As you may or may not have read in my Following Your Higher Self post, I’ve been a spiritual person pretty much since birth. Being interested in all the various forms and ways in which humans express themselves, I became fascinated by the different expressions of various different religions. Most the religions I’ve come to know consisted of stories about angels, ghosts, demons, epic spiritual battles, supernatural entities, the afterlife, dragons, talking animals, and more. What’s not to like?
In the late 90’s, I went to University and studied art and art history. Turns out, the vast majority of art prior to the 1900s was not based on self expression, but on religious expression. I wouldn’t exactly say I am religious – I’m interested in many of them. Not-so-much the rules and doctrines, but the art and various forms expression that permeates through each one.
I eventually ended up with a degree in graphic design, and a minor in ancient Mesoamerican art and architecture. Who better to learn design from than arguably one of the most technologically sophisticated civilizations known to man – the Mayans.
Throughout my journey to present day, I practiced many different meditation techniques. Mostly out of sheer curiosity really, but also to try to reduce anxiety and enhance creativity and harness inspiration to apply to my job and personal work. I’ve tried various different types of yoga classes, took martial arts for 3 years, went to psychics, went on shamanism retreats, dabbled with tarot cards, took hypnotherapy workshops, attended a Pentecostal church that believed in spiritual gifts and speaking in tongues, used several guided meditation techniques, went down psychology rabbit holes, and went to a therapist who specialized in IFS therapy.
On a day, much like any other day, I was riding the train to work when the ever- elusive lightning bolt hit me. It literally shot through me and was the strongest source of love and joy I have ever felt. Shortly after, thoughts and ideas started flowing through my head. I couldn’t write them down fast enough. It was an electrical charged download of information.
Here are the specific steps I took to create this experience
Internal Family Systems
At the time, I was head deep in work, taking care of a family, and going to school to get my masters degree. I was started a therapist who specializes in Internal Family Systems therapy to help me keep my mind afloat.
The idea behind this method is that your psyche consists of separate parts that were formed in your early childhood. You talk to each of these parts to get to the bottom of what’s bothering you. Mostly, I talked to my child part – that Punky Brewster character who just wanted to do things her way and wanted no one else to tell her what to do – especially her parents.
I did a lot of homework while I was on the train. I visualized myself, as my child self, going through my childhood memories with my “Jesus” from exercise in my Following Your Higher Self post.
The 12 Steps
I was getting my masters in Product Design. A facet of this work is marketing and basically trying to get people to buy and get addicted to your products. As a supplement to this, I decided to get an addict’s point of view and walk through the 12 steps as if I was the addict.
What I found is that the Steps as they were written were really difficult to understand and there was a lot of Spiritual fluff. They didn’t really have specific directions about how to go about doing many of the things. What is a shortcoming? And how on Earth does someone remove them. My shortcomings have become a part of me. They’re important because I learn from them. I don’t want them removed.
I then decided I would modify the Steps so that they made more sense to me. You can see my evolving modified version here.
Probably one of the most important steps involves reflection about where certain feelings of guilt and shame stem from, in which I used the method below:
From my exercise in my Following Your Higher Self post, I had my framework as to who “Jesus” is to me. In that first step, I personalized “Her” and made “Her” into an entity with whom I could relate to. (This wasn’t part of the therapy – just add it to another list of “things I do when I’m bored”)
I visualized this person every day while I was on the train. I talked to her and told her all my problems. She asked me how I was feeling, and what she could do to help, and answered my questions. Her answers made sense and mostly turned out to be accurate. I created my own personal “Jesus”.
In my mind, my “Jesus”, along with my child self from IFS therapy, walked through my childhood memories, taking note of what made me feel guilty, sad, angry, or shameful. If a memory came up with any of these feelings attached, “we” would imagine the situation going a different way. Either I would do something in my mind to change the situation, or someone else would take a different action.
If it was something I did that created the feeling, I took note of it, apologized, and forgave myself.
If it was something that someone else did, and was something I had no control over, I forgave that person and let the feeling go.
I imagined the feelings as sludge, bubbling up to the top of a tank of water, and then I scooped it up with a net and dumped it out. These visualizations really helped me clear out the negative feelings I was holding onto.
As I was doing the meditation described above, I got to the memory where I met my husband. I imagined seeing him for the first time, and our first date, and then it hit me. An electric shock of love and light ran through my entire body. It made me physically shake it was so overwhelming – but in a really good way. I should add I was listening to synth-pop music. Metric’s “The Shade” to be exact.
I don’t know if it was the timing of everything together that made it happen, or if it was the music, or the weather. What I do know is that it was the most amazing and loving feeling that took over my entire body, it shook me.
I heard a voice. A peaceful voice. It was a man’s voice. Serene, wise, very logical. I didn’t know what it was because I’ve never heard anything like it or about this happening to anyone else. Was I going crazy?
I can only describe it as the voice of God. Every question I had, I was directed to specific areas in the Bible – keep in mind, of which, I have not read in over 20 years, and by no means had it memorized.
That night while I was folding laundry, I asked “God” what we’re going to do about this laundry problem. He said to me “that’s your issue to take care of, if it were up to me, you’d all be naked.” After a good chuckle, I dropped to my knees sobbing. I couldn’t believe I pushed “God” aside for this long. I pushed “Him” to the back of my mind when “He” should have been at the front. I was sad, like I’ve been living my whole life just missing out on that kind of love, the crazy unconditional kind. I had an idea of it, but didn’t really know it existed.
For 3 weeks following the encounter, I was on a cloud. I felt lighter and freer than I ever have. My senses were heightened. Colors were brighter. Nothing bothered me.
When I got to the point when I understood what this all was and what it all meant, going down the rabbit-hole of being “born again”, and what to do next. I told myself that God (aka: everlasting love & light aka: the creative life force aka: the system of energies and events that enable everything to exist and co-exist in 3d physical space ) was never going to be pushed into the background again. I was going to live for this from here on out – putting it forward in everything I do.
Yes. This is the effect this experience has had on me.
It is one that I wish everyone could have. It was that epic.
But it is one that someone has to experience for themselves, on their own terms, when they are ready.
And so it begins.
The only thing I can say about my future is that I’m not to adhere to anyone else’s rules about what this project is and what to do – I am to follow my own path. I can take inspiration from everyone and everything around me that feels like a fit – just like before.
Dogma has never been my style – and I like to keep it that way.