For all of us who are ex cult members, looking back on the experience is painful. Healing it is a lot of work, and it takes what can seem like a tremendously long time. It is deep and challenging work and is often fraught with confusion and frustration. At lest, that was my experience.
But I heard a phrase yesterday that succinctly summed up why I believe that work is SO important:
“The wound is the door.”
This phrase was spoken by Geneen Roth whose work is focused on healing emotional eating (something I’ve been challenged with my entire adult life). And when she spoke these words I realized they encapsulate one of the primary messages I try to convey in Cult, A Love Story.
On the surface it may look as though our cult experience was a painful waste of time. The years we spent being mind controlled are lost and we’ll never get them back and some of our personal relationships are damaged, if not destroyed, and we live with a tangled mass of grief, anger, fear and guilt taking up a lot of space in both our hearts and minds. We were manipulated and abused and who wants to spend one more minute thinking about that?
And yet….and yet….what if that pain, that loss, that wounding, could be a door? The door to our truest selves. The door to freedom. The door to divinity.
Roth also says, “The wound is the closest thing you have to God” and this I believe as well. For it is the pain of the cult experience, that upon examination, can lead us to our most authentic selves. When we rebuild ourselves, brick by brick, we are given a priceless and precious opportunity to decide what matters to us and what the truth is for ourselves, not for our parents or for our cult leaders. But for our own beautiful, unique selves.
But it’s all a choice. We can choose to simply move past our cult experience and write it off as a bit of bad luck. Or, now that we are free to feel and think what we want, we can choose to view the pain and the loss as a place of opening that is offering us a chance to know what our lives are really about.
Whatever you choose, I wish you only love and peace.