"The raging bitch inside my head is gone!"
Heidi's words were music to my ears. And for every artist gathered around our long picnic table at The Grove, we all burst out laughing with her in her bold declaration that the raging bitch inside her head was dead and gone.
I could almost imagine The Wizard of Oz Munchkins springing out from behind our lemon and avocado trees in joyful dance and exuberant song, "Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead."
A bit of backstory... there were fourteen of us at The Grove for our Cultivated Artist Experience Gathering. It was Saturday morning and we were sitting around the picnic table catching up, sharing what had been going on in our lives and creative work since our last artist retreat.
Heidi's turn came and she started with, "I'm doing good... yeah, I think I've been doing really good. Every since our last Getaway, the raging bitch inside my head is gone!"
Did she just say what I think she said? When the laughter died down, Heidi went on to explain the transformational breakthrough she experienced at our last artist Getaway retreat.
Understand this, Heidi is the sweetest person. She's the last one you'd ever consider a witch or a bitch. Ever since I've known her, I've experienced her as kind, thoughtful, and full of laughter.
What I and no one else could see going on inside of her was the raging, ranting, critiquing and condemning self-hatred that had consumed her for years.
It was at the artist getaway retreat months earlier that she shared her story of growing up with a difficult father she could never seem to please and whose affection could never be won except through performance and doing the things he wanted versus following the dreams and desires of her heart.
As a child, Heidi had always wanted to be an artist, but being the successful businessman he was, her father downplayed and dismissed her dreams of artistry with admonitions of practicality and financial stability.
So Heidi became an elementary school teacher. And a good one at that.
When her father died a couple years ago, she thought she'd finally be free of his criticisms and her new-found freedom would be invigorated with a burst of creativity energy and many completed canvases.
To her dismay, she had her blank canvases, paint and brushes ready to go, but amidst her grief — and the raging bitch inside her head — she couldn't find the energy or desire to create. She felt terribly alone and isolated.
And so the bitch had the run of the place inside her head. She'd glob on more guilt and condemnation about how she was never really an artist in the first place, her work wasn't any good, she should spend more time serving others at church and in the community, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.
It was at the artist getaway that Heidi experienced the transformational love of God that her earthly father had been unable to give her. For so many years, she had been a dutiful Christian knowing and doing good things to "please God."
As we discovered, Heidi knew a lot of things about God in her head, but that was the same space where the chain-smoking raging bitch took up residence like an unwanted, loafing relative who'd never leave. Heidi had tried to evict her again and again...
What Heidi needed (and experienced) was connecting her heart with the generous heart of her Heavenly Father. A Father who is extremely fond of her.
What she needed was lavish love and the permission to be who she really is: A daughter. An artist. A child free to create without worry or fear.
And so, when she shared her story with all of us that day at The Grove, we all celebrated like a circle of dancing Munchkins with laughter, cheers, and a staggering sense of wonder and astonishment at the generous goodness of God.
You see, until you let others inside, the Real You will never get out.
Heidi moved from raging self-hatred to health and wholeness. She'd be the first to say she's not finished and there are days the hiding, lying bitch wants to raise her head up from behind the couch, but she now has far more good days than bad days.
Tomorrow is Good Friday. It offers all of us the hope of many more good days here on earth.
Sunday is Easter, offering us the Promise of that One Day when Every Day is a Great Day.
Good Friday is Jesus the Son dying, separated from His Father, to make us all sons and daughters.
Easter is God's victory song of life, resurrection and wholeness; His tender love singing and dancing over us.
Can't you hear the Munchkin's rejoicing?
Ding dong! The wicked witch of sin is dead!
Ding dong! The raging bitch of self-hatred is dead!
Wake up you sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed!
Rise! Rise from the dead!
Heidi's certainly heard this song. She's now alive, whole and free.
And that's music to my ears...
I'd love your thoughts and comments below...