Rude Awakenings ~ Catherine Sevenau

Catherine Sevenau Catherine Sevenau is a local writer, humorist, and storyteller. Her newly completed third book, "Through Any Given Door," a Family Memoir, is available as a free web series at Catherine, also a longtime Realtor and Owner/Broker at CENTURY 21 Wine Country. [email protected]


From A to Z

Posted on May 22, 2019 by Catherine Sevenau

For years my mother followed me around, continually showing up in my stomach, my bones, and my dreams. She used to be a dull ache inside me, but not so much anymore. In those five years that I lived with her I wasn’t raised by co-mission—she wasn’t cruel or abusive—I was raised by omission, by neglect. But neglect doesn’t leave a scar, it leaves a hole. Some say holes are harder to heal.

I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to fill this hole: with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll (God bless the ‘60s and ‘70s!), with work, and now with writing. Like my mother, I’ve been searching for answers. She went the conventional way of the ‘50s, going to doctors up and down the state trying to find out what was wrong with her, getting prescriptions for depression, her weight and sleep, and for whatever else ailed her. She finally gave up and ended her life at the age of 53; the same age I was when I started writing about her.

Me? I’ve gone from A to Z in search of understanding—attempting to heal the ache in my stomach, release the pain in my shoulders and jaw, and let go of the resentment I hold in my body.

  1. I’ve tried acupressure and acupuncture; they’ve helped. So has an Ayurvedic diet.
  2. I’ve had biofeedback and Bach remedies, and brought a black Buddha back from Bali.
  3. I’ve been to chiropractors, had my chart done, and my chakras cleansed.
  4. I’ve done dream work, dance work, and death work. I’ve seen the Dalai Lama.
    E. I’ve studied the Enneagram. I missed est, and thought people who did workshops like that were whacked. Of course, that’s when I was into working and survival, when the only important thing in my life was keeping a roof over my kids’ heads.
  5. I’ve had my house Feng Shui’d and ran a fresh carrot juice company.
    G. I’ve studied Gurdjeiff and spent five years in group therapy.
  6. I’ve practiced Holotropic breathing, seen holistic doctors, and tried homeopathy. I did the Hoffman Process, which is grueling if you’ve had the mishap of having seven parents.
    I. I’ve learned to trust my intuition, have an understanding of my incident, and try not to be too attached to my identity.
    J. Jung interests me.
    K. So does karma.
  7. I’m a Leo with my moon rising and my sun setting, or something like that.
  8. Meditation has helped. However, I’m sad to say, I’ve had no mystical experiences.
    N. Regarding numbers: I’m a type one on the Enneagram and a two in numerology (this is the extent of my mathematical skills).
  9. I’ve met Oscar Ichazo and studied the many Enneagram teachers before and after him.
    P. I’ve played with a pendulum. I believe there is planetary consciousness. I’ve prayed to my ancestors, received psychic readings, and done past life work.
  10. I’ve tried Qi Gong… too slow.
    R. I’ve read Rumi and Ram Dass. I’ve tried reflexology. There are, however, two things I won’t do: Rolfing or a ropes course. I lasted two minutes in the first and two hours in the second; both are simply ruses to off you.
    S. I’ve asked my spirit guides for their help. I’ve shadow danced and I’ve slow danced.
    T. I took an introductory Tantra session; within two minutes my jaw locked up. My father would’ve never approved.
    U. I attempt to understand my unconscious mind, bringing consciousness to the darkness.
  11. I’m vaguely vegetarian. I try to remember to take my vitamins. A vision quest is NOT on my calendar; I hate camping, convinced something out there will get me.
    W. I’ve done relationship workshops, writing workshops, and women’s weekends. I’ve done a lot of work, and it’s made a difference. I know who I am and how I operate. I know that where I stumble is my gold. I know my answers are inside me, not out there somewhere. I know I can ask for help. And my stomach is much better, although my shoulders and jaw are still pretty tight.
    X. I practiced remaining friends with my ex. Luckily, the kids and I loved his 2nd wife.
    Y. I’ve practiced Yoga. I’ve tried to balance my yin and yang; my yang is still winning.
    Z. I’ve never mastered Zen; I keep trying to hear the sound of one hand clapping, but there’s still too much racket inside my head.

So after this, after all my seeking and searching, hoping for some understanding, I’ve come full circle back to my mother. “Why?” doesn’t matter nearly as much as I thought it did. Mom didn’t think about the ripples caused by the rocks she cast in the waters. She wasn’t out to purposely make my life unhappy or irritating, didn’t have me in mind when she made her choices. It wasn’t about me; somehow I knew that even as a kid.

For years I didn’t think about her at all. For a while I thought about her more than I needed to. Now, after all this work, when I think of her, it’s easier, and it feels like we can dance.


Catherine Sevenau is a local writer, irreverent humorist, and astute storyteller. Her third book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir is available as a free web series at She is also a longtime Realtor and Owner/Broker at CENTURY 21 Wine Country. [email protected]

4 thoughts on “From A to Z

  1. Great writing! I also attended the Hoffman quadrinity process! Only time i was. Able to. Completely. Empty my Mind! That. Lasted. About three days,, then the world filled it. Back. Up with. The same. Old stuff, namaste. Kathryn

  2. Hi Catherine, Do you have some idea of what a “good, thorough answer” would look like? Also, in the article, did you mean “gold” or “goal” in one of your paragraphs. I’m sorry your journey has been so difficult. I don’t know the answer, but I care about the search of you and so many others.

  3. And you successfully raised two sons on your own… and they love you. Congratulations on surviving your search and thriving despite all…

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