Are We There Yet?By Shellee Rae
It's been a long ride home. I think it's important to give you just a little background on my raucous journey before I go into the story of my transformation. Life has not been easy, however my recent shift in August 08 has made this long and difficult passage all worth waiting for.
As a young girl, the world was overwhelming to me and it didn't make any sense at all. I couldn't understand the tug in my heart for something more. I used to hold my breath until I fainted - it was such a great relief to slip out of this reality even if it was only temporary. That urge to escape became much greater by the time I was nine years old when my father began sexually abusing me and beating me. It did not take long for me to find drugs and alcohol to help numb the devastating suffering I endured for the five years that he abused me. I had no idea that the torment was becoming a deep wound that would not only become a hindrance in my adult life and relationships but would also develop into an underlying reason to torture myself.
Fast forward twenty-eight years…
I drank and used drugs to the doors of death, which was the ultimate convincer that I might have a problem. I was thirty-seven years old when I awoke on the fourth day in the hospital with that realization. I had attempted suicide in a drug and alcohol blackout. I was dying (not fast enough as far as I was concerned), and now hopeless, helpless and spiritually bankrupt, I was finally willing to try something different. Once released from the hospital, I began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and managed to get clean and sober.
Once sobriety was well established, the calling of the heart began to stir again. For ten full years in my sober life, I searched and explored the meaning of existence and different paths of awakening. I was ready to give up, to stop all my practices, perhaps have a book-burning party, and maybe use all the CD's and DVD's as Frisbees. Enter Waking Down in Mutuality…
I've been told many times to be careful what I ask for - I just might get it. I had been calling for divine intervention in whatever way it has to come to assist me in shifting to a higher perspective; an awakening for life. I have had many mini-awakenings in the past but nothing ever sustainable. I would be in an altered state for minutes, hours or days but it would not stick and I always returned to the status quo me. Ugh.
Still chasing that illusive carrot of enlightenment, in Sept '07 I ventured into a meeting of another 'spiritual group' that met twice a month. There was a visiting teacher facilitating and his words made sense to me. Rather than waking up, he was speaking of waking down. He was saying that he was aware of Consciousness in his body while at the same time experiencing an expanded state of Awareness. I hung on his every word as I had not heard any teacher or path speak of including the body in their awakening-not in this way, at least.
I was touched that evening by the honesty of the people who shared and I was moved to tears identifying with the pain that was expressed, the longing for something more, something else; for me it was a silent screaming heart. I went back to the next meeting two weeks later. There was another teacher in attendance and after she spoke, she looked right into my soul (I felt) and said, 'and what about you, do you have something you would like to say?' Crack! That was the sound my heart made. Something cracked and it all came pouring out. I don't recall what all I said but I was crying and drooling and blowing bubbles and I didn't care - someone just kept handing me tissues.
The most beautiful part of the experience was the feeling of being held while I unraveled. There was a feeling of such presence and attentiveness that it was palpable. As I finished the story of my 'aching and longing heart' the people there began to give feedback and I was again moved to my core with their words of support, compassion, and honoring. I remember thinking, "wow, you mean you understand?! It's really okay to feel all these things?" There was a great sense of relief that ran through my body.
For my whole life, I had great difficulty being here. The world did not make any sense and I could not seem to find my purpose or place on this planet. I felt completely misunderstood by the world and with such a longing to be home; an ache in my heart that couldn't be satiated with anything.
Things began to really stir once getting involved with Waking Down. At times, that longing inside turned into cyclones of energy that made me feel as if I would spontaneously combust if I did not find a release valve. Looking around, life seemed so meaningless and I really wished that I could find a way to the exit. That "back-door" was like the contingency plan; I always took a bit of comfort knowing that if things got any worse (the longing, desperation, emptiness), suicide was always an option.
At one meeting, someone handed me Waking Down: Beyond Hypermasculine Dharmas by Saniel Bonder. I flinched and wanted to drop it and run. As the knot in my belly got tighter, something from within made me reach out and let it land in my hand. Even though I was breaking a promise to myself (no more books, paths, teachers or gurus!), I dove in and began reading that book and soon many others, attending workshops and going to the meetings.
I was touched deeply by the personal stories of awakening in Bob Valine's book The Second Birth; they spoke to my heart and I knew I was finally onto something, something Big. I took some words from another book, White Hot Yoga of the Heart also by Saniel and turned them around to make them into a prayer or an invocation, stating: "I pray for, intend, even insist upon whatever is necessary for my realization of Being to come to fruition as directly and rapidly as possible." Again, I will warn here to be careful what you ask for. Powerful words spoken from the heart can really turn up the volume on life! And it did! Soon after my whole world began to change.
The first big occurrence: I had a kundalini experience in April. With that came such a feeling of purification and lightness. So much burned off. It was incredibly intense and not something that I would recommend to anyone given a choice! Right around that time my partner of four and a half years started backing away from our relationship. He began house-sitting and was gone for weeks at a time. I kept dropping deeper into every feeling and each experience.
On June 30th, my eighteen year old cat, Tigger died, and two days later my partner ended our relationship.
As I began to experience the losses, the first thing that happened was the heartache-deep misery that felt like it might be endless. What was different with this grief was that I was not fighting any of it. I was falling right down into the middle of it, feeling it deeply, expressing and venting it by crying, primal screaming, or punching pillows; whatever was needed in the moment to allow the feelings to fly freely. At times, the bottom of the emotion would seem to drop out and I would land in a pool of either peace or bliss. I remember thinking "wow, you mean pain can be blissful or peaceful too?" Not resisting anything, everything began to change.
The double-whammy of losing Tigger and not having his comforting presence in the loss of my partner, our house, etc, and also of losing my partner and not having him to console me for the loss of Tigger created a volcano inside of me that felt like it imploded once the eruption subsided and I landed right smack-dab in the middle of me; someplace I'd never been before, home, complete, nothing needed. All of a sudden, it all felt sacred, from the very beginning of my life, every piece a gift to help me land here…Here. As I cried, now from a love that was alive in me, I wanted to thank my partner and Tigger for the gift they gave me. This heart that I thought was shattered and taking on one more battle-scar was washed clean and filled with amazing gratitude for Life and all its dips and curves. Love like no other…
Another thing I noticed as I was spinning from the one-two punch was that there were no more thoughts of suicide. I kept looking over my shoulder wondering "hey, where's my back door?" - no back-up plan at all - just here!
Since the shift, I've had many more expanded states and blissful experiences. Recently, as I was out walking, all of a sudden, whoosh, I entered into stillness. I had to slow down my steps and breath because both were making too much noise in this amazing state. I continued to float down the hill where I encountered three deer, a mother and her young ones. As we all stopped and our eyes met, instantly my heart became an inferno. Tears flowed and the love I felt could have consumed me whole and left behind just a pile of ashes as far as I was concerned. Delicious.
There is a difference today in the way I adjust after the experiences pass. Previously, I would search for more, long to be there again. In some cases, depression would set in for days or weeks. Today, I marvel at them, fully accept their comings and goings and no longer need to have more close-encounters to be full. This Love is unbound by concepts, beliefs, wishes - no limits. Everything in life feels like a YES. Each thing is so new, like the first time I've ever really experienced it. I've been here but never Here. It's hard to tell where I end and the other begins.
What an incredible sense of freedom living in this Heart space. How did I miss it all these years? So close, so beautiful, so very sacred. And today love seems to dissolve or transform all the pieces that no longer fit who I am.
Infinite love is what we're up to here. It is what we came to experience…for all beings… and what is really amazing is when we find it in the self, the heart shatters into a dimension that is unfathomable by the mind and love without limits is experienced.
Watch for my book Suffering ~ A Path of Awakening: Dissolving the Pain of Incest, Abuse, Addiction, and Depression, to be released soon.