Filling The Hole Inside Us
Jon Terrell, M.A.

People come to our retreats in pain, and they leave in joy.

Participants at our retreats sometimes talk about their pain as a hole inside that they can’t fill. Maybe it was the loss of someone close…their husband, wife, sister, brother, son or daughter. Or sometimes it's a hole they’ve carried since childhood.

They feel an emptiness, loneliness, rawness that nothing seems to fill, to heal.

That was certainly my case when I stumbled into Shalom Mountain Retreat Center 16 years ago. I had a hole inside that nothing could fill.

Not food, sex, accomplishments, money, therapy. Well, they all helped briefly, but then I was back to that empty, uncomfortable feeling.

I left that first retreat in joy. When I came home I felt different and I was greeted by my wife with tears…she could see the change. It was such a powerful experience my whole life was shaken up.

I felt this deep satisfaction, knowing, assurance. I was not my experience. My experience happened to me, and as a result, I bought into certain beliefs about myself that weren’t necessarily true. But they had felt very real, very true.

Actually, I was Love. Born in love, made out of love, here to receive and give love. You could have told me that before the retreat and I would have shrugged and dismissed what you said as corny or unrealistic. But now I knew the truth of it because I was living into that truth.

What made all the difference was that the retreat work went to my core feelings and identity, below the level of thought. It reached and healed the part of me that believed and experienced the pain, and was trapped in it.

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The experience of joy did began to fade as I went through my life, and I fell into my old story. But I did not fall all the way, because I knew who I was.

And I knew what to do. That first couple of years I attended several retreats, which reinforced the new joyous story of my life.  At each retreat I worked on different parts of my old story that held me down.

I also started training as a "Process" therapist, at Shalom Mountain and elsewhere.

I still live in parts of the old story, especially when I bump up against someone or some situation that is uncomfortable. It still hurts inside.

But it doesn’t last too long, because I remember that I am love. I can even love the person or situation for the reminder.

The hole inside is much smaller. I'm not empty at my core, I'm filled, filled with love, with light.

Now I lead retreats at Shalom Mountain and lead retreats at my own center, Star Dance Ranch. I specialize in helping people with grief and loss issues, and with other challenging emotions, such as fear, anxiety and anger.

Let me know if I can help you. You can leave me a message below.


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