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Story - A Fall to Grace by Miriam Kearney

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A Fall to Grace
By Miriam Kearney

August 1st, 2005

To the Toronto Institute of Self Healing (TISH) community:

There is no question, at least in my mind, that I would not be where I am today if it had not been for the influence and intervention in my life of Ross Laing. There were many turning points in my process and the most dramatic of course was my ‘fall from grace’ otherwise described as my fall from the tree beside the tripod just about exactly 11 years ago today – July 29th, 1994. How time flies.

I was there when Ross fell from the tripod. I still remember hearing him fall and turning around to see him on the ground. I remember his amazing courage and ability to stay focussed and care about us even though he must have been in tremendous pain. During my recovery, my memories of that time often helped me to stay focussed.

Sometimes when people asked me how I recovered so quickly and so thoroughly I say that I am certain not having anyone to blame, including myself, really helped. I worked as a therapist for a while with ‘victims’ of car accidents who were not as injured physically as I had been and were still struggling 4 years later to do simple things for themselves. They were referred to me because they were not progressing in their rehab and my observation was that amongst other inhibitors to their healing, their own anger and blame of others was a major factor. Me – I remember standing in the tree, not knowing how to get down and thinking “I’ll try one more thing before I ask for help”. Bad idea.  I had a strong sense almost immediately afterwards that God had been watching me and saying something like – “I’ve been trying to get your attention for a while now, I think this will work.” I needed that fall in order to recover my life. I had a clear sense of there being a STOP sign in my mind for quite a while previously which I had ignored, argued with and promised to AND DIDN”T STOP. I remember Ross saying to me several years earlier that I needed to observe the Sabbath – those weren’t his words – he said I needed to take one day a week and be still. Period. I also remember thinking (the way only workaholics can think) and saying I don’t think so – not in this lifetime.  After my fall, I was still, very still, for almost 4 months. Amazingly it was a wonderful experience.

I just spent a weekend with my adult children – they were here at our farm to celebrate Jack and my 10th wedding anniversary. Ross was present and intervened in my life at a critical time in my children’s adolescence when I was unable to parent effectively. I will be forever grateful for that. As painful as the growth was, I believe that my relationship with my children was in serious jeopardy and that by the actions I took at Ross’s direction, I salvaged those relationships and protected my children, giving them back a mother. When I broke my back, they were there for me in a co-ordinated seamless way: looking after me, dumping my bedpans, helping me turn, making my meals, helping me down the stairs, keeping me company. I have never been more proud. And when Jack and I married – exactly a year later because that date was so significant – they were there again with their love, their joy and their help! I still remember one son who said at our blessing circle that he was grateful that I had allowed him to grow up gradually and that I had supported his growing independence in a way that worked for him. While I knew that I was doing that, I didn’t know that he did. I credit their skill at noticing themselves and others with the influence of Ross. I think often of those times and know that I am truly grateful.

I wanted to send this message and to say thank you to Ross. I also want to acknowledge the huge impact Jack and I experienced during our courtship from our membership in the larger community we lovingly called TISH. Like my son Bill said at our blessing circle, we were supported in growing gradually together as a couple who even at middle age needed guidance and support to create a solid relationship.

We won’t be with you this weekend. Perhaps with more notice, we may have been able to arrange it. We live now in Eastern Ontario on a farm where Jack and I have recently opened The School for Couples, a relocation of my counselling practice from Toronto. Since we are just starting, we are also working at ‘regular’ jobs while we build The School and are unable to be away at this time.

My warmest wishes go with you will all.



Miriam Kearney