Just in case you missed it, please read Part One of this post here.
Now onto today's words!
Walking Between Worlds
In fact, I have lived in this esoteric, between two worlds feelings state for MOST of my life. I don’t know if this is because I’ve been chronically ill forever and the fact that physical pain does something to your mind, I don’t know if I was just ‘spiritually inclined’ and thus worked on this more than most would have, if the fact that I was so isolated created an opening for this or a combination of factors (maybe all of the above?) - but whatever the cause, I’ve spent a lot of my life HONING this ‘skill’ of creativity without even realizing that that’s what I was doing.
You see, from a very young age, I was OBSESSED with the idea of ‘hearing God’s voice.’ I was raised in a typical Christian home, so my whole concept of “God” came through the Christian lens. That said, my EXPERIENCE of God was very different from what I was being ‘told’ God was at church. In church, I was told over and over again that I was a sinner, that I was fundamentally flawed, that I was in need of rescuing because my soul was damned and condemned to hell.
Again, this was continually being contradicted by my actual EXPERIENCE of people, and the deep empathy I had for everyone around me. My heart was CONSTANTLY being broken by what I saw in the lives of others - the pain, the struggle, the lack of provision - and this idea that everyone was just ‘evil’ never made any sense to me in terms of looking at OTHER people. That said, I certainly internalized this message to be true about MYSELF and am still to this day working to unlearn a lot of what was drilled into us as followers of Christianity. I felt like I was sinful, bad, wrong, unworthy of love - and this was perpetually being reflected back to me in my relationships. I was constantly rejected, told I wasn’t good enough, told I was too weird or too much - I was generally unwanted and this helped to solidify the idea that everyone ELSE was good and just needed love - but I was broken and needed to be fixed.
However, when I would talk to God, when I would ‘connect’ to that feeling of a higher power - it always felt to ME like pure love. There was never anger or judgment. I never felt any sense that I was broken or flawed - and instead always felt like when I was ABLE to make contact, that contact was pure sweetness. I don’t know where that came from because in my lived experience this didn’t exist - all love I had ever known had been conditional and had been taken away at some point due to my failing (as I was told) so this love connection was very unique for me.
I also had a deep sense that making contact with this presence meant finding ANSWERS to the things I was struggling with in my life. I had this very strong conviction that connecting with God meant that he/they were going to tell me what I needed to know, so that I could find love, heal my body, get out of the incredible PAIN I was in all day every day living in the reality of my childhood.
To me, there HAD to be answers to the problems of those around me, and to MY problems - and as far as I could tell, GOD was the source of those answers. He was a source of safety I couldn’t find anywhere else and the way I was going to get out of pain - that was my understanding at the time.
For as long as I can remember, my world very much revolved around trying to establish a continual connection to God.
I prayed in my mind CONSTANTLY.
I wrote in my journals like I was writing a letter to someone.
I remember FIGHTING to hear God’s voice, praying, asking, petitioning - even attempting a juice fast at the age of 11 - because I just felt deep in my CORE that I was supposed to be living a life of CONSTANT communication with whatever that guiding presence was.
The fact that I felt like I COULDN’T hear and COULDN’T connect so often left me in a state of perpetual agony, if I’m being totally honest.
Basically, I don’t remember a time in my life when I WASN’T seeking this connection.
Fast-forward through the rest of my childhood and into my early adulthood - the quest never stopped. Also, my fascination with people and with trying to figure out how I could possibly be of some help to others in their pain never stopped either. I continued to be a place where people would come and ‘dump’ their life stories. I continued to be a place where people would feel safe enough to share what they had often never shared with anyone before - about their pain, their struggles, their patterns, their innermost thoughts and feelings. This was becoming less and less something that was a part of my life because I wanted connection, and became more and more simply and outpouring from my soul. I really, really believed that people were worthy of love and of feeling better. I could feel people and their pain. I could see how hard everyone was trying to keep it together. And I just wanted to help. I wanted others to feel better - and that was why I was doing it.
Through all of this, as I continued to talk to people about their deep, dark pain, I was noticing patterns - patterns of pain, patterns of behavior, patterns of feeling and expression - and oftentimes I would share my observations, only to be met with feedback that I was ‘blaming’ people for their pain.
I noticed that there was a massive tendency in people to feel like if there was something that they could DO about the pain in their lives, if there was some way in which they were contributing to the pain in their lives via their own actions or perceptions, that this meant that their pain was their FAULT.
I was almost ALWAYS caught off guard by the fact that when I would point out patterns and how someone may be able to change their situation for themselves via changing how THEY were living, the immediate response would be that I was saying they were to blame, they were terrible and shameful and that I was equating their behavior with being a bad person.
Which in my eyes, was never the case. I ALWAYS felt that if there was some way in which I was contributing to my own pain, that this meant freedom was possible. If I was at least in PART the cause of the mess I was in, that meant that I could be, at least in part, a part of the solution as well.
I remember thinking that my quest for God was my attempt to understand what I WAS DOING WRONG so that I could change and make a better way. Which, as I’ve come to learn, was a VERY different perspective than the one MOST people had when THEY went to God.
I was constantly walking between worlds - seeing the lived experience of myself and others while connecting it to higher, spiritual principles of connection to one another, cause and effect and larger impact. There always seemed to be a deeper meaning behind what was happening to and for people - and the spiritual aspect of their suffering always seemed obvious to me. People would be upset about their relationships or their bodies - and I would see the deeper emotional need, the lack of love, the lack of safety, the lack of expression - and many times this led to people having full blown revelations when we spoke. I was again in a constant state of putting things together that others had never considered - their emotional state with their eating habits. Their childhood relationship with their caregivers and the romantic partners they chose. How they were rejected and the ways they wanted to express themselves. Why certain jobs didn’t work for them and why the body expressed certain symptoms due to emotional blockage. There was ALWAYS a complexity to what people were dealing with, multiple component parts and layers - and it turned out that seeing this was a part of my ‘gifting’ if you will. But again, I had to tread lightly because usually ANY suggestion that THEY could solve their own problems was often met with upset.
To me, there was always a deeper, spiritual reason for what people were going through, and there was always a level of power people had - and my ability to see and translate this stuff made me look ‘magical’ to a lot of people. But it also came with a LOT of pushback and rejection as people would have a hard time hearing what I had to say, when what I was saying felt to them like blame, and when what I was saying meant that they would have to change themselves/their patterns instead of just waiting for God to come in and ‘fix’ things.
I could always see the deeper reason. I could always see the deeper pain. People were focused on the surface of their issues - and I could almost always see to the core. I started to be someone who could help people see things about themselves that they weren’t seeing, that could help them connect dots they weren’t connecting, that could help them understand their own behavior and patterns - and this made me more and more effective at helping. All of this felt very much like a walking between the worlds. Seeing the surface, seeing the deeper truth, seeing how they fit together, translating that for people, offering suggestions. It was a lot, but again, it was obvious to me.
I came to learn that most people went to God asking for circumstances to change.
Asking for miracles.
Asking for whatever was going on in their life that they didn’t like to just, go away, or for whatever they wanted to simply come to them via asking.
Most people were looking to God sort of like a magic Genie - a being that could give and take away at will - one who could and would operate outside of the laws of reality if necessary.
That never made sense to me. Because I had asked God for a LONG time in my childhood to make my life something other than what it was. I had prayed those prayers. Asked for deliverance and miracles. Asked for life to just change. And it never happened.
But what DID happen, what DID start to become a very REAL part of my experience, was getting awareness of WHY certain things were or weren’t happening, and then being able to change my own way of being in order to get different results.
I started to see that a true connection to God, at least for me, came in the form of asking God for wisdom and guidance - for clarity on what was happening, why it was happening and what could be changed so that something new could happen - then taking that wisdom and guidance and using it to CHANGE MYSELF/my patterns/my mindset/to express something/to process something!
My quest for God became a quest for understanding how the world around me worked, so that I could play along with the rules, and get more of what I wanted and less of what I didn’t want. There appeared to be a very real set of ‘cause and effect’ principles that guided the outcomes of everything taking place on the planet, and it seemed to me that the more you align yourself with those rules, the more you could find ease. The more you rebelled against them, the more reality would win and you would lose, so to speak.
So I spent a LOT of time feeling VERY confused by the reaction I was getting from those around me. I spent a lot of my youth and early adulthood offering advice and support for people who were asking for it, only to receive the feedback that I was mean - that I was trying to point out people’s flaws and make them feel bad - which was the exact OPPOSITE of my intention.
This led me to realizing that I was going to have to change my approach if I actually wanted to be helpful for people - because no matter how clear I may have been on what was happening for people and why - if my communication led to this kind of feeling, it wasn’t going to work.
I knew the answer was helping people realize that they DID have power. That life wasn’t totally random and that they COULD create change without having to wait for life to magically rearrange itself, for some miracle to occur or for some massive flash of insight that would give them all they needed to move into a new state. I knew that helping people to recognize the SYSTEMS and PATTERNS that were at play in their lives was the KEY to giving them the power to change what they COULD change.
I also realized that emotional processing, getting in touch with our bodies and our FELT sensations, that learning to question our thoughts and perceptions and being willing to challenge our paradigms were MASSIVE tools on this path of change.
I also realized that people who genuinely WANTED to change, often really struggled to do so. I would have these big, long, revelatory talks with people, help them to see something profound and important and would walk away thinking they were now going to be able to change their whole lives! They had seen it! They got it! They knew what to do! Only to watch as they went right back to their old ways, seemingly forgetting what they had learned or simply not being able to follow through with anything they’d learned.
I witnessed people continually having the same revelations, the same insights, the same big, emotional talks with me - telling me that THIS TIME they were going to do something different - change how they were eating, living, communicating, working - only to find that the next time we spoke, everything was ‘back to normal.’
People just didn’t change. And I couldn’t figure out WHY.
People could know better, but that rarely seemed to translate to them DOING differently.
Over time, I realized that unless and until people feel GOOD ENOUGH just as they are, they aren’t going to be able to make the requisite changes to their lives that will lead to more fulfillment and happiness - because without that safety, without that sense of being GOOD ENOUGH, people tend to feel like any suggestion of changed behavior/mindset/feeling is an attack on their character. A judgment on who they are. I witnessed how deeply people tended to go into spirals of shame or defense when given the awareness of what they could do to improve their lives and THIS was, to me, the most important thing that needed to be dealt with.
I witnessed as people resisted change, and I saw how much those that people surrounded themselves with had the BIGGEST effect on how much an individual was able to shift their behavior. I witnessed that patterns were patterns and patterns were hard to break - just having an insight or understanding was rarely ever enough.
Stability, safety, small steps and access to support were also crucial - and again these things seemed to be rarely available.
It didn’t seem like much forward progress was available for MOST people, without this foundation of self love being firmly in place - because the reality was, external love was fleeting and fickle. The more people depended on external circumstances being an exacting way for them to make change, the more they struggled. It was clear to me that in order to change, we needed revelation, we needed systems thinking AND we needed an INTERNAL motivation to do the uncomfortable work of change - and ALL of that was HARD to come by.
I realized that without that internal connection, most people were just going to spend the rest of their lives doing what they’d always done, because their externals supported that. Change meant changing how they interacted with the structures around them - and that required a deep shift from the INSIDE first.
I knew this, because this was MY experience just as much as it was the experience I had witnessed countless other people having.
Let’s take another rest here, and come back next week for part three!
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