“Going All the Way!”
don Allan shares his love, and encourages you to keep your commitment to yourself in TACO. (0:24)
TACO Tarot Journey
TACO Tarot Journey
The Lovers Gateway Three is about waking up, and seeing the masks and strategies that you’ve used throughout your life in order to survive. You’re beginning to uncover the masks you wear in your romantic relationships, and in relationships of all kinds. This card also symbolizes the union between the masculine and feminine energies inside of you. When you accept and love all parts of yourself, you are able to transform your life, because all parts of you are “on board” and in agreement about where you want to go.
The Chariot When we become aware of our masks, all of a sudden, we now have choice about which masks to wear consciously, rather than wearing masks to survive. A Nagual is a man or woman of 1,000 masks, who is attached to none of them. You are in control, and you get to choose how you will react to life. You are almost fully aware now, and on the cusp of being able to choose new beliefs, new agreements, and new actions to steer your course.
Books and Movies
EMBRACING OUR SELVES: THE VOICE DIALOGUE MANUAL, BY HAL STONE, SIDRA STONE
This is one of the few books written about listening to the voices (sub-personalities) that make up the Mitote of the mind. I urge you to read it, and use it to explore beyond what I have presented here in the Gateway. The Stones have also written, “Embracing Your Inner Critic,” about the inner Judge.
THE FISHER KING
This is a story about how dreams are created by the mind to cope with trauma, and how every dream is real to the person dreaming it. Robin Williams’ character is so hurt inside that his mind creates a fantastical dream to numb his pain. Your mind is just as clever at creating strategies to avoid your feelings. In that way, your mind is one of your best friends! With awareness, and mostly with love, you can allow your feelings to show you what you are running away from, and allow the feelings to wash through you and heal you. Watch how Jeff Bridges’ character helps to heal his friend’s dream by witnessing it without making it wrong or denying its truth or validity in the “real” world.
This film is about your fascinating inner world. The story follows a man who floats in and out of a series of philosophical discussions and ethereal experiences, meeting an interesting cast of characters along the way. Each character is a reflection of a character that dwells inside us. I invite you to see how the main character is dreaming throughout the film, and how he battles for control of his attention with the goal of waking up. Wake up!!!
This is a tale of the masks we wear to hide our true feelings, and the lies we tell ourselves and others to match those masks. Dan Millman, (Scott Mechlowicz) is a bright young high school student who thinks he has everything – girls, best buds, a clear shot at the U.S. Olympic gymnastic team, a real future. He begins to find out who he really is and what he really has when forced to drop the illusion of having it all after a freak accident. There is a terrific scene where he wrestles with himself on the clock tower at U.C. Berkeley. With the sometimes solicited, oft times not, guidance of ‘Socrates,’ a local gas station mechanic (played brilliantly by Nick Nolte) Dan’s masks slowly fall aside and he finds a way to live in the truth of who he really is. (Review by Kristy Thompson)
Pathstep 3-1: Introduction to Gateway 3
[glossary_exclude]Awakening.[/glossary_exclude] As a Toltec apprentice you are awakening from a long sleep – as if from a black magic spell cast upon you when you were young and innocent. Many of the myths and fairy tales in our western cultures are stories of sleeping spells and awakening: Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are two such stories, wherein spells are cast on young women by an angry fairy witch or jealous evil step mother. The spells can only be broken and the innocence re-awakened by the kiss of true love.
These stories are about us. Through the magic kiss of your own self-love, you have the opportunity to awaken from the dark spell cast over you in your domestication, and to live happily ever after. So let’s do it.
[glossary_exclude]In Gateway One you learned how your Personal Dream is created by distorting the light that is the messenger of Divine Creation.[/glossary_exclude]
The distortions are created by the magic spell of domestication that put you to sleep. The awareness that “reality” is not what you have always believed it to be gives you the first stirrings of your awakening. The work in the Mitote Book, which continues here in Gateway Three, prods you to continue your awakening. You see the lies of the spell, and perhaps begin to ask yourself, “What is the truth here?”
The first step is to be awake enough to recognize that you are the one distorting the light, and to not believe the virtual reality inside your mind. The second step is to stalk the distortions and belief systems, and when your personal power is strong enough, to clear the distorting light from your channels of perception—and transform your life. As the channels are cleared, and new channels are opened, you give yourself the joyful gift of perceiving the Light of Creation more directly. Your willingness to be responsible for your creation and accept yourself as you are, is the kiss of true love.
In Gateway One you were introduced to how the Wall of strategies was created when you needed to protect yourself from the outer Judges. You needed a resource that would protect you from the pain and injustice of not being known or heard, or not getting your needs for safety and protection met during your domestication. You created strategies and masks, and learned to play the appropriate roles, all to satisfy the needs of others– as an attempt to meet your need for acceptance and safety and to avoid the pain of rejection.
Here in Gateway 3 you will have the opportunity to carefully explore and love all the strategies you created during childhood and brought into your adult life. With awareness of those strategies you will have choice and the power to transform them into healthy adult resources.
Note that I am using the terms Mask, Strategy, Adaptation, and Role interchangeably. We learn the Strategy as an Adaptation to the situation, and because of the Strategy we wear a Mask that puts us in a Role. Every role requires a mask and the masks serve the strategy. Each is a cause and/or effect of the other. Got it?
[glossary_exclude]When a strategy is no longer a resource, it becomes a symptom[/glossary_exclude]
It is a wonderful and brilliant thing that your child self did many years ago to adapt to a less than perfect family situation. In a time when it would have been ideal for that child to have all of his or her needs anticipated and met without any conflict, the child you were had to be clever to compete with siblings, fix the family, stay safe from punishment, meet the needs of others, and in some cases, just survive. Although these strategies no doubt served you well in the past, they are usually a source of pain or confusion in our adult lives.
Unfortunately, when you grew up and walked out the door to leave home, no one said: “Here, let me take those strategies and masks you learned here. You can leave them behind. When you leave our home, you won’t need them anymore.”
Everyone is wearing masks, and everyone is using strategies—they are mostly unconscious and we all agree not to recognize them in others if they agree not to see them in us. They are the foundation of our adult personalities (along with DNA, fate, destiny, Spirit). The outside Judges made you wrong, and you erected a wall of strategies to protect yourself from the Judges and from your own fear of failure and rejection.
You learned you must prove you are okay to keep people from seeing the defective qualities your Judges saw in you. The childhood message was: “You are not okay the way you are.” You realized the “not okayness” had to be hidden, and the masks and strategies you created continued hide the “not okay you” from the outer Judges. In time, of course, those Judges were internalized, and became a major voice in your mind—and the source of all resistance to the celebration of Life as You.
If you try to destroy or remove these masks and strategies without some other resource in place, your Victim Child will reach right up and pull them right back into place. He or she cannot afford to be exposed to the full power of the Judge (inner or outer) without the protection of the wall created in childhood. I believe this is the reason that it is so hard to give up many habits — and why so many addicts in drug and alcohol recovery experience relapse. Without the block of their addiction in their wall of protection, the Victim Child is too exposed to the Judge, the pain and fear are too big, and the addict strategy child believes they need the wall more than their recovery– even more than Life perhaps. This fear of being seen as unworthy of attention and love is why most people are stuck unconsciously wearing masks and using strategies instead of showing up as who they are. What a shame most all humans are all afraid of shining their magnificent light into the world. Talk about hiding a light under a bushel basket!!!
The Toltec Warrior’s task is to waken from the spell, take away the basket, and shine that light of love and divinity throughout their own being and then into the world!
The love from the Warrior is the new resource for the Victim Child. The Child will bond somewhere — it is the nature and need of a child. Do you want him or her to be attached to the Judge and strategies out of fear, or to your Warrior in Love? The answer is clear for me.
The good news is that when your Victim Child releases the fear and attachment to a Mask or Strategy, then it can still be available to you as a resource if needed. If you learned as a child to be a caretaker, or a clown, or a rebel, or perhaps a perfectionist… then when the fear is released, your strategy can become a gift.
The Toltecs say that a Nagual is: “A man or woman of a thousand masks, who is attached to none of them.” Because we are always dreaming, we will always be wearing our personal dream in the form of a mask of some kind. The freedom of the Nagual, or Spiritual Warrior, is the freedom that comes from such self-love that there is no fear creating attachment to the masks. They can be worn, discarded, and changed — sometimes so rapidly that it makes the minds of regular civilians reel!
[glossary_exclude]Gateway Three is another Action Gateway[/glossary_exclude]
Here we continue the work of the Mitote Book by looking at all of the Masks, Strategies, Adaptations, and Roles that you have learned, worn, agreed to, and refined throughout your life. They are the manifestations of your domesticated beliefs and agreements. They have become, for the most part, your adult “personality.” They are what define you as an adult. Your friends and loved ones are in relationship with your strategies and masks. They know you and accept you in your roles, and usually resist when you try to alter them. It was your childhood adaptations that kept you safe, earned you love and/or attention, or numbed out the pain and fear of not getting those needs met. Your addictions are here. Your deepest wounds and greatest fears are here, your love and light are here, hidden behind masks and distracting strategies.
The work with the Mitote Book from Gateway Two is ongoing. If you feel complete with that work, please continue here. If not, well, it is up to you whether you want to keep going here and double up, or simply continue with the Gateway Two Mitote Book action steps until you feel complete. I recognize that stalking and writing down all of the Judge’s lies is an ongoing challenge, and I don’t really expect you to be “complete” with it before you continue here. Do your best.
We are building on your earlier foundation. I really want you to do this work thoroughly. As I have said before, my intent for you is that you never have to come back here to the lies and fear again. Work with the Mitote Book and the lies until you recognize them all (most?). Please, please, do not cheat yourself out of this liberating experience. The Parasite would love to have you skip along, touching the surface, ticking off the Gateways, and pretending that the awareness and healing are taking place. Do not fall for that trick! Have you not been seduced into falling for that trick before? Has it served you? How many books, teachers, workshops, retreats, or spiritual practices have offered you freedom and been sabotaged by the Parasite…? Has doing it the old way given you the results that you wanted? Stand up to the Parasite! Be the Warrior and face the lies, reveal the old beliefs, write the old agreements, and see the program that has been running your life. Soon we will be transforming the old program, and you must have awareness of what you are transforming!
I rest my case. I so deeply desire for you the freedom for which your heart and soul have been longing.
Before beginning the exploration of the individual Masks and Strategies here, you might want to return to PathStep 1-10 in Gateway One and re-read the material there about how you chose and created your Masks during your domestication. Then let us proceed to see which ones you are using. We’ll review and expand on that here, too.
Gateway Three also includes tools for keeping yourself awake, including using alarms, having in-the-body experiences, seeing into shadows, silence, and the Not-Doings of the Personal Self.
Pathstep 3-2: A Word About Feelings and Emotions
The Judge is the Master of Rejection, head of the Parasite, the gatekeeper of hell, and the source of the fear that most humans live with, hidden away beneath the façade of the strategies we are about to dig into. Before we start looking at the strategies you learned to help you deal with that fear in your childhood, let’s take a look at the feelings and emotions that started the whole thing.
Each of us was a victim in some way during our childhoods. We were not allowed or encouraged to express our fears or joys beyond the limits our parents’ or caregivers’ capacity to contain them. As I have described, and will continue to repeat here, we were victims of their judgment of our emotional expressions. Unless adults have fully accepted and integrated their emotional feelings they cannot hold a container for the emotions of a child. We are creating a new kind of adults here and a new paradigm of the treasure of feelings and emotions
Note that for now I am using the words Feelings and Emotions interchangeably. Much later in TACO I will separate them to illustrate something very important in the Mastery of Intent. One (path-) step at a time.
If your parents mocked, denied, ignored, punished, were angry about, or otherwise rejected your feelings, you learned to do the same. You had to. There is no bad or wrong here, simply the way of the world and social domestication. They were doing their best given their childhood modeling and conditioning and the social milieu they were living in. We’re not here to blame parents, or punish them. However, if doing their best hurt you and your emotional development, then your child self– the one who was denied the unconditional love and acceptance that would have created the foundation for the amazing adult you came here to be– has a right to be angry about the loss.
Since most of us learned to deny our own feelings to whatever degree necessary, we were quick to deny our fear of feeling unsafe and only conditionally loved in our families. We can continue to push that child’s fear aside, we can bully on in spite of it, however:
We can never truly experience the joys of a dynamic adulthood until we heal the dream of the hurt child within.
In this section you will understand that your adult life is pretty much run by the strategy children scrambling to protect the victim child from more judgment and rejection (I say “pretty much” in case you are sitting there saying to yourself, “Hey, that isn’t me. I’m pretty together, my life is working pretty well, why would I want to mess with that!?” I don’t want to exclude you if you didn’t suffer horrible traumatic childhood abuse, and I have to assume you are here because something isn’t working and you want to change it).
There Is One Wound
There is one wound from childhood that effects us all, and that is the hurt from the unmet need for unconditional love, acceptance, safety, and belonging. There are many degrees of the pain, but we all share the same pain. We all cover it up… and we all have unique and personal ways to do that.
This section of TACO is devoted to learning about all (?) the possible ways to cover, deny, hide, escape from, and numb the fear in our emotional body—and then zero in on which ones you have been using in your personal life. We’re not here to fix them, they aren’t a problem to solve. They are simply the truth of you. We’re here to love them! (aka, new paradigm, new dream).
The secret to this process is love: Love without conditions, love without expectations, love without bargains, and love without obligations. The Warrior loves because he loves to love—it makes him happy. And the part of you that needs the love is the victim child (along with the strategy children), and the lover is the Warrior. If the wound was caused by nobody listening to the child, it’s time to listen. If the wound was caused by anger at the child’s emotions, then it’s time to embrace your child in peaceful love. If the wound was caused by mocking or punishing the child’s feelings, then it’s time to embrace all the feelings with acceptance.
That victim child still needs to have those needs met for love, acceptance, and respect, and until that need is met the child will act out through your adult life trying to meet those needs—as a child.
Take a musical break and listen to James Nihan and his partner Dawn Zurlinden share from their Rays of Light CD:
“Love or Fear” (5:04)
Want James’ music? Buy HERE.
Remember my metaphor (Pathstep 2-9) of our mind’s mitote being like a computer program and you type in “love, sex, and commitment,” and don’t get the result you wanted…? That is because your strategy children are running your life, not the Warrior. Up until now!!
Pathstep 3-3: An Overview of Wall of Masks The Strategies, Mask, Roles, and Adaptations
As I describe each mask or strategy in the following Pathsteps, take the time to look at your life and tell yourself the truth about how the strategies you developed as a child have been with you all of your life. See that they were created as good resources in a bad situation, and now may have become “bad resources in a good situation.” Your opportunity is here to transform these old strategies into gifts, or to set them aside and move on without them. With your awareness comes your choice.
You can also use what you learn here to see the strategy children in your mate, lover, friends, acquaintances, enemies, and strangers. Perhaps you will increase your capacity for compassion of others when you recognize their behavior is being activated by child parts within.
This is a very important assignment in your Mitote Book—use it to write about the strategies and masks you use or are wearing now and have worn in the past. We are unraveling the Mitote in your mind.
(Remember, once you have punched 10, you get a free one!).
ACTION: Answer these questions and rate each mask or strategy description in the following Pathsteps (and of course, whatever else comes up for you while doing this work):
Score the masks and strategies in this Gateway on a scale of 1 – 10 with a spread something like this:
1: “I have no recognition or charge about this one in my life”
5: “Wow, that used to be automatic but now I sometimes catch it and do something else”
10: “Oh, my god, this is ME!”
For each of the many strategies, masks, roles, and adaptations described on the following pages, answer these questions to help explore the origin and power they hold. Use your 1 – 10 score to highlight the most important ones for your attention.
- Who taught me to use this strategy or wear this mask?
- What needs was I meeting by agreeing to use it? Their need(s)? My need(s)?
- How has it served me during my life? What are its benefits to me now? (There ARE benefits now, do not miss this important piece).
- When I think about discarding the mask or strategy, what emotions am I feeling?
- If you experience fear, what are you afraid will happen? Who appears in your mind to stop you from leaving the strategy behind?
- Close your eyes and dream living without this resource. How does it feel?
- How do I imagine relating to myself, to others, and to Life without this strategy?
- How do I want to use this strategy in the future?
- OPTIONAL: If you think it will serve you, when you recognize that someone you know is using one of these strategies and masks, you could make a note of their name when you write about it. It may help you see how we are all alike, afraid to be seen, shucking and jiving, and pretending to be anyone but ourselves. No judging!
You might want to copy out the list of questions and print it; we’re going to be using it for many strategies.
For this long section we are going to explore many of the strategies, masks, and roles apprentices have found while doing this work. They are the Wall the victim child created between himself or herself and the Judge. Remember the rejections by the Judge are the energy that makes all the strategies and masks necessary. We are here to deny the power of the Judge and reclaim your integrity as who you came here to be, and the happiness you came here with. The strategies in this section are all pointers back to the Judge, and learning about them is an important part of your journey.
Read carefully, don’t rush, answer the questions above about each one—and do it all as the Warrior as though watching from the outside. As the adult you are actually watching into the past, into your childhood and seeing your child self doing his or her best to get along in the world into which he or she was plopped. If judgments and mitote mind get triggered, great! Go back to the GW-2 Mitote Book action and write it all down in that context.
I have arranged the strategies and masks in four general categories:
- Getting it right for the Judge(s).
- Denying the fear of failing to get it right for the Judge
- Avoiding being seen, found out, and rejected for failing to get it right
- Numbing out when the pain (fear) of failing is too unmanageable.
At the end of each category, review the strategies in that section and write about them using the rating scale and questions above.
For most of us, if we could spin our inner worlds in a centrifuge we would separate out about twelve little strategy kids—our most-used set. There are hundreds of possibilities and variations on themes, and since each of us had different childhood domestication, we will all be different.
Let’s explore the individual blocks in the Wall of strategies, masks, roles, and adaptations. Most of these strategies were learned in the first five years of our lives. Each strategy is carried by a child part within, working for the victim child to earn love, avoid the pain, give up, or numb out when winning seems impossible. Note that the mortar that holds the blocks together is fear. As your Warrior brings more love and acceptance to the victim child there is less need for the fear-based strategy children and the mortar begins to loosen and the wall softens as the blocks begin to drift apart. Ready?
Take a few moments to listen to my audio here as you complete the Mastery of Awareness in Gateway 3 with your inventory the strategies, masks, and roles you learned to help you deal with the judges outside and in – and the mind’s static that prevents you from knowing the Truth of who you are.
“Until you change the dream of the children within, you can never change the dream of your adult life.”
“Strategies, Static, and Truth” (4:25)
Pathstep 3-4: Getting it Right for the Judge -- The Bricks in the Wall
Under the eyes of critical or demanding caregivers, many children learn that to be accepted and gain approval, they must excel. They learn to make their parents proud of them, and get rewarded for their efforts. This strategy will also emerge when the caregivers are absent or uninterested. The child makes the agreement it is his or her fault that no one is paying attention, and so does what it takes to try to win the approval he needs. If it works, the strategy is born.
If you got straight A’s in school, or excelled in sports and became the team captain—and got recognition for it– here is a strategy for you to explore.
An apprentice called me because he was depressed. He ran a successful restaurant, and could not afford the time away from his business that his depression cost him. It was clear to him that his depression was a problem, and that he needed it to be fixed. As I listened to his story, I began to hear another pattern underneath the depression. The apprentice described the pride and satisfaction that he felt from taking care of the members of his staff when they had chaos in their lives, or got in trouble with the law. He worked long hours, and his business was doing well. He had recently purchased a new house and new car. He was president of the Chamber of Commerce. Everyone looked up to him. He was “Mr. Together.”
As we talked, my apprentice acknowledged that he felt he was not doing enough. He pushed himself as hard as he could, but there were always loose ends that were left undone, and people that needed more from him. It became clear that his inner Judge was very hard on him, and held him to standards of excellence that he was unable to meet. As a result, he would become overwhelmed, not just from his demanding work, but from the fear caused by his “failure.” He would collapse.
“If I can’t ever do it well enough, then I am going to quit trying. No matter how hard I try and how well I do, no matter how together I am, it is never good enough. It is too hard.”
And so, the apprentice would go home, pull the covers over his head, and be “depressed.” In that place of numbness and withdrawal, he didn’t have to listen to his Judge, or feel his helplessness. After a few days, however, his Judge would begin to break through the numbness: “What are you doing laying around here feeling sorry for yourself, when there are people who need you, and you have a business to take care of?! What is the matter with you? What are people going to think if they find out that you don’t really have the ‘flu,’ but actually are not as together as you pretend to be. Get up and get going!”
So, my apprentice would shake off his “depression,” and go back to work. Of course, as soon as his Judge could find somewhere that he was not the perfect Mr. Together, the abuse would begin again. As he saw this pattern it became clear to the apprentice that his problem was not his depression (nor his Mr. Together) but his Judge. He began to explore his victim child’s fear of not being the perfect shining Star for everyone. He saw that he had learned as a child that if he had all of his bases covered, all of the answers ready, and was there for everyone, then he would be “of value.” He was driving himself, and then collapsing into his depressions, because his victim child could never achieve his reward of acceptance and value by having everything perfectly together in the adult’s life.
This story is a good example of how strategy children rise and fall in power depending on the Judge’s stories and the external circumstances. One strategy can take over the adult awareness to get a need met (gain value by taking care of everything well) and then another takes control (to escape the failure of the Mr. Together strategy).
The Perfectionist and The Pusher
Behind every Star and Mr. or Ms. Together is the Judge, of course. And closely allied with the Judge is the Pusher. His job is to make sure that you do not stop trying to meet the demands of the Judge. To the Pusher, nothing short of perfection will satisfy.
When he was a little boy an apprentice’s mother was very afraid of being judged by her friends as a “bad mother.” To make sure she was accepted by her friends, she demanded that her little boy always look and act absolutely perfectly. She was constantly angry with him for getting his clothes dirty, not getting the very best marks in class, or not being polite. He became her Wonder Boy, always trying to get it right for Mom, so she wouldn’t be angry at him and reject him.
Sometimes, he thought he was doing it perfectly, and she would get mad at him anyway. He never quite knew what the rules were going to be, so he just had to push himself that much harder. The little boy tried SO hard.
He made the agreement with Mom that if she was not happy, it was his fault. As he grew older he was able to excel at more activities. It felt good when Mom praised him and bragged about him to her friends. His need for perfection and performance became an essential part of his personality. His perfect star became permanent, and his pusher worked harder and harder to make sure that he never slipped from the top. He knew how to get the love he needed!
When the apprentice fell in love and married, he worked even harder to do it all perfectly. He worked long hours at his job, he went to night school to study law. His children enjoyed their abundance, and when he had time the apprentice would go to their soccer and Little League games. He was the greatest fan in the bleachers, always yelling, “Get a hit Tiger! Make your Dad proud! I know you can do it. Hit one for me. Keep your eye on the ball!” When his kid’s team would lose, the apprentice would shake his head in disbelief. “You can do better, son! You are the star of the team, and it is up to you to make those plays and make your team the best. Don’t let your Dad down, son.”
When the apprentice stalked his strategy and realized this tradition of pushing for perfection had come from his mother, and that it was not making him happy, he began to unplug it from his life. It wasn’t easy. He cut back on his overtime at work, and decided to put his law studies on hold. With every change, his pusher panicked. His Judge went ballistic. His victim child was very frightened, because he knew if he weren’t a star for everyone, he would not get the love and attention he needed. The little child inside was still keeping the agreement with Mom that demanded his perfection in order to make her proud and happy. He knew that any unhappiness or dissatisfaction around him meant he had to push harder and do more.
The apprentice’s Warrior spent many hours talking with his victim child, explaining to him that they were grown up now, and that the need for perfection and the star role was something that really belonged to Mom. They did a ceremony together one night: They cut out a paper mask and labeled it with all the perfection demands he had lived with all his life. He and his inner victim child built a fire in the yard, and slowly removed the mask of the perfect star for everyone. With courage, and with faith in each other, the Warrior and the child burned that mask, letting the smoke carry it away… to wherever masks go when they are not longer needed.
In time, the Warrior became the star for his own little victim child. He learned he could not care for that child within, nor his own children, perfectly, and it was no longer important. He decided to become the perfect himself. He went within, asking for guidance from his own integrity. He discovered a perfection that was his and his alone. The apprentice saw that there was no outside authority that could tell him how he should be, only his own integrity to show him how he is. His masks became optional, and he is becoming free.
The warrior has faith in Life and the child learns to have faith in the warrior.
A note from a TACO member….
“I just got to the perfectionist strategy and no wonder I can’t keep up with him! Oh yes… the perfect tidy house, the impeccable gardens, the perfect school for the perfectly adored, loved and cared for children, being the perfect wife, who is the perfectly attentive lover and caregiver, while of course finding the perfect income to meet all the perfect desires of her family, perfectly pulling her weight. Perfectly self reliant – never demanding anything from anyone but herself, because of course she is perfectly understanding in every perfect moment! She must be perfectly in physical shape and vibrant, bouncing along joyfully in perfect spiritual enlightenment…
“In fact it is because my perfectionist is so demanding that I never get anything done, I am driven to complete distraction in every second!”
[LATER:] “Now I can finally bask in the enlightenment of my authentic perfection, and it turns out everything tends to come out perfectly when you are not so worked up about having to be perfect.“ – Marianne, Vermont, USA, long time TACO member and fan
The desire and need to get it right is strong with the Rehearser. This is a child whose mind is busy practicing what to say and how to say it, to meet the challenges of a demanding or perfectionist parent. She might rehearse the answers to her homework so she can show off to her parent, or she might be practicing her excuse for why she didn’t do the homework.
As the strategy moves in to adulthood, she will often continue to rehearse—with her mind racing and reeling with multiple versions of conversations she may need but never have.
The Lawyer strategy is fighting to be right, to be good enough, in a world where he is not sure he really is. Lawyers are insistent you see and understand their point of view, which often makes your version wrong. They use detailed logic to carry their point or argue their rightness– and in the process, totally deny the presence of their feelings, or anyone else’s.
The Lawyer strategy protects the Victim Child from being judged, by telling the Judge (inside or out) the error of his perceptions. The Lawyer will argue about the usage of a word, the fine points of mistaken observations, or whatever he can to distract the attention from the child’s fear of being revealed as not good enough. A good Lawyer is tenacious, and truly believes that they must protect the child at any cost.
EXAMPLE: Fred comes home at 6:30 pm, and his beloved Ethel had dinner ready at 6:00. Her child is hurt, and her judge comes out to protect her and get even.
Ethel: “You said you would be home at 6:00 and now it’s 6:30. I worked hard to make a nice dinner for you and now it’s cold!”
It is clear to Fred that she is upset, and it’s his fault for being late. She loved him and he ruined it. His victim child can’t tolerate being wrong or bad (again), so the Lawyer jumps in to protect his client.
Fred: “I didn’t say I would be home at 6:00! I said I would try to be home by then! It’s only 6:30. Why do you have to be so damn picky all the time?”
Now Fred’s lawyer has enrolled his judge to gang up on the little girl in his beloved to make her feel bad for judging him.
Ethel: “Why can’t you do what you say you’re going to do!? What was so important that kept you at work another half an hour?”
Ethel means: “Is there another woman?”
Fred senses the challenge and danger, there is no way to justify his tardiness, so his Bully shows up to protect him—things are getting dangerous.
Fred: “If you don’t stop being so defensive and a worrywart, I don’t know what we are going to do.”
Ethel has lost the war of words and her need for her feelings to be heard has passed by, replaced by a threat of abandonment—the one he knows always trumps.
Ethel: “Never mind, do you want your dinner cold or heated?”
Have a nice dinner folks!
If you often feel the need to defend yourself, or to convince others to agree with you using good logical arguments, spend some time with this one. It is especially prevalent with men who have not learned yet to honor their feelings or those of a partner– so they switch to the logic of their minds to distract the discussion to an area where they are comfortable.
Remember, everyone is right, because everyone is describing their personal dream. And everyone’s personal dream is a unique distortion of reality. Perfectly right, and perfectly never the Truth (capital T).
This is the child who is rewarded for being especially nice, polite, with impeccable manners. She never gets her new clothes dirty, and her fingernails are always clean. Nobody has to scold her for her messy room, because it’s always frilly and neat. In the boy, we will always see a neat haircut, the same good “Yes ma’am” and “Thank You Ma’am.” Plus clean plates and helping Mom after dinner.
In the adult, the seeking of approval through this strategy can work fine in some situations, and will appear weak and child-like in others. Sadly, as a strategy it is never the truth inspired by love, but a fear-based reaction from domestication.
The Co-Dependent/ Caretaker/ Rescuer/ Enabler/ Helper
I’ve put all of these caretaking strategies here together because they each seem to come from the same source: The need to take care of others is a way to get our need for care met by others. I have used the terms above interchangeably throughout this section.
“Co-dependency” has given Love a bad name in recent years. Let us be clear that helping or serving others can be a very wonderful way of sharing your love. When your help is offered without any expectation it will be rewarded or even accepted, when your love is offered freely because it makes you happy to give, you are not being co-dependent.
However, when you are meeting the needs of others because you expect something in return (love, approval), if you feel resentful when you are not appreciated for “all you have done,” then you are giving from fear, not love, and it will never make you or anyone else truly happy. You are “giving” because you learned a strategy that would keep you safe or help you get other needs met.
To be a co-dependent is to believe that someone needs you to help them, or rescue them, or support them in some way. It is to put other people’s needs ahead of yours. It seems selfless and altruistic on the surface, and the dream of the planet rewards many manifestations of these strategies. Bosses love the worker who stays after hours to clean up after his or her fellow employees. Victims love being taken care of by a Rescuer who charges in and solves problems and makes monsters go away. Addicts of all kinds love enablers, who care for them by supporting their denials and protecting them from the truth.
If you die and somebody else’s life passes before your eyes, then there is a pretty good chance that you were not living your life and paying attention to your needs and feelings! Generally this co-dependent focus on other people is followed by the need to help, rescue, fix, heal or change them.
The dark side of these strategies holds the suffering. For a co-dependent, rescuer, or helper to feel of value, he or she must have a victim to help. Even though it appears that the rescuer wants to help or heal the victim, to do so would actually put the rescuer out of a job — the task that earns his value. So the helper must (hopefully subconsciously) undermine or sabotage the healing and growth of the victim. If he is inadvertently successful and actually helps the victim restore his or her personal power, then the rescuer must move on to find other victims in need of help.
From the other side, the victim needs the attention of the rescuer, and knows that claiming his or her personal power would result in the breakdown of the agreements that support the relationship. In romantic relationships, these mutually compatible strategies of victim and rescuer can keep people bonded, stuck (and resentful) for a lifetime (“What the Parasite strategies hath created, let no awareness put asunder”).
Co-dependency is also a very effective way to avoid intimacy. If you are in a relationship with someone who needs your help, there is an imbalance to the relationship. The other person may relate very intimately, sharing their hurt and fear, and you can step forward as the helper or rescuer, bold and fearless, to comfort and help. It seems like an intimate relationship, but the helper is actually protected from the risk of being vulnerable or intimate. It is a very clever mask to avoid being seen—and rejected. “I know that you need help, and I can help you. I do not need help. I am fine. Put your head on my shoulder, and just go ahead and cry.” Or, “My door is always open. My employees are always free to come in and share their lives and problems with me.”
It works the same way from the victim’s side. The victim does not have to risk being truly seen because the focus is on his or her problems and pain and how to fix them. The suffering is a substitute feeling for what is really inside. Since the victim risks losing the relationship with the rescuer if he or she is no longer a victim, he or she cannot afford to actually be helped or change. These agreements about the problems and pain are an important part of the relationship.
These strategies are based on taking care of other people and denying your own needs, and come from the deepest roots of your domestication. I believe that everyone manifests them to some degree. Breaking the old agreements that support these strategies is some of the deepest work I am going to ask you to do. We won’t do it all right here or right now. You are creating the opportunity to reclaim you integrity and your loyalty to yourself. Here in the Mastery of Awareness, knowledge and insight are the tools of power.
As long as you continue to deny that hurt inside, you will project it out onto others, see the victim in them, and then project the rescuing and helping out onto them also. Rescuing, helping and caretaking others are manifestations of your desire to rescue your own wounded victim child. You deny your own pain and helplessness, project it onto others, and then rush to fix it “out there.” The victim (desperately) needing your help can be a person, the whales, a redwood forest, starving children somewhere, homeless dogs or people, or any other perceived place of suffering. Look within.
Please note this well: You cannot make your own pain, uncertainty, sadness, loneliness, self-doubt, or fear go away by caretaking it or fixing it in someone else. And to make it even worse, you may even resent a designated victim for not responding to your healing help (while also sabotaging them), because it reminds you of how helpless you are to help your own inner victim. This is the complexity of life and relationships in hell.
Do you see how all of this comes from childhood? Your adult Warrior mind may say, “Oh, this strategy does not work anymore, I think I will just drop it.” To the victim child it’s a matter of life and death. If he or she learned to be safe or loved, to avoid pain, shaming or rejection, or to simply survive by focusing her attention on other people and taking care of them, then she is not going to let go of the strategy easily. The old dream is deeply rooted in fear and survival, and you need the victim child’s cooperation in order to embrace a new dream of freedom.
Your real need is not to take care of other people but to take care of yourself. Whenever your Warrior meets the real needs of your victim child, the fear that creates these caretaking strategies can be released and the strategy will shift with it. When you don’t have to take care of others, then you actually can take care of others. When you have no expectations about how, or even if, they respond to your help, then you are free to choose to help them if it’s appropriate. You are free to share your love without expectations, obligations, or bargains. Or, to not give love or help if you don’t want to—out of the same love for yourself. This is the goal of the Warrior.
One of the gifts you give others by releasing your co-dependency and rescuing strategies is giving others a chance to give to you. When you can let others take care of you, it creates your opportunity to sit back and say Thank You. You allow yourself to receive, not because someone owes you, but because you are a part of the divine flow of help and love and material stuff. It is all an expression of the abundance of the universe. If you understand it this way, then giving and receiving is not personal, but simply an expression of Life.
NOTE: When your are helping or healing other people you are telling them you believe they can’t take care of themselves and have no power greater than you to guide their lives. That is not true.
EXAMPLE: An apprentice “Jake” entered his romantic relationships believing the women he selected were unhappy because they were suffering from a Jake deficiency. He never voiced his bargain out loud, but his message was: “I am the source of your missing acceptance and love, and I will fill that need to rescue you from the pain that you live in. Then you can give me the love and affection that I need (and don’t believe I deserve without a bargain to earn it.)”
Unfortunately, Jake could not actually heal his lover’s (or more accurately, his “hostage’s”) pain. Their wounds were usually a father or acceptance deficiency, not a Jake deficiency. In time his lovers would become resentful, because he had failed to fulfill his promise of healing. Fortunately, Jake knew how to read the signs and leave the relationships before his hostage’s anger grew too intense. He was not comfortable with anger, or any visible feelings. If he couldn’t comfort them and make them go away, then he had to go away himself.
Much of Jake’s need to take care of other people’s feelings came from his inability to take care of his own. When someone else was angry or crying, it triggered his own anger or sadness. Instead of being able to witness and comfort his own feelings, he tried to heal (or simply stop) the other persons’ expression so they would stop triggering his. Parents do this to children all the time. The parent is uncomfortable with the emotions, so they tell the child to quit yelling or crying because it is making their emotional body uncomfortable (“Go to your room, I don’t want to hear that noise.” My all time favorite: “Don’t use that angry tone of voice with your mother, you know you love your mother!”). Until we are at peace and in acceptance of our own emotional life, we can never hold an accepting space for anyone else’s — whether a child’s or a mate’s or a nation’s.
Take a break and listen to this audio about the one lie we all tell ourselves to put ourselves to sleep to who we are and deny our truth – and surrender to being who other people want us to be.
The Original Lie Audio (16:08)
Here we have the ultimate caretaker, who has willingly abandoned all personal needs and wants, and is ready to do whatever is necessary to take care of others– but never herself. The Martyr can read in the dark, accept her husband’s need to vacation without her, or give up her friends because her partner doesn’t like them. “Oh, don’t worry about me, you just run along and have fun, I don’t mind sitting here watching the house burn down.”
Note that ultimately the martyr is trying to prove his or her worth to the inner Judge—by doing everything she can to be “good.” At the same time, she is silently crying out for help and attention. The martyr hopes that one fine day, the judge will say, “OK, you have done enough, I am convinced you are a good person, I will accept you the way you are, and you can relax and rest now.” If you help, volunteer, and serve others until you are exhausted or sick, this is a big one for you.
The above are some of the “Getting it right for the Judge(s)” strategies. You may have learned one or more not on the list, or there could be some vague possibility you will not have learned to use any of them. But not much of a possibility!
Take time with this important ACTION step, review the material carefully and answer the questions with love and acceptance. The Mastery of Awareness is about honoring what is true and real—not about judging it.
ACTION: Take some time now to enter into the dream of your childhood and the interactions of your adult life, and use your Mitote Book to record the answers to the questions at the end of the overview in PathStep 3-3 relative to these strategies. Which ones are yours? Did you learn you had to get it right and/or be perfect to be loved? Did you learn to put others’ needs ahead of your own to be worthy of care? Are you exhausted from serving others? Where do you score yourself on the Star and Caretaker spectrums?
- The Star
- Mr. or Ms. Together
- The Perfectionist
- The Pusher
- The Rehearser
- The Lawyer
- The Nicey-Nice
- The Co-Dependent
- The Caretaker
- The Rescuer
- The Enabler
- The Helper
- The Martyr
Please make sure you have explored Pathstep 3-4 thoroughly, before moving on to more strategies. If you have confusions, uncertainties, blind spots, or questions, bring them to the Chat Room or other community meeting places.
Pathstep 3-5: Denying the Fear of Failing to Get it Right for the Judge - The The Bricks in the Wall
In this section, we’ll look at the strategies and roles you might have adopted as a child to deny or cover up your fear of failing to get it right for your caregivers and therefore be worthy of love. Note well that a child who totally fails knows he or she could be banished from the family, and to the child it means being left alone in the world and certainly perishing. These strategies are held in place by that deep primal fear in the background and sometimes seem impossible to release—which is true until the fear of the child self is comforted and healed.
At the end of this Pathstep you will find an ACTION step with instructions about scoring and recording about each strategy. We’ll start with a major one….
We try so hard to please our caregivers, and to earn the love and care that we need. But what happens when we fail? What happens when we try so hard and it never feels good? What can we do when we never get our needs met?
Imagine that the child has tried and tried, and can just never get it perfect enough. Perhaps Dad never puts his paper down to offer a word of praise about the report card or the home run. Perhaps Mom never stops complaining about bad manners and spills on the new clothes. Maybe the child is teased by siblings about being clumsy or overweight or shy. Or a parent is an alcoholic and simply not able to be present for their child.
Sometimes, the efforts never stop. The Star, Together, Pusher, Perfectionist, and Caretaker can go on right through adult life, constantly seeking more ways to prove their value to the Judge.
With others, there comes a time of giving up. A time when a child says: “The hell with earning your love! I don’t want it, and I don’t need it! I’ve jumped through all your hoops, and I still haven’t earned the prize. I don’t care about your love…and you have finally convinced me that I am not worth loving.” That is the birth of the Rebel. “I don’t care about you, and I don’t care about me. I will prove it by abusing myself with drugs, tattoos, overeating, or promiscuity. I reject your dream.”
The Rebel’s job is to deny the pain of failure to be good enough. Somewhere inside, the Rebel may hope that his or her pain will be so visible that either someone will notice and reach out, or at least the caregivers that created it will see it and feel guilty and suffer. Sometimes, rebellion and the self-inflicted pain that goes with it are the only available revenge for the hurt of emotional abandonment.
An interesting side note to this rebellion in its classic form is a motorcycle gang. Members of the gang rebel against society and its standards. And yet this is not a true rebellion, because the new society that they have formed and belong to is even more restricted and controlled than the one they are rebelling against. The codes of behavior, dress, attitude and brand of motorcycle required for acceptance create their own little Hell… perhaps giving rise to the name of at least one such organization.
For those of us that are not in street or motorcycle gangs, our rebellion may show up more subtly in the form of resistance and procrastination. If your Rebel came into being to resist the outer Judge, and now you are dealing with your own Inner Judge– how then do you rebel against or resist your own Judge?
An example: You may decide that you want to start going to the gym (or doing yoga, or jogging, or paint the house, whatever). You sign a contract at the gym and go a few times. Perhaps the results do not meet your expectations. Perhaps you decide it is too crowded at the time you can go. Or is smells bad. You are probably not aware of the reasons, but sooner or later, you realize that you have not been to the gym for a couple of months (even though they are still charging your credit card!). You think your should start going or stop paying, but neither thought becomes action. The not going and the paying continue, month after month. Mostly you just don’t think about it. Of course, this could also be the story of your intention to do yoga, or to jog regularly, or to scrape and paint the house. Or leave a relationship, or call your mother, or wash your car, or call a friend to apologize for not calling, or write in your Mitote Book.
So what is going on here? Let’s start with why you decided to go to the gym (yoga, etc.). If it was because your Judge made the victim child wrong for being flabby or unattractive (or stiff or old or lazy or living in an ugly house or ugly relationship or a dirty car, etc.), your Rebel strategy child will rebel against the Judge and put off any action. To act because the Judge makes you wrong is to give in to the Judge. It is to admit that you are indeed flabby or whatever crimes the Judge charges you with — it is like pleading guilty. And nobody wants to be wrong. Not the Star, and not his shadow twin the Rebel. Sometimes when a child rebels and shuts down against the judges, he does it to protect the last shred of authentic self left after giving up so much integrity in the attempt to earn love or be safe.
All of these strategies here are the same: They are blocks in the Wall that protect the victim child from the Judge. To force the child to abandon a strategy is to expose the child directly to the Judge with no resource of protection. It is so much better to be the Warrior and meet the needs of the victim child for protection, understanding, and unconditional love. As the Warrior you can do an end run around the Judge. You stop the judgment. When the judgment stops, or at least when the child believes the Warrior more than the Judge, then the attachment to the strategies will soften, and you will have choice.
So, back to our Rebel. The Judge says to your victim child within, “You should go to the gym because you are too flabby and nobody will like you.” The child believes the Judge, and rushes to join the gym. The child is hurt, a victim of the judgment. “It’s not fair. I don’t want to have to work out so people will love me. So what if I am a little heavy. I love to eat. What is so wrong with that?! Besides, I don’t like the gym because it is stupid. I sweat. Everybody is always looking at themselves in the mirrors… etc.”
And so the child rebel stonewalls actions that could be good for the adult self, not because of the actions, but because of a re-action to the Judge. If the Judge says, “Do it” the Rebel will say “No.”
Here is an aspect of the Rebel gone over the edge. Losers are dedicated to proving their unworthiness. They will not do anything they know is good for them. They know they do not deserve help from anyone. They sabotage their lives to prove they agree with the Judge about their unworthiness, and underneath are very hurt and angry about it all. The anger is turned inward, or outward in acting out criminally (and getting caught over and over).
The Loser is dealing with a Hanging Judge who says they deserve to be punished severely for who they are, and the Parasite is very willing to carry out the sentence. The Loser can find no place to hide from his hurt. The Parasite of the Loser will smoke cigarettes, use drugs, get tattoos (preferably from an amateur), be promiscuous, lose jobs, crash cars, disrespect those that try to help or love them, and generally deny any enjoyment of life or happiness. He is often addicted to substances, or to his anger and belief in his powerlessness.
“I had a friend that hurt her back doing yoga / jogging. Painting the house is a huge deal — I had better wait until I am sure I know how to do it right. I should wait to write in my Mitote Book until after dinner / until I am more rested / have more time / my Warrior is stronger / I won’t wreck my life.” And as for that relationship… “Well, it is not right to hurt someone by being so selfish about my own needs. Perhaps it will get better if I try harder and am more accepting. I don’t want to throw away all the time and energy I have invested in it. I will wait and see. It is not that bad. Besides, there aren’t any other potential mates out there anyway.”
The child adopts the procrastination strategy when he knows he will be criticized when he finishes whatever is expected. It could be a school project, cleaning his room, going next door to apologize for damage his dog did, or practicing the piano. If an outside pusher perfectionist is pushing the child to perform for love, many times the pusher will meet the procrastinator.
In adult life, the procrastinator will show up when there is fear of unfavorable outcomes. If a child grows up with a father who always expects the child to know every detail of what he sets out to do ahead of time, which is impossible for a child and counter to the very nature and joy of childhood…the victim child quite likely will hire a procrastinator child to stall the inevitable rejection. When that procrastinator becomes a solid part of the personality of adulthood it can sabotage an entire life. Many big adult ambitions and wild inspirations die because they are put off until the perfectionist has thought of every contingency, predicted every setback, and mentally controlled every outcome.
Of course, then the judge criticizes the procrastination and brings in the pusher to get the show moving (!)—all of which only creates more frustration, fear, and procrastination. At the center of it all is the Judge.
NOTE: Remember, these strategies are not problems to be solved – they are pointers to the real issue, which is the Judge. The strategies are actually solutions to the Judge problem created by a child and imported into our adult lives.
This is another strategy to deny the fear that comes when the child believes he or she has failed to meet the expectations of the inner or outer Judges. “Well, that’s how life just is. Who cares!?” (Shrug). The Shrugger denies any hurt or disappointment, or any fear that she isn’t worth loving…with a shrug, tossing her fear aside. “So what?”
Apathy can be a companion to The Shrugger. “Nothing really matters, anyway.”
Head in the Sand
One way to avoid what is going on in our lives is to simply ignore it and hope it goes away. This strategy child helps us ignore potentially difficult situations the inner or outer Judges may use to criticize us. Remember that when you have your head in the sand it is easy to get your butt kicked—as demonstrated in these examples offered by a TACO member:
“I have high blood pressure but stopped taking my medicine when I ran out and don’t want to check it.”
“My bank balance is probably low or overdrawn but I just don’t want to know.”
“I think my teenager might be using drugs but I don’t think I could handle it if I found out so I’ll just wait and see what happens.”
“I am pretty sure my partner is cheating on me, but I’m just going to wait and see if she is going to bring it up.”
The Bullshitter denies fear or pain sort of like the Shrugger, but with a better story of denial. Some people are good at fooling themselves. If we can see they are hurting, and we ask how they are, their smile flashes big and their cheerful “I’m FINE” knocks us back. The Bullshitter has to believe himself before he can convince others. He practices the smile and the assurance that all is well, from the inside out.
So, rather than having her head in the sand, a Bullshitter might say, “I had a rough childhood, but that’s all behind me now, and I’m fine.” Or, “I caught my partner with another lover, but hey, no sweat. There are lots of fish in the sea.”
The above are some of the strategies you may have learned to deny your fear of failing to get it right for the Judges in your life.
Take all the time you need with this important ACTION step, review the material carefully and answer the questions with love and acceptance. Remember the model of [glossary_exclude]Lewis and Clark[/glossary_exclude] exploring the Columbia River and the unknown west of the growing United States. This is a journey of discovery in your inner world. It might even appear dangerous at times…but so do ghosts to those who are taught to be afraid of them.
ACTION: Take some time once again to enter into the dream of your childhood and adult life, and use your Mitote Book to record the answers to the questions at the end of the overview in PathStep 3-3 relative to these ways of blocking and denying the fear of the Judge. Do you rebel against authority (inside or out)? Is your procrastinator holding back your adult life because of reactions to the Judge? Do you shrug off or deny the truth of your pain, fear, unsuccessful relationships, and broken dreams?
Here is your chance to see the origin of these issues. Give yourself this gift!
Which of these strategies appear in your life? Rate and write about them:
- The Rebel
- The Loser
- The Procrastinator
- The Shrugger
- Head in the Sand
- The Bullshitter
Please complete your work with the above before you move onto the next Pathstep.
Are you seeing that these strategies are brilliant when we are children, and blinding when we are adults…?
Take a few moments and enjoy this story of:
“Man Who Lost His Mask.” (12:19)
The man who lost his mask took time to learn how to be in the world of masks when he wasn’t wearing one. He thought he couldn’t relate with masked people because of his fear of rejection—and it was true. However, as he learned to accept his unique way of being “crazy,” he discovered his fear of being rejected belonged to an earlier time in his life, and no longer served him. He grew more and more connected with the divine in all of life, saw the perfection in it, and could move freely in the world without fear. As the teacher Jesus said: “I am in this world, but not of this world.” This is the Mastery of Intent. Stay tuned!
For now, as you continue to review and explore these masks and strategies in Gateway Three, imagine what your life could be like if you knew yourself as a perfect expression of the divine and were no longer afraid of not being good enough and rejected. Does the idea make you smile?
Pathstep 3-6: Avoiding Being Seen, Found Out, and Rejected – The The Bricks in the Wall
When a child learns to believe he or she actually is defective and somehow unworthy of love and care, she will create strategies and masks to hide what she believes is true. The danger of being rejected in childhood– really rejected, not sent to our room but put outdoors in the snow and the locks changed—is a matter of life and death. Often the parents even threaten such fear-based tactics to enforce their domestication and standards of behavior. When the child shows up in your adult life dreaming that same fear-based dream and using the same strategies as in childhood, your adult life can be seriously limited.
The victim child must hire strategy children to make lots of smoke to distract outsiders from seeing the horrible shameful belief of unworthiness that festers inside. The biggest danger of being found out is in intimate relationships, so they must be carefully avoided. Intimacy is about being seen, being willing to be seen, and the vulnerability that comes with it. More on that later.
Here then are some of those strategies to avoid being seen.
The Talker, Thinker, Intellectualizer, Teacher, Expert
When we come into this world we are pure emotions. If those emotions are held in a safe container we can stay in touch with those parts of ourselves, as we also mature into our thinking mind. If, as happens so often, our emotions are shamed, ignored, or punished, we want to get as far away from them as possible. Since those emotions are felt and expressed in and through our bodies, we want to get far away from our bodies. It is our first out-of-body experience.
Usually, the safest place to go is up into our heads. If we can cut off the connection of our awareness at our neck, the mind and the body can live separate lives. Thus, the Thinker/Intelluctualizer is born. This strategy seems more common in males than females, and for good reason. Males are not wired directly to their feeling brains like most females are, plus we males are then domesticated to reject our own feelings in favor of using our dominant power—our minds. “Be tough. “Don’t cry, that’s for babies.” “Don’t come whimpering to me about that, just tell me what happened.” “Grow up, be a man!” “Go to your room and don’t come out until you can explain what you’re upset about!”
These strategies of the mind can serve two purposes, first to distract one’s self from uncomfortable or unwanted feelings…and second, to earn approval and value through the sharing of important information, theories, concepts, knowledge, and stories about another time and place. The mask is: “I am confident in my knowledge, I’m happy to share it with you, and I know (hope) you will value me because of it. I hope you will also be enraptured by my eloquent sharing and not notice how afraid I am of being rejected.”
Often a favorite way the talking head Thinker avoids feelings and being seen is to separate his- or herself as the Teacher, the Expert on all things you need to know. Teachers operate in schools and at dinner parties, on stages and couches, in romantic relationships and casual meetings, in churches and hate groups. The Teacher feels safer in front of a room full of people than one-on-one at dinner.
The Entertainer, Clown, Joker
These humans use humor to distract their and your attention away from their pain. Many famous comedians have revealed their shadow side as they have awakened or died. Chris Farley, Red Skelton, Mitch Hedberg, George Carlin, John Belushi, Robin Williams, and others were very funny, and also in deep pain– many died from the drugs, food, or other ways they numbed their pain.
The Jokester or Clown can be the life of the party, attracting attention and entertaining for hours. Behind his mask the Clown is hiding his fear of being seen, judged, and rejected as not good enough.
EXAMPLE: An apprentice told me about her dinner party celebrating her engagement. Her fiancé stood up to share about his love for her, which he did, but he never sat down again. He told funny stories about the two of them, and then about his own childhood. At first she loved how confident and fun he looked, standing there in the limelight…then she realized he wasn’t going to stop. She became embarrassed, and went to stand by him to signal him to relax and let others talk. She felt the compulsive fear behind his Entertainer mask and came to me for help navigating her new fear about her relationship. I suggested she needed to share her fears with her fiancé and then let him explore his own. She did, and he did.
Remember, we’re not here to judge these strategies—they are not a problem to be solved, they are only pointing deeper within to the frightened and wounded victim child that needs the Warrior’s love and attention.
Also remember we are looking at these qualities when used as strategies or masks to hide or avoid feelings. It is fun to share a good joke or story. Later on I’ll share more about how the Warrior’s love can transform the strategies into adult resources.
The Bully, Blamer, Rager
The common theme in the strategies and masks in this section is to avoid being seen– to avoid the vulnerability of anyone seeing your defects and weaknesses. Anger pushes people back, and keeps them from being present with you. It protects your hidden belief you aren’t good enough. The Bullies, Blamers, and Ragers translate all their emotions into anger.
By creating fear in others, the angry Rager creates a boundary that protects their vulnerability from invasion. “Stay back, or someone might get hurt!” If you blame others for all of your hurt and misfortune, your anger is being turned into emotional poison, and then dumped on those around you. If you find yourself doing this, pull back, and learn to take responsibility for your anger. We explored the Warrior’s version of being responsible earlier, in Pathstep 2-6. More on that as we go along.
Ultimately, you will learn to use anger appropriately, and be willing to allow (or invite) people to see the glorious truth of You– as a Divine Being, perfect in every way. There is really nothing to hide, nothing to defend– and no reason you need to scare people off. Believe me yet?
The Judge as Critic
I’ve shared a lot about the inner Judge, and how he judges the victim child to keep him or her small and out of trouble. It seems odd to think of all the pain caused by the inner Judge as the result of his desire to protect you, but as a strategy that is what the Judge is trying to do: Protect you from being judged and rejected. This is a very important job, because the victim child believes if he or she is rejected by parents, the result could be wandering the world alone until a lonely death. The inner Judge does such a powerful job that all of the strategies and masks we are exploring in this section are the result of his work.
However, as a strategy to protect the child, the Judge also has a job in the outer world. He is the critic of others, and he criticizes those who would judge you. By putting everyone else down, he tries to raise you up. He can disarm the sting of real or assumed judgments from the outside by criticizing the outer judges. If they are idiots, stupid, fatter, lamer, dressed badly, or sing worse, then any judgment they send is defused. “Judge first whenever you are judged!” Or something like that.
Up until now, we’ve explored the Victim as the hurt child within, wounded by the judgments of the critical inner Judge. There is also an aspect to the Victim that is a strategy. The Victim strategy child avoids responsibility and judgment from the outside by judging himself and collapsing in pain. He lies down and says: “Don’t kick me, I am already beaten down, I am already suffering, so don’t judge me! It is not my fault, my mother abused me, I never get anything right, please leave me alone.” “I’m so sorry I’m late, the traffic was terrible and my dog threw up on our new carpet just as I was leaving the house.”
The Victim strategy is saying “I am a victim of forces beyond my control, so I’m not responsible for what I did or said or forgot to do, and it’s not fair to judge me for it.” This is a common strategy, and is closely related to the Sick One and The Addict. Chronic complainers fit here, too. For you to be a Warrior and create your life as a masterpiece of art you must accept responsibility for who you are and how you operate in the world. Remember this Warrior responsibility isn’t the one that makes your shoulders sag under its weight—it is a lightening of the load. Go for it.
The Romantic, The Lover
The Lover distracts by wooing. The seduction is not limited to sexual partners, but can include flirting with bank tellers, grocery clerks, policemen, a therapist, or anyone who can be pulled into thinking the seducer is special. The Lover creates a special bond through his or her seduction, especially if the recipient of her affections leaves astounded by the passion and skill of the Lover. Evenings of fireside wine and candlelight lovemaking can seem very intimate, but they are often used to distract the other from seeing through the mask and rejecting the Romantic.
It may seem strange to think of such physical intimacy as a strategy or mask masks used to avoid real personal intimacy. Perhaps you have experienced this in yourself or a lover.
One clue to the Romantic Lover strategy is inconsistency. The Romantic will be totally “into” his or her beloved before and during the candlelight encounter, but will often quickly detach in the morning and become unavailable in the clear light of day—afraid of being discovered. One of my apprentices told me that he could never stay more than two nights with a lover. He realized his need to, “Have some personal time to recharge my batteries and come back,” was a cover story for his exhaustion from such long periods (two nights) of pretending to be someone he knew was a fraud. He needed the lovers as his only way of being intimate, but had to flee to avoid the danger of real intimacy.
Is this you? Do you sometimes feel empty after a romantic encounter, as if you thought your needs would be filled, but they weren’t…? Have you wondered why someone your cared about acted this way? There are many ways these strategies can appear in life besides love affairs.
The Prince and Princess
Who could be more deserving of care and attention than a Prince or Princess? When Mom or Dad dotes on a child, meeting her needs without question, and even calling a girl “my little princess,” the strategy is born. Often the attention is given by the parent to meet their own needs, not the child’s, and beneath the child’s glory of attention is resentment about not really being seen.
Being cute or handsome and well dressed brings its rewards, and so the child grows up using the Prince or Princess strategy– in spite of the underlying emptiness. They know they can distract Judges from seeing they are unworthy of real attention, by attracting superficial attention. They also expect to be doted on in adulthood, silently resenting those who do not meet their many needs. The Prince and Princess believe that they are entitled to special attention and care, but even total adoration cannot heal the fear they don’t actually deserve it.
If you are using the Prince or Princess strategy (or both!), it is because you believe you are entitled to care and attention– without having to earn it, or even ask for it. You expect it! You might become distraught, angry, judgmental, or withdraw when proper attention is not paid to you. Pouting is common here, although you will often hide it inside, because you don’t want to give yourself away.
There is a mature aspect of this strategy, which is the archetype sub-personality, the King or Queen. In its healthy expression, these parts of you will know you have authority over your kingdom and the power to make your needs known and get them met if you can– but not by expecting, manipulating, or whining.
Another strategy to avoid being seen and rejected, this one knocks people off-balance with flippant or facetious remarks—often as an opener to conversation. These remarks sound like judgments, but aren’t strong enough to raise objections… and if one objects, the Wisecracker can always say, “Hey, I’m just kidding around, don’t take stuff so seriously.”
“That’s quite a belly, what’s in your shirt?”
“Hey, do you always sit like that?”
“It’s late, did you just get up?”
“Are you saving up the dirt on your car for something special?”
“Wow, did your valet park your car like that!?”
“It’s been awhile since that poor lawn got mowed, eh?”
A more subtle version might be if you are in the habit of paying attention to, and perhaps touching or fondling and commenting on, someone’s necklace, outfit, purse, or tie when you meet, rather than making real human contact.
You? Do you bat people away or knock them off balance with your cute wit? Are you afraid they will see through your disguise if you let them too close? Again, rate yourself at the end of this Pathstep.
The Invisible One
This one learned to avoid Dad because he was always yelling and/or hitting. The Invisible One knew where to avoid the squeaky floorboards, as she slipped up the stairs without being seen. He stayed in his room and built models. Now he sits in the back of the room, has a gregarious mate that handles the social details, or is partnered with another Invisible One. The Invisible One may attract a caretaker, who thinks, “He is so scared, like a little boy…if I can love him enough I can heal his broken heart and he will love me.” Or, the Invisible One lives alone, going to work and returning, with no actual relationships beyond the waitress at the diner. In relationships, the Invisible One often withdraws at the first sign of intimacy.
Are you worthy of other people’s attention? Do you “belong?” Are you afraid of being seen and rejected for who the Judge says you are? Do you have habits of relating that protect you from anyone seeing in you what the Judge says about you? Where do you score yourself on the Invisible One strategy? See the Action at the end of this Pathstep.
Here is an invisible one who believes he doesn’t belong to normal society. He learned long ago to stay on the outside and deny his desire to belong. It hurt too much to try to get it right and be fawned over like his sister and fail, so he grows up looking at his family life from the outside.
In adult life, any group of people– whether they are a spiritual group or friends dancing and laughing at a bar—look like his family to the child. And so he uses the same strategy he learned then to avoid being found out and rejected. This child really believes he is different or defective. That belief makes intimate relationships difficult or impossible for the adult self.
Is this you? Are you afraid to step up and claim your place in family or groups? Do you always feel like “they” know something you don’t, and are having fun or intimate connections you don’t know how to have?
If a child is micro-managed, or hounded by corrections and judgments, there isn’t much left of his authentic self. The result can be a Resister, a child who stonewalls authority wherever he can in an attempt to hold on to a small bit of his own identity. How many parents are impatient or frustrated by a child who dawdles putting on shoes, or coming in for dinner? If you did this when you were young, how does it show up in your life now? What ways do you procrastinate or resist the “authority” of assumed judges outside, or the ever-present judge within?
“My mother never calls me, why should I be the one to call?”
“I know I should return my neighbor’s lawn mower, but I’ll just keep it for another week.”
“My wife says I should cut back on the beer, but, damn, it’s my one last comfort in life!”
Recognize this little dialog?:
Father: “Okay, time for bed.”
Child: “But Dad, I want a treat before I go to bed.”
Dad: “I know, but you remember we are cutting back your sugar and bedtime eating, so not tonight.”
Child: “Just ONE!? Please. Please. It’s not fair!”
Dad: “Okay, here, take just one piece and get going. Hey that is two pieces!”
Child: “They stuck together!”
As the pieces fall separately into the child’s hand, he quickly puts them in his mouth and runs off to his room.
Are there ways your Sneak tricks your adult self into another piece of whatever it is your Judge said you shouldn’t have?
We learned many strategies as children to work around the limits of the controllers and judges in our lives. More often than not our strategies went against us (“Okay, that’s it, you’re cut off from all sweets now!), but our critical thinking factors weren’t matured enough to change our behavior. We acted from a primitive level and you may find dialogs in your mind’s Mitote that sound just like the one above, as the child parts resist the authority of the bossy inner Judge.
And you go to bed yourself wondering, “Why did I eat all that? I promised myself I would cut back on sugar and late eating, and I did it again!” You didn’t, they did.”
Here in TACO you are learning not to beat up the rebel or resister children—they are simply doing their best to get needs met for the victim child. The new relationship is love and acceptance. They are doing their best, and so are you. Are you beginning to get that the only “you” is whichever child is taking over in the moment? The new TACO you is the Spiritual Warrior. How is your Warrior doing today?
The Sneak is an aspect of the resister. She or he is the one that quietly goes to bed, and then when Dad gets in the shower she runs back and grabs a big handful of the forbidden treat and zips back to bed. Or, as an adult she is the one who makes an agreement with her girlfriend, “Of course I would never flirt with your boyfriend,” when she already does and she knows she will again.
The Sneak works around the Judge by …well…sneaking. It can be a conscious game or an unconscious strategy learned a long time ago.
The Loner/ The Independent
Do you think of yourself as someone who would rather be alone than with other people? Do you judge people who make small talk or gossip, and say you would rather be alone than waste your time? If you think about going for a hike or bike ride, do you think about who you could invite to go along, or assume you will do it alone? Do you prefer the company of animals or trees over humans?
Would you be happier on Christmas Day at home with nobody to bother you, turning your compost pile or watching old movies—or at dinner in someone’s home with 12 people you know moderately well?
The Loner/Independent child is one who has learned to withdraw to protect himself – either from being seen and rejected/ punished, or from the pain (fear) of realizing nobody cares whether he is there or not. If this is you, score this strategy and answer the questions at the end of this Pathstep. How does this child’s strategy show up in your adult life? Think about what stories you tell yourself or others to justify being alone (i.e., “People are idiots!” “I prefer my own company”).
The Mystic, Saint, Guru, Spiritual Bypass
There are so many wonderful strategies to avoid the hurt. Have you done this? The Mystic is above it all. He or she floats in a world of peace and goodwill, blessing all who come in contact. Everything happens “for a reason” and the Mystic floats on along. This mask is hiding deep wounding in the emotional body that must not be allowed into conscious awareness. I call it “The Spiritual Bypass.”
The Mystic denies the emotional pain that lives in the human body by denying the body. The Mystic believes and preaches that the desires of the body are a distraction from spiritual progress, and should be overcome with meditation, abstinence, sobriety, and silence. OR perhaps drugs. In certain cultures (1960’s and beyond) the Mystic might stay stoned to maintain distance from the body and associated feelings—she drifts along in bare feet that barely touch the ground and a madras dress, perhaps carrying and sharing flowers, and blessing all she meets.
The Guru and Saint are similar strategies; rising above the human predicament, separate from it all. The Saint may actually wear robes, sandals, and a beard if he is truly dedicated to his role. If he has gone that far he will probably be stoned, too. Otherwise, the Saint can simply be high on his spiritual attainment, and perhaps looking down a bit from his high place with a bit of judgment and separation from lower beings.
The Guru can also be part of a Thinker/Teacher strategy. The Guru strategy needs to share wisdom and avoid intimacy. It sets the Guru above and apart from the rest of the humans.
Another place the Guru can often show up is in your inner world. Sometimes, the Judge will step down from his bench, take off his black robes, put on white robes, and drift a couple of feet above the floor of your inner world—in the full Lotus! His message: “My child, you will never be spiritual enough if you don’t try harder, meditate more, quiet your mind, write in your Mitote Book every day, read more, do your yoga and tai chi, and quit eating meat and sugar. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously if you don’t take your spiritual attainment seriously!?” Beware. This strategy child is not a good source of wisdom or direction.
Note these strategies are always developed to avoid the dangers of being seen and judged. They all come from the need of the victim child to be safe; a child within who believes he or she is defective and unlovable as she is. They all from arise the same fear, no matter how different they appear to be.
Do you rise above the needs and fears of your human self? Do you deny your emotional fears or pains in order to try to be more “spiritual?” At the end of this Pathstep, write what your Judge says about your emotions, emotional pain, fears, needs, and wants. Then what your victim child says about them. Then what the Mystic, Saint, and Guru strategy children say about emotions, fears, needs, etc.
The Space Case
Flustered and scattered, the Space Case never alights long enough to connect with their feelings or anyone else’s. Chaos reigns. The mask says “Oh, my goodness, I just don’t know what you mean about my not calling you, I must have forgotten, are you sure, I have to go now, I think I am late.” If you forget appointments, never seem to have time to clean your house or do your laundry, or you generally live with chaos, stalk this one. What are you running from? What do you want to forget or hide? What is the spacey-ness or chaos inside of you that is manifesting outside?
It is always good to look at our physical reality, also. Drugs and worry can wear out your body, your adrenals can be worn out, and low thyroid can affect energy and attention. Even though this section makes it seem like everything is a learned strategy, as humans our minds and psychology are operating in and through a physical body. The Warrior gives attention to the body as well as the mind and spirit, so that all parts can grow and heal together. We’ll have more to share about health and wellness in later Gateways.
The Sick One
Have you ever called in sick to school or work because you weren’t prepared with an assignment or project? Who called in? Your sick child strategy! Have you ever turned down a dinner invitation from people you think might see through your disguise? Have you said, “I haven’t been feeling well.” Or “Bad headache all day”? You might hide the truth from yourself with stories like, “The project was too big!” Or, “I hate small talk.”
The sick child strategy also offers us the freedom to lie on the couch and ask people for help and service, when normally we might not have that permission. Adding some emphasis can help, like moaning or to get up off the couch and sink back down, so weak you can’t stand up on your own (to get the piece of pizza).
The Overweight One
There are many reasons for being overweight. What we are exploring here is the weight gain by a strategy child afraid of someone coming close enough to desire personal or sexual intimacy. This child might have been exposed to inappropriate or invasive sexual energy, felt helpless, and blamed her body for it. In our world, even a child knows what a sexually attractive body is supposed to look like, and adding body weight is a way to disguise his or her body.
If this is you, be gentle with that child. He or she has good reasons for the weight, and judging the child and the weight will never change the strategy. If there is sexual wounding it is one of the deepest hurts and fears a child can live with. As the warrior you must not judge the Overweight One or her eating, but accept and love the strategy…perhaps even being grateful to the child for helping to protect you until now.
There are many reasons for overeating or being overweight, two different strategies. If you are faced with resolving these strategies I encourage you to connect with me. Let’s learn what needs the inner kids are meeting and find ways to meet those needs directly without causing harm to your body. See overeating below.
Everything is changing.
I’ve been sharing about many inner strategies that are manifested in our adult life as outer masks and roles. We also use the masks of makeup, hairstyle (including comb-overs and color), outfits (including the tight jeans to attract attention away from the fear to the rear, and the baggy sweatshirt that covers the belly roll), the kind of car we drive, and all the other outward outfits and disguises of life, to protect ourselves from being found out. Every day is Halloween in Parasite Land.
Are you comfortable with or without makeup? Where did all your clothes come from and how do you choose what to wear? How much does it matter? Do you change how you look with hair coloring, working out to look good, dieting, sculpting a beard, breast enhancements, Botox, laser treatments, lots of new clothes, or a new car you can’t really afford? How does it make you feel? Are you worthy of love now, can you relax and allow yourself to be seen — in your new car with a new outfit, perfected body, and/or perfect beard?
We’ve been looking at the strategies to avoid being seen, found out, and rejected—all very big fears for a child, and still held by many inner children. Here is your chance to review your relationship with each of these ways a child might have adapted to difficult situations—and still does in your adult life.
ACTION: If you recognize that you like to hook people’s attention with intellectual explanations or funny stories; push them away with anger, judgments, or wisecracks; hide from them with makeup, invisibility, or sickness; or if you float above the masses as a mystic…bring your loving awareness here. Dream into your past and look for the childhood experiences that taught you how to get your needs met for safe attention, validation, or hiding, in an otherwise difficult situation.
Write about the strategies in this Pathstep! Score yourself honestly, and answer the questions in Pathstep 3-3. Remember to switch to GW 2 Mitote Book mode if the Judge gets involved. All you need here is awareness with compassion and self-love. You are a Warrior now, and you are looking at these strategies with gratitude (the child used them to get you where you are today) and a spirit of acceptance. This is the Mastery of Awareness, and you are working your way in TACO to the delicious freedom of intimacy with your own truth and the freedom to share it with others. Dig deep on this one.
The Warrior doesn’t make the strategies wrong, she makes the victim child right.
The strategies, masks, and roles for avoiding being seen, found out, and rejected. Score and write about each of these:
- The Talker, Thinker, Intellectualizer, Teacher, Expert
- The Entertainer, Clown, Joker
- The Bully, Blamer, Rager
- The Judge as Critic
- The Victim
- The Romantic, The Lover
- The Prince and Princess
- The Wisecracker
- The Invisible One
- The Outsider
- The Resister
- The Sneak
- The Loner/ The Independent
- The Mystic, Saint, Guru
- The Space Case
- The Sick One
- The Overweight One
- The Physical Masks
Pathstep 3-7: Numbing Out When the Fear of Failing Is Too Unmanageable—The The Bricks in the Wall
The child has tried everything he or she can think of to get it right, deny the fear of failing to get it right, and hiding from being seen—and the fear still hasn’t gone away. Stronger medicine is needed.
If you don’t like a person, you can walk away from that person. If you don’t like yourself, you can’t escape yourself; you are with yourself wherever you go. This is why some people try to numb themselves with alcohol or drugs. Or maybe they overeat or gamble to make themselves forget who they are with. Of course this doesn’t work because the storyteller judges everything we do, and this only leads to more shame and self-rejection. – Miguel Ruiz, The Voice of Knowledge
An Addict is someone who is dependent on a mood altering substance, idea, or behavior—especially true if that dependence has a damaging effect on their emotional or physical health, or relationships with work, family, or friends. When the fear (“pain”) of childhood survival is too big to contain, many people learn to self-medicate, and any substance or behavior can serve as an addiction if it numbs the wounded emotional body or distracts the attention from the pain within.
People can become addicted to relationships, drugs (legal and illegal), food, worry, chaos, illness, computer games, pornography, sex, recklessness, adrenaline, exercise, masturbation, religion, drama, gambling, shopping, obsessive thinking, television, tobacco, Facebook, control, fear, general suffering, and daydreaming.
It is a very difficult cycle for an addicted person to break, partly because the inner and outer Judges are very harsh on people who abuse substances or other visible behaviors. Again, these strategies are not a problem to be solved, but merely pointers to the real issue: The deeply held fear of being judged and rejected by the outer world – just like what is happening in the inner world—and the overwhelming fear and pain that results.
The addictive strategy created to numb and protect the hurt Child from the Judge causes additional judgment, more hurt and fear, and the need for more self-medication.
The magic of drugs and other substances is that they numb the hurt feelings and fear of the Victim Child. They are very attractive to deeply wounded people. If you have or are suffering from addictive behaviors, perhaps it’s time for you to express your gratitude to the Child self for how resourceful he was for discovering this strategy. If he hadn’t, you probably wouldn’t be alive today. And as I’ve said before, if the pain and fear is caused by judgment and rejection, then judging and rejecting the little addict strategy child is probably not going to offer any healing or change.
Food, sex, and some other addictions have the advantage of not only numbing the sensibilities when your stomach is full or you are sexually spent, but you can also distract yourself for many hours with the thoughts about food (sex, etc.): “I ate too much for breakfast. I will eat lightly at lunch. Oh, I said that yesterday and then forgot. What will I eat? I should go to the gym, but I don’t. What’s wrong with me!? I had better have a snack; my blood sugar is getting low. What will I have? A salad. Oh, not those brownies in the freezer…well, maybe just one…Oh, why did I eat all six!? Now I will have to go without dinner…” (Repeat for sex, gambling, drugs, alcohol, porn, computer games, Facebook, cigarettes and chewing tobacco, excessive TV, and whatever else you might use to numb out and “forget your troubles”).
Overeating as an addictive strategy has different roots than being overweight as a strategy. Understanding and untangling them is life-changing. Overeating is usually an effort to repress emotions—like the other addictions. Emotion rise up from our bellies and hearts and food pushes them down. Over and over. Again, the issue is not food, a lack of will power, a spiritual deficiency, or a psychological disorder. The issue is an adversarial relationship with your emotional body.
Addicted to food and eating? Try this quiz
Contact me if you need more help than is available in the Gateways.
Smoking cigarettes as an addictive strategy is very misunderstood, and most of the suggestions for “breaking the habit” are focused on the cigarettes and a supposed addiction to nicotine, and not on healing the little strategy child who is using them. When I had my hypnotherapy practice we would help people enter a trance state and then ask to talk to the smoker—almost always a little kid in charge of repressing emotions. Like overeating, the emotions rise up and the smoke pushes them down. Imagine a child running to you crying, hurt, or angry and you take a big drag on a cigarette and blow the smoke in the child’s face. That is smoking.
Once again, the “problem” is not lack of will power or weak character. The problem is the inner judge beating up the victim child who calls for help from the smoker to push away the hurt feelings and fear. Many smokers told me they quit smoking a year or two before they came to me, but then gained 30 pounds. They started smoking again, thinking it was better than being fat. The real issue was still there. Or, they had quit with will power. Then one day their boss bawled them out for something and they stormed out of the office, grabbed a pack of cigarettes off their secretary’s desk on the way out, and smoked two at a time outside. Pushing down the fear.
I just read someone saying that a major addiction in the USA is to the medical system. People are addicted to being victims taken care of by medical doctors instead of taking responsibility for their own diets, exercise, and health. Then they become addicted to using the pharmaceutical drugs the doctor offers them believing they are taking care of their health. If you are caught up in that system, there are ways out! The only requirement is taking responsibility for your health and wellness—the information will be available for you.
Note that this one Pathstep completely updates the ideas of addiction recovery, “addictive personalities,” and the shame of addiction relapse. Judging and rejecting a little child who is trying to protect the victim child from his or her pain has been generally unsuccessful for healing the wounds caused by being judged and rejected. It’s time for something new: Love and acceptance.
Many members of TACO have discovered themselves free from their addictions at some point in their journey here—not because they fought and resisted their own strategy children, but because meeting the need of the victim child for unconditional love and acceptance made the addiction strategies obsolete.
The outward sign of the inner battle drifts away as the inner battle subsides.
The Depressed One
If you can’t win, give up. Recent research is bringing new understanding to the “diagnosis” of depression. Further study will probably show that the entire theory of serotonin uptake and inhibitors was flawed science and medicine. I am sure more will be revealed. It is also pretty clear now that anti-depressant and anxiety drugs cause violent behaviors and suicides. Most of the school and military “shooters” that pass through our news have been taking these drugs. This is not good.
In the meantime, I consider most depression to be “repression.” I have never worked with anyone diagnosed as “depressed” who didn’t have a very nasty inner judge created in childhood and wasn’t suffering intense background pain/fear as a result. When the pain/fear becomes too strong, one recourse is to numb the entire emotional body to avoid it.
If this is you in any form, please learn more about any drugs you have been prescribed, and believe what the drug company has written about the dangers of taking them. I leave that to you and your health professional. The most important thing here is to keep working on protecting that abused inner child from the Judge—and free your emotional body from the numbing repression of your feelings.
ACTION: Take some time once again to enter into the dream of your childhood and adult life, and use your Mitote Book to record the answers to the questions at the end of the overview in PathStep 3-3 relative to your addictions, depressions, or other tendencies to numb out what you are feeling. Is this you? Is your addict holding back your adult life because it is still trying to protect the victim child? Where do you score yourself on the addiction and depression spectrums?
in an embrace of love and acceptance. (1:30)
Be very gentle with the victim child and addictive children. They have been doing the very best possible under difficult circumstances. Use what you are learning and processing here, and keep going. There is a big wonderful world out there, beyond the disconnection and numbness of depression.
Write about these strategies if you recognize them.
The Depressed One
Write about your childhood history and find compassion for what the child experienced. You can help your victim child return to his or her birthright of happiness and joy. Use the love and embrace of your TACO family to support you as you learn to comfort and nurture the child within.
NOTE: There is some wonderful research being published about food addictions, and how certain foods, purposely created to be “hyperpalatable” – sugary, fatty, and salty processed foods – can cause brain changes related to addictions. Science is also (finally) beginning to recognize how early-life abuse and neglect traumas can influence your genetic expression and make you more susceptible to addiction of all kinds. Perhaps they will some day catch up with our Toltec wisdom, but no need to wait!
Other research on depression is showing the profound effects our gut fauna and flora—our “microbiome”—has on our mental health, including depression. Probiotics and fermented foods that create a healthy gut flora could become the new Prozac. Note that Roundup in your diet kills or distorts your intestinal microbiome, and it is very important to eat as many fermented and organically certified foods as possible. More on that later.
Contact me about this if you want more information or support with these tough issues.
Write about these strategies and masks based on what you have read and written in this GW, about yourself or theoretically, and I will add what you discover to the GW as needed.
- Blank canvas
- Door mat
- Always Busy
- Chit chatter, small talker
- Sullen, Grumpy One
- Fantasy One
Pathstep 3-8: Tools of Awakening
As I have described previously, many of us live as if we were put to sleep by a magic spell, or a potion such as the flagon of liquor that knocked out Rip Van Winkle for 20 years. You have been asleep, and through the cultivation of your awareness, you are waking up. By now you have experienced moments of clarity and presence, I am sure, and know what it feels like to be awake. The question is, how can you wake up and stay awake?
Being asleep is a habit. To change a habit, you must first be aware in the moment that you are engaging in the old habit, and then choose to change to a new behavior that will become your new habit. Each time you engage in the new habit, the change becomes more established, until in time, the new habit is the normal behavior.
Imagine that you have the habit of biting your fingernails, and you want to stop. You have the habit, and you bite your nails unconsciously — perhaps suddenly noticing (awakening) when you hurt yourself or someone mentions it. One day you learn you can buy nasty tasting stuff to paint on your fingernails, so when you bite them it will wake you up right away to what you are doing. Once you are awake, you can make a choice — to bite or create the new habit to not bite. Slowly, the new habit is established, and in time you no longer need the nasty tasting waker-upper stuff.
Once you are awake, you can have a new choice. What follows are some tools you can use to wake yourself up. Remember what we say in the Toltec tradition:
Practice Makes the Master
Write your experiences in your Mitote book.
The Wake Up Alarm Find a travel alarm clock with a 15-minute nap timer. Or use a battery operated kitchen timer, or a wristwatch that you can set to beep you every 15 or 30 minutes. In the Joydancer Store we have a great tool, the MotiveAider for sale, that can be programmed to beep or vibrate for a Wake Up. Use one or more of these alarms as your Wake Up during the day. Every time it wakes you up, ask yourself, “Am I in Heaven or Hell? Am I in Love or Fear? What was the nature of my thoughts? What do I choose to be thinking as my new habit?” And then see how long you can continue your new thinking, as you reset the alarm for the next round. Wake Up! Fall asleep. Wake Up! Make a new habit. Be present and aware in the moment, and choose how you want to think and feel. You might use your moments of awakeness to say an affirmation from “Active Self Acceptance” in Gateway Two (Pathstep 2-4), the TTSSM, or other self-affirming agreements or intentions.
Carry your alarm with you, in the car, to the grocery store. Wake yourself up before your mate or children come home. Wake yourself up before you turn on the TV, or eat that next bowl of ice cream. And simply choose. There are no rules about what to do or think or feel — only this opportunity to choose from awareness in the awake, present moment.
The Colored Dots This is a visual reminder. At your stationary store, buy a package of “Color Coding Labels,” round mixed-color adhesive dots. A good size is 3/4″ diameter. Stick them on things in your life, and Wake Up! when you see them. Put one in the middle of your bathroom mirror. Put a red one in the middle of your instrument panel of your car. And on your clocks, especially the one you see when you wake up in the morning. You could also use red heart stickers for the same thing. Wake Up!
Things in Strange Places This is another visual reminder. If you are an orderly person, you can Wake Up! by putting things out of order. Put a shoe next to the clock you see when you wake up in the morning. Wake Up!
Put a sock on the table where you eat breakfast. When you see it, ask yourself: “What is my relationship to this meal? How does it taste? Do I like it? How did I choose it?” That is becoming present and that is all you need to do. (Don’t eat the sock).
Change a picture on your wall so it hangs very crooked, and when you see it, Wake Up! Become present for that moment. Move a piece of furniture to a different location. How many creative ways can you find to shake yourself awake? Share them with me and your fellow travelers in the chat room and forum. And keep Waking Up!
Notes and Affirmations Write out specific affirmations or intentions that you want to remember during the day. Use the ones from “Active Self Acceptance” in PathStep 2-4 and those from your life. One particular affirmation at a time is preferable to many different ones. Hang them on the mirror in your bathroom, put them on the seat of your car for the morning, in your pocket or purse, on your altar, the refrigerator door — you get the idea. For every moment that you immerse yourself in a new affirmative truth, it is one moment that you are not telling yourself an old lie.
Make sure to write affirmations in the present tense. Rather than: “I will always live in love,” which is about the future, use language such as: “I live in love in every moment.” Of course your Judge will chime in and say (to the victim child), “No you don’t, you are a failure and you will be found out and rejected!” The Warrior’s response can be: “Thank you, Judge, but you don’t understand. It’s like a prayer about how we want to live; it’s a language thing. Everything is okay.” Judge interruptions like this are a good time for the TTSSM.
The Body as an Antenna Your body registers your emotional responses to your world. Your thoughts create your emotions. Use your body’s emotional reactions to Wake Up! and ask yourself, “What was I just thinking that triggered that emotion?” Make sure you ask this question as the Warrior, without judgment. No sense in making it worse. We will return to this important concept of thoughts creating the emotions in much greater detail in a later Gateway. For now, simply put a “tilt buzzer” in your body, so that your emotional reactions wake you up.
When you feel that disturbance in your emotional/physical body, Wake Up! and listen. Honor it, there is nothing bad or wrong or needing fixing with those emotions, they are there to wake you up to where your attention has gone. Bring your attention back the present moment, back to love and acceptance—perhaps with a hug for the child within that got scared. The rest will take care of itself.
ACTION: Which Wake-Up! tools are you going to use? Write them down, print them, make Post-Its, make up your own, but do it. Record your choices in your Mitote Book so you can track your progress.
Pathstep 3-9: The Not-Doings of the Personal Self
The Parasite has been in charge for a long long time. If you want to break that power, you will need to continue to empower the Warrior. You will need to practice hooking the attention in the love of the Warrior — and starve the Parasite by depriving it of the fear it lives on. This is your battle for control of your attention.
Where the attention goes, energy flows
The present moment is the only place that Life is happening. To be an awakened Spiritual Warrior is to be alive in every single moment. We are beginning to take your old dream apart … and to open you to this moment of your life, Now.
“Not-doings” are another important action tool for the Warrior in the battle. They represent another way to break habits that keep you asleep, and Wake You Up! When you discover new forms of Not-Doings, share them with your fellow members. Pick one, two, or three of these to use at a time. I do not recommend confusing yourself totally with all of them at once. Take your time, watch what happens when you change your doings to Not-Doings, and write about your experiences in your Mitote Book. Write down how your Parasite tricks you out of remembering, or puts you back to sleep with the old habits that it knows so well.
Anything you do as a habit or routine leaves your mind free to wander in the past and the future. Since the NOW is the only moment that is actually alive, the Warrior cannot tolerate mindless activities where the attention is not present. The essence of the Not-Doings is to change how you habitually DO, as a way to bring you present into the moment. Some suggestions follow. I want you to experience all of them, and also watch to your daily life to discover other places where you fall asleep…and can Wake Up!
Silence Spend ten minutes, ten hours, or ten days in silence. Listen to your mind, and what it habitually wants to speak out-loud. Do not let it. Do not communicate for the time you select. Write your experience in your Mitote Book. Note for yourself your motivation for each of the times you wanted to speak.
Stop watching television When you want to turn on a TV, notice where the impulse comes from. If you already do not watch television, then try watching it. What happens?
Do the same for movies at home—whatever you are habituated to doing, change to a Not Doing.
Stop listening to your car radio/ music/ podcasts Again, what happens in the silence, and what is the impulse that wants you to turn it on? Write what you observe.
Put away your phone Do you have a cell phone? Doesn’t everyone? Why? If you are one of the millions who carry (clutch?) their phone everywhere they go, try leaving it behind. Turning it off is a baby step, leaving it behind is bigger. Giving it away is even bigger! (Personally, I have never owned a cell phone, nor a TV, and I find I can live my life, communicate, find my way from here to there, and generally operate just like I did before the inventions came upon us).
The important issue here isn’t whether or not you have a cell phone; it is how it controls your attention. Or how you give it your attention. Warriors are focused on learning to control their attention by consciously choosing where to direct it. You have to be awake to do that.
Change radio stations If you normally listen to new age jazz, try rap music. Or country and western. Be present with it. If you like radio talk shows, listen to a station with an opposite political attitude. Or listen to a fundamental Christian station. This is also a good exercise in stalking your judgments and opinions (about the judgments and opinions of others!).
Change your bathing and grooming routines Daily habits that might give you a good opportunity for Not-Doings are your bathing and grooming routines. How present can you be in the shower or bath? What can you change to keep yourself fully present in each moment? Do you have a four-step routine? Start at the other end and work back. Feel the water; notice how your skin feels. Do you like the smell of your soap? Stay present with YOU. Enjoy.
When you are shaving, brushing your hair, cleaning your teeth, or anointing yourself with lotions and scents, can you be present with each moment as though it were a serious spiritual ritual. If not, change it up. Reverse the order, change tools, watch yourself deeply in the mirror as you groom…all to bring yourself present in the one divine moment of Life.
Change driving routes Driving or walking the same route to work, to shopping, or a friend’s home can be such a habit that your mind is free again to wander. Change the route. How many paths can you find to the same place. On the new route, be present. What do you notice? Write your experiences in your Mitote Book. If you cannot change your route, then practice being present and seeing how many new observations you can make on the old route. How many different species of trees can you see? How many different nationalities of people? Be present in your body and your surroundings.
Look into the shadows instead of the light We are very used to seeing the lighted part of an object as the dominant form. Try looking into the shaded parts and see them as the form. Practice this, until you notice yourself seeing light and shadow form equally during your day. As an extension of this exercise, go to the woods, a park, or anywhere in nature at dusk. Quietly stare into the shadows, until you are able to move your awareness into and through the shadows. Use them as a doorway to a different reality.
Take off your watch, or wear a watch If you are used to wearing a wristwatch, take it off. Stop knowing what time it is. Note the feelings that come up, and write them in your Mitote Book. OR, trying wearing a watch, and always know the time. Do your opposite and be awake.
Obey the speed limits Do you often rush and drive faster than the posted limits? Try carefully watching for posted speed limits and do not allow yourself to exceed them. Wake up and bring your attention to your emotional body—what feelings arise? Anything your rushing is pushing aside? Experience it and write about it.
In the gym/yoga If you are a gym member or go to yoga or other exercise classes, how can you vary your routine to keep it fresh and keep you present in it? If your habit is to not take advantage of exercise opportunities, is there a way you can create a Not-Doing out of your habit? (Like going for a walk, or digging out that exercise DVD you put away?).
Be present with your speech (Suggested by a TACO member). “I picked a word or phrase I realized I was using often and that didn’t really resonate with who I wanted to be…so I focused on the Not-Doing of dropping the word from my speech for a day or week. It brought my attention right to my Word, the creative force of all of my life. It was challenging and Awakening!”
Give this one a try, also, and let your fellow members here know what you learned.
Go to Nature If you are indoors a lot, get outside. Not-Doings are the opposite of what you usually do, and serve to bring you into the moment. If you are often or usually in a rush, make time to slooooow down. Sit by a gurgling brook, smell the roses deeply and quietly and repeatedly. Pick some fresh mint and inhale the fragrance until your mind is calm. The point is awareness and acceptance of yourself and All That IS in each moment. Bring yourself to this moment with this exercise.
Have an In-The-Body Experience These exercises and ones you discover for yourself are created to help you have an “In the Body Experience.” I hear stories from many people that are looking for spiritual paths that will help them transcend their physical “limitations.” I would offer to you that being present as consciousness IN a physical body is a wonderful treat, and the only way consciousness can actually know Creation and Creator. Without your body, you are the ocean of awareness with no mirror to reflect your magnificence. The Toltec path is an IN the Body path. There is no need to transcend that which we are. Love your body, enjoy and respect your body, and be present with your attention in the moment where your body is always living.
We will have much more to say about this relationship with your body in a future Gateway. For now, practice these Not-Doings with the intention to be present in the moment, where Life is alive — and to stop the mind from dragging you into the dead past and non-existent future.
It is Okay to Fall Asleep Again
The Parasite is like a hypnotist that can put you back to sleep with a silent word—a bit of fear about the future, or a sudden thought about failure or rejection. It is okay to forget. It is okay to fall asleep, over and over and over. It is part of the process of changing your dream, just like waking up. Awake and asleep are both perfect expressions of your dreaming mind. If you prefer one over the other, set your intention to remind yourself about your preference.
Remember, we’re not here to find things for you to judge yourself about. This is exploration, adventure, and a chance to free yourself from the old dream.
You will know when you are awake in the dream of life. A new light will shine from all parts of creation, and there will be a lightness in your heart and step. You will know everyone is dreaming, including you, and you will be at peace with their dream and yours. You will not take anything personally, because you know nothing is personal!
You will also know when you fall back to sleep again—after you wake up! Life will feel heavy and sluggish when you are asleep. You will worry about getting things right for other people. There will be a tightness in your shoulders or belly. When you are asleep you won’t notice this, because it is very familiar. When you awaken from a sleep you will recognize what happened to you. It is okay to fall asleep, and it is okay to be awake.
It really is all the same and there is no hierarchy of value in one or the other. If you prefer to be awake, if you prefer to be consciously connected with the amazing experience of life dancing all around you…if you want to dance in joy with life as a Joydancer Toltec…then do what you can to practice waking up and staying awake.
Pathstep 3-10: A Recap of The Mastery of Awareness
Another congratulations for completing Gateway Three. This journey in The Mastery of Awareness has been a chance to awaken and create choice. What you do with your choice is totally up to you. This Toltec path has no rules, and lots of great tools. There are no rules about how you should think, act, or feel—or even who you should believe. The opportunity here is to use your awareness and choice to change your dream— from fear-based to love-based, from a dream of hell to the dream of heaven on earth.
Life creates what is real, and human minds create stories about what they think is real.
Be suspicious of the reality in which you have believed– the strategies you learned, the masks you wear, and the roles you play in your life are mostly unconscious carry-overs from your childhood. Gateway Three has been a continuing exploration of how your energy has been trapped in these strategies and masks—and how the Warrior’s love and acceptance can free that energy to be used in your joyous adult life.
You can never truly experience the joys of a dynamic adulthood until you heal the dream of the fearful child within.
We are all dreaming. Your outside “reality” is a reflection of your personal dream, and will reflect and reinforce every belief in your mind. To recover your awareness is to see life the way it is, not the way you were taught to see it or the way you wish it to be. The Toltecs have passed down powerful tools and new agreements for you to use to deny and ultimately heal the Parasite. I have added many modern tools from my experience as a clinical hypnotherapist and spiritual counselor and they are coming to you in as you enter The Mastery of Transformation in Gateway Four.
Use them well to recover your choice and free your energy from the chains of the Parasite!
Recovering control of your awareness opens you to connecting with what you are—not who or why you are. What you are is the Light, the Source, the Divine Presence that manifests as the uncountable billions of creations in this universe — including this human you are. With awareness, you are learning to walk in the world as both the Human and the Divine.
So let’s wrap up Gateway Three. Go to your Self-Reflection Questions, answer them well, and move on to Gateway Four!
Gateway 3: Self-Reflection Questions