Reflections on the Sacred Emptiness

This blog is inspired by the sacred emptiness that most often is the mental and emotional space we enter when letting go of patterns, attachments, identifications, and addictions.

Ego wants the immediate gold star or the metaphorical cookie whenever we do something we feel awards us. A feel good moment. Satiation. A happy arrival into a never ending sunset. These are expectations of ego when we do the healing work of letting go of what is not serving our health, thinking if we have the courage to let go, right on the other side is an arrival into fulfillment.

But the fulfillment of letting go takes time because you are reversing the flow from getting love outside of self to feeling love within self. Building a secure attachment with self is a learning process…

The reward for letting go of patterns, attachments, identifications and addiction takes time to feel in an embodied way.

Suffering initiates ego into the dark night of the soul or the process of letting go of what is not healthy for self. We are used to suffering and have become familiar with low self esteem, shaky self worth, self doubt, unhealthy relationships, addictions, and all of the patterns of thinking and behaving that support a comfort zone of pain.

Suffering only initiates you into the dark night of the soul when you are ready to face the new an unfamiliar suffering of letting go. Suffering that comes from letting go is temporary and necessary, unlike the chronic and familiar suffering of a painful comfort zone.

The familiar comfort zone of pain is a neural pathway in the brain paved over the years by patterns of thinking and behaving that form from attaching to a person or thing outside of self because inside a wounded self feels lost, powerless, fearful, and insecure.

For instance, you may have a pattern of thinking that love is stronger and more valuable than logic which rationalizes the behavior of staying in a relationship that is logically very unhealthy for you. You are used to unhealthy attachment because you grew up with it in your family system. The neural pathway has been paved in your brain to accept the current unhealthy union because your inner child ego developed self worth wounds early on and knows nothing else. Your adult ego identifies with a compromised sense of self worth either consciously or unconsciously.

You do not realize staying in the unhealthy union is a continual and often addictive attempt to get mom and dad’s love and attention on an unconscious level. The inner child in the shadow is operating through the adult ego by projecting onto the person the role of being your care taker or savior in some way. You do not realize you either play a victim role or blame self and glorify the other, when neither are true. The truth is that you need to let go of the unhealthy person, heal your wounds, and create a secure attachment with self. You need to be your own savior and heal yourself.

Addiction forms when the person becomes your everything and you can no longer live without them. This is when the brain chemistry relies on the external person or object to literally keep self afloat. Be it a person, food, drug, alcohol, shopping, working, you name the thing; when wounds are not healed and the sense of self is insecure, the external world holds all the power and we get hooked on it in one way or another.

Readiness to heal and let go is key.

When you are not ready, you are not ready. Our patterns, attachments, identity, and addictions serve the ego by helping us stay afloat, feel valued, safe, secure, and loved…until we are ready to let go.

Pushing before readiness might lead to a mental breakdown, too much fear at once, crisis that cannot be overcome. Suffering is our initiation into the dark night of letting go but suffering in just the right amount is key. Too much suffering and you won’t heal.

The timing is the timing. Patience and love for every stage is needed.

When you are ready you let go it may feel empowering or you may have to force it mentally and enter the grief despite your fighting heart and instinct telling you to hold on. Usually it is the latter.

Letting go and entering into the dark night means the ego is not going to receive the gold star or the metaphorical cookie. Letting go means entering the emptiness.

You may first may go into withdrawals, kicking and screaming your way through. During this stage of the dark night you might try to talk yourself out of letting go and you might succeed and hop back into the safe zone of the familiar pain.

If you make it past the withdrawal, kicking, and screaming stage you enter the stage of the sacred emptiness.

In the sacred emptiness there is nothing to replace the security of that well-worn neural pathway. Even though it’s a pathway of pain and self worth wounds, you knew what to expect and you were used to the crumbs and the anxiety. You did not have to try and risk failing or risk the vulnerability of succeeding which can feel very exposing.

There is nothing to soothe the ego in the sacred emptiness other than….

the sacred emptiness itself….

In the sacred emptiness you may find comfort in the nothingness if you can allow yourself to not resist the nothingness by trying to get that dopamine hit from the outside world, person, pattern or thing that feels like love (but isn’t). You sense of security that comes from familiarity will be gone so you must also not resist feeling scared.

If you can allow yourself to feel scared and empty without resistance to those feelings you can discover a sense of comfort and inner quiet as you traverse through this stage which may take days, weeks, months and maybe even a year.

Stop trying to make anything happen in the external world to try to get the cookie or sense of security and instead find a reliable and self soothing routine to support the emptiness stage.

Maybe you need more solitude, more sleep, going to bed and waking up early, exercising more, eating healthier, taking life more slowly, getting out into nature, coloring or knitting or some form of soothing creative outlet…watching Netflix may help or reading books and allowing yourself healthy escape in the stories of others…or maybe sweating, running, dancing and having a more fiery and yang type of practice is your balance.

Find that balance within self  by rooting into a routine that becomes the foundational structure to build a new healthy sense of self, heal the wounds, awaken the soul, and fully shut down the old neural pathway.

If you can allow yourself to surrender into the emptiness and into a routine, slow yourself down, and move through the scary unknown….you will enter the next stage of the dark night.

Here, you may still be in the emptiness but also be tested and need to say no to the old pattern showing up again. If this is the case, do not take it personally. It takes a certain amount of experiences for a new neural pathway to become paved and it only becomes paved through experience. Each time you say no to the unhealthy pattern, you pave the new healthy pathway. It’s science You are not being punished.

Surrender is the key to moving through the emptiness stage whether you are being tested or laying low like a seed in the dark soil. Initiation is surrender.

The suffering of the emptiness stage may show up as needing to say no to the familiar pattern rising up again. If this is the case, say no as quickly as you can and if you mess up, it’s ok. Healing happens in a spiral not a line. Fall and get up again knowing every human being grows through making mistakes.

Suffering in the emptiness stage may also show up as feeling perpetually insecure, bored, doubtful, stagnant, confused, disoriented, and lonely. Know that these feelings are natural and do not take them personally. Allow these feelings to express as you would allow a child to express their feelings without judgement or making a big deal out of them. This will allow the feelings to leave the body.

Surrendering to a higher power is what the Anonymous (AA, NA, OA, etc) philosophy teaches and it is a real quality that provided real results. The transpersonal aspect of life is larger than self and requires no spiritual belief or experience. Call the transpersonal anything that feels right for you, the Collective Unconscious, Nature, Life, Consciousness, God, Goddess, Spirit, Source, Prime Creator, Oneness, The Infinite, Jesus, Isis, Odin, Lakshmi, Universe, Ancestors, Angels, Allies, Archetypes…it does not matter…when you call out to the transpersonal you invoke help from the great mystery and from love.

You do not have to do this work alone and truly, you are never alone. The sacred emptiness is here to serve your liberation and initiate the ego into becoming the true self securely attached and connected to your true source of power within.

 

 

 

Reflection on Having a Mental Paradigm Shift

I have to force myself to blog this morning and I share this because it has to do with the topic at hand. Having a mental paradigm shift stems from being able to follow discipline when the feelings strongly wish to stray from the practice.

The practice is the actual root. Mediation is key. Yoga can be meditation. Chanting can be meditation. Meditation is watching the thoughts pass by while focusing inward and on breath or the mantra. With yoga, the focus is on linking breath and movement while you watch the thoughts.

The practice builds your inner witness (your soul) so you may watch thoughts but not identify with them.

Most people identity with their thoughts and feelings. You think you are your thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and you believe the stories you tell yourself about yourself, life, and others. Yet these stories are only stories.

Same goes with your feelings. You are not the sorrow, despair, joy, inspiration, frustration, anger, rage, loneliness, (on and on) that passes through you in waves.

When you identify too much with your thoughts and feelings you wind up suffering.

The more you find yourself in stillness, breath, and just being, the more peace, balance, and letting go results.

You don’t need stories to define you although you still create them because as humans we are wired to make meaning out of life. You don’t need your feelings to define you although you still acknowledge and express them so that they leave the body. Through the practice, thoughts and feelings are given their right place within the land of self.

This skill of experiencing self as being develops through consistent practice. It is not magic or miracle.

When you put in the dedication and time to meditate most days or every day, you build the skill of self as being. This is where your true source of power is discovered and cannot be taken away no matter what happens to you in the external world, from slight aversion to major trauma.

The true source of power found in being naturally radiates empowerment, contentment, balance, and peace within.

As you build this skill you detach more and more from your thoughts and feelings and this is the prerequisite to being able to make a mental paradigm shift.

What do I mean by making a mental paradigm shift? Let’s say you believe in following the heart no matter what and you keep winding up in toxic relationships, or you believe that feelings are not to be trusted and always find it hard to connect with others, or you strongly believe all men are bad or all women are crazy and you keep attracting the same unhealthy relationship to project your belief onto to prove yourself right (insert your mental paradigm here). I am using only relationship examples but this could be any area of life.

Your mental paradigm is a meta-program that filters all of your thoughts into its main stance. Strong mental paradigm stances that have no room for suppleness, change, growth, or flexibility are usually put in place to protect the ego from being wounded…again. They are purposeful and were put in place to help you but eventually they become a source of suffering.

We all have a protector within us. The protector is the aspect of self that tries to protect us from pain.

Your protector may be sarcastic, flippant, accusatory, wanting to build a case, avoidant, controlling, manipulative, narcissistic, masochist, shy, show-offy, on and on…basically the protector creates the defense mechanisms we unconsciously use to keep us safe and lurking in our familiar haunts that mirror the childhood family system in some way.

Although we long for more connection, secure attachment, and freedom to be the true self, familiarity is hard to break. Most of us find comfort in the familiar pain we know from youth and we tend to unconsciously wade in it rather than risk the vulnerability required to open up to more of what we truly desire on a soul level.

The protector makes sure the vulnerable child deeper inside does not get slam dunked into pain and disappointment again. This means we don’t risk vulnerability and instead we wade in the familiar comfort that is painful but manageable.

Some protectors think they are content but rely on addiction to feed them a false sense of joy. Some protectors are self loathing and rely on feeling bad about self to avoid taking risks. Some protectors rely on being right and good and never doing wrong. Some protectors are critical and judgmental and live on high horses. Protectors project a strong mental paradigm about self, other, and life itself.

The stories that the protector projects are wide in variety but you always know it’s the protector’s mental paradigm when the stance cannot be budged, is narrow in focus, comes out unconsciously (without thinking) or uses some technique of blame, hate, minimizing or negatively perceiving self or other in a black and white fashion.

These protectors are born very young and reflect a mentally immature mind. When we were young these defense mechanism stories were the best we could come up with and allowed us to survive or cope with being a self in the family system. Even privileged children who do not endure trauma may be raised with avoidant parents, surrounded by functional addiction, not receive the attunement or structure needed to develop a healthy ego capable of making healthy choices and traversing through painful experiences.

At a certain point in the healing process, it is time for the protector to stand down and allow vulnerability to express because the protector creates suffering on repeat.

The protector’s story usually makes a hard line between victim (self) and perpetrator (the other) or the reverse of this where self is bad and other is glorified. I am not speaking of actual crimes and violence when there really is a perpetrator and victim. I am speaking of the messy relational field where we come into each moment carrying the hurting inner child wrapped inside the protector who will go to any lengths to make sure the child is not hurt again.

To let the protector stand down and to be vulnerable becomes much easier when we build the inner witness and no longer need to identity with our thoughts and feelings as strongly. There is a detachment that develops. This detachment doesn’t take away from the passion of living, it does not stop thoughts or feelings…it simply creates space so we can breathe and access our true source of power within.

When we can access and feel our true power, self love, spirit, nature, emptiness, whatever you want to call it depending on your temperament and belief….we can let go of the mental paradigm that is causing us suffering, we can allow the protector to stand down, we can allow our vulnerable self to show.

The mental paradigms that create suffering are not who you are and they do not have to rule your life. Yet to release them you must become somewhat comfortable or at least willing to feel and share your vulnerable self without it causing you to crumble to pieces when another causes hurt. The process of becoming somewhat comfortable and willing is different for each person. Trauma may make it much more complex and attachment wounds can be just as difficult.

Temperament has a lot to do with the process too. Nature and nurture are always at play. Patience is needed. Love is needed to not judge the spiral of progress that may look like two steps forward and one step back on the regular.

Human beings are designed to endure pain and we are also designed to be vulnerable.

Most of us are not present. Our wounds and insecurities live with us from the past, alive and sizzling in the heart and mind. Many of us were not safe as children. Many of us could not be vulnerable as children without being dismissed, avoided, scolded, controlled, or abused. This is why we cling to the hard nosed stories that the protectors create to make sure that the little person inside does not risk danger again.

The healing work to integrate the inner child, have the protector stand down, and develop a strong inner witness is hard work but brings potent results.

Meditation is part of healing and so is therapy or some kind of process work. You can process with healers of all kinds to help you move energy and understand your inner landscape. The point  I want to make is that there needs to be some form of processing of the thoughts and feelings, past and present.

The key is to balance not identifying with the thoughts and feelings with processing the thoughts and feelings, so that we heal from a holistic perspective. Meditation, energy work, talk therapy, depth work, using crystals, herbs, dream work, shamanic healing….whatever you are called to do is what works best.

Having a mental paradigm shift may also happen by miracle. Miracles are real. I have experienced them myself and witnessed others suddenly change. In an instant their suicide ideation is gone, their cigarette addiction is gone, their mind suddenly grasps a new paradigm just like that, a story of betrayal vanishes, a feeling and story of attachment to another turns on or shuts off…and we shift in an instant. We cannot rely on miracles but they happen.

Best to put in the daily effort to keep the self supple, growing, healing, and expanding.

Hard work is a part of life. Paradoxically, putting effort forth each day to open the mind, integrate the psyche, heal the self, and grow as a soul will make life easier and more loving and make you more present. It is not the experience itself that does or does not create suffering, it is how we digest and interpret the experience. We are the meaning makers.

How to Connect with Loved Ones in the Spirit World

This blog is inspired by the death of my mother. We all go through the journey of saying goodby to our mother or a dear loved one when they pass on.

Per usual, I disclaim this blog by prefacing that I will write it as if it is truth. It is my truth. Maybe it is your truth too. If not, no worries, mate. Carry on. There are many aspects of grief, death and dying to explore. This blog will be about making contact with loved ones on the other side.

On a side note I would like to mention that as I type these words I am bathed in my mother’s favorite perfume because I bought it yesterday when I spotted it at the drugstore. It was the last box of L’air du Temps left. Means “The air of time. ” How appropriate on a metaphorical level. Wearing her scent brings me comfort and also helps me to feel her soul in my soul.

When you die your soul travels to the other side of the veil. We can have no literal concept of the other side so we must allow the imagination and intuition to give us pictures and concepts that are a metaphorical version to help us understand as best we can. The key is to feel the other side and this is done through creative visualizing and feeling the intuition.

Imagination is not an empty thing that is pure make believe. There is a make believe element but imagination is how we communicate with the layers of existence undetectable through the five senses.

Intuition is the feeling of knowing we all have and the other main faculty that helps us access what cannot be detected by the empirical senses.

It is what is is. I don’t want to convince you of my truth. There are many layers of consciousness beyond the five senses. To claim the five human senses are the only detectors of the vastness of existence is very limiting though you may still not believe or feel what I am sharing as the truth. I honor the differences.

This blog is for those who wish to understand and contact their loved ones on the other side and who resonate with these words. Trust yourself.

Souls do different things when they pass on. Existence is vast and not a factory where every soul goes through the exact same process. Most earth bound humans, upon death, do spend time resting (especially if the death was sudden, severe, or the life before death very trying) and then they have a period of life review. Read “Journey of Souls” to delve deeper into this process.

The rest and life review part of the journey helps the soul metabolize all that happened in the lifetime, without the limitations of the human suit.

The human body is a suit of emotional heaviness and density. All stories we tell about our life and all feelings live in the body not the soul. Betrayal, abandonment, depression, despair, rage, suffering,  fear, hatred, resentment (etc etc) are all based on attachment to what is right and wrong, painful and pleasurable, and these dichotomies and attachments do not exist in the spirit world.

The spirit world soul tells a different tale and knows that earth is a school to learn how to love as a separate being and work out the karma that builds up as a result of being an individual body.

Karma is the emotional residue we collect through lifetimes when we don’t let go, forgive, accept and free the soul of the stories and feelings that attach to it from the human experience.

On earth the soul takes on a body and is able to play with being separate, able to cause hurt and being hurt by other separate individuals. Same goes with causing joy, pleasure, and every emotional experience. This is a big deal because once the soul enters the spirit world it is no longer an individual.

I mean, it is to a certain extent. The soul holds on the art project of being a singular being for growth and experience’s sake but the soul experiences true connectedness to all of life from being an aspect of a soul group all the way to being an aspect of oneness.

The more the soul ascends the more collective it becomes, all the way until it returns to oneness. As the soul descends, it takes on the costume of being one individual to experience, learn, grow, and play.

Both ascension and descension of the soul are equal in the evolution of the soul because the soul is an aspect of oneness descending to play the part of being embodied to evolve through the journey back to itself as oneness. Forever this goes on like the infinity symbol demonstrates.

Once we die on earth we lose our human suit, rest, review our life and see what’s next.

Some souls have a choice about what is next and others are sucked back in to the next life with no choice. The ability to choose has everything to do with how conscious the soul becomes in a lifetime.

The more conscious and aware you become during your lifetime on earth, the more you have the empowerment of choice to create your destiny. You can say no to what comes your way or not allow what hurts you to take all your power and you can use your inner source of power to create your life as best you can in the circumstances you are given. Those with little awareness live by the whims and patterns of external fate.

This process is the same when the body dies and the soul travels to the other side of the veil.

The more self awareness, love, and letting go we achieve in a lifetime, the more choice we have on the other side. Those who live unconsciously die unconsciously and those who live consciously die consciously.

Nature is being nature here as life never truly dies but always transforms and changes based upon the living experience.

There is no static place called heaven or hell that you go to forever based upon the judgement of an external god. That is a story of the mind. If you believe in that myth that is your right and this blog is not for you.

Once the soul has rested and reviewed they either choose what they will do next or they are magnetized into the next lifetime by the power of their attachments, to work out their karma.

But this process is not linear. Linear time does not exist in the spirit world. We cannot literally conceptualize the vastness of the other side of the veil. A soul can exist in the spirit world and reincarnate at the same time. A soul may choose to become a spirit guide and stick around the earth plane while also reincarnating. A soul may have several individual bodies on the earth plane and not all of them human. The variety is endless.

Communication with a soul on the other side is almost always possible if the soul is not in a deep sleep or has left this universe completely.

The deceased soul may be trying to reach you too.

A soul on the spirit plane may have a hard time contacting a soul embodied on earth because we create energetic blocks with our thoughts and feelings.

If you are still in the stage of grief where self pity, depression, anger, bartering, feeling abandoned or betrayed are still active stories and feelings, it will be hard for the soul to make contact. These dense feelings and stories are like a thick wall for the soul on the other side. This is not always the case because anything is possible and no judgement for being in whatever stage of grief you are in for however long you are in it.

Acceptance is a process of grief with its own sense of timing and all of our feelings are valid.

Souls on the other side often make contact through scent, electronics, and dreams.

We used to get the strong scent of cigarette smoke when Grandma would visit. Toward the end of my mom’s human life we smelled it a lot. My mother expressed fearing Grandma was coming to escort her into death (even though she was also ready to go).

Death is such a huge transformation from the human perspective because we’ve lost our memory of the connectedness and infinite continuation of soul life. This makes letting go really hard and scary for both the dying and the living.

Electronics may reveal a visit from a loved one. My father has received calls twice on his house phone from his own cell phone. He still has my mother’s cell phone active on his plan. This could very likely be a visit from his wife. I know it is a visit. But usually we doubt because we are conditioned to need more proof externally to tell us what is really occurring.

Dreams may be easier to trust if the soul visits clear and strong but often the dreams don’t come or are strange and muddled. It all depends on the deceased soul’s ability to enter a dream as well as living dreamer’s openness. Both souls still have a relationship ongoing where communicating is a skill to learn.

We are not conditioned in culture to understand the continuation of the soul as a natural process of existence because religious dogma has turned the cycles of nature (nature is spirit) into a mental spiritual belief system. Science as the polar opposite narrow extreme has discredited life beyond the five senses because it cannot be measured empirically.

Truth cannot go away because belief systems try to sway the human mind away from it.

To contact a loved one on the other side you want to train yourself.

The first step is learning how to still the body, detach self from the thoughts and feelings, and begin to go within to develop the intuition and imagination.

This needs to be a practice. Just hoping you suddenly can be skilled at contacting the other side is the same as expecting to lift a fifty pound dumb bell when you have never lifted weights in your life and your arms are weak. Skill is the key, not how evolved or awake you are.

To develop the intuition and imagination it would be a good beginning to meditate for five minutes twice a day and also to spend time taking journeys within. The meditation will develop your ability to detach from thoughts and feelings so you can let go and travel. Taking regular journeys within will build your concentration, focus and imagination. This is how to meet your loved one.

You also need to learn to still the body. This prerequisite may require yoga, stretching or maybe all it takes is setting time aside to do nothing but sit and stare out the window. Don’t do, just be.

Be. Meditate. Take journeys. Be consistent about these three aspects. Practice regularly. It does not need to be hours. Five minutes of meditating. Ten minutes to take a journey. Half hour to sit and be, doing nothing.

Journeying to the other side of the veil has a basic structure to it. First, you relax the body completely by focusing on breath and scanning all your body parts, consciously relaxing each part.

Once relaxed, visualize yourself at the bottom of a staircase and walk up the steps slowly, noticing what the steps to the other side of the veil or upper world look like, feel like, smell like and any other details. Trust what your imagination shows you.

When you arrive at the top you will find yourself in the upper world sanctuary that appears before you. Trust what you see. This is a big aspect to learning how to journey. Trust what you see without question. After you have taken a few minutes to explore your upper world sanctuary, paying close attention to all you see, touch, smell, taste, and feel….call the loved in to enter.

They will appear. If they do not appear, they are resting or busy and the time is not right. If they do appear, allow the connection, dialogue or whatever is meant to happen….happen.

If you are not able to focus enough to journey, work on stilling the body and meditating. You will get there.

After six months of grieving my mother, I came to a deeper acceptance of her death and of my dad’s fate to be left alone. I was ready to journey and begin a regular practice.

In my imagination she shows me an image of her that is easy for me to connect with. Souls will appear how it is best for you to see them.

In my first vision, she let me know she is done with her life review and that she exploring much more of the universe than she ever knew existed. When I asked her about the details of my life she gave me a big message. She said each lifetime is so short in the scope of the vastness of the soul, that it truly does not matter if we get what we want, find success, fail, lose, or never get what we want and suffer as a result. She said that the point of each life is the experience itself and not how this or that it was (good or bad, mistake or success, etc).

Vivian was filled with bliss and joy as she shared this message with me. I felt my mother’s bliss palpably and I was filled with joy too. I received her message on a feeling level that changed me instantly, freeing me of some of my karma and helping me see the fear I was carrying. Powerful!

I share a bit of my own tale to model what this process looks like and know that I am very skilled at connecting with the other side and I have always had a natural inclination that’s made it easier. Don’t compare yourself.

If you practice, you will get more tuned in at the pace that is right for you. I long to be at the level of a practiced medium but it’s not my time for that yet and I trust the timing. The pace is important and your loved ones are available for you no matter what your skill level.

In another vision my mom said she has chosen to become a spirit guide. She is very busy learning and exploring as a result and she shared that we need to call to her if we want a visit from her. Mom said she will visit whenever we call. I was comforted and I felt immense happiness for her liberation.

I make journeying to visit my mom a regular ending to my yoga/mediation practice most mornings now. Repetition increases lucidity and strength. I also enjoy getting the tea on what she is up to.

In the last journey we shared almost no words. It was a visually intense and rich experience. My mother opened her mouth and thousands of turquoise butterflies came flying out. I was enthralled and found I could receive the message better through the image than with words.

Don’t want to share any more from my journeys as it is too personal but I want to demonstrate how journeys can shift from day to day. Anything is possible in a journey.

You may meet other loved ones or spirit guides. You may meet yourself on the other side! Remember, time is not linear over there so as we live in the body on earth we also live on the other side. It’s a trip for the logical mind to grasp which is why we need visuals and journeying to truly connect.

Vanquishing doubt and building the skills of trust, body stillness, focused imagination, detachment from the thoughts and feelings is the process. It may also be a process to learn how to play and be the magical child when journeying.

You can connect with your loved ones on the other side of the veil through intention, dedication, and practice if you so desire. It is your birthright.

 

 

The Defeat Story and the Transcending True Self

The story of defeat we all can relate to in different areas of life and with different levels of intensity and duration.

The term “dark night of the soul” may speak to a time in life, or a lifetime for some, where loss leads the soul on a journey of healing, redemption and transformation. We all experience the dark night when a loved one dies or we lose something precious such as our health, a job, home, reputation, partner or any fundamental experience that gives our animal natures a sense of security and satisfaction. For some, not having the fundamental experience is a life long karma. Being chronically single or in unsatisfying relationships. Being chronically impoverished or chronically ill physically, mentally, or both.

Again, the duration and intensity is different for each of us and we all can relate to the story of defeat that comes with loss or the never having. This story of defeat is groomed by culture, family of origin, and the soul’s karmic journey.

American culture places value on youth, physical beauty and health, wealth and financial independence, and being the best or number one-getting that attention. These are only a few values out of many that are highlighted while the other values are suppressed into the shadow.

Systemic cultural oppression adds to the stew pot of creating the juiciest of defeat stories. You are not valued the same way in our culture if you are a person of color, a female, in the LGBTQIA community, over the age of 40, disabled, physically or mentally challenged in any way, low in income, not American, or a child. Family of origin and our upbringing also grooms the character and contains all of the ancestral wounds, patterns, and illnesses born of an oppressive cultural narrative that lacks love, care, depth, awareness, and compassion. The soul also carries defeat stories through the lifetimes.

To be quite honest, with all of the restrictions we face, anyone who is free of the story of defeat is a living miracle! And those who claim to be may have the lofty ego compensating an insecure self hiding in the recesses of the shadow. These types project outwardly onto others as the problem. But that’s another topic.

Back to the defeat story. It is a story made by the mind based upon the felt experience of being human. If you get rejected over and over it hurts the heart and the mind will create a story such as, “I am unlovable” or “people are terrible.” For those who meet the cultural standards for what is of value, they may have all the things, the home, partner, thin body, good health, accolade, success yet still feel unworthy and defeated. Or they may suddenly get ill or lose somebody precious and face the defeat story later in life. Realistically, if the ego does not experience the defeat story it may be suppressing childhood trauma or pain and use the cultural value system unconsciously as a way to feel victorious and worthy.

On the surface our karmas look very different but get beneath the surface and we are all in the same stew pot of being human in a sick world, with most of us having endured some level and at different levels; abuse, poverty, oppression, addiction, being rejected, not receiving the proper love and care we needed as kids, and ancestral trauma. As a result, we do not know how to connect to the true self and express our uniqueness, connect with the divine or nature, connect to our philosophy of life, connect to our value system, our dreams and our true self worth.

The ego tries to compensate for defeat by achieving victory. Victory good. Defeat bad. Attention good. Lack of attention bad. Money good. Lack of money bad. Partner good. Single bad. Successful career good. Low paying job bad. Independent good. Dependent bad. Pretty good. Ugly bad. On and on.

This can also be translated into those seeking healing. Enlightenment good. Not enlightened bad. Faith good. Unfaithful bad. Love good. Hate bad. You can plug in the struggle of the soul to be whole into any value paradigm, be it the mainstream American value system or the offshoots such as the New Age, Mindfulness, Yoga, Witchy or whatever subcategory rooted in healing and wholeness of the individual. The value categories are many but all touch upon the fundamentals of relationships, security, happiness, morality, and self worth.

It is important to discern between when your ego is trying to achieve victory over defeat versus when you are authentically connected to and acting from your true self. It is also important to not judge the ego for wanting victory. We don’t judge the cute little doggie for begging for food no matter how much they won’t stop whining. The ego is a cute little doggie that can develop into a mature ego which would be the true self expressed in the world. But the ego is never something to punish, see as bad, or judge. Our egos need our love.

Having discernment between what is true self and what you have been groomed to value is a process. Transcending the victory/defeat ping pong game is also a process. We have to make a new recipe in the stew pot of the inner self and we also have to survive. Disclaimer: many don’t have the luxury to express the true self through their work and lifestyle, which is unfortunate and unfair. But everyone has the ability to transcend the victory/defeat story through connecting to the true self and being who we truly are designed to be, in character.

The true self can be felt and known even in the most grave of human experiences. But it’s not easy. Nor is it easy to make true self the inner compass, anchor, and love generator which is what is needed to transcend the victory/defeat narrative that enslaves the ego.

This blog is not a “how to” in “ten easy steps” blog. I am not about that mentality. But there are methods to help and results are real. The methods I use are fourfold which coincide with the four sacred directions.

North is the physical world and here we can do the work of differentiating self from family and ancestral wounds, we can heal trauma in the body, and we can yoke mind and body through a disciplined practice which is necessary for the true self to marry and mature the ego. The North speaks to somatic healing, family systems and ancestral healing through telling the stories of the past and understanding the patterns. To do this we need to release trauma and anxiety from the body so it may support this investigation that makes self a pioneer seeking to manifest true self destiny. Healing in the north is connected to earth and hence process oriented, slow, pragmatic, and linear.

East is the mind and here we can find the mindfulness practice that allows us to be witness to the story of defeat versus buying what it is selling. When we can watch the mental stories and the mind blah blah blahing while knowing true self is not the thoughts, we free ego from being enslaved to the story of defeat. This gives space for true self to rise up from the shadow and synthesize with the ego. No need to understand how this works. If you learn to watch your thoughts but not believe in them and if you learn how to be the witness to your mind but not identify with mind as self, the true self will rise, synthesize and become ego. The healing of the east is connected to the air, seeing the big picture like a wise eagle up in the sky.

The south is the will. Here we can heal through intention, conviction, and courage. Most of our wills are reactive to what others think of us and how the world treats us. The will is what motivates us. When we are groomed to be reactive to the outside world as the thermometer of how valuable and good we are, the will acts like a ping pong ball always bouncing around based upon circumstance and other’s opinions of self. In the south we learn how to make the will our center. Our true worth stems from the will which is a sturdy yet supple knowing within self and not a temporary emotional reaction. Learning how to live intentionally with every aspect of life builds the will. Making ritual a daily hygiene practice strengthens the will. Healing the will through releasing guilt, shame and other toxic stories connects to the work of the other directions. In the south the healing is one of purification through fire which is using courage, conviction and physical expression to burn away the old.

The west is the heart. Here we heal through connection. The attachment wounds live here and are healed here. In the west we also dive into the deep sea of the psyche to discover and awaken the true self, archetypes, wounds, gifts and all aspects hidden from ego that are asking for acknowledgment. The west is where psychological depth work is helpful to integrate the aspects of self through differentiating them. Uncovering, acknowledging, and expressing all that wants out from the unconscious happens here. This is the direction of the heart. Honoring feelings. Going with the flow of inner wisdom. Being in relationship of all kinds, romantic, therapist, healer, friend, mother, father, sibling, pet, teacher, co-worker, etc. Through being in relationship with others outside the self and aspects within the self, we heal. The heart is purified in the west which is connected to water. Water cleanses and renews. Forgiveness, acceptance, letting go and surrender all happen in the west.

This is how I see it and there are many ways to see it. In my work with clients and on myself I use this basic framework as I learn new skills along the path. I am walking it with you and beside you. Not ahead or behind. Not better or worse. There is no victory to gain over defeat. The story is a creative quest of the soul seeking sovereignty. Say that ten times fast.