Welcome to the tale of loss and rediscovery. As a way to digest The Christmas Tree Angel: A Heroine's Journey, I asked a friend who has over 25 years of experience in the classroom to make suggestions about the principles and ideas located in the story. Here are her suggestions. The book is available in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon.com
Joan de Bruin
Joan de Bruin
I enjoyed reading your book and loved the illustrations! :) I read it with the eye of an educator--in other words, I was looking for ways to use the story and market it to individuals who would find it useful. This is what led me to the outline below and to seeing it as if there was a story within a story. The first was the difficult circumstances of a child whose younger brother passes away. She was kept from experiencing the event and turned inward to resolve it. Her inner world provided an adventure that allowed her to feel and act on her loss by joining with the loved one taken away from her. This internal journey guided her to create meaning and purpose as well as return to the outer world with the strength to heal.
My notes below outline concepts I can see in the two parts of the story that perhaps could be used by a therapist in individual or group therapy.
Cynthia Joseph, M.Ed. Ed.D. (pending)
Strong faith-based story
Segments of the experienced based story
1. Family dynamics: sibling relationships, parental relationships, extended family
2. Illness and family choices: care-giving decisions, consequences of family decisions
3. Family traditions: purposes and practices, impact of change
4. Unexpected loss: situation and conditions, inner feelings of each participant, initial coping skill of participants
5. Aspects of grief: absorption, separation, blame, care-taking, guilt, perpetual internal dialogue, isolation, mercurial emotional shifts, silence, distraction, insistence, resistance, wishing, regret
6. Finding a personal space to heal and acknowledging that each person’s experiences of healing are different
7. The family joins together to heal, such as welcoming in a new born child
Segments of Emma’s metaphorical story with prompting questions:
1. Processing your personal wishes, i.e., Emma seeing Davy. Write three wishes.
2. Listening to your innermost thoughts to learn what you need, such as Mama knowing the importance of a mountain holiday and Aunt Jenny-Rose appearing; magical Becca taking Emma and Davy on a heroine’s journey. What are your deepest needs?
3. Assembling support from others: What different aspect of healing did each person or magical creature bring to Emma? What part would you play?
4. Safe places were prepared for Emma’s journey, such as the mountains, the bubble-tunnel; the hidden cave in Jeffery’s branches. Where’s your safe place(s)?
5. Heroic risk-taking by Emma included having trust in the journey, being willing to go on an unknown path; hoping for the best outcome. What kind of risks would you be willing to take?
6. Noting the three aspects of hope, faith; belief in Emma’s story, what lessons do you feel Emma learned? Did you learn something, Emma didn’t?
7. Time to shift back into the realm of the outer world experience, such as Emma returning home. How did she feel about being home? How would you feel about going home after a journey?
8. Anticipation of a new birth brings joy through the pain of the past...new baby Rose. Describe the changes you would like to see in the future after such a journey.