At the age of 21 I began to experience a very long, severe and painful depression that lasted for 11 long years. It was like a cloud that covered everything that I experienced in my life. It was a very dark time and I tried many things to find healing. I read hundreds of books, took medication, went to therapy, and talked to anyone who would listen to find relief and to figure out what was wrong with me. I just wanted to be free. Then, around 2012-13, I discovered emotional releasing and went back into this memory, discovered the emotions I was still holding to all these years later, and let go of them. After processing through this memory and another one at the age of four, I felt the depression lift from one instance to another. It was gone. The fog cleared. I felt so much better and life opened up.
Yet, after going through some training recently with a great organization called Landmark Worldwide, I revisited this memory with a new lens to see if something was still there for me to discover. What I discovered was very meaningful to me. In this training, they communicated to us in terms of having an ontological conversation. Ontology is the study of being. It is out of being that actions arise that we take in the world. By revisiting the past and discovering the ways of being that we feel like we don’t have access to in the present moment can open us up to those states of being and transform how we experience the present moment to create the future with an open canvass.
This last week I began to ask myself, what state of being didn’t I feel like I had access to when I was 21 years old? At the age of 21, I was in my last year of undergraduate studies at a conservative Christian university. I was getting up early every morning to read the Bible for an hour and engage in prayer for an hour. I wanted to grow, learn and desired greatly to be more like God. Yet, what occurred in these moments for me turned into a living hell. I had a very real experience of feeling like God had abandoned me (even though this is not possible). As a result of feeling abandoned, I got angry and pleaded with God to speak to me about what was happening. I sensed his presence and voice before many times, but this time, all I got was silence. After months of silence, a deep sense of hopelessness set in that this situation was never going to be any different. Fear of being abandoned, anger and hopelessness drove the 11 years of depression. While I understood and learned how to let these things go, I thought about what state of being it was that I didn’t feel like I had access to in that moment so long ago.
Last week I’m in my kitchen with a psychologist friend of mine talking about this for a good 45 minutes. I kept asking myself, “What state of being didn’t I have access to when I was 21?” Neither one of us could figure it out. I was trying to figure it out so much so that I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and wanted to avoid continuing to talk about it. It was very reminiscent of how I tried so hard for 11 years to figure it out the depression and couldn’t. I almost gave up until the answer dawned on me. The very thing I was chasing was the thing that was reinforced in this memory as me not being able to have. I couldn’t BE God. This may sound strange but it is how it occurred for me in the moment. To say it a different way, I couldn’t BE whole, perfect or complete, because that is what God is as BEING. God is whole and perfect and those are the states that I felt I never could have access to when I was 21 years old. I felt broken instead. I have been chasing wholeness for much of my life, even though conceptually I have known for a long time that the essence of my being is already defined by wholeness. I already am what I was chasing for so long, but I kept chasing this because I didn’t feel like I had access to this state of being at the age of 21 and even long before that going back to the age of four.
As a result of not being able to access the state of BEING of wholeness and completeness, I unconsciously BEcame (or embodied) something else. I accessed other states of being, undesirable ones, such as BEING a problem solver, investigator, and fear of not BEING enough. So because I couldn’t BE whole, I BEcame not good enough. Consequently, problem solving is something I have gotten very good at. In fact, it is something I have to do every day in the clinic and feel I do really well. May times in the last 18 years, I have chased problem solving because of how I don’t feel like I had access to BEING complete.
When I discovered this, all the “beingness” of problem solving and not feeling good enough because I couldn’t figure it out dissolved instantly. I began to laugh, almost uncontrollably, and cry at the same time. Yet, these were not tears of sadness, they were tears of JOY. While I have had many joy filled moments in the last few years, especially since healing from depression, it has not been something I feel I have access to any time I want. Joy is the state of being that defines the very presence and “beingness” of God. Wholeness is the same thing. Wholeness is joy and joy is wholeness. In that very moment, access to joy opened right up. I didn’t have to do anything to obtain it. I was able to just BE joy, fully and completely. Joy was the very thing that I felt I had no access to during the depression I experienced. The tears and the laughing continued for some time and lingered on into the rest of the evening.
Something shifted inside me that night, knowing that I do have access to this state of being if it is chosen. We all have access to this state of being. However, if we have memories from the past where joy (or any other higher state of being) wasn’t able to be accessed because of some trauma that occured; we continue to live believing that we don’t have access to this. For many, this is done unconsciously because we haven’t explored our past. The past will continue to express itself in our present moment experience and we will continue to feel like we can’t BE joy.
This last week after telling of this experience to others, I have been asked, “What do I have to do to access this joy?” Nothing can be done to access states of being. Being is already what you are and it is already what you have. There is no getting it. These states of being just are opened up to, much like the unfolding of a flower. A flower isn’t forced to bloom, it just opens up. Joy is an already existing reality for all of us, so nothing can be done to get something you already have. One just simply opens up and surrenders into its expression in the moment.
In every moment of our lives, we are accessing being, whether we realize it or not. This is the being part of “human being.” We may access the states of being of anger, sadness, fear, determination, confidence, kindness or another other state. We have access to everything within being, but because of our conditioning from the past, we may not have access to the higher states of being of love, forgiveness, vulnerability, openness, intimacy, joy, gratitude or peace. I have been learning to become more and more aware of what states I am accessing in any given moment by asking, “Is this the state of being that I really want to access in this moment?” If not, I have been consciously making different choices to BE something else and out of this beingness arises the actions that flow from being. The last two weeks of life have been very different and the conversation internally has shifted. Even now as I write, I choose to access excitement as a state of being about what the future may hold.
- What states of being do you frequently access?
- What states of being do you feel like you have not had access to for much of your life?
- What kind of a problem continues to surface for you in your life in which you feel like you don’t have access to a state of being that would solve a certain problem for you?
- Who were you not allowed to BE as a child?
I have noticed that I fall back into old states of being frequently. I recognize them more and more and when I do catch them, I then make a different choice to BE something else. You have the same access and choice available to you as well.
The answers to these questions come from exploring and understanding our past. If you would like to explore your past and learn to access different states of being call 407-255-0314 to set up an appointment. Phone sessions are available as well if you are outside of the Orlando /Altamonte Springs, FL area.