The Inner Art of You and I

 

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In Deepest Gratitude ...

In Loving Memory of Stephen D. Norval and in deepest gratitude for Kathleen Norval…my Teachers, my Mentors, my Beloved Friends.


Dedicated to my incredible family who walked with me through the hard times … my mom Hazel; my sisters Carla and Candice; my brother Darryl.


To my soul sister Katie Moon and my partner in life Greg.


Thank You for always encouraging and supporting me to be the best that I can be.


I Love You All.

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Chapter One

You are a Master.

The Master of your world

and teacher to your people.

For this is your world,

and these are your people.

To them you are Master,

and you are Servant,

Just as they are to you.

As you allow yourself  to bow to your world in service,

So you allow yourself to rise

and stand in the glory of your Kingdom

and reign supreme

As your King and your Queen.

25~03~2003

An Energetic Invitation

My eyes closed, as I lay on the floor.  My breath flowing in a long, even rhythm as I allow my awareness to centre into my Heart.  With each breath sinking deeper and deeper into the space within.  I follow the invitation into imagination and begin the journey into another realm.

Deeper into the meditation and I am standing on a heart-shaped lily pad floating upon an emerald sea towards a beautiful white domed temple.  It is night, a waxing crescent Moon adorns the sky surrounded by magnificent diamond stars.  Around the base of the temple are stairs leading out of the water and up into an ethereal light emanating from no particular source.  Eight ornately carved columns are inter-spaced around the circumference of the temple with balustrades between every second pair.  As I walk up the stairs and take in my surreal surroundings, I notice tiny formless “faeries” flying around me, light energy in the most beautiful white-gold colour.  It is all so dreamy and beautiful.

I am guided to a chaise lounge.  I walk over, lay down and make myself cosy in amongst soft delicate blankets and cushions. There is a table beside me with a golden rotary phone, I pick up the handset and dial a number, 17 17 17.  A slight pause after I say hello and then suddenly the coiled cord of the phone and the handset change form and disappear from my hands as a beautiful golden feathered dragon appears and begins to join with me as a double helix spiral integrated into my energy centres.

The scene changes and a voice speaks words that I cannot remember.  I am aware that there are several Angels in the temple with me. I ask to go into the emerald sea, I somehow know that these are the healing waters of life and I walk naked down the stairs into the water. I first begin to wash my body with my own hands, then by the hands of Angels and finally simply by the water itself as I lie held and supported becoming one with the water as it cleans each of my energy centres.  There is something ceremonial about the energy at the temple and I somehow know that something profound is coming and I wish to be purified in these sacred mystical waters.

A voice says to me, “Become aware of your energy.”

I am guided to release my attachment to my physical body, to release my human form and simply become my energetic self.  I become a rainbow light, but I feel a sense of confusion.  I am still attached to having some type of form or shape.

“What should I be?” I ask.

“Anything you choose.”

“Really?” I feel so excited.  “Can I be a circle?”

“If you would like to.”  I form into a bubble as I float into the centre of the temple.

“What else can I do?” I ask feeling a childlike sense of wonder.

“Whatever you want, try it.”

I become formless and morph and shape as I dance; swirl and twirl around the temple. I am overwhelmed with joy and feel tears welling up in my eyes as my physical body lies in my room immersed in this fantastical experience.

“It is time Dear One, are you ready?” The voice asks.

“Oh my god, it is really happening isn’t it?” 

Somehow, I know exactly what is to come.  The Angels and Faerie beings in the temple surround me in a circle as the roof of the dome begins to open.  An Angel Stargate and it is opening for me!

I witness as the Stargate opens into the Universe and there are more Angels and light beings on the other side waiting.  I am held by the Angels and Faeries with me as we begin to rise and go through this magical portal.  The most intense feeling overcomes me and I sob out loud.  As we are through the Stargate and I am completely surrounded by these magnificent beings, and in a moment they join their energy with mine and begin pouring Divine Love into me.  I feel myself expand and become one with those that are around me.  I expand again to become the Divine essence of Love, and once more to connect with the source of creation and become all things and no thing at the same time.  I am coming home.

My eyes suddenly open, and I looked up at the ceiling of my room as I listen to the rest of the meditation.  After a while, I get up and go sit at my work desk, I feel restless.  I am heavy and light and dizzy.  My ears begin to ring, my breathing deepens, and I burst into tears. I go back to my room, lay back down and close my eyes. I am instantly back through the Stargate.

“We are not finished, are we?” I asked.

“No.”

The ringing in my ears becomes louder, it is not uncomfortable but a pleasant frequency. My forehead begins to pulsate, my breath is heavy, and tears stream down my cheeks.  Slowly my breath evens out as I feel myself being attuned to a heightened frequency of consciousness.

Eventually the ringing in my ears subsides, along with the pulsating in my forehead and I lay there for a time feeling bewilderment and gratitude. 

My meditation is complete.

Looking back on this meditation and this point in my timeline, I wish to take a moment to honour the journey of life, the path of expansion and the curiosity that is illusion.  Do I know what is real and what is not?  Not really, I have some thoughts, some ideas and contemplation's, yet in truth, they are just that … thoughts, ideas and contemplation's.  They are malleable in their form as they shift and shape to the Dreaming that is life and the process that unfolds as we grow and age.  It is truly a wonder how we can be so unaware of this simple occurrence of shifting beliefs and often hold onto what we believe to be true. Some of us do so with an intense ferocity and even create wars because of our steadfastness to the beliefs that we hold.

Perhaps some of my own stories may seem unbelievable to others. In fact, there have been plenty of times that I too have not believed in my own experiences.  This meditation experience that I have just described for you, was just one of those.  I had never in my life experienced such power; such realness; such profound Love, yet it seemed to happen only in my imagination, but did it?

Is the imaginary realm so very unreal in the face of this illusory existence that we live in within the Human experience? Synchronicity or coincidence?  Intuitive knowing or a wild guess? Who knows for sure?  What I do know is that I have witnessed and experienced far too many things in the unseen realms of existence to believe that this meditation was anything but absolutely real for me, that these Beings of light were truly there and that this world that I visited exists somewhere in the vastness of our multi-dimensional reality.

My ongoing experiences of the realm of Spirit offer me all the proof that I require in knowing that I am far greater than the limitations that I place upon myself; that I am capable of creating things in my life that far surpass my wildest dreams; that I hold in me the infinite knowledge and power of the Universe and all that I need lives right within me. This meditation was an invitation to explore deeper, to know myself as an energetic being connected to Spirit.  I came out of that meditation a different person, my energy had shifted and I could never again be the person I had been the hour before I lay down to journey within and I most certainly did not want it any other way.

Over the years my journey of self-discovery has led me to remarkable teachers and mentors, both through books; videos; documentaries; courses and in person.  As I began to open up to a new paradigm within, so I began to attract new and exciting experiences into my outer reality.  I began to become fascinated with the emerging science and research being offered that aligned with spiritual teachings and the understanding of the Spirit self within Humans.  Finally, I had a way to infiltrate the mainstream through scientific teachings and offer a new perspective to those that are spiritual sceptics through my various training and therapeutic education.  So, on one hand, I am learning about conventional therapeutic supports and scientifically researched practises, while on the other I am diving deeper and deeper into the spiritual realms.  I have been called a bridge, a gatekeeper between the old paradigm and the new, a walker between worlds helping to guide the way to the new future.  Some call me a Dreamer, telling me that there is no future for our species on this planet, and I continue to hold the Dreaming gently within my Awareness.  It is up to us, the Dreamers, to dream us into the new way which has been hiding in plain sight all along and to show the way back to the Dreaming for those that are sceptics.

Spiritual teachers have long since been telling us that we are energy, that our breath is a sacred tool and our Heart the seat of Love.  Science confirms that all matter is energy, that we can use our breath to consciously create change in our bodies, that our Heart is more powerful than our brain, and, when we combine our breath and our Heart consciously, we can create radical change in our neural pathways which consequently effect the autonomous nervous system creating balance and resilience mentally; emotionally; physically and spiritually.

This then opens us up into the deeper exploration of our physical bodies, our thoughts and feelings, our beliefs about ourselves and how we can truly become alchemists in our lives.

I am no scientist and may allude here and there to some scientific terms which I invite you to explore further beyond these pages as there are teachers out there in the world that can offer you this knowledge in a far more comprehensive and informative way than I, however, when we marry science and spirituality together there are some ideas that simply make sense.

Spirituality tells us that we are all connected, One.  That separation is an illusion and that we are all manifestations of the source of all creation.  Science tells us that everything is merely energy vibrating within a unified quantum field that is inter-connected.

Spirituality tells us that we are creators, alchemists, manifesting our reality. Science tells us that we are emitting our vibration out into the quantum field and attracting to us that which we are putting out.  This invites the contemplation of how we can truly differentiate where one thing ends and another begins. When we open our awareness to energy, we begin to witness life and our experiences from a different perspective.  We recognise that every aspect of ourselves is an energetic experience whether mental, emotional, physical or spiritual and as such we are able to harness this energy within ourselves and shape it into whatever we choose.  This is where the alchemy occurs. 

Think of it this way, we all have an electromagnetic field that is interacting with the field of life around us.  We walk through the forest and we feel a sense of peace and wonder as we interact with the beauty of nature.  We can walk into a room and turn to our friend saying, “there’s a strange vibe in here.”  People and places give off a feeling and we feel this through our field, process the information through our body and from there we make our choices on whether we like the people or the place, yet what we don’t always realise is that our own vibration is also in effect and simultaneously shaping the situation. All energies are interacting and co-creating the experience of space and time.

When we further understand our emotions as energy in motion, we begin to realise that this energy is being transmitted out into the field and we are attracting the same or similar vibrations to us.  This coupled with our thoughts that drive the emotion is, in effect, creating our reality as we behave in alignment with our thinking and feeling, which in turn offers us more of the same.  We feel the same thoughts and emotions and we begin an interesting cycle of behaviours and attitudes.  Have you ever noticed people around you that complain all the time?  If so, then you will have seen how life seems to throw them constant bad luck and that bad things just seem to always happen to them. Is it possible that their attitude is what attracts the so-called “bad luck”?  What about people around you that are bubbly and happy, grateful in life and have an all-round positive attitude?  Life seems to shower them in “good luck” and somehow, I just don’t think this is a coincidence.  Test it out. Consciously go out into your life and spend a day with a bad attitude and another with a good attitude, regardless of what events unfold and simply see what happens. 

Now, what if I told you that this is something that you can cultivate for yourself? What if I told you that your energy is yours to harness and create with?  Would you believe me?

The thing is, it is all about perspective.  It is all about how you choose to view the world and your ability to recognise that you are choosing even when you are not doing so consciously. If you are walking through life unhappy, disillusioned, unhealthy and bitter, what type of experience are you creating for yourself?  These are often people that are judgemental, blaming and victims of experience. Constant negative thoughts and emotions are bound to influence your body and create all manner of illness and dis-ease. In fact, we know that this way of life creates stress and when we are in constant stress our energy is directed to our extremities to prepare us for fight or flight and is unsustainable over the long-term.  Living life from the internal programming that is unconsciously running within us is what creates cancer in the Soul which has no choice but to manifest in the body.

When we are consciously cultivating our energy towards higher vibration through choosing to shift our perspectives from fear to Love, we are creating a life that is easeful and in flow.  This does not mean that we do not encounter obstacles or challenges along the way, but it does mean that the way in which we perceive and handle those obstacles and challenges is from a space of far more resilience and inner comfort.  It is quite simply all about self-awareness and, once again, this is our choice.

The first type of person I mentioned, lives in a space of negativity and are in an incoherent state.  This means that they are out of alignment not only mentally and emotionally, but they are also creating physical havoc within their bodies.  The body becomes so used to, and even addicted to, the stress hormones that these people begin to create stressful situations in order to get their chemical fix.  They are neurologically wired in such a way that they are constantly creating situations where life affirms to them that everything is a struggle, that people are ‘shit’ and they literally live in a perpetual pool of problems.  At some point, we have all been this person, myself included.  The amount of drama I have created in my life, well … that is a story for a whole other book, “The Mischief and Misadventures of Tatz,’ perhaps. 

There are a couple pivotal moments of conscious change in my life, where I stopped in my tracks, changed my mind and thought to myself that this way no longer works for me and I no longer choose these patterns.  The more I did this, the more it happened, and I learned how to become the observer of myself and start consciously creating change in my life. 

I began to become aware of my body, my thoughts, my feelings and the relationship between them.  I started questioning my beliefs and the energy that I had vested in them.  I opened myself up to change, whatever that meant, and allowed the old me to be stripped back and the true me that was underneath all along, to be revealed. 

So, if everything is energy, including our thoughts, feelings and beliefs, then the question begs, what is it that you are creating in your life and how much energy are you putting into the things that do not serve you?  See, the problem person I mentioned earlier is stuck on the hamster wheel, cycling through the same emotions, recreating the same stories and reinforcing old neural pathways that create the same chemical release in the body and can create a physical addiction to the hormones of stress, which means that every so often we are going to require that fix and so we need some discomfort, some intensity to boil up. and create a bit of drama for us so that we can get it. 

As I mentioned earlier, those of us that live in stress states are communicating with the body to be ready for fight, flight, freeze or faint.  We are on hyper-alert and driving the energy away from our internal organs.  We are producing excessive stress hormones in the body and we are unable to sustain this for long periods of time without it creating a lasting effect.  As we learn how to regulate and bring ourselves into a coherent state, we can now consciously take charge of our energy; build our resilience and enhance our ability to cope in stressful situations. 

Just as we train the muscles of our body to perform in various ways through repetition, so too can we train our brain through repetition and what this means is that we have to first know ourselves, become aware of our limiting beliefs and stories, acknowledge our trigger points, take responsibility for ourselves and begin the practise of transforming ourselves into a new consciousness.  This may sound daunting and, truth be told, sometimes it definitely is not pretty as we have to let down the walls that we have built and step into being vulnerable. This is a journey of sitting in the fire and allowing ourselves to move through all that has held us back.  It takes determination and effort, plus a dose of courage at times. You must be alert as you begin the process of counteractive thought. You must be willing to allow yourself to go into the shadow spaces, sit in them and open your Heart to them.  You must be willing to meet the darkness within you with love and know that this too has a rightful place in the sanctuary of your Soul.

Many of us have experienced major trauma in our lives and may not wish to go into the painful memories and spaces of what that trauma was for us, and understandably so.  Yet, with the help and guidance of a skilled Mentor it is possible to work through the trauma and enter into to it with a different consciousness and come out the other side with a new perspective and a stronger resolve. We can turn our trauma into great teachers that open us up into truth and love.  We can meet the Divine within ourselves through our healing journey and expand our inner knowing that we are far greater than this Human experience; far greater than our suffering; far greater than our experiences; far greater than our thoughts and beliefs.  We can access the unlimited potential of ourselves and recognise the true power that we hold within.  So, while diving into the darkness can be scary, especially when we have pushed all that icky stuff down into the deepest depths hoping to never look at it again, it is deeply powerful when we move through it shining the light of truth and love, bringing balance and equality.  It is deeply empowering to journey into the inner shadow realms and explore all that we have disavowed of ourselves, integrate the wisdom that resides therein and finally let the ghosts free.

Imagine this if you will, throughout your life you have moved through experiences, some of them hold beautiful memories and others have created uncomfortable ones. If you were not taught how to effectively cope in your life or were not supported properly in moving through the struggles or the traumas you may have experienced, you began building a protective wall.  With each experience the wall grows higher and wider and it holds all of the pent up emotions associated with these events, it holds all the stories and beliefs that you have gathered over the years of your life that contain charged emotion; it holds all the negative things you have ever been told or told yourself; it holds your generational and ancestral stories, beliefs and traumas; it holds all the suffering that you have not looked at or allowed yourself to feel and release, and on the other side of the wall is you.  You must continuously work to keep the wall up.  Every so often a brick comes loose, and some intense emotion comes pouring out and you find something as fast as you can to plug it up and close it once again. Yet these bricks are all scabby wounds and you cannot help yourself but pick at them by creating people and experiences that rip the scab off and bleed out some of this pent-up emotion.  It is hard holding this wall in place and keeping all that gunk dammed up.  

When we begin the process of sitting in the fire, we must let go of the wall and it is up to us how quickly or slowly we do this. Inevitably though, when we start this process, at some point there will be a great surge of release and things may seem chaotic for a time as the river of our Soul is flooded with all that we have held back, but with this flooding comes a deep cleansing.  All that has been stagnant within for so long is washed to the ocean and enters the sea of possibility.  This is a deep inner cleanse and soon the waters of your river begin to run fresh and clear once more, however, this is something that only you can choose.

See, when we block the flow of energy in our lives through holding ourselves, others or our experiences in anything other than Love we are creating a dam that becomes stagnant and without flow, we are creating blockages within our own selves and we see this reflected into our outer reality.  The more we become self-aware the closer we come to self-mastery.

What does this all have to do with energy and the energetic realms?  Well, when we step into self-awareness without labelling and judging our experiences we step into the energy and the feeling aspect of ourselves.  We notice the energy that moves through us in emotional states, whether heightened in joy and love or fear and suffering.  We allow ourselves to truly feel into the inner experience, witnessing where and how it arises in the body, and we start to access a different level of consciousness and intelligence. 

In my work I invite people to describe to me the physical manifestations of nervousness in their bodies.  In fact, I invite you to take a moment now and feel into where and how being nervous arises in your body.  For example, I notice in myself that my body temperature rises and I get sweaty; my heart rate increases and I become fidgety or restless.  

Now, take a moment and feel into what happens in your body when you get excited.  I notice in myself that my body temperature rises and I get sweaty; my heart rate increases and I become fidgety and restless.  Exactly the same physical experience, which means that the energy of these experiences would be remarkably similar.  I am yet to meet a person who does not say that it is the same for them too, that their experiences in the body match when nervous or excited.  

Knowledge is power and understanding this similarity opens us up to the possibility of shifting from nervous to excited and transmuting the energy of the moment into something that is rich and valuable for our experiences. The more we know the charge of energy in motion (emotion) in our bodies, the easier it is to channel it productively.  This is one way to turn metal into gold and become the alchemists that we are.

So many of us have been living separate from our bodies for one reason or another.  Our consciousness has been governed by societal norms on what constitutes beauty and so our relationships with our bodies have become distorted.  Those of us who have experienced abuse of our bodies and carry the trauma of violence and violation often become self-abusers. I know from my own personal experience that my body was my ultimate betrayer as a young child.  Sexual abuse taught me that I was bad, shameful and disgusting which embedded a deep sense of guilt within me.  I who was violated, became the continuance of that violation as I ravaged my body in the abuse of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.  My distorted understanding of love leading me to promiscuity and simply handing myself over, even when everything inside of me screamed against it, as I believed I would be loved if I did so, how wrong I was as I was left repeatedly to sink deeper into shame.

Reconnecting with my physical self has been a process.  Learning to love my body again and finding the ability to forgive it and allow it to be nurtured has been huge.  As I write these words, I am on day 26 of being smoke free once again, and abstaining from alcohol.  So many times, I have made these attempts to quit cigarettes and somehow returned to the habit.  Yet this time, there is a difference.  This time I have been so deeply conscious of the process, watching the inner stories arise in me and allowing the deeper truth to emerge.  I have noticed the guilt and shame that I have carried around smoking and realised it is connected to the guilt and shame of that young version of me, she who was violated and then rebelled against all that she was told and found a way to medicate and soothe the pain.

“Don’t smoke,” my Mother would tell me.  I would go out and smoke more.

“Don’t drink,” she would say.  I would go out and drink even more.

“Don’t take drugs,” she would demand.  I would go out and take even more.

My rebellion and self-medicating against the violation and the abandonment was to become the deepening into self-punishment and an inner violation that would continue for 27 years of my life, so freshly released with an acknowledgement of all that I suffered and the opening for calling back these remnants of myself to wholeness.  See, I have worked through all my trauma, I have sat deep in the fire of my pain and allowed it to be seen, to be felt and to be released.  Life has been kind in that it offered me an experience of an abusive relationship to take me back into the darkness so that I could meet my suffering once again and, while I may not have realised it at the time, this was a gift.  This man had gifted me an opportunity to go back into the depths of my pain and truly feel and express the energy that I had kept behind my own wall that I had built. As I remember this time, where I felt so incredibly alone and so far away from all those that I love with me being in Australia and my family and loved ones all in South Africa, I recognise that this was my salvation.  This was my opportunity to sit in the fire so fully, with so much fervour, releasing my angst through movement and expression. 

Every day, every night, I danced for eight months.  First it was Florence and the Machine who journeyed me into the depths of my anger.  My anger at every person who had ever violated me, this man that I had been in relationship with; the men who had used me for my body; the bosses that had felt me up and made me freeze in panic; the father who fondled me as a child; and my anger at myself … she who violated her own self.  I screamed as I danced, I sobbed, and I allowed all the anger and all the pain that I carried behind that damn wall to release and to flood every aspect of my being as I moved my body and offered these energies the opportunity to be fully expressed.  At times, I felt like I would die, that I would be consumed by the intensity and that the fire would swallow me up and reduce me to ashes.  I would go to work with eyes so swollen from crying and tell people that it was allergies.  Yet every day, every night I would do it again and again as I moved and danced into my salvation.

Journeying through this process of becoming smoke-free and abstaining from alcohol has been interesting this time, an offering into moving through another realm of healing, freeing myself of the addictions that have held and hidden the first pain associated emotions to little me and at the same time freeing myself of the old story of guilt and shame I have carried all my life.  I witness this process and the energy that has moved, noticing the subtle nuances of emotion that arise; the unsettled energy; the discomfort.  

Within the witnessing comes the knowing, the energetic spaces shifting and shaping themselves into something else, something different, something freeing. When we open our awareness to the energetic realms, we are unlocking the first door to consciousness, this is the beginning of the journey home.

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Chapter Two

Strange things happen in our lives that confuse and estrange us from our Beloveds.  We walk upon the path of life and all of a sudden we have to take sharp corners; come to sudden halts when we arrive at a crossroad, and then turn around again because we took the wrong turn off.

23~10~2000

Unravelling A Ball Of Wool

Self-awareness is the ultimate key to self-mastery. Without it we cannot know or build a relationship with ourselves.  We may think that we already know ourselves and that it is impossible not to have a relationship with ourselves, yet how much of our personality, beliefs and behaviours are conscious and how much lives within our programming and remains unconscious?  How have we actually cultivated a loving, nurturing relationship with ourselves and truly taken the time and effort to go within and get to know who and how we are being, and whether or not this person is truly aligned with the dreams that we hold for our future.

You see, I always dreamed of something bigger for myself, something purposeful. I dreamed of a life beyond mediocrity, beyond working in restaurants feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled. I spent 23 years in the hospitality industry not pursuing my dreams because I did not believe in myself, I did not trust myself not to fail if I tried and I knew that I was good at the work that I did so thought that this was the path that I should follow and maybe one day open a restaurant or a lodge.  Now, I am not saying that hospitality is a direction of mediocrity, I am saying that I was unsatisfied and unfulfilled in this journey.  Yes, I could have followed that path and found some satisfaction in it, but it was not the path that I truly desired for myself.

The stories of my past haunted my reality and imbued me with the idea that I could not be more, that I could not have more; that I would fail anyway and so why bother trying.  Yet inside of me I yearned for greatness, I felt something inside of me that was destined for bigger things, yet I quite simply had no idea what that was or what that dream even looked like for me.  How could I? I had no idea who I was, who I was being and who I truly wanted to be.  I had no idea what greatness looked like for me and how to align with the deeper essence of purpose in my life.

During the breakdown of the abusive relationship that I was in, one day I went to work and was asked if I was okay, I broke down into desperate sobs of relief as someone had finally infiltrated the loneliness I felt in my suffering of this relationship that was collapsing around me and taking me with it.  In that relief filled moment I felt seen again and everything came bursting out of me. As I opened my Heart and shared everything that was happening in my world I became aware of myself and in a moment, the strength that I had handed over to this man peeked up over my dam wall and I chose change for the first time in a long time. 

“Fuck him,” I said, “I am going out tonight and I am not going to come home until 4am in the morning.  I am done with this!” 

That night I went out and met a friend that would become such a massive support through that time.  I stayed out all night in defiance of this man and this was the beginning of something new, I was shifting into a new realm.

The music also began to shift as I danced through my pain and the anger began to subside giving way to acceptance.  With every movement of my body I cracked the shell that held me captive open, and bit by bit it began to fall away as I was stripped bare of this person I had been. With each part of the shell that fell away the light of truth, of my truth, was able to shine as I started the journey home to myself.  The next phase of music was Ben Howard, his melodies of love returning my Heart to the light so that it could shine into my Soul and so it was that I had arrived at a new place in my life.  A new sense of softness arose within me, yet it also held a fierce strength, a fierce determination and tenacity that has expanded with time and burns brightly in the fire of my Soul.  I had birthed a Warrior Woman through dancing in my fire, dancing through the moments that I thought I would die, yet in truth I was dying.  The self that was a victim was dying, the self that was a survivor was dying.  I died in those flames of pain and in every moment of death I was being rebirthed, the proverbial Phoenix arising from the flames, a woman of fire, a woman of substance and grace, of truth and love was to emerge from the pain.  I immersed into this woman gathering up her strength and calling her power back home with arms outstretched to the sky as I was walking away from this relationship that had held my spirit between clenched fists.

Down the track a new relationship sprung to life and I met a man who cherishes me in his beautiful and unique way.  Yet in the beginning, it was difficult for me and for him too.  This was the evolution into full self-awareness and discovering all that was running in my unconscious programming through a new relationship where old stories boiled rapidly to the surface, playing out over and over until one day in a heated argument I stormed out of the house, the usual tears welling up in my eyes and emotions of the past being expressed through the same patterns. I didn’t make it far out of the house when I stopped dead in my tracks once again and thought to myself “I don’t want to do this anymore.”  I turned around, went back inside and returned to what I had been doing prior to the outburst.  In another flash, I had become aware, I had once again become the observer of myself and chose change.  I recognised a cycle, a pattern that played out and realised that it no longer served me, it was time to let it go.  I think that this was where I realised that I needed to deepen into knowing myself and understanding these trigger points that I carried and the emotions that came with them so that I could move into the person that I truly wished to be. 

To shift into a new consciousness, we need to train to become the observing presence of ourselves.  This takes a certain amount of practise.  As I mentioned previously, it is up to you how often you train and how quickly you build the muscle required to level up and achieve the results you are after.  It requires discipline and a willingness to step fully into self-responsibility.  

We start by watching our thinking.  We notice where our judgements lie and what the beliefs are that lie beneath those judgements.  How do we perceive those around us and how is the world showing up for us?  There is a guiding principle that can be a bitter pill to swallow at times but gives us an accurate reflection of our state of consciousness and our relationship with ourselves.  It is called the Mirror Principle and it teaches us that the people and experiences we have in our lives are simply a reflection of ourselves. Juicy, isn’t it?  I personally struggled with this principle when I first learned of it at 25 years old.  It was only years later in my life that I was able to integrate its wisdom to some degree.  It is confronting for those of us that have experienced trauma through abuse in any of its forms and everything inside of us may want to recoil, lash out and strike at it in defiance.  Yet, I recognise that out of all of the abusers in my life, I was the greatest.  I abused myself far longer than any other would ever abuse me, talk about mirror principle in action there.

We can notice how we are being by those that we have surrounded ourselves with, and this is often where friendships and relationships may fall by the wayside as we awaken to truth and love because we begin to shift our perceptions and they may no longer align with those around us.  Sometimes this path can be lonely for a time, but I can assure you that the further down it you walk the more you actually relish in the moments of solitude and your need to be constantly surrounded by others begins to dissipate, plus you draw to yourself new people, places and experiences that align with who it is you are choosing to be and how you wish to create your life. There is simply a bridging that needs to occur between the old you and the new you, your old world and your new world. There is a space between those worlds where there is a sense of chaos and emptiness all at the same time, and it can be enticing to give it all up and return to the old ways, but with a little more persistence and a few more steps you get to the other side and your new way of life begins to manifest more and more in each moment of every day.  This concept can be seen on a collective scale in our world reality at this time in history.  The old world is falling away and crumbling as the structures of society that no longer serve begin to crumble and a new consciousness is rising.  We are in the bridging phase, and all seems chaotic, scary and even hopeless.  The key is to hold the Dreaming.  To keep Dreaming into your life, into the collective experience because it is the Dreaming that manifests and we all Dream all of the time.  

What is it that you are Dreaming?  What is your world telling you?  Are you surrounded by people that uplift and inspire you and others, or are you surrounded by people that are judgemental and negative? It may be the case that you have both these types of people in your life and it may also be true that you may maintain some of these relationships because you can see the deeper essence of these people that is simply waiting to shine through. Either way, they are all mirrors, reflections of aspects of yourself, gifting you with insight into your inner state of being.

Take a moment here and reflect on the situations that are currently presenting in your life.  Are you in a never-ending cycle of struggle?  Do you feel drained and tired by life?  Are your relationships with those around you strained or difficult?

These mirrors are there to give us valuable information on how and who we are being.  Our outer reality is the manifestation of feedback that, if we are listening, informs our inner reality of the necessary adjustments required to create differently.  Once we can move through the discomfort of this principle then it becomes a valuable tool that tells us moment by moment where we need to make shifts in our energy and return to presence. Self-awareness is fundamentally about presence and what is presence?  It is the gift of our essence.  It is the expression of love unconditional that cherishes the present moment, the now moment in all its sanctity. You see, when we are so fully present in the now moment, we enter Divinity.  Think of a dancer as she moves and flows, her eyes closed with a smile upon her face lost in the moment, consumed by the music or the musician that she dances with exuding his passionate expression through his song.  The athlete with focus so intent that there is nothing else in his or her awareness but the present moment and the task at hand.  There is power in this place, yet we spend so much time living in the past and projecting into the future that we forget where we are at times. When we are lost in the past and projecting into our future from the past we are creating more of the same, because we are creating from the old stories.  Until we become aware of our beliefs, not just the surface level beliefs that we know of but those that live in the depths of the dark spaces that whisper to us that we are not good enough; that we are failures; that we could never possibly have all that we choose, until we know these and transmute them we will be creating our future from our past reality and life will always be the same cycle in whichever form it presents for you.

The more present we become the more self-awareness we cultivate because we can only be aware when we are present, and we can only be present when we are aware. A beautiful and complimentary circle that opens us into expansion.

Opening our awareness means that we open the inner listening and we start noticing the feedback from our outer reality.  The more we watch ourselves in every aspect of our being, the more we know ourselves and the more we know ourselves the easier it becomes to create the change that we seek, but we have to keep flexing the muscle of consciousness and training.  Every day presents us with opportunities, countless moments there for us to use to our advantage, to mould and shape our reality the way that we choose for it to be. 

One day I was sitting and crocheting my first and only crochet project to date. I was using this incredible wool that changed into different colours as it unravelled, it was like watching a kaleidoscope evolve as I worked which was mesmerising.  I had no music or documentaries playing as I would usually, for whatever reason, and I entered into observation.  I watched my mind cycle through the same sequence of thoughts like a buffer on a computer screen going around and around and around.  I didn’t fully engage in the thoughts but simply allowed them to be and witnessed them.  For seven hours I noticed this cycle and pattern and was amazed by what I saw. I noticed myself also becoming a little irate with the cycling and, again, did not engage but simply witnessed the irritation rising.  What I found fascinating was the futility of it all.  The same cycle of thoughts creating the same feelings of irritation and resulting in the same experience that was essentially fruitless.  There is a saying that insanity is doing the same thing expecting a different result, or something along those lines, and this was a perfect example of insanity.

You may wonder why I did not shift or change this and, honestly, I couldn’t answer you that, as I was merely observing it for interest sake.  I must say that there is also something profound in being the witnessing presence.  You are not engaged in the activity of the mind but simply observing it, you are in the realm of the deeper essence of you and connecting into that which is greater than the mere Human existence.  You are connecting into the Spirit of yourself that carries the eternal wisdom of all life, you are connecting into creation itself, that which some call God. You are accessing the God force that exists within you.

The idea that God is separate from us is preposterous to me. Why?  Quite simply because our bodies themselves are an expressive reflection of the Universe itself, everything that we are made of is what the Universe is made of. The intelligence that is at work within our bodies is magnificent and while we may know and understand how everything inside it all works, we still don’t truly know the true “how” of how it works, it is a phenomenon unto itself.  We do not need to tell it when to breathe, it simply breathes; we do not tell it when it needs to eat, it tells us when it is hungry; we do not need to tell it to process the food that we eat, it does it regardless; we do not need to tell it to operate, it operates beyond our need to control it and if this is not the force of God within then I do not know what is and, furthermore, it is the same force that exists within the Earth, within our solar-system, within our galaxy, within our Universe, how is it feasibly possible that we are separate from it or each other?  How is it conceivable that the God force could not exist in, through and all around us?

I would just like to say here, that I do not use the term God in the traditional, religious sense.  I do not use the term God as a representation of a male figure that we worship.  I use the term God to encompass both the masculine and feminine forces that are a distinct feature of our reality.  I use the term God to acknowledge the force that is beyond our Human understanding and exists within the mystery of life.  I use the term God force so you may read these words with an open mind and an open Heart without prejudice, bias or dogmatic belief structures.  I also do not denigrate any religious belief structures but simply do not own them as mine, yet also acknowledge the teachings that lie at the essence of the religions I have encountered.  That being said, I also invite you to not take anything that I write as truth, for this is merely the truth that I hold for myself and I, in no way, am here to impose what is true for me onto you.  You may find that you resonate with some of what I share and wholeheartedly reject other concepts that I may place here for your contemplation, and that is all in perfection.  I am not here to sway you from your beliefs or even unhinge you from your story.  I write this to offer a perspective, an opportunity to widen your scope of vision and begin exploring the depth of who you are. I write this to invite you to dive deep and perhaps meet yourself in a new enlightened way.  You see, enlightenment is not simply about knowing the God “out there”, it is about meeting the God within in order to truly know Divinity. It is to make lighter the journey through knowing that all that you seek is right there in the centre of your being, laying in wait for you to open the door and meet its light.  This is the path of self-awareness; it is the journey to meet God and the realisation that this force also lives in your Heart and you need not look outward but simply turn inward.

The beauty about belief is that it is changeable, mutable and malleable.  Think about it, the beliefs that you had as a child of the Tooth Faerie, the Easter Bunny, Santa and so on are distant memories shelved in the department of Faerie Tales.  The beliefs that you held as a teenager, filed in Adolescent Mysteries perhaps. The beliefs you held in your twenties, thirties and so on (depending on how old you are, of course) have all shifted and changed as you have grown and expanded through life.  There will be things that I write on these pages that may change for me in the coming years as my perspectives widen and my awareness deepens, in fact, who knows something in me may shift in the process of placing my inner contemplation onto these pages and something I write here in this chapter may no longer be true for me through the coming chapters or by the time I have completed this book.  This applies to the ingrained beliefs that we hold of ourselves and our lives both consciously and unconsciously.  Our conscious beliefs are obviously easy to work with, it is the unconscious ones that are the tricksters as they play out beneath the surface and we simply say that this is our personality or who we are.

I was driving with a friend and she shared with me a story of unhappiness in her relationship and dissatisfaction in the fact that she felt like she should be able to share everything in her life and about herself with her partner.  I could recall a time when I felt precisely the same way, yet I had learned that it was not necessarily the truth, not for me anyway. My perspective on this is that we have different people in our lives to fulfil different roles.  We share certain parts of ourselves with certain people, which does not necessarily mean that we are being pretentious, it just means that we meet each other in our similarities.  We have friends or family members that we may be a certain way with that we quite possibly do not express with others.  For example, my younger Sister and I have an incredible knack for being ridiculously silly and find ourselves outrageously funny and while my partner and I are silly together it is not quite the same.  This is the specialness of the relationship I have with my Sister.  My partner and I have a playful relationship with each other that involves silliness expressed in a different way that does not satisfy the type of expression I have with my Sister and vice versa.  We have people that we connect with on all manner of levels and each interaction is going to be unique and fulfil an aspect of who we are and who we choose to be.  When we can look at it this way it takes the pressure off one person to satisfy all areas of our lives and opens us up to healthier relationships. 

As I shared this perspective with my friend, I asked her three questions, which I wrote down because they were quite poignant in moving through the story, the feeling and the belief.  I now use these questions with people that I work with in groups or individually as they are a quick and effective way of cutting to the core of what arises for us and recognising what we believe and how much energy we have vested in these beliefs.  When we open to this inquiry, we are able to choose what we wish to believe, whether or not it is worth the output of energy and if we would like to reclaim this energy and let the belief go. 

Firstly, we need to frame the story, then we ask the questions.

  1. What are you feeling?
  2. What is the belief attached to the feeling?
  3. Is that belief true?

An example:

Story:    “Life is a real struggle right now and there is not enough money to make ends meet.  I am having to get payment extensions on bills, and I am getting really stressed out because I am working so hard to get ahead.”
 

  1. What are you feeling?
    “I am feeling frustrated, annoyed, confused and maybe even angry.”
  2. What is/are the belief/s attached to these feelings?
    “I should be further ahead in my life at this age with a solid career, family and money in the bank.  I was told that I shouldn’t bother because I am going to fail anyway.”
  3. Is the belief true?
    “No.”

The interesting thing about these questions is if the same story or belief keeps showing up, we are receiving regular reminders to choose differently and change our perspectives.  Another reason they may keep coming up is that we may only be scratching the surface and we can look at how honest we are being with ourselves.  When we are experiencing something that creates discomfort in ourselves and we ask these questions, if we truly dig deep the answer to the third question is most often going to be no. I have had a few people answer yes, but as we peel back the layers and get to the core the answer almost certainly shifts to a no.  It is at the surface level that we might answer yes. Let’s go peel back a layer.  Imagine that this is the same person, they were able to move through that first layer of the belief and began to create change. Yet the same story arises in a new situation.

Story:    “I am working so hard and I am actually making really good money now, but I just don’t have time for myself to do the things that I want to do.”

  1. What are you feeling?
    “I am feeling frustrated, annoyed, confused and maybe even angry.”
  2. What is the belief attached to these feelings?
    “I have to work hard in order to get ahead in life and that means I must sacrifice the things I love.”
  3. Is this belief true?
    “No.”

These examples are straight out of my own life, stories with unconscious beliefs that cycled beneath the surface creating more of the same experiences for me.  For the purpose of deeper understanding I will explain the beliefs around these stories a little more.

“I should be further ahead in my life at this age with a solid career, family and money in the bank.”

Society tells us that we should go to school, then go to University, then get a job, get married, have children and live behind a white picket fence in order to be considered “successful.”  In white South African culture, working as a waitress was a job you did when you were in school or in your early twenties and not something that you were still doing later in life.  It was a “stepping-stone” that you used to earn money while preparing yourself for your future career.  At almost 37 years old, I had a conversation with my partner about what I had been interested in studying when I was younger and it was only then that I enrolled in a Diploma in Counselling and embarked on my chosen career path.  I also believed that I had to have children at least in my early to mid-thirties and by this stage I should be completely self-sufficient financially.  The proverbial “dream life.”  So, are these beliefs true? No, we do not all fit into a square, some of us are circles, triangles, stars and all manner of different shapes and sizes.

“I was told that I shouldn’t bother because I am going to fail anyway.” 

This one is a beauty!  The story that goes with this is of me as a young girl, in my bedroom and studying. My father, (not biological, but also the perpetrator of my sexual abuse) opens my bedroom door and asks me what I am doing.  I tell him that I am studying for my exams, to which he replies, “Don’t bother, you are going to fail anyway.”  True? Hell no!  I did not do well at school, but I hated it and I hated life and most of the people around me.  I hated myself and was trying to cope with the myriad of things going on inside of me related to the layers of trauma that I had experienced.  School was not at all at the forefront of my consciousness, somehow coping with my anger and pain was.  Drinking, smoking and taking drugs numbed me from it all and I would much rather have been stoned or in a drunken haze than sitting in a classroom that bored me anyway. This belief held me back all the way until I was almost 37.  I danced and was really good at it, I could have taken it further, but why bother I was going to fail anyway.  I studied hair and makeup and was really good at it, I could have taken it further, but why bother I was going to fail anyway.  When I did try and I did fail, it confirmed what he had said and I gave up, reinforcing that belief and locking it in place.

Nobody taught me that it was okay to fail, that it was okay to make mistakes and to know when that happened it was simply life guiding you to do something differently.  So, when I failed, I gave up.  Is that belief true?  Again, absolutely not.

“I have to work hard in order to get ahead in life and that means I must sacrifice the things I love.”

This one was a gift from my Mom (love you Mom, you are amazing!).  My Mom lived through her own horrendous trauma, she too was not guided or held through these experiences and so how was she to know how to do the same?  My Mom has had an extraordinary journey and I love and respect her so very much. She has made her mistakes in life, but I know that she did the best she could with what she knew at those times.  I know too that she would love to go back and change some things, but all occurred as it should.  My life journey has been precisely what it had to in order for me to finally step up and do the work that I am doing in the world now.  My Mom left an orphanage at fifteen I think it was and went out into the world.  Throughout her life she worked, and she worked hard.  She was determined to have more than enough money to give to her children everything that she never had and so she worked and worked and amassed her fortune gifting us more than we needed in clothes and toys.  Yet this came at a cost.  She sacrificed time with us, eventually spending her weeknights living in the city so she could get up early for gym and get to work early, finishing late at night, and it was this time in my life where the sexual abuse would begin.  There is an extra layer to this belief though which is attached to my old money story, and that is that money does not buy happiness.  Is that belief true, Yes.  Except there is an added extra to it, “money is evil and actually causes unhappiness (abuse) and because of this I do not want it.”  

As we explore our stories through these questions we can shift through layers and layers of beliefs until we come to the core and we can replace them with new stories. You see, we become so attached to our stories of the past that we create our future in alignment with all that we have been through.  Yet those stories are in the past, and we get to choose what we create for our future. We can change our story to transform our future.  I once walked in the world as a victim, then I changed my story to a survivor, and I held onto that one for a long time.  Then I changed it once more to a Warrior Woman, not one who needs to fight but one who leads the way steadfast in her strength and prowess.  It is the survivor who needs to fight to protect all that she has become as she transcends victimhood.  

The Warrior knows and in the knowing comes an inner peace that does not require justification, the Warrior learns when to speak and when to let be.  The Warrior walks in awareness, present to the mysteries of life, listening to the guidance within her Heart and the calling of the Ancient One’s.  She is connected to the Earth Mother and hears her song.  The Warrior stands open to the skies as he connects to the Stars, Moon and Sun.  The Warrior is the Dreamer, the Dancer of Life and the Hearts beating drum.  The Warrior knows, the Warrior is One.

 

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Chapter Three

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Chapter Four

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Chapter Five

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Chapter Six

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Chapter Seven

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Chapter Eight

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Chapter Nine

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Chapter Ten

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Chapter Eleven

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Poetry in Motion

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~

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