Opus Peace

Opus Peace is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to creating an Opus of Peace in our personal lives, while supporting others to do so as well. Our mission is to respond to the soul injury generated by unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt that occurs during trauma, abuse, and neglect. “Opus” is a Latin noun that means “a work,” and is commonly used to describe a complex masterpiece. “Opus” is an old word that captures the ageless, artful complexity of creating a true “masterpeace” — pervasive peace that penetrates beyond comforting facades.  The word “opus” reminds us that authentic peace requires work, courageous work, to heal scattered pieces of self. It also requires work to penetrate defensive, intimidating inner terrain that often prevents us from encountering our loving, grace-filled, compassionate self that hides its vulnerability in our depths. Once we are able to do this, however, we move from sole to soul.

Deborah Grassman’s book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, is used by book circles around the country. The book is a guide for how to create and achieve genuine peace. The opening paragraph depicts her recognition of the personal need for re-owning and re-homing pieces of self, foreshadowing the subsequent process of healing. She writes: “No one taught me how to fail. No one showed me how to lose, and because I never learned these things, I felt alone when they occurred. Sometimes, I felt more than alone. I felt incompetent if I didn’t win; I felt rejected if I wasn’t the chosen favorite. I felt worthless or guilty if I couldn’t please someone. Certainly, I never considered opening my heart for a class on how to experience losing and failing.”

Ultimately, Opus Peace is a class on how to open our hearts to losing and failing, paradoxically, becoming whole in the process. Re-owning and then re-homing pieces of self (often hidden behind facades or exiled into unconsciousness) precipitate healing. Telling our stories of lostness (without the distorting illusion of how we wish our lives to be) is the first step toward freedom. Hearing other peoples’ stories en-courages us to liberate our own. Thus, achieving “masterpeace” is made easier within a community of trustworthy people so that wholeness can be restored together. The closing paragraph of The Hero Within provides the context for this kind of community building. Deborah writes: ” Stories, shared in a small community of trustworthy people, remind us that we belong to one another and that we can help each other. Stories connect us to each other and ourselves. Sharing our story opens our hearts and teaches us how to encounter our pain. Telling our story renders meaning out of chaos so that our suffering is not wasted. Stories preserve memories and help us define who we are. They help us sort out what is significant from what is not. Understanding our story grows us into our larger selves so we can become more conscious. They expand our imagination and stimulate creativity so that new vistas are opened. Stories shared among trusted friends restore hope as possibilities for new passageways are created. Stories help us redeem the destiny we were born to fulfill. Stories show us how to cultivate honesty, courage, and humility so that we can access the hero within. The question is: Am I willing to become the hero I was born to be?”

Opus Peace hopes to en-courage the creation of “Hero-Birthing” centers, individually and/or within small communities of people.

Our vision is to:

• Promote authentic peace by doing the work of healing self-disregard, heartache, chronic illness, neglect, abuse, trauma, death, or war so we can inhabit ourselves more completely.
• Educate and support individuals, companies, and communities through: presentations, books, web-based learning, consultation, ceremonial workshops, retreats, mentoring, and train-the-trainer programs.
• Promote and mentor self-sustaining, small, healing communities for personal growth, relying on vitality within and beyond ourselves to propel us toward wholeness and holiness.
• Facilitate Soul Injury ceremonial workshops to heal our nation after war and Soul Restoration ceremonial workshops to revitalize the weary, wary caregiver’s heart.
• Develop a network of like-minded associates who live and promote the mission of Opus Peace.
• Receive donations and grants from individuals and organizations who passionately want to risk wholly living the mission and vision of Opus Peace, personally and professionally.


Opus Peace Founders


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Deborah Grassman

Is a mental health Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner with 30 years experience working with dying veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is the CEO of Opus Peace nonprofit organization. She is the author of two books: Peace at Last and The Hero Within. She is well-known as one of the nation’s leading experts in caring for Veterans nearing the end of life. She is on the advisory boards for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross foundation and the Ira Byock PBS film project The Best Care Possible.


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Pat McGuire

Is an ADEC-certified bereavement counselor specializing in grief and traumatic loss with 20 years experience working with Veterans Bereavement interventions that she has developed have been used extensively throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs system nationwide. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Opus Peace nonprofit.



Opus Peace Board of Directors


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Marie Bainbridge

President of Opus Peace

Marie is a Vietnam War Veteran and Bronze Star recipient. Her career as a nurse spanned forty years and included both, Walter Reed Army Hospital and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.


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Naomi Diamond

Vice President of Opus Peace

Naomi is a passionate advocate for restoring peace in the aftermath of trauma. As a child of parents who survived Auschwitz Concentration Camp, she is especially sensitive to the needs of family members.


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Kathy Smith

Secretary of Opus Peace

Kathy is Veteran Care Liaison for Hospice of Dayton. She has been trained in “Warriors at Ease,” Trauma Sensitive Yoga and Meditation for Veterans and Military Communities and faithfully implements these skills with Veterans and their families.


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Sheila Lozier

Treasurer of Opus Peace

Sheila is an Army veteran with a lifelong career as a nurse for the Department of Veteran Affairs. She is an advocate for responding to the soul injury of children whose families have experienced trauma. She is the designer of “Soul Buddy” dolls.


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Shaku Desai
Board of Directors, Opus Peace

Shaku worked for 30 years at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. She has had a lifelong desire to promote and achieve inner and outer peace.




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Abi Katz

Board of Directors, Opus Peace
(Yellow Springs, Ohio)

Dr. Abi Katz currently serves as Medical Director for the Post-Acute Care Continuum for Kettering Health Network in Dayton Ohio. She has worked with veterans and cilvilians with soul injuries at the end of life for seven years. Her passion is using her skills to assure that all people get the best care possible, at the right time, in the right place.




Opus Peace Board of Ambassadors


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Estephania LeBaron

Estephania is a film producer affiliated with the non-profit “Welcome Your Soldier Home”. Currently she is spearheading a documentary film, Frozen in War, about preventing veteran suicide.


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Larry Rivera

Larry is observing 50 years of volunteer service and activism and is currently employed as Wounded Warrior Advocate with 9Line, LLC, in support of the Care Coalition of the US Special Operations Command.


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Marybeth Finster

Marybeth is a licensed physical therapist who is committed to helping others abide and reckon with their suffering so they can be restored to wholeness.



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Jim Rudolph

Jim is the proprietor of Veterans Funeral Care. He has selflessly championed the needs of veterans and their families at the end-of-life.





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Dr. Robert Carroll

Board of Advisors

Dr. Carroll is a Radiology physician who has researched the impact of trauma on the brain.




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Patty Ann Surprenant

Board of Advisors

Patty Ann is an Army Veteran and licensed massage therapist specializing in clients with PTSD and Military Sexual Trauma. She assists in Hounds 4 Heroes of Tampa Bay.


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Paula Schmidt-Lewis








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Ann DePoole

Ann is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in Accelerated Resolution Therapy with Veterans and trauma victims.


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Kathleen Evans

Kathleen is an Iraq War Veteran who volunteers for Opus Peace Non-Profit Corporation.



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Tommy Bills

Tommy is a Vietnam Veteran with PTSD who has utilized artwork to express his soul injury.



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Dan Hummer

Dan is a Chaplain and Navy Veteran who spent his career working for the Department of Veteran Affairs.




Opus Peace Annual Pledge

Each year, we take time to contemplate our relationship with Opus Peace by discerning our Soul’s voice to be an agent for peace in the world. Then, we have a ceremony demonstrating our commitment with a pledge:

I declare my intention to be honest about who I am and who I am not. I will not allow my fear to silence my voice.

I declare my intention to cultivate the courage to re-own and re-home pieces of myself that I would prefer to avoid. I will not allow my resistance to keep me from doing my inner work.

I declare my intention to let Grace empower me so that I can serve others. I dare to trust God to live his life through me.
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We also let Sir Francis Drake’s prayer inspire us. He writes:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

Opus Peace Tenets

Opus Peace focuses on creating pervasive, personal peace; we are not an organization that fosters an ideal of world peace. We recognize, however, that on a deeper level, humankind is connected; our energy affects each other. Cultivating a deeply-resonant inner peace creates space and energy for world peace; likewise, lack of personal peace contributes chaotic energy to the world around us that others can then act upon.

The basis for the work of Opus Peace lies in our beliefs about where and how authentic peace is cultivated and sustained. Satisfying needs for personal comfort and security is not enough to fulfill deeper longings for peace. Authentic peace is also more than just trying to control the chaos in our lives. Pervasive personal peace is a work of art – an Opus – that requires skill and grace to achieve. This kind of peace requires freeing aspects of ourselves that we’ve silenced or, worse, exiled into unconsciousness.

This often involves helping people learn how to love, forgive, and trust themselves to navigate in the world again by disarming their heart while cultivating personal intimacy with fractured aspects of self.
Opus Peace is not a religious organization, nor is it affiliated with any religious organizations. We do, however, recognize that within each of us there is a Timeless Source of Energy that is called by many names and worshiped in different ways. Opus Peace acknowledges this Inner Source without any religious connotations. Our goal is to provide tools that create safe emotional environments that penetrate fear and resistance which separate us from our hero within – our spiritual Source.  Many of our core beliefs are detailed in the book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, by Deborah Grassman.  The pertinent tenets from the book that are utilized by Opus Peace are outlined below.

Opus Peace believes that:

  • Being willing to open ourselves to the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of our selves bring freedom, allowing Grace to restore wholeness to our being.
  • It is hypocritical to arrogantly blame others for the violence in this world while we blindly contribute to its creation by allowing aspects of our selves to remain lost and unconscious.
  • Peace permeates our deepest levels of being when we do the artful work (opus) of re-owning and re-homing pieces of self that have been silenced or exiled through heartache, self-disregard, burn-out, neglect, abuse, trauma, death, or war.
  • Re-owning and re-homing forsaken aspects of self is a rather straight-forward, two-fold process: abiding and reckoning.
  • It requires courage and humility to want to love forsaken aspects of ourselves that are unconsciously clamoring for our attention so they can come back home, becoming integrated rather than left isolated.
  • Forgiveness is an essential component of the re-owning and re-homing process that is often misapplied because the wrong part of self does the forgiving, resulting in “false forgiveness;” the broken part of self has the authority to forgive, not the part of self who has “risen above” the difficulty.
  • Management and healing are two different processes; modern techniques often focus on managing distress to keep it contained or controlled, producing “pseudo-peace,” which is counter-productive.
  • The ego acts as a mischievous imposter of peace, fooling us into a false sense of comfort or security that separates us from authentic, interior peace that is independent of external circumstances.
  • Workshops, retreats, and education that sensitively and courageously confront our resistance to who we are and who we are not can help our ego feel safe enough to let go of its fear so we can LIVE an Opus of Peace.
  •  The public has a responsibility to heal the gaping hole in our society after war. Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshops can help heal our nation’s combat veterans from the unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt they sometimes carry in the aftermath of war.

 

The Opus Peace Prayer

Cultivate in me, Oh God, the willingness to re-own and re-home scattered pieces of myself so that I might be restored to Your wholeness. Grow in me the honesty, courage, and humility to release my fears of who I am and who I am not. Fuel me with your Grace. Amen


Associates

Opus Peace invites you to consider becoming an associate so that you can help promote our mission and vision. We are looking for people who are passionately committed to the cultivation of peace in the world by stopping the pretense that wars are not about us. This means committing ourselves to a life of integrity and accountability, recognizing that “peace begins in me.” When we do not bind ourselves to that peace-making process, then we are contributing hostile energy that can be utilized to cultivate external wars. To this end, Opus Peace commits itself to restoring personal wholeness by re-owning and re-homing the parts of ourselves that have been lost from self-disregard, heartache, burn-out, chronic illness, neglect, abuse, trauma, death, and war.

What we want from you

– First, and foremost, we want your prayers and affirmation that the decisions of this organization will be initiated and guided by the Timeless Source of Energy we call God. This will produce the grace that will fuel the Opus Peace movement.

– We most fervently desire that you will practice the principles outlined in The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill to create pervasive personal peace by re-owning and re-homing pieces of self so that wholeness can be restored.

– We hope you will sponsor a Soul Injury ceremonial workshop for Veterans to heal the aftermath of war and a Soul Restoration ceremonial workshop for caregivers at risk for soul weariness: first responders, ER and hospice staff, trauma and bereavement counselors, as well as your patient’s caregivers.

– We want your enthusiastic participation in our workshops, retreats, presentations, and book circles. Learning how to consistently cultivate the honesty, courage, and humility to access the hero within breeds peace, not only for yourself but for the world. We want you to start a book circle in your community for personal growth and healing utilizing The Hero Within or for Veterans using Peace at Last. We hope you will sponsor a retreat in your area as well. We are looking for people who want to be change agents.

– We are hopeful that your insight and growth will foster referrals to others to utilize our web-based materials, as well as books, retreats and workshops, realizing that all proceeds from books, presentations, and workshops are 100% utilized by Opus Peace to advance its mission.

– Yes, we want your financial support of at least $100 annually, so we can continue developing materials, increase visibility, and gain credibility in the feasibility about achieving external peace through our own efforts to learn, practice, and accept accountability for personal wholeness.

What you will receive

– Our pledge that we will allow neither fear nor personal or organizational ego to interfere with Opus Peace decision-making or policies. Rather, when fear lures us into ego, we will acknowledge it and realign ourselves with the Creator so that grace can fuel us.

– The satisfaction of knowing that you are part of a movement that confronts the lack of world peace at its source: ourselves.

– Fulfillment of joining like-minded people who are committed to taking responsibility for owning the creation of personal peace and recognizing its contribution toward the healing of the world.

– Gratitude! From us and also from others whose lives you are touching.

– Networking with others about how we can respond to the insanity of a frightened world.

– Increased availability for 1:1 consultation for your projects that promote peace and healing.

– Fulfillment of knowing that you are getting the book, Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families into the hands of Veterans free of charge at Deborah’s Wounded Warriors presentations.

– Making the book, The Hero Within, available free of charge, to indigent book circle participants.

– Fulfillment of sponsoring indigent attendees at Opus Peace retreats.

– Opportunities to participate in providing input to Opus Peace, influencing peace-making programs.


Book Circles: Consider Starting One

What do churches, civic groups, book clubs, community associations, healthcare agencies, and prisons have in common? They participate in a book circle utilizing Deborah Grassman’s book, The Hero Within, Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born To Fulfill. The book provides clear, practical, and meaningful perspectives that are shared simply and powerfully, while providing therapeutic tools for personal growth and healing:
-“I keep this book at my bedside now and reference it frequently.”
-“I wish I would have known about this book years ago. It would have saved me a lot of heartache.”
-“Sharing the concepts within a community was simply awesome.”

What do veterans, veteran organizations, and civilians who care about veterans have in common? They participate in book circles utilizing Peace at Last: Stories of Hope & Healing for Veterans and Their Families:

-“I met myself on the pages of this book!”

-“I learned lessons from comrades that have gone before me in death. They taught me things about myself that no one else could have.”

We’ll Help You Start One!

Sharing stories in a small community of trustworthy people, remind us that we belong to one another and that we can help each other. Stories connect us to each other and ourselves. Don’t miss this opportunity for new vistas that will awaken your interior hero. Contact us and we will help you start an 8-week Book Circle. Deborah will even join you via phone for one of them!

Pat has facilitated many groups. She calls the phenomena that emerges within the group “lub-dubbing.” In her own words: “The first sound any of us hear in this world is the steady “lub dub” of our mother’s heartbeat. Throughout our lives, if we are lucky, there is a great deal of touch from nurturing family members, friends, and pets. This keeps us connected to the “lub dub” of our humanity and also to “the heart that is never completely born.” This is the significance of the eternal, ubiquitous “lub dub.”

When we are confronted with losses or disappointments of any kind, our primal sense of connectedness is reduced. I have had the opportunity to facilitate many groups throughout my career as a bereavement coordinator.  Family support, cancer support, grief support, addiction recovery, The Hero Within book circles  —  no matter the purpose of the group, one of the basic needs of the attendees is a sense of connection.  Coming together with others with the same issues can be very healing.  However, these groups generally fill one hour of a week and the need for connection has no such limit.  These feelings of disconnection are felt most intensely in the middle of the night.

At the ending of the group meetings, through consensus of the group, we end a circle by holding hands while each person says whatever is on their heart. It struck me more and more how strong the energy pulsing from hand to hand was when we were encircled in this way.  I called this to the attention of the groups. I reminded them that even when we were not holding hands, our hearts continued to ”lub dub” together. I asked them to remember that when they were home alone at three o’clock in the morning, they could reconnect with the group by feeling their own pulse. The message of the” lub dub” was: “We all have to do this life ourselves, but we do not have to do it alone.”  The groups responded well to this intervention, often saying that during chaotic times, “It brings me peace.”

I have also responded to this intervention, but in an even larger way. Just thinking about the great lub-dub of this universe draws me into my center where I am the birther and the birthee. When I open myself to the lub-dub among people, the energy in the room changes; we are no longer separate entities, but rather one entity of shared humanity; it’s a communal abiding spirit. This is the value of community: common unity. Creating small communities restores personal wholeness, TOGETHER. I was lucky. I came by this naturally. I was born into a family with 13 children. Although there were some serious disadvantages with being part of so many, there was also a distinct advantage: I learned how to be part of a thriving community that took care of each other — we lub-dubbed together; we restored personal wholeness together. Now, my parents and two of my siblings have died. Several years ago, I left my hometown and many of my siblings in New Jersey to move to Florida. I found myself longing for the lub-dub missing from my heart. It was painful; it was lonely. It wasn’t until I transferred to the hospice unit that I again discovered my community heart. Deborah was my boss. She had built a thriving community of hospice staff who loved and respected each other in a communal way. My pulse quickened as I was welcomed, supported, and grown into this new environment. Mainly, I felt safe. Deborah did not allow bitching and back-biting; instead, she showed us how to open up to our hostilities so we could own them and use them for personal growth.

Now, I am partnering with Deborah to create healing communities everywhere. I have started three Hero Within book circles in just the past three months. I call it lub-dubbing, and I am seeing healing transformations right before my eyes as new “Hero Within” communities are birthed. It is, indeed, exciting to witness.

I tried to explain lub-dubbing to Deborah, she said: “Sounds like you are experiencing what the Beatles sang about: ‘I am you and you are me and we are all together.”

“Yeah. Something like that,” I tell her.


Deborah’s Commissioning Ceremony

In many ways, Opus Peace has been a lifetime developing. However, events over the past year have crystallized its formation. Although unnamed, its formal birthing into the world probably began on January 6, 2013 when Deborah decided to do a public commissioning of her work, especially as it related to her new book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill. Held at the Franciscan Center in Tampa on the shores of the Hillsborough River, about 60 people attended.

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Here is the message Deborah relayed that day. It provides insight into the origins of Opus Peace:

“There are important decisions we all make as we traverse our lives. When we were young, we did not always well-appreciate the importance of many of these decisions and their life-lasting impact. I don’t remember making a conscious decision to excel in school when I was a child. I loved learning and I got attention for being a good student. I was happy to do whatever it took to achieve educational success.

Marriage is another important decision many of us make. I knew its importance, yet at age 19, I didn’t really realize how pervasive that decision would be. All I really knew was that I was in love with a man who wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He was handsome, enjoyed doing many of the things I enjoyed, and he wanted a family. Nothing else seemed to matter. It didn’t seem like I needed to make a conscious decision to have children. It was what I had always wanted. Little did I realize how all-consuming and life-lasting that commitment would be. Although it didn’t always come naturally, I learned how to protect and advocate for my children, in many ways becoming a better mother to them as they got older because I was growing up myself.

My decision to become a nurse was certainly one that I had well thought out. However, the decision was based primarily on practical considerations: flexible hours, variety of work settings, good money, and in the field of science which was my particular interest. Little did I realize how much that decision would change and grow me – especially the decision to work with Veterans, and more importantly, to work in Hospice. My decision to speak and write about Veterans and Hospice work in some ways, has not seemed like a conscious decision. Looking back, it seems like it was simply Destiny calling. Repeatedly, I was placed in situations that gave me voice to a unique perspective that others eagerly wanted to hear about and no one had previously articulated. Although the original manuscript for all three books (yes, one more is to come) was written over a four year span, the intense writing took about 6 months. I wrote into all hours of the day and night; there were times when I hardly slept for days on end. Yet, I was not fatigued. In fact, just the opposite. I literally could feel the crown of my head open and the energy was so intense that I felt expanded into my own soul. At these times, my writing was effortless, almost automatic, as if I were simply the observer. One day at work, I asked Lorraine a question, and she didn’t answer me even though she was looking directly at me. I repeated my question, and she still didn’t answer. A third time I asked, shaking her to see what was wrong. She mumbled something that I didn’t understand and then avoided me. Later, she came to me and told me that she was speechless because when she looked at me earlier, all she could see was a dazzling light that was so intense that she couldn’t believe that everyone else wasn’t seeing it too. Even though I was stunned with what she was telling me, I was not surprised because I could feel the force of the energy expanding through me when I wrote. Although I didn’t know what to call that energy then, I now know it to be Grace.

My decision to retire from the VA this past year did not come easily and yet, in some ways, was a decision that did not seem mine to make. With the growing interest in my work, increased demand for speaking, and a second book soon to appear, conflicts of interest were becoming more apparent. So, in many ways, I had no choice but to leave if I was going to continue on a path I seemed destined to fulfill.

My decision to come before you today, in the way that I am doing, is a decision that has not come lightly. Unlike many of the life-changing decisions that I’ve just described, I am fully aware of how life-changing this decision is. It comes from many years of Advent seasons in which I have carefully prayed for willingness to birth more love into the world – especially toward the people in my life that I did not love enough, and in some cases, didn’t love at all. It comes from many seasons of Lent in which I go out into the wilderness of my Soul to confront my demons and the many ways I turn away from God, turning to false gods that compete for my time, energy, and attention. It comes from twice daily meditation for the past year – a practice that had been long overdue and now a most welcome retreat into silence with my beloved. It comes from 3 dreams that I’ve had in which it has been made clear to me that I needed to bring God out of the shadows so she didn’t have to work so hard to get me to do her will – yes, in my dream, God was a woman – and a black woman at that! Today’s decision comes from six friends who for my birthday this year as I retired, bought me a portable labyrinth and then enacted a commissioning ritual to launch me on my new journey. I remember walking out of that labyrinth that day with tears in my eyes. They were unusual tears, almost indescribable. One dimension of the tears validated the suffering I had been through to get to that day. Some of the tears were tears of joy – primarily that I was blessed enough to have 6 friends who knew me so well as to know what my Soul needed and they were willing to provide that sustenance. And some of the tears were tears of trepidation – a foreshadowing of what I knew was coming, even though I did not know – a total surrendering to God’s will for my life. It was scary to even think about, yet I knew it was coming. I didn’t like the uncertainty of it. I still don’t. What if God asks me to do something I don’t want to do? What if I succumb to my fears and can’t respond the way I’m supposed to? What if I don’t like the life He’s calling me to – a life that I don’t even know what it is? During advent this year, my prayer has been: “Dear God, help me know and rejoice in Your vision for my life so I can redeem the destiny I was born to fulfill.” In meditation one morning early in the Advent season, a question arose from deep within. The question was: “Why are you afraid to live the life you have now?” I was startled, silently arguing back, “But I’m not afraid to live my life!” To which, the response was: “The life you have RIGHT NOW, why are you afraid to live it, just as it is?” I was speechless. There was the epiphany I was asking for. While I was busy coveting the life I was trying to imagine having and coveting the past for its injustices, I was missing the joys and griefs of my everyday life. I needed to let go of my fear and open up to God’s love for me so that Grace could be the fuel for my life. I suspect my outward life will not change as dramatically as my inward life will. HOW I make decisions, my methods of operation, will change because God is no longer in my shadows.

So, I stand before you today, publicly proclaiming my desire to love God – to love God enough to surrender my life to Him. This book is simply a symbol of that life. I well know that this book is going to take me places that I might have no desire to go, and yet I will go. I need your help to do this. To help me discern His will from my own and to hold me accountable when I deceive myself by covering up my fears or justifying my actions. And I need you to pray for me. I need your prayers to be the lamp unto my feet. I need you to pray that every day I love God more.

I close by summing up my 60 years on this Earth and my 30 years of personally working with 10,000 Veterans as they’ve died in 2 sentences. And these two sentences are: “Live your life for God. On your deathbed, it will be the only thing that matters.”

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Education. Compelling workshops presented in unusual and engaging ways on intriguing topics: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Aging, Personal Healing, Veteran issues, Self-Care, Chronic Illness, End-of-Life care, Spiritual Growth, PTSD, Forgiveness, Good Grief.

Low-cost Retreats. 1, 2, or 3-day retreats in your city or ours (Tampa). Topics include: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Personal Growth and Healing, Forgiveness, Aging.

Soul Restoration Ceremonial Workshops. Caregiving, whether personal or professional, takes a toll! Understandably, we often disconnect from the pain. Disconnecting from the part of self carrying the pain contributes to loss of energy, emptiness, and compassion fatigue. This 4-8 hour ceremonial workshop will provide a restorative experience for your staff or your patients’ families.

Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshops. We will help your community organize, plan, and implement a ceremony for combat veterans which helps them lay down any burdens of unmourned grief or unforgiven guilt they may still be carrying. The gaping hole in our society from the aftermath of war can be healed!

Book Circles for Personal Growth.Utilizing the book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, we will help you grow small communities of people who want to cultivate pervasive personal peace.

Book Circles for Veterans. Utilizing the book, Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families, you can become an agent of healing for our nation’s heroes by hosting a book circle for veterans and their families.

Free web-based Materials, Tools, Resources, and Blogs.

We offer these services with our Opus Peace prayer: Cultivate in me, oh God, the willingness to re-own and re-home scattered pieces of myself so that I might be restored to Your wholeness. Grow in me the honesty, humility, and courage to release my fears of who I am and who I am not. Fuel me with your Grace. Amen