Prefer video? Watch in vlog form by clicking HERE (CC)
Well, as I should’ve guessed, The Great Unearthing continues. In addition to the myriad of collective lessons in progress via 2020 and COVID (racism anyone?) the application of the uncovering of shit we need to look at whether we like it or not continues in full force.
For myself and many others, this has taken the form of being presented with the opportunity to re-evaluate many long-standing relationships, often ones we’d never thought would ever be on the docket.
And it’s not just me. Both Zach and Noelle have had a couple, as well as countless Facebook posts I’ve seen from friends basically recounting more or less the same thing. This has been big in the collective, and honestly one of the most emotionally and psychologically difficult processes I’ve ever personally been through.
And since I know I’m not alone, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far.
I’ve noticed this theme has been happening quite a bit with people who already do inner work. The acceleration of our personal processes with the 2020 collective movement just took our inner work and went. Hard.
I’ve come to recognize there are some major flaws in the way spiritual work has been taught to most of us. It makes sense for the masses and initial learning curve, but after awhile there are areas, depending on how we interact with it from our own limited core beliefs, insecurities and defense tendencies, that can really become detrimental.
And for me, they all showed up when it came to this recent set of relationship inventories.
I believe the work has been taught with a blanket assumption that most people are blaming out, not able to see their own shit (and therefore unable to take any ownership.)
So the way it’s been presented historically is somewhat of an overcorrect – that we’re to take all the ownership in every event or interaction that ever happens to us. This concept is daunting, overwhelming and extremely empowering, and that’s what I needed when I first started with the work, so I get it.
The problem lies in this – many people who are drawn to doing work aren’t coming from a place of blaming out and not taking ownership. Everyone has blind spots, but that’s par for the human course. Instead, many of us come from rescuer, martyr, people-pleaser and protector tendencies. Usually riddled with guilt, shame, self-blame and self-doubt as a default.
Many of us (myself included) come from a false core belief of ‘not good enough’ (or some similar version) as a general lens we see ourselves through. We also historically give wayyyy too much benefit of the doubt, because we’re optimists and we hold out hope for everyone ultimately.
So when it comes to interactions with others, especially when unconscious manipulative tendencies are involved, we may start that inevitable uncomfortable conversation (after processing through, venting, checking with friends for blind spots, etc with full intention on recognizing our own shit) start out strong (despite the enormous amount of anxiety many of us have in fear of hurting another through expressing our feelings, even in a clear space) and muster up enough courage to say our piece in order to articulate our own experience.
So if somehow, by the end of the conversation, we end up crying and apologizing, thinking they were right about our feelings being wrong, second-guessing our entire read on ourselves and life, left generally confused, guilty and full of shame, something is amiss.
Since our little team of Zach, Noelle and myself has now gone through several iterations of various versions of this (plus what I’m seeing online) I’ve noticed a few similar characteristics both in the dynamics as well as the individual tendencies that each version in our world all share.
Intentions and Active Inner Work
The people I’m seeing this happening with lately all share a common thread of actively working on themselves in one way or another. If they’re doing it right, they’re open to feedback, willing to look at their own shit and be wrong, and take ownership when they recognize something.
The “Lesser Than” Constructs
Most people in this category are also aware of and actively trying to break down their own constructs and filters within themselves, often coming from one or more of the following: rescuer, people-pleaser, martyr, protector.
We tend to protect the other person to the point where we downplay the bad shit and up-play the good shit (to other people, or within ourselves). Because we have compassion as to what they’ve been through and how this all came to be.
This does not let us take clear inventory at all if we’re unwilling to look.
We also have historically struggled with boundary setting, and we’re working our asses off to learn how to set boundaries from a clear space, in an aligned way, that recognizes the needs of both parties. This has not been an easy road for many of us.
The speed of collective growth is definitely not lost on us this year. With this intensive acceleration, whether it feels like it or not, we’re growing and evolving at a faster pace than usual. This also includes the intensity of emotional purges, processes, manifestation of intentions, and general life pace.
Space and time has also been available to many (depending on our work situations) due to COVID. Time and space to heal and grow, plus lack of social activity, plus collective accelerated unearthing? I mean, what the fuck did we expect lol.
Changing the Dynamics
Because of this rapid growth individually, this naturally shifts the dynamics with other people, since who we are and how we show up is half of the matching equation. But with this growth into more alignment of who we truly are and who we’re growing into in these earth bodies, comes new understanding of ourselves, standards, and what we will no longer tolerate nor participate in.
If these long-standing relationships have old ‘unconscious agreements’ as to how we’ll interact, and we grow out of feeling aligned with those agreements, triggers often ensue, because we’re no longer meeting their expectations of what they’re used to.
In almost all of the iterations of this, there are major imbalances in the dynamic. Often one person is giving more, taking more, depending on the other in some kinda way, taking advantage of the other (unconsciously or not) or some version of this.
These imbalances have become much more visible to us as we grow, and then when they get presented to be addressed, it doesn’t always go well (no matter how well we deliver it).
Unconscious Manipulation (especially of the work language)
It took me a long time to recognize when a person’s defenses had manipulative tendencies. These are much more difficult with people we can see underneath their shit (and presumably no one we’ve been in a friendship for that long is actually inherently an asshole,) so they’re not the typical-looking bully or villain we imagine when we think of manipulative people.
Manipulative defense tendencies are a cousin of control, trying to get what they want (and in this case, us as we once presented ourselves to them). And this one in particular took me a long time to see, because it’s a psychological mindfuck to be seeing something like unconscious manipulation on a person who is unaware they’re doing it (and likely wouldn’t be doing it if they could see it.)
But when we throw that possibility on the table, it’s met with assumption that must be our arrogance or projection, which we then go back and internalize and double check on (since we do work).
This creates a cycle where we basically get talked out of our own feelings over and over. Often our inner work process and language gets used against us to poke holes in our own self-doubt or blind spots (that they’re likely aware of because we’ve shared it with them). We leave confused and guilty, feeling unseen and unheard, and like we fucked up by bringing anything up in the first place.
One tool I picked up to help see straight when the doubt and confusion kick in, is to look at the facts as if they’ve been presented to a neutral jury. How many actual pieces of ownership has each person taken? How many times has each person initiated communication? How many times has each person gotten yelled at?
Look at the facts and the facts only if you can, just to get out from under the self-doubt and guilt lens they may have stimulated so you can see straight again. This has helped me several times.
“Spiritual Person” Standards
Another problem that comes from the old teachings (or at least what people have done with them) is a ridiculous expectation of what we believe a good ‘spiritual person doing work’ is supposed to be (I’ll be blogging more about this for sure).
Somehow, we’re no longer allowed to ever be triggered, or heaven forbid speak from a space of being triggered without having had a full-blown process of investigation our own shit, finding it, taking ownership and presenting our findings in a perfect, compassionate delivery that the other person will be able to hear and absorb. It’s all on us.
Does this remind anyone else of the concept of white fragility, or is it just me?
I’ve had my spiritual work, the most near and dear thing to me and what I consider to be a major reason I’ve incarnated at this time (and they know it) thrown in my face multiple times during this. With people I’ve spend countless hours of time, love and effort on (this process officially marks the end of my rescuer construct by the way – never the fuck again).
Throwing something like spiritual work in our faces is a giant red flag. And it hurts like a bitch. There are some things you would think would be off-limits. But alas…
Also, they say we’re being selfish. A personal fav, especially for people we’ve put way too much into over the years.
Okay now I’m venting a bit lol. I’ll own it;) But man, it’s because this shit is so fucked up. And due to my own ‘spiritual person standards,’ I had years’ worth of pent-up anger I never let myself feel for shit I tolerated in the name of being “spiritual”. Hence, why I’m writing about it now.
I highly recommend people take a look at this shit earlier than later, and don’t let it build up for 15 years to have a giant process on it like I did.
Oh the, Ego
Then, the ego work. I wrote so many blogs about ego (in the way spiritual people use the term) as well as looking at my arrogance. Once I discovered my initial blind spot of feeling the need to be right/know-it-all tendency back in 2008, I was so shamefully humbled that I overcorrected like a motherfucker.
And spent the next 10 years making sure I always left room to be wrong (which is good in many situations, but not when it comes to matters of who I am inherently or my own experiences).
It overcorrected into a new construct – self-doubt. Which, was what the initial arrogance was protecting by overcorrecting in the first place, since my version of it was never to make anyone else feel small, it was to beef up my own sense of self because I was so fucking insecure. Counter-intuitive much?
Nowadays, I don’t even use the term ‘ego’ at all anymore. That whole thing creates a frame in which people believe they can have ‘ego deaths’, etc (which through that frame can be a helpful experience, but it’s very binary and missing a fuckton of complexities that are important).
At current, I talk about defenses (which is basically the ego concept but much more neutral). Defenses are just there to protect us from pain. Trapped feelings, old wounds, insecurities – the defenses are not the enemy. The infamous “battle with the ego” is a frame that creates more turmoil and comes from a place of ultimately guilt and self-punishment (at least for me).
We’re allowed to learn to trust our read. And we’re allowed to say our opinion, just like any other regular human. We’re also allowed to be wrong.
Not Being Seen
This is a big one. I’ve seen this in every single post I’ve read with the same story. Somehow we’re not feeling seen by people we used to feel seen by. They’ll tell us until they’re blue in the face that they see us clearly.
But since we know what it feels like to be seen in general, especially from this person, we’re the only one with the authority to make that call. Our bodies know. We’re on the inside of these bodies, and they’re on the outside. How can a person know if they’re seeing someone else’s whole picture? Easy. They can’t.
Communication and Flowing Out
Cheers to the ones who at least try to communicate through it. Many don’t and either shut down or ghost. Even with attempted communication, depending on how willing the person is to actually listen to our experiences and feelings, it can become an unending cycle. There comes a point where if it’s just not aligning, you can’t force it. Only option is to let it be what it is and let go. But props for trying.
For my little group with Zach and Noelle, all three of us came from the same type of rescuing, people-pleasing, guilty constructs where we generally assumed we were wrong somehow.
This was nice in certain commiseration aspects, but ultimately took us collectively longer to start to recognize the realities of how we were being treated by our various versions of these ‘old people’ (long-term past, friendships born from a different space than who we are now).
The saving grace was our work together, and our commitment to open communication while we work on what we call ‘original stake’ – aka, relationships. Lol. We had it in our mind as romantic relationships, but as Zach likes to point out, we’re fucking idiots.
We’re consistently in relationship to literally everything on earth and beyond. To a rock. To ourselves. To our thoughts. It’s literally the entire human experience in constant dynamic and flux. Well, we’re in it now lol, and those intention dominoes just keep going…
This upgraded level of communication, commitment to each other, and self-discovery together has created quite the juxtaposition from what we’re all used to. We’ve basically upped our game and our standards, and we’re not going to pull teeth or let people project their shit all over us any more just to keep friends, or just because they’re good people.
All these fuckers are good people that we still love and wish the best. We’ve just slowly grown into people with new levels of self-respect. It’s kinda weird tbh – but I’m getting used to it 😉
Growing into Empowerment
I’ve always had a vision of what I imagined as an ‘empowered woman’. How did they get there? Were they born with it? Did they have to survive enough crazy shit that they came out the other side a total badass? How does empowerment happen?
I’m starting to learn. I can feel myself growing into it and aligning more to my inner power. And it’s aligning as I’m learning to trust myself and my process, and let go of fears of being some crazy arrogant cult leader or whatever. But becoming clearer for myself is vital.
I’ve got all the intentions on seeing my shit, and it definitely presents to me; either from outside stimulus, internal recognition or epiphany, or Zach or Noelle alerting me to it in a way that still respects who I am and my process (literally happened like, today).
I’m willing to look. And I see shit. But it’s not all on me or all on them. It’s an inventory of which is which. That’s really all you can do. And just keep going.
This has been one of the hugest processes I’ve ever been through (akin to getting divorced level) and it took what felt like for fucking ever. It’s not even totally done, but we’re definitely on the tail end of the curve at this point.
These were the facing of some of my biggest fears. Not being seen by people who know me well. Being vilified. Judging my work as if it’s shit. Sharing my feelings and it hurting them. Feeling like I failed them. Abandoned them. Didn’t show up as a good friend. Wasn’t the ride or die loyal person I promised them.
That’s what the constructs tell me. That’s what my self-doubt and guilt says. That’s where it fucks with the psyche.
But after a year and a half worth of this intensive process, I know it’s just not aligned. I did try to communicate. There was also deal-breaking shit that was just too much. And I’m not going to try to force a friendship that was obviously sitting on a shaky foundation to begin with.
And I’m still allowed to love them from afar, even if I’m still mad. All those things don’t inherently conflict in the body. They’re all allowed to be there and be felt as they naturally process out.
In the end, frankly I needed this shit. It was too many years of rescuer bullshit. I’m becoming a person with standards, which is not only exciting, it’s vital for me to move forward as my work grows into more of a public arena.
I need to know what to look for, both within my own self and tendencies, as well as red flags that need to be called what they are (since I always start with too much benefit of the doubt. There’s a sweet spot there). But lessons definitely learned – none of us are doing this shit again.
Like I said, The Great Unearthing continues (not to be confused with the ‘great awakening’ Qanon bullshit). Not a bad way to finish out the insanity that was 2020. But oh so much growth.
Big love to everyone and thanks for listening! Have you or someone you know experienced something like this this year? I’m curious as to which aspects I mentioned align with your version of it. Thanks all!
Want more? If you want to go deeper with us, I’ll be making announcements as to future podcasts, videos and online programs! Subscribe to the mailing list HERE