Who I know My Self to be today is very different than the person I assumed I was for the first 30 years of my life. In those earlier years, I did not know how unaware I was of my true Self. In this portion of my life, I recognize and am reassured that who I am today and who I have always been is a courageous and resilient Soul Care Warrior.
By God’s design, this Soul Care Warrior instinctually kept me connected to the light of God’s love in the face of childhood losses, beginning with the early gross neglect and the final abandonment by my mother while my father was serving in World War II. Later, as a quiet and unassertive seven-year-old, the Soul Care Warrior speaking through me unflinchingly requested that my non-believing father drive me to church every Sunday. As a thirteen-year-old, on more than one weekday after school, I found my Self sitting in an empty Church. At the time, I had no conscious concept as to why I was there or why I left feeling differently than when I arrived.
I consciously became acquainted with this God-serving force in me when I was almost 30 years old and married with two children. Thanks to my persistent Soul Care Warrior’s Voice, I woke up to the reality that the life narrative I was attempting to live had everyone else’s name on it, except my own. The time had come for me to discover the truth of my own story and live it courageously. And so the dawn of a lifelong, transforming Soul journey began — a journey that stirred my endless curiosity and reverence for the power of God’s transformational, healing love that leads to wholeness.
Through a series of dreams and events, I heard the call, directing me to complete the necessary education and training to be a Licensed Family Child Therapist [UCF, M.S, Counseling Psychology, then Licensed, MFC – 1983] and to be ordained as an Episcopal Priest [CDSP, M.S., Theology, then Deaconed – 1989, Priested – 1990].
Professionally, I was now a Soul Care Warrior for others. I worked full-time, first in private practice for five years, then in the church for five years. I finally settled into doing both roles part-time. This was my pattern until it was interrupted when, at 60 years old, I was confronted with serious physical illness, which included a series of mysterious onslaughts to my body, almost dying twice, and signing “end of life papers.” I had much to learn about caring for my body and my ability to heal. Not knowing if I would ever completely regain my health, the road to recovery became what I refer to as “Body 101 — From the Inside Out.” My curiosity in God’s transformational, healing love now became my daily companion — deepening to include the role and integration of My Body [i.e. Body/Spirit/Mind].
After the better part of six years, I recovered my health, so the question became: “What was I called to do with this one precious life I had been given?” Again, through a series of dreams and events, I knew the first step was to complete a year-long comprehensive, intensive training program to be certified as an Integral Coach [Certified Integral Coach – New Ventures West, March, 2010]. Then, unexpectedly, I found my Self on an incredible and wondrous Voice-freeing journey: Vocal Awareness — Empowerment through Voice [Certification 1 & 11, 2012].
The stage was set. A new and timely vision began to unfold, one that only at this point in my life and at this time in history could be birthed. It is the accumulation of the Soul Care Warrior’s work in and through me calling forth the integration of all that I am and all that I have to offer through the profound vision of Soul Alive Women – A Whole New Personalized, Life-Giving Soul Way to live into and through our Aging years.
My home is in Southern California with my soul companion/husband/friend of 54 years. We have a married son and daughter, and five grandchildren [ages 19-26]. I love reading, walking, and being in the outdoors, especially by the ocean. My favorite place in the whole world is to be in Kauai with my husband.
~Susan A. Purnell