They say to be careful when pointing a finger at someone else because you always have three pointing back at yourself. Never have I felt this to be truer than while writing this book.

I’ve done a lot of work on myself. And as I’ve worked my way through challenging feelings stemming from my childhood, I’ve sensed the truth: This doesn’t make me a hero. It means I belonged in the remedial class. What I experienced in my childhood was a reflection of my soul dents and inner splits that I came into this lifetime to heal. I’ve gotten my money’s worth, shall we say.

Along the way, I’ve gotten to the deeper meaning of so much of it, but I will spare you, dear reader, from an ad nauseam analysis about what I’ve discovered. Instead, I’m going to try to tell it straight, as best I can. If you know me, this book might explain a few things. And if you don’t, maybe you’ll see some of your own story in here, or that of someone you love.

My dad has written an account of his recollections from childhood, put together in the style of “visiting.” As he tells it: “When I was a kid, we would have supper, do the chores and come into the house, wash up and grab a cup of coffee and head for the Evening Telegram…It lasted until we heard a car in the driveway and found it was our neighbors—it could have been any, of many—coming to our house for a visit.

They would talk of crops, weather and whatever came to mind. When suddenly and without warning, one of them would start out in Norwegian and it was then I knew—here comes the good stuff!

My dad managed to paint a vivid picture of what growing up was like for him, without throwing anyone under a bus. I’ve never thought I could write a story of my own life because, frankly, I didn’t know if I could do that. But when my father asked last summer if I’d ever thought about writing my life story, it planted a seed. In these pages, that seed has sprung to life and, to the best of my ability, I have tried to avoid unnecessary roughness.

Everyone has struggles in life, and what pains any one of us depends largely on how we’re wired when we arrive. My trials and tribulations rubbed me raw in many ways, and as I got older, these sore spots would show me where my work was. I am aware that no one in my family ever intentionally meant to hurt me, including—and maybe especially—my mother.

After she read Walker, she sent me a three-page letter, which she called an Addendum of Sorts. She started it by saying: “I know we all have a different understanding of how life unfolded for us. This is not intended to change anything you’ve written but only to share my understanding of some of the things that were so hurtful to you. I am truly sorry that your childhood, and life, have been so tainted by my doing. So much of it came as a surprise as I read your book and I admit, it was a painful read for me.”

I’ve updated Walker to include her perspective, not only because I think it’s the fair thing to do, but also because it’s illuminating. How often do we think that our way of seeing things is the only one, and it’s the right one? How often do we trust our memories more than maybe we should? How often are we not aware of how much and in what way we have affected someone else? And perhaps most importantly, how often do we lean on our own limited understanding so hard that we don’t check things out with others?

In truth, as I was writing this book, I knew I likely didn’t have all the facts straight from when I was very young. What kid does, especially in a family where people don’t speak with you? I thought about reaching out to my parents for input, but worried they might feel they’d been duped when it turned out the story didn’t make them look so good. Plus, I had just visited them a few weeks before the inspiration to write Walker hit, so wouldn’t normally expect to see them again for a year.

I went ahead and did my best, and then was actually grateful for many of the clarifications my mother provided in her letter, even if they don’t make me look so good. I was stumped by some, even, since they make some of my memories now hard to place. So at the end of several chapters, you will find an addendum from my mom. I invite you to pause and consider what she is sharing, as I have done. Everyone wants to be seen and heard and no one wants to feel misunderstood. This I know.

As I say in the book, my main source for spiritual wisdom is a spirit being known only as the Guide. And what the Guide teaches, over and over, is that the underlying reason for all our disharmonies in life is untruth. That, and lack of awareness. We are not aware of the untruths we are holding onto. If we knew the whole truth of any situation, we would be at peace. Then we would be living from our Higher Self, and our highest good would not conflict or interfere with anyone else’s.

From a spiritual point of view, then, it’s vitally important to consider another person’s perspective. Because seldom, if ever, are we able to see all sides. Looking from another vantage point not only releases the grip we hold on our old stories, it cuts loose the hold our own Lower Self has on us. For whenever we are building cases against others, we are caught in the crosshairs of the Lower Self.

Long story short, I don’t want to hold any more cases against my mother, or anyone else for that matter. For a long time I did, but I don’t want to carry them with me any more. Those cases are heavy, and I am aiming for light.

What I’m sharing in this book, then, is to the best of my recollection, and I have attempted to always be authentic. But I can’t claim every date and detail is accurate or the same as others remember it. As my dad put it in the introduction to his compilation of remembrances, “Some things fade with time or I didn’t pay attention in the first place.”

I never want to lose sight of the progress I’ve made and, at the same time, I want to remain open to more and more possibilities for healing. I want to keep moving in the direction of the light and walking with purpose.

—Jill Loree

Walker: A Spiritual Memoir by Jill Loree

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