I.M. Heart came as a soft whisper one morning as I was barely awake. It was one of those whispers that you think you’ve dreamt about – and yet the word hangs in your semi-consciousness. It’s as if a messenger is trying to tell you, “Come on, it’s important for you to remember this. Now don’t forget it!” So, I crawled out of bed and wrote I.M. Heart on a piece of paper. Days passed and I wandered around with these words floating through my thoughts. Did you ever do that – go about your daily business with some concept formulating in your mind? The idea began to take on a shape and form as time passed. I realized that this was the name of a potential book and I began to consider the content of this book. I’ve always thought of your heart as the center of feeling – so this book was to be about feelings. I had read several books on the topic in an attempt to learn more and was turned off by the density and complexity of the material presented. So, I.M. Heart was to be a different kind of book on feelings – friendlier, more simple, and useful for people to apply in everyday life. It was to be something people could relate to and could identify with. I.M. Heart, the character, was to serve as a reminder to live from your heart. What does it mean to live from your heart? It means to live in awareness of feelings – both those coming from fear and those coming from love. Living with heart is being honest about feelings so that you can heal the bruised and injured ones. With this healing, it allows feelings from love to expand and become a bigger part of your life. As I thought about this, the phrase, “heal the pain, feel the love,” came to mind. “Heal the pain” — I’ve been in the process of doing that since I was in my mid -20′s. At that point in my life I was one miserable and confused human. I was so unhappy, was on a Valium trip and was becoming a hypochondriac. Two professionals changed my life. A medical physician told me to, “Get off the Valium and cope.” A counselor, on my very first visit, told me I had a choice. If I chose to continue seeing him for counseling we were going to open a can of worms that I could never again close. He asked me if I wanted to do that. The answer was yes. So began the journey to discover the complex creature called Sue. The can of worms was huge. It contained slimy, squirmy, bruised, and confused grubs, maggots and leeches. I have spent a lifetime working to change those creatures to butterflies, hummingbirds and puppy dogs. I’ve made much progress since those years, and I’m still a work in progress. As one travels life’s journey, chances to heal and then grow come along at the appropriate times. Sometimes one gets a rush of experiences to heal old wounds all at once. This is called a growth opportunity. We can choose to take or hide from it. I’ve done both. Choosing to hide in fear stops us in our path and we shortchange ourselves. The symptoms of this are the missed opportunities, the blown break, the unfinished education, the lame excuse, the lost friendship, dissolved relationships, and all the other symptoms that we consider failures in life. Depending on how we handled them, these may have been failures in that we let fear stop us from giving them our best shot. However if you’ve given it your 150% effort to resolve, proceed or finish – then it is no longer failure – but a growth opportunity you took advantage of regardless of the outcome. The steps of the process were the important growing steps. I – like everyone else – have had both growth opportunities and failures. Sometimes I fully accepted the opportunity and sometimes I ran to hide. I am a repeat offender – repeating my own variety of self-sabotage patterns based in fear. Fear is like a cactus; pricking you each time it touches you – each wound leaving a scab to be healed. However, I would not be the person I am today had these experiences not been in my life. There have been ups and downs – wonderful times and the bottomless pits. The last year has proven to be a turning point. In December of 2006, I was very ill for several weeks – it was not just physical, it was a time of mental and emotional release. I felt like a truck had run over me! However this was a point of change in my life. Since then, I have experienced a less bumpy ride – but when I fell in the ruts of life, they were deep and dirty. It was as though these were wounds that were surfacing to be healed and I chose to fling around in the mud of the rut until I healed that wound. The weather would clear after that and for a while it would be fair skies. Then I would fall into another rut – but this one was not as deep and dirty as the first one and the time to surface was shorter. As the year progressed, the ruts came further apart and the clear skies lasted longer. Not that the fear is not still there – it is – but there is a shift to feeling less fear and more feelings coming from love. The sun is shining brighter and those around me are beginning to notice the change in me. I wrote I.M. Heart in 2004 and 2005. For two years, I was afraid to publish it – all kinds of reasons. In reality, I had not fully lived the processes and was not prepared to share this with others. Now – the time is right, and I feel confident enough to share what I know, fully knowing that I still have much to learn. “Feel the love”– How can I tell you what it feels like to have finally released enough of the fear that I can allow myself to open up to love? Words escape me, but let me try. There is a sense of calm and peace that has eluded me before. It is as if I am surrounded by a field of angels – and even though fears still pop up, they do not consume me as they did in the past. I am able to feel the fear, shift its intensity and work through it in a shorter period of time. The world around me has changed – because I have changed. My glass is at least half full and some days over flowing with blessings, large and small. Around me I have people who are happier and more loving. Even the cat is more cuddly and loving. There is more laughter, a new sense of humor, and an appreciation of simple pleasures and beauty. I am beginning to be more patient with myself, more understanding, and less judgmental. As I continue this journey in process, I find that I am more confident. There have been three situations in which I stood up for myself in a very definitive manner. Simply doing that builds a new level of worthiness and deserving. It also builds a sense of confidence in strength to face the next fear-based challenges that will come along. I am more connected to spirit. Many mornings I awake with a song playing in my head. Those songs are always pertinent to the events of the day and are a message of encouragement for me. Recently I was facing a very stressful situation and I awoke with a song about being wrapped in the arms of love. I could actually sense the arms of spirit surrounding me for that day and in the days since. It gives one powerful feelings of serenity to feel such love. I encourage you to take this inner journey to heal the pain and feel the love. On your travels, please be kind, patient and gentle with yourself. This is a journey through the valley to the mountaintop and beyond. I need support on my journey just as you will – don’t be afraid to seek that support. This trip will change you, but it will not all be fun or easy. Is it worth it? Yes! I offer hope – to live in less fear and with more love. It is a lifetime journey and the most significant journey of a lifetime. I.M. Heart and I wish you many blessings.