The start of the journey:
Waking up at 4 am to start our shift working in the racehorse stables, I slid myself from the bed to the front seat of our van. Changing into crusty jeans, I grumpily winged at my, unknown to me then, future husband for changing the direction of the flashlight while searching for my socks. Rubbing my eyes from sleep, I stuffed my face with dry cereal, counting each minute before we would leave the comfort of our 2 meter square living quarters.
It wasn’t the worst job. I got to be with horses everyday. To care for them, bathe them, groom them and even spend several stolen moments with warm glances and an endless supply of carrot treats.
However, there was one factor that was undeniably… terrible. The people I worked with. Western Sydney is a very strange place that I would never recommend to any traveler. Full of gambling, drinking, rude, powerless people grasping for recognition as their main source of nourishment.
We sat at a lunch table in a deli where we often got Vietnamese sandwiches or meat pies during our noon day break. Exhausted and depleted after two months of self committed slavery, I searched on my computer for the antidote to my current infliction. Now that I have bought my freedom, what did I want to do with it?…. I searched for yoga classes, which turned into yoga courses, which led me to my future endeavor. Yes, I said to myself, I will go to Thailand and do a yoga immersion. That sounds perfect.
I was not new to downward-dog. I had done yoga as a child and had my own practice starting at 16 to heal my scoliosis. I always felt a great sense of peace after yoga. And my body was screaming for some nurturing self care. Yet, I also had the fiery spirit of youth. So I was willing to challenge myself and push my limits. Working 10 hour days, one might have sought rest to recover. Rather I transplanted myself from 10 hours a day of demeaning labor to 10 hours a day of self discovery through yoga.
I thought I knew what yoga was. At the ripe age of 25, I thought I knew a lot of things. Actually, I knew nothing about anything.
I learned more about life, taking a break from it, than I had learned in 25 years of living it. I learned metaphysical principles. I learned about different qualities of energy and states of consciousness. I learned that everything my soul was secretly whispering was true and the science making it evident.
Yoga is the greatest gift to humanity, of that I am sure. So, on the last day of my month-long personal transformation, I was ripe to hear this… A lecture on Why Teach Yoga.
Those two hours changed the entire course of my life.
From having no direction to knowing my ultimate goal in life.
My boyfriend and I left Thailand with the conviction of gathering enough money to return for the Yoga Teachers Training.
What was said in those two hours that gave me such a strong conviction?
Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, Karma yoga is the spiritual practice of “selfless action performed for the benefit of others”.
With my new aspirations of progressing spiritually in this life, I realized, what better way to achieve my own goal, than to be in service to others on the path of finding themselves.
And so my course was set.
But I was still a very long way (and still am) from being the spiritual teacher I want to be.
Fast forward two years later . . .
I achieved the goal of becoming a yoga teacher and continuing my spiritual studies. Now was a pivotal moment of my life, my first silent meditation retreat.
What happened inside this retreat changed the way I related with myself and the world. I had always been looking, searching, seeking for love. Life had taught me through experiences that love was impermanent and unreliable. Ultimately, everyone in my life had failed me at some point.
And rather than learning to repair, I learned to despair.
I was constantly seeking love outside of myself. I found myself feeling most fulfilled in love relationships. It often touched the places I had felt untouched, unknown and unseen. Yet, I found myself cycling through love addictions. Relying externally for love to be given to me. This love was the most unstable of all, because it was dependent on my looks, my behavior, and worst of all our mutual attachments to one another.
It was during the time around the retreat that I was becoming aware of my own pattern. However, only slightly aware, because the discovery led to a self-protective entitlement of pushing the lover away. As if their love was the poison.
I could not fully distinguish the hull from the wheat.
So I sat in silence for the first time, for a long time. My entire life changed in an instant. A lesson that could only be learnt through the intimate experience of first person. A lesson you may hear a 1000 times, but the seed only sprouts when it’s time has come.
Like an egg fertilized in the sheaths of a womb, some things have no real meaning until you are face to face with the knowledge.
My time had come.
It was through the very same yearning for love that I found the real thing I had always been seeking. When I redirected the awareness inward, to the center of centers, my heart, my sacred heart, I found it. That infinite, eternal joy of existence. A love unconditioned and more real than the days of the week or the passing seconds on the clock.
I had always prayed to God outside of myself. Through correct guidance, I was able to find Him inside. An entire world of love in every color, shape, texture and flavor opened before me. My love addiction was transferred from the external form to the internal form.
And that addiction transmuted into a divine madness that healed me from the inside out.
My human nature was not as quickly transformed as my heart was.
In fact, I cycled and continue to cycle through the same delusions and confusions.
Back then, my mind was constantly working to place self-protection in overdrive. To push people who loved me away. Now, with my new experiences, my mind created an entitled victim narrative on those who loved me. They wanted me dependent, so they could have power over me. Now that I have my own power, I don’t need them. As if I was being used, when maybe, just maybe I was using them…
Fast forward another 2 years. . .
Eyes swollen with tears streaming down my face, I wagered with God.
This was one of the longest and hardest valleys of my life. I woke up daily in a state of both fear and despair. Why, why, why had it gotten this bad? I had been entertaining those false narratives with everyone in my life. No one was free from them. Those who loved me most were most vulnerable to be an offender, or in political correct terminology, an abuser!
These narratives were reaffirmed by the friends I kept, my therapist practicing unconditional positive regard, and at times, my overwhelmed and confused current love partner.
So there I was. Alone. Facing the battle of my own mind and emotions. An epic saga over the last few months brought me to my own personal dungeons. I found myself in negotiation with Jesus himself. Please Lord, I know you can, in just one instant, remove this burden from me. If you heal me, I promise to help others do the same.
It worked. Just like that the tears stopped. I felt relieved of the invisible stress that had plagued me. I walked outside and sat with my pet cow. We sat in peace. I breathed. I saw the sun, the grass and felt the wind. And from this I got the inspiration to create the Neuro-Resilience Toolkit to help those with complex trauma have an independent resource to self-soothe through their flashback episodes. It has helped thousands of people to heal from trauma.
Thank you, Jesus. But they don’t know that…
My chronic freeze states and childhood trauma was relieved by the Grace of Jesus himself. And believe me, I still had to do a lot of personal work to maintain it, but the difference was I believed I could and I did!
Even though this was the most challenging period of my life, it was a time of the greatest transformation. For my entire life I had been identified with victim consciousness. I had blamed my parents, my childhood and my society for the challenges in my own life, regardless of how many years had passed or if it was a present moment experience. I felt powerless in every situation. I envied other people and felt like life had dealt me a bad hand.
It was only through the isolation that Covid brought, and the determination of my love partner, that I was able to break through my all encompassing blindness. With little social interaction, increased proximity to my partner, and chaos in society, something in me broke.
At first it was a bad break, and then…
I was able to see above the water line. Glimpses of a new reality were becoming visible before me, yet I was not able to consistently perceive it. There came an overwhelming fear. I experience an intense dis-identification with all who I thought I was.
So much so that I didn’t even know how to behave or speak anymore. Everything I did felt weird and foreign. Everything I said felt as though another person was saying it. The words and behaviors did not match my internal experience of myself. I was in the process of a rebirth and did not understand what was happening to me.
Isolation from God and spiritual community was the cause of my suffering. I believed in my pain more than I believed in His love.
It is very easy to turn your back on God, we do it so many times in a day.
- Every time you are fearful and lack trust.
- Every time you blame or judge rather than understand and have compassion.
- Every time you chase a goal and get disheartened about the results.
- Every time you receive goodness and forget to give thanks.
- Every time you play the victim of your circumstance and refuse to rejoice and rest on God.
- Every time you try to make things happen, rather than have the patience to allow them to happen according to God’s will.
I hope my stories help you find solace and courage in your own life struggles. May you realize, like I did, no matter how alone you feel. You are never alone. No matter how ugly your ignorance has been, you will be forgiven if you ask. Building an intimate relationship with God is a treasure. Don’t forsake your blessings and turn your back on God’s love.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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