Posted by: Marie | October 13, 2012

(726) Expanding circles of support – Part 1 of 4

Post #726
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, November 16, 2011]

So . . . I’ve had plenty of time to think through how I want to handle the music teachers association situation. I promised myself I would wait a week before taking any official action. I wanted to allow time for my emotions to settle down so I could take action from a place of strength rather than a place of hurt feelings.

Here is the email I sent to the local association’s president:

Hi, Pat –

After much thoughtful consideration, I have made a number of decisions concerning my involvement in the teachers association:

1) I will no longer be attending the monthly meetings.

2) I am resigning as secretary, effective immediately. I’ve attached the first draft of the November monthly meeting minutes to this email. I leave it up to you to ensure they are distributed to the officers and membership. Please let me know the best way to get the secretary’s book to whomever it needs to go to next.

3) I will likely have students participating in some of this year’s student activities. I will therefore continue to be available to assist with the execution of the activities in which my students participate.

4) As of now, I am still willing to continue as webmaster until the officers and/or membership sees fit to remove me from that position or until June 30th, 2012, whichever occurs first. As of that date, I will be withdrawing my membership from the association.

Marie Smith


First thing this morning, I headed over to the “conscious business group” I discovered on the internet. They are people who each want to change their corner of the world by conducting their business in a spiritually conscious way. Most of the people in the group are right around my age and most are entrepreneurs. There were about a dozen people in the meeting.

As soon as I walked in, I was welcomed warmly. I really like the energy of the group . . . their intention is to allow people to show up at the meetings authentically. If that means that someone shows up discouraged or an emotional mess, or if he or she is uncertain about his or her direction in life, that is okay. In that case, the group embraces the person and helps lift them up.

The Lotus by Martin Chen

It’s not a networking group, which is fine with me . . . it is in the next town over, so I likely wouldn’t get leads for my piano lessons business that far away from my studio, anyway. Instead, they provide support and education. I can imagine that this might be a source of some strong and healthy relationships for me.

At the start of each meeting, they go around the circle and each person introduces himself with a one minute “elevator speech” and then he answers a question that is posed by the group leader. Today, the leader asked us to share what has transpired in our lives in between today and the last time we were “here”.

Whew . . . what a serendipitous question . . . the last time I was in that church building was about three years ago for a spiritual education class. During the class, I had a major melt-down one evening and had to leave early. I wasn’t able to finish the entire course.

It was not a pleasant experience . . . nothing to do with the church or the class . . . it was because I was just starting to recover buried memories of being sexually abused by a church leader . . . being in a church – any church – at that time was too much for me to endure.

So . . this morning, as the group worked their way around the circle to me, I had time to debate how much of my story I was going to share. By the time they got to me, I had decided I would just lay it all on the line . . . why the heck not . . .

“Hi, everyone – I’m Marie Smith and I teach piano lessons. This is my first time with this group – thank you for making me feel so welcome!

“The last time I was here, in this church building, was when I was attending a class offered through the church. At the time, I was just beginning to recover memories of sexual abuse at the hands of our church’s music director – he used the piano to build a connection with me.

“The class was scheduled to last eight weeks, but I only made it through the first few weeks because the class stirred up very strong emotions for me. I kept ending up in the sound booth, sobbing, for most of the class time. There was no way I could finish the entire course.

“The good news is that now, after a lot of therapeutic work, I am in a much better place on all fronts. My business – teaching piano lessons – actually developed as a result of that therapeutic, healing journey.

“That childhood trauma was one of the reasons I pushed away music despite my soul’s desire to immerse myself in it. After not touching a piano for 20 years, a piano dropped into my life during the early months of my healing journey. That caused me to get back into music, which then blossomed into a lively new career – a career that is healing for me and brings me passion and joy.”

Whew . . . so, there . . . I said it . . . and I only shed a few tears while saying it . . . and the group responded warmly and whispered encouraging words as I was speaking.

I think I’m really going to fit in well here.

Anyway, later in the meeting, we did a group exercise. Each of us wrote down what we would do in each area of our lives (professional, relationships, health, wealth) if we knew we only had 24 hours to live. Then, we set aside all the other areas and focused only on the professional quadrant. We did the same exercise again with the timeframe expanded to one week, one month, three months and six months.

The two ladies in my small group had very detailed lists for each time period.

In sharp contrast, in my one week block, I had that I’d leave a legacy of recorded music compositions. In my one month block, I wrote that I’d clean up my messes so people wouldn’t have to deal with them . . . that led me to ask why I would care about that . . . I decided it was because I would want to look good even after I was dead . . . so, after some more though, I decided that maybe I wouldn’t waste time doing that. But, beyond those two items, I had nothing more in my to-do lists.

One lady in my group shared that her to-do lists were mostly focused on creating residual income . . . so she could create a solid retirement fund and a legacy for her husband and kids.

When I shared my lists, the lady asked if I would spend my money differently if I knew I had limited time to live (she is a professional financial planner). I answered, “No – because eight years ago I lost all my money and all my material possessions and became ‘homeless’ – I wasn’t living on the street, but I had no physical place to call home. Even after I started rebuilding financially, I never started acquiring ‘stuff’ again. Even today, I still live a very simple life . . . my financial needs are minimal. I spend my money wisely, so there really isn’t anything I’d change in my current financial behaviors.”

In her wrap-up, the group leader suggested that we could get the things in our “short-timer to do list” done now-ish and that would free us up to move into our next phase of doing – it would free us up to do what we really want to do.

What I took from this exercise is an awareness that I’m already doing what is most important to me.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. That sounds like a wonderful group

    • Is really has become a vital part of my social life!

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