You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'
I’m still that scared little girl. The one who hid behind her mom’s legs. The one who had one best friend in Kindergarten. The one who made sure her closet door was closed each night and that my limbs didn’t fall over the edge of the bed. That one. The one who feared the future and just wanted to play with her stuffed animals (I had names for every one of them).
That little girl trips me up. I wish I could go back in time and tell her that it really was going to be okay. I wish I could tell her that she would gain the strength to fight her monsters—and win.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
What is it this time? How is she showing up? Today it’s having the courage to burn down closet doors that keep me from being 100% honest with all the people I encounter. If my “spiritual closet” opens and closes once again I really will need a revolving door on it. So I want to burn it down. I don’t want to hide any longer. But that little girl—she’s peeking out from behind the door and telling me to come back inside where it’s safe. But it isn’t safe. I’m losing energy hiding.
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
What do I have to lose? Everything!! At least that’s the risk assessment going on in my mind. Professional relationships that are genuine are not that easy to come by; and I don’t want to lose what has taken precious time and energy to build. However, I’m still losing out. I’m not able to be authentic in all my relationships and so I’m still hiding in that closet or under the bed wishing people would lighten up. Though I haven’t heard an unkind word yet—but my mind—it stores up all of the what ifs and what could bes.
We're taught to be ashamed of confusion, anger, fear and sadness, and to me they're of equal value to happiness, excitement and inspiration.
The truth is that I’m never going to be “Christian enough” for some people once they find out I’m a minister. Being Christian in the metaphysical world is too religious and not spiritual enough. I’m never going to be scholarly enough for some colleagues—I’m a feeler and a healer and that’s who I am. And I identify as queer—so that’s fine for some and not for others. And what about my abilities to see and perceive what is beyond this physical realm?!—well that’s just weird for everyone so I should just stay quiet about that. But I can’t. But that little girl inside is begging me to be quiet.
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
I just am. I’m healing. I’m working on emptying my baggage on a regular basis. I’m lighter than I used to be. My calling is to encourage others to do the same. That is what it’s like on the other side of the closet—it’s lighter. I’m telling that little girl at the same time I’m telling you—it’s okay out here. Come out.
Don't Judge Me, But...
I have learned the hard way to mind my business, without judging who people are and what they do. I am more troubled by the lack of space being provided for the truth to unfold. Humans cannot seem to wait for or honor the truth. Instead, we make it up based on who we believe people should or should not be.
“Don’t judge me, but I like…” “Don’t judge me, but I just bought…” “Don’t judge me, but I am _____…” How often do we say hear this or even say something like it? Admittedly for me—quite often…too often. It appears that this may be the next adventure in healing. I was pondering this topic and then went to church this morning (10/23) and this was the subject matter for the sermon (based on Luke 18:9-14). The passage is one where Jesus is flipping the narrative (as was typical for him) of who is righteous and has a “pass” on judging others. Well, turns out the story highlights self righteousness and yes, that it is unacceptable to the Rabbi from Nazareth—and it turns out no one has a pass on judging others. One of the take aways from the sermon resonating with me is, “Love is more powerful than being right.” Dang. I've heard this phrased other ways but it packs a punch from the pulpit.
And then it’s time for the rubber to hit the road. I, like the minister in church today, enjoy being right. However, as I’ve gotten older and maybe a *little* wiser, I realize I enjoy friendships and connections. Yes, it’s true—and judging each other and the desire to be right gets in the way of authentic connection. Sure, that’s a no-brainer. How easy is this to practice in our daily routines? How often do you correct people on Internet forums or social media—or see others correcting people? Sure, we can’t participate in the “dumbing down of our nation,” but there is also a way to do it tactfully and without appearing arrogant or superior.
If I feel good about my parenting, I have no interest in judging other people's choices. If I feel good about my body, I don't go around making fun of other people's weight or appearance. We're hard on each other because we're using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived deficiency.
As the quote from Brené Brown alludes to, it’s about recognizing where we may feel deficient or lacking. In order to fill that void we often feel the need to prove ourselves. When I get real about it, it’s about the deficiency from my childhood in relationship with my sibling. She was the shining star in academics. There was no way for me to compete with that level of genius. She was literally in a league of her own. I, on the other hand, landed in remedial reading groups, remedial math, and just about any other subject. I couldn’t keep up. In all honesty, I didn’t want to. It wasn’t worth it—I was never going to be at that level. After my experiences with family this summer, I realize that my emotional life was overflowing and I had no coping or processing skills—and that took up parts of my brain needed for learning and remembering things. I, too, was in a league of my own—but there was no one there to understand my issues and I couldn’t articulate them.
Fast-forward to when I gained enough confidence to excel at the collegiate level—I became the enemy. I had little patience for people who weren’t willing to put in the time or effort to finish the assignments. Fast-forward to when I was in graduate school…it was even worse. Again, who was there to lend a hand or some sage words of advice? (crickets) Yes, I had to go through some humbling in order to stop being my own worst enemy. I’ve also had to find forgiveness within the deepest reaches of my being so that I can get back to center. It’s been quite a journey to find balance. It will continue to be a journey. As the minister said today, “God’s love is big enough to bigger than our sins.” Thank heavens!! Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to—a recognition that there is a force greater than ourselves that loves us, forgives us, and wants us to share this with others. We can’t do that if our ability to judge others outweighs our ability to see the child of God before us. It’s our choice.
When you are spiritually connected, you are not looking for occasions to be offended, and you are not judging and labeling others. You are in a state of grace in which you know you are connected to God and thus free from the effects of anyone or anything external to yourself.
Coming to Surface
Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
I’ve tried so hard not to write about this presidential campaign. I came close but I can’t keep quiet any longer (22 days and counting at the time of writing this). I had a whole host of things to write about regarding the GOP candidate—his hatred of immigrants and people of color, debate “techniques,” his connection to white supremacy organizations (yes, plural), where he stands on LGBTQ+ issues, and so on—and now there is his assault on women. Like I said, he’s built quite the list. I struggled a bit deciding if I was going to write on my personal experiences of unwanted male attention (stalking and rape), but I decided on a different focus. I’ve read a couple posts on social media in the last week or so about thanking this candidate for bringing things to surface in our society that need to be addressed. I’ve wrestled with this concept. Does this candidate really deserve our gratitude? Given his ego, immaturity, and lack of class, probably not. But, what if this was one of his soul’s purpose?
This election season is wrought with emotion and as one who is heart-centered—I can easily get swept away by passionate words. It takes extra effort for me to stay the course. And, because I’m attempting to look at a larger picture and see how this concept would play out (gratitude for bringing things to surface)—that does not mean that I condone his ugly, abusive, soul-breaking, or corrosive behavior nor do I think it shouldn’t go punished within our justice system as appropriate. I can do my best to practice my Christian faith when it comes to men like this and forgive them; and such an act takes time, courage, and patience with self and others. I should also say that I am in no way intending to elevate this candidate in any way—gratitude for showing our country its societal ills (while perpetuating many of them) does not mean lifting up a person on a pedestal with a first place ribbon.
Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.
The image that came to mind when thinking about this topic was the ecosystem of a lake. Yes, I thought of pond scum!! However, after a minor re-education on what exactly happens in this ecosystem, I see that there is a balance required for optimal health. The conditions have to be just right for a lake to maintain its health and ability to feed the microscopic organisms all the way to the trees. Perhaps the same could be said for our nation (I know, it’s a stretch, but I like me a nice metaphor!). Things have been out of balance in our nation for quite some time—many would argue all the way back to when the Indigenous Peoples were slaughtered and misplaced. And yes, many people are unwilling to look at this fact and believe that they have inalienable rights to the land they “own” to the air they breathe. Perhaps this is a crude metaphor and there are countless other ways to illustrate this point; however, this is what came to my mind.
As free citizens in a political democracy, we have a responsibility to be interested and involved in the affairs of the human community, be it
at the local or the global level.
I also think of the teachings of my religious tradition (Swedenborgian) and the works of Carl Jung. It is Jung who explained, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.” I have participated in this work in my own life and working toward reconciling my life narrative and experiences in my family of origin. And so, when I take a step back and breathe from what I see playing out on the national stage called the presidential election—I see this concept in its systemic form. Because it is systemic, these oppressive forces have harmed countless people for generations. I am not excusing or condoning it, but rather understanding that it is going to take a massive acknowledgement for our history and clear choices to correct and atone for these wrongs. It is not impossible and it is imperative for our nation to move forward and heal. An example is the hashtag #notokay where people are coming forward and sharing their experiences with sexual assault. The removal of stigma and building of community is one step forward in the healing process. I'm also not looking to gloss over issues and jump to healing when an important step in the healing process is to speak and listen about a whole host of issues. I'm looking at what can happen next for our nation that is desperate for healing to take place.
But, that does not mean I have to vote for him! *wink*
The worst thing that can happen in a democracy - as well as in an individual's life - is to become cynical about the future and lose hope.
~Hillary R. Clinton
Everything Is Changing
I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility.
Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time.
Everything is changing. Perhaps that a silly phrase—of course everything’s changing. Our bodies are actively regenerating, the cosmos continues to grow and shift, organizations experience turnover and growth, and so on. It’s not a silly realization when one is in the midst of life changes: births, deaths, relationships ending or beginning, living situations changing, and so on. We are continually changing; however, it depends on where we are in the cycle as to how deep the impact is felt. And yes, it’s autumn—the season we all recognize as a time to let go of what no longer serves. It’s a period of letting go and preparing for dormancy. What do you need to release?
Progress is impossible without change, and those who
cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
~George Bernard Shaw
You can probably guess that I’m in the middle of a life/situation change. I am in the process of finding a new home (and no I’m not going to be posting location details on the internet, thank you!). It’s been a long time coming and I feel like I am ready (though excited and nervous at the same time). Because I have been following what’s happening energetically on the planet (and stars, too!), I understand that it is important to pay attention to signs and signals. I’ve been in denial for a while now and it’s time to emerge. My comfort zone has become uncomfortable and uninhabitable. Yes, even spiritually inclined people trip and fall through life. However, I’m back to paying attention and ready to walk the walk of authenticity (though excited and nervous at the same time).
Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.
What has helped pave the way for these changing? Well, yes, I continue to do healing on emotional issues on a regular basis. What else has helped?—the chakra classes I began a couple weeks ago (click here to learn more). Yes, these class discussions that include meditation and other healings have begun to build the foundation of change. I still am surprised when I see the effectiveness and results of laying the inner foundation on an energetic level. Perhaps I shouldn’t—but it still rocks my world when I see the impact. I’ve also been participating in physical therapy for my ankle and that has given me more confidence physically to do what I need to do for all these changes. It’s not an accident that these classes, physical therapy, and location change all are happening at the same time. The energy of each activity is influencing the other. There are parts that need a confidence boost here and there, but that will come.
I think I’ll be running the series again in the spring—another season of change.
If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
This was a necessary piece to write, but it was difficult for me to sit down and get started. There was some stuff that got triggered or “unearthed” for me this summer during various events and it's been difficult to put into words what I've been feeling and experiencing. I think I was able to get a good start while writing this. Of course there are more layers and I will address them as they come to surface.
For the past several years I openly admitted to being a control freak (it’s not that I wasn’t prior to this, but I’ve been more honest about it lately). Yes, it’s true. For those who know me this probably isn’t shocking. I like structure (and then freedom within that structure to be free and spontaneous), I like order, and I like things a certain way. And yet, I am in a vocation where nothing is certain—at least on an inter-personal level. When I was in a parish, I knew where the Bible and candles were—and that was about it! I also am actively involved in my denomination’s youth program and there is plenty of uncertainty in that realm. My friends and fellow youth workers and I would joke about which activity we wanted to “control”—we’re all on the spectrum of wanting control. The good thing with these people was the ability to laugh at ourselves and also keep each other in check in case we got a little overboard.
And then we get to the summer of 2016. The political climate is more than anyone can bear at the moment. Vitriol is spewing and people's defenses are up--no one wants to let their guard down in case that leaves an opening for the opponent. It's ugly. This energy is dividing friends, families and co-workers. It’s permeating throughout the entire culture and we are all feeling on edge.
The violence we are witnessing is perhaps one outlet for this energy and the world feels incredibly unsafe now more than ever--despite evidence to the contrary. We are living in tension.
The earth is more fragile as we are past the point of no return in a lot ways regarding the environment. We need to make a global shift for the sake of the planet. In the mean time, we are witnessing a wide variety of healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with all this tension and feeling out of control in so many areas.
~Al Gore: An Inconvenient Truth
If anyone tells you, “Oh yeah—I’m totally a control freak!” they are admitting that they had no control/were out of control for a part of their lives. Granted, as children we are quite limited in the control we have over our circumstances. However, for many children there are times where they have the freedom to be themselves*. I had those moments during childhood until I didn’t. There were a couple of personalities as I was growing that interrupted that for me. It was incredibly traumatic and it wasn’t until I was around those personalities for an extended time this summer than I recognized a certain level of trauma I need to heal for myself—and yes, I will do the healing. During those times in childhood I wasn’t cognizant of what exactly was being taken from me. I just knew I needed to find a safe place until the storm moved on. Summer “vacations” were the worst during my school years as I had to wait an agonizing amount of time until I could get back home. The only breaks I had were during church camps and such.
This summer I thought I would be okay—and I was wrong. I still have healing to do. The good news is that I have a safe place to call home and friends who help me when I’m limping a bit. And yes, I have a therapist who is helping me process and compost.
* And yes, perhaps I am writing from a privileged perspective and I recognize that.
As I’ve been reflecting on summer events (both global and personal) and what has been triggering for me, I realize that I experienced trauma throughout my childhood…not just during the summers after my parents’ divorce. There were other bullies in my life and I see how this has affected my ability to learn. Yes, I have a reading comprehension deficit (funny because I like to write) that started in Kindergarten. I found this article that explains the impact of trauma and learning. I would constantly beat myself up for not being able to keep up with the rest of my class—I gave up on keeping with my sibling a long time ago. This understanding is actually liberating. I’m not an idiot as I thought for years. I must have had pain stacked up for years that got in the way—I realize this now and as I heal I have the freedom to think. This may sound like a statement of the obvious, but it is affecting me in profound ways. I’m ready to heal and ready to learn.
My “go-tos” for healing situations like this are Emotional Freedom Technique as it clears layers at a time and there are phrases that trap emotions in us, too. I also use the Emotion Code as there are trapped emotions ready to be released and this modality will help point me to what is ready to go.
What layers are you ready to shed? Are you stuck and need help getting started? Message me for an appointment to help you get started in the healing process and resolving the past.
A Summer of Pain and Healing
First, in case you wonder why I’m so candid about my story, my narrative, I’ve struggled my whole life with the concept of sweeping things under the rug. My gosh, that carpet would have to be HUGE and then the condition of those piles swept under it. Gross! Also, I understand my calling on the planet to be one who sheds light in dark spaces—we were meant to shine for crying out loud and one cannot shine if hiding in the corner, the basement, or the shadows of life. To that end, I share my life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I choose to use who I am and my narrative in order to demonstrate the power in various healing modalities as well as the presence of God in our struggles working with us to heal and mend. I hold true to a theology where God does not create the pain we experience but allows it. It is up to us to recognize the struggle and create pathways out of it. We have the choice of how to participate.
Yes, it has been a summer of pain—starting with my ankle injury in May (which has yet to heal), a massacre in the LGBTQ+ community in June, and personal and professional struggles throughout the other months. I am also feeling connected to the pain of the world which has been difficult to ignore lately. It’s been quite a roller coaster between the struggle and the summer fun I was able to enjoy in bits and spurts.
I collected experiences throughout the summer and now am in the healing portion of the journey. I have had enough distance from the people, places, and incidents that triggered my emotional pain. I have to remember that I am a soul having a human experience. I have to get in touch with what my soul is telling me, and right now it’s telling me, “Enough already! Remember all the healing you’ve done in the past?! Let’s get back to that. You don’t have to keep suffering.” If we are to participate in this “heaven on earth” thing—maybe it’s time to transform the suffering.
The acts of healing, love, and forgiveness we do today are seeds we plant for future generations. The seeds are sown between souls, systems, and cultures. Let us cultivate a future of love.
Storms Eventually Pass
Well, I survived. My heart is somewhat heavy and I have some healing to do*. There were many “storm fronts” colliding as my family and I gathered for our reunion on Cape Cod.
Any time my (four) parents, my sister, and I gather it is a time when I need to use angelic armor**. Anything can happen and words cut just as deep as knives. And yes, there were words spoken and rude behavior that cut deeply. This is what I intend to heal.
Just thinking about gathering together is enough to make my skin crawl and anxiety shoot through the roof. As I thought about this specific gathering, my coping mechanisms from the past took the driver’s seat and I prayed I would make it out alive. The only difference for this gathering was a prolonged visit with these folks and all the dynamics.
What I needed to remember in the eye of the storm:
“It is very difficult to develop a proper sense of self-esteem in a dysfunctional family. Having very little self-worth, looking at one’s own character defects becomes so overwhelming there is no room for inward focus. People so afflicted think: “I need to keep you from knowing me. I have already rejected me, but if you knew how flawed I am, you would also reject me…and since this is all I have, I could not stand any more rejection. I am not worthy of someone understanding me so you will not get the chance...so I must judge, reject, attack, and/or find fault with you. I don’t accept me so how can I accept you?”
David W. Earle
It was difficult a lot of the time, but there were many shining moments during the reunion—like spending time with my niece who I rarely get to see.
She is an innocent bystander in this family. Maybe some day she will hear of childhood stories, but for now she gets to live in the moment free from wars fought in the past. She is the next generation for whom I broke chains and dispelled demons. The fight may not have been for my own child, but she is part of the legacy nonetheless.
"Every child grows up thinking their father is a hero or villain
until they are old enough to realize that he is just a man."
"To describe my mother would be to write about
a hurricane in its perfect power.
Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow."
Yes, in case you're wondering it did take therapy for us to get here. I am incredibly indebted to the time and effort my mom and step dad made in making all those appointments. We are reaping the benefits and I really enjoy the time we get to spend together.
These were also shining moments during the reunion.
*So what is this healing I will do now that I am home? I will most likely use the healing modality The Emotion Code to release the negative emotions and programs that are ready to be released. I also use the Emotional Freedom Technique to release negative emotions and programs. I will be addressing the soul contract with my sibling. I will be addressing the sadness surrounding any and all relationships. Above all, I will be asking what my soul is ready to release.
**"Angelic Armor" is what I call imagining the energetic protection I put around myself.
What are the storms in your life? Do you need help healing from these storms?
Into the Lion's Den
Family reunions. These two words can conjure just about anything. What comes to mind when you hear these words? Do you eagerly anticipate such events? Or, do you run to the hills screaming when an invitation comes in the mail? Are you the first one to RSVP and arrange your travel? For better or worse, family is part of our lives. We come to the planet and these are the first people to greet us. And yes, if you haven't figured out by now...I'm preparing to attend my family reunion in the next couple days.
Our family will be gathering in Falmouth, Massachusetts for several days. I am looking forward to this experience as I have vague memories of a gathering with Tafels when I was a small child. It will be interesting to meet a wide variety of relatives for the first time. Historically speaking, the family gathers every other year and meets in either Europe or America. I am extremely blessed to be able to attend this event. At the same time, I'm kind of shaking in my boots--because of my nuclear family who will also be attending.
Perhaps we refer to these relations as nuclear for a particular reason (ha ha ha). As I said above, these are the first people who greet us on the planet. For some, it's a lovely experience with challenges here are there but done in a loving home with a solid foundation. For some, family is a foreign concept and relationships were forged in foster and adoptive settings. For some of us...the experience of childhood and adolescence was laden with minefields and volcanic relationships passing as family.
Once my parents divorced, re-marriages were next. For one, it was almost immediate. This was the volcanic relationship I referenced. From this experience, I learned to hide who I was. There was absolutely no point in being authentic if it meant complete annihilation of my whole being. Self worth? Non-existent after a while. Nuclear family--I can tell you what that means.
I made it through the rest of my senior year and to graduation. It was nothing short of a miracle but the end was in sight and I hung on to the promise of freedom. However, what people failed to mention was that “freedom” was a thinly veiled word for lots of responsibility, but I digress. Once I removed the initial layer of pain and grief, I saw that there was a world ready to be discovered. I wasn’t going to attend college full time so I had options before me. I worked and found that I was interested in modeling (people told me I had a pretty face) and then acting school—a love I developed in junior high but didn’t pursue due to not being fully settled and between homes for a few years around that time. It turns out that I’m a bad actress (humbling to realize when you have a love for it)—but I LOVE character development. The human psyche as uncharted territory became a new passion. It turns out that I found a new way to process all these emotions from my past. There were a few times I went a wee bit too far down the rabbit hole—but I had a teacher who helped me find my way back. The possibilities were endless. It was thrilling!
Fast-forward to today. Have I really changed all that much?--God I hope so! LOL Seriously, I went from no tools for processing my past experience (read: the emotions I carried within me from past experiences and my neural processes for coping in these situations)--to an abundance of processing tools. I owe a great deal to my teacher, friend and mentor, Brenda Power. We met through a mutual friend and I learned amazing amounts of knowledge as well as the tools I use today to release the garbage from the past. "Take out the trash," they say. Well, I have. Am I done? Nope. Still living and breathing on the planet which means miles to go yet.
**Don't be afraid to look within--that's where you'll find the answers. I'm not kidding!**
Am I really heading into the lion's den? Not really--that is just an outdated story that is ready to transform. I will be doing some healing homework before I board the plane.
Does this sound familiar? What are your stories ready for transformation? Hit me up...would love to compare notes.
"If a cat shows up...Whatever you’ve released—relationships, material goods, self-defeating habits—will soon be replaced with something or someone entirely more suitable for who you are presently.” This was a message from what cats have to say as spirit guides that rings true for me.
Cats win one more time!
The incident with my ankle injury took place on May 22, 2016
*NOTE: THIS was going to be my first blog post, but the situation in Orlando, FL took precedence.
The scene looks so innocent. A beautiful lawn. Blooming trees. You can almost hear the birds in the background. And yes, it is beautiful. I've been attending summer camp at Almont since 1978 and I adore the place. A few things have changed but the big, green carpet of lawn has pretty much stayed the same. That is probably why snakes, gophers, groundhogs, etc. consider it a great place to call home.
This is where it all took place.
Here are some of the efforts pictured below.
Photo Credit: Heather Oelker (pictured below gardening)
The result of stepping in a hole in the ground (animal's home) is pictured to the right. I've been doing my best to keep it elevated with ice--but I have things to do and people to see!
I've had plenty of thinking time since being off my feet. Admittedly, not doing as much healing as needed. This feels like a core issue--and those are difficult for me to get excited to tackle from a healing perspective. However, I have been observing A LOT of what has transpired since this incident. One of the first things I did when I got home from the work weekend was look at the Louise Hay information about ankles. Then I used intuition to discern that the issue at hand was about "not being able to receive blessings in life." Boy oh boy, did that ring true. While in observer-mode, I've been seeing what's happened in my life relates to this statement.
So, I have my homework in front of me and I think I am ready to do some healing. I will let you know what I find out.
What was happening during my time of observation? Well, things seemed to get really wacky in the universe. There was a combination of this particular core issue coming to surface at time when energetically and cosmically things were out of alignment. Perhaps that is WHY this issue came to surface. AMIRIGHT?
Needless to say it's all fun and games until your body, car, home, relationships take a hit.
I'll share some pictures to illustrate this point.
If it wasn't clear that healing needed to occur--this week drove that point home (pun intended).
I will continue to examine the spiritual issue(s) that led up to such an injury.
I definitely don't want the next bitch slap from the Universe.
This is my story. I write to unearth hidden stories and also to show others the way toward restoration and wholeness.
Almont Retreat Center
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Joseph And Coat
LGBTQ Grief Resources
Queer People Of Color
Sense Of Humor