Introduction

Your life is a journey of learning to love yourself first, and then extending that love to others in every encounter.”

  • Oprah Winfrey

            I don’t want to tell this story. My breath catches as I picture you reading this, fifty years after it happened, even though I know it wasn’t my fault. How could it take me this long to find my voice? Until now, I could tell no one. Please forgive me.

            My story may seem irrelevant, but stories can profoundly affect us and we may not even be aware of their hold on us. When we rewrite our own stories, the world around us shifts. It only took me a moment to decide to be silent, but it took me the rest of my life to uncover the layers of pain and fear I hid beneath. Some people may wish I had remained silent. But I have grown to the point where it is no longer my secret to keep. I ask for the courage to speak to you now so that we all can heal. Our culture, race, religion, or sexual orientation doesn’t matter. We are all connected. It’s my responsibility to heal myself so that I can serve humanity.

            The time is now.

            Please take my hand and walk with me. As the tears fall, hearts open and heal. It is worth the walk through my past to journey from Fear to Freedom. As I dragged my burdens and secrets through life alone, I slowly learned that these problems are universal, in all cultures and languages. Then I discovered that there are tools and resources to help. I offer these to you with love so that you can free yourself from fear, and enter your rightful bliss of Love and Freedom.

            I’m not sure which tool will heal the hole in your heart, but I know that each one has worked for me in a unique and powerful way. I found that silently suffering alone keeps you stuck in the past. Once you change your mind, you change your life.

            It’s time to let go.

            It’s time to begin.

            Join me as we share a journey from Fear to Freedom, where questions become a quest, and unexpected answers are revealed.

                One day happiness arrived and I realized that I hadn’t conquered all my demons, but that I was standing in a clearing and felt more like a princess of serendipity than a victim. I peeked over my shoulder and could see all the mountains of fears I had climbed over and moved beyond. I looked down at my tool belt and noticed I’d acquired a lot of tools and knew how to use them, and I looked at my soul and realized that my spiritual muscles were looking pretty buff.

                Somewhere on my journey I paused and bushed off my guide book and decided, maybe this has some merit for others that are going to be traveling this way too? I know that we are all finding our own way, and this book is here just to tell you about my journey: from Fear to Freedom. I share it in the spirit of adventure. We are all human beings becoming enlightened by  our near brushes with the dragons along the way.

                I have begun to realize that the fire breathing dragons were fears I had to face inside. I was afraid to speak up, and that dis-ease was showing up through weight gain and diabetes. I was afraid of being judged, so I stuffed my feelings, and put on a great act to make sure that I looked good. I was afraid of not being loved, so I shut down and didn’t share my real self with my mom, my husband, and probably everyone.

                I didn’t get there overnight, and the healing shift has taken some time as well. This book documents my stories of how I was, what I did to disassemble what wasn’t working, and how I began rebuilding my life with my loving self in the lead.

                I was a basket case in side. All the while, I was overcompensating for my not-good-enough program by being the school prefect, constantly studying, throwing perfect parties, and working ceaselessly to be perfect enough to receive the love I needed.

                I used to be so afraid of being alone that I couldn’t go to the bathroom or go to sleep alone. It delayed my career as a Hypnotherapist, because I was so terrified that I couldn’t travel to any of my certification seminars, or sleep through the night when I finally arrived.

                Along the way I began to listen to myself while I wrote out my angers and fears. The journaling became problem solving, and instantly released some of the energy and layers coving my inner glory. It took a long time for me to see glory instead of gory. Once I scrapped the layers away, I began to access my inner creativity and find the gifts of acceptance and bliss beneath the haze of depression and pretending.

                My absolute favorite tool, Hypnosis has been my spiritual grace. It was the turning point for me to be able to peel away the layers of anger, resentment, guilt and fear. By finding the traumas, and going deeper into the blind spots that were hidden away, I began to be more loving and less judging.

                Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) became my anywhere instant fix go-to tool. A few taps with that little hammer, and the monsters in my mind began to leave. It was all beginning to be a dream, and I realized that my thoughts were casting the characters and making up the scenes!

                Chakra balancing was yet another planing, smoothing tool for emotional healing. It moves stuck cellular energy by aligning us with our authentic energy we came to be. Sort of like an energy body massage. So nurturing and loving.

                So this is my Mapquest to show you where I was when I was stuck, and how I’ve gotten where I am today. It also shows you what I do when I fall into the dead end places, and what works for the long haul versus short term gratification of quick fixes.

                Let’s be clear, we are here to help each other along. I have been blessed with many wise teachers, and I would never have gotten where I am without their kindness and patience. I honor their gifts as I share them with you.

                My hope is that they will serve you as they have served me, and that together we will continue to heal as one sacred and deserving human family.

                If you have gotten this far, this manual is your treasure map to freedom! I will show you the guideposts and the places to mine, and the ways to do it so that you hit gold and don’t waste a lot of time. It does not matter where you are or if you are like me. You are unique. This route to freedom is customized and created with you in mind, and you are the one who’s commitment and courage will carry you through to where our common Mother that loves us all equally, and sent us forth to be victorious is calling us home with great love and encouragement. We will learn together how to hear the inner voice of our intuitive greatness and harness our capacity for peace, despite appearances.

With Great Love,

Hena

Hena Husain – FORWARD

An event is felt to be traumatic when it places a strain on the mind that feels like “too much.” The mind tries its best to manage and cope, but feels stretched to its max, and beyond. This results in a whole host of feelings that include, but are not limited to, profound helplessness, fear, lack of safety, lack of control, intense anxiety, and anger. For children in particular, experiences that shatter their usual sense of safety , their trust in others and their belief that they will be protected, can feel particularly traumatic. When such experiences are repeated, over and over again, the sense of trauma increases.

        Hena Husain has written a brave, bold, and beautiful book about traumatic experiences in her earlier life, her “recollection” of these in her adult life, and her quest to heal herself. Although she had been working on this book, on and off, for the past  several years, in the recent wake of the #MeToo movement, she decided to complete and publish it. And in doing so, Hena has done all of us a tremendous favor.

       Hena writes with a directness that is poignant  and takes us right into the heart of her story. She shares with us her very painful experiences of being molested (in different ways, to different degrees, at different times in her life , by different males) when she was  five, ten, and fifteen years old. These experiences occurred within the context of an intact nuclear family, and a loving extended family.  Her account reminds us of the  necessity of conveying to  our children, through words and deeds,  that there is nothing they could tell us that we wouldn’t want to hear. It is conviction in a child’s mind that usually allows a child to share unpleasant, scary, and shameful experiences with a parent, safe in the knowledge that they will be heard without being doubted, accused, blamed, or being told that it must be their fault. I cannot count the number of times in my day to day work as a psychoanalyst ( and in accounts of the work of other therapists and analysts) where patients have been told (when they report abuse and molestation) that what they are saying could not possibly be true. This disbelief on the part of the parent then becomes an additional trauma, superimposed on the primary one, as the child’s sense of safety and expectation of being looked after/protected, is shattered, again.

      Hena’s account is also a reminder that sexual predators do lurk in unexpected places, so parents have to walk a fine line between being overprotective (thus instilling fear in a child) and being reasonably cautious when leaving a child unsupervised, or with other people. We know that try as we might, and despite our best efforts, children may still be placed in unexpectedly dangerous and abusive  situations. As   notes, it could even be in the familiar kitchen of a family member’s home. Or at the hands of a so-called “Man of God.” The child’s best defense under such circumstances is knowledge (to be forewarned is to forearmed) that in such a situation, what is happening is never their fault, and they have a right to scream for help. If, despite all precautions, a child’s body or mind (through threats and efforts to intimidate) are abused, the next important step is for the child to be able, quickly, “to tell” a trusted adult about what happened so that the child can be protected and helped, and the predator called to justice. Hena describes, like many children, not being able to do so. And nobody asked. Nor was anybody curious or suspicious. Thus the first set of traumatic experiences (at age five) laid down painful scar tissue in her psyche, as though she was to blame for what happened to her at the hands of her family servant’s thirteen year-old boy.

         Hena’s account of a later molestation by the family chauffeur when she was ten, is heartbreaking. She  blames herself for what was happening, feeling that somehow, this must be her fault, as though she was responsible for the transgression of the adult. This is not an uncommon response in such situations. The traumatized child, bewildered about how or why their parents failed to protect them, can easily feel that their parents must be uncaring and  “bad” parents. This is of course a very difficult feeling for the child, since it feels then as though they have lost their previously good enough parents. In order to maintain a good image of the parents in her mind, the child starts to feel “bad” herself. After all, something bad has happened to her, her parents did not prevent it, and yet they must be preserved in her mind as good parents. So an important defensive step the mind takes is to make the child decide that all that happened is somehow her fault.

        Then Hena surprises us (and maybe she herself was surprised!) by the courage and determination  she shows when a Moulana coming to her home, approaches her sexually. She is fifteen then. And finally, even though she is still not able to share details with her Mother, she is able to say to her mother that she will not study with the Moulana again. Something had already started to shift in Husain’s mind by then.  And it is with this same determination and courage that Husain would later take on the challenge of recovering from her traumas.

          We see that Hena has realized over time that in addition to  sexual molestation, death, loss, and separations have placed a major role in her life. These experiences added to her sense of anxiety and her worry about the fragility of life. At the same time, her sense of her father as strong and loving, and the sustenance she experienced from her extended family, also comes through. Human beings and their lives are highly complex and multilayered. Hena’s is no exception. And she allows us to experience all the layers, discreetly and with subtlety,  but with complete honesty.

          She details her journey of becoming a Clinical Hypnotherapist. In fact, it was while she was training for this that she became clearly aware of feelings and memories surrounding the abuse. She started allowing herself to feel the locked up, compartmentalized parts of herself, tucked away for so long. She writes, “The more you feel, the more you heal.” She used various well-researched and established modalities in her own healing process. and she shares seven of these  with us, her readers, in a most useful way. It is a road map to recovery, to healing from trauma.

       With unusual candor, Hena discusses the struggles in her marriage to her dearly loved husband Nasir. She comes to recognize, wisely, that the best relationships are built not on a lack of disagreements and differences of opinion; rather, it is the understanding of the disagreements and the tolerance for differences of opinion that makes a relationship stronger. So she and Nasir keep working at their relationship and Hena keeps using the tools she has learnt to change the way she thinks about situations with her husband. She points out to us that such internal work allows her to experience herself as having the choice to be happy or to feel embittered, on any given day. Hena’s love for, pride in, and joy about her three children pervades her life and has clearly been of great value in helping her heal, even as she provided for them emotionally.

        Hena’s internal growth is evident in the way she deals with her own struggles recently about wanting a beautiful two million dollar home on a lake. After days of anguish, and wanting the house, at almost any cost, while her husband and children kept pointing out they could not afford the house, Hena prayed, meditated, and exercised. In the moments that followed, she realized that “I had created it all in my head. The drama, the anxiety, the story was in my head.”  She had a breakthrough. She writes, “We get so caught up in material possessions that will satisfy our need to feel good and be successful. The lake that I desired,” Hena explains, “is really the peaceful, tranquil emotions that I create from inside. I AM THE LAKE (capitalization mine);our bodies are seventy percent water”.

         May we all find the wisdom to understand that what we are trying to find outside ourselves is but an illusion : and that if only we could discover the lakes and mansions within our own selves , we would easily  lead lives of great contentment and be able to be at peace with who we really are.