This blog post is written in response to the Time machine challenge by Linda, over at litebeing chronicles.
Directions: Pick a time in your life that was critical to your development. You can go back or forwards in time. It can be real or imagined. After all, it is real if you imagine it! Choose an idea or a skill or a value you hold dear in the present and infuse it into that time period. Share your story of what happens to positively impact your life.
Looking back on times in my life that were critical to my development, I can’t narrow them down to one, not even three. My life has been so full of critical moments, I will highlight the most salient.
First of all though, it is part of my belief system that we choose our experiences before we come into this life. I believe in reincarnation, the purpose being Soul growth. I feel it is a privilege to have a body here on this beautiful planet/school. I can just imagine being on the other side, setting it all up with all my favorite souls, dreaming up life experiences to provide the most growth. “Ok, you be my mom since you need the experience of cancer and leaving your beloved children with an alcoholic father, and since I need the experience of a loving mother in my formative years and the loss of her right before adolescence,”etc. “And you be my very eccentric alcoholic, rage-oholic poet father because…”and so forth.
Going along my timeline, the first event was the onset of asthma at age 2 months. Lungs relate to grief. I was set up to have lung ailments, as my mother’s mom died when I was in the womb, so I absorbed grief through the umbilical cord, right off the bat. More on this later.
The next major event was the illness and death of my beautiful mother. It was in the mid- 60s, when cancer (said in a whisper) was not part of anyone’s conversation. Death was also a hushed word, said only behind closed doors. She loved me. She wanted to protect my innocence until the last minute, so she chose to keep me in the dark. She swore all her friends to secrecy, and my naiveté defended my heart. However, I heard a voice lovingly preparing me for the eventuality. I don’t know if it was the tree under which I often sat, an angel, Spirit, a guide, or my Higher Self, but I was forewarned. I respect her choice in not telling me, but it taught me that there must be a better way. I grew up the day she died. I was 12.
Though I had always been a nature loving, spiritual child, having grown up and confirmed (one month before my mother’s death) in the Episcopal Church, I stepped onto a conscious spiritual path soon after she left. I already had a deep understanding that God and Love were synonymous, and that Jesus taught this truth. I began searching for something else, something to ease my pain. There had to be more. I got into the metaphysical world, and my older cousin took me to meetings at the Theosophical Society. I read everything I could get my hands on. It resonated with me as if I already knew.
Since few people my age had the “spiritual knowledge” I had, or experience with death, I became the go to person for my peers to talk about these things. Adults told me I was “wise beyond my years,” and I liked that. My little ego liked that.
As time went on, and adolescence set in, I lost my self- esteem. I didn’t know how I was supposed to be. I had no role model for “normal.” I watched others to get clues about how I was supposed to act. I felt out of place and inappropriate. It kept me frozen and painfully shy, though I did have good friends. I became obsessed with what people thought of me, which of course I now know is none of my business. I tried to appear spiritual, as that had gotten me acknowledgement before, but my inner critic started hounding me. There was an inner war going on inside between all the different parts of me, and I fell deeper and deeper into depression. This, of course, exacerbated my asthma, and I became quite ill. I couldn’t live with my alcoholic father, so I moved from family to family (mostly friends of my mom), then to a favorite cousin who, though she tried very hard, was going through too much herself to be able to care for me, so I went to a very strict girls’ boarding school. I was so unhappy. I remember crying under a beautiful pine tree every day.
It was Nature that saved me. Nature, music and horses. My cousin was diligent in trying to get those needs met for me, for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you, Jessica.
At 17, the day after I graduated from high school, I left Maryland, and went to New Mexico to be part of a metaphysical center there. There were only a very few of those in 1971. The new age movement hadn’t quite become popular yet. One of their teachings was self- forgiveness. I didn’t really understand it then.
I took some classes at the college, met some fun people, tried a lot of different drugs, and pretty much escaped from my inner pain.
I moved to a small mountain town. Several other like- minded people also happened into town at about the same time. We formed a community, and all did our hippie years there, adding hallucinogens to our spirituality (we are all still good friends). I went through several relationships during those years, including a marriage and divorce. My dear father came to my wedding, and died 3 months later. I was 22.
Another dive into depression.
My lung disease took a big toll, as I was in complete denial about it, and I found myself in the ER about once a month. Jessica, who had since moved to Albuquerque, had had about enough of that, so the last time I was in intensive care, she rescued me, and set me up with every naturopathic practitioner she knew. So I moved to her home in Albuquerque. I ended up working with a massage therapist, a psychotherapist and a nutritionist/chiropractor. I was on the strongest doses of prednisone and other lung drugs legally possible, and had been told by the medical profession that I had about 2 years to live. I took that seriously, and changed my lifestyle completely. I was 26.
My learning curve escalated, and I found myself in a serious healing crisis, which put me in bed for over a year. The process of getting well actually made me a lot sicker for a while. At one point, I did die and had a life changing near death experience. A story for another time.
Walter, my psychotherapist was a psychosynthesis practitioner. He got me in touch with my inner parts, such as the inner critic, the scared and sad little girl, the wise one, my Higher Self, the witness, my angry adolescent and others (sub-personalities). He helped me to make friends with them, and get their needs met in healthy ways. He did some past life regressions as well. He taught me that being “spiritual” was all well and good, but that the ego work must be done too. There has to be a balance. So I did a lot of intensive ego work. I can’t even tell you how freeing that was and is. Some of the work we did involved looking through an imaginary window at the little girl that was me. Through the window, I imagined me as an adult going to her, comforting her, letting her know that I loved her and was there for her. It took a little bit to gain her trust, but we formed a relationship that is healing to this day. Linda mentioned infusing a skill onto a situation for this blog challenge. This was one of those. It worked well. Walter also taught me how to embrace my shadow, make friends with it, and work through deep issues. This freed me to be more authentically in my true Spiritual Self. I had jumped into “higher consciousness” as an intellectual defense to avoid my original pain. If we don’t do the original pain work, it has a tendency to keep pulling us back.
Learning spiritual concepts before I did my childhood pain work helped me initially, but also helped instigate my depression later. The harder I tried to be in my airy fairy, spiritual happy place, the deeper my separation became.
Walter taught me I was not a victim of circumstance, and that I create my own reality. He also taught me how to live in the big picture, in the belief that everything is unfolding in a perfect way. I learned not to fight reality. It is what it is. Acceptance. When fighting reality, one never wins. Having no expectations really helps, as does “being with” whatever the experience is, in a conscious and mindful way.
I went on to become a massage therapist, which was a wonderful profession, but I realized after about 5 years that my true calling was psychotherapy. So, I went back to school, got my BA in psychology, then a Masters in Spiritual Psychology and another in Counseling Services. I also took a two year certification in Psychosynthesis because it had helped me so much. I took a course in Shamanism too. These studies culminated in a 35 year career that has been amazingly fantastic. I have such gratitude.
When I was 32, my beloved only brother got an AIDS related brain disease. I moved to San Francisco to take care of him through his illness and death. Though excruciatingly sad, I learned more about death, dying, illness and bereavement. It catapulted me into the AIDS world when it was a new epidemic. It was 1986.
After my brother’s death, I went into another deep depression and lung sickness. I came close to death on several more occasions. After I got well, my profession took a huge leap up, and I became the Director of the Emotional Support Program for an AIDS organization. I was there for 10 years.
I had a couple other agency jobs over the years, but maintained a private practice the whole time. I was the clinical supervisor for a children’s outpatient program, so one opportunity I had was to help dying parents tell their children, and help them to cope as a family through it. It was gratifying to help mitigate the suffering of children after difficult situations. My own death and dying experiences helped me be good at this. Though I am retired from agency work now, I still have a private practice where I do SpiritWalks. I absolutely love it.
I am now married to a wonderful man. We built a house in northern NM in the mountains, and I am extremely happy. The Dalai Lama said that happiness is the purpose of life. That feels right.
Nature has remained my deepest connection to Spirit. No matter what, I have always made a point to live in a beautiful, natural setting. Nature has always saved me. I also have close friends, and my beloved Tibetan Tai Chi practice that feeds me on many levels.
It’s interesting that my astrology chart speaks mostly of death/rebirth/transformation being my path in many ways. I do feel comfortable going to those deep places with myself and others. My life experience has given me this, and I am grateful.
This being a time machine challenge, I find the concept of time kind of strange. It just isn’t real. If time is an illusion, I like to think that maybe healing migrates to all time lines, so healing childhood wounds actually heals the child back then. Maybe she felt the certainty that her Higher Self or the adult me was with her. I hope so. I believe the more we do our healing work, it echoes all over the world. The vibration of healing and Love attract “like” energy, and it grows and GROWS, and ripples, like water, through time. It is never too late to have a happy childhood. I am grateful for the angst that shaped me, developed my compassion, and evoked my Loving.
Because I love my life, I don’t regret anything that happened. I wouldn’t be the me I am now without having gone through all I did. Everything led me right here, right now. I owe my profession, my friendships, my spirituality and my happiness to what I learned throughout the years. Having gone through grief, I gained skills for my profession as well as the knowledge that I can get through any loss, even though it still feels impossible each time.
Compassionate self- forgiveness is one of those skills I infuse onto any situation that disturbs my peace. I learned about forgiving myself for any judgement whatsoever in my Spiritual Psychology program. Any time I feel hooked by something, I apply love to the places that hurt. Any time I have a judgement about myself or another, I am really judging myself. It only hurts me. Judgement stems from unresolved issues. How I relate to an issue is the real issue, or more specifically, how I relate to myself while I go through an issue is the issue. This world/school mirrors all the places we need to heal, and brings us closer in healing to our Authentic Self or our Loving. When I judge another, I am judging myself. I forgive myself for the judgements. I forgive myself for judging myself as not perfect. I forgive myself for judging another person or group.
If I forgive myself for being a dummy, the judgement is still there. If I forgive myself for judging myself as a dummy, it dissipates.
Further on the timeline, I imagine how I want the future to be. As Linda says “if you imagine it, it is real.” I imagine a healed planet. I imagine only peaceful beings on it. I imagine healing of the bees. Perhaps the planet ascends, as many people are saying, and the people who are awakened into their Loving go with Her. There are many theories and prophesies out there. Perhaps the illusion of time and the karmic wheel will be left behind. I don’t know. What I do know is that this beautiful planet cannot sustain us as we are today. There has to be a MAJOR shift in consciousness with a GREAT AWAKENING of many. I can imagine that happening. No more greed, anger, hate or FEAR. Only LOVE. Fear and anger amplify the vibration I do not want in the world. Love and forgiveness transform. I choose to envision how I want to see the world, and to live that vision and raise my vibration as best I can today. I choose to envision true solutions to issues, and not to be hooked by what I see on the news, as that disturbs my peace. I choose to hold the thoughts and feelings of what might be possible, and to dwell in the miracle of Grace, while at the same time living mindfully in the present moment.
An irony of awakening and progressing spiritually is that it is really an unlearning process back to who we really are: a spiritual being having a human experience. It is a letting go of false ideas and coming back to our HEARTS. Spiritual reality is outside ego. Moving more deeply into our spiritual hearts, and experiencing the presence of LOVE allows us to awaken. It dispels judgement and heals the painful illusion of separation.