Posts Tagged ‘fulfillment’
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(This is an excerpt from the book: Parent Like a Guru, which was written in 2016. It is available on Amazon.com.)
While many of us desire to parent as a spiritual practice, we sometimes get confused about what is spiritual – as in right-action, or right-thought, and what is not spiritual. The answers to this confusion will vary, depending on your religious training, your culture, and your family’s traditions.
My perspective is that we are all spiritual beings here in human form, learning by engaging in the direct experience with the circumstances in front of us. Just like in elementary school, we learn best when we focus on what is in front of us. And, when our teachers are clear with the intentions of the specific exercise in front of us, we engage more enthusiastically with our learning.
Take, for example, a kindergarten teacher, who says to her students, “Okay class: Today we are going to begin learning our ABC’s. When we know our ABC’s, we can begin to put the letters together to make words. And when we make words, a whole new exciting world opens up for us, full of imagination, information, and perhaps adventure. Who wants to learn their ABC’s?”
When we simplify the context of our reality, taking it down to elementary principles, we can become more engaged and excited about the learning that is right in front of us.
Gurus live a very simple life, because they know that’s all there is to do. They love, and they exercise their intelligence-muscles to realize and live into what is true and what is right-action, based on that truth.
To parent like a guru, living with your children, a partner and perhaps other people too, takes mindfulness to live into each moment as if there is something to learn – and, there is always something to learn, in every moment. Buddhists call this Beginner’s Mind.
Today, I’d like you to consider that, Love is not the same as compatibility. It’s not the same as getting along and doing what is right all the time. Unconditional Love requires NOTHING from another person, or from yourself, for that matter. LOVE Just IS!
Learning to live together requires each of us to see each person’s unique way of being in the world as just that – not good, not bad, not right, not wrong. There is no judging; only respecting and honoring people’s personal preferences, even when they are different from yours and you don’t agree with it. GULP!
Acceptance is a huge spiritual practice. Allowing is a huge spiritual practice – especially as a parent, because you have to distinguish what could be harmful or dangerous for your children, and what is the natural expression of their being, which, in essence isn’t dangerous, just different than yours, which feels dangerous to your ego-self.
One of my favorite books for parents is written by Rudolf Dreikurs, called Children: the Challenge. It teaches parents to use their intelligence-muscles, to consider each child’s own unique being in the world, and to respect their relationship with the world in front of them. It also teaches parents to allow the natural consequences of a child’s direct experience with the world to be the primary teacher.
This way, we parents, grandparents, and guardians respectfully acknowledge our children’s unique relationship with the world, accepting and allowing them to learn from their own experiences.
Our job then becomes that of mindful and wise stewards, who make room for the expansion of our children’s natural expression in the world to occur, with wise supervision present, every step of the way.
Just for today, notice your love for your children. You may have to take a deep breath and a few minutes to return to that presence of love, but it is there. Notice your style of guiding your children towards right-action, or right-relationship with themselves and the world. Notice your desire to pass on your style to them, and how you do that. (We all want to do this, so no need to feel bad or guilty about it.)
Just observe today what you need for your children and what you need from your children, and see if there are conflicts between the two. Give yourself some time to think about, and discern with intelligence, what is the priority of those needs. Just for today, practice noticing just this. There isn’t anything to do but to notice.
Only through the awareness of our thinking, our feelings, our body sensations, and our actions, can we consider the possibility of choice and change. So, doing nothing but noticing has the potential of creating transformation. I have no doubt about that!
(On YouTube, in September, the topic of my pre-recorded videos and Live videos will be Families and How to Live Together. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can join me live and ask questions in real time!
I’m honored to have been writing blogs for Maximize Your Talents for many years now. MYT is an organization dedicated to enhancing emotional intelligence and leadership development.
I became curious as to why MYT would continue to invite me to write for them when I feel as if I’m out of the emotional intelligence box. So, I decided to ask myself the question: Is there a difference, or is it the same thing, but just at a different, more expanded level of awareness? And, does anyone care?
Well, first of all, I care! I’m writing this because I suspect others may be curious too! Inquiring minds want to know!!
For the purpose of comparing, and to perhaps simplify this a bit, I’m going to use the term Spiritual Intelligence, rather than spiritual integration.
Spiritual Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence:
Both grow our capacity to know ourselves beyond limiting perceptions of what others tell us is real, is right and wrong, the should’s and shouldn’t’s of life.
Both empower us to choose to see ourselves and the world through our own unique lenses.
Both embrace the practice of individuating and living from the knowing that lies within. We become less attached to being approved of by others as we grow both spiritual and emotional intelligence.
Both inspire devoting ourselves to the practice of knowing ourselves and aligning ourselves with our highest truths, our highest values, and our desire to be a contribution to the world we live in.
Both support and empower us to look at our lives, our practices, our thoughts and feelings with intelligence rather than beliefs. They encourage us to question the hierarchy of our values and principles.
Both encourage us to be sovereign and whole within, no longer deferring to other people’s opinions, ideas and truths.
Both minimize the negative impact of fear, worry and stress.
Throughout our lives, there is a practice, a training, an upleveling, if you will, of our capacity to know ourselves. First, as children, we grow our capacity for physical intelligence — how our bodies function and how we can control, utilize and integrate all that abounds within our physical world. We then become aware that we have thoughts. We think and do.
From Doing and Thinking to Being and Allowing
Each of us is growing our capacity to go from linear and logical to engaging with the messiness of emotions. Confusing, uncertain, personal, real, direct experience– being with our emotions is so confounding, especially after being trained out of being an emotional being in many ways as we grow up.
Growing our emotional intelligence means being with the fears of being different, and willingly allowing the uniqueness. Slowly but surely, as we grow our capacity to be with who we are, we consciously come out of the closet — declaring and being our authentic-selves, willingly choosing to choose based on aligning with our highest knowing, highest truth, highest values.
Cultivating emotional and spiritual intelligence requires courage to look inside to deeper and deeper levels. We explore and discover attachments to ways of seeing and interpreting reality that personally, just don’t fit any longer. We begin to choose to choose more in alignment with our own personal truth, rather than the truths of our culture, families, friends and religion. We face the fear of being rejected and ostracized, for the sake of knowing and honoring who we are as our essential selves. Little by little, we let go of survival strategies born out of fear. We partake in practices which enliven our sense of selves and bring joy and fulfillment. We allow ourselves to pursue what is infinitely pleasing. In doing so, we begin to realize a self that is different from who we thought we were — and what we thought we were.
My experience is that this is when we begin to cultivate awareness of an intelligence born from a knowing and existence beyond our consensus view of reality. What can be called spiritual intelligence is utilization of the known truths of our physical and emotional intelligences to explore the non-physical, the meta-physical aspects of our reality.
The meta-physical world has been a part of science for thousands of years. However, the concept of us participating consciously with our meta-physical selves, sometimes considered new-age thinking, has only been occurring over the last 100 years. Einstein, Carl Jung and many others spoke to the meta world. Ekhart Tolle says that we are only now able, in these current generations, to consciously evolve ourselves beyond what we believed to be the truth — the physical reality that we can see, hear, and touch.
As we uplevel ourselves, step by step, we reveal to ourselves what could not have been known before this moment. Our linear thinking, which initially was blown up with the substantiation of our emotional intelligence, learns to live in harmony with our emotions. With more and more conversation regarding the energy forces that are at play in our meta-physical world, we become more comfortable with the truth that we are 100% potentiality. We are creators of our own reality.
Upleveling to Knowing and Being with the Existence of the Divine
None of what I’ve shared with you so far is truly related to spiritual intelligence or spirituality.
Our religions and spiritual traditions were founded by individuals who had experiences of Divinity, of Sacredness, of the presence of God within all existence. As participants in these religions and spiritual institutions, as well as those of us who are mavericks in our own exploration of the big T Truths, we ourselves have either directly experienced the truth that everything is sacred and divine, or we are growing ourselves toward that knowing. Faith is the practice in which we grow our capacity to be with what is unknown, yet at the same time is known within every one of us.
I bring faith in here because I believe it is at the core of the practice of letting go of what no longer is in alignment with our highest knowing and our highest good. It is a necessary practice in order for upleveling to occur.
It has taken me pretty much my whole life to come to the direct experience of myself as an aspect of the divine. Elizabeth Gilbert, in Eat, Pray, Love, says, “God dwells in me as me.” It has taken decades of practicing faith to bring me to this level of knowing and experiencing this fact, that God dwells in me as me. It has taken me decades to own for myself that we are continually awakening to the truths of our sacredness and our union with all.
Through our lifetimes, each of us, through every event we experience, grows our ability to know ourselves fully. Each moment is a revelation – an AH-HA moment, an experience of I’ve arrived! And then we step again out onto the path to realize that that was a moment of realization. There are many more to come, even more extraordinary than the one before.
So to answer my own questions, my experience is that, over our lifetimes, we continually come to realizations that, in essence, are the bridges that allow for the integration of what is to be known. The intelligence that is built through the cultivation of awareness of our physical reality leads us to building our mental intelligence, which leads us to our emotional and then our spiritual intelligence. It is all part and parcel to the knowing of who we are! It is all one extraordinary practice of waking up to our all-ness!!!
Well, I have to say that you, my dear reader, have been a witness to my highs and lows, my ups and downs for almost two decades now. Is that possible?!
These newsletters, as well as my website, blog posts, books, podcasts and now YouTube videos, are all testaments of one person’s journey through the messiness and the yahoo’s of life. Thanks for being that witness for me! It’s a wonderful thing to have the experience of trust in one’s listeners.
Recently I began offering YouTube Live videos, where I’m connected to an unseen audience that I only know exists by the number on the screen and by those who participate in conversation with me through the chat! Somewhat like connecting with you here. I know you are out there, and I trust you are listening to the degree that you are. And, I just keep sharing my experiences, my truths, and my revelations with you no matter what. The "why" of that is beyond me – I just keep doing it!
Part of the "why" is that all of the ways I’ve practiced articulating and listening to myself publicly have brought me great joy! All of what I’ve mentioned above – the books, the blogs and podcasts, etc., have been tools which empower and support me to know myself better. And, it’s important to me to share these expressions of myself, just because it is. And now I’m doing it LIVE. JEESH!
Okay, the holidays are behind us, and now even the time for resolutions and anticipation of a better year is fading quickly. Help!!
I had it all figured out: I had that peacefulness and serenity thing balanced and in place; I was back on track with eating cleaner food; clients were calling for sessions, the dawning of Spring, though officially a couple months away, was bringing the anticipation of the coming of more light during the day.
So why do I feel bad, sad and mad? Where am I glad that I anticipated this new year?
As I’ve grown myself into a greater capacity for peace and wellbeing, I still fall into the trap of believing that those heights of enlightened living are sustainable long term. It is so dang seductive!
To experience the delights of all that is within those transcendent moments, and then to plummet back into the abyssness of my fears and my beliefs that I am lacking, is not an event I take much pleasure in. And although this is a reoccurring event that happens over and over again, I never get used to it.
It isn’t uncommon for people to feel what is commonly called “depressed” in the months of Winter. Sometimes it’s related to the lack of sunshine. And, it is often related to the unrelenting pitter-patter of one day after another – one year after another – with no true sense of life getting better. It can feel like a big sinkhole! I know!! I’ve been there. And, here I am again! I’m sure this is exactly what you want to hear, eh?
One of the things I value regarding aging and being alive is that as long as I’m here I have the opportunity to see things differently, to watch my patterns of operating, and figure out what it is I keep doing that I need to stop doing, so that instead of feeling mad, bad and sad, I can experience glad more often. It’s like the movie Groundhog Day, but better. Because even though I’m feeling bad, I have a greater understanding of what’s involved in me feeling bad. I’m not a victim to that state of being when I understand the dynamics at play. And, I’ve gone through this so many times that I know the routine and am far more resilient than ever before.
Resilient how, you might ask? Well, I’m better able to:
1. To hit bottom without believing that is the end of life as I know it to be.
2. To not just believe, but know in my bones that the moment I hit bottom, the process of ascending from that bottom automatically occurs.
3. To know that, although the cycle of personal and spiritual growth feels overwhelmingly scary, as long as I stay true to myself and to my highest knowing, I’ll come back to ME – feeling grateful for the understanding that what goes up must come down. And what goes down must come up! Ah! The practice of living with Transcendence! Wa-hooo for me!!!
Out With the Old, In With the New
Those dynamics at play? Well, there is the uncertainty that is ever present, which has me either living in fear or faith! Every time I step up on the the next higher rung towards faith, there is a detoxing and a disintegrating of the fear-based reality which resides within every cell of my being. OW!!!
Anyone who has put themselves through a cleanse or detox knows how uncomfortable it can be as their body releases and rids itself of the yucky stuff. So it is when we think cleaner thoughts, choose to engage in healthier activities, and perhaps hang out with kinder, more loving people. The mind need to detox and rid itself of yucky stuff, and it can be as uncomfortable as any other detoxing process. Sometimes, in this process, it just sucks to be you. However, you will inevitably begin to rise — like the Phoenix from the ashes. All you have to do is stay true to your highest knowing of the truth of who you are.
I realize over and over again that the experience of transcendence, which I believe nearly every person on the planet has experienced or will experience, is something that happens to us. We can’t actually make transcendence happen to us. We can only be open to its presence. That means that we don’t have to work so hard to be who we already are, or to access what we already have access to. We just have to think differently about all of it, and suddenly, you’re not struggling anymore.
My client Stephanie needs to create a pitch to a potential client. She is bright, creative, and loves supporting her clients in making magic happen. However, when it comes to delivering her pitch, she sometimes collapses into a puddle of self-doubt and fears of rejection. Stephanie wants to make sure that doesn’t happen this time, so she’s come into our coaching session with this at the top of her wish list!
"Magic exists," she says. "I know this 100%! And, I love to jump into a project with exuberance and anticipation of amazing things happening for my clients. This is my superpower! But, some people don’t see it the way I do, and I’m afraid my delivery won’t land. They won’t get it, and worse then that, they won’t get me. I’ll be rejected. But I no longer want to play small. That doesn’t serve my clients. I want to be who I am and bring my best always. And, I know when I deliver the magic, magic happens!"
Listening to Stephanie makes my heart soar. This isn’t just fluffy woo-woo rhetoric for Stephanie This is the big T – TRUTH of who she is and what she brings to her clients, as well as to her friends, family and community. Boy are they Lucky!!!
What needs to shift so Stephanie delivers her pitch in a way that allows her to maintain her conviction and commitment to serving her clients as the extraordinary person she is?
She has to BELIEVE!!!
Okay, I know that you are going to say, "Yes, but she already believes!" You are right! And…. Though Stephanie believes that magic exists, she doesn’t yet believe that magic exists for everyone! And, because she doesn’t yet believe that magic exists for everyone, she shrinks and gets all muddled with disbelief.
Enter her Fairy Godmother!
Many years ago, I realized, as a transformational coach who truly empowers people to create a paradigm shift for themselves, I am, in essence, their Fairy Godmother. I found then, and still find now, that when sharing this with new clients, something "magical" happens. They immediately drop their constricted adult-self and return to their child-like innocence.
In this state, everything is possible!
And goals and objectives for the coaching that is about to occur grows beyond limited thinking, allowing for so much more potential to be realized. Wonder, magic and heartfelt desires are given voice. The true work of making magic begins. It’s called by many names: transformation and paradigm shifts are just a couple; but truly, it is magic in the making.
So, I shared with Stephanie that I see myself as a Fairy Godmother, and that every single one of my clients, regardless of who they are and what they do, experiences a shift the moment that I tell them I’m their Fairy Godmother. I see it and feel it– that in that moment they’ve returned to believing in magic!
"Everyone believes in magic, Stephanie. We just have to create the opportunity for them to remember that they believe in magic!"
With that, something shifted in Stephanie, too! By realizing that everyone believes in magic, although they too often forget that they believe in magic, Stephanie could use her superpowers to revitalize that belief within them. She became elated!
To make magic happen in the world, the most essential ingredient is believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that magic exists. Believing that, outside of the limiting thinking, the worries and fears compounded by all the uncertainties of our current lives, miracles and wonders are still everywhere, always. They exist within each and everyone of us. We just have to be willing to put our own superpowers to work, making the impossible possible. That’s what magic is – right?
Stephanie, for me, represents the message of the Holidays. BELIEVE in magic. Believe that there is nothing impossible. Believe that there is a Universal Power or Presence or a Person who always guides us to create miracles. Believe that our world is full of wonder. And most importantly, believe that each of us can empower ourselves to create everlasting peace and love everywhere, always.
We just have to Believe!
Thank you Stephanie! Merry Christmas!
After a long labor of love and introspection, my next book is about to arrive! It’s titled: I’ve Arrived! Well, Sort Of: 101 Discoveries and Revelations Stumbled Upon While On the Sacred Path to Who Knows Where. Yep, it’s a long title, but I love it, and I can’t wait for you to read it!
You might not guess this about me, but every time a new book idea comes to me I initially say F*CK!!! Sure, transcribing millions of thoughts into a cohesive volume of words is a ton of work, but, in my experience, the book always knows what it wants to say – just like my podcasts and blogs know what they want to say. So that’s not the issue.
Plus, I’m fully aware that I’ve raised my hand to acknowledge that I’m up for the task of sharing these thoughts with the world. So that’s not the issue, either.
It’s that, even with trusting the flow and knowing that this is mine to do, I also feel the agony of defeatedness – partly because it feels as if my work is never done; partly because of the uncertainty about what will come through, and will I get it right; and partly because there is a part of me that is still buying into the context of being an author/book writer, and the internal interpretations of that context which says, "book writing should generate great money, and if you aren’t making great money on it, then you are not a successful book writer."
Well, with just under 20 books under my belt, what I know to be true is that I am a word artist. My writings are sourced through my intuition. Much like a poet or novelist, my writing expresses a truth from within – a knowingness which comes through direct experiences – not from theories, research, and other people’s experience.
Hobbyists who paint, sculpt, whittle, compose, mold and weld – they are all following a desire to be in direct experience with the flow of reality through their particular medium. I’m no different. A book is made up of thousands of strokes on my keyboard, coming through one at a time, just as a painting is made up of thousands of paint strokes coming through one at a time. A carver makes thousands of chisel strokes, one at a time. A composer creates songs or concertos one keynote at a time. The meticulous presence required, regardless of one’s passion, brings about a completion of one’s resonance with the piece. And, something miraculous comes into existence!
My personal context for writing has me experience humiliation with every new book idea that comes to me. The humiliation is sourced in the belief that "good writers make great money through their writing" – Hence the Oh F*ck! The inner dialog goes like this: "Here’s another opportunity to display my lack of ability to make great money through writing. What a waste! What’s the Point?"
"Okay, Rosie," I hear you saying, "How do you follow your highest truth to get you out of this one? Hmmmm?"
So says I, if each of us is creating our own reality, and each of us is responsible for our own lives, then I have to take a look at what I burden each book with by having my interpretation that, "This is just one more book that isn’t going to make great money." I have to be responsible for the truth of what I’ve created and what I continue to create by saying, "This is just one more book…"
Truth is, I love each book I’ve written. I love the writing. I love that my words speak to me in a way that I’ve not experienced through other writers. I love co-creating with Maureen O’Neill, my graphic designer and fellow word-smyther. I love co-creating with Ruby Hernandez, who is a copywriter and editor, among other things. I love the revelations, and I love listening for and hearing the Divine Guidance who, in essence, dictates every word and nuance to me, through me. I love all of it!
So how do I be with this limiting context about my writings? It’s time to reconnect to the Spiritual Principles that I believe to be true:
- Do What You Love and the Money will Follow.
- Mixed Feelings Will Create Mixed Results.
- The Highest Vibrational Results are Always Forthcoming, and if they aren’t forthcoming, you’ve got some work to do.
- Life is Always Working for Me (and You!)
What is mine to do then, given all of these spiritual principles staring me down?
Let go of every judgment about myself and my books. Shift from the Paradigm of "You Keep Proving Yourself Inept" to the Paradigm within which this statement is true: "You keep Proving You Are Gifted with an amazingly intimate relationship with the Divine. It’s time to let go of all judgments that tell you differently."
Okay! As you are my witnesses, this is the big "T" TRUTH that I will live into: I will train myself to live in the truth of my giftedness, as that is what I want you, too, to live into. I will train myself to feel the fears that arise & then let them go, so as to not contaminate the beauty of each Divine Gift manifested through each book. This is what I want for you too! And I will train myself to ongoingly notice all the ways that life IS working for me, as I want that for you too!
Thank you, as my constant supporters, for witnessing so much of my evolution to arriving – well sort of! I hope you join me on your own version of this journey to Who Knows Where. . . it is exquisite to experience life in this manner.
An embodied memory arose last night. The memory was of being at the pool when I was ten years old. Cold after swimming, with a towel wrapped tightly around myself, I stood alone, shivering. Throngs of people were around me, but I was isolated and frozen. Nowhere to go, no one to be with. I sank deep into an abysses from which I believed I would never transcend.
As coaches, therapists, spiritual healers and the like, though we are aware of the depths of experience the majority of our clients carry, we do not realize that in order for them to transcend the abysses, a paradigm shift is required.
Transformation itself requires a paradigm shift. It requires that there is somewhere else – a different context, a different reality, a different dimension or realm into which we will emerge. Without the knowing of that "opposing" paradigm, we can’t empower our clients, or ourselves for that matter, to empower themselves through a transformative process.
Because we wouldn’t have anyplace or anyone to transform to, or into. We wouldn’t have a context within which such a paradigm exists. We have to know that a paradigm exists beyond our current fear-based, limited, and constrained paradigm in order to transform.
I’ve been noticing lately that my current paradigm limits my capacity to even know that the impossible is possible. I understand that my current paradigm of limitations and constraints is based on the past, on my lineage as a woman, my religious upbringing, and my family’s beliefs. My current paradigm is based on the country and the region I was born into. My current paradigm also includes the consensus view of reality as well as the collective consciousness.
In my eyes, my work as a transformational coach requires me to keep stretching my own capacity to experience what is beyond my current paradigm. Did you know that? Do you practice that too?
I devote myself to noticing and acknowledging limiting beliefs and interpretations – many of which had never occurred to me before today. As I cultivate awareness of such patterns of thinking and believing I become more competent at choosing to let go of those patterns, for no other reason than they don’t work for me anymore, and they are not in alignment with my highest truth and my highest knowing.
Circling around back to the embodied memory of being ten years old, alone and frozen; I want this young beautiful child, who resides within me, to know and experience that her heart’s desire to be embraced within a home that is always loving, always kind, always compassionate, always joyful is here for her now. I want her to know true connection with people that are loving, generous of spirit, and who adore her in all ways. I want her to emerge from the abysses and enter into the light of innocence, creativity, and the freedom to be the fullest expression of her essential self.
Currently, to this end, I’m pushing through barriers that have limited my willingness to bring greater degrees of beauty and peace to my property. The same is true regarding bringing greater harmony and balance to my physical body. I’m noticing the attachments to identities to whom I experienced myself to be in the past. I’m noticing that as I untether myself from those identities, I’m then aware of another reality, a paradigm, that is ready for me to embrace. I know I’m no longer that old me. I’ve moved beyond that – almost.
A Dilemma Arises
When I imagine turning away from the way I’ve been perceiving myself and my reality, I experience a sense of abandoning the past, a disloyalty to that past. It has something to do with that lineage of living life with the fear of perpetual defeat, bitter disappointment, and a failure to thrive. It is a life of Suffering, Settling, and Surviving.
The choice-point for myself and for all of us is this:
Do I choose to remain faithful and loyal to a paradigm that will not allow what is infinitely pleasing, or do I choose to journey towards what can only be expansive and inclusive of all possibility for me and for the world?
Nisagardatta wrote a book called I AM THAT. I know I am that which he speaks of, and as I untether myself from what I am not, I effortlessly experience that which I am. David Hawkins says that all there is to do is let go of anything that isn’t aligned with your truth, and you will arrive at your heart’s desire.
It is my heart’s desire to bring myself to this moment, to this edge, to this paradigm shift, so that I can continue to empower and support others to do the same.
Will you join me here?
If you’re a coach, check out my Transformational Coaches Consultation Group.
If you’re an individual looking for a coach, email me to get started!
Spiritual Immersion â€“ Taking the Plunge Podcast
As I announced last month, I have a new podcast dedicated to Spiritual Immersions & guiding people to take the plunge themselves. Here’s a part of the transcript from Episode 101 describing my personal experience. I hope you enjoy!
I want to share with you a little bit of my story and what gives me the inspiration to do these podcasts. I’ll also share some of the things that show up for a lot of people as they go through a spiritual immersion process.
So, I am 68 years old and my first spiritual immersion process started when I was about 17 years old. I’ll share more about that another time, but at that age I had no support. There were no therapists to talk to or spiritual guides. There was only me, basically, and my parents, who wouldn’t understand something like that. Their level of consciousness and awareness couldn’t, as far as I knew, accept or support me through such a process.
I was pretty isolated and alone through this. I believe this type of experience is normal for a lot of people in their adolescence. I was suicidal and had no way of handling that but to live with those feelings and thoughts. But over a couple of years, thing got better inside me as I transitioned and focused on things like boyfriends, going to college, getting married, and having children.
The next time that I found myself in a spiritual immersion process was when I was in my 30’s. I was a therapist working in Nova Scotia in the field of recovery. I had just broken up with a boyfriend. And because I hadn’t dealt with the grief of a divorce and separation from my children, the breakup from this particular boyfriend put me in a tailspin. This time I was in it for about a year. It was most intense for about four months. I was in physical pain, though there was no reason for such pain, medically speaking. I also cried a lot. Eventually it softened and within the year I was kind of back to myself. I didn’t have any understanding or support around this, other than it seemed to be a very deep grief process, and so that’s how I handled it.
The third spiritual immersion opportunity began about 12 years ago. I started to have anguish, a lot, and anxiety and energy that didn’t have a place to go. And so I felt like I wanted to move and jitter and jiggle all the time. Sometimes I coughed, a lot, and I spewed, feeling like I was vomiting though there wasn’t anything I was throwing up. It was an energetic vomiting. And, because I had been exposed to breath work therapy and other indigenous practices and healing modalities, I was comfortable with the fact that my body was telling me it’s letting go of energies and things that it doesn’t need anymore. So I gave it room to do what it needed to do. And then, I got a calling.
At the age of 58, I got a spiritual calling to quit the work I was doing. I had been facilitating a coaching training program in Silicon Valley, at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. I’d been doing that for almost 10 years. I loved it. I was successful and I was really happy. But, I was called to something else. I didn’t know what that something else was, but I just knew that it was going to be very exciting, prosperous, and, it felt like I was going to get famous from it. So I stopped the training program and moved full time to my home on Orcas Island. My plan was to live here until I got called to wherever and whatever was going to be next.
The day that I finished the training program and settled myself back into my little nest on Orcas, I sat in my desk chair anxiously waiting for the phone to ring. It didn’t ring. No one called and nothing happened. And so, the bottom line is, my clients disappeared, and the financial stability disappeared. I was in a panic because nothing was showing up. I’d experienced callings many times before, so I knew the drill, if you will, of how such things fall into place. This time was different.
If you want to know more about my direct experiences with callings, my book The Unholy Path of a Reluctant Adventurer, talks about the many callings I’d had and how I followed them. I became very familiar with the process of having a calling and following through with it, including crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat. Go figure!
So I waited. And, because I knew that this was what it was â€“ a calling from the Universe – and I knew that this was big work that would be coming my way, I realized that I would have to begin looking at things differently. I had to begin to turn to my faith towards my higher power, my higher knowing, my highest truth. I had to begin to train myself to make choices from that place, as opposed to making choices from the consensus view of reality, which told me to go get a job, go do this, go do that, get busy! This was my fear talking. I knew it was time to turn away from fear-based thinking and turn into myself. And for me, that was the beginning of my next spiritual immersion process.
Now, an important thing here is that I’m calling this process a spiritual immersion process versus a spiritual emergence process.
The reason I make that distinction is this:
The term spiritual immersion is something I thought I made up. I don’t know that I did but I thought I did. And, the reason I made it up was because for me, I witnessed myself taking baby steps â€“ incrementally taking myself down the path of knowing myself fully as a spiritual being having a human experience. That’s different than what is considered a spiritual emergence process, where there can be sudden changes and an element of emergency to it sometimes.
Generally, there are more challenging indicators that show up in a spiritual emergence process. The body is doing things and feeling things and sensing things energetically. There may be a spiritual presence, or a sense of possession, or kriyas â€“ spontaneous energy processes. Something is happening in the body that needs attention. And, it needs attention in a way that will take you inevitably into a spiritual immersion process. However the symptoms, if you will, or the indicators, are attempting to get your attention. And if it’s a spiritual emergency then your attention is needed immediately, and you need the support of either people who know how to be with spiritual emergencies or you’re probably going to want to go into a medical facility where you can get some support that way.
So there’s all kinds of ways spiritual emergences happen. You can emerge like you’re a flower. Or there’s emergencies where things are happening quickly and you need the attention that you can get quite often, as I mentioned already, that may take you to a medical facility. These things happen in the physical, mental, emotional, and energetic realm.
Spiritual immersion, for me, is the step-by-step process of making only one incremental choice at a time to align myself with my highest truth and my highest knowing. I’m making the choice to step onto this path of self-discovery. It’s a collaboration, a partnership happening. Though you may be experiencing the nudge from the Universe, your are empowering yourself to grow, learn, and discovery your full potential in all ways!
For me, I’ve been gifted. I feel like it’s a gift to experience this spiritual immersion process incrementally. I’m at choice to take the steps myself. To say to myself, "Okay, I have to train myself to be with this in a way that is going to help and support me to grow myself into my fullest potential. I have to train myself to stop avoiding and ignoring what isn’t working anymore. I have to train myself to practice walking my talk." The nudges from the Universe can sometimes feel like a two-by-four, so I’ve learned to listen and respond as best I can to keep aligning with the nudges.
So then what most people are afraid of, in such a process as spiritual immersion, happened to me: bankruptcy, a second divorce, isolation, and a lot of emotional and physical purging. I wanted it to be over ASAP! However, as I began to take the steps to self-discovery, in relation to my spirit self, I started to dance with God, if you will. I started to learn how to dance with God, how to learn to dance with myself as God, to learn to dance with myself as this Divine Oneness that I said I was. Though I would talk the words, I wasn’t walking or in this case dancing my talk. So, even though this process that I hoped would be over in a matter of months, and has lasted now almost a decade, has evolved into just an exquisite relationship with the Divine Universe within me. I feel so blessed to have come to know myself and Spirit to the degree that I have. And, I know now there is so much more to learn through direct experience â€“ not just reading and writing about it.
Something else people are afraid of is that they will lose momentum and become a depressed couch potato. That’s an option some people may choose. For me, when I wasn’t on the couch resting and going through some pretty uncomfortable moments, I was very active, and I still am. Being outside is critically important as part of this spiritual immersion process. A couple of hours a day, at least, I had to walk. I continued to work with clients, I did a lot of writing – I think I’ve written like 11 books in this time period. I went to Russia and Bali and did some retreats. So it’s not as though I was doing nothing and that life sucked. Life was very, very, and continues to be, very creative and inspiring.
My spiritual immersion process is a never ending relationship with my Divine Self. Challenges continue to be part of my life, they continue to press into what I need to attend to for myself, what I need to change regarding my beliefs, what I need to focus on, what I need to train myself to do regarding how I choose to choose what I choose. I continually train myself to focus on my highest truth, my highest knowing what my essential nature is, as opposed to, what I should be doing because people tell me I should. If I feel afraid I examine my fear and see that it is based on a context that has never worked for me. As best I can I move towards what I know to be true â€“ that I’m loved, that there is no hurry, and that I can’t do it wrong. You can’t do it wrong either.
Everyone will have their own unique experience. So, what I’m sharing with you in these podcasts will be what I found most valuable to discover as I continue to go through this discovery process. I’ll share specific books that have been my teachers, such as, A Course in Miracles, a book called Oneness, transcribed by a woman named Rasha, and many books by David Hawkins.
Having worked in the field of recovery for almost 10 years, I use the recovery model with just about every single person, whether it’s a spiritual immersion process, or whatever their life issue is. Quite often, there are addictive patterns in place that need to shift. I find this especially true in this process of spiritual immersion. Addictive patterns need to be looked at so they can be seen for the value they bring to one’s life. If they are no longer useful, then it’s time to let them go. Easier said than done, right?
How long such a process takes is very personal. We are working on physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and energetic levels. We are detoxing from cellular memory, from traumas, emotions and patterns that have been with us probably for lifetimes. They’ve come through our ancestors, through our own past life experiences, or parallel life experiences – all kinds of things show up in this process of spiritual immersion. It gets to be a wonderful adventure. Sometimes I didn’t want to be on this adventure, but inevitably, it’s been and continues to be an exquisite knowing of me in my fullest potential â€“ so far!
So my intention with these podcasts on spiritual immersion: taking the plunge is to support and empower you to be with yourself with a lot of compassion and kindness, and to know yourself through this process, and to let you know that you’re not alone, and to know that there are sources out there that will support you. These supports won’t make the process easier. They just may make it more comfortable to know you’re not alone, even when it feels like you are. But you’re not! You get the picture.
To hear all the episodes in this podcast, Spiritual Immersion: Taking the Plunge, click here.
I’ve experienced some really great accomplishments lately, and I feel good about these accomplishments. Now the question is, do I want to do more? All sorts of thoughts rush in before I can even complete the question â€“ do I want to do more? And the bottom line is this answer, "I don’t know. I’ll have to see what shows up!"
The dilemma that arises pits my judgments of myself, based on accomplishments, productivity and proving myself worthy in the world, against my spiritual principles, which distills down to "be fulfilled in expressing love, joy, fun and only do what is infinitely pleasing!"
From a spiritual perspective, I can see myself as a clean slate, and, as well, this moment as a clean slate. I can choose to bring to this moment whatever it is I want to bring into this moment. Truth is, the only thing that exists in this moment is what I choose to bring into it. Discerning exactly what that is, could be tremendously helpful. And so the discernment process begins, in service to answering the question: What do I want to do?
You know as well as I do that this question has many levels and is highly complex; given all the domains within which we exist; karma and other external influences. How do I know what it is I want to do, and how do I know with certainty that I’m doing it for my own pure reason and nothing else? Truth is, in this moment, I can’t know.
To a large degree, life coaching is directed toward specific circumstances, wants and desires; for instance, the desire for a long term relationship, a healthier body, more money or a fulfilling career. Often the coach works within the problem-solving paradigm, brainstorming with their clients to find the best fitting assignments to assist the client in getting what they want. As effective as this is, looking into the bigger picture can be more valuable.
What we want in our current life â€“ the one we experience in this moment, is in service to a more Universal Human Desire. My experience is that by un-concealing my Universal Human Desires and my existential reality â€“ I live, therefore I question my reality â€“ I begin to engage more directly with my core, essential self. I’m then able to make choices that profoundly affect all areas of my life. Having a thinking partner to distinguish all of this is super helpful and empowering in order to get me to my truth and nothing but my truth â€“ SO HELP ME JESUS!!!!
Here Is an Example of What This Might Be Like
My client, Carolyn, has been working on some core issues for a very long time. As an amazingly courageous woman, our explorations always cut through veils of resistance, emotional debris, and beliefs that no longer serve her. Over time, she exercises and stretches herself in support of coming to a place of well-being that she never knew existed.
Carolyn starts out our most recent session in a big harrumph: "I’ve lost my customary defense against negativity. It’s making me feel depressed, and it’s scaring me. I’m losing my sense of ambition. I’m over sixty years old and I’ve got to continue to build my career, but I don’t even know what I want anymore. It’s unsettling. I don’t want to build my practice. I have nothing of value to offer. It’s all downhill from here. Heck, I don’t even know who I am. I have no intrinsic value."
"What if this were true?" I asked, "That you have no intrinsic value?"
Carolyn closed her eyes and felt deeply into this experience. "It makes me feel depressed. My heart hurts and my body sags. I feel physical pain. It feels really uncomfortable."
I was feeling into my own felt-sense of what it’s like to be without intrinsic value, and felt a similar experience to Carolyn. I acknowledged her and her experience, then asked again, "And what if you had no intrinsic value?"
Carolyn again went inside and disclosed: "I feel empty. . . . I feel nothing." After a long pause, she exclaimed, "Wow, feeling this way, I don’t think I’ll ever want to do anything else ever again. I feel at peace. There’s no longing, no worry, no struggling; it feels wonderful. Stillness!" She allowed only a brief moment in this stillness before she went on, with some urgency, "How am I supposed to live life after feeling this quality of being? There’s no need to get anything done!"
I asked, "What is it that you think needs to get done?" Carolyn replied, "I should be effective, making money, be like everyone else. I should be connected, not a weirdo who sits around and meditates all day."
I hear Carolyn connecting into her current, fear-based paradigm of should’s and shouldn’t’s. What I want for her, in this moment, is to perhaps create new pathways to this emerging paradigm she’s just beginning to acknowledge. Softly and slowly I speak, "Come back to that place of peace and stillness. What value does making money and being like everyone else have for you? How do these ways of being serve you?"
C: "I’m doing things that make me valuable to others. I’m afraid they won’t like me â€“ that they won’t want anything to do with me if I don’t."
R: "And if that’s true, that they won’t want anything to do with you, what will that mean?"
C: "It means that they will reject me."
R: "And if that happens, that they reject you, then what?"
C laughs: "That will mean I have no intrinsic value." she says. Then she sighs, relaxes back into stillness.
R: "Tell me what has intrinsic value to you? What’s important to you?"
C: "My husband Sean, he’s important to me. My grandchildren are very important to me. My work with my students is also really important to me. . . . Oh, so . . . . I don’t have to do anything that I don’t want to do. I don’t have to do things to try and please other people. I can create a life based on what I choose as meaningful â€“ not what others choose for me!"
R: "And, as you say this, what’s it like for you in this moment?"
C: "I feel relaxed and still connected to my life. I can acknowledge and be in this state of peace and still function in the real world, doing what matters to me. This feels really good!"
Carolyn started out this session wanting to get more effective, more productive, and to focus on what’s hers to do, which in her mind was to get more clients, make more money, and make sure she is being appropriate in order to remain likeable. When she began expressing a sense of depression, an unsureness or sadness, I picked up on the fact that something isn’t right. My experience is that we need to explore what’s not right, what’s missing, what needs to shift, so that Carolyn, all of my clients, and myself too, are in alignment with our heart and our sense of true intrinsic value.
What Carolyn did was quiet herself and discern what is true for her. Like most of us, she was thinking about herself, what to do and how to be, based on her context about herself, the world and the people in it. She was assessing based on what she believed to be of value to the world, such as being of service, care-taking, making money, being successful, and being powerful. Her strategy was to then figure out how to fit into those truths.
Questions that can arise within each of us â€“ especially me in this moment: "How much money can I make without being considered selfish and inconsiderate? How much power can I have without being considered abusive? How much money do I need to make before I’m considered successful? What level of leadership do I need to attain before I am respected?" These are underlying conversations going on in our heads constantly. Only through mindful, intentional discernment can we realize the master we are serving.
Few of us are trained to be comfortable in this nebulous environment where our humanness and our spirituality meet, and to actually be in this arena. We talk about being spiritual but rarely are we aware of the experience of being it. It’s a pretty scary territory to navigate â€“ at first.
Look at Carolyn’s experience. She found herself through the experiences of emptiness and nothingness only to settle into stillness and peace. After only a few moments of stillness she popped into worry: "How will I ever get anything done if I’m so content here, in this place?"
Carolyn is no small potato. She is a high functioning, highly educated, and highly trained individual in the field of art, humanity, and spirituality. I’m like Carolyn in many ways. We are both at the threshold of a new frontier. The fact of the matter is, in every session we have had together, she traverses another undiscovered territory of awareness. She keeps levelling up! As she does so, she becomes more fluent in the languaging of her own being. I’m not meaning the verbal languaging but the nonverbal experience of being, which has gone unacknowledged for maybe lifetimes. And the great thing for me is that with each of my clients as they level up, so do I! We all traverse this territory of our human-spirits together. Sometimes we do this consciously and sometimes it’s unconscious, but we are doing it just the same.
So, to summarize this: Knowing and living in my intrinsic value is challenging work. Doing only what I love and that which is infinitely pleasing goes against everything I’ve been taught. Figuring out what is infinitely pleasing is just one aspect of living in peace, love, and my essential nature.
Stay tuned for what’s next in the continuing saga of how the paradigm shifts!