There is Always a Beginning

I am standing in front of my entire Church community at my Confirmation. This had been a moment that I had long-awaited. My unshakeable faith, the foundation of my life.

It is as if my soul hovers above and watches as my body participates in the proceedings. I see myself wearing a beautiful white dress that my mother handmade for this occasion. It is decorated with lace and satin ribbon.

I had been a happy, accomplished child. But, as I stand in front of my congregation, I feel shame as my soul watches my faith drain out of me.

I had only been discharged from hospital the day before, for attempting to commit suicide. The taste of nausea is still in my mouth, my skin is still grey from my near death. I was angry, but now I feel confused. I don’t want to be here. I wonder where God is now?

Staring at Rev. Craig as he preaches, the events of the last 48 hours race through my mind. “What is he really thinking?” I wonder, “does he even care?”

Two days earlier, before my final Confirmation appointment, I swallowed all of the pills in my family’s medicine chest. Rev. Craig witnessed me passing out in his office and when I briefly woke in his car, I begged him not to take me back home.

I didn’t want to be anywhere near my parents. I hated them. I hated my father for being the dishonest, repressed, abusive asshole that he was. I hated the repressive system of Apartheid that he embraced. A system that put guns in the hands of 17 year-old boys, my four brothers included, to defend us from an “unarmed enemy.”

I had stopped trusting my mother long ago. She rarely believed me, and as with most unpleasant things, my mother would forget my attempted suicide.

I remembered feeling the pipes being shoved down my throat. As I vomited, through my haze, I heard my father shouting. His screams were as loud as they had been weeks ago when I attempted to run away from home. He didn’t seem to be happy that he had found his missing child. His belt in hand, stripped from his waist, he threatened to beat me. Despite his threats, he didn’t thrash me like he had my brothers.

Not that it would have mattered – no one could hurt me. I was tough.

My mother never asked why I tried to run away from home. I had never seen her so angry, a stark contrast to her usual gentleness. She picked up the belt my father had thrown to the floor and thrashed me. I just stood there, looking directly at her, refusing to shed a tear.

I so badly wanted to distance myself from the life that I was given, that I had tried everything I could think of to escape. I had wanted my father dead, I had tried to run away from home and now I had tried suicide. I FAILED!

I had stared at myself in the mirror for a long time before coming to the church. I watched the tears run down my drawn, grey face, I wondered where was the God that had cured me from my chronic spinal diseases; shocking my Doctor’s expectations? Where was the God that I had prayed to; that had allowed me to believe that taking my Father’s life was an act of courage to protect others and myself.

Standing in the church, I wonder who I am and what is left?

My soul rises higher, wanting to suffer no more. In that moment I decide there is no God, and I let my soul float away. This is how, at 16, I die inside.

I didn’t realize when I gave up my soul, that it would take me close to three decades to finally look at myself in the mirror again. A mirror that would reflect back that lost girl, and this reflection would cause me to Dare to Ask to reconnect with my soul’s truth, as I found purpose in my suffering.

I didn’t realize that as I Dared to Ask to question truth, that numerous people would share their being, and as I was mirrored back, I would see that I was no different. In finally seeing all of my truth, I found full acceptance of my Perfectly Imperfect being, unveiling love for myself, allowing me to reconnect with God. In this new space of full self-acceptance, the love I had always had for my parent’s perfect souls could now be married with the acceptance of their life philosophies and their way of being, without abandoning mine.

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Where is God?

I wanted God to be someone external,
As I wanted someone to name.

I wanted God to be someone external,
As I wanted someone to explain.

I wanted God to be someone external,
As I wanted someone to blame.

… Jacqui Burnett
Copyright© Jacqui Burnett 2013

As a Spiritual Revolutionary, Jacqui Burnett Dares you to reboot your Spirit, to awaken your body, mind and soul, to Be Love in all that you Believe, Think, Say and Do.

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Showing 14 comments
  • Joey

    Your experience you are sharing here is very moving – So many people out there will receive healing through the courage that you have shown and are continuing to show –
    Through the Courages act of Dare to Ask –

    For the painful and difficult life you have lived and what you have gone through , is a life that many out there have sadly gone through and are continuing to suffer in their fear to : Dare to Ask –

    Love and Blessings for sharing your journey with all the world to know – For through your love and courage many are healed and will continue to receive healing –

    Lots of Love from Cape Town

    • Jacqui Burnett

      Dear “Cape Town”

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      In our life journey as souls we ALL suffer at various times, for various reasons. We can even suffer differently from the same event. For example, my personal belief is that my mother was very out of character that day. We can only question, was she suffering from her own shadow elements as she experienced the events in front of her. In truth, I don’t know.

      As a child my way of being was to question everything and not accept the status quo. Considering this, being my parent must have proved challenging at a very repressing time in our country. It was my grandmother (my life guide and mentor), who recommended to my parents when I was only 2 years old, that they try find an alternative to the word “no” for me. I smile whenever I think of her many wise words spoken to me.

      But if you continue to travel with me, I will share my personal journey with my darkest side, as I reveal my dance with my shadow, my external war with my ego, my internal war with my inner critic, the silent prayers of my inner child, the mother and father narrative embraced, as I found and opened to all of my internal light.

      Finding compassion for own life journey, allows us to find compassion for all other souls, no matter their philosophies, ways of being, religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, culture or heritage. Until we can silence our own egos and inner critic, and step out from behind our shadow, we will all be challenged with events that can force us to behave out of character, separating us from beings of love and our soul nature. I know I have stepped into this dark part of myself too often, and this is why I Dared to Ask myself to change.

      Warm love and regards

      It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. …….Marianne Williamson

  • Louise Kerby

    Such powerful words. The world can learn a lot from these words of wisdom.

    • Jacqui Burnett

      Dear Louise,

      Thank you for your kind words of support.

      For a moment imagine a large group of 2 year olds randomly picked from diverse countries, religions, race, language etc etc, placed in a field to play and communicate. As adults, we know well that the gentle shyness soon fades and fun will be had by all.

      Ah, the wisdom of our souls at the tender age when we are still fully connected with ourselves and God.

      A question I started to ask as I questioned my beliefs was, “Is it not the knowledge that we gain as we mature, that can separate us from our truth and our God given wisdom?”

      Warm love and regards

  • Gretchen

    Isn’t it amazing Jacqui that we all have a deep inner desire for self love,self respect and self acceptance and no matter what ,that inner desire surfaces at some stage in one’s life-you were brave enough to take this need and find it.Many of us wait for an event or a situation to push us to a point where we take the challenge to find this peace and fulfilment-and I must imagine that some never get to this point and just exist until then end of their life on mortal earth.

    I am so excited to be part of your journey and to discover how you tackled the aspects that were dark in your life.

    • Jacqui Burnett

      Dear Gretchen,

      I so loved your thoughts, thank you for sharing.

      I was writing a piece for my book recently, where I reflected on some excellent TedX speakers that I had the privilege of listening to the night before. They spoke about the need to have a life-altering event to bring about an awakening. They refereed to near death experiences, loss of a loved one, near death of a child etc.

      Whilst this is certainly is route that some of us will take, I personally brought conscious awareness to my truth, which included:
      1. My personal narrative, (internal thoughts and external words spoken).
      2. My way of being and behaving, (internal and external).
      3. How each of these impacted on others, the world and myself.
      4. I then questioned everything I knew and believed to be true.

      I had to develop practices and ways being for life long change, (we all know hard change is), but I am passionate about the never-ending journey of this life, it’s continual evolution and growth, so that we can with Life’s Purpose.

      My books share how I found release from shame and guilt, unveiled self-love and opened to the essential peace of life purpose, as I found a way to embrace my fears, staring down truth.

      As shared in my video, I believe we all have the power to transform our lives, so that we don’t exit this life with the most often spoken words of, “If only I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself and not a life as expected by others.”

      Warm love and regards

  • Lindsay Ross

    ‘Finding compassion for own life journey, allows us to find compassion for all other souls, no matter their philosophies, ways of being, religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, nationality, culture or heritage. Until we can silence our own egos and inner critic, and step out from behind our shadow, we will all be challenged with events that can force us to behave out of character, separating us from beings of love and our soul nature.’ What very wise words – if we could embrace the wisdom of those words, the suspicion, hate and fear that separate us from one another would evaporate and we would be able to achieve the harmony that is the basis of all spirituality. We want to do this – why is it so difficult, do you think?

    • Jacqui Burnett

      Dear Lindsay,

      Thank you for your question. “Why is it so difficult, do you think?”

      We all site change as hard. Some view it to be impossible. However, I believe we all have the power to transform our lives. What we do have is CHOICE.

      But it raises the question, “What are we changing from?”

      For me it was most often my guilt and shame, of my OWN CHOICES, even those that ultimately served me.

      This raises another question “Why?”

      I personally found it difficult, as my parental narrative was that all things considered transgressions or bad needed to be put in a container, sealed, dropped in the deepest ocean and forgotten. In my case, this form of suppression, lead to depression and internal pain. Finding freedom for my own philosophies, ways of being and beliefs was the most difficult part for me.

      Please know I do not judge my parent’s belief and philosophies, I merely note with curiosity that they are different. I love them both dearly as human beings and souls.

      It was in the difference that I struggled, as I judged myself. In truth, I had stopped blaming them for any of my life choices in my early 30’s, what I didn’t realize is that I hadn’t gotten over the guilt or shame of having a different narrative, way of being and philosophy.

      It was in fully seeing myself and living by my philosophies that I was able to find acceptance for myself and see myself as no different to all others. Here I opened to the essential peace of life’s purpose.

      Whilst my book is a tell-all, that exposes all my shame and guilt, it deals with the very core of your question – Why is it so difficult.

      So in part to answer your question, from my perspective I sense you know the answers, as you site you inner wisdom, that it is merely suspicion, hate and fear that separates us from one another.

      For me it was fear of my own truth, fear to live my choices, fear to live according to my philosophies, feeling suspicion that if I did, others might not love me or might reject me. We become so scared we even hate the choices that other humans make based on their philosophies, religions, race etc, we even hate or judge them merely for the life they are born into, as we hold on desperately in fear of our own. In truth, they can lie side by side in peace. When we tap into our inner child (our 2 year old wisdom – see response above to Louise), we find courage to witness that we are no different.

      So in my experience, we are all equal and we can only see this when we can look from our internal light. Here we can connect with all others, without judgment and we see that we only need to forgive ourselves for wanting different experiences with another or wanting a different life.

      “In FORGIVING myself for wanting a LIFE different from the one I was given, I found FREEDOM to LIVE with LOVE.”

      So the question remains, do we Dare to Ask ourselves to live a life true to ourselves. Are we courageous enough to question our adult knowledge and beliefs to get past the suspicion, the hate and fear?

      I can only share, that I continue to try, as I cannot but be who I was born to be.

      The very core of my work is to deal with why change is so hard and how each of us are no different. My first TOPIC for next month is the discussion of CHANGE.

      If you are still curious, I share an incredible book that I read last month, “A Brief History of Everything”, by the philosopher Ken Wilber.

      Warm love and regards

  • Jacqui Burnett

    Hi all – your comments have not come through until now (technical hiccup) – I will respond to everyone this week. Thank you for taking the time to comment, question and or share.

    As always warm love and regards

  • gerard

    love your website!

    • Jacqui Burnett

      Thanks Gerard

  • Brandon

    Jacqui….I am deeply moved, saddened, touched, hopefull and inspired all at the same time by this story and with what you are currently doing. Having known you for some years I marvel at your honesty, integrity, compassion and desire to help and inspire others. You are very much a breath of fresh air! Much love and prayers. B

    • Jacqui Burnett

      Dear B,

      We are surely the sum of more than one experience and one moment in time. But thank you for being moved by this piece from sadness to hope. It was a sad and challenging time for my parents and myself. As a parent, something you understand well.

      Likewise you know well that corporal punishment was common practice in homes and schools as we grew up. (Please note: corporal punishment referred to here as usually being a thrashing or solid spanking, usually referred to as six of the best, by cane or belt). But we can question, why did this kind of common practice make me so angry and not others. As I continue to study human nature, I am always fascinated how two humans can act so differently to the same set of circumstance. I ask why did so much of what was accepted in those times affect so many of us. I often think it might have been because questioning proved so challenging during a very repressed time in our society and especially our country. But for now it remains a question.

      I started with this story, as it was when I “broke”. Please don’t be sad, we all break at some stage over something, big or small. It was my attachment to the emotions of this day that caused me to suffer, not the events, my experience or my interpretation. Understanding this process of self with my emotional attachments allowed me to find acceptance, ultimately allowing me space to find courage to change.

      So I try staying open to loving the QUESTIONS, trusting the JOURNEY and living the TRUTH, as I lean into and find comfort in the unknown.

      But as we travel together I will share the many many other stories where I held on, rightly or wrongly, that defined the very nature of my being, at times locking me in fear, isolation, sadness and or judgment of myself or others.

      Thank you for your kind words the other day, where you said that over the years you had always felt that I was strong, as if like solid rock and that now you can see all that is fragile, human and broken open in me.

      Your desire for honest speaking, truth and questioning has always inspired me.

      Warm love and regards

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