Shauanna's Story: The Gift of Hell (Part 1)
by Baeth Davis, The Hand Analyst, Inc.
Her head injury descended her into hell; hell taught her to fight for enlightenment.
To some people, ‘hell’ is a place you go when you die if you’ve not obeyed the rules of a particular theology; to others, ‘hell’ is a state of mind here on Earth, created by negative thoughts and actions. For Shauanna Fouhy, ‘hell’ is the home of our own personal underworld, the dark, unexplored parts of our psyche that jump up to claim us and pull us downward, just as Pluto did when he captured Persephone and took the young, innocent girl to the underworld so she could grow up and learn that life wasn’t always sunshine and lollipops.
People get hurt, people get sick, people hurt each other, people hurt themselves and people die. This is the domain of the underworld. We can call it ‘hell’ but labeling it won’t allow us to forget that it’s always there, waiting.
The key to finding the gift in hell, as Shauanna did, is to be a curious explorer in an unknown land. Once the territory becomes known, ‘hell’ becomes a place where one can claim, and possibly love, the forgotten, abandoned, denied parts of ourselves. As one of my mentors, Terry Hickey, NLP expert reminds me, “Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.” In other words, “hell is inevitable; thriving as a result of the experience is optional.”
Shauanna Fouhy has a doubled life line in her left hand. The life line encircles the large mound at the base of the thumb. As she is right-handed, her left hand represents her relationship to her home life and her inner world. When two life lines appear, the person experiences two very distinct phases of their life – as if they had one life and now are living an entirely new life.
Shauanna experienced a traumatic head injury that affected not only her ability to sequence events in her memory, but her relationships with her body, her family, and nearly every other dynamic of her life. Shauanna writes: “This watershed experience sent me over the edge of who I thought I was and returned me to the wellspring of the Self I had long, long forgotten and yet still did not know how to activate in this three- dimensional world.”
With her brain rewiring, straining for the connections to string the words, the impulses, the movements back together, Shauanna crawled around inside of her personal hell, cutting her fingers on the rocks of dark caves, fighting the shadowy creatures promising the dark pleasure of revenge and retribution, bruising her elbows and knees as she climbed back toward the light, her vision straining for an still, unmoving horizon. The dizziness alone made simple, every day actions nearly impossible. She was undaunted.
This was not the hell of suffering toward death; this was the hell of choosing life and struggling toward recovery.
In Shauanna’s hands, there are some tiny asterisk-shaped stars down by her wrist on the lower edge of both of her palms. These stars are know as Neptune stars. Neptune was the God of the sea. Whereas Pluto lorded over the underworld of the ancient Romans, Neptune ruled the deep, cold oceans, filled with its own secrets and mysteries.
Neptune stars in the palms are rare gift markers, signifying an ability to feel emotions that most people cannot even address, never mind feel. Those willing to feel these emotions can be tempted by the watery comfort of alcohol to blunt the pain and flood the body with the warm blood rush of forgetting. For Shauanna, her willingness to feel the unspeakable was her medicine. She tapped into her own mythic journey, the archetypal meanings of trauma and recovery to rewrite her her-story and find a new story for her future.
Says Shauanna of her Neptunian depths: “A deep sorrow has haunted my life and pushed me to seek explanations and ways to provide relief for others and, finally, myself. I possess a driving need to get underneath of my experiences.”
In a hand analysis session, I said to her, “Shauanna, you help people take their trauma and use it to re-write their own personal myths, to create stories that are more true, more inspiring. Your own trauma has given you the kind of compassion that only that kind of experience could.” Shauanna was silent for a long moment.
“Baeth, did I tell you what I was doing?”
“No,” I said, “What are you doing?”
“I just had new business cards made and on the back is printed ‘Empowering individuals to re-story their lives.’ When my husband asked me that it meant, I wasn’t even sure what to say… it’s just what I do.”
This is usually the moment when I eloquently blurt out, “Holy crap!” (After all these years, I am still awed by the power of the map in our palms.)
“Shauanna, how did you find me in the first place?” I asked.
“From the serendipitous web surf that brought me to your web site not quite a year ago, then to your Master Mind, and to the Palm Posium [Jan. 2008, Tucson, AZ], to a quiet contemplative retreat where things brewed and bubbled under the surface for three months and surfaced as a need to re-do my business cards and to make a follow-up reading with you where you so insightfully helped clarify the Path I have been on and solidify how my unusual type of Life Learnings can benefit others.”
From hell, Shauanna was lead to her internal heaven, a rich wellspring of talent and spiritual depth, not often spoken of, but essential to the quality of our lives. In this media age, we have become sharp and savvy to superficiality and demand truth and revelation. Shauanna demands no less and now helps others find their own true story, their own empowering mythic journey of enlightenment.
[You can read Part Two here.]
© 2008 The Hand Analyst, Inc. Baeth Davis is "The Hand Analyst"
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