I am writing this blog to share my current perspective. It shows an evolution of perspective over time.
About fifteen years ago, I was going through a great deal. My life had been riddled with trauma and pain, but at the time, I had felt as though I was moving in the right direction. Around 2007-2008, the mortgage crisis happened; I just happened to be in the mortgage industry. In that year, I lost my business, car, house and was in the divorce and custody battle of my life. I had not learned healthy coping mechanisms. All the people who surrounded me to date had very unhealthy coping mechanisms. So, I had never really known how to self-regulate.
Further, I had undiagnosed PTSD. During this time, I had developed a strong addiction to opioids, which were being used in a self-medication capacity. I had never really used them, I had other unhealthy coping mechanisms, but ALL of them were based on ESCAPE. The opioids were the perfect drug; they took away all the past and present pain. At the same time put me on a spiral that revolved around maintaining the escape.
I sought treatment and, at the same time, began exploring the depths of who I might be. I had no idea who that was. It was in this seeking that I found the new age spiritual communities. I fell hook line and sinker into the depths of belief and the relationships these groups afforded me. It was essential for me to belong at that time. My new husband allowed me the space to explore, and I appreciated that. He was never threatened by my beliefs and respected my journey. We had this in common; I had always respected the views of others and celebrated the many perspectives of the world. However, while in the new age communities, I quickly realized that it was no different from other religious organizations. Their beliefs are the only accepted beliefs, and everyone else is wrong. In their view, the rest of the population has it wrong, and they believe that one everyone will wake up. There is much judgment and bastardizing of others who disagree with them. Being raised by a born-again Christian, this perspective NEVER sat well with me. The new age community has different words, like vibration and energy, but it is all the same. Individuals are viewed through a lens of measuring up to the spiritual superiority set by an eastern and western blend of cultural ethics and morals.
It was a couple of years ago when I started really noticing it. I had what I considered a friend; this person disagreed with my perspective on fear. When others would challenge their beliefs, they would bully them, using money as their tool. I watched as they distanced themself from me due to our disagreement. Further, I observed how others emotionally manipulated them for their financial gain. I observed detachment from emotion and their lack of healthy communication. Several times I intuited that they wanted healthy relationships but were not open to allowing themself to feel. There is a strong focus on only feeling positive emotions and a straight-up avoidance of anything perceived as low vibration in the new age communities. I quietly went my separate way, but something in our relationship and her behaviors did not sit well with me, and I would see it again in others.
I would go from individual to individual, having put them on a pedestal as if they had all the answers I was seeking. Seeking is definitely what I was doing, looking for answers I believed someone else had figured out. In the end, these people who I had labeled as teachers were sometimes more wounded than I, which showed in their behaviors. Wow, they were great at typing blogs and word salad, but everything was apparent in their behaviors and relationships. I am NOT perfect; I am open, honest, and authentic about what I am experiencing. I do not surround myself with people who will continue my confirmation bias. These environments create an echo chamber where the same perspective only surrounds individuals, and a lack of growth and development ensues.
More and more, I became uncomfortable with these new-age views and practices. It had spread beyond the new age ideologies, having many different labels, but it was all the same thing I have observed throughout history. However, I could not put my finger on exactly what felt off. Then a couple of years ago, an individual I followed read a blog of mine and sent me a message my blog had inspired them. This person copied and pasted my blog to their page, added a few more lines, and took all the credit. I was plagiarized without remorse. It was at that moment that I recognized the feeding of validation. This individual was so popular; people hung on every word. There was a lack of authenticity, and I would continue to observe it in their behaviors. I wonder if that was the trigger for me, their inauthenticity because authenticity is critical. I sat with it for months, watching others in these communities and reflecting on my conversations in the past. It took a while, but I finally saw it for what it was, spiritual virtue signaling. A projected self-full of all the virtues one feels will make them be perceived as evolved and measuring up. Often it is directed at others to put the behaviors of others down. The signaler will use spiritual superiority tactics, which talk down to others, signaling that their behaviors are superior and that the other person needs to change who they are to measure up, often using shame.
In educating myself, I was able to change my perspective by surrounding myself with NEW information and filtering through it, integrating what I needed. Over the years, I have studied religion, magic, ritual, and cult behaviors. I hadn’t realized I was in a cult, but that is precisely what it was several times. At the same time, my guidance often communicated my need for balance.
I have no problem being outside of my body; I am a master at dissociation. I needed to learn to live in my body. Both perspectives are required. And as I learn to balance, I often experience new insights. I find that we are complex systems, and everything is essential and has its place. I discovered the need to go deep and examine and explore all my parts and pieces without judgment, loving every aspect of the whole. I know there is a belief about being whole, and yes, we are whole. But we are also divided into parts and pieces within the whole through our experiences. It is an intense process to bring all of it back into balance. Sometimes I feel that is the entire journey as a human.
Recently I was participating in a group that has the new age perspective. As I evolved out of these perspectives, I found I was more and more challenged and rejected. Their views did not bother me; I disagreed and held space. Sometimes it felt like I was speaking a language they did not understand, and I often felt energic kickback, which happens; I do not take it personally. It is a natural reaction when ideologies are being challenged, called cognitive dissonance. In these groups, it is so funny how they point to the cognitive dissonance in others but do not address their own. Within this group, I finally saw the pieces that I had been working to comprehend. In reaction to something that was said, though I was not the only one who talked about it, I was the only one who received an email message. An email that tied together years of my confusion. The email was chock-full of spiritual virtue signaling, with an attempt to shame my behaviors and perspectives. I read it and replied, finally drawing the line, that I would no longer participate in these types of exchanges by leaving the group and ending relationships with so-called friends.
The individual stated they would like to meet face to face to work out feelings. In the meeting, they assured me I misunderstood. At this moment, I blamed myself; I convinced myself that it was my PTSD. I was authentic, vulnerable, and honest about what might have caused me to interpret their words in the manner I had. In the conversation, I recognized many biases toward me, but I believed we were working through it as if some light was shed and an epiphany was had. I left the meeting being reassured that I was loved and hoped to return. A few hours later, I got a message saying the person does not agree with; I don’t know what, “we can agree to disagree,” it wasn’t stated exactly what that was and that I am not a good fit for the group. I reread the first message that I had convinced myself I misinterpreted. I did not address the actual message when in the meeting; I found myself lost in all the perceived love and support. I gave the message to an independent non-bias party for review, to ensure I was not processing through a PTSD lens. With a bit of personal processing, I realized I had just been gaslighted! In reflection, the individual in the meeting did not take responsibility for their behavior, instead blamed me; when they felt they were back in control, they rejected me—a little narcissistic co-dependant dance, which I promptly recognized and put an end to. After analyzing the message, my unbiased second opinion stated the same thing: spiritual virtue signaling, superiority, and shaming. I reflected if I have done this to anyone else throughout my past, and I am uncertain. If you felt this from me, I am sorry. Now that it is seen, it changes everything; I am aware and choose a new behavior. Today, on the Solstice, I received a gift of further awareness and understanding. This new balanced perspective allows for my experience of a more restored whole, a recovery of the self, and the freedom to be who I am without shame.
Thankfully I have worked through my issues. Thankfully I am comfortable enough to evaluate my thoughts and behaviors openly and honestly. Look how much I have grown. A few years ago, a situation like this would have destroyed me for several days, if not weeks. And these people within these communities do not care about the destruction they leave behind. It is so dangerous. It is unfortunate, but I know people who have attempted suicide and committed suicide because they found themselves rejected without anyone to hold a nonjudgement space for them within these groups with so-called friends who love you. They find themselves faced with this measuring stick based on spiritual superiority. They do not measure up, paired with a fear to share their honest experiences, as they might be judged as insufficient, and they will be rejected. These acts significantly affect others and, again, are very dangerous.
In the meeting, I also had something else confirmed. It is what I experienced and later had to remedy in my behavior. Once I stopped using opioids, I started meditation and different alternative modalities. I am a very deep meditator and explore this altered state of consciousness. There are ecstatic experiences that are often had in these states. It feels terrific when we are what we perceive as outside of the body. That is why I am a master at dissociation. Since I was a child, I have used this tool while experiencing sexual abuse. This state is very similar to opioids. It helps to kill all of the pain. But just like opioids and it can become addictive. Eventually, we are disconnected from the people who unconditionally love us and find ourselves constantly judging them as if something is wrong with them, not us. We believe that this state is the ultimate state of being. When we are there, it does feel amazing. However, it is not balanced. We are spirits having a human experience in cooperation of matter. We must also tend to the physical and respect it the same. We are complex systems, and we must cultivate healthy parts and pieces so the whole may operate to efficiency and contentment.
I leave this blog, finally putting all of the pieces I struggled with for several years together. I hope that individuals will find balance by exposing themselves to other perspectives and integrating that information. By going on deep dives, we can explore what the soul has in mind for our experiences and the ingredients needed to bring us closer to happiness that expands to the people we interact with. By recognizing the deep programs that cause our behaviors, individuals can shift their experiences to ones that positively affect us all. This exploration takes openness, honesty, and authenticity. I know it is often perceived as negative, but when you further develop, one recognizes that dark AND light are essential. It all severs the journey of the human experience. I have a gift that allows me to pull the unconscious into the conscious, to be observed and played with. This gift offers new ingredients to create a new experience. I hadn’t wanted to be a licensed counselor, but it appears that this is what I was born to do. I will not allow anyone to shame me for my gifts. I will no longer project my light onto others. It is time for us to ALL be responsible.
The question is, will you process the parts that come up to be seen, or will you choose the great escape?