Last summer after my first trip to Europe I did a lot of stream of consciousness writing. My soul was ready to heal a lot of things, many of which I did not understand. The last few days as I prepared to go back to Bastogne, and then visit my cousin James Privoznik’s grave in Luxembourg, I stumbled upon some writing I did. So much has changed in the last year. A lot has been healed in my soul. Many people have been helped with their World War II soldier research and stories because of the work I’ve done and people I’ve had the honor of connecting with that have so graciously shared their expertise.
The first major Turning Point came in Europe April – May 2015. After that, more Turning Points showed up and big ways. In this moment, I feel another Turning Point is soon to come. Possibly Sunday when I visit my cousin James Privoznik’s grave in Luxembourg Cemetery. James has been with me for the last four years. We have had wonderful adventures together. There have been times I’ve wondered how it is possible to love someone so much I have never met in this life. I wonder what joy, healing, love, happiness, and peace it will bring. I hope some reading this will connect with the words, pain, love, and hope. We are all on this journey together……..this piece was written in June 2015.
I like writing prompts. I found one online written by Charity Hume on Cultural Weekly that started with this. William Styron, an American novelist said, “A novel is a progress toward an event, after which nothing will ever be the same again.” A turning point reverses the previous world, and gives you a whole new identity. It burns up your past in a conflagration of everything you’ve ever known. To go on, you must forget who you were. That’s a turning point. No way back.
The same can be said for World War II research. We have a starting point which could be a story, a soldier, a photograph, an artifact, or an event. When we choose to take the journey of that research, we travel a bumpy, twisty, often obstacle ridden road. Along that road we meet many people who enrich our experience and help us continue to move forward. We gather clues as we travel and uncover secrets buried deep in the recesses of the past. Exploring these secrets and revealing them can cause a turning point for many.
The journey we take as we research our soldier can take us to unexpected places where we have to confront our own issues, insecurities, fears, wishes and dreams. We can travel literally and figuratively across oceans and continents as we uncover the story and reveal the truth and lessons which exist.
Traveling across a continent can open new doors to experiences, people, places, and things. It can also dredge up the past and things hidden of which we may not have been aware. It can bring pain and love to the surface. Pain we may not understand. Love which leaves us confused. The journey across land can take us deep within ourselves.
Each person we meet along our journey can impact us in big and small ways. The most important are those that stand with us at a crossroads.
We stood at the crossroads in a sacred place full of love, strength and power. Two hearts joined again in this life which had been separated. In that moment they joined the past with the present. The fear with the love. The desire with hope. The impossible with the possible. Laughter, harmony, peace, joy, and love all mingled together at those crossroads. It was time to make a choice – return to the past or live in the present. Heal the pain and create a new future or remain stuck standing between two worlds across time and space. And all of this was orchestrated by someone long gone but never forgotten. Someone who knew her heart and how to heal her as she had healed him. There was still much to be done and this was only the first step.
At that crossroads no wrong step could be taken. Each path led to greater love, hope, peace, and healing for her and many others. Her heart and soul knew this man standing before her was a key to unlocking something dark hidden deep inside her, even if her head did not yet know. A connection made. Confusion reigned as sparks flew in bright colors around them. A heart that understood how deeply she felt and appreciated that about her. A heart who would take care of her through good and bad. A heart that brought her home to a land where she could make such a difference in her life and others.
It would not be an easy journey and the two may part ways at another crossroads, as often happens when we travel long roads. People greet us for only part of our travels while others stay. Those who stay often have different roles along the route. They provide laughter, a release. Love, acceptance, support, strength. They teach and provide clues for us to follow to piece together the vast puzzle of our journey.
How many Turning Points will be there along this road traveled? We can identify one to begin the travel and a direction to proceed from the crossroads where we first stepped into our power. That was not the only place in which we would step into our power. There would be many more if we paid attention and took the chance. Released the fear and stepping into more of our power, releasing the past and living in the present.
A crossroads came again when she realized what happened to her in a past life. Did she have the strength to deal with the fear, isolation, darkness, panic, and shame? With an idea of what transpired so long ago, she stood between two men in front of two doors, one light and one dark. She stood firm in her power and released past hurts and blocks. Then forgave the one who hurt her. Forgiveness heals us so we can move forward. It doesn’t matter if the person we forgive knows we have done this or not, or accepts our forgiveness. It releases from us the pain, anger, shame, isolation, and a million other feelings, which allows us to move forward in love.
The dark door was closed which was a sign to her that this path was not an option. She was being protected from going so deeply into the darkness. Her choice must be to forgive and move into the light and release the past. What took place in that doorway in the past was closed and sealed. He could no longer hurt her. She was stepping into more of her power and was protected and loved by so many. Taking the man’s hand in front of the open door, they stepped through together into a room that went on forever and was full of light.
In the light she saw thousands of soldiers. And two men who mean the world to her. Joseph and James. Two men, long gone, who have watched over her for years and helped her with decisions, obstacles, and given their unconditional love in times when she really need it. Joseph had fallen back into the shadows months before because she had gained such strength, he wasn’t need as much. His job became one of the watcher to only intervene when necessary. He was happy she finally made a decision. Confused, she wondered which decision? There have been so many since she went to Europe.
James was thrilled to see the man she entered with. Brothers in arms, they fought and died together long ago. James had brought these two together for healing.
Another Turning Point came when she decided to invest in deeper healing and release the past in a larger way. Releasing all judgment, past bonds, hurts, and decisions with those who were not in her highest good. Releasing past bonds to provide a clean slate for this lifetime.
A Turning Point when she realized she was hiding from the world again and needed to rejoin it. She had an important place and work to do. Rejoining would come slowly because her power was building and it was not yet ready to be unleashed upon the world. There was more work to be done inside and for some others before the full strength of her power could be unleashed.
What is the next step on her journey? To write the stories that people will remember. To write so people will learn how to capture and share their stories to heal the world. We are all connected in this giant web of life. My story is your story and through sharing, we all grow and heal in love.
A Turning Point is a chance to start over. Redefine ourselves and the world we live in.
Sometimes a Turning Point cannot happen until we release things from our past or we finally meet with a person who can help us find the missing pieces of ourselves to create a Turning Point. We may have things buried so deeply in our subconscious they can only surface with some love and pain caused by another who cares for us in this lifetime. These people do not intend to cause us pain but serve as a catalyst for a series of events which lead us to a new crossroads and enormous realization about something from our past.
These events may come to us in the form of something physical like a photograph that creates an uncomfortable feeling inside us. Spiritually through a message, a voice in our head, a gut feeling, a fleeting memory. Through conversation where the mention of a place can create a reaction of enormous fear and anxiety which is not understood.
How we deal with this realization creates another Turning Point. And when dealt with, we have reached yet another Turning Point and stand at a new crossroads where we gather our power and must make a new decision about which road to travel.
We can reach some of these Turning Points through writing. As we write a story, go through writing prompts, or record our thoughts for the day, themes appear. Ideas and story lines. Moments of happiness and sadness. All of these triggers can point us in a new direction and set up conditions to create a new Turning Point in our lives where we shed the past and embrace the future.
Storytelling is another avenue we may travel which creates Turning Points – either imaginary as part of the story or from our actual experiences. Storytelling allows us to share our life stories and help others realize they are not alone in their feelings or experiences. Stories bind us across this vast web of connectedness through similar experiences and feelings. Stories can join cultures and overcome language barriers. They can answer questions and bring up new ones. Create friendships. Pass along lessons to the next generation.
Research and stories can help us understand why our family did something in the past which never made sense to us. Why a mother would destroy all evidence of her marriage to a man who died in the war so her daughter would never really know him. We deal with grief in different ways, some constructive and some destructive. If we can stop for a minute and consider what we are destroying through our grief and how it will impact the future, would we still destroy it?
If we are able to understand through the historical lens why a generation felt this way and did the things they did to forget, move on, and survive, how would that heal us? Are there still answers to be found to our questions? Yes. Will we have to dig deeply to find them? Yes. Will some of our questions never be answered? Yes.
There are those we meet on our journey into the mists from the crossroads. Those who give us tremendous healing. Traveling to the place where a loved one was lost forever is a solemn moment. Walking in the woods where James was killed was a moment in time I will never forget. It will stay with me forever. Walking across the spongy ground among the tall, silent trees swaying gently in the breeze under a sad, cloudy sky. Hearing whispers on the wind of thanks for coming to these woods. Whispers which reminded me I have a job to do. A job for which I was chosen. Whispers of appreciation because those who walk among the early morning mists know I will help tell their stories so they will not be forgotten. They have done their job and now it is time for me to continue mine. The writing will not be easy. The stories will be sad but through them we all heal. Letting go of the past does not mean we release all the parts of us that make us special. Letting go does not mean we give up gifts we are given in this lifetime. Letting go allows us to step more fully into our magic and power to create a better world tomorrow.
With Turning Points also comes greater vulnerability which can be extremely frightening. Opening ourselves up to one person at a time or through our stories, the entire world, takes some getting used to. I liken it to standing naked on a stage in front of a large audience.
Soul-wrenching transformation erupts from Turning Points.
© 2016 World War II Research and Writing Center