I hated talking about my feelings. Ugh. Sharing my inner world. It was awful. This is how I felt up till my early thirties or so.
But I would have times of intense depression and desperation and the psychiatric medications I took weren’t enough to completely numb it. There was this idea I had that when you have an emotional or mental problem you “get help”. Like some kind of magical solution happens when you “get help”.
At that time “getting help” meant therapy to me. Going to some kind of expert, a professional. So despite the dread, I would motivate myself to seek out a therapist. This happened a few times over the years. I would go to someone and hate the sessions and then leave feeling worse. After a few sessions I just couldn’t bring myself to go back. When I stopped seeing that person I felt I had failed at “getting help”.
One main reason I felt worse after these sessions was because I had so much repressed pain that would start to surface and I had no idea how to talk about it. I didn’t understand it at all.
But there were other reasons. I felt like a sick patient in those sessions. It was also awkward because I would be blocked and it was hard to talk and the therapist would stare at me waiting for me to say something. The pressure was difficult for me. Sometimes I would share what was happening in my life and would feel I was being psychoanalyzed and would get further labeled or diagnosed. They wanted to pick apart my childhood and my relationship with my parents and that was excruciating to me.
I was intimidated by them. But I could sometimes sense their fear of me too, of my self-destructiveness, of how traumatized I was (even though I didn’t really know it then myself). Other times I would feel the person’s projection on me and I knew their solutions and ideas had nothing to do with me, it was their own unresolved stuff.
But then one day I attended this short workshop on dream symbolism at a local holistic health fair. I was immediately drawn to the woman who led it. I’m going to call her Nan (not her real name). Nan radiated a certain presence. After the workshop I looked up her website and found out she gives therapy sessions in her home in my neighborhood.
I started seeing her once a week and this went on for several months.
I loved it. I loved her. I started to open up. I was coming out of my shell a little. I felt lighter and happier than I had ever felt up to this point.
Interestingly enough she seemed to have no desire to fix me or label me or even try to help me solve my problems. In fact, sometimes I would tell her about the latest health problem I suspected I had and wanted to obsess over it. She would refuse to even discuss it saying “No, we aren’t talking about that”. I would be confused and disappointed at first. Isn’t she supposed to help me figure this out? Doesn’t she see I could be sick, maybe even die? Doesn’t she see something is seriously wrong with me?
Other times I felt relieved and elated with her permission in letting go of guilt and doing what made me happy. But then I would start to blame the other person for guilting me. Again she would say “Nope, not doing that”.
I didn’t realize it at the time but I was forced to let go during those sessions. Nan refused to indulge my fearful obsessive mind and my tendency to swing from blaming myself to blaming someone else.
Sometimes on the way to our session I would feel there was no point to going. I had nothing to talk about and nothing was going on. Those times we would just sit silently together, no pressure or expectation for anything to talk about. Out of nowhere I would start talking about something seemingly random that happened to me recently. And then I realized that yes, something did happen and it bothered me. Nan would listen. She sometimes shared a story. Sometimes just reflect what she noticed in my sharing.
After a few months, she moved away and I instinctively knew it was time for me to move on even though I struggled with losing her. (After this I went on to the work I'm doing now which has given me a depth of knowing that was unimaginable and unattainable for me at that time of seeing Nan)
So why was Nan’s approach to therapy so helpful to me while all the others weren’t? Some therapists I went to had successful careers, books published, and advanced degrees in psychology. Nan didn’t have these things, she was a retired social worker.
It took me years to understand why this woman had such an impact on me.
The two things that stand out to me:
She Respected Me
She Was Present
It seems so simple. But it is profound. Why? Because in order to give these things to me she had to have done it for herself first. That takes focused inner work and wisdom. Can that come just from learning psychology? Can respect and presence come by studying ourselves or another solely through mental concepts and elaborate mental explanations and strategies, no not in my experience is this possible.
I see it as a deep, very honest, and mystical personal exploration inward. It’s facing the unknown, over and over. And over and over. Until it begins to be more of a way of life. In the unknown we inevitably come to layers of fears and pain from the past. Transforming what we come across frees us and we no longer need to project that onto others.
At that time of seeing Nan, I had not yet learned to respect myself. I had not yet learned to be present with myself. She modeled this for me though. I was not a broken human being that she had to fix and put back together, even though sometimes I wanted her to. She taught me without teaching me. She did what was easy and natural for her. Because of this, I was not a burden to her. I was paying her for a service she provided, yet she refused to take on my worries and fears.
Was she perfect? No. Could she help me understand what was driving my obsessiveness and my guilt and blame? Could she help me see the truth behind my dependence on medications? No. That wasn’t her purpose for me though. That came later when I started working with Mada and the Dalian Method. That’s when I started to uncover in myself the respect and presence that I continue to deepen and grow.
I don’t blame those other therapists for not being able to help me. How could they? They were suffering deeply themselves. In some ways they were also a reflection of myself.
I know now that Love is not what we think it is.
I write this in gratitude to all who have guided me towards the next step, regardless of their level of awareness. Most of all to my teacher, Mada.
Light and positivity are not the same thing to me. If I relegated light to being positive my actual inner light would be restricted and stunted.
Light in the way I'm meaning it here is Consciousness.
Think of a flash light in a dark room. It reveals what has been hidden.
I allow both my “positive” and “negative”. I put those in quotes because truly to me, whatever reveals the truth, is ultimately positive. It is a YES to life itself.
Once I was at a retreat and was wearing a shirt with an opening in the back. Someone poked me in the back playfully and I asked them to not do that.
As I walked away I said to the person walking next to me “I guess that's what I get for wearing this”.
Wow. I didn't know that thought was in me!
If someone would have asked me if what a woman wears matters when she is receiving unwanted touch, I would have said “Of course not”.
But that would have been on the thinking mind's level. Deep down that thought that I said out loud at the retreat had been imprinted in me: Meaning I had at some point in my life heard this and believed it.
This happens to me frequently when I'm allowing myself to be authentic and spontaneous. I never know what I'm going to say, do, or discover.
There may be an expectation that I'm supposed to say or do things a certain way. But I want to continue expanding my consciousness (my inner light), so I can't focus too much on fulfilling superficial expectations.
Sometimes my insecurity is very visible. That's where I would like it, on the surface, living itself out. Not hidden, buried, and safely stored in order to fool myself behind a facade of confidence.
I am grateful for the people in my life who point out things for me that I’m unaware of. Sometimes though, a well-meaning person will try to help me fix what they think is a negative belief or my attachment to ‘my story’. They don’t realize that the story that is spontaneously falling out of my mouth and the emotions moving through my body are already unraveling….they are surfacing and disintegrating on their own.
Showing confidence is great! Unless, it's used as a protective facade, then it doesn't allow for healing what we’ve been trying to cover up. The healing would let the real inner confidence to open and bloom.
Self-Empowerment is super messy. For a while.
If someone’s been living in a largely dis-empowered state for quite a while and their inner power is waking up - there is an adjustment phase. There will be mistakes and finer areas of learning and growth. Just like with anything new that we do or step into.
I was this person and when an exhilarating freedom emerged from within - I would sometimes bring more fierceness than a situation called for. Sometimes WAY more.
Imagine a situation where a soft simple expression would have gotten the job done but I’m yelling at the top of my lungs. (I can laugh now)
I had to go back and apologize a few times… hey, I’m sorry. I was being a jerk. You didn’t deserve that.
But I was like a child learning to ride a bike that felt a little big for me. Wobbly and crashing into things.
It’s different for everyone, for me it came in waves and lasted several years.
If the pendulum has been mostly at living life in a very small watered-down way, or just feeling small. Then naturally it needs to swing the opposite way for a while.
It takes time before things become more centered and stable. If we try to push or force stability, we interfere with the transformation that’s moving in and through us and our lives.
It eventually comes closer to center on its own.
So if you know someone that’s been recently difficult for you and they are sincerely working on themselves, hope this helps bring understanding. If this person is you, have compassion for yourself and trust the process.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” - Carl Jung
I started doing this work of becoming conscious thinking I was just trying to end my depression, my debilitating anxiety, and to try to get some of this thing people referred to as “confidence”.
I got those things and more. I am now connected to a strength and love inside me that I didn’t know was possible. I’ve had and continue to have mind blowing experiences of how magical and incredible life is. Compassion and understanding that allows me to forgive and move on from even the most horrible abuses inflicted on me. These experiences leave me in a state of awe, of regular gratitude exploding from within me. Almost everyday feels like a new adventure.
But here is what I didn’t know when I started this inward journey. I didn’t know that pain doesn’t end. At least not in the way I thought it would. I thought life would become easier. But no, what happened instead is, I got stronger and more resolved. I realized that life brings me what I need and I spend less of my energy trying to control it and bend it to my will.
To continue expanding our consciousness we have to experience pain often. This pain I’m talking about is the pain of the constant exposure of our self-delusions. It’s so much easier to see other people’s delusions than our own.
Again... It’s SO much easier to see other people’s delusions than our own.
This is why community or a teacher or both can be so vital. For both encouragement and not feeling so alone in this journey. To help us not give up. But also to reflect the truth to us. To help us see our blind spots.
There are many views that support staying away from all seeming negativity. Stay away from negative and dark energy! Protect yourself! Walk away from anyone who makes you feel bad or ashamed.They are bad people! Surround yourself with people that only lift you up and make you feel good. If you take this view and live your entire life this way. Well, it’s your choice of course. But it will keep you safely asleep in your own self-made delusional prison.
Does this mean everyone who triggers pain in you has good intentions? Of course not. Some people intend to harm or bring you down in order to make themselves feel better because deep down they feel small and fearful. That’s true. Yet that can have its own lessons for us too. (if we are honest with ourselves we have done the same thing)
But some will tell you the truth because they care. They are unwilling to settle for mediocrity, for themselves and you. They are unwilling to constantly make themselves small for you. They sacrifice your nice opinion of them.
I don’t have an easy formula for you to discern because it comes from experience for me. Lot’s of it. I do encourage a willingness to face and go through your resistance in order to go beyond it. Connecting to this ‘beyond’ part of me is what has guided me and given me joy.
Anytime I’ve experienced transformation, It involved pain. Sometimes it’s a feeling that I would describe as “agonizing”.
So is it hard? Oh my god yeah, it’s so hard!!
I hate pain. It sucks. I don’t like it. Yet I allow these experiences and that’s why I am a different person today. The transformations permanently altered me at such a deep level of my beingness. So much so that I had to change my name from Lila to Leela because I didn’t feel like ‘Lila’ anymore.
I have to admit something about my teacher Mada. She terrifies me at times, and has in moments during the whole past 7 years I’ve been her student. As much as I feel profoundly grateful to her. As much as she is this adorable spunky petite woman who looks and feels much younger than she is. With her curly blonde hair and her stylish clothes and Adidas shoes.
As much as I have never experienced a profound presence and silence as I do when I’m near her. In the moment when she is exposing something in me, suddenly she seems monstrous to me. She looks more like Kali holding a bleeding severed head. All I want in these moments is to dig a deep hole in the ground and crawl into it.
I’ve never met a woman (or man) this fearless. She is also hilarious and so gentle much of the time (I’m just focusing on the scary times because that’s what this writing is about).
It’s why I think of her as a “Zen Master”. Zen is responding to whatever the moment calls for.
It’s also why genuinely self-realized teachers, the ones who truly want us to come into our own, be truly self-empowered as the mystical amazing beings that we truly are, are often feared, projected upon, ridiculed, and hated. Because they expose our unconsciousness. They expose our darkness. This is exactly why Jesus was crucified.
But I am veering off to another topic.
Back to pain. An example of how pain helped me recently: Over the years Mada has reflected to me that I’m procrastinating and holding back who I really am. She always said this in a gentle way. I procrastinated less but yet was still doing it in many unconscious ways, I wasn't seeing the full truth of what she was pointing to. That’s okay because I was working through so many other things as well. It just wasn’t quite time yet.
Recently she brought this up again. This time not so gentle. The words she chose felt like a burning searing arrow through me. It exposed humiliation and guilt in me. I was suddenly seeing how deluded I’d been and how much I’d been holding back. Ouch. Yet even while still feeling that pain I immediately felt spurred to be more fully myself and take action right away.
However painful it was. It worked. The pain has now passed and in its place a new unfolding of clarity, determination, and gratitude.
That’s what truth does to us. It can momentarily seem like we are being viciously attacked. But there’s no other way to become conscious but to experience this kind of pain as Jung’s quote says. Otherwise ‘being spiritual’ is just dress-up for our ego.
The popular images of the Hindu Goddess Kali; I read somewhere that this is just how the ego sees her. I had an experience one time where I was in a lot of intense resistance and agonizing pain and she whispered to me so lovingly and gently “Sorry dear, I cannot take away your pain right now. Not yet”
She is actually the embodiment of compassion. (notice in the image, the man she is stepping on looks relaxed and blissful - he is in Surrender)
I'm so grateful that I live in a time and place where I can be in my 40's having chosen not to be married and not have children and have it be not much of a big deal.
I'm grateful for all the people all through history that have helped move humanity forward so that women can experience more freedom and less oppression in society. I'm safe in that I don't need to fear being stoned to death, burned, or hung for not living according to society's expectations.
From the bottom of my heart thank you!
With this gratitude that I have though, I don't feel I have to pay anyone back or live out someone else's vision. With this freedom I can live my own life the way I feel is right for me. I can find and live my own individual vision.
I have just spent 10 days on beautiful Salt Spring Island with my beloved teacher Mada and a group of sincere seekers. I got back to several private messages about a Women's Black Out movement. Wow, this really struck me! Especially since I'm feeling so opposite of that. I want to show up MORE. I feel more determined to keep seeing the ways that I'm holding myself back. The subtle lies and excuses I'm unconsciously telling myself that keep me from living fully right now.
The truth is that women's empowerment doesn't really exist. It's a game we play with ourselves. Any idea that we have that the world or other people need to change so that we can feel worthy and free and safe is a lie.
Yes society can progress and make life easier and better. Absolutely. But the only empowerment that is real is SELF-Empowerment.
No one can empower us. We cannot empower others either. This is actually energetic slavery.
(but we can support others coming into their own power by living our own and encouraging them to do the same)
My teacher Mada can't fix or save me. But because of her own awakening and having moved through her own journey to reach an advanced understanding of the ego and the unconscious, because of that she can be a loving guide and a fierce mirror for me. I know this in my depths.
Some people see what I'm doing and don't understand it. I know some think i'm involved with a cult or being brain washed or a follower. I have been afraid of those projections. But the truth is those projections come from their own brainwashed state. They are living out fear and ideologies and haven't experienced their own truth, so they can't recognize or understand mine.
I think I got off topic a bit. Because what I really want to say is that we can transform our pain. Our victimization. Our feelings and beliefs of not being good enough or equal. We can transform the history of oppression so that we don't have to keep living it out.
Feel and acknowledge the pain, let the victim speak. To heal. Don't mistake the victim as power though, she doesn't yet know power. It's when we journey through and come out of the illusion that we are victims that we start to know what power truly is.
Because if we don't we are in danger of becoming the oppressor. How heartbreaking is that?
We will never find outside of us what can only exist within. I know this, not as a concept or fluffy idea to believe in and just throw around to wash over the challenges, but as a reality in my being that I've seen and experienced personally.
#DalianMethod #SelfEmpowerment #Freedom #SelfLove #ThankYouMada #ThankYouToAllEnlightenedMasters #ThankYouFellowSeekers
One day last year I had something come up. Deep Sadness. Lots of tears.
As I wondered what this was about, a thought came,
“The planet is sick and dying and needs our help”
I was surprised. I had no idea I believed this. It was an awful feeling. An awful thought. It brought such a heavy feeling of sadness and dread. I continued to feel all of it and then after a few minutes suddenly the sadness lifted and the tears stopped. I felt calm and still.
Then out of that stillness I felt HER. Our earth. I realized the truth.
That she is not sick and not dying.
Not. at. all.
I felt the true planet, what Earth really is.
That she chooses to allow us to be here, to learn, to evolve. Through all the light and all the dark.
I saw that our planet is not really a victim of us. Not helpless. Not even suffering. If she ever needs saving she knows how to save herself.
I realized that me thinking I needed to help her was like a flea trying to save an elephant. I laughed and I felt the planet laughing at me too, as if to say “See. I don’t need you to save me”
This realization lifted a big weight from me that I didn’t know I was carrying. A sense of peace and trust arose along with so much playfulness and joy.
I still wondered though "Where did that belief came from?".
The next day on my Facebook feed I see a video. I felt immediately compelled to watch it. It was a Native Elder saying that the earth is sick and dying and she needs our help. I didn't save the video, but I remember that his words were either exact or uncannily similar to the belief I had uncovered. That answered my question of where it came from. I have always felt a connection in my heart to the Native American traditions and wisdom.
I must have taken that on and it was circulating in my unconscious.
I hope this lightens you up and shows how important it is to question everything and open to your own direct experience. To touch that place beyond thoughts and emotions (by honoring and feeling them).
Don't even take on what I say. Explore and experience for yourself. Connect with the planet. Or maybe it's more important that you connect with yourself.
So now if I’m ever tired or overwhelmed, I can get barefoot and feel the ground under my feet.
All that energy
All that compassion
All that support.
flows through my body.
Some of you can relate to this. The constant assessing of the mind. How am I doing? Did I do or say that correctly? Is it good enough? The comparing with other people.
Or worrying about what people think. Second-guessing. Doubting. On and on it goes. That’s what mine can sound like. Yours may have its own default trajectory.
This chattering mind has been fading into the background more and more. There is this new feeling of freedom and space coming into my life.
But I’m not always sure what to do with this freedom. So many things I can do, and don’t know which choice to make. So I find myself not doing anything. Because I can’t decide. And then that chattering mind comes back in. The old comes back in because it’s comfortable. This is what I’ve known for so long. Freedom can be uncomfortable. Change can be scary, no matter how positive it is.
I started responding to this indecision anxiety by asking myself, “What in me wants to be lived right now?”
Sometimes my inner voice says, “Go do the laundry.” And though that’s not very interesting, I do it. And in doing it, I feel the energy in my body shift. I might have a spontaneous insight or solution to an issue. Or maybe I just feel more grounded and it feels good to act on something I’d been procrastinating on.
Other times, it says, “Go write that thing you wanted to write about on Facebook, but said No to doing it because you were worried people won’t like it.”
Or, “Tell that person how much you love them,” or “Stop people-pleasing and be honest with others.”
And the outcome of what I do, like if it’s my writing, is not so important. Whether it was good or not isn’t as important as doing it. I lived what wanted to be lived. In doing that, I’m already successful. That’s what really matters to me. If I make a mistake, then it was needed so I could learn something.
At times I have to consciously remind myself about this. Because my mind has been shaped by the world. Programmed by fear and judgment.
I notice that if I’m not connecting with my intuition and letting that guide my energy, my mind will run it for me. I have to teach Spazzy how to relax.
This is the intention I’m inviting:
I want to live in a way in which I am genuinely at peace with myself. I’m going to die at some point, but when that day comes, I don’t want to go with all these unlived experiences and regrets. In the end, I don’t want to look back on my life and suddenly see that I held back so much.
Letting death guide my life. This gives me my anchor, a priceless perspective to carry wherever I go.
PS: I don’t make this feel like a ‘job’ that I ‘have’ to do. I try to be honest with myself. If my intuition asks me to do something and I don’t want to do it, then I acknowledge how I really feel. If I’m honest with my No, then the Yes does eventually come. And when it does come, it’s a genuine full-hearted YES.
Taking action can be important. I'm personally learning how to bring much needed masculine energy into my life (writing helps me do this)
But setting my own personal journey aside, when I look at the collective energy here in the West, we are generally over masculine-ized.
The Masculine does have its gifts
Taking Action, setting Goals, and staying the Course
Engaging the intellect
Setting clear Boundaries
And building something tangible out of our creativity.
He is needed to manifest the non-physical into our physical reality.
But I see more and more people hearing the need for the Feminine. To balance out the doing, doing, doing and tying our worth to our productivity. She teaches us that it’s about so much more than outcomes and results.
The Feminine urges us to go within
Setting aside the outside world
And all of it's needs and opinions
Getting in touch with our Gut Feeling
To nurture Potentiality
She sees the Wisdom in non-action
Besides, we need her to sense the non-physical.
Otherwise we might just be recycling what already is.
Just choosing from what the world (and our intellect) says is available.
Which could have us rearranging the furniture in the same ol’ prison.
She can show us that the way to affect the collective is by making decisions beyond the collective.
And then the Masculine can come in to support the Feminine. To take action in the direction of our own inner compass. In support of our Unique Expression of Beingness.
My feeling is that a lot of people (of all genders) are bringing their own inner Feminine and Masculine together. And when the West comes into greater balance we will see more Genius.
Times are very challenging right now and I don't know how much more challenging it will get.
I can sense something new is being birthed. And we will see possibilities that were previously unimaginable.
Adversity has a sneaky way of doing that.
Leela Haris ~ Expanding Consciousness