Moving from a dysfunctional codependent relationship to a conscious one – Part II

Light at the end of the tunnel, finally a conscious relationship

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Read part I

Even after many years of struggles in codependent and abusive relationships, it is possible to mature into a conscious relationship. Once the lessons have been learned, we finally see light at the end of the tunnel. Intimate relationships have been a source of torment, despair, frustration and powerlessness. They now become the most beautiful part of our life. Our life deepens and we get to experience the purity of the love within our heart through the most magnificent mirror of romantic connection. What does this relationship feel like?

1. Personal Work

Because of the law of attraction, the partner we love is the mirror of who we are, mostly the unexpressed aspects. Therefore, the better person we become, the better partner we will attract. A beautiful and enjoyable romantic partnership can only be the mirror of genuine self-love. For this reason, inner work is and will continue to be the biggest factor in attracting, loving and keeping this special person.

Inner work, meditation

In a conscious relationship, we remember that our partner is a mirror. When they trigger us, we remember they are helping us to become aware of unsavory aspects we have repressed. We enjoy the good times, and we go into introspection during the challenging times to learn and become a better version of ourselves. If we think the behavior of our loved one has nothing to do with us, then we will not have strong reactions. We can either be supportive or feel indifferent, and lose interest. But if we are triggered, then we can be assured that it is about us. With experience, we learn to discriminate more and more accurately what is our stuff, and what is their stuff when a conflict arises. And we learn to discuss it in a vulnerable way to increase self-awareness and intimacy.

We learn to be alone while not feeling lonely. We do not need someone to complete ourselves. We do not need to marry someone to relive our childhood traumas. We are no longer afraid to be abandoned or betrayed. We understand that love is within us and not outside. So even if a breakup occurs, we know for certain that after we have grieved, the love within us will manifest an even better partner than before. This works as automatically as a sick body will eventually get healthy because health is our natural state of balance as we follow our inner guidance and get enough rest. We are able to make the best decisions for the relationship and ourselves because we are not driven anymore by the fear of ending up alone.

The people in a relationship are more important than the relationship itself. While it is wonderful to enjoy longevity in a relationship, we understand that there is no guarantee. As human beings, we keep changing and growing and sometimes people grow in different directions. It does not make anyone wrong, though the process of uncoupling can be so painful.  We can only share happiness with our beloved if we are happy ourselves. To keep sacrificing oneself is not sustainable. We need to put our self first with the sincere hope that our partner will want to stick around, and we understand that they need to put them self first too. We understand the fragility of romantic love, as it requires so many conditions to truly blossom. For this reason, we never take it for granted and revel in every moment of deep intimacy. Sometimes, we love our partner so much that we understand that it is best for us to step away if we see that we are limiting their growth.

As we accept the free will of our partner, we are able to experience a new form of love that is not possessive. We do not feel threatened by the growth of our partner, thinking they may leave if they outgrow us. On the opposite side, we want them to reach their full potential. We understand that the love can only get better as each partner commits to becoming the best they can be. We want to experience two hearts that choose to love each other in complete freedom, a love that is genuinely unconditional.  We accept that our partner may say no to us at times. It could be no to joining on an activity, no to sex, no to help us out, no to an external commitment and we trust them that they have taken our best interest in consideration. We work on our own abandonment or self-esteem issues or insecurities when this happens without attempting to manipulate them.

We commit to know ourselves and to be authentic. We commit to own both our light and shadow. Unless we know who we are, we appear unpredictable and unsafe to our partner. As we acquire self-knowledge, we understand our core needs and we are able to communicate effectively about them. We are honest, we act with integrity and we have healthy boundaries. When we have a conflicting need, we find a creative way for both partners to get their needs met.

Healthy boundaries

The more we own our shadow, the more we can create a container for our partner’s shadow so that we can both bring more of ourselves into the relationship for deeper intimacy. The more we own our shadow, the less likely it is for any shame to disrupt the relationship. The more we own our shadow, the better we can support our partner’s emotional healing without judgment.

2. Building a life together

While the commitment to self comes first as it is the healthy foundation for anything we bring into our life, a relationship takes nurturing and commitment. A romantic partnership is like a beautiful flower that needs its daily intake of nutrients, good soil, sun, and water. An intimate connection is the co-creation of two individuals. It is a third entity in addition of the two individuals, not an entity that is supposed to overthrow the same individuals that brought it to life in the first place.

Building our life together

Take it Slow. It takes time to know a person. People have a tendency to move too fast together after having sex. Sexual chemistry may be irresistible at first but it will eventually wane off as incompatibilities surface. Sexual attraction is an indicator of the potential of a relationship for personal growth, while compatibility is the best indicator for longevity. Genuine trust is built slowly through repetition. Taking any step back in a committed relationship is very damaging so it is better to advance slowly but surely. Only commit when you are ready to do it, but then be consistent.

Become an expert on other person. We tend to forget it but the main reason to be in a relationship is to love and to be loved, to experience joy and happiness. Therefore, the better we know our partner, the easier it is for us to make them feel loved. It is critical to know their love language, how they feel appreciated, what opens their heart, how they feel cared for. The more you bring joy into their lives, the more your partner will feel inspired to reciprocate if s/he is not narcissistic. Be curious and keep asking questions to know your partner better every day. We should give at least five times more compliments than constructive feedback on how our partner’s behavior is affecting us negatively.

In its lower form, sex can be used for control and a way to release negativity. However, when used consciously, the benefits are immense. The regular mixing of Yin & Yang sexual energy of two lovers is excellent to their health. Sex can become a sacred ritual when the energy from the genitals gets refined in each subsequent chakra to eventually open the crown chakra. It allows the lovers to experience ego death in a divine embrace. It opens the door to some of the highest pleasures we are able to experience on this earth. It promotes playfulness and intimacy. It brings heaven on earth.

sexual union, tantra

Many of us make the mistake of loving romantic partners for their potential and not for what they are today. While people can change, this is a long process so this type of expectation puts unnecessary stress onto the relationship. To truly love someone is to love his or her shortcomings. This makes it a safe place for our partner to grow without shame. We are able to see and love the whole person, without idealizing or demonizing him or her.

A conscious intimate relationship is the experience of togetherness without losing oneself in the process. It is the merging of freedom with responsibility and commitment.

We give without expecting anything in return. Unless absolutely necessary, we only do things for our partner when it comes from our heart to keep the relationship pure and unconditional. And by doing so, we raise our vibration and we move our center of gravity from the ego to the heart, to experience life at a much higher level.

We focus on creating joy and happiness for our partner. More and more, their bliss becomes our own, and their smile reflects the delight of our heart. We have no need to claim our value because it is already there as we wonder at the love in their eyes.

We strive to be sensitive towards our partner and we extend the same concern to our close ones. We ensure to be on the same page, and if we are not, we at least become aware that we are not. We are patient and understanding in solving our differences.

empathy

Self-improvement means encouraging and feeding the highest aspects within us, and starving the unsavory ones. We need to have the same commitment towards our partner. When a shadow aspect manifests but we do not feel our partner could take the constructive feedback, just ignore this aspect in silence. But under no circumstance should we feed their shadow otherwise it will come back to bite us. I once had a partner who had megalomaniac tendencies. I would be encouraging but never to the point where her ego could take the better of her. Unfortunately, she had a manager that was in love with her, and would continuously put her on a pedestal. He used her shadow to make her leave me so that he could get married with her. However, he is now the one who has to deal with the monster he has created.

3. Communication

There cannot be a relationship without communication. Communication can be verbal and non verbal. Communication is what harmonizes the uniqueness of two individuals so that a third entity, the relationship, may be created. The quality of your relationship is first determined by the quality of your communication. Communication is the invisible thread that makes the dance of relationships possible.

communication

When our partner talks to us, we figure out the best course of action. Do they just need to vent? Do they need their pain to be validated? Do they need to be felt, seen and understood through active listening? Do they need to feel protected and loved? Are they actually looking for advice? (rarely) Do they want to explore a philosophical subject? (rarely)

We strive towards achieving the best balance in sharing our problems and worries. We share vulnerably what troubles us for deeper intimacy, however we are careful not to overwhelm our partner with our challenges. We develop a sense of how much our partner is able to handle without being dragged down. If they get triggered, they will make our state worse and not better anyway. We accept the fact that our partner has limitations just as we have limitations. We put our individual problems into the right container, as we understand our partner is sacred and should not be the recipient of our own dysfunction. We make it a priority to share the positive aspects of life over the struggles. We develop a habit to see the glass half full rather than half empty without living in denial.

In the medical profession, the Hippocratic oath teaches us to abstain from all intentional wrongdoing and harm. I believe the same applies to intimate relationships. While it is impossible never to hurt an intimate partner that is so close to us, we commit never to do it intentionally. And if we do hurt them, we become introspective so as to understand on how not to do it anymore.  On the opposite, we commit to do everything in our power to bring more joy and happiness into their life.

Kindness is the antidote for shame. Kindness promotes safety in the relationship. When communication and interaction with our beloved is infused with kindness, we relax. We need less time alone to recharge because we are able to do it even more effectively in their quiet presence. Kindness allows an intimate relationship to become a refuge.

kindness

Authenticity comes with responsibility. We become aware how speaking our truth or acting from our authentic self may negatively impact our partner. We anticipate their reaction so that we can best communicate about our needs while minimizing negative impact for them. For example, if you have an urge to climb the Himalayas, you do it in a way that will guarantee your safety and at a time when your spouse can have extra support at home with the children.

Please be careful with what you are committing to because a broken promise can permanently damage the trust in the relationship. Trust is the foundation of intimate relationships. It takes one hundred consistent positive actions to earn trust but one failed promise can demolish everything. So be aware of your limitations. I recently saw a young couple where the woman was struggling with sexual inhibition because of a traumatic past of sexual objectification. We realized that she needed more space for her sexual healing so the young man committed never to initiate sex anymore and that he would leave it entirely to her. This idea came from a noble aspect of him however he was unaware of other parts of him that were unable to hold this promise. As a result, I suggested that they schedule sex once a week intentionally and leave the rest to her. This way, he will not be completely starved sexually and he could more easily create the space she needed for her sexual healing.

A relationship agreement is a wonderful way to clarify in writing how a couple can maximize happiness for each other. It brings focus and consistency in their efforts to nurture the relationship. It needs to be light and flexible for spontaneous love but precise enough to foster commitment. I encourage the couple to write an update of the relationship agreement every year as people keep changing and evolving. It should however never be used as an instrument of control, but as a gentle reminder for the partners’ dedication to love each other in the best way possible.

4. Conflict resolution

conflict resolution

Shame is like a hot potato. We throw it at each other because we are afraid to get burnt. Arguments escalate the same way as we throw back and forth the burning shame to each other. Here is an example. The husband arrives late from a long day at work and a business dinner with clients. Wife says “The kids were acting crazy tonight. I am exhausted. I hate living with an absent husband. You are never here with us”. The husband feels ashamed. It triggers his self-worth issues so he responds “Well, there needs to be someone here to pay for the mortgage, and your weekly visit to the hairdresser”. Now this triggers the wife’s insecurities that she is not good enough, and she feels guilty to take care of herself so she goes into a fit of rage. Owning the shame is what breaks this circle. The husband could have simply responded “Yes, I feel bad that I let you down tonight again. I understand you need a caring husband on your side to raise our beautiful children. I am sorry”. Then she may vent a little bit more her frustration but there is no more escalation. This couple can come close again.When we need to give feedback on something that is bothering us in the relationship, we have to learn to do it in a vulnerable way and by taking full responsibility for our feelings. “I cannot stand my life with an absent husband. You are never here with us” becomes “I am struggling with the fact that you are so busy at work. I feel I am distancing myself from you because we do not spend enough time connecting with each other”. “You are such a nagging bitch” becomes “I am starting to struggle with my self-worth because I feel I cannot make you happy no matter hard I try. I am starving for appreciation and connection”. “You are so selfish and only thinking of yourself when you have sex with me” becomes “I felt very alone and objectified when we had sex last night. I am starving for a deeper connection between us. I want to feel that we care as much for each others pleasure as we do our own”. This approach mitigates shame and allows for the beginning of a conscious discussion instead of an argument.

fragile heart

A relationship is fragile, and has potential dangers from outside (life circumstances and other relationships) or inside (incompatibilities). The couple cannot be naïve about them and instead should develop full awareness of what is menacing their union. Some of these negative external influences could be: toxic in-laws, friends not in support of the relationship, difficult stepchildren brainwashed by a jealous ex, a very demanding boss, health or financial issues, or civil unrest. Relationship threats related to various incompatibilities are even more challenging, and it takes conscious communication and a lot of flexibility not to affect the relationship negatively. While most of the time together should be focused on positive aspects, it is critical to acknowledge what could have a negative impact and not sweep it under the rug. Love is precious but it is so fragile. Awareness will advert many dangers.

I am often asked the question on what to do when both partners get triggered at the same time. Ideally, both partners should isolate in a separate room to figure out their personal trigger. It can take the form of journaling, meditation or another healing modality. In this case, the partners are incapable of being a helpful container so it is best to do the work alone. Then they can come back together later and share what they have learned in a vulnerable way after they have calmed down. However, someone with an anxious attachment style may feel even more triggered if his or her partner disappears when a conflict occurs. In this case, I recommend they stay in the same room together as they work separately in silence with their own triggers.

It is a paradox but to be able to handle conflicts successfully, we should not be afraid of conflicts. If we give in because we are afraid of our partner’s negative emotions whether it is rage or despair, we are abandoning ourselves. Nothing gets solved this way, and we keep repeating the same unconscious patterns over and over again. It is natural to be afraid but a conscious relationship demands that we do not act from a place of fear. We acknowledge the fear but we continue to act from our highest truth, no matter what the consequences are. If our partner is not able to love us enough to handle our authentic truth, then we need to accept the fact that we may be better off with a different partner. Many teachers have said that fear and not hate is the opposite of love. Let’s learn to embrace conflict rather than running away from it. Let’s bring as much conscious awareness as possible during the conflict so that we can learn from our disputes.

love me with my hairy arms

It is natural to have preferences in the way our partner looks or behaves. We can express our personal preferences however we should never use any form of manipulation such as intimidation or blackmail to control our partner’s behavior or looks. We need to respect their free will and wait for them to take this action from their own volition. Let’s say your girlfriend does not shave her underarms and you find this unattractive. You may express your preference however if she is genuinely attached to her armpit hair, you should let it go. If this is a reason for you to break up with her, then she is definitely better off without you as it shows you are unable to love her the way she is.

Rather than seeing a relationship trigger as a curse, we need to rewire ourselves to see it as an opportunity. A trigger can be seen as a long and strong rope to recover lost and buried aspects within us. They can teach us invaluable lessons, promote self-knowledge and personal healing like nothing else. They bring to our awareness existing problems that need to be addressed. They help us improve our communication. If tackled properly, they help us deepen the intimacy with our partner.

conscious relationship

Conclusion

Intimate relationships are challenging but there is nothing else that has the potential to bring us as much happiness, growth and wisdom. A conscious relationship is the ultimate reward of many years of trying, failing and learning to love. This is why many forms of art have been obsessed with romantic love and intimate partnership. It is the most beautiful reminder on this earth of the rapture of divine love. Never give up on the dream to love and to be loved.

Divine justice

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We live in an unfair world. For the most part, the dice are thrown at birth. If you are raised in an upper-middle class family in Silicon Valley, your chance of professional and financial success are a million times higher than if you were born into a broken family with an alcoholic father in Cameroon. I have traveled to over 50 countries in the world and I can see how determining the environment we are raised in is.

Life is unfair

All leaders understand that an organization is far more successful when its members believe they are treated fairly and that the system is a meritocracy, where progress is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or wealth. Many good leaders strive to create order from the natural chaos of life, and ensure that group members are rewarded according to their actual contribution, themselves included. Unfortunately; many leaders in all branches of society are only making the pretense of justice through sophisticated manipulations and dissimulations, while continuing to follow purely selfish desires. This is why people are more and more disillusioned with politics as they see more and more clearly through the web of lies of leading political parties. But this trend is encompassing all fields of society.

I have had extensive experience with the US legal system and I can only see there the law of the fittest and not the law of justice. People are being fooled by the illusion of fairness in the legal system because laws appear to be neutral and impartial. However, people interpreting the laws are subjective and can easily fall into diverse manipulation, corruption or weakness of character. Most people that have had to endure the US legal system realize that the system itself composed of judges, lawyers and specialists was a more redoubtable adversary than the foe they intended to protect themselves from. I may sound harsh with the US legal system but it is actually better than many legal systems throughout the world that are even far more corrupt.

The injustice system

Following the same train of thoughts, many people, mostly atheists, are arguing that if God was omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, justice and love as all religions claim, then why would the world carry so much pain? We can witness so many real stories where “the good” are abused by “the bad” or where “the cheaters” win over the principled ones. This goes against everything we read or watched as a kid. We get to realize we were led to believe in justice so that we could better manipulated but that it is mostly an illusion.

However; there are many people that came from horrendous childhood environments and managed to overcome their challenging background to achieve extraordinary success. Motivational speakers abound in citing examples from famous people overcoming early struggles.  Though they are a minority, I personally know people who endured the worst possible childhood and who were later on able to raise on top of their field. But if we look at these outliers, these same people had some extraordinary talent that made possible for them to create new opportunities in their life. So to an extent, they were gifted with some good cards despite their environment. So even this argument is more the exception that confirms the rule that we do not live in a fair environment.

Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs came from humble beginnings

We make the mistake to equate financial & professional success as the ultimate goal in life. However, if we dive deeper within, we realize that genuine happiness is really what we are after. We only want to be successful as far as we think it is going to make us happy. We all know financially and professionally successful people that are miserable and ordinary people that live a truly happy life. So it appears that happiness may be far less dependent on external situations than we may think.

I can see in my meditation that behind the background of emotions we got to experience every day such as excitement, sadness, joy or disappointment, we can find another dimension of self, the one that is beyond the roles we play everyday. When we commune with our inner self, and we touch our core, what do we find there? Peace or torment.

Torment has many characteristics. It feels like something is missing, that we are out of integrity, we cannot sit still as a result and we are looking for ways to distract ourselves. Judgment towards others or self-hatred which is really the same thing, restlessness, shame, the desire to hide our shameful self by projecting a new persona, identification with negative emotions, feeling split and divided, the feeling unworthy of love, alone and disconnected are all attributes of this state. Actually; many successful people are tormented. Their professional activity or financial success may be simply a coping mechanism for hiding their unhealed traumas or not a direct creative expression of their being.

torment

Peace, on the opposite, comes with the alignment of our personality with our higher self. In that state, we feel love effortlessly by the simple act of being alive. We feel complete, and we may be alone without feeling lonely. We have desires without compulsive needs. We have faith in our future, and we are grateful of the lessons learned even if they were painful. We feel guided and protected. We stay the same authentic person in all situations. We are able to be fully present. Our activities are a natural and direct expression of our being and not an escape.

peace

Genuine and lasting happiness comes mostly from our inner-self and it will determine if we experience torment or peace. This is where divine justice lies. When life brings us joy, we can simply rejoice in it but as life brings us suffering, we have the choice of using this hardship and learning from it. We can then get more loving, compassionate, pure and wise. The conscious experience of suffering can help us narrow the gap between our personality and our spirit, to live a more authentic life and experience inner peace as a result.

One year ago, I lost the woman I loved which compounded the loss of my 2 children 2 years prior. This brought very deep torment to my soul. I struggled with guilt, sadness, betrayal, disappointment, bitterness, discouragement, and depression. I used the very same tools that I am practicing daily on my healing clients, to heal myself.  These tools include: inner work, introspection, conscious somatic experience of negative emotions, learning the lessons, surrounding the hurt aspects with unconditional love & presence, taking responsibility and initiating the appropriate actions.

Divine justice

During the past year, my external situation did not change. However; I am now feeling very different. I am finally AT PEACE. I realize this is the most important thing. This makes me believe that divine justice does exist because there is always a way to make a profit from suffering that comes our way. We are not choosing suffering consciously (though it can be argued that our higher self does) but when tragedy strikes, we still have a choice to look for the hidden gift. The fact that the painful external situation that revealed the inner struggle or unhealed traumas (the loss of love or children in my case) is not changing despite a drastic improved inner state is not a contradiction with the law of attraction because we live in an abundant universe. The law of attraction needs to respect the free will and the point of attraction of all parties involved. So, for example, if one has been alienated from his children, a loving stepchild may appear. Or if the former beloved does not come back to your life, an even more beautiful love will manifest. This is why it is so important not to be fixated on the outcome, but instead to follow one’s heart and surrender to spirit. Human justice may be imperfect so take refuge in divine justice, and inner peace becomes our ultimate reward. Help yourself, and God will help you.

An alternative way to understand disease to take control of your health

Running in nature

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The USA is spending 18% of its GDP or $3.5 trillion in health care every year. This is a confirmation that healing is a key concern of our society and most individuals. As we all know, however, our healthcare system is far from being efficient. While I marvel at organ transplants, our ability to get people to survive the worst accidents and treat infectious diseases, healthcare is still predominantly a reflection of our collective vibration of powerlessness and dis-empowerment. Most people are still looking for this magic pill or that omniscient doctor to save them from their misery. The rapid rise of bariatric surgery (procedures performed on people who have obesity) perfectly illustrates this symptom. People would pay over $20,000 to reduce the size of their stomach with a gastric band before even considering changing their diet, following an exercise plan, examining their childhood traumas or changing their lifestyle. This trend is fortunately changing with more and more people taking control of their health, educating themselves with the ample information available on the Internet and looking at alternative medicine, just in case mainstream approaches prove to be ineffective. Modern medicine continues to treat patients’ bodies as a machine independent of their emotional, mental and spiritual aspects, and therein lies its main failure. As a result, they treat symptoms rather than the root cause of the ailment.

I have been exposed to emotional, mental and spiritual healing for the last 26 years, and I have developed many healing modalities that have served me tremendously throughout my life. My healing clients are able to benefit from this experience. We first need to realize that most diseases have an emotional component.

As an example, alternative therapists understand now that:

  • Stomach issues relate to stress related to our environment composed of people and situations that we are not able to “stomach” anymore
  • Constipation indicates our resistance of letting go of past situations, people or ideas often because of guilt.  The primary function of the bowel is to evacuate what is no longer useful to the body and our mindset can affect this function.
  • Back pain is a reflection to a perceived lack of support
  • Knee issues are a resistance to move forward both physically and psychologically
  • Headaches are indicative of over-thinking, over-analysis, judgment towards self and others. It is an attempt of our mind to control everything instead of working in harmony with the other aspects of the self for healing
  • And so on, so forth…
stomach pain

As we live our life, pollution, toxic food, people or environment, strenuous activities, radiation, stressful situations, personal tragedies or even accidents may negatively impact our health. Fortunately, we have everything within us to regenerate and heal ourselves, mostly through sleep, healthy food, positive relationships and environments, and an active lifestyle. Health is a state of balance that we strive towards naturally as we are attuned to ourselves and let go of resistance.

From my perspective, there are 6 major causes to all illnesses that we create from the lighter to the deeper:

  1. Not listening to our physical needs

Most people get a cold when they push their physical body harder though they are already depleted of energy. With experience, one can notice the early signs of exhaustion, the first sensation of a sore throat and give one’s body the needed rest before sickness comes in. Light ailment is usually just a call for a forced and needed rest. In the same way, we may stay in adverse physical environments (polluted, too cold, too hot, too much stimulation) too long and we disregard the signs when our body tells us to get out. At other times, the body needs to move & exercise, to get good comfort food, light healthy food or to fast and refrain from eating. A reason why health and wellness is such a confusing field with every expert saying something different is because there are no rules. We are different, and we need something different at different times. We live in a society that is predominantly ruled by the mental. This aspect of us always tries to be in control by rules & principles that are often disconnected to our physical reality in the present. 

listening to inner voice

2. Not meeting our emotional needs

What is true to our physical body is also true to our emotional self. We stay in toxic relationships or toxic work situations where we swim in harmful negative emotions. It is then just a matter of time that this emotional corrosion will eventually manifest physically. We have the fundamental needs to love and to be loved, to feel worthy, to feel safe, to belong, to be creative and to grow. If we feel continuously deprived of these core emotional needs, we will develop psychosomatic diseases. Depression, anxiety, mood disorders, ADHD, sexual dysfunction, stress disorders, and insomnia are some examples of the many unfortunate psychological disorders we may develop as a result.2. Repressed emotions

3. Repressed emotions

Life is movement, and emotions are powerful energies circulating in the body. When emotions are unable to move anymore, and cannot find an outlet, they may become poisonous. Every family or work environment has a set of emotions that are unacceptable to express whether it is anger, sadness, fear but also even excitement or joy. In order to be loved and accepted, we therefore repress these emotions. The organ corresponding to the emotion will then get impacted. Chinese medicine is well aware of this fact. For example; repressed anger will create liver imbalance, repressed sadness will affect the lungs, repressed fear will disrupt the kidneys and repressed joy will create heart issues.

Repressed emotions

4. Poor beliefs about self

We are all familiar with the power of belief and that mind creates reality. Negative core beliefs about the self will create lower-vibration emotions that will eventually take a toll on our physical health. The challenge that we face is that most of our negative self-concept is subconscious, as our ego desperately attempts to hide our dark side from the conscious mind. This is why it takes bravery and introspection for this type of inner work. The most common beliefs I have encountered in my practice are “I am unlovable”, “I am bad/evil/dark”, “I am dangerous” or “I am stupid”.

5. Unhealed past traumas

When our conscious mind is unable to deal with a traumatic situation, it automatically shuts down. Dissociation is a survival mechanism that we have used for millions of years. Unfortunately, we do not fully escape the trauma when we dissociate but a fragmentation of the self occurs. The traumatized aspects get buried deep into the subconscious so that our conscious self can go on with life. Some of the buried emotions are highly toxic without counting the tremendous energy required to keep these traumatic events to come back to the surface. The body will keep fighting subconsciously the traumatic events of the past. For example, I have seen women victim of incest or rape as a child, becoming obese, having adverse skin reactions or become overly masculine depending on the degree that they feel their beauty or femininity got them into trouble. Modern medicine is powerless towards these disorders as there is no pill that exists to heal a past traumatic event.

6. Obsolete coping mechanisms

As we go through challenging life situations, we develop coping strategies. For example, we may have developed inner walls or shut down emotionally to deal with a traumatic childhood. These coping strategies may have helped us survive a very abusive childhood environment but it is easy to see how it may isolate us in our adult life. On the same token, we may have developed an addiction (ex. smoking, drinking, drugs, pornography, gambling, video games, social media, being a workaholic etc…) every time we come close to a dreadful emotion. The addiction, which is actually a coping strategy, will eventually have a negative effect on our health. Another common coping mechanism is to numb our senses and in this case, hearing or seeing dysfunctions may follow. Our body always has our best interest in mind so there is always a positive intention in the disease itself. An autoimmune disease attempts to eliminate poisonous or discordant aspects of the self not understanding that by doing so, it is destroying us by the same token. The same is true for cancer. An obese person is creating extra layers of fat to feel protected against a dangerous environment when it feels so hard to keep any boundaries. We react to a perceived threat through freeze, fight, flight or fawn. We may repeat the same strategy over and over again independently of the environment. For example, an overuse of the freeze strategy may result in Bell’s palsy.

Meditation

This is why so many research studies have shown that meditation can have such a positive impact on our health. Most disease are created and spread because we are not attuned to our emotions, feelings or body sensations. Meditation is the practice to look inward to explore our feelings, emotions, thoughts and physical sensations. We are always receiving new impressions and we are always shifting as a result. Our modern life is unfortunately not tailored to this inner listening. It praises instead the tyranny of the mind over body and emotions. Eventually, the body revolts or crashes.

Though it may not simple at first, there are ways to reverse this process through the conscious listening of our inner world. All emotions, even negative emotions, are our friends. There are here to move the energy around and restore a state of balance. This is why healthy kids go through so many emotions in a single day, from laughing, to crying, being playful or feeling cranky. If you have suffered loss, the emotions of despair, anger and sadness will help you heal. If your boundaries are violated, the positive side of anger will direct you to take action to ensure your safety. Simply learn to create a safe container to express all emotions during your meditation with full awareness. The state of inner alignment is the most conducive to physical and emotional health, and your feelings will point you in the right direction.

Wim Hof in the Himalayas

I have not been sick for over a year, and I have not had a discomfort that lasted for more than a couple of hours while 2018 has been a very challenging year marked by personal tragedy. I can tell you from my personal experience that one can heal from everything. I have some simple principles that have been critical to my healing and well being that I have listed below. 

  1. Meditation is my refuge. I meditate frequently, ideally every morning, to check-in and create a day according to my values, inspiration and feelings of the moment. But at the very least, I meditate as soon as I do not feel quite right
  2. I am committed to become aware and express all my emotions. I am careful to create a non judgmental safe container for these emotions. Authenticity is the courage to see my feelings for what they are without judgment. It is the commitment to my personal truth independently of the consequences
  3. When required, and when inner listening of my feelings and emotions is not enough, I commit to follow through with actions. This could be calling a friend you have not heard from for a while, or going on a run if my body feels sluggish.
  4. I commit to self care through a healthy emotional environment, a healthy lifestyle, to rest when I am tired and to strive to meet my authentic physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs
  5. I trust my body in guiding me in what I can eat and drink. Sometimes, this may be fruits, avoiding alcohol, vegetable or comfort food.
  6. I strive to live a conscious life, be positive and act as the best version of myself. But when I do not feel well, I do not bulldoze myself but commit to shadow work to use this opportunity to integrate unhealed aspects of myself. Shadow work means being present and exploring the negative emotion to elicit answers about the healing or actions that need to take place.
  7. I stretch myself positively with compelling goals but never to the point of breaking
  8. I believe in balance. Balance of physical, mental, social and spiritual activities. Balance of activity and rest. Balance of work and fun. Balance of solitude and together time. Balance in taking care of self and others. Balance of order and chaos. When done right, balance results naturally in a sense of peace and well-being.
Vaillant skiing in Utah

There is nothing more important than health because when we lose it, nothing else matters. We take it for granted and impact it negatively through many small actions every day by not paying attention. But worse, we live in a state of dis-empowerment regarding our health as we were led to believe that our health is dependent on external factors such as germs, genes, pollution or bad luck. It is time for us to take responsibility for our health, build a strong immune system to live a truly fulfilling life.

Growing and healing together as a couple

3 part series of the dysfunctional dance between co-dependents and borderlines

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Part III – Growing and healing together as a couple

social stigma

For the most part, my last blog on Understanding and Loving the Borderline was well received except on a Facebook group that brings together a vulnerable minority group. My blog triggered them, as they felt stigmatized and shamed. I removed the post from this private group as my intent was to make people feel better not worse, and they were unable to make use of the information. They probably suffered a lot in the hands of a mental health system that often uses labels to prescribe drugs and to scapegoate them instead of providing them with genuine support for healing. Labeling is indeed a dangerous thing. It is fine for people to label themselves as borderline or codependent as a tool for self-observation, but we should refrain from labeling other people this way, as it would just trigger their shame. Shame and self-awareness are incompatible states. This is why, once our shame is triggered, any positive change towards our authentic healthy self becomes impossible. We become frozen and what can happen instead is more fragmentation, meaning that we would build a false self in order not to experience this feeling of shame again. This is actually the process of how false cult personalities are created, and how the false “good guys” personalities are built with codependents. The borderline is however unable to cope and goes into rage. I sincerely do not know which is healthier. Every tool can be used for empowerment or to hurt people. It is up to each one of us to use this information wisely.

We mirror each other’s disowned self

the angel and demon in us

As I was doing inner work, I remember when I first met my “inner borderline”. We call this process voice dialog or parts work. I display externally little of the BPD characteristics. As I mentioned previously, I have been struggling instead with codependency in my intimate relationships. This makes sense as we manifest externally what is deeply repressed in us. This is how attraction works. As a child, the borderline aspects of my mum and stepmom terrified me but I had to bond with them for my emotional survival. I had made the depression of one and the anger of the other one unacceptable emotions. I created these parts internally to mirror them but buried them deep within my psyche out of fear and in a subconscious attempt to feel safe. I could not have been a magnet for PBPD partners all of my life unless there was a part in me to reflect them. So if a codependent is in a relationship with a PBPD, we need to remember that the borderline is the repressed aspect of the codependent, and vice versa. There is futility in blaming our partner because they are you, both representing the positive and negative aspects of you that you have disowned. The most extreme form of internalizing the people we feel traumatized from, and that we feel dependent on for our survival is well documented as the Stockholm syndrome. An example was the adoration of Nazi concentration camp SS physician Josef Mengele by his victims. Josef Mengele performed the most horrific deadly human experiments on prisoners and in particular on children twins. I recommend a quick read on other famous cases of the Stockholm syndrome. Here is how it works. When a traumatic event occurs that we are not able to process consciously, we fragment. This means that aspects of our consciousness leave our body to find escape somewhere else. In very powerless situations, these fragmented selves actually find refuge in the abuser as it feels it is the safest place to hide. As a result, we create deeply repressed internal parts of the very same persons that traumatized us. We cannot acknowledge these aspects consciously as otherwise we would live in a constant state of anxiety so they manifest externally in particular in the form of romantic & intimate relationships. We have a tendency to fall in love with people showing the same dysfunctional aspects of our parent of the opposite gender. This is why women raised with an emotionally unavailable father would attract the same in their partners. And this is why I have been with PBPD most of my life. I am not a victim. They are simply mirroring the aspects of me that I have repressed. They are helping me to become conscious. In the same way, all the PBPD I have been with had a codependent father that I was mirroring back for them. It may be depressing news but most of us are simply trying to earn back the love we did not receive as a child (from our parents). We are actually replaying the traumas and the stories of the past instead of actually truly connecting with our partners. There is only one way out, which is bringing these lost aspects of ourselves back to the light of consciousness. Seeing these parts, accepting them, loving them and ultimately forgiving oneself for reenacting this drama subconsciously are the steps to recovery.

Think of yourself as the trinity: adult, child and soul

The sacred trinity: personality, inner child and soul

In the process of integration, I have found it a helpful tool to see myself as the composite of my (hurt) inner child, my adult and my transcendental self. The codependent identifies with his adult self, while the PBPD identifies with her hurt inner child. The borderline feels too much while the codependent is hardly in touch with his feelings. For a healthy development of the individual, we need a balance between these two aspects. The inner child gives us our spontaneity, our creativity, our joie de vivre, access to more subtle aspects to our being. The adult self keeps us out of trouble, has wisdom to draw from, and helps us function in this physical reality. A genuine partnership between our child and adult has to be formed to restart an inner development that likely stopped during an early traumatic event. We do not want an overbearing internal adult (codependent) or tyrannical and out-of-control inner child (BPD). Life has its way of recreating balance. This is why children of PBPD get parentified, and why codependents are irresistibly attracted to PBPD. If you able to create a healthy balance of these aspects within yourself, the universe will also mirror it externally with a more stable partner. How does this work in practice?

  • When you feel uneasy and stuck, do shadow work to bring these aspects of you into awareness. Do not bulldoze your inner child into performing other activities that may appear more important to the inner adult. I understand that life has constraints so if you cannot attend right away to the inner child (which is the ideal), commit to schedule this inner work within 24 hours.
  • Follow personal inspiration, creativity and your inner joy whenever you can. Look for simple ways to feel genuinely happy
  • Stay aware of the consequences of your actions. Spontaneity does not have to equate with recklessness
  • Temper your internal fears with the wisdom from your personal experience
  • Know your limits, and assess your personal boundaries wisely. Follow-through, be responsible but not at the expense of your authentic self.

Try to visualize some of the healthiest parent/child relationships you have witnessed in your life. This is what you need to create internally. The inner child is the seat of the soul. The bible says “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. But the child needs to develop to become this clear channel to the higher self. And he needs a wise, compassionate and supporting inner parent to grow-up. As we enter the spiritual path, many of us will find a hurt inner child whose development stopped at a very early age. We need to take this traumatized child where he is, without judgment and patiently re-parent ourselves. Another way to look at it is to see our inner child as our essence and our adult as our personality. When these two aspects of us start working in harmony, we can consciously access the more transcendental aspects of our beings.

Authenticity

unique red umbrella among black umbrellas with city background symbolizing authenticity

To get out of codependent relationships, we need to realize that “People in the relationship are more important than the relationship”. This sentence goes against many of our social bias. Miserable married people are often advised to stay together even when they have become toxic to each other. I understand that any intimate relationship will go through their ups and down and I am not advocating to breakup as soon as there is a bump in the road. Sometimes we struggle with the relationship but we deeply care about our partner and we feel this is helping us become a better version of ourselves. This is a situation where we need to fight for the relationship because it is supporting us as an individual. Actually, as we are able to successfully survive these difficult times, the relationship will then reach a much higher intimacy. There are other situations however when the marriage brings both pain and the loss of self. These are times to get out. Staying in a miserable marriage for the sake of the children does not make sense; they are well aware of the conflicts and this is damaging to them. We want to be models that they do not have to compromise their personal happiness to be in an intimate relationship. Putting the self above the relationship is a very scary and risky choice for the codependent. We probably entered the relationship pretending we were someone we are not because of our personal shame. Our partner may feel betrayed, duped or threatened as we reveal the real us. We may be rejected, abandoned as a result, and if your partner is narcissistic, they will surely do this and also discredit you to any common acquaintances. This is a very painful experience but a price worth paying to recover your authentic self. In any case, we need to remember that any other option is futile. What makes us attractive and sexy is our individuality; not being an accessory to someone else. As we compromise ourselves to fit into the relationship box dictated by our nascissistic partner, we will stop our attractiveness and our mate will abandon us anyway. We need to remember that it is better to be alone than being in the wrong company. We can remind ourselves that we survived brutal breakups in the past, and ended in a better place once the grieving was done. As we feel depressed by the loss of the relationship and see no end to our personal misery, we can bring King Solomon’s wisdom: “This too shall pass”. Actually, when we look back at the most difficult times of our life, we can see retrospectively that these were the times we did the most growth, and created the foundations of our future happiness. Life is a series of steep climbs and flat plateaus, then further climbs. Being in a relationship should always be a free choice. This is the only way to experience a true heart-to-heart connection to our partner. While there are external forms of coercion such as the threat of personal injury, losing one’s children or litigation when attempting to leave a relationship, these are quite rare and extreme. What is more insidious and common is the coercion coming from our own personal fears. Here are some examples.

If I leave her/him, if s/he breaks up with me:

  • I will have to compromise my personal lifestyle, take care of my personal finances and probably lose financial security
  • I will be alone which I cannot handle
  • I will have to be back on the dating scene, which I detest
  • I will lose face with my family, friends and community
  • I will have to go back to work
  • I will have to move
  • I will not have sex anymore
  • I will not handle seeing my ex with a new partner
  • I will have to take care of the children on my own which I feel incapable of doing
  • I will die because I cannot handle another breakup
  • I will not handle the guilt of hurting my children
  • I will have to start cooking and do my own laundry
  • I will lose all of our joint friends
  • I will have no one to protect me
  • I will have no one to take care of me if I am sick
  • I will lose the relationship with my children
  • I will lose the relationship with my in-laws
broken chain towards independence

Can you see these are all wrong reasons to stay with someone? It makes the person a means to an end and this will destroy your intimacy. The times for selecting our partner for survival reasons are well over. In this day and age, intimate relationships are primarily for emotional nurturing, experiencing love, feeling seen, felt and understood, personal growth and enjoyment. If you are just looking for transactional relationships, you can simply use service providers as our world can offer any possible service imaginable in exchange for money. This is why it is so important to develop personal autonomy in our life as this allows our closed ones to be with us because they want to be there and not because they have to. We can move from the conditionality of love of the sacral chakra with all its cords, control drama and power struggles to the unconditional and pure love of the heart chakra. Of course, we should not take the goal of personal autonomy to the extreme to the point of being afraid of asking for support from others. The key is never to put yourself in a state of dependency that may lead you to compromise your personal integrity or stop honoring your personal boundaries. When your personal situation does not allow for this right away, just make a goal to create this personal autonomy in the future and make it a priority. Authenticity cannot strive in a controlled environment because the price to pay for your personal truth would be too high. Also, when we are incapable of taking care of ourselves, we will create expectations in our union, which in turn will create tension. This is not a conducive environment for love to flow. If you want a clean house and both you and your partner dislike cleaning, best is to hire a cleaning lady. If you are in need of physical affection but your partner is drained, go get a therapeutic massage. As a codependent, authenticity can be daunting as we are so afraid to lose everything once we find ourselves, and start sharing our authenticity with the world. It is true that the world reacts often very brutally to codependents finally standing in their truth. If you express your authentic self to your partner in a vulnerable way but s/he is not able to carve a place for your authentic self, it is best to let go. Our authentic self is our most treasured possession and without it, there cannot be the possibility of a joyful and happy life. I had given everything to my relationship but once I stood in my authenticity, the relationship did not survive. It took courage and it was incredibly painful but as a result, I received the ultimate gift of living an authentic life and stepping out of codependency. It was all well worth it.

Loneliness

loneliness

Loneliness is one of the most painful feelings to experience consciously. We understand conceptually that we are one and connected to everything that is alive. I remember reading Radical Forgiveness years ago from Colin Tipping, and I had an epiphany when the author stated that our experience on earth is first about experiencing the illusion of separateness. Separateness is an enduring illusion because our physical body is separate from other beings. We are one with our mother then separate from her at birth to create an individual experience. We go through the process of death and many other painful experiences alone. We cannot go through life without feeling rejected, abandoned or criticized at times. In my personal experience, there is actually no biggest suffering than losing the connection to our creator. Even Jesus doubted on the cross if God had abandoned him “Father, why have you forsaken me?” Many of us with attachment traumas are suffering from profound loneliness and we become vulnerable to a variety of addictions as a result. There is a compulsory need to fill this void at any cost. This feeling of emptiness is actually caused by our internal fragmentation as we have lost many aspects of ourselves through the traumatic events of our upbringing. Filling this void with people or various addictions can only give us a temporary relief, and this is what codependents and borderlines attempt to do. It is like the person who lost his way in the forest who gets relief by meeting someone else only to realize this person is lost too. This may bring some temporary comfort however the two people are still lost. From my perspective, this form of pathological loneliness can only be healed in two steps. First, we need to feel consciously our deep and profound loneliness without trying to escape it. This is best done in a meditation setting where we create an internal container for the painful emotion with no judgment, letting our internal torment and fears run their course. From this place, if we are patient enough, eventually grace will come in and we will remember somatically our divine nature and recover our connection with God. As we realign with our soul and our sense of purpose, we can feel complete. We may still feel lonely at times as we go through phases when we do not have special people in our life to reflect our wholeness. However these phases are temporary and they do not destabilize us because we feel the security of our connection with our higher self that is connected with everything. Overtime, we learn to be alone without feeling lonely and aloneness becomes even a means to strengthen our connection to the divine. Our deep longing for an intimate connection becomes more a thirst to reflect our divine nature than to fill an endless void. Our divine nature is love, giving and receiving love. Is there anything better in the world than intimate relationships to experience it?

Stepping out of the drama triangle victim/persecutor/rescuer

Dreaded Drama Triangle

The PBPD is addicted to the victim role. She feels so unworthy and hopeless that she believes she can only get attention through pity and other form of victim control drama. The codependent is addicted with the rescuer role. He feels so unworthy that he feels he has no value unless he fulfills a specific role or does something for someone. To break this negative cycle, the codependent needs to apologize to the PBPD for putting her in a state of dependency, disempowering her and not creating the conditions where she could solve her own problems. Without bypassing her pain, the PBPD needs to find the strength to find the hidden treasure that came from her abuse, to realize that her persecutor is just another victim like her and eventually forgive her abuser and herself for creating this painful experience at a soul level. The Hawaiian prayer Ho’oponopono “I am sorry – Please forgive me – Thank you – I love you” is another powerful way to break out of the dysfunctional roles of the drama triangle and undo the false narration. But please remember to do this prayer from the adult or soul perspective but never from the hurt inner child as this could be very damaging.

Transition plan as we rewire our brain for real love

rewire the brain

Because of his unhealthy childhood environment, the codependent actually got addicted to constant drama. He thrives with chaos, conflict and dangerous situations as this gives him the opportunity to prove his self-worth by rescuing. Drama is actually associated with love in his brain. Because it takes time to rewire a brain and examine all false beliefs, I recommend the recovering codependent to engage in more productive activities where he could experience the same adrenaline rush. He can start a more risky professional activity (reward and risk often go together), or enjoy extreme sports. On the other end, the borderline is addicted to emotionally abusive situations so that they can get attention through victimhood. Abuse equal love in her brain. One of my partners had suffered in a horrific way in the hands of one of an extremely disturbing violent cult. The abuser of her childhood pretended to be her dad but was also sexual with her. As we can expect, her intimate relationships were very unstable as a result. She would start all of her relationships idealizing her partner but then would slowly start seeing her companion through the filter of her childhood abuse. She would then replay the escape of her childhood nightmare by orchestrating the end of the romance. Then, she would enter a demonization phase where she would try to convince anyone willing to listen to her that her ex was part of the same cult that inflicted her so much grief as a child. In a similar way than the codependent, the PBPD can turn her addiction to abuse to productive use by helping the unfortunate ones. Since 2001, Angelina Jolie has been on field missions around the world and met with refugees and internally displaced persons. She also adopted 3 children. French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot has dedicated the second half of her life rescuing animals. Princess Diana was involved in over 100 charities and she made a big impact fighting homelessness and helping victims of HIV/AIDS and leprosy. Overtime, as healing takes place, both PBPD and borderline learn to enjoy a more peaceful and simple love without relentless crises. They realize that can experience intimacy and love without the roller coaster.

The 80/20 rule in seeing the positive in your partner

images

The PBPD will have a tendency to catastrophizing and only focus on the negative in herself and her partner. The codependent will often err on the opposite. He will stay positive and apparently strong any time his partner feels bad or negative. This is his way to cope and exercise control in the situation. He has a tendency to act too optimistic in situations potentially dangerous to his partner. Even if his wife struggles with alcoholism, he could say “Let me give you a glass of champagne darling, this will help you relax”. He will let his wife go out with a man interested romantically with her trusting them a bit too much. He will give his daughter to a baby-sitter with bad vibes. He will decide to go out with his friends at the time his wife feels suicidal. Wearing pink glasses is his way of coping. He thinks he can make himself safer when imagining that we live in a good world with good people. He actually endangers himself and his family with this attitude. His borderline partner, on the opposite, feels too much the potential dangers and often amplifies them. She feels she cannot trust her codependent partner to keep her safe and will go ballistic at him when her anxiety reaches a threshold. The codependent will typically only crash emotionally and display negative emotions when his borderline partner feels happy! First, he feels very threatened by her happiness as he fears that she will not need him anymore if she feels good. Secondly, he built resentment through the many crises but did not allow himself to feel any of it because of the instability in the relationship. If he sees his borderline partner doing well, he feels this is his opportunity to share everything that upset him over the last few weeks, which unmistakably overwhelms and triggers his borderline girlfriend.

It is very frustrating for the PBPD as she feels she spends most of her time in doom, and when the sunshine comes, he immediately spoils it! In my twenties, I worked as an engineer in the Silicon Valley software start-up. We had a borderline male employee called Steve with constant conflictual relationships with many co-workers. The CEO liked him however because Steve’s mind was always focused on what could go wrong and this helped avert potential business threats as he felt that the rest of the management team was too optimistic. Though there are some positive aspects in looking at a glass half empty however there is a problem in always seeing the negative in your partner. The codependent struggles with shame too. If he is constantly shamed who he is and what he does, he will start deflecting the shame and pointing to his partner her own shadows. They will work on each other non-stop. It will cease to be a relationship. It will become a self-improvement torture chamber. To support someone towards positive change, it is well known that we need to receive more compliments than criticism. By continuing to reflect the positive of our partners, we will support their development towards their higher potential. On the other hand, the codependent needs to be more connected, aware of his environment and realize that the policy of burying one’s head in the sand is not the right strategy to follow. He should ensure to stay positive when his borderline partner feels good so that she can fully enjoy these brief moments of happiness. He needs to improve his communication so that he can bring constructive feedback in a way that would be best received by his borderline partner. He needs to express things as they come so that they do not have the time to fester in him. The borderline has to learn to see her codependent partner more objectively. She goes from idealization to demonization back to idealization and then again demonization in no time. She needs to recognize that her partner has qualities and flaws just like she has. Putting in writing how she feels about her partner will help her realize her “splitting” and eventually heal from it.

Become an expert in your partner

the woman's manual

First by becoming an expert in your partner, you will learn to spend enjoyable time together while minimizing triggers. Ask lots of questions, be inquisitive and curious about him/her. The better she feels, the better you feel or more succinctly “Happy Wife, Happy Life”. By better understanding your partner’s dysfunctions, you can also better support their recovery and avoid fatal mistakes. This knowledge is best received when it is inconspicuous and unconditional. It should not be a way to score points for a hidden agenda. In this day and age, we are lucky that so much valuable information is at our fingertips. About any question we have may be answered by an insightful YouTube video or podcast. We can make our car a university on wheels during our commute time and keep improving our relationships. There are optimal communication strategies for any type of person and this is what we need to become skillful at using the right words at the right time. If you partner is codependent, here are some of the approaches that may work:

  • If he feels disconnected, be inquisitive, ask him how he feels, use his love language to bring him back to his heart, help him bring out to the surface what is bothering him deeply inside
  • If he says yes but you feel no weight behind his words, challenge him in his commitment. Either get him accountable and make it easy for him to say no. Confront him every time you feel he is lying to him and others (mostly subconsciously because he is a people pleaser). Do not let him off the hook. Point out his lack of consistency and how this is impacting others
  • If his words or actions are hurting you, become vulnerable on how he is making you feel and take responsibility for your feelings not to trigger his shame. Empower him to make things better for you. Tell him you hurt because you love him
  • Get him in touch with his shadows. Create a safe container for him to express the parts behind the “good guy”, all of the unsavory aspects of his hurt inner child. Reward him every time he has the courage to go there

It is important that we learn to clearly communicate our needs and likes instead of expecting our partners to know them telepathically. While this feels great when our partner does things what we treasure without the need to ask them, why not make it easier on them instead of constantly testing their love for us? Let us coach them to speak our love language instead of doing things for them with the expectation of getting something in return. Even the most compatible persons will have difference in their love language so communication is key. Make separate lists of your needs, what you love and share it with your loved one. Provide loving and non-judgmental frequent feedback so that both partners can improve constantly of making each other feel loved.

The importance of the commitment to self

commitment to self

Happiness comes from the simple things of life: knowing who you are, feeling love for who we are, intimacy with special people and relationships, a supportive community, feeling creative, have our needs met at a physical level, being healthy, a connection to something greater than ourselves (ideal, God, values) and practicing activities that we enjoy. This is not rocket science but it takes commitment to fill our life with the ingredients of joy. In codependent relationships, we sacrifice our authentic self for the relationship. We are so desperate to be loved that we project a false idea of us so that we may be liked. The commitment to self has to come first as the people in the relationship are more important than the relationship. If the relationship stops supporting the individuals within the relationship, it does not have to mean a break-up. People can find creative ways to adjust the relationship in a way that they will feel better supported. This takes tremendous courage as these changes may trigger our insecurities and fears of abandonment. The commitment to self requires us to be OK to be alone, as we cannot control the reactions of others. This may not be our preferred way of being but unless we can sit in peace with ourselves, we will not be able to give our partner the freedom to love us by choice. Once our sense of self is secure, the commitment to the relationship comes with less anxiety so we can navigate the ups and downs in a more astute way. We typically make the worst relationship mistakes when we are triggered. As we dive deeper in intimacy, we start including the other into our personal field so the commitment to self will naturally encompass them too. Loving oneself extends to loving our partner and eventually to the whole universe as we increase our awareness.

Own your shame

shame guilt woman pointing fingers sad

Most fights between codependents and borderline are escalated when shame is triggered. Owning your shame is the best way to de-escalate the argument. Let me give you a couple of examples. Instead of “Why did book this shitty hotel? This is the last time you do the travel reservations”, say “I felt small and taken for granted when you booked this hotel for us. I really want to feel safe with you and it is hard to do when you do not seem to see me”. Instead of “Can I have some space now? I cannot take this constant drama” say “I feel at odds with myself and I do not think I can be a good company for you until I can sort things out. May I go meditate and reconnect with you after I am done?”. Instead of “How can you be friend with that asshole? He is just a narcissistic jerk” say “I feel triggered around your friend. He always speak about himself and never seems to care to listen about things in our life”. Instead of “Being with you is like being with a cold stone. It is obvious why none of your relationships never lasted very long” say “I do not feel seen, felt or understood right now. I feel unsafe as a result. I need you to really connect to me right now”. If you can show some genuine vulnerable emotions, your communication will be that much more effective. Owing our shame starts with the courage to believe that our innate nature is lovable, which would allow us to be vulnerable and therefore to build intimacy. It is important to stay humble because unless we are willing to acknowledge our own failings, we will continuously project what we refuse to see in ourselves into our partner. I had once a partner who kept saying obsessively that I had duped her to get in a relationship with her. This was partly true because as a codependent, I would portray myself as someone I am not in order to conquer the object of my desire because I felt unlovable deep within. However, what she failed to realize is that she felt even more intensely like a bad apple and did not believe anyone could love her for who she is. There were just as many things she hid about herself than her codependent partner. Projecting this deep shame solely into her partner prevented her to own it.

Therapy

Therapy

A good family therapist is important to help us navigate through the intricacies of interpersonal relationships with our partners, children and parents. There is a significant stigma in Europe with people using therapists. They are often labeled as crazy and unstable so most people in Europe would see a shrink in secret. People in the USA and even more Californians are very open to it. When a situation triggers both partners at the same time, a qualified therapist is critical. I do not recommend using a friend because the friend would typically be biased and they do not have the professional training to rise above the interpersonal conflict. The therapist primary goal is to help release the unconscious into the conscious, support introspection and empower the stakeholders towards a creative solution as their awareness is lifted. It is important to take your time to find a good family therapist. Many enter this profession because they feel damaged and they have not done yet all the inner work necessary to help others. A skilled family therapist is important at times to any intimate partnership but it is absolutely critical for codependent/borderline couple who need all the help they can get with their rocky relationship. The best therapists would actually be the ones that experienced earlier in their life the same negative patterns. I have an absolutely extraordinary family therapist. He is an older gentleman. He was raised in a horrendous family dynamic and he had a disorganized attachment style as a result. He was married and divorced 3 times before he was able to finally develop a healthy and intimate relationship with his 4th wife whom he has been for over 30 years now. He has done immense inner work to get where he is now, which makes him incredible knowledgeable and insightful in helping his clients.

Make the couple a sanctuary

sacred union

Codependent/borderline relationships are inherently turbulent and therefore experience power struggles. Power struggles come from personal insecurity and powerlessness. We attempt to control our partner to love us because we feel deep inside unworthy of love. If someone does not feel secure in a relationship, they have the tendency to enroll their personal friends to validate their opinions and show their partner that they are right. This can do no good to the relationship. While venting to your friends can be sometimes helpful to release some of the internal pressure and frustration one may experience, enlisting them to prove your points would just damage the relationship. We need to keep remembering what is more important to us, to be loved or to be right? I was once in a very unhealthy community situation where all the community members were either employees or followers of my wife. They worshipped her and she could do no wrong. It was very tempting for her to enlist them to make herself right to me, ignoring the fact that they were all biased to start with. If I had used my close friends or French family to rally to my opinion, they would have sided with me. That would not have made me right. This was not an option anyway because they were not in our living community. And this would have just made the conflict larger instead of contributing towards a meaningful resolution of the conflict. This is why a trained therapist should be used instead of friends or community members to work through a relationship conflict. Communities are a very dangerous place for committed intimate relationships. As a young man, I remember that most couples that moved to the Fellowship of Friends community in northern California would divorce the first year. Community life diffuse the commitment between the two individuals and there is a high temptation to get one’s needs met outside the relationship instead of doing the hard work of focusing and solving the conflicts within the relationship. In my recent situation, community members that were my wife followers surrounded her. It was like living at the queen’s court. They were always fighting for her attention and it was difficult to have time where only the two of us could be together alone to simply connect. If you are looking to live in a community, I would advise to look for an equal community where members relate to each other on an equal basis and have interdependent relationships instead of dependent and hierarchical ones. It would be a model where each family knows very well their neighbors, and where the community is enhanced through regular get together, instead of a pyramidal structure. My situation was extreme and is quite rare, but it is important for any couple to make their intimate relationship a priority. As we discussed, the self is the priority because if we are not true to ourselves, we cannot be in an authentic relationship but the relationship is next in line even before the children for a married couple. The children feed from the energy of a healthy marriage and get damaged by the constant conflicts of their parents. So by putting your marriage first, you are putting your children first. Recomposed families are more complex systems and they are outside the scope of this article. It is a big temptation once we have children to put our marriage after the children, after our hobbies and sometimes even after some of our friendships. The result is often disastrous because the marriage is supposed to be the foundation of our family life but no more energy gets invested into it. You need to treat your relationship like a sanctuary if you want a happy life. The codependent and the borderline need to stop their destructive habit of enticing people outside the relationship to look like victims and instead take full responsibility for their personality disorder and their relationship.

The law of mirroring in relationships

sacred relationship mirroring

Do not fool yourself that you will jump dramatically in terms of quality of partner from one relationship to the next. Remember that your partner comes to you through the law of attraction so they are an external mirror of who you are inside. What is far more important than finding a perfect partner is to find a partner that you can grow with. If you have attachment traumas, it is then far more sensible to find an introspective partner that has done a lot of inner work, and has learned from their personal wounds. Even if you meet someone with a secure attachment style, it is likely that there will not be any chemistry unless you have a secure attachment style yourself. For this reason, my future partner is likely to be a conscious borderline. After the initial honeymoon phase of a new relationship, we usually come back to the same personal flaws that contributed to our last breakup. Intimate relationships are a personal growth accelerator so there is simply no escape to what we are supposed to work on this lifetime if we are going to share our lives with someone special. I trust in the power of attraction in terms of intimate relationships. Many people have been hurt in intimate relationships so they learned to distrust their own chemistry & attraction feelings. They would rather cut their attraction sensors and focus solely on a compatibility checklist out of fear. Our body never lies. It is all about understanding and becoming conscious of what our body is attempting to communicate to us. Attraction is the path of freedom and back to oneself. However it is critical we move into this attraction with self-awareness because of our personal shadows. If there is no chemistry, there is limited growth. Our society is addicted to the removal of pain and struggles but suffering is a fact of life that needs to be embraced instead of feared so that we can become whole again. A friend of mine has a joke about the frozen packages of processed chicken in supermarkets. He called them boneless, skinless and flavorless chicken. Do you want a boneless, skinless and flavorless relationship or do you want to be consumed by love and be transformed to the full potential of who you are?

Final words

Love and intimacy are powerful forces because they reflect the movement of God towards integration. Many of us with attachment traumas, whether we are codependents or borderlines have been damaged through relationships. We can now heal through relationships too. This is why we need each other.

Hands making heart

I was fortunate to have many experiences in my lifetime. I have traveled in many parts of the world, I have built companies, non-profit organizations, I have connected with people from many different cultures, I have networked with the rich, wealthy and famous and experienced high-flying lifestyle. Among all these experiences, not a single one ever came close in intensity and happiness than the deep and intimate connection with a beloved. This experience is available to any of us as we open ourselves to authentic love no matter what may be our background.

Love,

Vaillant

Read part I – The dark side of the co-dependent

Read part II – Understanding and loving the borderline

The dance of Kali and Shiva

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kali

I have spent over 20 years married or in an intimate relationship with what people would call strong and powerful women. My point of attraction trying to control the uncontrollable came from attachment trauma. But my childhood traumas are not the focus on my blog today. Many men today are in relationship and in love with such women and I would like to share my experience to support them having a better relationship.

Kali is one of the most popular forms of the divine in India, especially among women. She is the great destroyer, even more powerful than Shiva, and in her destruction, she allows new things to be born. In this way, she is both a killer and a mother. She often appears when the prettier, softer goddesses are enraged, when a male force like Shiva or a demon on the battlefield tries to control, placate or subjugate her. According to Tantric philosophy, Kali represents Shakti, the fundamental feminine energy that animates everything and will not be fully controlled by masculine force. She also represents the rage that arises when a woman feels underestimated by her partner, or when she feels that he refuses to show up for her.

St Paul's creed for women

Men have oppressed women for thousand of years. Women reveal prettier faces most of the time because, generally, they catch more flies with honey however their collective repressed rage and anger towards men is real and explodes periodically in their intimate relationships. Women who have suffered sexual abuse, abandonment, emotional repression from an invalidating family environment or neglect from an emotionally unavailable father will be even more prone to Kali energy. Kali represents the active destructive uncontrollable force that can be witnessed often with women and sometimes with men during intimate quarrels. To be at the receiving end of a person spewing the negative side of Kali energy, which is hatred fueled from sexual energies, is one of the most difficult energetic and emotional experience to withstand. And I speak from experience!

funny billboard from scorned woman

“Hell hath no fury, like a woman scorned,” is a proverb written in the late 17th century by William Congreve. It refers, of course, to a woman scorned in love who becomes consumed with hatred. She will either self-destruct (creative energy turned on itself) or destroy all that is around them  including her own children. Hatred and its many forms of disgust, repulsion, rejection, and dislike, do not seem like a choice for the person caught in this fury. However “A woman scorned” needs to eventually admit that she chooses to perceive herself as scorned if she wants to heal. While women are more prone to Kali destructive energy than men, just like men are more prone to disconnection and sociopathy, men can also display Kali energy. I was 19 when I fell in love for the first time. Her name was Carole. We had a passionate love story that lasted 3 months. I made some insensitive hurtful comments without realizing it. It broke her heart so she pulled away. I felt abandoned in return and we broke up though we loved each other very much. Quickly after, she went for another guy. I felt deeply betrayed. For months following the break-up, I held intense hatred towards her. I refused to take any responsibility for the split and chose instead to make her bad. I was full of anger, bitterness and resentment. During this period when I was boiling with anger, I had the downstairs neighbor mentioning a couple of times a leak from my shower to his apartment. I did not pay attention as my mind was so immersed with blames and feelings of unfairness towards Carole. One early morning after I had taken a shower, someone banged on my door very loudly. I opened and my neighbor stormed into my apartment completely enraged. He pushed me then held me violently against the wall and threatened to kill me if I did not get this leak fixed. Then he left. I was left completely shocked and confused. I had the wisdom to realize that my neighbor was the external manifestation of my repressed rage, and I started a process of healing that eventually led to forgiveness, and letting go of the relationship.

This unprocessed Kali energy is the cause of many wars and strife in our world. Wasn’t the Trojan War waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, king of Sparta? After close examination, you will find that many world conflicts are originated from Kali.

Although it is uncomfortable being on the receiving end of that energy, the remedy is simple…remove yourself from the vicinity of the individual if you can. The one who is venting the stream of creative energy in rage and hatred, however, is more trapped in a living hell than ever we could imagine. Unchecked, this corrosive energy will consume the person completely, destroying his/her health and leading to a complete break down of their life.

Not all Kali energy is negative as it can be emancipating as well. When a woman says “I need to find my Kali side,” or “I need some Kali energy,” she’s looking for a way to stand up for herself, to discover her inner fierceness, or to express the outrageous side of her sexuality. There is tremendous power and appeal in that energy. Aren’t we men fearful but also so attracted to the femme fatale? As long as there is awareness coming with this energy, it can very liberating especially if the person understands that the aim in expressing this Kali energy is to discover the hurt and pain behind it so that it may be released.

Let me now share with you 25 years of trial & error dealing with the Kali energy of my partners hoping it will speed up your understanding and improve your relationship.

In my early twenties, when Kali would show up, my immediate reaction would be to remove myself and go to my “cave” for a couple of days. It was a very ineffective approach. My partner would feel abandoned and unloved as the result. A woman wants to feel contained by a man. My attitude was more that of a boy than a man. They felt they could not be received as a woman so they would break-up with me, which would be incredibly painful because of my own abandonment traumas. Looking for solutions, I read at that time “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” from John Gray. As a young man, I decided that I would not retract anymore to my cave when Kali would show-up in my partner, as I decided to commit to have a life-long marriage.

man withdrawing emotionally to his cave

Kali would then show-up about once or twice a month in my partner. At first, I was terrified but held my commitment. I engaged with Kali, tried to bring her to reason, lost my temper, cried at times, begged for mercy. Kali defeated me every single time and it would take me about 3 days to recover emotionally. Kali was satisfied however. As this cycles were so difficult to endure, I looked for solutions in self-improvement books to find a way out of my misery. I strengthened my mind with new knowledge. For example, Wayne Dyer would say “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours” or “What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life”. Another one from Wayne Dyer that I used a lot to deal with the borderline crises of my partner was “There is a story concerning the Buddha, who is in the company of a fellow traveler who tests this great teacher with derogatory, insulting, disparaging, and bitter responses to anything the Buddha says. Every day, for three days when the Buddha spoke, the traveler responded by calling him a fool, and ridiculing the Buddha in some arrogant fashion. Finally, at the end of the third day, the traveler could stand it no more. He asked, “How is it that you are able to be so loving and kind when all I’ve done for the past three days is dishonor and offend you? Each time I am disobliging to you, you respond in a loving manner. How is this possible?” The Buddha responded with a question of his own for the traveler. “If someone offers you a gift, and you do not accept that gift, to whom does the gift belong?”. Armed with this new knowledge, I was starting to give Kali a decent fight.

buddha's tale

In a middle of conflict, I would then stay physically present but would however use my mind as a shield, not engaging but rather visualizing myself being squeezed and spreading love instead. Or like the Buddha, I would attempt to withstand anger from my partner in equanimity. With enough practice, my mind had started to defeat Kali. It would sometimes take hours or a whole night but I would be sure not to expand too much energy. With no more physical and emotional energy left in her body, my partner would then eventually collapse and go to sleep though it may take many hours of the night before reaching this point. Endurance and patience were the key. Following this Kali cycle, she would be completely drained and disconnected for 3 days and I would just let this pass though it was uncomfortable and separating. Reflecting on this period, I can see how I developed my own demon of disconnection to defeat the demon of Kali. This was a war not a relationship. I learned not to engage with Kali too because Kali was not rational and distorting facts to win her war. Instead, I stayed physically present, looking at the eyes of my partner trying to lend her energy in order to get back to a rational space if her mind had been usurped by the wrath of Kali. However,  I realize now it was not different than Shiva trying to placate Kali which would infuriate her even more. So I learned during this phase not to get affected by Kali, and to stay in control for safety. The suppressed anger however never healed, on the contrary. So much toxic energy had accumulated that there was no space for a loving relationship anymore. It was a power struggle. Even as the marriage eventually ended, Kali’s wrath is still pursuing me, refusing to let me go.

Then I started a relationship with a much more conscious woman with potent Kali energy. Our Shiva and Kali would fight too but she would bring remarkable awareness in the process. I started to take more responsibility for the anger of my partner realizing she was expressing negative emotions I was repressing. I became familiar with the concept of emotional tanking. I became more aware of my habit of deflecting. Basically, I would do or say something that hurt my partner who would then react with a negative emotion. I would shame her for her reaction, which would escalate the argument further, which eventually may trigger me too. We worked very hard on solving our disputes however she could not emotionally regulate and I lacked attunement, a lethal combination. We both had very powerful protector personalities to cover our damaged wounded inner children so we committed to only bring our vulnerable selves. Easier said than done! I acquired more knowledge and started to become much better at validating her emotions and containing her by acknowledging the parts I was responsible of. I made a lot of conscious efforts to see her, feel her and understand her, as she would go through these crises. We followed an analytical approach, which gave us a lot of new knowledge and wisdom. Unfortunately, over time, she became more and more of a pressure cooker. While I was able to let go, release and heal our disputes as they came and went as there was so many highs in the relationship that compensated for the struggles. On her side however, she built resentment and she started to see me as her perpetrator. She was more and more divided with heightened intensity between the love she had for me and the terror from being hurt emotionally. Her pain became so intense that she eventually broke off the relationship out of survival. I felt deeply hurt and confused from the break-up as I thought I was just holding healthy boundaries.

cacao ceremony

Last week, I decided to attend a cacao ceremony in Salt Lake City that was held by friends. The ceremony started softly as several of us started sharing their thoughts and feelings in a contained way. Then, two of the ladies that were experienced shadow workers started to bring their Kali energies. It felt a bit unreal like I was in an improvisational theater. They were screaming, behaving angrily with an intensity that felt at odd with the spiritual setting of a cacao ceremony. One of them even took a glass and broke it in thousand pieces on the floor. Did they have unresolved anger issues or were we tanking them? It was unclear. At some point, I attempted to contain the Kali energy of one of them as I was used to. It went well until she lashed back at me, which triggered me as I was just trying to help her without any ulterior motives (at least consciously). I shared openly my trigger with the group. I became aware I was again a match to Kali. They supported me to go into my own fears. I saw clearly that I was feeling unsafe and out-of-control. I took responsibility for my state and attempted to go deeper to see what was lying under the fear. I started to breath heavily to bring up the repressed emotions. I first observed my own anger. The group continued to act as a safe container as I went deeper. I realized that her wrath was her desperate attempt for connection. Kali wanted people closer to her. I could see how my attempts to stay in control with my mind were just alienating Kali even more as it made me more distant emotionally. While I thought I was deescalating an argument, I saw how all these years, I was instead intensifying Kali’s rage by aggravating her abandonment fears and her desperate need for intimacy. All my attempts to be in control were creating more chaos as I was not meeting Kali’s needs. Kali wanted to be loved as she is, she wanted me closer, she wanted to be fully contained by me. She wanted to be contained more with my body and emotions than my mind. With the help of breathwork, I started to play somatically with Kali. I made sounds, moved around, got in touch with own beast, matched the intensity of her vibration and entered into the chaos with confidence and fearlessness. My body and emotions had taken over. Kali felt seen and she shifted. She started crying and connected to her inner wound. Healing started for her. On my side, I felt a strong sensation in my belly connected with shame. I had made the expression of volatile & wild emotions so unacceptable that I was struggling with my own expression of engaging with Kali, judging it as ridiculous. I had made these emotions so unacceptable in me that I was selecting partners to manifest them externally. I saw my worry and my fear of being judged harshly by others if I were to lose my temper. I saw the projection of this fear in my severe judgment of people who are lacking self-control. I saw how for so many years I had been shaming Kali and made things much worse in the process. All my life, I had been focused in controlling other people reactions, in evaluating situations to create the desired outcome, in manipulating reality through my mind. There was no spontaneity. My mind was in charge to make that next sale, to make the woman I loved happy, to be liked by others, to create the desired outcome. But as long as my inner “manager” was in charge, I was failing because I lacked authenticity and people feel the difference. People cannot trust in-authenticity. I became aware that being an artist is to express from within without attempting to control the outcome. If I were to make the shift from an engineer to an artist, I had to face that fear. I finally gave in and surrendered. I saw all the marketing that inundate us daily as part of the same manipulation and mind control. I made the commitment to step into my authenticity, into the unknown and stop controlling the reality that will be created as a result. We are messy inside and this is OK. I am setting an intention to live a spontaneous life. Unfortunately, to learn this very important lesson, all my attachments were destroyed and I lost the people I loved most in my life to reach this realization. I am the one who did it, not Kali. Kali only wanted to be loved and embraced fully and bring awareness to my own demons.

I am setting the intention to stop fighting with Kali but rather dance with her.

dance of Kali and Shiva

Women (or men): do you recognize the Kali energy in you? How does it manifest?

Men (or women): how do you respond to Kali energy in your partners? What are your fears associated with this expression?

Stepping into authenticity

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authenticityIt has become clear to me that the events of the past couple of years were meant to get me to step into my authenticity. Most of us are suffering from attachment traumas because our caregivers were not able to give us the unconditional love, reflection, emotional support, attention and availability that we needed to develop into emotionally secure human being. Why? Simply because they suffered the same traumas, and what is not healed is passed on to the next generation. These attachment traumas convert into the belief that something is wrong with us and that we are not lovable (core shame). As a result, we create masks in order to get the love that we desperately need. I have seen this subconscious pattern clearly in my love relationships over a 20-year period. The enmeshment trauma with my mum combined with the absence of my dad has created the unconscious belief that I can only be loved for what I do, the role I play and not for who I am. In this configuration, to be needed is to be loved while too much neediness is putting my inner child in a panic as it reminds this immature self of the pressure it could not handle. So here is my pattern. I fall in love with a woman, and I seduce her by projecting the image of the type of man that she wants. One was in an abusive relationship, so I became her savior. Another one was in deep spiritual search, so I became a spiritual guide. Another one was in search of financial security and status so I became a provider,  a successful executive or a vice-consul. Another one needed constant external emotional regulation so I became a full-time caretaker. The trick worked in getting the woman I fell for, but there are consequences. As time passes, my partner gets to see the other parts of me and feels duped. By that time, she is however attached and committed to make the relationship work, especially as she struggles with her own abandonment traumas. Frequent arguments and constant drama are the mark of such relationships as my partner is in love with someone she is incompatible with. Her whole focus becomes about fixing me to become the person I was when I was courting her. This triggers my shame and I respond by pointing her own flaws, which triggers in turn her own shame. In my attempts to get my love relationship to work, I developed impressive skills in holding a container for someone I am not compatible with. This is truly exhausting. Stepping into authenticity, being completely open about who I am with the belief that I am lovable the way I am, is the better alternative.

To be authentic, we first have to know who we are. I am a Gemini man who is known to be the most complex sign of the zodiac. To make the matter harder, this is also a mutable sign. Now that I am in my 40s, I feel I can better define the core of who I am, and I am going to make my best attempt to describe it. I invite every one of you to do the same exercise.

Who am I?

I am curious, smart, adventurous, responsible, positive, high-energy, a free spirit, driven, loyal, flexible, resilient, complex, eccentric, daring, resourceful, spiritual, creative, perseverant, intense, self-reliant and introspective. I am a spiritual warrior, a magician, a lover and a leader. On the negative, I can be stubborn, willful and uncompromising when I have made up my mind. I am afraid of boredom. I have several splits: warm, loving and generous vs cold-hearted, kind & sweet vs insensitive, very social vs solitary, deeply intimate vs emotionally unavailable. I do not smoke, rarely drink, do not drink coffee, never take medication unless seriously sick, I am a vegetarian and believe in a healthy lifestyle. I value financial security and believe in living within your means. I believe in fairness, justice and reciprocity.

Relationships

I love women and I am a sexual being. I love physical touch but I love connecting just as much through deep, introspective and interesting conversations. Sex is only appealing to me when it comes with a love connection. I love to love and to feel loved. I am very cuddly as I go to sleep and wake up in the morning but I will pull away in my sleep during the night. I love women who have embraced their darkness, sexuality and authenticity but can also be kind, motherly and protective. I love their purity of heart, spontaneity and sensitivity. I am into witches and artists. I am slightly love avoidant so I need someone who has the capacity to handle my coming and going with minimum anxiety. I am an alpha and I do not mind sharing the lead with a powerful woman as long as there is respect, reciprocity and no double standard. I enjoy nurturing from women tremendously. I like to be needed but not smothered. The times I have been the happiest in my life have been in an intimate relationship so love relationships are very important to me.

In friendship, I am loyal and I rely on my personal interactions with a person rather than other people’s opinions. I like people who are vulnerable, authentic and share their feelings openly. I prefer one-on-ones to group interactions, as I like to go deep. I like kind, complex and secure individuals where silence is just as comfortable as conversation. The security to care for each other in difficult times is important to me.

I love my teenage children, want to earn back their love to reconnect with them.

I am comfortable around crowds and I am expert at networking though I prefer more intimate gatherings.

Career

I am an entrepreneur and a problem solver. I love starting new ventures from scratch. I need to use my mental capacities to make a difference in people’s lives. I enjoy financial independence through real estate or business. I like stretching myself and taking risk. I need an interesting career project that is outside my relationship. I like to have control over my own time. I love working from inspiration. I transform the suffering I went through, to help others going through the same ordeal using my life experience. I like philanthropic work especially for more difficult environments such as jail, hospice, orphanage, parental alienation and ritual abuse. I love that feeling to know I have made a difference in someone’s life. I want to be liked and respected in the community for my contribution. I need significance, not only vicariously by association but also for my own contribution. I like teaching, and having a leadership role.

Hobbies

My favorite sport is tennis and I like playing it competitively. I enjoy skiing, scuba diving, biking, hiking, camping, going to the gym and running. Though I love going to the beach, I enjoy the mountains even more. I like watching movies that are meaningful, documentaries and French movies. I like going out to restaurants and performances with my loved ones. My favorite music is transcendental, 80s pop, French and classical. I like a nice comfortable & beautiful home. I like community living for the emotional support, company, and convenience but I need to have enough one-on-one time with my beloved. I love traveling and exploring new exotic places. I like inviting people over for dinner and company. I enjoy cooking food for others as long as it is not everyday and an expectation. I like organizing weekend get-outs and vacation for my loved ones. I love the outdoors.

Inner life

Meaning is important to me. I want the feeling that I have an impact and that my life is meaningful. I want a purposeful life that improves the quality of many lives. I want to live a heart-centered life. I want to awaken my subtle senses and feel so much more about life, people, animals and plants. I want to be healthy, be physically active and pain free. I like to do process work with people, to bring them to a space of new realizations and change their lives. I like process work too when I am able to get new release or understanding. I believe in balance, and in a life with eyes on the sky with feet planted solidly on the ground. I enjoy shamanic work, and accessing higher awareness to improve my life. I enjoy writing about my inner life and new understanding. My life is driven by the pursuit of happiness which is best achieved by living a heart-centered life that translates into sharing love and caring for each other, a deep connection with our Creator, simplicity, abundance and contemplation.

What a freedom and liberation to be open about who we truly are! No more need for manipulation. We stop sending mixed signals. People can decide on their own if we are the type of person they would like to know better. We prefer being alone (but not lonely) than to spend time with incompatible people. Despite all our personal flaws, we still believe we are lovable just the way we are. We create a life that feels good because it is full of the people and the things we love. We become trustworthy as we connect deeper to our core. We empower ourselves to attract into our life what we value most. Our inner peace is less disturbed by external situations, obstacles and tragedies.

Come play with me and take some time to share with the rest of us who you are too!

Inducing altered states of consciousness to speed up evolution

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I never took drugs or spiritual medicine outside of a safe shamanic container. A good friend and roommate of mine first introduced me to medicine work when I was 26. At the time, I took LSD and it completely shattered my reality. It short cut my mind and gave me an insight into the truth of spiritual reality, love, consciousness, my own life and my ultimate purpose. What I especially loved about it is that it gave me a direct access to reality, what people call God or Source and the truth of who I am. Because of this experience, I developed a lot of respect for medicinal plants and would commonly recommend to seekers who feel stuck or who have minds that get on the way on their heart. Because many of these substances are illegal in the US, I found in my early thirties a completely safe and legal way to bring altered states of consciousness using holotropic breathwork. As a psychotherapist, Grof was involved in earlier tests on the therapeutic potential of LSD. When psychedelics were peremptorily banned in the 1960s, Grof developed holotropic breathing as a means of simulating the psychedelic experience of LSD without the drug itself. I found an excellent facilitator where I lived in San Francisco at the time: Todd Zimmerman. Todd taught one of our best workshop to date at Philia from March 11th to 18th 2017. While breathwork does not provide the psychedelic elements that you may found with substances, it does bring altered states of consciousness, visions into the subconscious, deep emotional release and inner journeying. Another benefit is that one is able to bring much more memory from the journey as this is a body centered experience.

After I started dating Teal, I decided not to do medicine work. First, she was not that comfortable with shamanic medicine because it is bringing very high intensity emotions and could prevent people from feeling fully day-to-day reality that now become dependent of substances to get a high. The cult that abused her used breathwork as a way to program her as well so she was not open to try it at the time. However, after she had a private breathwork session with Todd at Philia, she changed her mind completely on this practice and stated this was the single best healing modality I had introduced to her. From my perspective, the states of consciousness brought by these shamanic processes are just guides to show your potential and bring you back into alignment with your higher purpose. They give you a window into the actual emotional truth of where you stand in order for you to take adjustments or changes to live your life at a higher level. They are a sacred tool that should not be used for recreational purpose. And many who have not treated them with respect have been burned. I was comfortable stopping medicine work at the time too because I felt that Teal was acting as my medicine as she continued to shake my reality, not letting me believe my own lies and challenge my perception while our love story provided so much movement that any increased stimulation felt unnecessary.

After we decided the move to Costa Rica, I become very busy with all the logistics and ensuring that Philia would be a success from the get go. As a problem solver, I threw myself in this endeavor fully while I started to pay less attention to my relationship with Teal. Teal started to feel more and more uneasy. She started to express a lot of discontent that I could not understand. From my perspective, we were living on a magical property in beautiful Costa Rica, with our family and friends, starting a retreat center to heal people, a common dream we shared. Our relationship continued to deteriorate to a point that Teal & I started to feel hopeless. After almost two years, I felt I needed to go on a shamanic journey to get out of the dead end I found myself. We had received an application through Philia of a local Ayahuasca shaman so I invited him and his wife to meet with Teal & I. Teal instantly connected with him and felt guided to take this journey too but the shaman recommended that we do it on different days as some of our struggles related to our relationship. She had decided to go one day before. When she came back, she had difficulty walking, crashed with the intensity of everything she saw but relieved in many ways. We only had one hour together before I had to leave to my own journey. I remember her eyes full of love as she saw through her third eye what Ayahuasca would teach me by crashing me too. However, she was not allowed to share anything yet about her own experience and what would unfold for me.

Four other friends decided to join me for this Ayahuasca journey. For three of them, it was the first time taking it. It was only my second time. I had taken it previously 6 years ago with a Hispanic group and it had been a hard but very important learning experience. While I was the last one to take a cup of the sacred mixture early evening, I was the first to feel the effect of the sacred mixture and started to vomit only after a couple of minutes while it was only the first round even though I had fasted the last two days. The rest of the group took three turns and a friend even had four rounds and hardly felt anything. There is a saying that Ayahuasca always gives you what you need. Every person experience of Ayahuasca is unique. I started to purge heavily and hallucinate. My head was buzzing in an uncomfortable way. The surrounding shamanic music and the Costa Rica constant background of secators were being amplified to a state of discomfort. I was able not to go into panic, simply allowing the various fears to run their course while enduring the physical, emotional and mental pain of the experience. Teal had recommended me not to resist the place where Ayahuasca wanted to bring me. It took me two hours of torment & confusion to finally get to that place while the Shaman and his friend were attentive to all my needs while I was expressing distress as continued to purged. But when Ayahuasca came to finally take me, it hit me hard. An immense grief took possession of every cell of my body and I started sobbing uncontrollably. I saw my children. At that time, I had not seen them for a year (and it was at the court) and I have not talked to them for nine months as they refused to have any connection with me. Losing one’s children is probably one of most brutal experience one could ever experience. All this time, I had blocked the grief and the pain of this loss. I stayed in this grief space for about 14 hours simply feeling and sobbing. It was emotional painful however the release felt good too. I had told Teal & Mark (Teal’s ex husband) a week before that collapsing emotionally served no purpose. I realized that I was completely wrong as the crashing I was experiencing was healing me. I had so much grief accumulated in my body that I had become fully toxic to my extra sensory wife and I was more often than not choosing to dismiss her instead of acknowledging her distress or worse deflect my pain back to her. During the journey, I realized that at the same time I was grieving my children, my inner child was also grieving the fact that he did not have parents that were emotionally present to him. I was also grieving the fact that my personality had abandoned my inner child at a very early age that I had to be strong and to deal with childhood trauma on my own as I became a parentified child. I remembered myself not crying at all after the divorce of my parents when I was eleven, or my mother telling me that only me was capable of taking myself of the anxiety attacks I was susceptible as a young teenager. I remember learning to deal with my emotional pain alone because no one could be present with me during these times. I realized I had been abusing my inner child for over 40 years too. As is the case for development trauma, I gave myself the right to adopt new parents that could be fully present to my emotional needs. I saw clearly my coping mechanism to disconnect under pressure in order to do what I have to do. This state of disconnection had only increased Teal’s torment about our relationship. As this happened, the intentional community became more weary which increased the pressure on me and consequently on Teal which created a vicious circle. This vicious cycle was exacerbated as Teal’s outburst would make me shut down even further. I realized I needed more support from the team through a reliable management layer so that I could be the nurturing and attentive husband that my wife deserves. I saw my tendency to assume that something is wrong with her or try to fix her instead of acknowledging my responsibility in her distressed state. Regrets came through. I felt my lack of compassion towards her while holding her to very high personal behavioral standards that are not aligned to the extreme childhood traumas she endured. I also remember how Teal had shared with me so many words of wisdom or accurate explanation of what she and I were going through that I had completely dismissed. I saw clearly my resistance to her. As I suffered in the hands of a megalomaniac guru between 20 and 23 year old, I have used my logical mind as my safeguard and I have refused to take anyone on faith since. I have a need to understand to an extreme, and assume a position that other people are wrong unless they can prove me otherwise, which is a stress on relationships. I also saw my tendency to discount and dismiss other people. From four in the morning to noon, I continued to sob and experience my irrepressible grief. During that time, neither the shaman nor any of my friends came to support me. Because I was in an altered state of consciousness, I was as incapable as an infant to express the emotional need that I needed someone to hold my hand and to be present emotionally with me in this process. I had finally realized my need to feel supported and cherished by others instead of making it on my own, which I had done all my life. This time spent alone in my own torment seemed to feel like an eternity. I knew that I needed to have someone next to me and care for me to heal my development trauma to always do it on my own. Before that time, I did not really understand Teal’s words that the only way to heal from a development trauma is to meet the need that was not met in the first place. I had involuntarily inflicted a lot of pain on her through the trips to California I had to take from professional obligations last year not fully understanding her separation anxiety and not realizing that these separations were re-traumatizing to her as I thought she would simply get used to them as I felt I was doing the right and responsible thing. During these eight excruciable hours, I had to taste my own medicine and I had to deal with grief and isolation combined, and undergo the same ordeal that I had prescribed Teal a year ago. I stayed there for hours that seemed like months waiting to be liberated. While this was pure torture, I felt intuitively that this experience was brought to me so that I could feel her pain, which was one of the intentions I had set for this journey. All of my friends were done with their journey by early morning. They chatted, exchanged jokes and went for a nearby hike to a waterfall while I stayed suspended in limbo waiting, not knowing when I would be freed. Finally, around noon, the shaman came to me. I found the strength to make him understand that I need to feel his love and care as I finally get him to hold my hand. He gave me his unconditional presence but then start sharing with me some positive spiritual principles such as “there is only light and love”. This hurt me as I felt he did not see me or wanted to be with me in my pain. I start talking to him painfully to explain my need not to receive spiritual bypassing and I only wanted him to stay with me in my grief without trying to change or fix anything. I wanted to be loved unconditionally by him through his full presence, I wanted my deep sadness acknowledged, I wanted his empathy and compassion on how cruel the situation with my children had been. He got it. According the law of attraction, the painful reflection I am getting in my life is perfect but it is heartless and not conducive to healing when people reflect that high level abstract truth. Only a human perspective that is full of empathy, concern and compassion with all its raw emotions may bring healing. I only managed to start walking around 2 PM, about 20 hours after the start of the ceremony. The shaman brought me to walk into the river close to the property. He looked at me in the eyes and thanked me for the words I had shared with him. It really felt he brought a new understanding to support people even more deeply into their shamanic journeys. We looked at each other in the eyes and connected with profound love & respect. It is ironic that I managed to teach a Shaman a truth that I have been resisting so much to learn from Teal as my spiritual journey before her had been mostly about positive focus, spiritual bypassing and avoiding pain through filters and manipulating reality through my mind.

When I came back home, it felt good to be back and reconnecting with my beloved wife and share our mutual realizations from the journey. As I was now more aware that I have been disconnected, we decided that I should open to the community and ask for their help to provide their candid feedback if they find me insensitive so that I can be more aware of some of my coping mechanism to build a sincere desire for change. Unfortunately, it did not go as well as I expected. Eric shared his frustration that he is not yet in the place to help me because of accumulated resentment. The next morning, when we stopped by Graciela’s house, she announced that she is done with me that she is tired of getting hurt and does not want to support our relationship anymore without explaining what it meant in actual terms. Graciela’s face was marked with shock, anger and pain as she expressed her feelings. I was in disbelief not understanding how she could have built so much resentment and not even noticing it. This situation became unbearable for Teal as she was now put in the position to choose between her husband and best friend. Five members of the community spent the full day working on my difficult personality. I felt humiliated. This felt so unfair that everyone seemed to see that I was the only guilty one, but fault of another alternative I had to swallow to a full day of painful feedback, horrified by the picture held about me.

While I was hopeful that the Ayahuasca would heal Teal & I relationship, the opposite seemed to be happening. All the accumulated resentment built by the custody court case and my company transition that had translated into Teal’s worst possible nightmare were now all in the open and put considerable stress into our relationship. Over the next following days, some difficult arguments took place that made me feel more and more powerless, not really understanding the animosity towards me while I felt I did the best I could do every step of the way, always convinced I was doing the right thing.

Graciela had to withdraw for a couple of days from Teal & I to deal with the intensity of her emotions towards me. Graciela is a very conscious young woman fully committed to her personal development. Though it was clear my insensitivities and disconnection was a big part of the blow-up, she was able to acknowledge her own shadow and childhood traumas that I reflected back to her. She came to me with a pure and beautiful spirit of resolution. She had decided to come to me with an offering that will help me open my heart. Graciela is a woman working with Kambo and suggested she could help me through this modality to open my heart and let go of my protective narcissistic bubble. While my ego had resistance as I had to admit my own flaws, I know her ability and gift as a facilitator and decided to accept her present, especially that I was feeling again at a loss to create a beautiful relationship with the woman of my dreams. It would be a series a three sessions. Because of my schedule, we spread it out over a period of weeks.

The day before the first Kambo ceremony that I scheduled with Graciela, Teal was quite busy during the day and I was looking forward to reconnect with her in the evening. Unfortunately, when she came, Teal was very irritated towards me and I became the target of her anger and resentment. Our discussion went quickly downhill from there, so much that I asked her to practice silence together until we were able to express words that were conducive to resolution. Ten minutes of painful silence followed. Teal felt very resentful of two traumatic events that happened to us in 2016 when I had to make some difficult decisions that made her suffer though I stayed convinced this was the right decision. I started to explain to her the conundrum that I faced by using a simple example as the two other situations were too painful for a construction discussion. We brought a beautiful chime from Park City and Teal had hung it outside below our bedroom at Philia as it looked great there. Unfortunately, Costa Rica can have very windy nights and the chime would wake me up at night. I asked her if we could hang it somewhere else but she felt rightly so that was the best place for it. She suggested to tie it at night with a ribbon but I told it was unnecessary as I did not want to impose on her to do this every night as I felt she has way more important things to do. This example illustrated perfectly my coping strategy. I lived all my life as there is only two ways to deal with an unpleasant situation: you either cope by making the thing you do not like OK, or I change externally. Overtime, I managed to educate my willpower and endurance to such a degree that coping is typically my favorite option as I take the burden upon myself and do not need to create a conflict, however often at the expense of parts of myself. Also, to compensate for the fact that I can be more flexible on many small things, I developed a very strong core that is unmovable. Therefore, I would take sometimes a very strong stand and be extremely stubborn about it no matter what is the consequence to keep some form of identity. All of my life, I basically only gave myself two options. Either I cope by repressing my own needs and wants, or bulldoze my needs over others, which then forces me to cope to not care about the resentment of others. It never occurred to me before that there could be a third solution where I could consider a solution where both my needs and the other person needs would be addressed at the same time! It seemed obvious however it never occurred to me until that discussion with Teal. I suddenly realized how much damage this limited belief had done to my life and people close to me. That night, Teal actually put a ribbon around the chime and both of our needs were met easily. We practiced a role-play where we went back to the events where I imposed my needs over her, with this time the desire to consider both of us at the same time. To my surprise, this was actually possible but now it stopped building resentment and built trust instead as I actually showed genuine concern for her best interests. When a need conflict happens, the partners would need to express both of their needs and wants in a vulnerable way and start exploring out a solution together that could work for both. This may seem simple but I had never done this before. It was only either suppressing my needs or discounting the ones of others. It was always a lose-lose. Also, I realized that I used my spiritual practice all of my life to cope. I had become a master at filtering and altering reality, creating positive meaning to painful situations in order to feel better. This pattern runs in my family. My grandmother who is soon 101 year old is the happiest in her nursery home. She is surrounded by people who are dying, miserable and in pain most of the time and she only sees the positive. My father has no real relationship with his children, and a difficult marriage with heavy resentment but thinks his wife is too perfect. By being in denial, and making a painful and unacceptable situation OK, we actually make change impossible. Our filters will stop making reality painful, however unfortunately we then become enablers of very dysfunctional patterns and the repressed negative emotions find their reflection in the immediate environment. If a wife copes with the abuse of her husband, she accepts it and do not then try to change an ugly reality. By coping, adapting to our circumstances and to our world, we actually make things worse instead of better as we allow the dysfunction to continue. This intense realization had come just before the first Kambo ceremony just as the frog had started working on me.

I am now in front of Graciela before we start the Kambo ceremony. She asks me if I have an intention. Kambo is a hard process as the frog poison you absorb makes you vomit and purge in the most unpleasant ways. I call Kambo a mini Ayahuasca as it makes you purge in the same way but the journey lasts only one hour instead of a full night. These are medicines that are hard to get addicted to, as the purging is so unpleasant. I really did not feel at that moment to go through this experience again. I then looked at my present life and I realized the horror of my situation. The 3 people I love the most in this world resent me also the most also: my wife Teal and my 2 children from my previous marriage. I have had a disgruntled wife telling me she is not happy. I had the same situation in my previous marriage. I can feel the love nevertheless of Teal and my two children. I realize in this moment that I could not have dreamt of a more perfect wife. Even in my wildest dreams, I could not have wished for someone like Teal who is so spiritual, smart, beautiful, creative with a grand purpose. My children are also great kids: smart, gifted in so many ways with a big heart. At that moment, I decide to dedicate my Kambo session with Graciela to Love. I am doing this to bring back the flow of Love in my life for these 3 people. In this space, I can finally let go of my fear, take a leap of faith, as I have known for a long time that a life without Love is not worth living. Graciela now asks me to drink 1.5 liters of water. This is not easy and I feel bloated by the water. She then proceeds to burn my skin with a small wooden skin on my heart shakra where she decided to apply the Kambo. While unpleasant, this pain is nothing in comparison to the emotional pain I have just contemplated. She now spread the frog poison on my burns. After less than a minute, my heart starts beating intensely. I see the fear in some of my thoughts that my heart would stop beating. I let go of the resistance. I start vomiting, mostly water, as I fasted in the morning. It feels awful and deeply humbling as I keep purging. Fortunately, after only a couple of minutes, I vomit a core belief from my childhood called “Personne ne n’aime” which means “no one loves me”. It is hard to explain but it feels like this French sentence was physical and I actually spit out from my body at that time. I reflect and see the truth of this statement. I do not mean to put my parents under the bus as they did what they could with what they had. My father did not have parents until he was 10 year old and my mother lost her mum when she was 3 and she does not even remember any contact with her father. Because of their own family traumas, they simply could not give me what I was longing so much for, because they never received it in the first place: love, closeness and nurturing. The belief that “no one loves me” crystallized the harsh reality of how I was feeling as a child and stayed with me for almost the next 40 years. Core beliefs are so strong that your whole reality will actually get organized around them and create misery when it is a limited belief like this one. Following Teal’s core teaching, I stayed with the feeling, became fully present to my inner child holding this belief and validated him. I realized that even my external and worldly success was simply a coping mechanism for the fact I did not think I could be loved for who I was, and only performance could give me love. When I was six, my father gave me money as I brought back straight As from school. Therefore, I thought that if I were a good enough student, I would have love. At age 20, I passed the exam of one of the best school of France but crashed a couple of months after the admission when I realized that this accomplishment would not give me what I was so desperately looking without knowing: love. As a result, I joined a spiritual group, which ended up being a cult a couple of months later as I was desperately trying to find a way out of my emotional torment. I thought this spiritual group was everything I had always looked for. However, I left disillusioned 3 years later after realizing all the corruption and abuse orchestrated from the leader. I had been used and not loved. At 26, I entered a 15-year relationship & marriage, which brought two wonderful children in a course for status, success and money in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, when we mutually decided to part, I was ostracized by my ex wife and her parents and lost my children as a result. At that moment, I saw that my marriage had been more a contract based on mutual benefits than a relationship based on real love. In order for me to heal the child that believes that no one loves him, I need to give him what he truly wants: Love & Appreciation. Even at Philia, I had created a situation where team members would resent me because of my domineering attitudes that were focused on execution rather than connection. I also made it OK for people to resent me as long as they do their job. I have watched Teal do the opposite, something spending up to a full day to solve a problem with a person. I thought initially it was a complete waste of time not realizing she was working on alignment, and once people are fully aligned they will go the extra mile, be proactive and amaze you with the quality of their work. I made a commitment at that moment that it was not OK for me to be resented anymore. I had to stop this especially that our retreat center is based on connection. I felt I understood authenticity for the first time. I cannot be authentic by coping or imposing my needs above others. Instead, I need to focus on a third alternative that can only come through when I interiorize the other person needs. I saw the community too. I saw clearly in my medicine journey that one of our team members with responsibilities had been resentful towards me. To heal my inner child, I became apparent to me I had to stop making it OK for me to be resented. I put my life savings in this property and enormous efforts both for the move and property. I have not done that to get people to resent me. It felt very unfair. While I understood I created this situation to prove the belief “no one loves me”, I had to put a clear stop to this to start healing this destructive belief. I decided to meet with this person the same day. It did not matter anymore how long it would take to solve our difference and I made the commitment to live an environment where I am liked instead of feared. I can still be true to my own needs and their needs at the same time. I committed to do what it takes for people to like me. I have had the attitude that I do not care what people think about it as long as things get done.

Ten days have passed and it is now the time for the second Kambo with Graciela. The positions of the burns are typically intuitively felt by the shaman just before the ceremony. But the night before, I had woken up Teal by talking in my sleep saying very clearly “6 points in the palindrome”. While I did not this before, a palindrome is a word that reads the same backward and forward such as “madam”. While at breakfast, we felt intuitively that it is a message for the Kambo ceremony as “points” are another word for the burn marks used to absorb the frog medicine. Graciela does a Google and tells us that “eye” is the only body part that is a palindrome. This discovery triggers me. After I started dating Teal, I had told her I did not need to take Kambo because she was my medicine. While this is true, the other reason I did not want to do Kambo because it makes marks on the body and all my life, I have been uncomfortable with anything that alters the original nature of the body. Now, they are talking about a burning stick in the eye! Teal asked me to think what it would really mean. I feel intuitively that it must be the third eye however I am thinking that the last thing I want to do is to have burn marks on my forehead especially that I am an important upcoming business meeting in the US. I start to complaint, revolt and state clearly that I do not want to do it. Teal looks at it and she starts experiencing genuine sadness and she shed a couple of tears. She said “How ironic” as, in the same token, I would rather look good than love her. Over the last previous days, we had a couple of arguments where I deflected my shame into her and made her feel like the one with problems while I was actually the one creating the trigger in the first place. During these times, I had chosen to defend my self-concept and look good instead of seeing the truth. I started to feel her pain, disappointment and sadness about me. At that moment, I remember the time where I would have given everything just for the opportunity to have a date with her. I reminded myself of my commitment to remove any wall that stands between me and her, and my promise to her that as long as I can breath, I will always choose to love her. Her Love had defeated me and I accepted reluctantly to get Kambo from my forehead as I reminded myself that my relationship with her is to me so much more important than looking good. I started thinking about wearing a hat, or put my hair in front of the marks to get more comfortable about the idea and get into acceptance with this higher guidance. She re-assures me that she can make them look good. An hour later, I am laying down ready for the application of Kambo, I remind myself of my intention “I want to see” focusing on my 3rd eye chakra. Six burns are applied on my forehead. Shortly after, I experience a faster heartbeat, and I start to emit some tones to clear energy in my throat chakra that is between my heart and third eye. The medicine takes much more time to work on me than the previous session. It took at least ten minutes before the need to purge. Teal is in the room typing on her computer writing her next Ask Teal episode. I reach out to her in a vulnerable to stop doing it, as I really need her undivided attention. This is ironic too as I am typically the one absorbed on my computer tuning other people out. A vision starts coming through. My consciousness becomes Teal as a child on a table. I am in the process of being tortured by Doc. He shows absolutely no empathy like he is working on a robot. I experience unbearable pain. On the other side of Doc comes the spirit of Teal’s mother. She does not see Teal’s pain and push it back onto her not understanding why her daughter is acting so uncontrollably and wondering what is wrong with her. She gets angry with her. Back on the table, I feel like I am made to swallow my own vomit. I am in pain as I purge but I realize suddenly that I am so lucky that I am able to scream or vomit. It feels like such a good release and I receive the loving attention of both Teal and Graciela in the room. When Teal was tortured, she did not have the luxury of any form of release. Doc would put something in her mouth to prevent her from screaming. The torture experienced felt so much more horrific when there is not even a possibility to release and to witness the complete emotional disconnection from Doc. I am now transported into a different mindscape that I see is connected to a vision I had 5 years previously during a breathwork facilitated by Todd Zimmerman (Todd came to Philia from March 11th to 18th 2017). At that time, five years ago, one of the women breathing in the room was reliving a rape she had experienced as a teenager. She yelled from such a profound part of her being that it started to affect me and I relived intuitively a sensation of a past life where I was a father where my father got raped and I made it worse through my own behavior. Now, under Kambo, what was an alluring feeling 5 years ago during that breathwork session appears as a very clear past life in high definition. We are back in time and I am a spiritual teacher in India with an important following. I am a scholar, I hold an impressive spiritual knowledge of the scriptures. I think I know everything, and I have always a response to any of my followers’ questions. My ego is huge and I am full of myself. I am respected and feared, and some of my domineering and inflexible attitudes create antagonism too. Through unfortunate circumstances, my only daughter gets raped by some of my enemies as they try to hurt me through her. I see myself being furious at my daughter telling her how she brought ridicule and dishonor onto our family and my reputation. I shun her and punish her. I make it all her fault. Because of my hardness, cold and cruel behavior, she commits suicide and dies. When my followers inquiry about this tragic event, I tell them with utter certainty as someone believing his own lies, that a life had come where she would awaken so she decided to take the opportunity and exit her body. Deep down, I know I am the one responsible for the death of my only daughter because I kept spreading shame on her open wound. During that life, I never let myself experience consciously the responsibility for her death. From that point on, I went downhill and created a lot of damage among my followers. I see how my cult experience in this life was a direct consequence of this karma. I see clearly who is the reincarnation of my daughter in this life. I experience sincere regrets towards this person and I got to better understand her antagonistic behavior towards me that never seemed to make sense. I experience a desire to make it better, and can now more easily let go of her behavior that I judged as unfair. I understand that lack of empathy is the most dangerous thing of the world. If every one of us could feel each other pain, the world would be so different. Family quarrels, work oppression, crime, wars would end immediately. I decide to make a total commitment to allow myself to feel. I realize that I used the tools of self-development and spirituality to make myself comfortable and avoid pain no matter what are the circumstances and I became a “master coper” as a result. I now consciously choose to feel in full awareness even if it involves pain in order to become fully alive.

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