A Slow Burn, A Slow Birth.


A Slow Burn, A Slow Birth.

Early in 2015 I embarked on a journey that has changed my life.

I didn’t know the significance of it at the time, of simply giving myself permission to try something new. Something that years before, I had put on my “Get around to it someday” list.

You probably have one of those too.

Looking back, it is incredible to see how the steps emerged. They could never have been planned, or designed as part of a ‘strategy’ for my rebirth. They were laid by Divine Providence, and in the process I learned to trust the navigator.

If you don’t know my story, the short of it is, over twenty-five years I built a scrappy urban development company, that went from rehabbing four family units to being the local developer partner in a $190 million community revitalization. Just as I thought I was ‘moving on up,’ it came to a blistering end. Not over night, it was a slow burn over five years, that cost me, and everyone who had invested, a beautiful community vision, and millions of dollars. My business, my reputation, my relationships and my very identity were consumed. The drama ended with my small company suing two of the biggest powerhouses in town. It cost everything and returned nothing. But, that’s the beginning of the story, for another time, not the end.

During this season of tribulation, there were many times I cried out to God, “Why are you letting evil win?” But there was no reply. At least not in the way that I was looking for it.

Eventually, the inferno quieted to ashes. With no income or assets remaining to support myself, I gratefully took a job in a custom furniture store. I had worked in furniture retail before my foray into entrepreneurship, and had fond memories of fun, low pressure days, and relatively risk free money. I could be anonymous and pay my bills again, and I wanted that so desperately.

One Saturday morning, about a year in, I saw an invitation in my inbox to sample a Women’s Writing Circle. I have no idea how it got there. Women Writing for (a) Change, had been on my bucket list the past 15 years or so, as I promised myself that I would check it out, one day. But like so many other things that would enrich my life, it was relegated to my bucket list, or more aptly, my bucket life.

This time, I opted in to the invitation, and it became a beautiful piece in the mosaic of what God had designed to save me.

As I climbed the stairs to my first Writing Circle I noticed a painting of a woman placed above a primitive birthing chair. It said, “I am a Woman Giving Birth to Myself” and indeed I was.

The Tuesday Morning Writers held sacred space for our hearts and soul to be bared, and it was in this womb of trust that I unlocked my darkest secrets, spilling my shame and anguish over the women who bore witness to my drowning. Their read back lines, heart and gut checks validated me. My pain meant something to them. They understood, and they cared. I could come out of hiding and discover myself, for the first time.


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Pauline Van der Haer

Coach | Elevate | Create

Pauline@WomenBlooming.com

Pleroma Sanctuary

617 Fleming Road

Cincinnati, OH 45231

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