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 or 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.

I tried to fill it, but nothing worked. Not food, sex, accomplishments, money, therapy. They all helped briefly, but then I would return to that empty, uncomfortable feeling.

I left that first retreat with joy. I felt totally different when I came home than when I had left. My wife greeted me with tears; she could see that I had dramatically changed. She looked at me and said, "This is the man I married!"

The retreat had shaken up my whole life!

I felt this deep satisfaction, knowing, and 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 authentic, genuine.

At the retreat I experienced myself as a being of Love.  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 because I was living into it.

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.


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

And I knew what to do.  During that first couple of years, I attended several retreats, reinforcing my life's new, more joy-filled story. At each retreat, I worked on parts of my old story that held me down.

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

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 uncomfortable situation. It still hurts inside.

But it doesn't last long because I remember I am love. I can even love the person or situation that triggered me, a "thanks for the reminder."

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

Years later, I now lead retreats at my center, Star Dance Ranch. I specialize in helping people with grief and loss issues and other challenging emotions like fear, anxiety, and anger.

You can leave me a message below.

Go From Filling The Hole Inside To Grief, Loss And Other Difficult Emotions Retreats

Go To Shalom Retreat/Breaking Through The Old Story

Go To Long Distance Grief Counseling

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