So here it is, 2021. Based on everything I’m reading on the interwebs, it’s time to write one of two types of posts:
- Looking back and reviewing the year and what a shitshow it was.
- Looking forward and telling everyone how much better it’s going to be.
I’m not really into either one of those. So instead, I’ll write a post of gratitude: I’m grateful for Scientology.
Record scratch… whaaaaaat? Well, I’m not grateful for Scientology per se. I’m just grateful for everything I learned after leaving that 20-year thrill ride.
It’s taken me a long time and a lot of work to reach this point. But man, it feels better than being stuck in the pain — and in the past.
So, for my out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new-year gratitude recap, let’s just bypass 2020 altogether, take it on back to 2007 — the year I escaped Scientology for good — and then move it forward.
Here’s what I’m grateful for:
I’ve discovered my worth. And I own it.
When I was in the Sea Org (Scientology’s paramilitary-like arm), I worked anywhere from 16–24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I wrote millions of words. I published thousands of magazines that helped make millions upon millions of dollars for Scientology. And I got paid a whopping $40 a week — on a good week. Most of the time it was zero dollars.
Sure, I had room and board, such as it was: living dormitory-style in a bunk bed and eating whatever “delightful” food we were served in the mess hall. Unless, of course, I was in trouble: Then it was sleeping on an old mattress on the floor in a bug-infested room and/or eating rice and beans for three meals a day. Ah, the memories…
It took me many years to finally ask for, and receive, what I’m worth. But now I know my value — and I’ll never accept less again. So, thanks for showing me the worst, Scientology, because now I have the best. And it’s only getting better.
I appreciate the simplest things.
When you have nothing — but spend every waking hour making tons of money for others — you learn to appreciate the little things. Like sleep. And food. And a rare day off.
So you can imagine how I felt the first few weeks after leaving Scientology, and how I’ve felt every day since. Life is absolutely amazing, and I appreciate every bit of it. Here are a few examples:
- Walking down the street and doing absolutely nothing — just looking around at the trees, the buildings, the people, with no other agenda (i.e. trying to recruit them).
- Being able to go anywhere I want on my own, without being followed or chased down to get back to work. It’s a feeling of freedom that I can’t explain too well, but if you’ve been in an abusive relationship and gotten free from it, you’ll understand.
- Hugging my dogs and cats. We weren’t allowed to have pets in the Sea Org — just like we weren’t allowed to have children. They were ]considered a distraction to our vital, all-encompassing work of saving the planet. Now I have five animals sharing my house. Yeah, it’s a lot — but giving and receiving this kind of unconditional love is a daily joy for me.
- Being able to show my emotions without being chastised for it. In the Sea Org, we weren’t allowed to display any “lower” emotions like grief or fear. We also weren’t allowed to laugh too much, because there was “work to be done” (I would laugh anyway… but on the down-low). We were, however, encouraged to show anger — particularly if someone wasn’t “doing their job”. Now, I laugh, I cry, I do it all. And I love it.
And speaking of love…
I know what love is.
Unlike Foreigner, I no longer WANT to know what love is. I know for sure.
Love is hard to come by in Scientology. When you’re a Scientologist, the organization comes first, and people come second. This includes spouses, parents, children, and siblings.
You’ve probably heard stories about how children disconnect from their parents — and vice versa — when they publicly leave Scientology. That’s because family bonds are considered less important than Scientology. After all, per Scientology, these are just bodies we’re in, and the family construct is just that — an artificial construct. So if you disconnect from your parents, who really cares?
So yeah, love comes and goes between Scientologists. Thankfully, since leaving Scientology, I’m 100 percent certain what love is:
- My family cared for me when they had every reason in the world not to. After all, I’d basically abandoned them for almost two decades.
- My pre-Scientology friends welcomed me back with open arms — again, they would have been well within their rights not to.
- My husband is my total rock, and he supports every one of my dreams — no matter how crazy he may think they are (and no, he never tells me that they’re crazy).
- The friends I’ve made over the past 13 years are always there for me, no matter what. It’s like I have a bigger family than I could have ever imagined.
Oh — and not one of these people would turn on me if I were to do something “unethical”. In Scientology, I was ratted out by my husband, by friends, by my coworkers, for the slightest indiscretion — such as wanting to sleep in instead of doing my morning chores (not kidding on this one, honest).
That’s the way of Scientology. But it’s not the way of love. I choose love.
I’ve learned how to forgive — in a BIG way.
Forgiveness was a loaded term for me after leaving Scientology. I mean, how could I forgive them for everything I went through? Wouldn’t that mean I was condoning the abuse?
Well, I’ve since learned a lot about forgiveness, and my biggest “aha” was this: When I truly forgave them, it took away MY pain.
Does that mean I condone what happened, and what continues to happen to so many others? Clearly, I don’t. But it does mean that I’m no longer trapped by it — mentally, emotionally, even physically.
By forgiving them — and even more importantly, forgiving myself — I’ve been able to finally let go of the past pain. I can sleep at night. I have a wonderful life that gets better every day.
It didn’t happen overnight. It took years of revisiting the trauma of various events, from different perspectives. I’m sure there’s more to forgive — and when it comes up, I’ll deal with it. But for now, I feel pretty damn liberated.
I heard a quote from Louise Hay recently, and it really resonated with me in terms of how to forgive people and events from my past:
“I forgive you for not being the way I wanted you to be.”
That’s sort of it, right? I wanted Scientology to be the answer, and when it wasn’t, I couldn’t get past it. Now, I’ve been able to move on.
Am I Grateful? You Bet.
So thanks, Scientology — you’ve helped me discover:
- how valuable I am — and how valuable we all are;
- the joy and abundance of life;
- what love truly is — and what it isn’t;
- the incredible power of forgiveness.
My gratitude knows no bounds. As I move into 2021, I’m ready for more love, more gratitude, more abundance.
You know, it’s funny. I’ve seen the following quote before, but I never understood it. I do now.