,Creating a better world that allows our human potential to thrive has to involve making the world kinder for children.
In order to make the world a kinder place for children we must first become aware of what harms them.
In order to become aware of what harms them, we must first become aware of how we adults have been manipulated and harmed.
One of the biggest problems globally is the epidemic of child abuse. More specifically massive pedophilia and sex trafficking kept in place by those in the highest positions of power. Politics and Religious organizations are two major things keeping this in place.
While millions are embroiled in and distracted by sensationalism around Trump, the real harm continues by those presenting their "nice" faces and telling people what they want to hear and playing out the noble good guy/woman facade. The Obamas, the Clintons, The Pope, Joe Biden (I have to mention him since he is running) - just a few examples of people knowingly involved in enslavement and sex trafficking of children.
Many many children are being traumatized everyday. They are used like objects to be bartered and passed around and god knows what else.
There are many people involved in this. With varying levels of willingness.
I am not trying to bring anyone down or pull you into negativity. If you are confused at any time by why I'm saying all this, re-read my first 3 statements.
This may be new or not new to you. But the information is out there and evident for anyone willing to see it. If you want proof you can do your own research and decide for yourself. There is no shortage of people speaking out about this.
Now, here is something important I want to say regarding all this:
It's not about blame or retaliation. It's about awareness. The harm and abuse and those that are most benefiting from it, yes this needs to be exposed before anything significant can change. There does need to be protection put in place so abusers cannot continue to abuse and consequences for those perpetuating this.
But if it's done from a place of wanting to punish out of retaliation, it will just continue the unconsciousness. As I see it "evil" is just an extreme form of unconsciousness. Many say that there are beings of evil that cannot heal or rehabilitate. I disagree. It's not that it's impossible to heal or change, it's just that some are just so invested in violence and deep in hatred and darkness that they do not want to change. For each being it has to be a choice to heal and change. No one can heal or rehabilitate another if they do not want it. I think the mistake that people can make is assuming everyone wants the same things. You have to see people for where they are and not what you want them to be.
Another thing to consider, above I said there is various willingness from those who participate in the abuse. What I mean by that is that some people deep down would like to leave that world of abuse but feel they cannot. They perceive themselves to be trapped there. They have grown up being severely abused and threatened and may have been forced or pushed into abusing others. They are convinced they are bad people not realizing that it was setup that way to keep them tethered and unable to break free.
This is how the cycle continues.
So forgiveness and compassion with eyes open has to be part of all this. Also, we each have dark and light within us. Those that have not seen, faced, and healed enough of their own inner trauma and darkness will either not see it when it's right in front of them or they will just want violence against those involved.
In my personal experience in how my self-awareness has grown in the 45 years I've been alive, and in my observation of people: I've realized something.
Most people who are afraid don't know they are afraid.
This was about 5 or so years ago, one morning during meditation I got a clear urging from within to focus on being centered.
So I stayed very focused on that peaceful unmoving center within me as I got ready for work.
*** It took me years of inner work to discover this center, before that, I didn't know what it meant to 'be centered', just a vague notion that it was to be peaceful and unaffected somehow, to be zen-like. Now I know it is that but doesn't always look zen-like on the surface. We can be in movement and expression of various feelings while also being centered and peaceful within. ***
As I drove that morning to work still focusing on my center, someone in the stream of traffic stopped abruptly causing an accident involving about 5 cars.
I was in one of those cars, and my car hit the guy's bumper in front of me, but not too hard. The women's car behind me, however, slammed very hard into mine, totaling my car.
No one was hurt too seriously and I was unscathed, physically, and emotionally. I calmly just did what needed to be done while also observing what was happening around me.
As all the drivers pulled over to wait for the police and deal with the situation, the woman who had slammed into me was visibly shaken.
She shared with me that she has an anxiety disorder and suffers from panic attacks. It looked to me like she might have a panic attack soon. So I suggested that she breathe slowly and deeply and we did this together. This helped her and she relaxed a bit. Then I mentioned that the breathing will help her feel the fear and that it's okay to let the body shake and tremble. (I too have had panic attacks )
All of a sudden she reacted, upset at my use of the word 'fear', saying to me "What! I'm not afraid!".
She was unconscious of the fact that anxiety and panic is fear.
Her reaction to the word 'fear' was resistance to acknowledging it in herself. Acknowledging and feeling it though would have allowed it to move through her which could prevent a full-blown panic attack. (judging & resisting a feeling gives it more power over us)
There are many ways we hide fear. Psychological phrases and diagnosis is one way we might do that. It can help us become somewhat more aware but only diagnosing ourselves mentally can keep us in our mind and out of our body. This happens especially in times of shock or abrupt change (I've done a lot of healing for myself around shock & trauma).
Intentionally exploring the ways we hide fear and hide from fear is so helpful. Fear often drives us unconsciously, limiting our potential and happiness, and it's also built into our social fabric. We all experience fear yet there's this unspoken message that it's not okay to talk about it. And to show that we are afraid is not okay either and means we are weak somehow.
I've often been surprised at what I've discovered when I explore my fears. But I'm so glad for this self-exploration path I've chosen because we can't change something without becoming aware of it first.
Examples of fears:
Fear of being rejected
Fear of being alone
Fear of making mistakes
Fear of losing control
Fear of being judged
Fear of fear
Fear of the unknown (a very challenging one)
Fear of death (a very challenging one too and is related to fear of the unknown)
What would you add to this list?
Not feeling good enough for someone. Who hasn't felt this way at some point?
Here is my understanding about this.
When we are carrying an insecurity about ourselves, we may experience others as not accepting us.
This can result as patterns of conflict with others or of trying to please them. This is very common but keeps us trapped in a painful and draining situation.
You can watch for any time you want to prove something to someone or get them to accept you in some way.
When you spot it happening: Stop. Breathe. Breathe slowly and deeply. And instead of focusing on the other person, explore your inner world (thoughts, emotions, sensations).
You can take this even further by exploring with an intention to see the Truth.
If you can manage to make this shift in focus, if you can withstand the initial force of resistance, before you even get to an insight, you will already feel a huge shift. You will likely feel energized.
I call this INNER EMPOWERMENT.
People are incredible reflections of what we need to understand within.
This does not mean we allow ourselves to be mistreated all over the place. This is not contrary to speaking up and not allowing someone to impose their judgments or views on us. In fact, it may lead to doing just that. Not as a hurt-based reaction, but out of a self-respect for ourselves.
Seems paradoxical, but the inner focus makes us kinder and more honest. We become trustworthy. Because we minimize burdening others with our pain. Our hearts can open in the recognition that others are struggling too and that it has nothing to do with us personally.
I've experienced this countless times.
But at first I would beat myself up. Feeling bad that I was doing something wrong to draw to me negative reflections and dynamics.
But with time more joy and self-compassion has come in. And with experience I know the consequences of not doing it and the incredible awe-inspiring gifts of doing it.
If you want support and are in Kansas City this November, Madeleine Newkirk and I are leading a Communicate with Your Heart workshop. See if it speaks to you.
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 Dalian. That’s when I started to uncover in myself the respect and presence that I continue to deepen and grow today.
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.
Dating is totally different for me since doing inner work. It has gone from painful drama to Adventure.
Several years ago I met a man online. At first it was just a few friendly messages. The conversations quickly became more frequent and we seemed to have a lot in common. I found him easy to talk to. We started chatting on video too (we live in different states).
In our conversations I would have these moments thinking “wow, he says all the right things!”. I felt such a strong connection and trust with him. And this is all happening in the space of 3 weeks or so. I felt like I could really be myself and not worry about anything.
I don’t remember most of the details of our conversations except this one thing he told me: “No matter what, I never stop being someone’s friend. I never cut someone out of my life.” This gave me such a feeling of safety.
So my mind was saying yes to this man. But my body was apparently saying something else entirely. I just wasn’t really listening to my body at first. During one video chat he looked at me curiously and asked me if I was cold. I looked down and I was wearing a sweater with two jackets over it (pretty hilarious actually, it was summer). We were talking about sex during that conversation and as we talked I kept getting up to grab more clothes to wear.
I wasn’t cold. I was uncomfortable.
But I dismissed my discomfort as my own woundedness because I was working through a lot of trauma during that time. I told myself “Keep an open mind. It’s good to discuss these things openly”.
I happened to have a retreat trip planned in California a few hours from where he lived coming up and I was considering adding extra days to my trip so I can visit him. But it was all happening really fast and I started to have mixed feelings. The mixed feelings were the conflict of what was coming from what my mind wanted and what my body & intuition were saying.
So I decided to dedicate some time to focus and go inward and go deeper into my intuition. When I let go of my mind and I did this I got very clear very fast: It didn’t feel right to visit him on my trip. Not only that, it didn’t feel right to even pursue a relationship with this man.
I decided to trust this and act on this. Even though I didn’t really know why, I mean he still seemed like a great guy to me.
I emailed him to let him know that I would like to just remain friends. I explained it so he would know I wasn’t angry or had a problem about anything. I also figured if it’s meant to be more than friendship then it can happen with time. I also understood that it might trigger some insecurity in him but that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal for such an emotionally mature man as him.
He replied and expressed shock at my sudden change of heart. But he said he understood and honored my decision.
Then the next day he blocked me from all social media and completely disconnected from me.
Now I was the one shocked. But just at first. I was also actually so glad to see how right my intuition was!
I realized most of the conversations coming from him were lies. He was telling me what I wanted to hear.
I wasn’t angry though. I saw why it worked on me. He made me feel special. He made me feel understood. He made me feel safe. He made me feel important and significant.
He gave me what I was starving for and unconsciously looking outside of myself for. He showed me where my insecurities were.
Experiences like this have helped me transform those starving parts of myself. Each experience, whether positive or negative, brings me a step closer to being whole within myself. I’m also much more self-aware. I can feel when a situation or person makes me feel “special” or “important”. If something feels good, great I enjoy it. But I’m much more alert to the difference of feeling good that is coming from my ego-mind (self-importance) and those of my body (it feels more organic and less like a story of my identity getting fed).
Am I completely done with insecurity, with any attachment to being special or important? No. But I am celebrating the distance I have traveled to this place of being on an adventure. Does the adventure mean no pain? No. But the pain, when it does happen, is VERY useful.
Before doing this inner work there was so much anxiety and pain in dating and relationships. I was at times living out a longing and fantasy and there was no genuine intimacy. It was total bullshit actually (sorry to any exes reading this).
Then I would feel betrayed if I felt the person wasn’t genuine. But I wasn’t even genuine with myself. There was no possibility in those situations for any sincere intimacy.
Our socialized ideas of romance are fantasies that come from our unfulfilled needs and longings. To stay in this is to ride the roller coaster ride of pain and heartbreak. It’s actually insane, if you really see if for what it is. So much drama, and we actually create the whole thing ourselves much of the time.
But coming out of this game has been liberating. Instead of feeling resentful and blame towards anyone I’m glad to have the experience because each person teaches me so much about myself.
Instead of shutting down my trust and becoming bitter or fearful from these learning experiences, I grow MORE trusting. MORE trusting of myself. MORE trusting of whatever life brings me. I don’t need to carry the hurt memories. I don’t need to guard against or worry about other people and their intentions.
I also don’t get too offended when someone lies to me. It’s not personal. It’s their own issue and not for me to figure out. My only responsibility is to see through my own illusions.
I don’t trust because people are trustworthy.
I trust because I am trustworthy.
Over the years I've had healers and intuitives approach me to inform me that I'm way too open and that I need boundaries. I’ve been advised to put a protective bubble around myself. I’ve been told to carry certain stones or crystals with me.
I sensed some truth in what they told me. I didn't have boundaries. I wasn’t sure what it even meant to have boundaries. But something about their approach didn't feel quite right. So I didn't take their advice.
But there were moments I was so tempted! Times I was so overwhelmed that I felt suicidal: “How can I ever live like this!?”. I’m grateful the suicidal thoughts and feelings were usually brief and most days weren’t quite THAT hard.
But it was challenging as I navigated daily overwhelm and confusion. I would shut down or erupt in anger as a desperate way to create space. As I’ve done inner work on myself I felt my sensitivity grow stronger and would at times have so much animosity towards it. More sensitivity? Are you kidding me? F*ck off with this empathic crap!
These situations though, ultimately became opportunities for me to transform past wounds and self-limitations.
For example, a few times I felt traumatized by a person’s aggressive and violent sexual desires being projected onto me (not just regular sexual desire). Sorry to be graphic here, but it felt like I was being raped. (energetically). It was awful. But I had to face the fact that, yes although they did have an unconscious sexual aggressiveness in them, there was a lesson in that for me. It brought up deeper layers of my own past sexual trauma that I needed to heal.
Now I am more centered and don't feel as affected by another’s sexual desire. I also don't need to hold back or shrink who I am or my energy out of fear of what it triggers in another.
And if someone is crossing a boundary with me now, if required, I can unleash a primal protective fire so enormous it can shake the entire block and singe your eyebrows off. This isn’t a reactive anger (like I had before), but a natural and healthy instinct.
It doesn't matter how big the person is or how intimidating they behave, I have access to power inside me that doesn't depend on my size or physical strength. I no longer fall easily for intellectual game-playing or passive-aggressive bullying either.
Although getting to this place has taken time, I'm glad the approaches I took part in were about self-awareness, and healing, rather than fuelling, any fear and mistrust. I'm glad I didn't have to shut down my openness to the world and people. That would have been sad. It's part of my joy to be so trusting. To share myself so freely and openly.
I now experience my sensitivity more as the gift it is, and navigate the world with this vibrant inner compass. This gives me a sense of self-reliance and independence.
Many situations I used to drown in I can now confidently swim through.
The feeling of it being a curse had nothing to do with the true essence of being sensitive and empathic, which is actually beautiful and just part of being human. Being a ‘curse’ was a projection of my own unresolved issues. The ‘curse’ moments pushed me to uncover my strength and to use it.
I can't tell you how good it feels to not need to protect my heart or myself. To not need to see myself as so separate from others. To not have to hide and live in fear. I can be free in my innocence and explore and play on this planet. I can use my gifts and power with integrity, all the while still being dedicated to my inner work and the lessons I’m learning.
If you live in Kansas City check out my events to support you to heal your past, release limitations, and connect to your inner compass.
I’ve known you for so long, for long enough now. Long enough to realize that maybe you are not the enemy that I thought you were. I may have misunderstood you...completely misunderstood you.
I think I got you all wrong.
And I’m also tired. I’m tired of the war between us. I am no longer going to try - to try to fix you up and alter you, to try to make you bright and pretty.
I’m sorry for what I’ve done to try to change you into something you’re not.
Can we start over?
Look, I can’t say that I totally love you and embrace you with enthusiasm. Truth is it hurts to know you. To feel you. But I’m willing to listen now. I would like to see what gifts you are bringing.
I promise to stop slamming the door in your face when you show up.
And also, just as important, to notice when you are leaving and to let you go.
I am willing to hold you without gripping too tight.
I will stop comparing you to the light and pitting you against each other. I know that what you bring is just as valuable.
But first, I would like to lay down some ground rules for your visits to me:
You cannot make my major life decisions, nor can you solely shape my perspective towards myself and life.
You can no longer be my excuse for not taking responsibility; for forgetting that every choice, thought, and emotion is for me to own.
You can not show up only so I don’t have to.
I will not blame an outside force for your existence.
Equally you are not to be a reason for shame and withholding acceptance and compassion from myself.
And although it’s your nature to dim the light, you are not to, under any circumstances, extinguish my inner flame totally.
But here is what you CAN do:
You can provide Depth. Compassion. Sensitivity.
You may fuel my Inner Strength and my Courage.
You can show me how vital it is that I take charge of my own narrative and that in doing so, it has the effect of fighting for this life, this life that is in front of me and within me right now.
You can be the reason I dive into such depths in my self-work and take more risks.
You can inspire me to heal and parent my childness.
You may draw me inward and show me the importance of Silence.
You can show me when and how to rest.
You can teach me how to Trust and to show me the beauty of Surrender.
You can show me how to find the Stillpoint, the center of the tornado.
You may help me shed worn-out identities and stories.
You may reveal your unique underworld Mystery and beauty to me.
You can of course show me my blocks and my wounds. But you have to accept your limitations on how to work with them, sometimes that is the Light’s job.
Sometimes though - Maybe many times - Maybe all the time; It is the job of the Whole to put the pieces back where they belong.
And of course there is much more to you, gifts that I’ve yet to know.
I see now, that despite how it seems, you are not isolating me from myself and life. In fact I see how you've helped me to come so much closer to myself and to life.
Thank you darkness for all that you’ve done for me and continue to do for me.
Yes, you are dark, but you are not wrong.
This was inspired by and written in loving memory of Michael Julian Berz.
Leela Haris - Expanding Consciousness