"The Small Still Voice" by Joan Douma Written (March 17, 2014)
I have been asked to describe the “small still voice” within me. It is basically “insight” which leads me to the truth, an expression of who I authentically am, with no facades, pretense, fitting in or any other mode Of being other than who I was born to be and to express. It is the “intuition,” the inner knowing of what I should do, where I should go, what stand should I take, regardless of opposition,(even from myself?), the knowing without certitude, and I believe, most of all, faith in who I AM.
I have just turned 79 years of age and today I had a message from my small still voice and a clarity of purpose, the answer to “why me?” which had not been revealed to me earlier.
In 1977 a swim “downstream” culminated into the pool of alcoholism and I commenced recovery and the long, arduous swim “upstream” which “dog paddle” has brought me to where I now live a life, yes, soon to the 5th portion of a century of living a life of varied experiences, none of which would I change had I had the opportunity NOW to do so. Everything I experienced was perfect and I had a moment of clarity today (yes, the “small still voice” speaking from within me) which assured me that the path I have been on since 1977 was always in the greater plan of why I am still on earth, evolving and experiencing life to the fullest.
I needed to take this journey so that I could show, by example, and word and, most Importantly, I believe, how it “feels” to have another personality enter ones being and take over choice, decisions, truth and many other parts of a soul as it ravages its power over a human being, in spite of all the best intentions, insight, vows to change the individual attempts to practice.
No one can understand certain pain (mental, emotional and physical) experienced by another unless they have literally “walked in their shoes/footprints of that other person.”
For me, the other personality was alcoholism, and younger than I, people I love with all my heart, family, friends and, yes, acquaintances, have been afflicted with the personality of not only alcoholism but a drug, eating disorder, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsion disorder, cancer, and more which only someone who has HAD IT can truly understand.
I am able, today, to express, in these instances, with truth and understanding, many insights Gathered along the way which I learned, experienced and put into action in my life which Can now serve as tools for others following my path. What I can share most importantly Is certainly HOPE and FAITH that we CAN “recover” and “maintain” and that life can be One of the most fabulous adventures that one could have dreamed of.
I feel so privileged that my inner voice spoke to me today so that I can share the above with anyone who wants to listen. Namaste, Joan
Joan was born in Oakland and lived in Berkeley until 1946 when she moved to Napa with her family. Joan attended Napa High School where she made lifelong friends and met English teacher/future travel companion, Ileta Grabenauer. Upon graduating high school, Joan worked for the attorney offices of Dan York, Frances “Bud” Frisch, and Ralph Trower. In 1978, Joan moved to Campbell to work for the San Jose Office of Appeals for the state of California as a legal secretary. At the age of 50, Joan’s adventurous spirit led her to work for the US State Department foreign service as an office management specialist for the US embassy in Geneva Switzerland, Izmir Turkey, Pretoria South Africa, Taipei Taiwan, Singapore, and Ottawa Ontario. During her 15 years with the foreign service, Joan made countless friendships, which she maintained until the day she passed. Joan retired to Napa at the age of 65 to be closer to her family members, including her mother, Margaret LaPoint. Joan loved everyone just as much as she enjoyed animals and opportunities to travel. She was most passionate about people, and Joan impacted the lives of individuals around the world. This passion led her to co-found Seedlings of Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, supporting, and empowering ordinary citizens, community groups and small organizations striving to promote positive, lasting change. Joan is survived by her sister, Sharon Emmett (Harry), daughter, Kriss Buterbaugh (Mark), and two sons, Daniel Douma (Nilda) and David Douma (Kim). Joan is also survived by her grandchildren, Natasha, Jonathan, Melissa, Jessica, and Maggie; great grandchild, Steven; and two pets, Luna and Zoey. A celebration of life will take place at 1:00 pm on February 2, 2019 at the Napa Valley Center for Spiritual Living, located on 1249 Coombs St, Napa, CA 94558. There will be a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to SeedlingsOfChange.org.