Today I am pleased to feature Gwendolyn Plano, author of the memoir Letting Go into Perfect Love: Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse. Plenty of people have written memoirs about surviving and overcoming abuse of different types, and these are valuable not only as inspiration for others trying to escape from similar situations, but as learning experiences for those who know nothing about these situations. How can a successful career woman come home and live and mother her children in a hostile environment? Who knows what kind of secret lives hide behind a bright exterior? Gwen, too, shows us that behind someone we might see every day, there are hidden demons at work.
I am impressed that Gwen goes beyond the recognition, struggle, and escape to finding personal and spiritual enlightenment. She seems not just a healed woman, but one who is now flying high embracing life and the goodness of God. Read on to see how writing her story helped her and how her story might help all of us. Thank you, Gwen, for being my guest and telling us about your journey.
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When I began writing my book, I expected to simply tell my story: a farm girl goes to the big city, falls in love, marries, experiences tragedy, falls in love again, marries but then knows abuse, and along the way has four beautiful children. As the pages unfolded though, I realized that my story was everyone’s story. The details of my journey are unique to me of course, but the emotions accompanying those details are universal. We all know sorrow, fear, or regret, and we all travel through life trying to make sense of it all. Maya Angelou wrote, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I now understand the agony of which she speaks, for the story ultimately is not mine—it belongs to all of us. I simply held a version of it temporarily.
Writing Letting Go into Perfect Love was an integrative process for me. At times it tore open my heart, such that I could barely breathe. However, my tears and gasps came and went because they could. As I accepted and honored these emotions, compassion emerged; and, it was this development that redirected my writing, and quite frankly, my life.
Why did I write this book? I really did not have a choice. It demanded to be told, awakening me in the early morning and drawing me to my desk. That said, midway through my book, I explain a specific and heartfelt reason that many readers might miss. The paragraph reads:
For more than two decades I had tried to shield my children from the sorrows in our home, but I now realize that my secret separated me from them. My closeted life held my heart, with its forgotten dreams and innocent longings—a heart that the healers had described as “shattered in little pieces” and “held together with tape and string.” Though I did not know how to bridge the years of hiding, I knew I needed to bring levity into our home and healing into our lives.
When we are not free to be ourselves, a vital part of us disappears under layers of numbness. It is this shell of a person that others see—not who we ultimately are. As I disentangled myself from an abusive marriage, I re-discovered who I am—and why I had hidden for so many years. I also realized that I needed to bridge the chasm separating past and present—for me and for others.
When any of us come out of the proverbial closet, the fear of disclosure can be overwhelming, but the alternative is a lost life. I wrote Letting Go into Perfect Love to help others realize that they can open the door behind which they hide, and when they take this action, an amazing life awaits them.
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In writing about her own lessons, in learning the redemptive power of love through suffering, spiritual practice, and grace, Gwen Plano allows her readers to reconnect with the painful moments in their own lives and to use those moments to walk a path toward healing and life fulfillment. – from reviewer Bonnie Boron
Gwen Plano is quite an accomplished woman with four university degrees in different fields of study. She has worked mostly as an administrator at various colleges – including one in Japan! She is also a Reiki Master and certified Lifeline Practitioner. Letting Go into Perfect Love is her first book, but when you see her writing style you will think she’ll surely write more. Learn more about Gwen at her website and blog, From Sorrow to Joy, where you will also find she has a Goodreads giveaway that will run from July 1-8.