Spiritual Naivety?

There are those who think of me as ‘merely’ naive when it comes to things of spirit.  Here, I ask they consider their own limitation of expression that appears bound by others’ ideas & ideals. The string of logic posed by quite a few is that I’ve not studied spiritualism, metaphysics, any aspect of any religion, and not living/speaking/healing/BE-ing within the bounds of someone else’s playbook.   I’ve not sought out sages or saddhus, not read from mystics and mages, not worshiped at or made an altar,  I’ve not done enough things or read enough of stuff  to know of what I speak and certainly not enough to know Truth–neither my own nor that that is Universal.

So what if I get my inspiration from Dean Koontz as much as I do Rumi?  So what that I don’t have Lama so-and-sos books as reference guides?  So what that I picked up all those books you have on your shelves, read a few pages or chapters and said, “Nope. That’s not it.” So what that I can say I don’t know?  I don’t care to know.  I have no need or desire to understand.   I don’t need to read someone else version of how my life should/might/could be.   So what that I can say I Know more than has ever been forgotten of that for which there are no words to be written in a book?  So what that I don’t assign any more significance to a crystal than I do the chair that supports my ass, the friends that feed my hunger, or the wind that tousles my hair?

So what that I don’t give a crap about past lives, Akashic records, 2012, 11/11/11 or future-&-fortune telling?  So what that I’m not afraid of and cannot explain how or why I go formless; how or why I can feel more heartbeats than my own; how or why my vibrations intensify sometimes so that furniture and the air move around me? I just not afraid and just don’t care.

Why does it bother anyone that I can say with certainty that I am enlightened?  Why? Why does it bother you so that I don’t couch any of this in terms of ‘spiritual’ but consider it merely living.  Not a separate part of me or anyone/thing in the Universe?

With some frequency, I say to as many people as I can, “Forget what you think you know.”  That bugs a lot of folks.  Annoys, confuses, angers and frightens.  There is always one or a few someones who believe they know everything. Can recite left, right, upside down and backwards biblical & kabbahlistic texts, A Course in Miracles, Eckhart Tolle’s latest; carry around with them photos of their gurus, pocket angel cards, and other accoutrement; wear their crystals and white; repeat “peace and light”, and still live in a state of unawareness.  Unaware, unopen to change or other avenues of experience and expression.

Generally speaking, when I ask folks to forget what they think they know, I’m not trying to challenge the ideas they hold (although, sometimes, for grins & giggles that is my entire point).  We connect to and engage with those things that resonate with us, interest us and excite us.  I get that. I want, though, to push people past their limitations.  I want to push people past the ideas & attitudes of others that they hold so dear, onto so tightly that they cannot see their own.  There are a lot of people saying the same thing and slightly different versions of the same thing for a reason. I don’t know what it is and don’t care to.  What I do know and care about is people remaining comfortable and complacent in the ‘same thing’ in the same manner we, as humans, have done over the course of our existence.  The ‘same thing’ that leads to dogma, doctrination, discrimination of the negative sort without the discrimination of the discerning sort.

I have the unique ability to see in ways others cannot. Or, more pointedly, in ways others choose not to.  I can see through the veils, the stories, the fears, the mirrors, the cloaks, the stuff-n-stuff that holds people back from their potential. I see the essence.  It has nothing to do with form, fashion, or finessing of words. When I can see it clearly and they cannot fathom because of those limitations, I, quite frankly, get annoyed.  Because of this stuff is so ridiculously simple. Because if you can’t actually practice it, why do you preach it, and hold onto it–that thing–so hard that ?

Let go. Open yourself up. Entirely.  It’s not enough to say, “I’ve got an open heart” when the rest of you is shut down and shut out of the simplicity of the mystery of the Universe.  You don’t need to ‘figure it out’.  There is nothing that needs fixing. Nothing that needs to be rescued or saved.  Sure, tools are good.  As are crutches.  However, when you allow your tool to become the crutch for too long, you forget how to walk on your own!

Breathe. Be. Know.  Know thyself and be true.  And live fully, openly.

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On being childlike

This post is inspired by two events last week.  The first involved a session with a new client; the second, a reminder from Panache Desai to play like a five-year old.

On Saturday, a new client came to see me for a number of reasons–some shared, some not.  He happens to be an older gentleman, who during the session fully admitted he didn’t want to grow up (although wanted some adult action!)  and, in fact, had a temper tantrum while on the table.

Also on Saturday, Panache put it out there play and enjoy the day. Responses to Panache’s Facebook call to play in a child-like way ranged from the creation of mud pies to brilliant artistry.  Funny reads, inspiring art, and a reminder to me.   Not so much to play in the sense of, well, playing like a child.  But more of what being child-like means (or can mean).  Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about mashed potato mountains, Tonkas, Tinker Toys, Centipede, air guitar, Twister, and Barbie’s head on GI Joe’s bod (What? You never did that?).

I think we forget, though, that the most amazing bits of being a child are never lost or even grown out of (we just play differently as adults, don’t we?  Tequila and Twister, anyone? Trade in your Tonka for a Yota yet?).  We just forget how to see as a child sees. Seeing the wondrous nature of the world and people around us:

  • without judgement
  • with an openness not veiled by fear
  • knowing the care and responsibility we share for others
  • with awe
  • with curiosity
  • with gladness and grace
  • with a grin

Reliance on particular aspects of “child”, those that resemble deluded clutching in otherwise grown folks,  hold us back by keeping us afraid.  “I want, I Want, I WANT, I WAAAANT” is one in particular. Think the kid in the grocery store with the embarrassed parent.  We’ve all seen it.  Would you do that now?  Another is the, “No. No. NO. NOOOOOO!!! You can’t have it (or her or him!)!” Imagine me not giving my brother back his Tonka truck with the Barbie-headed GI Joe! We think they work for us.  We think that if we wear down another person or the Universe by saying “I want”, we’re getting our way.  We’re really getting in our way.  When we don’t want to share it/her/him as an adult, we shut ourselves off to everybody–including ourSelf and the thing/person we’re trying to cling onto.

So, yes, Breathe and Be child-like but in the way of seeing the wonder of the world with freshness, curiosity, grace and a big, fat, Cheshire-cat grin!

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)

Shifting life and livelihood

Profound shifts in my life have occurred in the past few months.    Personal choices coupled with the change in our economy led to a lot of free time during the course of the last year.  Time that would have otherwise been spent devoted to other people’s problems or projects became time focused on me.  My needs, my wants, my way of life, and, my purpose:  the reason for being and surviving.

As I asked to be told and demanded to be shown my path, I began to move beyond merely noticing the synchronicities in my life to actually paying attention to and following them.

Although this process began long before I can actually remember, I noticed it a few years ago when I had my “God at the kitchen sink” moment.  What quickly followed that was the leaving of a husband and the comfort of the “known”, moving 1700 miles away, becoming unemployed and involved in another not-so-wise relationship, and humbly visiting the local department of social services office to ask for food stamps.

If, at any time during the course of this process (or before-hand) had anyone asked me if I’d consider myself a spiritual healer, I would have looked at them in the manner that implied a third head had sprouted from their neck!

However, truth now be told, I am a spiritual or energetic healer.  Funny that.  It took being in a place where I could hear what I needed to and engage with myself in a way I otherwise would not have to come to this odd and interesting place.   In finally finding it and developing an understanding of it–this new role I have in the world–other shifts (or gifts) have occurred as well.

Although I’ve always been intuitive at some level (I’m actually one who believes we all are), the role my intuition plays in my life has increased dramatically.  I see differently.  My physical vision is better.   There is a clarity of sight that is mirrored in my other ‘vision’ as well.  I speak differently.  I act differently.  And, according to a good friend, even my smile is different.  When I expressed that I was having a hard time articulating what changes were occurring in and around me, Mark said, “You’ve gone from being happy to finding joy.”  And, that, folks, sums it up.

I’m still an adventure-craving, travel-needing, argument-instigating, red wine-loving, occasional cigar-smoking smart-ass and firecracker full of life (and, occasionally, shit–I admit it!).  However, I’ve now recognized and begun to use what others saw in me years ago.

To facilitate the growth that continues to occur within and around me, Oliphant Consultants as it has existed will cease to exist.  I have learned an enormous amount from colleagues who became mentors and friends.  I am grateful for each opportunity that has presented itself and lessons learned from each project and program.

I will continue to support the communities with which I’ve developed a particular affinity for: law enforcement and other first responders, courts and corrections personnel as well as military servicemen/women.  However, I will be doing so in a different, more beneficial, manner for all of us.