Regardless of how hard I tried, I felt helpless to have any control over these emotions. Rare periods of relief would evaporate as soon as somebody would say something or do something or an errant thought would poke me and I was, once again, caught in a tsunami of emotional flooding.
Research has discovered that emotional pain is as real and intense as physical pain. So being a slave to one’s emotions means waiting and bracing for the next wave of emotional pain. Those of you who feel me know what I’m talking about.
In what seemed to be an extra cruel twist, finding relief felt unattainable. Talk therapy allowed me to talk about my pain and what caused it and while it felt good to be witnessed it didn’t affect big changes. I tried the quiet sitting of mindfulness meditation repeatedly but eventually abandoned it because of my relentless pounding thoughts and dissociation. And the irony on that one was that this inability produced the shame of failure (“Why can everybody else do this but not me?”).
But yet I stumbled forward … for decades. I was in, what’s defined as the “Dark Night of the Soul” and I didn’t know how the fuck to get out. Despite the despair, I trusted that there was some dim beacon within me that kept me lifting and peering under every rock, saying, “This could be the solution!”
There were countless New Age seminars, spiritual retreats and Jungian elucidations. “That didn’t work, that didn’t work, that didn’t work.” Of course it wasn’t that black-and-white. I’d get excited and pick-up things and then eventually let them go as the old default thoughts would cloud over that particular ray of hope.
The Compulsion to “Be Seen” was Part of the Trauma
Yet, during this entire time of what seemed bottomless suffering, I was still compelled to put myself out in the world. The compulsion was part of the trauma. A deep sense of unworthiness kept me in a state of Shame. I surged outward, pushed hard in an effort to gain acceptance and validation from others so that I could prove to myself I was not defective. At the same time, my reactivity was unpredictable and frequent. In the workplace I was controlling, perfectionistic, angry and difficult. (I learned after the fact, that my nickname in one work environment was “barracuda”.)
Marijuana Kept Me Sane
Throughout this entire time, since college – about 4 decades – I smoked cannabis (or what we used to call marijuana). It kept me sane – literally, although only under certain conditions.
It was dicey if I got high with other people because my anxiety and self-doubt would go off the charts. Or if my anxiety was already piqued, best not to smoke at all to avoid amplification of it.
My best approach for finding relief with cannabis was smoking it by myself when I wasn’t triggered, which was limiting given my frequency of being in anxiety mode. The other limiting factor was that when I was no longer high, the difficult emotions would resurface. So I found the application of cannabis in this role only a palliative and transitory balm. But it was my saving grace.
The Path To Inner Transformation
In 2014, a gifted astrologer who knew I was in emotional distress referred me to a psychic who practiced distance energetic clearings. While this kind of approach wasn’t within the scope of my belief system, I figured I had nothing to lose.
Although I didn’t experience “a clearing” as I had imagined, over a couple of sessions with her, she shared with me her insights of seeing my “child within” separated from me by layers and layers of darkness. It made sense given a childhood with a volatile mentally ill parent who self-medicated with alcohol. I knew from years of therapy that I carried a load of trauma that would gag a gorilla, but the “energetic” interpretation made it come alive for me.
I took her observation as bread crumbs to follow and made it my assignment to explore this fracture between me and my Inner child. Not really knowing what I was doing, I began getting high and going quiet. I’d do nothing but focus on me. No outside distractions, simply sitting with my eyes closed. Stuff started coming up. It was excruciating and scary. But the fact that whatever I was doing was causing something to happen, kept me with it. I’d cry. I’d wail. I’d write about the pain. And I kept saying – really praying I suppose, “Show me the way, show me the way”. Praying was also not in my belief system but I was going with the flow.
Deeper Depths of Dark Night of the Soul
If I was living the Dark Night of the Soul, what I was now encountering was the deeper depths of it. Even after I’d open my eyes and complete a session, the heaviness hung over me like a funeral drape although it felt like it was moving. Looking back at those days, I now know it was the beginning of an on-going release of trauma from my physical body and from my energetic body. Maybe those clearing sessions precipitated something after all.
Regardless, I needed more direction and I kept listening. I had a dream in which I was told to begin yoga. Now, I had done hatha yoga most all my life to a lesser or greater extent. It certainly made me flexible and my body sinewy but it couldn’t pierce the throbbing wall of disturbing thought, which was why I pursued it in the first place. So this dream was kind outta left field and I really didn’t have much interest.
Only it was different this time. I began seeing signs and advertisements for yoga seemingly everywhere. And a special promotion for a large yoga studio near me repeatedly drew my attention. I signed up (I like to get a deal and apparently the Universe knew that). And I began going. Hatha again. Sometimes restorative yoga.
One night, a few weeks later, I showed up for class and the place was mobbed. I couldn’t get into the Hatha class and the restorative class was full too. “Do you want to do the kundalini class?” the woman at the desk asked. I had no idea – I just knew the teachers and students wore white flowy clothes and head wraps, which made me slightly uneasy. Frankly, it felt cultish and that’s most certainly outside my belief system. But I was there and ready. So might as well do it – do what exactly, I had no clue.
The teacher, a well spoken middle-aged white woman, predictably wearing a turban and white, explained the opening process that included mantra chanting and warm-ups. I listened casually as it all felt weird and foreign. Then she said she’d be guiding us through a set of yogic practices that evening from a new book called “Senses of the Soul”. It was getting weirder.
Energy Like a High Magnitude Earthquake
Little did I know that the material in that groundbreaking book would become my ticket to the release of trauma, emotional healing and freedom. But, of course, I was following the bread crumbs regardless of how weird it felt. My WILL to heal and commitment to stay the course was iron clad and no amount of weirdness was going to stop me.
The practices were strong and active and so intense that I could feel the energy shuddering through my body like a high magnitude earthquake. Meantime, the verbal guidance called for me to summon emotions that were tormenting me. Old psychic junk that I had been carrying around all my life was exploding out of me, an emotional release that smacked of what I had been doing weeks before but exponentially beyond.
Following the session’s emotive discharge, I was called back to my Inner landing pad, touching down gently and grounding firmly. Holy shit, what I had just experienced was jaw-dropping. It was life changing. It was what I was searching for and the bread crumbs lead me to exactly where I needed to be to discover it. I began trusting that faint beacon within.
The “Weirdness” that Became My Medicine
I bought the book and contacted the author, who, wouldn’t you know, wears white and dons a turban. Even his name was weird: GuruMeher. I didn’t care and in fact, by this time, I realized the weirdness was a signpost that things weren’t the “same old, same old”.
I wanted to dive in as deeply as I could. I didn’t want to read the book; I wanted to be lead through the process and learn the process, which is now called Emotional Liberation®. In tandem with the release of the book, GuruMeher had introduced a 9-month online course. The (Divine) timing was perfect. I enrolled immediately. I continued to study with him for the next four years. In 2018, he certified me as a facilitator and teacher of the process.