Clearing and Integrating Core Issues, A Personal Tale - Phase I

The Question

A few months ago I found myself ill for several weeks. As I was in the throes of that illness I stopped writing. Writers are supposed to write, that's what we do.

But when you're sick that's different, right? It's ok to not write when you're sick, right? When we’re sick we don’t concentrate so well, we don’t feel good, we often need extra rest. 

I needed and wanted extra rest, but I had other things that required my attention, things that I couldn’t put off. So not writing made perfect sense to me. It was the one thing I didn’t ‘need’ to do. I accepted my fate that I’d have to wait for awhile to begin writing again.

Not writing in my private journal and my own blog was easy, that was all under my control. I wasn’t happy to be essentially ignoring my blog and therefore my readers, but I comforted myself that it was my blog and therefore my choice.

But I had only recently been offered an opportunity to be a contributing editor to my favorite blog of them all, Golden Age of Gaia. What an honor it was (is!) to be offered such an opportunity! “Good people don’t squander such opportunities.” That was the thought I found cropping up frequently in my head. 

The longer I didn’t write the more often this thought occurred and the more insistent it became. I was supposed to be writing. It’s what I do. It’s what I committed to do. Publicly. On what I consider to be the most integral and informative site of its kind. Why wasn’t I doing it? 

The Coming of Guilt

So as my illness dragged on I began to feel more and more badly that I wasn’t living up to my commitment or my potential. I contacted Steve Beckow, the owner of the Golden Age of Gaia blog, to let him know I was sick and wouldn’t be contributing for awhile. 

Gem of a soul that he is, Steve was kind, considerate, understanding. As I expected he would be. I felt better. 

In hindsight, I felt better because what was really going on is that I was feeling guilty and I needed someone to tell me everything was ok; tell me that I wasn’t the bad person I was feeling like I was.

Compassionate guy that he is, and in his own way, Steve gave me the permission that I felt I needed. I honor him for providing me with that freedom. But as it turns out, this was only the curtain rising on a much deeper issue. 

The notion wasn’t lost on me that other people get sick and write anyway. But I could be ok with that; I assumed they must be superhuman and I always appreciated them for their persistence. “But they aren’t me.” That’s what I thought. That’s how I rationalized my behavior. Others get sick and would write anyway, but I don’t and that’s ok. And it is! but not for the reasons I was giving myself.

Time passed. A couple weeks turned into more weeks. I started feeling better physically. I started doing things that I wasn’t able to do when I was sick. 

But I didn’t start writing.

This fact began to weigh heavily upon me. I realized that I wasn’t profoundly sick anymore, just a little bit sick. A little bit of the illness hanging on still. More like an annoyance than an illness. No reason not to resume writing. No reason at all. 

And yet .. I didn’t.

I thought about things that I could write about. Those ideas had merit. I even wrote down the title of a few of them. But nothing changed.

I knew that I should be writing. Yet I didn’t.


We each have a talent - some have a plethora of them! - and all sources tell us what we already know: that we are in our element when we use those talents, share them with others. “What a waste” we’re told, if we have a talent and don’t use it, don’t create with it. That thought kept running through my head, “what a waste”

Guilt was back on my agenda and again I wrote to Steve, giving some excuse or another that made sense and felt quite legitimate to me at the time. As is his way, Steve again responded in kindness. My guilt was satiated. But not for long.

Other thoughts began taking up residence in my head. “I’m not being responsible”, “I’m being lazy”, “I’m not living up to my commitments”. As I thought all those thoughts, the guilt came back in spades. 

All Too Familiar

What I was starting to notice though, along with the guilt, is that these feelings were very familiar. 

I noticed that even though they are uncomfortable feelings, I’ve become comfortable with them. Does that make sense? Like an old coat that doesn’t fit right anymore but you keep wearing it because it’s familiar. You keep putting it on because you don’t really notice that it’s uncomfortable. You’re in the habit of putting it on, and so you do. 

The fact that the familiar old coat no longer fits doesn’t get your attention. It isn’t until the seams rip or you can no longer button yourself up against the cold that you begin to think about the coat at all. 

At that point you realize the coat is broken. This thought is followed by an interesting insight “You know what? This coat doesn't really fit me anymore. In fact hasn’t fit for some time. huh. I never really noticed that before.” At this point, appropriately enough, you replace the coat. It’s easy with a coat.

So here I am, through weeks of time thinking all these thoughts about what I should be doing and why, yet nothing changed. The thoughts were not motivating me. I still wasn’t writing.I failed to notice that this behavior, while uncomfortable, was very familiar. Like the old coat. I failed to notice that I was wearing a coat - a way of being - that no longer fit. 

What I did notice was another, similar, change in my behavior. Besides not writing, I wasn’t participating in the spiritual/metaphysical classes that I’d already paid for. 

Normally I throughly enjoy participating in my classes. These are leading edge human mastery classes. Very exciting stuff! I didn’t care. 

I didn’t care that I’d paid for classes and wasn’t participating in them; didn’t care that the material was exciting and I was missing it; didn’t care that my classmates were raving about their participation; didn’t care that this was a subject my life had been devoted to for the last decade, that my entire life leading up to this time on Earth had been in preparation for. I. Didn’t. Care.

This realization fed into another realization: That I wasn’t reading much.

Ok, that’s not entirely accurate. I wasn’t reading at all.

My typical day this last decade or so has seen me reading copiously of spiritual/metaphysical material, particularly that focused on ascension. It’s been an all-consuming interest of mine. Yet here I was, not reading the books or websites or blogs that I typically follow. 

Each day my inbox would become filled with exciting links sent from wonderful friends, lightworkers, and ascension teachers, material that would typically have sent me off on another journey of discovery and enlightenment. I was ignoring them all. “Meh, not interested” and into the Trash they would go, one message at a time. 

I tossed a few of the messages into a folder in case I wanted to read them later. I did this even though some part of me knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Finally I realized I’d been doing all this - or rather not doing much of anything - for weeks now, weeks after I was for all intent and purposes recovered from my illness. This was a time at which my life “should have been” back to business as usual. But it wasn't.


A Downward Spiral

Clearly something was going on. This was more than the ascension symptoms I’d just written about at length. Something was going on with me that I didn’t understand, didn’t like, and didn’t want to be participating in. 

But no matter how much I bemoaned and protested my state of being, it wasn’t going away. Nothing motivated me and nothing inspired me.

With this realization my thoughts became more insidious. 

“You should” is what I kept hearing in my head. "You should .. get off your butt and write something. You should .. stop letting illness and ennui stop you. You should .. choose empowerment. You should .. stop hiding and share yourself with others. You should .. use all those tools that would move you out of this. You’re studying *expletive* mastery, what kind of mastery is this?!” 

All manner of “should” thoughts inside my head telling me what to do. 

I knew I was stopped and I didn’t want to be stopped. 

But I was stopped. Something was stopping me. I was on a downward moving spiral and slipping further down every day.

Have you ever been in a downward spiral? I’m sure you have, it seems to be a universal human condition, descending on each of us at some point or another. A downward spiral is an unpleasant place to be. It’s an out-of-control feeling. Like the train of your life is speeding down the track headed for disaster and you don’t know how to stop it. 

I desperately wanted off that train. 

I really did know how to get off such a train, I have many tools. I know how to do deep breathing. I know how to get centered and grounded. I know how to be still and be in the Now. I know how to shift my perspective. I know how to choose thoughts that empower over thoughts that disempower. 

Interesting thing is that I didn’t do any of that. I didn’t use the tools that I have that could have pulled me out of this downward spiral. I stayed ‘stuck’ and some part of me seemed to enjoy being stuck. Seemed to want to be stuck.

In other words, on some level I seemed to want to be in this spiral. On some level I wanted to be the victim, the one who felt guilty for not doing what I felt I should be doing and finding all sorts of justification for it. I wanted to wallow in it, and was doing a right fine job of wallowing. 

As I realized that, I noticed that the thoughts in my head began to shift. 

What had previously been “You’re shirking your responsibility” shifted to “Who are you to tell people these things anyway?” “It doesn’t even matter if you don’t write, no one cares.” “All your life people haven’t understood your point of view, why bother?”

It worked like magic. No longer was I feeling bad or feeling guilty for not writing, now I was justified in not writing! It didn't matter! But I didn’t really believe in that justification, not really. It felt hollow.

War of the Selves

But even in its hollowness the feeling persisted. I was in the throes of an internal war of the selves and the battle raged on. More voices inside my head: “Well if you don’t write, what the heck are you doing to do?” and “Is that who you are, a quitter?” followed by admonitions like “Get a hold of yourself, just do it!”

That was the last straw. “omg, shut up!!” I commanded. “Stop telling me what to do!” Now get this: No one - not one single person in my external life - was telling me what to do, I was telling me what to do. Inside my head. Through the voices inside my head.

And then it hit me - this was one of a number of vasanas present in this experience. It wasn’t the victimhood. Victimhood is not who I am, I can get past victimhood. It wasn’t the guilt either. As strong a player as guilt can be, I can get past that too. 

This particular vasana was the part of me that didn’t want to be told what to do. Not by anyone, not even myself. 

This was the part of me that as child screamed silently “No I won’t clean my room. No I won’t do the dishes. No I won’t shovel disgusting dog poo out of the yard. No I won’t study physics. I hate physics!”

“No I won’t do my homework. It’s boring and monotonous and a complete waste of time. No I won’t stop having fun and come in to dinner, especially when I’m not even hungry. No I won’t eat disgusting mushy brussel sprouts no matter how good they are for me. No I won’t eat that awful liver no matter how many times you serve it to me and force me sit at the table ‘until you eat it.’”

“No I won’t sit down, shut up, and behave. NO NO NO!! Absolutely not! I won’t I won’t I won’t!” 

And yet I always did. 

Internally, as a child and well into adulthood, my head would scream things like “I won’t!” yet my mouth would say nothing. My body would often shake violently from so much withheld rage.

Externally I would smile and do exactly as I was told. 

Because I learned early on that doing what you’re told is how you get along. It’s how people think well of you. It’s how you make them happy. It’s how you stay out of trouble. And the primary rationale for me: It’s how you keep from being hurt. 

Oh yes, I learned my lessons well. I learned how to be a person who does what they’re told. 

It wasn’t all for naught. It’s how I came to be a good student, a good employee, a good parent, a good friend. But I learned how to do what’s expected of me at the expense of doing what I want. 

At least in my public life.

In my private life things were different. In my private life I became a person who does exactly as they please, even at the expense of what others consider to be the right way to live. At home, in my ‘private life’, I do exactly as I please and I make no bones about it. 

“Irresponsible. Independent to a fault” is what people who only see my private life say. “Responsible. Always willing to help” is what people who only see my public life say. Those who see both are .. confused.

Clarity Arrives; The Real Issue Is Identified

One body, two completely different lives. And I wonder why my body protests. Sickness isn’t the issue. Laziness isn’t the issue. Ennui isn’t the issue. The issue is much bigger. The issue - the vasana - is about control.

For as much of my life as I can recall I have felt controlled by my external public world, and I fought back the only way I felt I could, in my internal private world.

Since the technique of control worked so well on me, to me, I adopted it as how I would interact with the external world. My world became all about control, both controlling and being controlled. 

There’s not a lot of freedom inside a paradigm of control, and freedom is very important to me. Quite the dilemma. I have struggled inside that dilemma for years. Many many years.

In my rational mind I know that control is not the way to happiness. Control is also not under the purview of sovereignty, and I whole-heartedly believe that each one of us is a Sovereign Being in our own right. All 7 billion of us.

Hence the struggle. “You’re not the boss of me” versus “Sit down, shut up, and do what you’re told.”

With that realization came the clarity that I had been searching for. This wasn’t about the illness or about being sick. It wasn’t even about not writing or not participating in class. It wasn’t about not reading and researching, or about not using the tools I have that would get me out of such a spiral. It wasn't about not posting to my own blog or meeting my commitment to another blog.

All of that was the stage upon which, at some level, I chose to play out this experience of control. 

Like the old coat, while uncomfortable, this play wasn’t unfamiliar. Over time I’ve given myself hundreds, potentially thousands, maybe even millions, of opportunities to see the ‘war of control’ that’s been going on in my head in two parts. 

One part being good, doing what was expected of me. Not because I enjoyed doing most of these things, but because I was afraid not to. Afraid of the consequences.

The other part being defiance - doing exactly the opposite of what was expected of me. Again, not because I necessarily enjoyed being this way, but because I was angry, resentful, and fighting back against that other part, the part that allowed itself to be controlled. 

Both parts ruled me. Both were programs running at a base level. I just never saw it before, or never saw it with such clarity.

Deviance vs Control

In seeing with this new-found clarity, I realized that I don’t need to give credence to either part of me in this game of control. I have other options.

When I feel that feeling of “being controlled” or “being controlling” I can interrupt it. I know what it looks like, but more importantly, I know what it feels like. I spent many weeks stewing in it, letting the feelings consume me. 

It wasn’t pretty, but - for me - it was necessary. I needed to feel the feelings deeply. Feelings that I’d never allowed myself to feel. Not everyone will process their emotions in the same way that I do. But for me, this was an important part of my process.

Having finally allowed myself to be inside the experience, to acknowledge it, to accept it, eventually to honor it, I have my power back.

Now when I notice that either tape is playing, I can stop and ask “Am I doing this because I choose to, or because I'm either trying to control or fighting against being controlled?” That’s the choice - the choice to stay caught in the struggle, or to give up control and let things be however they are. To be neither controlled nor controlling, but sovereign. Allowing. Choosing.

I spent nearly a week with this new discovery of self, teaching myself how to recognize the signs and signals that were the clues that this pattern was surfacing. “Be diligent with your thoughts” is a phrase that took up residence in my mind. I decided that was a worthy substitute for the phrases that had been there previously.

A Train Headed Nowhere

Big as that realization was, it turned out that it wasn't all that needed to be processed. Emotionally I was doing much better, but still not feeling inspired to write. I also wasn’t inspired to read, or to to get back to my classes.

Instead of feeling like I was on a train headed for disaster, I now felt like I was on a train headed nowhere. The train was continually moving along but without arriving anywhere, and with no destination in sight. Looking out the windows of the train car I could see familiar scenery, but no indication of where I was going or why.

Letting Go Of Control

With my new perspective on control, I decided to just let go and allow the train to take me wherever it would. I know my guides and unseen friends are always with me. I know that they know what my bigger plan is even when the human part of me doesn’t. I know that they are always guiding me in the direction of it, even when I’m not actively listening.

So I let go of needing to know where the train was headed and trusted that wherever it was headed was the appropriate place. In other words, I let go of control.

I didn’t have any idea how long this part of my journey might take. The part leading up to this point took far longer than I might have expected. It certainly took longer that I would have wished. But I knew that something needed to come to the surface for clearing and integration, and I knew that it couldn’t be put off any longer.

I took comfort in this passage from Aisha North and his Constant Companions, from Manuscript for Survival Part 284:
For just as the butterfly, you entered this chrysalis as a humble caterpillar, and you did so with full faith. For you did not know what to expect, you just knew you had to give yourself fully away to this process. And this process is nothing short of miraculous, but it is also a terrifying one.

Because just like that caterpillar, you need to completely dissolve the old being, and let yourself be turned into a sort of primordial sludge, looking like nothing at all, before you are literally reprogrammed and then turned back on again and turned into a completely new being. So from those same cells that constituted the humble caterpillar springs the wondrous, shimmering butterfly. But they are identical, even if they are also a whole world apart. For what made them is the same heavenly dust. And what separates them is the programming that is putting it together.
As well as letting go of any perceived outcome, I let go of any thoughts about how long the process might take. 

It’s not really comfortable to let go of control when you’ve become habitual at taking control. But in a way, I felt that I was more “in control“ than I had ever been, which is a different thing entirely than “being controlling.”

I had a lot work to do, and I still do, to recognize and stop being caught in the cycles of defiance and control. But being aware of the pattern is an all-important first step in realizing the automaticity of my being, an automaticity in this case that wasn't serving me. It needed to be replaced, just like the old coat that no longer fits. The process of doing that I will call Phase II, which I've posted here.

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