Letters from Linda

Letters from Linda is a periodic letter written by Linda Caine in response to topics and questions being discussed in the site forum (forum.lindacaine.com). Linda uses this to keep in touch with forum users as a whole, as well as answer to many specific contributors of the forum.

Introduction to Letters from Linda


January, 2009 - Happy New Year
January, 2008 - Happy New Year
February, 2007 - Prayer
April, 2005 - The Good Things


Dreams can come true! This is a beautiful pseudonym, and it always lifts my spirit to see it – not only because you are such a lovely encourager, 'Dreams can come true', but also because this forum is, itself, a dream come true and an answer to prayer. It has been incredible to watch it evolve over the last few months, from a few tentative letters, to a support group so caring that I can barely keep up with all of you. There have been many occasions when one of you has been going through a difficult time, or a new person has joined us, and I have printed the entries out and carried them with me so that I can read over them and work on a reply wherever I happen to be. However, I have learned that unless I am able to reply immediately, my response is outdated because the people have already been encouraged/welcomed by all of you. As a result, my stack of 'too late' letters has grown higher and higher, while I cheer you all on whenever I am able to catch up with your posts.

I will try, as time permits, to answer questions that specifically ask for my point of view on an issue/subject. However, as the forum actually reflects only a small percentage of those who write in (most readers still tend to send private e-mails) I feel I will be able to cover many issues more thoroughly if I sort through the letters that ask similar questions, and address different subjects in the form of a letter. I was going to make it a monthly, or bi-monthly letter, but I think I will keep it more flexible, and write as questions on certain subjects dictate.

As you know, Robin initially used the goat track as an example of psychotherapy, and it is a wonderful analogy of the process he and I went through. However, I think it is also a brilliant description of life itself. The conclusion of my therapy with Robin was just the end of that particular path. Since then, my life has taken many different turns, and I have walked with many friends along the way. This forum is just another aspect of the goat track; a place where we are able to meet, share, encourage and pray for each other, coming alongside those of us who are experiencing hard times and trials, and celebrating with those who are enjoying times of happiness, healing and victory.

I find that life is a constant balance of holding onto, and celebrating, the good and uplifting things, while facing and working through the difficult ones.

So let's keep praying for, and encouraging each other!

With love to you all,


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January 2009 - Happy New Year

This is to wish everyone on our forum a happy new year. I really hope and pray that 2009 turns out to be a good year for all of us.

I know the Christmas and New Year period can sometimes be difficult, with the extra pressure of socializing when you're not in a good place - but I hope it's also been a time when everyone has been reminded of some of the good things in life. When I had to review my life to write 'Out of the Dark', it confirmed to me that so much good has come out of what seemed to be the darkest times I've experienced. Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California put my feelings in a nutshell when he said 'there are good things in bad times, and bad things in good times'. This truly describes my life.

One of the huge 'good things out of bad', is this forum. I love the fact that this small online community is made up of a group of diverse people of different backgrounds and ages, who encourage and help each other through the bad times – and celebrate each others' good times. I also love the structure that has developed naturally over the years, a few examples are as follows:

Kahlan recognized the need for a thread specifically for the difficult times, and created one called 'Serious Chat', in the 'Mental and Emotional Issues', 'General' section. It's so important to have a place where we can be real about what we're feeling, and sometimes just 'vent'... 'Serious Chat'.

However, we also need places to be reminded about the good things in life, hence the section of the same name 'The Bright Side of Life' – really worth a read if you need a 'pick-me-up'.

Then there's the fun side, and phoebegrl2003 started the 'a game thing' thread in the 'General Discussions' sections 'A Game Thing'

And our wonderful 'encourager', Jan, began the 'How's everybody doing' thread in the 'General Discussions' section – just a place to generally catch up with each others' news 'How's Everybody Doing?'

I'm adding a couple more threads today; one about what animals we have (my animals, and birds have played a major role in my life, and still do), and what makes for a good break, or 'time out' for us. I'd love to hear about your animals, and about the things you do to wind down and de-stress. I'll put them both in 'The Bright Side of Life' section.

Many interesting and helpful observations have been made over the last few years. For instance, Jane said she allowed herself to have a bad day, which prompted the comment from Jan that maybe this was what we should do instead of being angry or upset at ourselves when we go 'down', or have bad days for seemingly no reason. I have to say that, in my own life, this is now one of the things that helps me to stay healthy; I used to get furious when I had 'down' days, and would call myself pathetic, useless, and a number of other choice names that I'd never call anyone else who was struggling. Since coming through my breakdown, I've learnt to pace myself, and not to over-commit myself. I try to be as kind to me as I am to those I 'walk' with, in their difficult times. For instance, I'm someone who needs a lot of 'alone' time and space. Everything I do, creatively, is a solitary pursuit. Whether I'm drawing, painting, doing calligraphy or writing, I do it best alone, in a silent place. Unlike many people I know (most, actually!), I even find music distracting at these times. Recognizing this, I now make sure I give myself 'alone' time – especially when I have a lot of commitments. If I don't, I just end up feeling overwhelmed. So I think Jane's comment was extremely helpful, and that we should all, in Jan's wise words, 'be gentle' with ourselves when we're struggling. Also consider what I've said about giving yourselves a bit of 'time and space' to regularly do something you really enjoy. It makes such a difference to have something to look forward to. Even if you have a busy and demanding schedule, try to take some time out and do something special at least once a week - see a movie with friends - have lunch with a friend – dinner with your husband - pamper yourself by running a hot bath on a cold night and just soaking in it with a 'DO NOT DISTURB' sign on the door – go to bed early and curl up with a good book...

As I mentioned earlier in this letter, I'm starting a new thread titled 'time out' ideas, so let's share them with each other.


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January 2008 - Happy New Year

2008 - a new year, with new resolutions, new hopes and new dreams about new beginnings.

For me, 2007 was an incredible year, full of the highs and lows, and struggles and triumphs that life brings.

One of the 'lows' has been the sad way that our website has been 'spammed' with pornography and other unwanted links and material. Deleting and fighting this has taken up an incredible amount of time, and Jon and I are working on ways to stop it. I still fail to understand how anyone who has read the content of our forum, can still post sites they know will upset and disturb people who are struggling to overcome the effect of trauma in their lives.

A big 'high' was returning to England with Jeff Hall, who owns the award winning Maximus Media audio visual studios in Fresno, and who is working on the documentary of my life. We went to England specifically to interview the wonderful people you read about in 'Out of the Dark', who stood by me during my breakdown and healing. I then flew on to Africa, where my brother, Brendan, his wife, Sharon, and I chartered a light aircraft to fly us from Lusaka, in Zambia, to the lower Zambezi Valley. There, we filmed the wonderful, wild part of Africa that I love so much. I will outline the reason we are making this documentary, and why I am so excited about it, in another letter.

As we begin 2008, I want to remind you that I pray constantly for everyone who reads my book, comes onto this site, or hears my story in any other way. I may not know who you are, but God does, and I pray that He will bring gentle healing and wholeness into every area of your lives. I encourage you to remember that healing and growth take time; in the same way as a shattered leg would take time to heal, so do shattered emotions. If you broke your leg, you wouldn't expect to be able to run a marathon immediately. Instead (if you wanted it to heal well), you would listen to your doctor and pace yourself. You would do exercises to strengthen your leg, and set realistic goals along the way. The good thing (!) about a broken leg is that others are able to see the injury, which helps them to be more compassionate about why the person limps, and more understanding about the time it takes to heal. Sadly, when our emotions have been damaged, we (and others) often expect ourselves to just 'get over' the things that have happened to us, without dealing with our emotional turmoil. We try to get on with our lives by pushing aside our confusion and pain, often setting unrealistic goals and beating ourselves up or 'crashing' when we don't attain them. Isn't it strange how we can be understanding and caring about others, and encourage them to be gentle with themselves, yet we are often so harsh on ourselves?

I encourage you to start 2008 with a fresh commitment to pursue your healing and wholeness. Robin's story of the goat track (pages 124-126 of our book 'Out of the Dark) is a wonderful analogy not only of psychotherapy, but also of the healing process, and life. Think about it; if you were following the goat track up the mountain and you tried to run up the track, you'd only end up exhausted - or if you tried to take a short cut and go straight up, you'd probably end up in trouble, in difficult terrain, and have to find your way back to get 'on track' again. Just remember that small steps are good, pacing yourself is good, and attainable goals are good.

This forum is here for your good days and your bad days, so join us whenever you can and let us know how you are.


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February 2007 - Prayer

Please bear with me as I quote a few things I have written to the readers of 'Out of the Dark', and to those who use my forum. These excerpts will give you some background about a new section I am introducing to my website:

In the Forum Code of Conduct and Policies, I wrote that 'this is not specifically a 'help' site (like 'the Samaritans'), but is intended to be a place where we can make friends and encourage each other in an atmosphere of unconditional love. It is my prayer that this section (the Forum) will generate a positive environment that will encourage us all to continue to seek our healing and wholeness, and enable us to free ourselves from the hurts of our past and move on' I also went on to state that 'While people of all faiths (and none) are very welcome to write in, please bear in mind that I, and the moderators and administrators of this site, are Christians, and our faith that Jesus Christ is our healer will be evident as we interact with, and pray for, all those who write in.'

In the section titled 'A letter to readers of Out of the Dark', I wrote that 'I pray for all of you, constantly. I may not know who you are, but God does – and He also knows, and can meet, your deepest needs.'

I did not write this in a flippant way. I really do pray for you all constantly. I read in Webster's Universal College Dictionary, that some of the meanings for 'constant' are: 'not changing; invariable; regularly recurrent; continual; persistent; faithful; unswerving in love or devotion; steadfast; firm in mind or purpose'. This really does describe how I pray for you.

Last summer (the summer of 2006) I had a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with a dear friend who was instrumental in my healing. Pam is still amazed to know how deeply moved I was by the cards she sent me during the three years of my breakdown. I told her that her words of encouragement, reminding me that she was still praying for me, helped me to get through many dark days. We spoke about the power of prayer, and the importance of encouragement.

I shared the vision I had/have for the 'forum' section of my website, and said that I would like to introduce a special section titled 'Prayer Requests'. As the title states, this would be a place for anyone to post specific prayer requests. One of the concerns I had about doing this, is the fact that I am not able to spend as much time on the forum as I would like. If I was going to invite prayer requests, I wanted to be sure someone would definitely be praying for them specifically! One of the definitions of 'intercession', in the dictionary, is 'prayer to God on behalf of somebody or something'. This is actually what Pam already spends her life doing. She told me that she will log on to the forum regularly, specifically to read and pray for, the prayer requests.

I want to say at this point, that I know many of you will use this section not only to post your own requests, but also to pray for the requests of others. Pam and I will just be there to come alongside you, and add our prayers to yours.


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April 2005 - The Good Things

I ended the last letter by saying that 'I find that life is a constant balance of holding onto, and celebrating, the good and uplifting things, while facing and working through the difficult ones' and this got me thinking...

I know, for instance, that Teela has a horse (lucky you, Teela!), and I'm sure that between her difficult times she is able to enjoy the time she spends training him/her. Amanda breeds dogs, and may enjoy, as I do, going for walks with them. Getting out where I can see the open spaces and mountains really gives my spirit a lift! Other things I love doing whenever I have a spare moment, are writing, painting, writing out uplifting verses and sayings in calligraphy, scrapbooking (I far prefer this to putting photos into plain photo albums), spending time with Christy eating ice cream, playing word games and doing jigsaw puzzles, listening to Gary practicing his songs, and whisking Chris and the dogs off to the river for a camping weekend 'away from it all'.

An idea began growing in my mind, and was confirmed by the post Janice wrote on December 14th, in which she said '...it's great to come on here and hear someone's news and share in their happiness. It's good to come alongside people in their dark moments, but it's good to share their good stuff too!!". While I would never, in any way, underestimate the difficulty of what anyone is going through (I trust you know this from 'Out of the Dark), it would be lovely to also hear about the good and positive things that are going on in our lives as well, as encouragement. I'm therefore going to begin a section in which we can tell each other about the things we enjoy doing, the good things that are happening in our lives, and the positive ways we are finding to cope.

Again, I must qualify that I'm not trying to turn this forum into a place where we only write happy things! That would be terribly unreal, and would put us back into the place in which we feel we have to hide the things we are struggling with. This forum must stay as it is; a place where we are not afraid to talk openly about our difficulties. I am just adding an aspect to it – and not taking anything away.

With much love to you all, from a fellow traveler on the 'goat track' of life!


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