Seeing Self through the Lens of Fear

And what might happen if we tried something new

I have one of those friends I’ve never met.  His name is Harry.  I love Harry because he can see me, because he shares his wisdom w/ a dash of humor that is sometimes peppery.  He makes me laugh *just* when I need it.

His response to this post On Being All Grow’d up and Afraid of the dark  was ‘self-compassion’.  He’s absolutely right.

But we have this thing, this stupid human trick, that we’ve relied upon for a long, long time. We have learned how to be afraid, we teach others to be afraid–even when we’re sharing things that sound sorta wise–and it’s our go-to tool.

Two summers ago, I had an interesting exchange with an amazing young lady I adore.  I may have actually mentioned this before but it’s connected so I’m bringing up and my love for trolls (oh, bloody hell, not those!) up again.  She sent me a note on the Place of Face and shared that she was afraid.  An energy or entity kept appearing to her and it made her afraid.   The exchange went like this:

From Miss Awesomeness:  I think this and my question to you about anger/violence also is tied to an experience that i had this summer with a “dark” or malicious entity that was obviously wanting something from me. I attracted it–for sure–by dabbling in some voodoo stuff. but it brings up this near-paralyzing fear in me every so often. it’s feels so uncontrollable, and i get thrown off. i don’t know if it’s all in my head or if there’s something i need to do to protect myself. i feel unable to tap into my intuitive wisdom because of the fear. and it leaves me feeling isolated/grieving/self-hateful/at a loss of where to move. Do you have any advice for me? I’m sorry if I’m just sort of spurting out all of my thoughts/emotions!

From Yours Truly:  don’t be afraid of this other energy. Drop ‘malignant’, ‘dark’, and ‘protection’ etc from the vocabulary. If it shows up, engage with it. Ask who it is, ask why it is appearing/what it is seeking, ask if it is connected to another human energy (alive or deceased), ask these questions and, then, listen/feel the responses. And, before you engage it, get clear with yourself about why you have the response you do to it–is it ‘ugly’? Does it trigger a smell, other physical response or memory, is it a reflection of an aspect of yourself or abuser…

Miss Awesomeness:  Last night i conversed a bit with an energy. Got the response that it was there to give me something which will help me know/be myself, when I am ready. I asked myself why i was intimidated by it and felt that it was because it reminded me of my incredible power.

I’ve had dozens of similar conversations in the 18 months since the above conversation.  Dozens.  With law enforcement personnel, analysts, and therapists; yoga instructors, artists and coaches; spiritual seekers and such.   Each afraid of this thing. And we’ve trained ourselves into a certain way of thinking (not my words. Find more about them and the ballerina who says them here) and it becomes our reality, it’s all we know; the lens through which we agree with ourselves to measure the world around us.  Some therapists associate physical, mental and emotional responses to stimuli with trauma–theirs or another’s–and are afraid they’ll relive the experience now as they did then.  This dancer?  Ballet or the fear of life without it.  Footballer?  Sports or life without it.  Bureaucrat?  Um…never mind.    The point is that we “get used to” that lens, that fear, that thing we assume is outside of us or has been done unto us.

In We Don’t Need no Steenking Trolls I shared the story about a dude and his troll.   The video is longish so I’ll summarize here:  I went to visit a client in DC.  He lived in an amazing apartment across the street from the National Cathedral and I was duly impressed by what was his front yard (total aside: if you’ve not been to the Cathedral, the next time you’re in DC, you want to go).  When I asked said dude why I was there, he said something along the lines of wanting me to get rid of his troll.  Imagine, if you will, someone telling you in all honesty and earnestness that they have their own personal troll.  I’m pretty sure I gave the dude the eyebrow and a uh-huh before continuing.   The Dude shared that this energetic thing, this entity, was not just one to be satisfied with making regular appearances.  It would do things like pull his pants leg for attention.  He could describe this troll in such detail he could artistically recreate it.  He showed me a drawing the resembled the combination of a triceratops, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and some thing else that I can’t remember or describe.   One of the first things out of my mouth was, “Have you talked to it?”

His response was a resounding no.  Mine?  Why?  Him:  Because it’s fucking ugly.  Me:  “Well, that sort of limits any kind of communication when we expect something to appear in a pleasing manner so that we’ll pay attention to it.”     I opened up the living room curtains and gave him either his binoculars or a telescope (can’t remember which he had handy) and said, “Take a look at each of the spires around that Cathedral.  What do you see?”


“What do Gargoyles dooooo?”

“Gargoyles are protectors.”

“Are gargoyles pretty?”

“Well, no.”

Insert the upward reaching right eyebrow here.

“So you are ignoring this very persistent energy that is trying to communicate with you because it’s not pleasing to your eye.  Something obviously has something to tell you and you refuse to say, Yo, what’s up.  If it were a child, even sort of an ugly one, you would respond. If it were an ugly dog, you’d say, “Aaawwwww…aren’t you soo cuuuute (if you click through to the video you’ll hear the Southern accent that makes this sound just so, well, appropriate)  Why are you bothering me?”  But because this energy isn’t shiny, sparkly, fairy-like or shitting glitter, you’re ignoring it.”

“I’m not here to get rid of you troll.  I’m here to show you how to engage with something that may or may not be of your own creation, may or may not be an aspect of yourself, that you can’t see past because it’s kinda ugly to you.”

Lately the ‘trolls’ people have been presenting me with energetic representations of themselves or aspects of themselves that they cannot see as such.  The see or sense a solidness that frightens them.  Their only relation to themselves is through that lens of fear–fear of trauma, fear of loss, fear of the unknown.

One of the things I find most interesting about this development is with each person I have these interactions, the notion of ‘the shadow self’ as spiritual and psychological form is a basis they use for their own work–with clients, in their own therapy, or on their spiritual path.   I’m wondering how effective this tool is or can be if, it too, is only expected to appear pleasing to the mind, or soothing to the heart & mind, or a mere idea beyond which there can be no manifestation.    What demons are really not at all?  What if they really are us or a part of us merely seeking the attention and release we believe should come otherwise packaged? What if your shadow has shown up to be alighted and released into your vision? Into your own light?

When I say to people, “Say I see you.  I love you” to their thing, their troll or their shadow, perhaps, I’m not saying ‘don’t be afraid’.  I’m saying nothing more than in your own voice, as aloud as you can allow yourself in that not-quite-paralyzed state to say “I see you. I love you.” even if you are afraid; in spite of the fear; to spite the fear if need be.  Until you can see there is nothing to fear.

Until you can see that which in front of you in the dark is always there, even in the light.  That what is in front of you, is you.  See her, love him. Listen to what you have to say to yourself in your own voice or those voices that have been trying to reach you for eons.  In seeing and loving, that is the self compassion of which Harry speaks.  And it brings, as he so elegantly shared this afternoon, “the possibility of freedom”.

Freedom comes in amazing ways.  Simple ways like  “I see you.  I love you.”

Try it now.  Try it tonight.







On Being all Grow’d up and Afraid of the Dark

Yes, there are things that go bump in the night.

We’ve all seen the iphone commercial where father uses the on-phone flashlight to show his daughter that there is no monster under the bed. We’ve watched Monsters with nieces and nephews, we assuage our own children that there is nothing that can harm them on the closet, under the stairs and, often, we experience our own energies that go bump in the night.

When the lights go down, when there are no other external energies to interfere with what’s there, lurking & waiting; when there is no place or no when else to focus our own energies, there it is.

That thing. That energy that is the darker than the dark thing. That thing that we think is from the back of the closet, back of our subconscious, waaaaay way back in the beyond that we can’t otherwise see except in the night.

We make up all sorts of stories about what that thing might be: troll, terrible memory, residual abuse, demon-like attacker of the past, and ghosts of the present or future.

Night after sweaty, heart wrenching night. It.

There’s not enough exercise to exorcise it, wine to escape it, bong hits to banish it.

So, here’s the thing about that scarey thing in the dark; that energy that comes to visit you, that throws you into the throes of paralytic fear; that you’re quite sure is harboring your deepest fear because that what it breeds in your presence;  that thing that’s thick enough to be solid–a solid secret, a solid attacker.

Say this:  I see you.  I love you. 

Say this:  I see you.  I love you.

With an openness you never knew you could have in the state of fear, say this:  I see you.  I love you.

With the awe of encountering the wondrous, rather than the fear of the thing in the closet or under the bed, say:  I see you. I love you.

Release yourself into that that doesn’t look pretty to you but just wants to be seen in the same manner you do and allay that daemon. That daemon is you.

Say: I see you.  I love you.

Release the fear to know yourself.

Say I see you. I love you.

Release the fear to bring light into your long dark night.


I see you. I love you.

I Don’t Know Jack

I really don’t know jack about some shit.  What follows, naturally, is I don’t know Jack Shit. In particular, I don’t know Jack about a good bit of this otherwise-called “spiritual” stuff.  Some folks expect me to because I’ve chosen to add  the label of “healer” & “teacher” to the alphabet string after my last name (B.A. in Liberal Arts & Sciences & M.A in Criminal Justice for those who really wanna know!).

Here’s a string o’ stuff that I neither know jack about nor have any interest in others’ stories about:

  • photon belts or Peleaidians
  • crystals or consciousness
  • intergalactic and/or crystallline stellar grids
  • 5th or 12th dimensions and 9th waves of consciousness
  • akashic records, Atlanteans, Actuarians, Ascension
  • holograms, hologames, Hathors
  • super-special frequencies & first wave stargaters
  • Elenin or elementals
  • and other bupkus, bullshit or belief systems (otherwise known as BS) that I should subscribe to and then prescribe to others because I’m, well, not something others think I am or should be
I don’t believe Lemurian crystals are waiting for a super-special race of I AM peoples to arise (anyone else note how some of this ‘Oneness’ language is not about one?) and recharge them.  I don’t believe we need special permission from aliens (or a/any God/s) to tell us we’re, well, notsospecial but they (another ubiquitous they) are.  I don’t believe one needs to pray in a particular pattern of gold to orange (or vice versa), in a particular direction (I mean, really?  You’re gonna be dissed because you look to the NorthWest rather than South and don’t speak Lakota?) or kneel/rise patterns to know love. I don’t associate dates and times with any ‘special-ness’ in the same way I don’t separate out my desk or a lovely stone as having any more meaning to me.
Here is what I do know:
I know that humans create stories.  A lot of them.  Some good reading, some not.  I also know that humans don’t like it when others of same throw a kink in the works of their creation.  Particularly  kinks that may require reconsideration of what they think they know–especially about this “stuff” folks call speerachul.  Because they knooooow, dammit!  To suggest that we-the-human-race-we decided to give a personality to the earth & sky and all the bits of those things connected to both, to a *thing* outside of us…is, well, not very well accepted.
“Well, Ingrid, it seems you’re just ignorant about _________________.”  You can fill in the blank with “the Ascension process” (12th floor, please), “Vortex Energy”, “gland activation”, consciousness, meditation, 2012, “Source Field”, Revelations, God, reincarnation, you-name-it-cabal-of-the-day, Tarot, “being ‘spiritual’ “, yadda yadda yadda…  Getting my drift?  Yep. I am ignorant and am glad to be.  Someone else (a multitude of someones, in fact) over the course of time (a very, very long time) made up some shit to help make their experiences more explainable.  For them. Period.
I get extremely frustrated when people who try to wrap their mind around me and what I can do say things like, “Oh. So, you must do X?”  No.  I don’t.  “Well, you should take person X’s words to tell people what you do.”  No. I shouldn’t.  What I do, who I am, and the power within me has no resemblance to anyone else’s truth (although there is some undeniable repetition throughout history of all things freakily me, and, oddly enough, there are a lot of us out there who kinda do what I do). Here’s the real truth: No.One.Knows.  We don’t know what “this” is, how it works, why it works sometimes and then other times doesn’t, why people (and critters) experience it differently each time, why we do, how it came to being, etc.
There are those who offer their ‘expert’ opinions on things that can’t really be explained, create pretty pictures to go with their discussions of matrices & other mumbo-jumbo so as to add validity, profess their own gospels of whatevertheheck.  No one knows.
However, here is more of what I know:
  • What others see as mystery isn’t to me.  It just is me. It’s my being, my purpose for being.
  • I’m not accessing anything outside of myself.  It is in me, of me, through me.
  • I am one.  And, as an aside, t doesn’t need a capital letter.
  • Things change for others when I turn up the volume. Awakening, cures, blah, blah.  For me, it’s all a “Well, duh…”
  • I vibrate. Really. No battery needed. When I vibrate, others do, too.
  • I don’t ‘get’ it & I’m really comfortable with that. I’m not very comfortable trying to make others comfortable with it.
  • Others don’t ‘get’ it and aren’t very comfortable with that.
  • I don’t care about the other stuff.  Really.  I just do my ‘thing’.  It’s nifty. It helps others. A lot.  It’ll be even niftier when it helps me as much as it helps them (don’t even get me started on that topic-the one repeating the notion that I should suffer to serve others?).
I experience the world in a very unique way.  I see it, taste it, touch it, feel it, breathe into and through it, hear it like no other.  When I can actually articulate in words other things I know that are me and within me, I’ll be glad to. Okay, maybe glad is the wrong word because, admittedly, I’m afraid of it my-own-damn-self!  Yup.  Afraid.  There:  I said it.  I’m afraid of the power within me.  And, fuck all, that’s gonna be another entry that would, in fact, be a follow-up to  already-posted An UnCommon Experience.  Because I had another one that I’ve not shared yet.
FB note just posted as I typed the last three sentences:
Well, well, well. You know that awkward feeling when not paying attention to something you have that “AHA” moment that, in turn, is a “D’OH!” moment about the thing you weren’t paying attention to? Yep. Just had one. I’m an idiot. A dolt, even. And, now that I’ve established that factoid, I’ve not a damn thing to do about it. Fuck all. Deets to appear later as I flesh this out. In fact, it could educational and, indeed, entertaining for all those around me!!
Well, well, well. Indeed.

So how does this healing stuff work, exactly?

A woman who called the other day to see about scheduling an appointment asked that question.   She’s feeling like one hot mess and wanted to know if I could help.   She’d heard about me through local gossip (free marketing, anyone?) and wanted to know how this “stuff” works, “exactly”.

I dunno exactly.  Here’s what I do know.

There is nothing wrong with you.

You may feel all sorts of things.  You may feel afraid, anxious, awkward, addicted, alone, angry, compulsive, impulsive, enraged, exhausted, depressed, downtrodden, delusional, disorganized, dissociated, lonely, spent, sleep-drived, sad, stuck, annoyed, paranoid, grief-stricken, spent, out-of-whack, wonky, weird, panic-stricken, pissed off, pissed upon, distressed, disturbed, dis-ordered. disconnected, discombobulated, dis-eased, uneasy, uninterested in everything and everyone around you, moody, mad, masochistic, irritated, irrational, inattentive, hypervigilant, hyperactive, startled, sad, guilty, traumatized, spaced-out, stunted, stunned, stressed, suicidal, rage-filled, and, frankly, just generally fucked up.  You’re dealing with some serious shit. It’s your crap and yours alone to try to figure out.

But these things, these feelings are not you.  They are of you, sure.  They are sometimes of others (figure that one out, eh?).   You are dealing with them (or notsomuch as is often case) in the best way you know how.  You feel these things. They suck.  They make you feel like you suck.  However, you are not them.  There is nothing wrong with you. And you do not suck.

Once you know that, once you decide that, you will recognize all the tools you need to heal, to release these feelings that are holding you back, are within you.  It’s simple really.  Not necessarily easy. But simple.  I say that it is simple but not necessarily easy for a couple reasons.  First, frankly, we get used to these feelings.  As uncomfortable as they may be, they often become our comfort zone.  They  help shape our day, our relationships, our responses to life-stuff.  We get used to them and like having at least one reliable thing in the midst of the fuckedupedness.  Others get used to them.  And, despite all the blah-blah about change being good, life being change, a lot of folks don’t know how to and don’t want to.  Change, that is.   Again, though, there is nothing inherently wrong with that.  Some people say it’s wrong, assign it the ‘wrong’ label, but really, it just is.  The second goes back a few sentences to ‘others get used to them’.

What other people think or expect of us has an impact on us that we often don’t realize.  Others might not be comfortable or understand our erratic behavior, frightening mood swings, inability to move farther than the couch, or need for the booze.  However, folks at least have a glimpse of what is going on if we say, “I have PTSD” or “I’m depressed.”  The labels connect them to a definition or label that may not entirely explain your experience but can lessen their fear and open their hearts.   It helps them define you.  They, too, become comfortable in that and become afraid of your own change because they face being in a place of fear again.

There is no need to be afraid.  You have all of the answers within you.  And, it’s time to get right with you.

Same client said, “That’s such a freakin’ cliche, Ingrid. I don’t buy that.”  Well, it may be a cliche.  It may be tired.  You may be sick of hearing it but odds are you’re hearing it for a reason.  This cliche is true.  You can’t fully do for others until you can deal with you. All of your glorious, beautiful fuckedupedness.

Client says, “What the hell do you know about this?”  Me: “Been there. Done that.”

I first tried to kill myself sometime while I was in elementary school (maybe before?). I won’t go into details about that part of my story because I don’t want to hurt others but I decided that I didn’t want to be in this world because something wasn’t right.  It wasn’t right that I was afraid all the time.  It wasn’t right that I hurt all the time.   However, as most kids do, I survived.  Sort of.  I mean, I continued to breathe.  After the attempt and through the next few years.

Then I got older and attempted again as a teenager.  And again.  And each time I survived still trying to understand why I didn’t fit in, why I was still here, why no one heard me and why no one could see what was happening.  When all those crappy feelings that I didn’t know how to deal with me caught up with me as an adult, things stepped up a notch. I worked myself into the ground, I became an ‘expert’, I worked hard, partied harder, and hit a brick wall in 2004.  I hit that brick wall with all the force of a Mack truck doing 110.  Bertha was in the mouth more than once, finger on the trigger more than once. I took medical leave from my Probation job after my own physician said, “Well, Ingrid, we call this depression” in only the way a brilliant, sarcastic mind who knows that you know what’s going on can do.

In all of this, I knew things were really, really, incredibly messed up beyond description. FUBARed beyond FUBAR. And as I tried to figure out why I was here, what the heck was going on with me, why I was ready to blow the back of my head off but didn’t really want to, I had to explain it over and over to people.  And each person said something slightly different: “You’re Depressed.”  “You’re Bi-Polar.” “You are really ill.” “You are what we call a PTSDer.  A Complex PTSDer (as if that made it all the more special).”

After two shrinks, four therapists, I finally decided I wasn’t what they thought I was.  I might have been feeling whacked out in more ways than one but I knew that each time someone else tried to pigeon-hole me as a way of understanding me, they got it wrong.

As soon as I decided I was a beautiful disaster that could fix my own-damn-self (dammit!), things changed.  Immediately.  IBS symptoms gone after I decided that caffeine, wine, and nicotine were the causes. Cut those out, cut out IBS.  Cut out the suicidal ideation because I didn’t really want to die.  Sometimes felt like it but didn’t really want to.  Left the husband that I’d talked about leaving for over a year within two weeks, moved 1700 miles to one of the most spectacular places on the planet, and have watched the beautiful disaster morph into a wondrous woman (if I do say so my own-damn-self!) who’s been given an amazing Gift.

I have been there.  Walked the darkest path, sunk into the deepest depths and thrived!! I am the most blessed of all people.  And I am grateful beyond words that I was kept here to be able to do what I do.

This “stuff” work because when you are ready, when you decide that it’s time to let go of all that  holds you back and no longer serves you, the tools come to you clearly.  I am simply one of them.  When I am with you and I breathe and connect to the Divine (however you define that) , I am a tool, a facilitator that allows what you need to release to just go.  It’s that simple.  And, yes, this part really is that easy.

When those things that no longer serve you leave; when you’re not holding on to them, you begin to experience the world and all of its challenges in a different manner.  Those emotions? You still feel them but they don’t define you.  You feel them, acknowledge them and let them go.  As you do, you grow. As you grow into the new experience of life, those things that do serve you just come to you.  In magnificent ways.    This is the healing process.  Maybe I should call it growth process instead, no?

When you’re ready, just get to me.

“I’m careful about miraculous stuff, but for a very real, straight up, down to earth gal, she shares a remarkable undefinable gift with her clients.”  Sandy C, Delaplane, VA (09/17/09)