Subject D and I sat in the small, paper-strewn office of her home, just off her large work room where she conducts her business.
When I was 12 or 13, my uncle was in the Vietnam war, and my mother was vehemently opposed. She began to say things like -- I had two younger brothers -- if this crap is still going on when they get to be draft age, I’m moving to Canada. She was serious. The irony of it is that she worked -- until she retired -- at Offit Air Force Base. She said there is so much bullshit going on you wouldn’t believe it. She said, I won’t have my children be part of this. So I was aware at that level. I heard her talk a lot and I watched TV quite a bit. I began to see what was occurring. And then there was the music – the Beatles, Rolling Stone, Woodstock and all that. I began to consciously choose a lifestyle then. I graduated high school in 1970, experimented with various mind altering substances -- although I didn’t try anything until I was out of high school. In fact I had a pretty strong opinion that it was the wrong thing to do. My father was alcoholic, and I was concerned about control.
After high school, I began to work immediately, got my own apartment, and met a man who became my first husband. We lived together in Iowa where he was going to school, and I became more aware of not only the political aspect of what was happening in our country, but I was involved in a whole lifestyle change. We lived together -- we partied, experimented with different drugs -- and all that for me was pretty spiritual. Like with LSD, I made sure the situation was just right. I was pretty controlled in my use of stuff -- I was a control freak in that sense. I wouldn’t put myself in a vulnerable position. I wouldn’t go out in public. I didn’t do a lot of LSD. I smoked a lot of pot. Everywhere you went, people were smoking pot. I really feel like it was very mind opening. It altered our consciousness to the point where we were able -- we were already seeing a different point of view, but it really propelled us into an expansion.
My first husband and I both had real mainstream jobs. I worked for attorneys, and he was an accountant. We were living two lives, mainstream jobs, then we were with the counterculture in the evenings and weekends. I got introduced to yoga then. It would be accurate to say, in retrospect, that the use of the mind expanding drugs gave me a different point of view of the world, and therefore I began to choose a more alternative lifestyle, got involved in yoga, changed my diet. I decided I didn’t want to be in a real stressed out lifestyle, totally jerked around by being employed by somebody else, etc. Made a conscious choice not to have kids at that time. And actually lived ten years, throughout my 20s, with that being my lifestyle. And then we split up, exactly on my 30th birthday. We had been growing in different directions, and made a mutual choice to divorce. I had already met S.
At that point, I knew that I had swung far left, and I knew that wasn’t working exactly. And I didn’t want to go all the way back to the right, so I’ve spent the last ten or fifteen years trying to find the balance between the two, realizing that the way to make change is to work on myself and have as much integrity and honesty as I can. If I detach and depart from society, what effect? None, as far as I can tell. So I’ve settled now into a point of view that the best contribution I can give is to continue to do my own internal personal growth. But then my work is very much in the world, working with people -- through the yoga. I’m counseling, too. I don’t have a technical counseling degree, but it becomes very much counseling and encouraging people to not be afraid to change and take a look at their strengths, as well as what we consider our challenges.
And just now are we coming to terms with the financial end of things. We’ve lived very scantily over the last ten years, and when the kids were little it was ok, but now we’re making some major shifts, so that we can deal with what we need to do. It’s ok. About five years ago I knew -- actually, even when the kids were still little – that the lifestyle -- we had to make a strong decision, either go all the way into the woods, or get with the program. S was not of that mind. He rode the fence for quite awhile, couldn’t come to terms with how to make peace with all that. We’ve had several conversations -- I remember saying to him one day that I was choosing a lifestyle that was different from what we’d been doing. I know what I want and I no longer feel guilty, because there was all that guilt piled up -- oh my god I’m selling out and all that crap. It was like, look, it’s going to take a certain amount of money to do this, and I said, we both had the benefits -- we had everything we needed and a lot of what we wanted, and our parents were there 100% for us in all those ways -- and then we shifted more, taking on yoga as a full time job. That’s how I make my money now. Yoga, reika, dreamweaving -- healing arts. I have slow financial times, and then good financial times.
Basic material comforts, and then M hit junior high school last year, and just activities -- N started riding horses two years ago -- a huge financial commitment. In fact, we had to stop for awhile because we just couldn’t keep going, and that really made me feel bad. It’s something she’s really good at, really natural at, and I want to be able to encourage and provide at that level. Being a good parent involves providing what’s necessary in our society, materially. And I believe part of that is installing an ethic to not be quite to consumer oriented. I encourage them to try different things.
In the last couple of years, I’ve been a cycle of really getting in there and looking at all the negative thinking. All of a sudden I’ll find myself in a spiral of negativity, and then I have to ask, how does that manifest around me? Then I explore, taking responsibility for my own negative thinking, realizing that negative thinking is nonproductive, non-life promoting, things that lead toward more destructive behavior. I really believe now, after looking at all this in myself and other people, that if we stay in a spiral of depressed or negative thinking, that’s exactly what makes us ill. There’s no doubt in my mind anymore. That negative thinking or depression leads to real strong downward emotions, and then all that hits the body like an impact at the cellular level, and then the body goes, well, ok, this is the message you’re giving me -- or the body becomes a direct reflection of all our thoughts and emotions.
The good news is, once you realize this, you can begin to change it. You change the patterns, the ways of relating. That’s what a lot of my work is now. You deal with the core issues that brought it on, and change it. In using myself as an example, feeling inadequate in whatever level as a parent/provider, knowing that I’m giving a lot of emotional support, but because I was unable on a material level to do all the things that I thought was important to do, then it made me feel inadequate. So I’ve been spending myself, using my energy in ways that are nonproductive. It caused a lot of worry. What I realize now -- and you read this in any of the self help books -- when you worry worry worry all your energy is sucked off in the worry and you’re not really focusing on what we need to be doing. And it makes me really understand what happens to people when they get in a depression cycle. It’s terrible. Somewhere there you see where you want to be, what you want to do, but to break out of it can be quite challenging.
Some kind of spiritual belief is necessary. It’s our connection. When I’m out of sorts, I feel disconnected, to the rest of life, basically. I feel disconnected from everyone else and what I’ll call my self, and now, when I realize I feel disconnected, I know there are things I can do to reestablish the memory of what it’s like being connected to God and life, and with that experience of connection, then I know that anything’s possible. I learned this through yoga. It has been the foundation for me, a path that has worked extremely well. I’ve had a lot of different teachers. At the beginning, I got a strong balance of the physical posturing as well as meditation. There was as much dogma in some of those practices as in any religion, and so I began to plow through the dogma to find the core of it. I’ve never had a guru. All my teachers have been hatha yoga teachers (posture) -- some meditation teachers. None of them ever presented themselves as a guru. I never put myself in that position. And then a lot of self study through reading, going to different workshops, bringing in information and utilizing it on my own.
Yoga is a science that has been adopted by a lot of different philosophies and religions. It’s its own practice, deriving from the Indus valley five or six thousand years ago, from what we can tell. There’s yoga in Tibet, in India -- when you get into reading about the lost years of Jesus, they all talk about Jesus knowing all these different practices. What they are, are practices of learning the energetics and the interactions between body, mind, and spirit.. We’ve got all the words for it in the West, and people are experiencing through yoga and meditation and acupuncture and eastern thought -- I think it’s good that it’s being brought into the western experience and western mind. If we really want to know it, we have to go back to the pure teachings. They are written down very clearly. There’s no dogma around the teachings. It’s the whole cause and effect teaching. Current books written, like The Holographic Universe -- all that is explained in those real old philosophies and ancient texts. It’s there. The language is a little different, but it basically says you have this relationship between what is manifest and not manifest aspects of energy, and you have different vibrational rates of energy, and out of that you have sound and light and color and dense material form and multiple realms of existence going on at once, and basically, it’s no big deal.
We’re in these physical bodies, and from the physical body’s point of view, things look a certain way. As we expand our consciousness or heighten our awareness, we begin to incorporate more spirit into our everyday lives and have a greater understanding of everything that’s going on. My passion is to be able to look at all these philosophies. There’s a thread that runs through them all. There’s no difference. There are a lot of different pathways to the same place. It’s just to allow each other to have the variances and nuances on how we’re here and not interfere with each other in a harmful way, to encourage each other to explore life and be our full potential.
With my daughters, I’ve found it extremely refreshing to be able to talk to them openly about sex, the pros and cons -- I ended up telling them both the other day that I feel it’s really awkward to talk to you about some of this, because on the one hand, sexuality is a very wonderful part of who we are, and when it’s in the right place with the right person it’s ecstatic, marvelous, but if it’s in the wrong place with the wrong person, it can be a terrible experience. It’s confusing now because in the media where sexuality is combined with advertising, with violence -- it’s totally mixed up with a lot of other things that it was never intended to be mixed up with. M especially -- she’s 13 ½ -- I said, you’ve got all these things out there saying to you be sexy, but you go to school and they say you can’t dress this way, you have to keep yourself, hold yourself in a certain attitude and energetics so that you have the right behavior, and I said, I know it’s a very mixed up message, a total tradeoff, so just talk to me. Same with drugs. When the opportunity is presented to you, come and talk to me some more, because we’ll do whatever we need to do so that you are making responsible choices that are right for you.