When we set out to teach, we often become the student. Gina Vucci experienced this truth while writing The Relationship Handbook: A Path to Consciousness, Healing, and Growth. Gina coauthored the book with her mentor, Shakti Gawain. During the course of writing, Gina went through a divorce and became a single mother of three.
“I was in a relationship in which I kept thinking ‘I should work on myself—what do I have to learn and own?’” Gina says. “That definitely was part of it, but I was actually in an abusive marriage and I didn’t really recognize it because it seemed like there were so many external circumstances that made him the way he was, or maybe he was behaving this way because of outside stresses. I came to realize that he actually had issues with anger and violence and there wasn’t anything I could do to control it.”
Gina, a professional counselor, has presented workshops with Shakti for 14 years. Shakti is a best-selling author and pioneer in the field of personal growth and consciousness. In the book, Gina says her own healing took off after she left her marriage and got to a safe place. She hopes sharing her story helps others.
“I want anybody in a relationship with an abusive partner to know there is nothing they can do to change their partner. That they didn’t cause it, they can’t control it, and that it’s not their fault,” Gina says. “They need to seek safety before doing their consciousness work around their healing.”
Since the end of her marriage, Gina has concentrated on mothering and her work helping others grow. Her children are ages 11, 18, and 22.
“My relationship with my children has transformed completely,” Gina says. “The end of the marriage really humbled me before them. I acknowledged what had happened—and what was happening—and validated their experience. I owned my part of creating that situation and not knowing how to get out of it. That opened up a circle for the children and me to share in healing.”
The family has clear roles and Gina is careful not to share too much of her own process with her kids. She sees her role as giving them the space to share what is happening
for them. In a parallel process to Gina’s healing work, her children have recovered from the trauma of their mother’s abuse and divorce.
“My kids and I today are profoundly close and I’m so grateful for that,” Gina says with tears welling up. “There’s a deep level of honesty and space for each of us to be really successful in the ways in which we’re successful and there’s also space for where we’re flawed. There’s no criticism or isolation or outcasting.”
Reflecting further, Gina says her family’s growth after her divorce has brought a level of healing that may go back to her ancestral roots.
“I was healing the role of anger and how that played out in my family and in my own life and in my children’s lives,” Gina says. “We have learned not to be afraid of anger—to be able to express healthy anger—and to have more compassion for ourselves and less criticism and judgment for each other. It was an incredible spiritual experience for me.”
Gina notes we all have our own version of surrendering what no longer serves us. She says it could be drug addiction, gambling, or codependency.
“It could be 100 different things,” she says. “But we find ourselves just totally crippled by it and on our knees. For me, there was this process (that she teaches with Shakti), which was a great tool and asset, but I also had to give myself over to what I call God. I turned myself over to this spiritual force. I submitted to being in partnership and cocreating with this life force energy. I allowed God to bring that level of healing into my life that was needed.”
Lessons in The Relationship Handbook include:
- Become aware of and heal our unconscious patterns.
- Balance closeness and independence.
- Understand how to use the “mirror of relationships.”
- Use trouble spots in relationships to guide us toward healing.