For someone on a spiritual path I am always searching for ways to live a meaningful, connected life. I am searching for ways to clear past situations and scars so that I don’t repeat them or pass them on to my children. I want to take full responsibility for my actions and create a story that I am proud of. Through this process I have been working with a coaching company called The Handel Group. Part of my process has been working on something Handel calls Haunts. Hauntings are incidents in our past that weigh us down. When you think of some of them you feel shame, sadness or guilt. They are experiences that have shaped you in one way or another. One of the haunts that I have been working on “unraveling” has been an experience that happened over 28 years ago. There is a communication of apology I have been wanting to give someone and I cannot find her though I have tried in many ways. Today I share the letter with you to symbolically get it to her or maybe someone else who needs to hear it, or maybe even somehow to her, and to not hide it anymore. In owning up to my dark side I have more access to the light.
Hi Andrea. My name is Shirlee Williams (Dobrofsky) and I was on your West Coast Connection trip during the summer of 1985. You may or may not remember me. I am writing this letter to you today because I think about you often. I am embarrassed and ashamed of my behavior during our time together. I want to clear the space and apologize to you for my behavior. I am sorry I was mean to you. I remember making fun of you and I think this may have caused you to leave in the middle of our trip. I remember taking pictures of you in the shower and telling you that they would end up on the front page of our city newspaper. The truth is I was picking on you because it made me feel better about myself and I wanted all my friends to know how cool I was.
As I write this, I am filled with horror. I am so sorry for the way I treated you. You never deserved that kind of treatment. I have thought about you off and on for the last 28 years. Crazy how one incident can stay with you for so long. I am sorry for the impact my behavior had on you. I often wonder if you remember that summer and how it shaped the rest of your experiences with your friends? I am sorry to your parents for them needing to come get you. As a parent I could only image how much their hearts were hurting for their daughter. Is that true? Do they remember that summer? Did they tell you how proud they were for you at least giving it a try? Did they send you on other travel experiences with peers?
I want to also thank you for what I learned from that experience. That summer shaped me to become the person that I am today. I want to thank you for your contribution to that, because of you I have become an active participant in the special needs community. I dedicated over 15 years of my life working with children with special needs through yoga. My interaction with people shifted after that summer. Thank you for being on that trip. Thank you for making me realize that even in all our differences we really are connected and that all our actions cause a re actions. I am so sorry I hurt you.
Moving forward, I promise to share this experience with my children so that I can be a role model in teaching them respect and remembering that each and everyone of us is shaped by our experiences.
Thanks for listening.