who I am IS extraordinary.  I should be a bitter, hardened woman, old before my time, if the way some others live their lives is any indication.  I’m going to offer that the fact that I have made it to 48 years is proof positive of our resilience as human beings, and the choice to make good of our adversities is the doorway to blessings beyond reason.  Please indulge me today.


So, once there was a little girl who could feel and sense and see and hear the invisible world.  As early as she could remember, she felt the presence of the spirits on the wind, Father Sky, and Mother Earth below her.  She felt the connectedness of All Things, and felt herself part of the universe in its vast Web of Life.  Even when her young life on earth, in her mother’s and father’s care, was dark and twisted, and she was given mixed messages of “die, I reject you, you bothersome child” to “I value you because I want your body”, she was held by the thread that connected her to the larger Love that glues All Things together.  This became her lifeline.

And then, things got even more interesting.  One night when she was 12 years old, a man armed with a gun broke into her biological family’s house and held her in front of him as a hostage while ordering her family around, gun to her right temple while he molested her with his left hand. He clicked the safety on the gun, which made her believe that she would die at any moment, and her knees knocked as she tried to offer him money from her piggy bank.  That is not what he wanted…he eventually traded her for her mother and took her to another room, where he raped her.  The little girl, who was no longer such a little girl despite being 12 years old, held her father and siblings in a closet as ordered to keep them all alive.  When the man was done with her mother, he came around the corner of the doorway and shot at the father, who pushed the little girl out of the door of the closet.  She felt a whoosh above her head as the bullet grazed the corner of the doorjamb a couple of inches above her, missing her by that much.  Her life was spared, as was her mother’s, father’s, sister’s and brother’s, and this family continued in on in their disconnectedness and darkness, descending even further into the trauma and ancestral lineage of woundedness, until she was free at 18 and left in a hurry for college, not looking back.

She grew up with a ferocity to make good of her life, propelling herself forward as if on fire, using the debris and pain at her feet to make compost to grow from.  Her connection to the greater universe waned when she was 20 and 21, losing her grip on the thread that had sustained her due to her unhappiness and lack of love in her life.  But then an extraordinary intervention occurred in which she was spoken to through the haze, a voice next to her in her car when no one else was there, that said “Licia, if you keep this up, you will be dead by the time you are 25.”   The thread had been plucked like a harp string, and she was reminded of the goodness that was available to her, and the goodness that WAS her.  She made a choice to stay on the earth, to do right for herself, to take care of her body and treat herself with love and tenderness.  And 3 weeks later, she met her life partner.

27 years of love and adventure, consciousness and healing, grand spiritual insight and amazing journeys followed.  Her two sons, the brightest joys in her life and greatest creative work, mirrored to her the possibility of what a person could be like if they grew up with unconditional love, and hope for the future generations.  When one of her sons met with a life-threatening accident, it was the power of that thread that held her while she grieved and feared and wrung her hands…it was the power of her connection to the Larger Whole that sustained her, comforted her, told her that it would be alright.  And it was.

All along, all along…it was the strength of her connection that made her strong, kept her alive, caused her to make good of her challenges, and impelled her to tell her stories to inspire others.  This little girl, who came from the womb of the universe and will eventually go back some day, journeyed through her life holding on to that thread, and it made all the difference.

from Soul Compost, Transforming Adversity into Spiritual Growth, by Licia Berry, 2012