Self Love Revolution
Former The Bridge Retreat participant Selina Barker is a career and life design coach, co-founder of Project Love and creator…
December 4, 2017
I was a seemingly strong twenty-nine year old woman, conscious of a scared little girl inside of me who I felt had never really been heard. Parental abandonment issues and a sense of lost innocence from childhood had replaced my natural playfulness with sensitivity and doubt, creating inauthentic fear that I could never really explain. I had learnt that violence and neglect in a relationship was love. I wasn’t prepared to enter my thirties settling into my own inevitable motherhood whilst passing down the lineage of trauma to my own children to come.
The pure magic of The Bridge has finally put those nightmares to bed. After only five days in that incredibly moving community I walked out content, clear, and whole-heartedly, unashamedly me. I’d cut the chords of my life’s heaviest heartbreaks and felt so incredibly lighter as those emotional ties drifted away.
My mother has suffered with bipolar disorder since I was very young; my earliest memories being of a relentless reliant love on me, yet also of my own confusion and anger – not understanding why she wasn’t able to be the strongest part of me. Our adult relationship was mostly turbulent, destructive, and unapologetic from both sides. Her illness and my infantile frustration often made it painfully impossible to communicate.
Mum was fresh out of cyclical psychiatric section when I told her of my upcoming journey to The Bridge, so I wasn’t surprised to sense her pessimism. Despite this she branched out an offer to care for my home and pets during the last leg of my trip, meeting me in new territory out on the other side.
Without phone or internet access in our cocooned countryside setting, I had doubts of what drama might be waiting back in ‘real-life’. I hate to admit that at this stage I couldn’t remember ever feeling genuine positive emotion to see her. This wasn’t a true reflection, because as a child I adored my mother. But she so often had to leave, that I began to feel numb – still full of love, but too hurt to watch her being taken away, so I protected myself by detaching from my expectations even more.
Today I am no longer a wounded little girl grieving the loss of a present parent, no longer angry about the fairytales not coming true. I came home that day from The Bridge excited to see my mother, and as I looked at her, I was seeing her for the very first time in my life. I could appreciate her sacrifices, feel empathy for her own trauma, and accept the best parts of her, regardless of the dysfunctions we’d both been through.
As I called her ‘mum’ for the first time in years and with so much pride, I witnessed her strength and beaming smile shine back through. The dedication, love, and care from The Bridge has saved my forgotten family. I’m so humbled, so changed, and so lucky. There is nobody in the world that wouldn’t benefit from the beauty of Donna and Gabi’s gifts; their wise words integrate deeper every day.
Pippa, Project Manager, London
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