Introduction to the most

Inner experiences and growth that

 had a significant influence on the course of my life 

 

I was unaware of these early experiences until I experienced a Spiritual Emergence at forty.

 

I was thirteen on my family's farm in the early fifties. The cow pasture fence was about ten feet from the house and as I walked up towards the fence one afternoon, I felt a strange and unusual feeling suddenly envelope my body. I stopped and noticed a strong sense of being one with the pasture ground I'd been looking down at and walking on. It was something I'd never felt before. I remember it as being intense and all encompassing, as if I'd become the pasture ground and surroundings.

 

At seventeen when I'd moved to my aunt and uncle's house after graduation, I was watching a man and a woman singing on TV, occasionally gazing steadily into each other's eyes as they sang. I felt a deep and strong connection of love and oneness with them and knew their close experience was somehow significant. It made me know for certain, I wanted more of that close feeling in my own life someday.

 

A few years after my marriage, three children and a divorce, I enrolled in classes at a local junior college in California. I'd come to believe I was somehow a seriously flawed and defective human so I began in earnest to discover what was so wrong with me. I enrolled in an education program leading toward a BS degree in early childhood education.

 

As part of my program I tutored a young teenage boy who shared with me he did wood carving for a hobby. I was interested. One day he gifted me with a carving he'd especially made for me. I was overcome with love as he handed it to me and we gazed into each others eyes for several beautiful connecting moments. On my way to the parking lot that day, as I re-experienced with great delight our intimate connection, I said to myself, "This is what makes life worth living." It was such a beautiful and profound experience, beyond anything I'd ever experienced before. I never forgot it.

 

One night in November of 1980, while living in California with my teenaged daughters and my live-in partner, I was unexpectedly left; abandoned against my will, for another. There was nothing my ego/mind could say or do to stop it from happening. Unbeknownst to me, that devastating separation triggered an (unknown at the time,) unconscious and painful feeling of being rejected and abandoned by my mother at eighteen months. That baby trauma had not been acknowledged or dealt with, let alone remembered. But my body remembered. I was forty.

The next morning, a mental breakdown of some kind occurred. It could be called a psychotic break, a psychological dissociation, a spiritual awakening, or what is now known as a spiritual emergency. My mind was unusually quiet and very still. I felt somewhat empty. The pain filled person from the night before was conspicuously absent, which was a relief, but I didn't understand. A totally new perception of my surroundings and my life in general had surrounded me. It was new, different and somewhat freeing, yet a bit confusing. 

I felt disoriented for that whole year and didn't know which end was up. At some point later, I realized my very strong left brain, controlling, self-centered self, was what was missing. I knew that was a good thing. I was quite used to dealing with my issues alone, so didn't go to a psychologist. I knew my right hemisphere, along with new feelings and emotions, was becoming much more active than it had ever been before in my life. I'd only enjoyed these intense emotions and feelings while stoned on marijuana in the past year. 

However, now I was not smoking pot, so I became overjoyed to experience them almost as intently, without smoking. I also suspected that if I continued to experience these new emotions and feelings, that emotional part of my brain would become stronger or more developed. I wanted that most of all, since it had not developed naturally growing up, due to my babyhood trauma. Each time I experienced new emotional experiences and accompanying insights, I knew something   great was happening within my brain. I didn't know it then, but neuroplasicity was working its "magic" and my brain was rewiring itself.

I accepted what was happening and followed what felt like intuition, since my mind and thoughts had taken a back seat in daily life. I saw that my rented house was a mess, which I hadn't noticed in my stressful existence as a single mother. As soon as I got a chance, I began cleaning, eliminating clutter, organizing everything, retiling the kitchen floor and painting all the walls. I felt so much lighter, relaxed and freer than I'd ever felt in daily life before.

One day when I was painting the hall wall I remember a particular deep experience of being completely present and one with that wall, the brush and the act of painting. It was such an unusually amazing feeling and  I loved it. I had several other wonderful moments being present washing dishes and looking out the window at the field in back. 

During that whole year after the traumatic breakup, my mind stayed relatively inactive. Then it slowly came back online, but was mostly quiet and didn't bother me much. I was getting used to experiencing more emotions and feelings than ever before, which felt good, but I was sometimes overwhelmed which felt so different from my old "normal" self. I was gradually getting used to living in a whole different world, being more present and seemingly guided to do whatever seemed necessary to do.

Often while sitting in the back yard just being with the birds and squirrels, I felt serenely present and peaceful. I began to notice scenery and feel more intense beauty than I'd ever experienced as my old self. On occasions there was sadness and depression. But also an acceptance of my whole sucky life situation, because now I was a single mother with three teenage daughters to support. I took things a day at a time cleaning and organizing.

I became automatically drawn to spiritual teachers on TV. A teacher named Dale Batesole interviewed different spiritual teachers each week on his program. I became glued to the TV when he was on. Then I discovered Teri Cole Whittaker who had a television ministry in La Jolla, CA. She became my role model. I had a desire to someday become a motivational speaker like she felt like to me.

I went to a book group that met at a Unitarian church. The book we read and discussed was called, "The Bagavid Gita." I was deeply drawn to it and strongly related to the message in it.. One evening, at the close of our meeting, the leader said things like, "...we are all one together with everyone here in this room and with everyone in this city, in this country and in the world..." 

At that point I was overcome with an intense feeling of Oneness with everything, including the whole Universe. It was a "beyond euphoric" experience. Others got up and went to the kitchen for snacks while I sat, immersed in pure bliss. As I rose and slowly walked to the kitchen, the feeling dissipated. I'd never before felt such an intense experience of joy and Oneness. I told nobody about it.

Throughout the eighties and nineties I'd had varying degrees of insights and ah ha moments. I became curious of what other psychologists had to say about the flawed and defective person I still believed I was, so I went to graduate school. I got a MS degree in Psychology but didn't learn what I'd hoped to find. I did become guided to undo my conditioning and unload the emotional baggage I'd been carrying for so long. I went to several psychological workshops and read more self help books.

Shortly after the turn of the century and after I'd built a 200 sq. ft. shed for myself in the forest of my new home in Oregon, I saw the last puzzle piece of my life swooping down from the upper corner of my minds eye. It sailed down and into my imaginary life's puzzle. I watched it fall exactly into place in the lower right section of my life puzzle.

The piece of Life I'd been missing was in place and I felt complete somehow. I immediately knew this must be what the spiritual teachers had been talking about all along; this mystical experience of Love, connection and oneness with all there is. Something deep within me is suddenly connected and knows the center of all existence is Oneness.

It was the same deep feeling of connection, love and oneness I felt with the TV singers at seventeen, the same deep love connection I'd had when the boy gave who me his carving gift, the same oneness feeling when painting my hall wall, as well as the 'beyond oneness' experience at the book group closing and the oneness experience and connection with the pasture ground at age thirteen. They are all the same deep knowing of being profoundly connected as one Essence of something big.

When a ladder slipped out from under me, in May of 2009, I fell flat on my wooden deck and broke my back and shoulder. While recovering, without surgery, I realized I had a terrible and significant emotional fear of people. I became motivated to address it, because I was unable to continue working on my shed. I could only walk around and socialize, which I began to do. I noticed actual instances where my fear kept me away from socializing and interacting with others. I'd not paid much attention to the fear before. I was too afraid to, I simply avoided others and emotional closeness with them. I learned a lot about my fear and why I'd distanced myself from people for years.

Around 2010, the very last depressive thoughts descended upon me one day as I laid on my couch. I'd made a firm decision to not allow my thoughts to take me down into the very familiar feelings of depression anymore. So on this day when I noticed them coming, I immediately rose from the couch and headed outside. I was guided to an old logging road in the forest in back of where I lived.

As I approached a creek flowing under the road, I could hear the rushing water. After crossing to the other side I suddenly felt strangely different and stopped to see what it was. There was a strange and empty feeling inside as I stood still. Nothing at all existed within except an experience of my old self being taken away by the rushing creek as I stood there. In just a few moments my usual feelings of not having a partner, or friends, or productive work, or a "real" home, was suddenly gone, washed away down the creek.

Soon after that, I became aware of strong feelings of great shame which I'd been carrying alone throughout my life. Bubbling to the surface, it seemed like the only thing standing between me and the peace and happiness I desired. I desperately wanted to eliminate my shame. So first I made a list of over twenty shameful things I'd done in my life and had never told anyone. I then shared several each week in my nonviolent communication group (NVC) that I'd been attending. We all knew and trusted each other. 

After sharing a few experiences each week, I was able to eliminate about sixteen of my shameful events. Lo and behold they loved me anyway and I felt convinced they were sincere, which was enough to free me from a need to share the rest of my list. The grip of lifelong shame became significantly weaker, then vanished altogether. 

For the first time in 72 years, I felt totally empty of shame with no more belief I was flawed and defective. In that emptiness I began to feel unconditional love for myself and others with no reservations. So beautiful that was. So free I felt. I became able to forgive the last of what I couldn't forgive until now. By early 2012, it felt like Grace had brought me all the way Home. There was nothing left except the lifelong sense of emotional fear of others, which remained for a few more years. I gravitated towards very young children who were always present with me in every moment. I had the feeling I'd been born again, but this time I was growing up with unconditional love. I enjoyed peace and joy most of my days.

 

 

Epilogue

 

Sometime during Covid, in 2020 I was mysteriously released of my lifelong emotional fear of people. I'd been unaware that the source of my great fear was a result of my babyhood emotional trauma. Since I discovered and listened to Gabor Maté's podcasts, I was able to learn my baby trauma was the source of my emotional fear of connection to people. Since discovering the source, I've been able to overcome some of my trauma fear and anxiety symptoms by purposely rewiring my brain. In response to my thought and behavior changes, my brain continues to rewire itself, thanks to good old neuroplasticity. 

As I write this, there's only a Being living as Love in present moments of Life. Things that need doing, get done effortlessly with no mind/thought needed. There is much intuitive moment to moment thanks and gratitude for everything and a daily peace, joy and love for all Life, no matter what is going on around me. I AM "in the world, but not of it." Challenges come and go, nothing stays the same and "Everything is Beautiful, in its own way," as Ray Stevens also knows and shares in his song.

 

~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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