Have you been huddling in a closet of denial about who you are? The walls may be paper thin or constructed from cinder block or steel. One thing it does is prevent you from fully living your life. Author, minister of Joyful Living Church in San Diego, California and speaker Rev. Jerry Troyer’s closet was built from beliefs about himself, partly as a result of the deaths of older twin brothers that was not explained to him in a way that a young child could comprehend, and partly by virtue of recognizing his attraction to men, in a prevalent culture that not only doesn’t embrace it, but abhors it. Blessedly, he has opened the door and ventured out into the world, as has his book Coming Out To Ourselves : Admitting, Accepting and EMBRACING Who We Truly Are.
This short, easy to read (I breezed through it in a few hours) 78-pager addresses not only sexual orientation, but in addition, spirituality, addiction, relationships, self love, career and one of my favorite states of being -JOY! As a consummate communicator, Troyer expresses from his own direct experience of overeating, and being in life partnership with a man who is now in recovery from drug addiction. He brings in the concept of shame and how soul damaging and even deadly it can be. Shaking off the shackles of shame is not easy, but essential to insure freedom.
Troyer touches on what he refers to as The Other F-Bomb– forgiveness and compares it to a rock that we carry into a lake and refuse to surrender because it is ‘ours’ and we cling to it, even though we are drowning. What I have learned is that forgiveness is not a once and done thing, but rather a peeling off the layers to see what is beneath them. What I hold on to holds on to me. Troyer agrees that it is “a process and not an event.” His church does a burning bowl ritual each year in which members write what it is they want to release and then they communally ignite the papers.
He tells one of my favorite stories about The Golden Buddha that was covered with cement to protect it from a marauding army and then over generations remained encased until a monk noticed that a piece of its covering fell off and he beheld the glowing surface hidden beneath. Troyer contends that we too are those illumined beings forgetting who we are.
Four steps for making change are outlined:
Expect The Best
Go For It
Take The First Step
This is true whether it is in anticipation for doing a fire-walk (which is what sparked these instructions), or changing a career, entering into a new relationship, changing lifestyle habits or coming out of your closet, whatever it is made of.
Troyer offers encouragement to the LGBT community that change from self loathing to self love is possible.
The book, which was published in 2012, was endorsed by the inspirational author and speaker Debbie Ford (who passed in February of 2013) and wrote “You will be surprised by how easy it is to find yourself on the pages of this hopeful and engaging book. A compelling read.”
Jerry will be coming to Philadelphia on September 11th…..details to follow.