My outer-life in a snapshot
Let me give you a snapshot of my early years before I tell you more about my inner life.
It will put things in context. Or you can skip that and scroll down to my inner-life story below.
My early childhood
I believe I was already a few thousand years old when I was born. My mom was 20 and my dad was 29. She did not want kids, he said he did. I was a middle child and my siblings and I lived with my grandparents until we went to school. I have only 2 or 3 memories of my parents during my early childhood. When I was 3 my dad bought an old cottage in the next village and we would go there on weekends.
My grandmother was loving and kind, but my grandpa a bit scary. He wasn’t home often though, being a truck driver. Around him, we had to keep quiet.
I was also blessed with a Godmother who loved me dearly and only had her own children when I turned 14. She clothed me, bought me art supply and would take me with her weeks at a time. She was a kindergarten teacher, so I visited her classroom many times.
Dealing with change
When I started school my life changed drastically as my parents took custody of the three of us. It was the end of any stability I would have known. Even though life with my grandma was calm, I learned years later that she had to give me sleeping pills at night.
My parents’ relationship was on and off and my mom moved us over 40 times! The recurring story of our lives was: my dad drank, they fought, and she’d split. She could not be alone. Every time she’d split from my dad, she got boyfriends, and they did not last long.
I went to 26 different schools until I dropped out. I was one year short of finishing high school at the age of 16. I was bright. I always had good grades despite the chaotic lifestyle. I did not know it at the time, but I was, I still am, a highly sensitive person. I did not handle all these moves well and I retreated within myself. I would spend hours alone in my room, reading, writing or making art. Come my teenage years, it got worse.
The first years of high school were difficult, to say the least. I went to 5 different high schools in 3 years. My brother, my buddy of all times, had been sent to my paternal grandmother after a huge fight with my mom’s current boyfriend. This man gave me a beating shortly after, and my sister and I were sent to a foster home. I was terrified of these people who boarded kids only for money. Needless to say, there was no love in their home.
Fortunately, my dad disagreed on this arrangement, so my mom put us in a trailer park. I lived there alone with my sister, who was 2 years older than me. My anxiety grew. I had changed school for the 3rd time that year. I had no social skills. I hid by reading in libraries, avoiding contacts at all costs.
I was afraid of everything and everyone. One unfortunate weekend visiting my dad, one of his drinking buddies came to my room to molest me. I was 14. My dad was an alcoholic, I was afraid to hurt his feeling, so I told no one. I was now in a state of constant fear. A few months later my mom sent us to live with our dad full time. Another high school! I reunited with my brother and we buddied up again.
The first drink, the first smoke, the spirit.
I had my first drink and smoke shortly after moving in with my dad. What a relief. I cannot tell you how this changed my life. I had found an escape from all my fears and feelings of not fitting in. I could live amongst people. I could feel part of. All my anxieties were gone. I started what I called partying.
I finally quit school and helped my dad to build a barn. He gave me money and I partied. My brother and I had motorcycles and partied together. I never wanted to be an alcoholic like my dad, who I thought was weak. So I used other drugs.
My mom came to get my brother and me. She put me back in school where she lived in the Montreal area with a new boyfriend. Then she bought a house and we moved again, this time to a small town. I kept drinking on weekends at my dad’s. And in that new high school, thanks to the drinking, I made drinking friends easily, party time!
One night I came home high and my mom gave me a beating (her first and only time). As soon as school was over I left her to live with my sister in Montreal. I was 16.
Living on my own
I found a little contractual office job. I was fast, so I made good money in a short time and I partied. This went on for a year, then I got pregnant. The party was over. After my son was born, I went back to school to finish high school. I managed to stay sober until he was about 6 months old. Then I relapsed into more drugs and alcohol than ever.
I was on my way to losing my son and perhaps losing myself too. I sobered up once more. As you read in About Hélène, I joined my mom in building a daycare, my first lifestyle enterprise. It would take 13 years for me to relapse one more time. A year before I finally got clean and sober, I discovered spirituality.
My grandma prayed to little Jesus. She prayed in the morning, she said grace before meals. She taught my sister, my brother and I to pray before we went to bed at night. I related to baby Jesus as I too was a little kid. I remember that I felt safe, kneeling beside the bed with her and my brother beside me. I remember meeting a nun, visiting a school I was supposed to attend in kindergarten. She wore a black robe, her hair was covered and she gave me a hug.
I never forgot that hug. Writing these words, tears are coming to my eyes. I felt something. I never saw her again as my parents took custody of us in the summer. Two years later I was sent back to my grandma’s for a few months and attended that school. The nuns would pull me out of class to make me sing in the choir. I loved it. Again, I felt something. I felt a connection.
One with all things
It was at about the same time that I had my first significant spiritual experience. I might have been 6 or 7 and was resting in a field on the top of a hill at my dad’s. I was looking at a pure blue sky. Not one cloud could be seen. It was so peaceful and suddenly I did not feel my body anymore. I felt at one with everything. I instinctively knew that I was part of something much bigger than me. That was a powerful moment for me, but it took me years to remember it.
An old soul that knew the unknowable
I believe now that I was a little kid with an old soul. I somehow knew that the adult’s behaviors in my life were illogical. So I disconnected from them. It was like, I was an outsider looking in. My mom used to say: Nothing touches Hélène. Things slide off her like water on the back of a duck; if she only knew.
The soul, the observer that is observing the observer
Something unusual happened in my second last year of high school. I was dating a boy my age. One day I was walking by a church and noticed a sale. I went and found an amazing pair of jeans. They were used, patched, really cool and I knew he would love them. I bought them for $3 and went to his place to bring him the gift.
Look what I got you I said; He looked at the jeans and exclaimed: These are my jeans! I had lost them! His mom came in to see and she could not believe it. She had given the jeans away secretly to charity, hoping to never see them again. She could not stand those patched and worn out jeans. I had brought them back.
Today, this ability is still present within me; but what I find now is not material losses, but spiritual ones. I have been gifted with the ability to help people find their way back inside themselves. I help lost souls find their way home.
Fast forward to my early thirties. I know now that my intuition was always at work behind the scene because I created niche businesses that met needs in my community and I had a lot of success. Something had guided me. But, because I did not feel worthy, I sabotaged my success and it all came crashing down. I went bankrupt, I was drinking and using again, and now I wanted to die.
As I was plotting suicide, it suddenly dawned on me to seek the help of a psychologist. My mom had had episodes of paranoid psychosis in the previous years and my brother was now suffering from schizophrenia. I thought: perhaps I am mentally ill like my family. Perhaps I can get better. So I started therapy.
The artist’s way
My psychologist asked me to write the story of my life. After she read it she made that statement; Hélène, you have been completely abandoned. You need to be reparented. You need to figure out your identity and assume it. I said to her: ‘How long will that take?’ ‘Five or six years, if you do all the exercises’. So I agreed. I made a deal with myself to postpone the suicide. I would do everything she would suggest and in five or six years, if I still wanted to die, then I would do it. I am still here.
My true identity
I found out I was an artist. A writer to begin with. I started to write poems, songs. My therapist suggested I read The Artist’s way by Julia Cameron. I did. In fact not only did I read it, but I also went through all the exercises. I did not know it, but I had just started a spiritual recovery, much like those practiced in 12 steps programs. I repeated this process many times since that day. My budding artist started to gain confidence. I was now journaling each morning. Julia calls these the morning pages.
That first year, I joined a personal development weekend workshop. I was really scared. We did various exercises and I felt somehow disconnected. I felt apart. The other participants seemed to possess something, a knowledge I did not have. I felt something was missing in me. At the end of the weekend, the teacher asked us to sit in silence and observe ourselves for 10 minutes. I had no idea what to do!
I observed the others. They had their eyes closed. I felt pretty stupid and ignorant. I had no idea what they were up too. Once this was finally over, the teacher said: now let’s each share what we have observed. I spoke last. I did not know what to say, so I said: I observed that I don’t know how to observe myself. Yes! Said the teacher happily. You got it! That’s how it’s done. You now know how to observe yourself. This marked the beginning of my reconnection with my long lost self.
In May 99, a few months into the therapy my world fell apart again. I was attending a conference/dinner/dance of the Thalidomide victims association with a girlfriend, a member. Just after dinner someone came up to me and pointed to a woman I did not know. they said: do you know that woman? Before I could reply they said: she is the sister of the guy that committed suicide during the Olympics. then they left. A few minutes later a second person came by and said: do you know that woman? Before I could reply again they said: she is the sister of the guy that committed suicide during the Olympics. then they left.
I remember having a surreal feeling come over me. I started watching that woman. And then a 3rd person came by and said: do you know this woman? I replied, no, but I was told she was the sister of the guy who committed suicide during the Olympic. The scene was even more surreal. As I watched her I thought: I wonder how she felt. I wondered if she was sick of being labeled the sister of the guy who committed suicide.
Coming home, there was a message on my answering machine to call my mom about my brother. And I knew. My brother had committed suicide that morning while incarcerated for the weekend after escaping the psychiatric hospital. Something, someone had tried to tell me. Was it my brother? I don’t know. But since then, I had many such experiences of spirits coming to talk with me, often people having just passed.
The right spirits
At my brother’s funeral, I had another revelation. In therapy I had learned about the various roles people play in dysfunctional families. I could see how my family’s roles were shifting. My brother had been the poor soul, the problematic one, the scapegoat as it is explained in the link. I realized a shift in our roles. I was subtly pushed to becoming the next trouble maker. I was the only one in therapy, the only one rocking the boat. Poor Hélène, she is having so much trouble coping. My fight-flight instinct kicked in, I left town.
I was inspired to go to Toronto, so I asked a cousin who lived there if I could visit for a week, saying I needed to get away. Walking with her on the boardwalk in Toronto’s Beaches neighborhood, I heard a loud voice within me that said: MOVE HERE! Never in my life had I had heard such a strong order. I knew exactly why Noah had built an arch.
MOVE HERE! The voice said loudly within me.
Within a month, I had moved to Toronto where I knew without a doubt that I would have a singing career.
When God guides, God provides
I was still drinking my wine nightly but I had managed to stay clean since starting my therapy, which I continued over the phone. Since I had discovered I was a writer, I abstained from drinking during writing projects. This was about to change. In the fall of 99, both my parents were diagnosed with cancer. We organized an early Christmas party in December, as both were to be hospitalized on December 21 at different hospitals. My sister accompanied my father, I accompanied my mother.
During that time I was writing the first draft of Seven days to a more sensual life. As agreed with myself, I wasn’t drinking. However, a few days past the new year, I visited my mom and she told me she would not make it. She had at the most 3 months to live.
I started crying, so hurt at that news. I went out to meet a friend in a bar that night. He ordered a bottle of water (who does that?) I ordered a glass of wine. I looked at the wine and alarm bells started ringing in my head. ‘I don’t want to drink’, I thought. But I drank the wine, telling myself that I would order water at the next round.
The next round came and another glass of wine showed up. I drank it again, against my will. Now I was scared. The alarms bells were really loud. I knew by then that if I lost control over drinking, the hard stuff would come back fast. I had known for years, since in my 20’s, that I was a drug addict. I remember being afraid, really afraid deep down within myself. I left that bar and went home to my mom’s place. My mind was racing. I was still deeply in shock at the recent loss of my brother.
I knew deep inside that losing my mom would make things much harder. Maybe my dad would die too. I also knew, don’t ask me how, but I knew, and I still know without a doubt, that if I lost my fight with drinking, I would lose my fight with living. I made one phone call. That drink was my last drink.
My first spiritual guide
My brother had been clean and sober for one year at one time and had met a woman whom he introduced to a clean way of living. They dated and both attended a spiritual recovery program. She stayed, he went out, you know the rest. I called her that night and told her I was in trouble. She introduced me to the same spiritual program and guided me that first year. That was 20 years ago.
My parents as role models
It might not appear that way, but in the end, I am very grateful to my parents. Two years before I did, my dad got sobered. I was so co-dependant that I am not sure I would have seeked help if he had not. I followed in his footsteps.
My mother was not a hugger, but she showed me everything I needed to know about businesses and believing in my dreams. She always made hers come true. When I was starting my own first business (the condoms boutique), she expressed doubts. I asked her: ‘You don’t think I can succeed?’
She replied: ‘I know you will do all that is needed and that you will succeed. I just don’t like your product’. Lol. What parent would? I wrote down that phrase and kept it on my wall for years in my office.
Deepening the connection
I have never stopped enlarging my spiritual life since then. I went from being totally confused, barely able to observe myself to have a deep connection with myself. My intuition grew. My psychic abilities deepened. I started to manifest my desires with much more ease. I studied every book my psychologist suggested. I practiced Deepak Chopra’s Seven spiritual laws of success. I walked the path of the Artist’s Way many times again.
I studied Tony Robbins’ Personal Power program. In fact, I have a funny anecdote about that one. While coaching in Montreal, still a green spiritual seeker, I was planning to use this program in a workshop. I felt somewhat guilty as I had a copy of his program, not the original. I told myself: When I have the cash, I will buy the original program. He deserves the money. In fact, it was after listening to his program for the first time that I decided not to kill myself and try therapy. That and Celine Dion’s song We don’t say goodbye.
I remember sitting in a café, doing some exercises in the book the Artist’s way on that day. It was suggested to do something unplanned. So I went for a walk. Within a few minutes, I saw a thrift store. The kind filled with old family pictures and useless knick-knacks.
As I was about to leave, something caught my eyes. Tony Robbins’ Personal Power program on a shelf. Brand new, still wrapped up in plastic, with the original invoice of $275 US. The price tag: $10. What did I have in my pocket that day: $10.
I still remember this new feeling which is now so familiar.
The feeling letting you know that you asked for something, and that the universe delivered.
It has become a way of life for me.
Manifesting and changing as a way of life
When I was a coach, I always found the resources my clients needed. I have a gift for knowing what is needed and creating it. I had never created retail stores before but knew condoms would be needed in this Aid’s era. I had never created shows before but was able to create performances that engaged participants to get over their prejudices and fears.
I was able to convince thousands of kids to go from hating French to loving it. I equipped teachers with valuable ideas they did not have before. I saw a principal cry after a show when hundreds of teenagers rose their hands to participate in something she said they hated. I have been given the gift of change. My childhood trained me to go from school to school and deal with change. It was a blessing in disguise.
When I realized I was ready to move on from my singing career, I asked the universe for funding to take some time off. I knew I needed to step back, to prepare myself for the next big thing.
I manifested so much money that I have not had to earn in the last four years.
I have invested in myself even more. I spent a year on a deep step study in my program of recovery. Then I invested myself in an in-depth study of Robert Kagan and Lisa Laskow Lahey’s Immunity to change. I wrote a book in French, with 90 chapters on Abundance (awaiting publication). I created a one-woman show that revealed even more gifts I could share with the world. I worked really hard again at changing within me what I did not like.
Don’t like your outside? Change your inside.
So here I am. So many visions of mine, seeded deep within me, came to reality.
Beauty comes from the inside out. Reality comes from the inside out. I have spent over 20 years now changing my inside, one day at a time. I have manifested powerfully. I have rested peacefully.
I have known joy, peace, abundance, and beauty.
Hélène’s inner beauty school’s vision
I am highly sensitive person at the beginning of a new adventure. Scared. Brave. Vulnerable. Courageous.
Challenged by my current mentor to practice the 3 Vs: Visibility + Vulnerability leads to Victory.
I imagine myself writing, speaking, teaching, empowering.
To make it short and sweet:
I envision myself creating inner beauty in you and me.