the letters at nautilus teachings

when i am harmed in any way
i retreat to darkness
and silence…
i pull inside myself
and get creative.
in fact,
i have made some of my best pieces
in my healing.
for in order to mend my wounded self
i must first re-open the wound
let it drip drip drip
into my entire being
and then
i feverishly write in charcoal
upon the blank canvas
the words that need to be said…
then begin building layer upon layer
the wet healing balm of color
i love this process…
i did not learn it from any one person
i just combined all the ways i release
with my passion-painting…
three years passed
i did not call, write or communicate
with my father.
i was in my car
top down
sun brilliant and warm
music blaring
when my phone rings
interrupting my song,
“call from, dad…”
click, end.
music resumes.
next day
“call from, dad…”
‘hi dad, what’s up?’
“why are you posting
naked pictures of yourself on fb?”
i pause,
‘dad-you can’t post nude pics on fb
and besides i would never do that…’
“well…….say’s, her friend…..saw them…”
his crazy wife and her
just as crazy friends..
‘love you dad.’
click, end.
that was it.
nothing more
the forgiveness challenge by desmond tutu!
my studio was doing very well
all the kids were happy
d was well.
and then
God sends me this challenge
and i can hear HIS voice saying,
‘it’s time sheri…let it go…’

i loved this book and challenge.
i posted many videos on it
and then the time to write the letters…
Dear Dad-

You and I have had many ups and downs. I have put you on pedestals you did not deserve I know, but I needed to because I needed you to be someone you are not.
You always provided for me perfectly fine. I can never remember wanting for anything. When I needed you, you were there.
Mom once said to me, “sheri, you expect too much from him, your father was born broken. just love him the best you can…”
My truths don’t matter now. I have grown up and grown into
a woman I love and I respect. So I hope one day Dad, you can feel proud of me. All i ever wanted was family, love and art.
As you celebrate you birthday please know I have written ……. a letter telling her I forgive her. it took Nelson Mandela 27 years to become an icon of reconciliation, forgiveness and honor and lead a country back from the brink of civil war and self destruction.
So…3 years is not bad at all!!!
If you were here with me, I would take you for walk along my beach and then to my favorite coffee house for breakfast. I would follow that up with showing you all the colors that live within me…

I love you dad.

and the second one, to his wife…

It’s been nearly 23 years since you married my father. From the very beginning I welcomed you, loved you, and asked you to be my children’s grandmother…
Throughout the first 20 years you were absolutely a good grandmother to them. You were always kind to me and I was the same in return.
So when 2 1/2 years ago at …..graduation party when you began speaking against me in words and stories that were not just untrue but hurtful, it threw me to the ground.
Why you think these things about me, or why you felt the need to say them does not matter.
“I know who I am, I know what I have lived through and I am so proud of myself…”
We are all inherently good and flawed. I thought maybe you hurt me because you yourself were hurting, I just don’t know Thank you for the years of loving my kids and my father. I hope you continue on in good health and feel such happiness and peace.

forgiveness is such a gift to ourself…
i can tell you in writing these letters
and all my letters
i lost the need to carry any hurt
i felt incredibly lighter
almost flushed clean…
forgiveness led me to
true expression of gratitude
it re-opened my eyes
to the beauty and wonder
of my life
those i know and love
wrapping me in a balm
of cool calmness
with faith as my center…
we have to have these hard conversations
we don’t have to live with people who hurt us
it’s ok to say goodbye
and love them from afar.
this is your life
your choices
for me
i choose inner peace…