Archive for October 2017

Feminism as a Path to Healing: Part 3 ll Mary Coday Edwards

Feminism as a Path to Healing, Part 3

By Rev. Mary Coday Edwards, MA.

     “Stop shaking your head …” said former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to veteran correspondent April Ryan at a White House press briefing in March.

     “What??!!” went the collective gasp. “Who does Spicer think he is, telling this grown woman and an experienced journalist, what to do? Believing he knows what is and what’s not acceptable and proper behavior for her??”

     There are so many things wrong with this scenario. From the podium, to a room packed with journalists, he claimed the role of Supreme Being/Big Daddy, telling Ryan, a respected journalist, what her behavior ought to be and to “STOP” what she was doing – characteristics of the patriarchy: entitlement, command, and control.

Not to mention a white man bossing around an African American woman.

     If, in monotheism, God is man, man is God. Why does God look suspiciously like the ruling class? Why is Jesus, a Jewish guy from the Middle East, blond and blue-eyed? Gloria Steinem, My Life on the Road

     What in Spicer’s life created this sense of entitlement, that when push came to shove, out of his mouth spewed this automatic response? Well, he’s wealthy – to the tune of $14 million. Hand-in-hand with wealth comes entitlement (1).

     And the press describes him as a “devout Catholic.” We know this in detail because his feelings were hurt back in May when the Trump Administration didn’t invite him to a meet-and-greet with the Pope. But then the media widely reported on how an ecstatic Spicer sat in the front row snapping photos when he attended the International Catholic Legislators Network at the Vatican this past August.

As Simon Beauvoir wrote so elegantly back in 1949 in The Second Sex:

Man enjoys the great advantage of having a god endorse the code he writes;

and since man exercises a sovereign authority over women

it is especially fortunate that this authority has been vested in him by the Supreme Being.

[In monotheism and others], man is master by divine right;

the fear of God will therefore repress any impulse toward revolt in the downtrodden female.

     As a Catholic, Spicer’s saturated in patriarchal values and attitudes. I know this – I was raised Catholic. His religious leaders have been regulating and censoring women’s bodies, lives, and behavior for more than 2,000 years. It’s in his DNA. He is “master by divine right,” his god endorses “the code he writes.” These are the values Catholicism taught him.

I believe that the most serious violation of human rights on earth is the abuse of women and girls. Former President Jimmy Carter

     In 1998, Cooey, Eakin, and McDaniel edited the anthology, After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of the World Religions, which examines the question: “Can our major world religions transcend their deeply and far-reaching patriarchal roots?”

     In this base line anthology, feminists from each major religion question if there is hope for their respective faiths, and if so, what needs to change; and how to re-appropriate “what they believe to be the liberating and even essential elements of their traditions, elements in scriptures or tradition that have seen suppressed, forgotten, or erased by patriarchal power relations and theory”(pg ix).

     Tackling Christianity in general, Cooey wrote the chapter, “Post-Patriarchal Reconstruction of Inherited Christian Doctrine.” Cooey concludes that patriarchy is not essential to Christian doctrine, quoting other researchers who argue that the earliest communities were radically egalitarian but then, like a sponge, early missionaries soaked up patriarchal values from the cultures they sought to evangelize. 

     She believes that through critical analysis of church teaching, Christianity has possible value [emphasis added] for an “egalitarian and environmentally harmonious existence.” This can only occur if patriarchal Christianity can insist upon the full integrity of women as women and the integrity of all who have suffered under patriarchy. Not only does the latter include humanity, but also the earth and other sentient beings. The Christian past has oppressed women as well as other human beings and our environment and its ecosystems.

Many, of course, experience that transformation like pushing a boulder up a mountain and have exchanged that struggle for spiritual paths that nourish the feminine vs. malign it. This includes contributor Emily Culpepper, in her chapter titled, “The Spiritual, Political Journey of a Feminist Freethinker.”

Protesting against images of the divine which justify grossly hierarchical, authoritarian, and violent practices.

     October 31 marks the 500th Anniversary of Reformation Day, an international Protestant religious holiday, commemorating Martin Luther’s nailing of his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Times haven’t changed much in 500 years: Luther was protesting against papal authority and its abuses.

     It’s time for another Reformation – and not just of Roman Catholicism, but of all Protestantism still steeped in patriarchy.

     Former President Jimmy Carter metaphorically nailed his succinct protest on the door of the Southern Baptist Convention when he said as he withdrew from the Convention after six decades: “The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter” [emphasis added].

     Just as the infrequent bright star shines through a murky, polluted sky at night, so occasional leaders and branches of Christianity have promoted a divinity which doesn’t discriminate based on race or gender.

     It’s worthy of note that Spicer commanded Ryan twice to stop shaking her head. Patriarchy doesn’t control her.

     Like heavy and clunky baggage, many of us still struggle lugging around this supervisory patriarchal authority unconsciously within us. While reading this blog, if any feelings or emotions surfaced or twisted around in your body, such as sadness, anger, tears, a fight or flight reaction, I suggest you mindfully reflect on those emotions, waiting for any truth or memory that may be seeking to surface. Emotions are our teachers – they are not good or bad.

     Whatever you experience, don’t push it away but stay with it, welcoming this wisdom of transforming power and energy. And practice mindfulness, as Jon Kabat-Zinn taught (3):

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose,

in the present moment,

and nonjudgmentally,

to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.

______

Notes & Sources:

1.) Buchheit, Paul. https://inequality.org/research/era-wealthy-entitlement/

2.)Editors Cooey, Paula M.; Eakin, Willilam R.; and M cDaniel, Jay B. After Patriarchy: Feminist Transformations of the World Religions.  Orbis Books, New York. 1998.

3.) Kabat-Zinn, Jon. The founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, calls this practice mindfulness

 


About the Author: Rev. Mary Coday Edwards is a Spiritual Growth Facilitator and People House Minister. A life-long student of spirituality, Mary spent almost 20 years living, working and sojourning abroad in Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America before finding her People House “tribe” and completing its Ministerial Program. Past studies include postgraduate studies from the University of South Africa in Theological Ethics/Ecological Justice, focusing on the spiritual and physical interconnectedness of all things. With her MA in Environmental Studies from Boston University, abroad she worked and wrote on environmental sustainability issues at both global and local levels, in addition to working in refugee repatriation

Here is a list of the other blog Mary has written for People House:

Dancing in Chaos ll Dorothy Wallis

 

      Daily, you are being bombarded with news of disasters, endless tragedies, and destructive and dehumanizing behaviors causing you to be more aware than ever of the Chaos happening in the world.  These random and outrageous events affect your sense of stability and security and may leave you feeling confused, disturbed, helpless and frightened especially when those unpredictable events cause death and destruction.  You are connected in a way that you never have been before.  Instant news and the Internet have created a dense enmeshed information web that envelops the globe.  In any moment you can hear about a catastrophe at the farthest outpost on Earth.  Your body knows even before your mind.  You are feeling it energetically.  You are connected through more than just the wireless radio waves that carry information.  You are a cell in the body of humanity.  Whether you like it or not, you are in a constant reciprocal flow with the human electromagnetic field coursing through your heart and processed through your body and brain.

      Even when you don’t watch the news or get on social media….somehow, you still feel the disruption.  Achieving a sense of harmony takes effort.

     Your consciousness is extending far beyond the confines of your individual body.  Your body is receiving massive amounts of energy and information.  This is a new development and it takes a lot of energy to process and integrate these phenomena.  Your body is adjusting and learning how to assimilate these experiences and make sense of what is happening in the world.  The magnitude of chaotic events may leave you with a deep sense of vulnerability.  You are unable to exert control to stop these events.  This may bring about hyper-awareness, anxiety, and stress or your body may respond by shutting down with a sense of being drained and fatigued.  Any of these physical reactions may cause confusion and disorientation with accompanying emotional reactions.  You may find yourself tense, irritable, worried, fearful, and angry or you may become detached, withdrawn, sullen or depressed.  Your personal response is a natural strategy used to protect you from physical and emotional pain and overload.

     Unfortunately, these strategies are not especially conducive to achieving the healthy equilibrium necessary for optimal day-to-day functioning or for managing your reactions to the chaos.

 

Making Sense of the Chaos

Why is there all of this chaos and why does it seem to be intensifying?    

     Humanity is linking together.  For the most part, we are no longer isolated into small villages unaware of other communities and cultures.  Modes of travel and the Internet have shortened the distance between all of us.  The body of humanity is coalescing into a global community of disparate as well as resonant cultural proclivities.  We come together from all walks of life and all levels of development.  This interconnection creates an awareness of actions and behaviors of others that are not in agreement.  These opposing views and values often clash as they meet and create chaos.  Chaos is messy.  Chaos is destructive because it breaks down patterns, behaviors, and structures that no longer work as we grow, change and form a larger community.

Chaos is a Part of the Creative Process

      Have you noticed a proliferation of odious, perverse, thoughtless, heartless, abusive, or inhumane treatment of others surfacing in the world?  You are witnessing the dredging up of shadowy human behaviors that destroy life.  This destructive phase of chaos is rampant across all forms of life.  It is disturbing and it is supposed to be. 

      It is a time when you must be accountable and responsible for your thoughts, emotions, and physical actions.  You cannot accept or look away from harm.  If the human species is to survive, you need to be aware because what each one of us does affects us all in a way it never has before.  Chaos is a natural process of growth that shines a light on behaviors that sift out what no longer works to sustain life and restructures them into greater life giving forms.  As you become aware of others actions and behaviors it prompts you to look within at your own.  What attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and actions separate me from others and life and which ones create connection?  You are given the opportunity to become aware of what motivates you, supports your growth, offers meaning and purpose and expands you and what does not.

     As you ponder your own beliefs, you may discover that some of your values shift.  Some of your values may be in conflict with others that you hold.  This internal chaos is a creative process that encourages inquiry.  What is harm?  What is life sustaining?  How can I expand my perspective to include a broader view?  You begin to realize there are no solid answers and more questions arise.  This is growth in action.  You open up parts of yourself that fear, parts of yourself that want everything to remain the same or to radically change, to parts of yourself that want to isolate and parts that want to join with others.  You may have judged parts of yourself as harmful and others as helpful.  Can you begin to see that all of these parts came in at one time for a purpose? 

You are dancing in the Chaos of internal inquiry.

You Need Chaos In Your Soul to Give Birth to a Dancing Star

 ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

     Friedrich Nietzsche spoke of this internal chaos as a form of individual creativity, which when “sought through the acquisition of self-knowledge results in a dancing star, or a unique contribution to the world.”

     Waking up to your inner chaos allows your unique perspective and gifts to illuminate the human condition.  You find parts of yourself that you vehemently reject and see the violence that you enact upon yourself through this rejection.  As you deepen your awareness, you join with discordant parts within yourself and see each of their origins, how they grew into patterns of behavior and reactions.  You develop compassion for these parts.  You begin to let go of fighting or resisting these elements and embrace them for what they offered or still provide.  Loosening the grip of resistance allows a relaxation into acceptance and release.

     Your perspective expands to include a deeper knowing and love of your true Self.  

     All growth moves through this process of Chaos.  The deconstruction and dissolution of the old must take place to make way for the new.  It is happening for you on an individual basis at the level of development that is right for you.  It is happening collectively in the world…again at the pace and next level of development that is appropriate for each person and each community.  Humanity contains all stages and levels of consciousness.  It is a great challenge to integrate into a harmonious whole.  As each person takes responsibility for their own internal development and allows the internal chaos to work its magic of restructuring, the entire world benefits. 

     A great example of visually seeing how chaos is necessary for growth is watching a demonstration of Cymatics.  Sand or other fine particles are placed upon a plate to which various frequencies of sound vibrate the plate.  Each frequency forms a structured pattern.  As the frequency increases, the particles go into chaos allowing the old structure to dissolve before a new pattern of increasing complexity forms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvJAgrUBF4w

     As you grow and change, you move through periods of chaos and each time you do, you reach a new frequency of development and maturity.  You develop knowledge and wisdom.  You embody a completely new form because your old beliefs and structures are no longer relevant.  It is a constant movement into higher stages of consciousness. 

     Our world is increasing in complexity and as it does it moves through these periods of chaos.  It is a time of tremendous transition as we journey toward becoming a harmonious global community.


Dorothy Wallis is a former intern at People House in private practice with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is an International Spiritual Teacher at the forefront of the consciousness movement for over thirty years grounded in practices of meditation, family systems, relationships, and emotional growth.  Her work reflects efficacious modalities of alternative approaches to healing based upon the latest research in science, human energy fields, psychology, and spirituality. 

As a leader in the field of emotional consciousness and the connection to mind, body and spirit, her compassionate approach safely teaches you how to connect to your body, intuition and knowing to clear emotional wounds and trauma at the core.  The powerful Heartfulness protocol empowers your ability to join with your body’s innate capacity to heal through holistic Somatic, Sensory and Emotional awareness.  www.TheDorWay.com and www.Heartfulnesspath.com

Me Too ll Lora Cheadle

 

To Those Who Cannot Say #metoo

I’m not sure if was the firing of Harvey Weinstein that started the #metoo movement, but reading other people’s stories, seeing the antagonistic comments against those stories, and reflecting on my own experiences, made me realize how my own thought and beliefs about sexual assault and sexual harassment were as much as a part of the problem as the actual perpetrators were. This personal revelation made me realize that unless our society-radically changes the way it looks at sexual assault and sexual harassment, we will never be able to quell this epidemic.

And who am I to talk? After all, I haven’t been raped. I’m not one of them. I can’t write #metoo on my status.

     As a former lawyer, and now Life Choreographer™ – my unique version of hypnotherapist and life coach – I’m well trained at listening to other people’s stories without judgment. It has always been my job to listen to people and to accept where they are, without question. Once I understand where a client is at, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, then I am capable of assisting them. Whether in the legal arena or the therapeutic arena, the first step is seeking to understand. Not agree necessarily, but to understand.

     To understand another’s pain, whether or not I can relate to that pain, or whether or not I believe that pain is valid, is the necessary first step to creating change or finding a resolution. When a client had a crippling fear of crossing bridges, I did not downplay that fear as irrational. I sought first to understand how debilitating that fear was. When I had a client who compulsively gambled away his paychecks, I didn’t shame him. I sought first to understand his compulsion and crippling shame when he failed to control his addiction. When I had a morbidly obese client, I sought to understand his emotional baggage and self-loathing. I did not blame him for years of overeating or accusatorily ask him what he did to cause his weight gain. But that’s not what I did when I first hear about #metoo.

But maybe it’s because I’m not one of them. Maybe it’s because I can’t write #metoo on my status.

     When I first heard about #metoo, what went through my mind was, “Great idea, but that’s not something I’m a part of. I’ve never been raped, my life has been blissfully trauma-free. I am the healer, not the victim, this is not me.” But as those words passed through my mind, for the first time, I heard how wrong they were. I suddenly say how my way of thinking was the problem. I saw how my thoughts encapsulated the beliefs of our society and how they were perpetuating the problem.

     Just about every female I know has been sexually harassed. Not just harassed, like one might be harassed in some minor traffic altercation or for wearing an opposing team’s colors at a sporting event, but sexually harassed or intimidated specifically for being a woman. And we – the women out there who have been harassed so routinely that we become so used to this behavior that we don’t even see it as a problem – sit in blissful ignorance claiming that what we’ve been though is no big deal, then things desperately need to change.

I’m deeply supportive of women, but have nothing to share. I’m not one of them. I can’t write #metoo on my status.

     My sexual harassment stories were always less than someone else’s. And because my stories were less than full-blown, violent rape, then in my mind, they weren’t relevant or valid. In my warped mind, because nothing had ended up happening, I hadn’t been assaulted. In my mind, unless actual, full-blown rape, with a police report and a trial happened, what had happened to me wasn’t important.

     I know that not all rape is at gun point in a dark alley. I know that the vast majority of rape is not the stereotypical image of rape that our culture holds so dear. Yet my thoughts and behaviors reflected that it had to be just that, or the incident didn’t count. Unless it was real rape or real assault, it was commonplace and could be dismissed.

     To be clear, I am not counting the numerous creeper, awkward, offensive-but-not-harmful experiences that I have faced in my life. We as humans are fallible, and we make mistakes and to me, those types of experiences are not sexual harassment. To me, a man putting his hand on my hip and whispering, “How married are you?” is a creep. And although I dislike it, I am not intimidated, harmed or fearful. I categorize that as stupid human behavior and I move on. As do many women. So no, don’t tell me horror stories about women who ruin men’s lives by crying “assault!” when all the man has done is asked her out on a date. Like the “How married are you!” man, these women are stupid, fallible humans. We all make mistakes. So let’s not talk about the anomalies, let’s talk about the majority.

     The greater, societal problem lies in the fact that our culture still thinks that anything short of full-fledged, violent rape is not sexual assault. Apparently there is a piece of me that thinks this too, or I would have instantly realized that I am a part of the #metoo sisterhood as well.

Could I be one of them? Dare I write #metoo on my status?

     I have had men surround me in parking lots while heckling me, and telling me what they wanted to do to me. I have men grab my shoulders and force-kiss me, grab my hand and put it on their secretly exposed penis, and hold me down as they dry-hump me. I’ve had men threaten to tell people that “I did something with them” unless I did, actually, do something with them. I had a boss ask me to meet him in the office at night, and then tell me, “Never mind” after I said my boyfriend was going to drive me. I’ve been offered special projects by professors, making class time unbearable. I have had men expose themselves and grab at my clothing and body. Yet, in my warped mind, I haven’t been sexually assaulted. Just because nothing ended up happening. It’s all magically washed away!

     Dude! That bullet missed your head by a full inch! You weren’t actually killed. Let it go! I don’t understand why you are still so upset. You were stupid enough to be walking in that neighborhood after dark without a bullet-proof-vest. What were you thinking? Don’t you dare ruin that poor guys live by charging him with attempted murder. Nothing happened. Deal with it.

     This is the kind of thinking that permeates society and keeps us trapped. As long as people think like I did, then there is no hope of quelling this epidemic. The statistics of one of five women being sexually assaulted will stay the same. Men will not learn. Women will not learn, and nothing will change. Until we acknowledge the fact that one can be being sexually assaulted or harassed and walk away, without a full-blown incident occurring, nothing will change. This is not how it works for any other crime except sexual assault or sexual harassment.

      And men, maybe you too should be writing #metoo on your status. Maybe none of the men who harassed or intimidated me had any intention of doing anything more than what they did. Maybe they were all good people, making poor choices. But I didn’t know that. Seek first to understand. Understand that women don’t know that you are only joking. That you have no intention of taking it further, or of harming them for real. Maybe you should put #metoo on your status if you have ever inadvertently scared a woman like this.

Because until we all work together, and change our thinking, this epidemic will never change.

#metoo.

Building Confidence in Recovery through Self-Acceptance ll Martha Fletcher

Building Confidence in Recovery through Self-Acceptance
By Martha Fletcher

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others.  Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval.  Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.

Lao Tzu

Self-confidence is contingent on our self-view.  That is, our perception of personal worth and competence.  A healthy self-view starts and ends with self-acceptance.  When we reject any part of ourselves by holding the beliefs we are inferior and incompetent, our confidence in our abilities and judgment becomes unstable and insecure.  To have self-acceptance is to love ourselves unconditionally!

Self-worth is determined by how we measure our personal value.  When we measure our worth against external values, such as wealth, success, popularity, status, and beauty, the value we assign ourselves begins to decrease when we fall short of how we believe we “ought” to be.  When we measure our worth against our mistakes, flaws, and struggles, the self-view takes on an inferiority complex.  Finally, when we base our worth on acceptance of others, the self-view becomes fragile and defensive which determines the quality of our interpersonal relationships.

Cultivating Confidence

We can start strengthening the foundation of our confidence by creating a healthy sense of self. 

This includes unconditional self-acceptance.  We can cultivate self-acceptance in the following ways:

  • Choose self-compassion and love over judgment and criticism. You can do this by recruiting your inner critic to be on your side instead of on your case.
  • Choose acceptance over rejection. What part of yourself are you rejecting?  Take that part and embrace it with open arms like you would the person you love the most.
  • Don’t take things personally. What people say and do is a reflection of their own pain and suffering.  It has nothing to do with you!
  • Selfvalidate. Validate yourself through honoring personal values and striving towards self-improvement. Love yourself from your heart, not through the eyes of others. Take what you want others to say about you and create an affirmation and repeat it to yourself.
  • Your mistakes are not part of your identity. Mistakes are not a measure of self-worth.  Mistakes are behaviors.  We are not our behaviors.  Forgive yourself and use them to make better choices in the future.
  • Find the treasure in your struggles. Where you stumble is where you will find your greatest treasure. When life trips you up with struggles and problems, there is a treasure at your feet.  Look for it!
  • Stay focused on the positive. What do you like about yourself?  Build a shrine to your strengths and values.
  • Accept limitations without judgment. Each and every person has limitations.  You are part of the human race.  Expect it!  Accept it!
  • Evaluate yourself independently instead of comparing yourself to others. Life is not a competition.  Always do your best and know that is the best!

Self-worth and Addiction

The cycle of addiction is fueled by a negative self-view.  Feelings of low self-worth sound like, “I’m not good enough; I’m a failure; I’m not important; I’m worthless.”  At the heart of unhealthy emotions like anxiety and depression is an intolerance to events that are perceived as personal failures or rejection by others, which can lead to self-destructive behavior.  The judger is always watching and waiting for the next mistake, failure, or rejection so it can criticize, shame, and repeatedly punish.  The reality is we all fail, we all are rejected at times, but in no way to these determine our value.  We can learn to cope with these realities by developing self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance is crucial to building confidence and a healthy sense of self in recovery.  It is not something we are born with, it is something we learn, practice, and master over time.  We need to throw away the ruler in which we are measuring our self-worth and start practicing self-acceptance.  This means talking to oneself with love and compassion, focusing on strengths and values, taking pride in our accomplishments, forgiving ourself, and changing the meaning we give our mistakes, failures, and flaws.  Perhaps the need to be valuable is mistaken for the need to make our life important and meaningful.  We can make our life count in the way we enrich the lives of others, living with purpose and meaning, the contributions we make, through an appreciative and grateful attitude towards life, and through love and acceptance of ourselves and others.


Martha Fletcher is a visiting practitioner at People House, and is owner and private practitioner at MRW Recovery Coaching.  Martha graduated summa cum laude with a BA in psychology from Hunter College, City University of New York and is a certified addiction recovery and life coach through New York University, New York State OASAS and Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery.  She is also a trained SMART Recovery facilitator and founder of Books4Recovery. She recently received her certification in Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy through the Albert Ellis Institute and Illinois Certification Board.

MRW Recovery Coaching
3035 W. 25th Avenue
Denver, CO 80211
www.mrwrecoverycoaching.com
Ph: 720-515-0713

Getting Off the Hamster Wheel ll Erin Amundson

Getting off The Hamster Wheel
By: Erin Amundson

     A little girl on a hamster wheel. This is the central focus of a young man’s dream we are working on at the International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference last week. It’s his dream. And he had an intention before he slept that night to connect to a dream that would help him improve his inner relationship to his mother.

     As the group collectively dug into this dream, I found myself strangely disconnected from it. As a psychotherapist who specializes in dream work, I’m typically deep into the dream long before we even engage a process to work with it. But, I thought, my relationship to my mother is really good.

I don’t need to work on this – this dream doesn’t apply to me.

     Anyone who has ever done dream work with me knows that my response to a statement like the one I was making in my own head would be something like, really? Why don’t we see? And, yes, there is a bit of playful prodding in that. Of course, I wasn’t going there. I actually found myself distracted. This should have been my first clue that this man’s dream contained something I didn’t want to look at. Something deep in my subconscious.

     In any case, I navigated the 2 hour workshop with curiosity but no emotion, with respect but no involvement, with appreciation but no growth. And I should have known.

     As it often goes in dream work, the dream images are multi-layered and represent an area in our subconscious that is asking to come into our conscious awareness. Little did I realize, I was the girl on the hamster wheel through that entire 2 hour process. Running and running and getting nowhere, perhaps because I felt way to exposed and vulnerable with the depth of the emotions that lie under the surface.

Especially since I am one of the experts in the field. The experts don’t lose it, right?

     But I did. I actually broke down and wept, an hour after the workshop, alone in my hotel room. Shades drawn, do not disturb on the door, blankets up over my head. My temptation had been to attend the next workshop, to go have lunch with others, to swim….anything to keep myself on that hamster wheel when I felt the wave of emotion welling up.

     So the dam broke, and still there was confusion. This wasn’t about my mom at all. That I was telling the truth about. As I sunk into the feeling, I realized that I was facing saying goodbye to an amazing experience of connection as the conference was coming to an end. I had new friends. I had a world of dreamers around me. I felt at home and alive there. Rather than facing the grief of losing this, I preferred to stay on my hamster wheel. But as dream work goes, my awareness moved me off the hamster wheel, and the landing felt very abrupt.

     Like many of us, I struggle with abandonment. I’ve worked a long time to heal this aspect of my wounding, and I’m down to the relationship I have with myself. While the man was dreaming about an outside relationship, my connection to the dream was in me. And it was clear that I needed to find a way to get the girl on the hamster wheel to stop running. To do this, I first had to explore what my hamster wheel is, and I’m going to invite you to consider the same. Here are my main hamster wheels:
1. Business. I can stay busy for days. Laundry, work, catching up phone calls, making too many social plans, going to the gym – I’ve got to get it all done!
2. Rabbit hole thoughts – I can obsess over something that happened day one of my group facilitation that nobody else even noticed. Such as my perception that I held the meditation a bit too long.
3. Perfectionist or Inner Critic Tendencies – these guys will run and run for as long as you let them. I guarantee they get you nowhere.
4. Intellectualism – I will do research, I will “figure out the reason” I’m feeling a certain way, or I will endeavor to learn something new all to avoid my emotional processes.
5. Any type of addictive or substance use behavior. Emotional eating, drinking too much or out of boredom, over exercising, not eating enough, shopping, planning the future, gambling, working too much. Really any behavior can fit into this category if the energy of it feels out of balance.
6. Taking care of others at the expense of caring for myself.

     At this conference, I felt very deeply, yet I was busy facilitating, socializing and analyzing anytime I wasn’t deep in a dream. I hadn’t given myself the space to process all of the healing, hope, and creation that had come from my work there. And just when I thought I was through it, another dreamer’s image jumped out and grabbed me – this was the most powerful moment of the entire week for me.
When we are able to recognize we are on the hamster wheel, we have the opportunity to step off and into an authentic expression of soul. We’re no longer running from what we feel, or who we truly are in the world.

Consider your hamster wheel for a moment. How do you know when you’re there?


     Erin Amundson loves helping people reconnect to their natural technology by decoding the language of dreams.  She is a healer, a depth psychologist and an entrepreneur who specializes in teaching people how to identify and remove barriers to success and make friends with their subconscious mind.  

     Erin currently practices as a depth psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado and via the internet around the world.  In addition to her dream work, Erin is a certified past life regressionist, an intuitive astrologer and a lover of travel, snowboarding, deep conversations and cooking delicious food, all of which she enjoys practicing while she sleeps.

People House: a Center for Personal and Spiritual Growth