The fine line: spiritual bypass vs. always something wrong

Over the course of 30+ years on this path I’ve landed in many places where I questioned whether digging or uplifting would be the better answer.  There are proponents of digging deep who also imply you can never stop.  There are proponents of positive thinking, doing uplifting practices, etc. who imply the “uplifting” thoughts and actions will shift away the underlying issues with no need to dig.  Personally I’ve found we need both.  But there’s a fine line between and I find it a great challenge to decide which side suits any given moment.

I started off in some New Age stuff that I eventually realized invited people to do a “spiritual bypass” wherein they stuffed issues even farther down in favor of pretending to be upbeat all the time.  The excitement of this new path brought me some good successes for a while and I arrogantly decided I didn’t need more therapy or any other digging through issues.  Later I also met lots of people who studied established traditions like Buddhism and Sufism and realized you can do a spiritual bypass on any path if you choose to avoid your issues…

Higher consciousness (mine? the Universe? who knows) pretty quickly slammed me into a wall of my own limiting beliefs and I wound up doing the extensive excavation work required by my late friend Ellen Margron’s version of the Fisher Hoffman Process.  Although I moved mountains of material in the nine months my group spent doing the process work and set off kundalini after one particularly huge release, I knew pretty soon after finishing that I wasn’t done.

I’ve used the process many times since and also wound up in several forms of body work that delve into emotional patterns and issues as well as setting off on an exploration of ancestral issues deep in my DNA.  All these things have, in my opinion, been necessary to open pathways and channels that blocked my ability to expand into higher consciousness or even a new version of myself.

However, in the last couple of years I’ve been feeling increasingly that it’s time to concentrate more on shifting thought patterns from negative to positive and raising energy to higher vibrational levels.  In 2017 I really devoted the year to positive thinking and practices to uplift.  The first thing I noticed was how much more impact I felt from these things after having released so much material that had been in the way.  My experience in doing guided meditations or saying affirmations or singing chants, etc. became one of feeling energy moving vitally throughout my body in a way I’d never felt in the early days — before releasing.

Once the New Age movement evolved to embrace the idea of exploring issues, an entire industry seemed to grow up with teachers and “schools” and body work therapies all designed to help people retrieve repressed memories and “release the past”.  And — what a surprise — many of them believe you never finish this work.

Up to a point, I believe that – you’re unlikely to hit every hidden issue in a short space of time and issues tend to recur.  I question, though, that you have to focus your life around discovering issues for the rest of your days.  And I worry that the central, usually unconscious, belief at the core of all the digging and searching can be “there’s something wrong with me” and/or “I’m not good enough as I am”.

These are core issues for me, so I began to worry about the constant probing through my psyche for hidden issues perpetuates the core self-doubt and self-worth issues.  Adding that worry to my growing belief there’s a point when the digging needs to stop to allow building to begin, I felt I needed to shift my focus from releasing the past to creating a different future.

Opposed to those who think we must excavate for life, there are also spiritual teachers/leaders who believe we don’t need to dig at all.  Using a little of “What the Bleep’s” science, when you create a new positive neural net, the old one starts dismantling.  Or, looked at another way, when you raise the energy vibration, the lower vibrations begin to shift upward.

I think that happens too, I just think it is stymied if you are full of repressed memories and unresolved issues and your plan is never to look.  Even in the “just raise the vibe” theory, whatever is blocking or contradicting tends to rise to the surface.  One way or another I do believe you have to confront at least some of your issues.  I have also had the sense of unknown things falling away as I’ve progressed, so I don’t think you have to consciously deal with every single issue.  But I do believe you have to be willing to look deep within.

For me, there was much transformation resulting from releasing.  And there has also been profound change in the last year as I have changed my focus to building instead of dismantling.  Some look doubtful when I say I want to stop constantly searching for what’s wrong and needs to be fixed.  Some agree there’s a time to shift the focus.

Not only has it been in my thoughts a lot, but lately I’ve had several off and on conversations going about this.  And I know lots of you in this blogging community have probably looked at this issue.  I’m very interested in your thoughts and experiences.


Between worlds… and learning what it means to me

A month or so ago I had a partial epiphany moment — one of those AHA’s where it feels like a giant leap and then you wonder if you really understand what it means.  During a Steve Nobel meditation in which he talked about our current transition into 5D and how everything moves faster and easier there, I suddenly realized I’ve operated from that level occasionally for a long time, but a lot of teachings and beliefs around me have kept me doubting my experiences.

Many spiritual teachers –including some friends of mine– have deep beliefs about the need to “do something”.  Doing, for them, is never about prayers or visualizing or holding a space; instead it is about action and plans and, in many cases, some sure-fire series of steps you must take.  According to them you can’t manifest anything without completing such a program.

Now in my experience, every great manifestation story I have to tell involves no planning, not taking steps, and doing nothing but visualizing and/or creating affirmations concerning my goal.  Sometimes no more than a passing thought holding a strong desire.

One of my best stories goes back to my first years out of law school, when I’d moved back to Chicago (where my school wasn’t known well and I didn’t have legal connections) and wound up working a series of temp law gigs and volunteering for a legal nonprofit.  Another temp job was about to end and I started affirming that the perfect permanent job for me would show up.  Within a couple of weeks a place with which I’d interviewed a year before found me at my latest job (not where I’d been working when interviewed), set up another interview and hired me.

All the wisdom about getting such a job said I needed to send a new resume and then follow up with a phone call and possibly also put out feelers through mutual acquaintances.  I did NONE of those things (although I was in process of updating the resume).  I actually got a job as a lawyer with the Governor’s Office by saying an affirmation and assuming it would come true (and probably being at least a little impressive the first time I interviewed 🙂 ).

The most amazingly impossible tale involves my left leg, twisted from knee to ankle since birth.  While composing a “treasure map” (similar to the current vision board idea), I saw a photo of an athlete with strong straight legs and, wondering if that could happen, added it to the map.  I said an affirmation about straight, healthy legs and forgot about it.

Some months later at a workshop on channeling, a fellow who’d come to learn how to use his newly-awakened healing abilities “saw” the pattern underneath and started doing hands-on healing on my leg every day. At the end of the week my leg suddenly jerked and snapped and the tibia moved into place.

No plan, in a world that still would say the straightened leg was impossible to do without a plan and the plan would have to include surgery.  But there wasn’t a plan or a doctor or surgery and voila straight leg.

In spite of these and other successes, I lacked confidence and felt pressured by the “make a plan” people, so I worried I was doing it wrong.  All those programs where you have to sit down and make a list and create a scheme, etc. make my stomach tighten and my eyes roll back in my head, but the “must do” crowd had me convinced this was a flaw in me.

Trying to do it “right”, I’ve tried the plotting and planning method.  It really isn’t how I operate so it’s always uncomfortable and pretty much always leads to… nothing… and going nowhere…  With my understanding about energy and how it works growing exponentially in recent years I was ripe to hear a message about 5D, where you have a thought and it comes to be.

Ding!  Flashes of my past successes (it’s a pretty long list) danced through my head and I knew I’d long been able to operate from that place.  I just didn’t trust my own abilities and instincts enough to believe.  A short step brought me to memories from 18 or so years ago when I studied for a few years with a Hopi elder.

After a talk on “borderland people” one day, she pulled me aside and asked if I knew I was a borderland person.  Having recognized myself in most of her description, I nodded enthusiastically, happy to explain some mysterious aspects of myself with this concept.  Borderland people, you see, stand with a foot in both worlds:  one foot in this world, one foot in the spirit or dream world.

Although “the 5D” and “spirit” worlds are often discussed in separate places and as if the concepts are not the same, I’m seeing them as the same idea described with different words.  And understanding that I jumped ahead into operating from a more 5D place a long time ago.  Now I’m wondering if those authoritative people with the plans might understand less than I do instead of more?  [I do think the plans often work for those who believe in plans; not because of the  plan but because of the belief in it.]

I’ve known since I was fairly young that I often march to a different drummer but until now that has been both a badge of honor and a source of great struggle and doubt.  On this spiritual path I’ve grown ever more out of step with the mainstream.  I’m seeing there are many teachers on this path who are still so influenced by 3D thinking, their teaching is out of step for me; no more thinking the problem is with me.

I don’t mean to sound arrogant or superior.  I make no claim to have achieved enlightenment or to have reached some perfected state of Higher Consciousness or even that I spend a significant portion of my time in “5D”.  But something shifted with these realizations and I understand more of who I am, how I operate and what it means to be a borderland person.  Instead of anticipating the arrival of 5D with trepidation for the unknown, I am instead excited about moving into a time when I feel more comfortable because the world has shifted into a mode in which I fit.

I’m still exploring how I feel in this new paradigm for me and what all the stuff about 5D means…. you know, since we haven’t completed the transition and can only speculate about a dimension we’ve not actively experienced.  But I feel myself shifting into a new space as I accept operating on a different plane and with a different set of beliefs about how the world works…

Transition? Limbo?

Lately, besides the usual sluggishness from muscles, headaches, unwinding, etc. I feel like I’m swirling through some kind of transition.  Lots of articles inform me that many of us are experiencing symptoms from ringing ears to sleeplessness to sleeping too much to colds…  Since much of that is part of my norm, I can’t always tell 🙂

Whether it’s another phase of the long healing process or part of some larger transition of energies in the universe, I have been feeling pretty out of it and kind of floating in limbo.  Most days if I try to work on a post I just feel like I don’t really know what to say and that some elusive truth will soon be revealed but now is not the time.

Every now and then in the midst of the floating and coping with symptoms, an epiphany has arisen and in the past few days I’ve hit two of those moments.  The first has to do with me holding a vision of the future.  I’ve been doing it for a long time but, given the long, long-term health issues, there has been a problem for me in seeing myself in the vision as a healthy, energetic person.  It’s been so long, I literally have trouble remembering what it feels like.

But the other day I brought the vision to mind and suddenly, like a cool breeze blew through and changed everything, I saw myself in that future life, healthy.  And finally it seemed real that I could step into a future in which I live my vision and live it as a person of vitality and good health.

Then I started doing some genealogy research again and, after unsuccessfully working on a puzzle regarding my Lightfoot ancestors from Virginia, I started thinking about some of my amazing finds in this effort to fill in my family tree.

For some time I’ve been receiving advice from different directions about calling on my ancestors for help.  As I’ve unearthed a lot of issues I inherited from my ancestors, I’ve been reluctant to do that.  Doing Steve Nobel’s meditation on releasing ancestral issues periodically has really helped.

As I sat there running over the Lightfoots and many other previously-unknown names I’ve uncovered, I suddenly felt this softness come over me and a certainty that they could and would help and I called upon all my ancestors to help me finish untangling these long-held family threads.  Then felt them fill the room with their loving energy.

I don’t know where all this leads but as I sit here with muscles tugging, ears ringing and energy buzzing through me, I feel the winds of change …  again…

Exploring mindfulness


Lately I’ve been noticing that “mindfulness” seems to be everywhere these days –including mainstream news.  As the term is bandied about I’m often surprised by where I’m seeing it or who is talking about it, but as I look at much of what is being said, I question how well many people really understand mindfulness.

In many places I see people speaking of it as if it’s only about controlling your mind as an act of will. To me mindfulness is so much more, I feel a little sad every time I see someone settle for such a narrow idea — or for the particularly American tendency to want to control everything, including the mind.

After sitting with a vipassana group for a year I began seeing how many forms of practice there are in which you can quiet your mind into a single focus and achieve more mindfulness:  yoga practiced with breath, or yoga nidra when followed with focus, or chanting when concentrating on the words of the chant,or pranayama while noting only the breath, etc.  To me the point is using practice to learn how it feels to be in the moment in a state of “empty mind” and peacefulness.

When you keep practicing, your mind starts learning to stay more quiet all the time, the state of calm begins to expand throughout your life, and your whole perspective shifts.  It’s so much more than just wrestling my thoughts into submission in a given moment.

When I complete a practice I’m in a space or a zone that has its own feeling tone.  I feel it in my heart.  I feel the calm throughout my body.  I feel in tune with something larger than myself.  Tapped into the Universe.

To me, mindfulness is more about surrender than controlling or willing anything.  In emptying my mind and flowing with the chant or pose or breath or silence, I let go of managing and fall into what Wayne Dyer called “the gap”.  Over time I also learned surrender involves letting the practices take me wherever they lead.

Plans have gone awry and life has unfolded in ways that would never have crossed my mind if I’d kept trying to follow a blueprint designed long ago.  Sometimes it’s uncomfortable.  Sometimes it’s scary.  I wouldn’t change any of it.  I like the person I’m becoming.  The change from being mercurial to finding equanimity, from neurotic to peaceful, from anxious to calm…

The quiet mind achieved in mindfulness practices doesn’t involve controlling thoughts.  It’s a space encompassing the moment and peace and higher consciousness.  With practice the space begins to fill life more and more with presence in the moment.  From that place of presence, you can choose to hold onto a thought or let it go.

But you don’t learn true mindfulness if you just try to force your mind regularly to moments when you pick different thoughts.  You’re missing so much if you don’t let yourself be taken to the place where mindfulness is a way of being present, calm, connected and new.

Over Christmas?

For some years now my mother and I look at one another periodically through the holiday season and declare, “I have no Christmas spirit at all.”  I’m not sure why I lost my Christmas mojo other than too many years of less than no energy and a dwindling budget though I have a feeling the energy transition occurring now is part of it.  I can’t even decide if I care, if I’m numb or, more likely, if I’m just in a space where the hoorah of it all doesn’t matter to me any more.

I used to get excited.  I’d shop for a tree after Thanksgiving, decorate it and the house and enjoy every minute.  I also spent much of my adult life living away from my parents (both when together and later singly) and traveling at Christmas, so there was a big trip to add some excitement, which often meant also seeing other family members or old friends.

Since I am an only child and never married, there haven’t been children or grandchildren to enjoy the holidays.  When my mother first moved back here and I visited, there were lots of friends and family who gave parties at Christmas and we’d hop from one event to another.  Then, when I moved here, I added a few annual parties given by friends of mine.  Mom’s friends and many of the relatives have died or grown too old to throw parties and my groups have kind of given up, so no big festivities to attend.

Aside from watching too many Hallmark movies, I’ve developed a tradition of attending a candle lighting service at a local “center for spiritual living”, a non-denominational “church”, with a friend of mine.   It’s always very moving and filled with love but otherwise Christmas just seems like a slog of buying and trips to the post office.

I managed to create a nice breakfast casserole and then a nice dinner for the day so my mother and I had a couple of special meals.  But my father lives far away and I worry about him, always alone.  This time he had a Christmas dinner invitation so that was a cause for joy for me.

At this point I mostly feel relief that we’re past another one.  All the decorations and hype make me feel like I “should” be experiencing some some sort of gaiety or euphoria for the season but I just don’t care that much about it any more.  I can’t even quite decide if I want to try to find the “Christmas spirit” again or if I prefer to just let it go…

I’ve been reading some channeled posts telling me that letting go of Christmas as we’ve known it is part of the move forward into the new  world/age.  So I’m curious whether this feeling of being kind of removed from Christmas is something others are experiencing or whether I’m just turning into Scrooge 🙂 ?

Blessed healing journey

Sunset2 Dec 3 2017

A couple of friends recently commented on my ability to tune into patterns opening in my body.  It’s always nice to hear, but initially I didn’t give it much thought.  Last night, however, I was reflecting on this long healing process in light of their thoughts and noticed how I’ve mostly considered it and written about it as torture.  Now, I often look for the up side and I’ve written posts indicating some positive thoughts, but over all I must admit the general misery and discomfort of unwinding muscles and sleepless nights for the most part fill my focus.

Suddenly I could see more blessing in it.  Not only that the process has forced me to pay more attention to my body than I ever would have given it.  Not only that I have been able to mark progress on many fronts even while many people don’t quite believe healing in this form is happening.  But also a blessing because I seem to be on a very unusual path in this whole unwinding/healing muscle thing and I’m seeing that I’m in the privileged position of being a path finder.

When I first began complaining of fatigue and issues with my muscles, western medicine was swearing up one side and down the other that neither chronic fatigue nor fibromyalgia existed so their diagnosis was that I should see a shrink.  Period.  Alternative practitioners began providing answers and naming the two major issues they found [fyi: when western medicine acknowledged fibromyalgia they also defined it so my symptoms didn’t seem to fit although alternative therapists have often felt my muscles and said I have it…].

According to my first serious therapeutic massage specialist every muscle in my body was wound up like a steel cord, all the muscles in every muscle group were glued together and the groups were also glued to my bones.  Eventually, after many of the larger and surface muscles were in much better shape and most unstuck from the bones, another practitioner saw and helped me realize the underlying intertwining and complex patterns remaining in the smaller and connective muscles.

I’ve been at it for three decades. Some practitioners have been dismissive of what has gone before because they felt it should have all been resolved quickly – and then they failed to resolve it.  I had to accept a long time ago that my muscles were in trouble at a level that was way beyond most practitioners and too complicated to resolve speedily.

It has taken many types of body work, inventing my own exercise program (combining the Psychophysical Method with yoga), emotional release work, past life work, ancestral healing work and more to reach a point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel pretty brightly.  The process has taken me deep within, led to multiple transformative experiences, taught me a huge amount about how we hold onto the past – not only our own but our past life and ancestral pasts as well – and changed the trajectory of my life dramatically and overall I would say for the better.

After a few decades of being told by one practitioner after another  they’ve never seen this, that, or the other thing as bad as my… psoas, neck, hip, whatever, I know most people don’t have physical issues of the same magnitude.  I also know from learning to move and to observe how others move, that millions of people walk around with tight muscle patterns interfering with their movement, their ability to process emotions, their capacity to feel energy, etc.  And I feel as though talking about my journey and process might help some of those people to open some channels and pathways for their own lives to receive more healing.  In fact, I hear every now and then from someone who says it has helped them take better care; what a great feeling.

As I survey this history, I feel this glow of blessing.  For once, instead of viewing it only as a burden I have unfairly had to bear, I can see the Universe entrusted me with an unusual but important journey and what a gift it is that I have been able to explore all these nuances and share my experience.  Which is not to say I won’t be back whining about my uncomfortable muscles or being kept up all night 😊  But more than ever I also feel gratitude for being sent on this journey of healing.

The Sense-sational Challenge: sensing the physical

Linda over at litebeing chronicles issued a challenge for this month, to write about our senses and the joy they bring.  I actually put up a post a few days ago on scent and realized too late I could have saved it for this.  In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about the senses and segueing into thinking about my healing journey and how it has helped me to “sense” into my body more minutely than ever before.

And I started thinking about how numb most Americans are to their bodies and how interesting it is that it takes a kind of “sensing” to be aware of your body and what it needs and yet we don’t have a “sense” for that added to the usual list of five, nor a word for it.  It has me thinking we SHOULD figure out a name to call it and then promote using it.

In fact, in the long slog of healing my muscles, one of the blessings has been the growing great awareness of my physical being.  As I hung around thinking about the senses during a week when I’d thrown off my wrist, arm and shoulder by overdoing it with holding a mouse and scrolling on my phone, realized how important it is to be able to tune in to our bodies.  Long ago I’d have been in pain for days without realizing what caused it or doing anything about it.

I quickly realized what I was doing that had thrown the muscles and ligaments in my wrist so far out of whack, then started doing my triggers of release work to ease out the pattern in the muscles and started wearing a wrist brace when I’m dong a bunch of research on the laptop or phone.  But the sense of my body is so much more than just registering what’s wrong.

As my healing as progressed, I can feel a tingle in my body when I eat something good for it.  I’m hyper aware of how much all the sleep deprivation of recent years has impacted my ability to function and how much it helps to sleep when I can.  Years of practicing the triggers of release and yoga have loosened my spine and hips so when I walk I’m aware of an undulating, flowing movement when I’m relaxed.  If I walk more stiffly, without that flow, I’ll soon have pain in my lower back.

Awareness has brought such a heightened sense of my physical being and the importance of taking care of it.  I’m having trouble finding the words to describe how much difference it has made to keep growing my awareness of my body and how it feels and what helps it, etc.  Sensing into my body, noting anything that seems sore or out of balance, etc. has become a regular part of my life.

Healing my body has been so tied to healing my emotional issues and to opening my connection to my divine being, I wish I could convey to people how much it would change their lives to know their bodies, to “feel” their bodies and to keep them in good health.

So I think we should figure out a word for the “sense” of our own bodies.  Something conveying an ability to tune in and “know” what’s going on just as clearly as we “see”, “hear”, “feel”, “smell” or “taste” and identify  aspects of our world and our lives by using them.

Next challenge post will be here.