The Human Doing

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Yesterday, we went hiking with the family and visited an aviary with birds from all over the world. I had decided to organize some fun family time as I understood how important is “together time” for Winter, Teal and our extended family. Teal and I travel often and I have many activities and responsibilities that occupy my time and I recognized I was not present enough to my stepson and members of the extended community such as Graciela. As we were about to start on our day trip, Winter started to act out and refused to come. A couple of years ago, if it had been my children, I will have raised my voice and coerced them into getting into the car, shutting their feelings as I felt I knew better what was right for them. Fortunately, Teal knows better and she took the time to engage a dialog with her son. She got him to a point to express his discomfort. And as we were driving to the mountain, he started to give us to our awe a remarkable speech on the power of the attachment theory with the words of a 7 year old. He expressed how his heart was starting to feel distrust as people acting as nannies would come in and out of his life. He felt very connected to a community member that last year for a variety of reason had to leave us temporarily and as a result he is now feeling a resistance to get close again to new caretakers as he feels they would leave and the pain of separation would be too great to handle. He explained in a remarkably clear way for a 7 year old what he needed to feel very close to this individual again. She felt so moved by his words that she started shedding tears. I used this opportunity to ask Winter about our own personal connection and with his hands, he showed me the separation between him and I which was significant. He basically said that I was around but not really there. His statement moved me deeply too. He is right that I am not really present to him as a stepdad as I have not made it a priority and often find myself delegating his caretaking to other members of the community. We talked and we decided together to spend at least once a week some time just the two of us so that we can truly connect and feel closer to one another.

As we drove back in the evening, I told Teal that I felt a heavy heart and would love to do a process with her on it, before working on the computer. I had pain in my upper neck, which was an indication I was repressing emotions. Teal helped me work through some triggers and did some body work on me. Her hands are truly magical as her extra sensory gifts showed her visually the stuck energy in my body. At that point, she felt I was ready for an authentic talk. She confronted me that while we spent the day together, she felt I was not really engaged and present with the rest of them. It was hard to hear at first as I had organized the full day to make it fun for everyone, and it felt like all of us had a good time. I reviewed then the day in my mind and could see her perspective. I had spent the day a lot in my own mind. I did not make particular efforts to engage with anyone. I found myself a couple of times alone during the activities as I was either before or behind our small group. I asked to read my book in the car instead of going to the store shopping for clothes for Winter. I started to feel bad. I tried to do the right thing by organizing a fun family day but I had failed. I had been physically present but not emotional present to the family. As a result, my wife was actually starving of connection after a day dedicated to spending time together as a family! I pushed my projects aside that evening and made sure all my attention and focus would be on her and us.

Teal was right. I was acting as a human doing and not a human being, and I was making them feel while I was with them that I did not want to be there and that I would rather work on my projects. I became conscious that I had the same pattern with my previous family. I would go on hikes, often leading the way in the front of everyone, not curious about my children inner world, feelings, endeavors, content with a shallow connection while this would our only day off in a busy Silicon Valley work week. Shortly after Alina and I separated, I tried to make the time spent with my children special, and I would organize special trips, time with friends or activities during the time I had them. They however complained to me that what they really wanted was to connect to me instead of always being distracted. I felt unappreciated as I felt I was really trying to make our time together special. I was making them feel that they were not enough by themselves for themselves and that I had to always add more stimulation to make the time spent with them acceptable. This was not my conscious intent. This was more my own projection. I felt subconsciously I was not good enough that they would enjoy spending time with me without additional entertainment. People around me often feel that I would rather do something else than truly being and connecting with them. Despite my 25 years on the spiritual path, I felt disabled in my connection abilities. I was feeling powerless to create the very feelings in myself and others that are so important to me.

As I went deeper into my process with the support of Teal, I realized the trauma was coming from dad side. His mother would rarely visit him when he was a child. He subconsciously felt she would rather not be with him as she felt shame for the relationship that had given birth to him. Their infrequent meeting was more a painful reminder that there was something wrong and bad with him. My grandmother always lived in her own world too and always had difficulty connecting with family members at a deeper level while appearing as a socialite to the outside world. She had a sister called Tati Jojo who was very kind to us, and we developed a much deeper relationship with her, and this created some jealousy on my grandmother side as she could not understand why my sister and I felt closer to Tati Jojo than her as she was not aware of her relating pattern. We are dealing here with generational trauma. My grandmother mother died when she was 11. Her father quickly remarried. The new wife did not like her and her sister. They were kicked out of the house and had to start working at the post office in their early teens to sustain themselves. Then, 50 years later, my parents divorced when I was 10. My sister and I stayed initially with my father but because of the insecurity of my stepmother and the codependency of my father, I was sent back to be with my mother while I had asked my dad to stay with him. Again, I felt powerless not to repeat the same pattern. My son was 11 when Alina and I separated. While I did everything on my end to fight for an integrated family structure after the divorce, my children were taught to hate my new wife while they never met her, and from their perspective, they felt abandoned by a dad that would choose another woman over them. Any family trauma that is not healed, repeats from generation to generation, often in a tragic way.

After my parents divorced, some of the most painful time I experienced was the time spent with my father. During that time, I felt invisible. Though the times we would spend together were rare, he was not emotionally present to me. It felt like he would rather do something else and be somewhere else. I felt non-existent, small and unworthy of love. He often had hurtful comments or clumsy gifts that made me feel worse about myself. From his perspective, he felt he was making efforts trying to be a good father while still acting from his hurt inner child not very differently to what I am doing today with my closed ones. I understand that he often thinks of me and believes he loves me however his actions more often than not send a different message. He is not an abusive man. He is actually doing what he can but because of his own upbringing, he has incapacity to connect and make other people feel special because deep inside, he feels very unworthy. And I have to accept that he is a mirror of me. My father would often tell me that he and his parents were proud of my school results. As a result, I felt I could only be valued for my successes and external accomplishment not for who I am. I learned that people did not have a real desire to connect to me. I always strived to be the best at school so that I would have a chance to be loved. I became a human doing, and experienced for most of my adulthood relationships that were conditional in nature as a result.

Then Teal brought me to a visualization of the type of father that I really wanted as a child. This father would be fully present to me, he would be a teacher full of wisdom about life and relationships. When we would interact, he would focus and empathically listen to me, he would show concern, have the sincere desire to know me deep inside. He would be excited to spend time with me. I would always be on his mind. He would show small gestures of love making me feel important. He would act as a protector when necessary and always be available for me when I need it. He would encourage me, help me overcome my fears, have a sympathetic ear, and show both strength and vulnerability. As I contemplate who my inner child really wanted as a father, I come to realize the brutal truth that in my present life, I often act more like my father than being the man my inner child has been starving for. From this painful awareness, I feel a sincere desire to change. I understand that to truly heal my life, my relationships, it is time to give my inner child what I always wanted and give it to the closest people of my life. For you Winter, I want you to feel that I enjoy spending time and connecting with you, that you are important to me, that I will be careful with your heart and not pull away, that I am interested to understand and see the unique being that you are. For you Teal, I want you to feel that I would rather be with you than doing anything else in the world, that you are my top priority. I want to make you feel safe, cared for, cherished and adored. I want you to feel that I am an expert of you and always care about your best interest. I want to be your anchor, strength and stability even during the storms of life. I want to share the same qualities to my extended family. As I heal, I sincerely hope that my own children will feel the call of my heart and will consider reconnecting with me as they feel I could improve their lives and support them authentically instead of being a liability.

I remember that in the past I have tried to bring these higher masculine qualities however I am now realizing that I attempted to do so while repressing my inner child. Now, I am committed to bring these qualities within me while staying present to my inner child. My man self not only need to take care of my loved ones but also to my hurt little boy, as he is being reflected externally. This is why relationships are such an accelerated track for expansion. And by living a life with the spiritual catalyst, all my shadows appear clearly and there is nowhere to hide as everything is reflected and amplified.

In my life, I have been a human doing more than a human being and it is not a surprise I spent 20 years in the Silicon Valley where a regular work week is 70 hours without counting the side projects to get ahead. As a human doing, how we feel about ourselves is only connected to our accomplishments. We received compliments as a child only when we achieved something special externally. This is true to me and also to Teal’s childhood. This style of parenting is very common and well regarded in society. While it is better than emotional neglect, most people do not realize the amount of damage done by this parenting style. To be worthy of love, children learn to behave a certain way and accomplish certain results otherwise love is removed. They learn they do not have an intrinsic value. Unfortunately, everyone knows that the satisfaction derived by accomplishments is always short lived. When I was 20, after I entered one of the top engineering schools of France after national competitive exams, my joy only lasted a couple of weeks and quickly turn into depression as I lost the escape mechanism for my own inner void and childhood trauma. Teal told me yesterday that a happy wife will mean much more to me than any of my accomplishments in terms of personal happiness. She is so right. As we grow older, our joy comes more and more from simple pleasure of connecting and relating instead of our past achievements. As a human doing, we develop an addiction to cross as many items from our list in order to feel fulfilled for the day instead of feeling how we have impacted each other lives for the better. As a human doing, failure to perform means worthlessness and that we are undeserving of love.

I can see how this pattern has affected most of my relationships. Every time I have fallen in love, the first couple of months are heavenly. There is no time, just the pleasure to connect with one another. A day feels like a couple of minutes. Then the intensity of the infatuation subsides, and a covert subconscious belief comes in. It makes me feel that unless I am able to have achievements, she will leave me because I am not good enough on my own. So I pull away to focus on my activities in order keep the love I cannot afford to lose. By pulling away, I bring dissatisfaction to my mate that starts pulling away to protect herself emotionally and my very fear of the lost love becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. She feels abandoned, not good enough for who she is and her own insecurity is brought up. She feels unloved and unworthy at her turn. Inevitably, she detaches to make me feel the way I make her feel and the relationship becomes rocky. I become alone in my accomplishments and do not understand why love is going away while I am working so hard, and do so much for my wife and the family. This is the tragedy of the human doing.

Instead, by focusing on our children feelings, values, efforts, how they treat other people, we show them we truly care for who they are, and not only have concerns about their results. Let’s leave that for the corporate world. Transactional relationships may be OK for the business world however they are toxic for family relationships as we need to instill unconditional love to our children to create the new earth. We will then raise children with less fear of failure that are free to experiment and discover their unique gifts, as their self-esteem is not in danger when they do not perform according expectation. We may fear that this attitude may make them under achievers however by doing so, we focus on the very underlying conditions of success and we make them connect to their individual talent derived directly from their inner child. Movement, spontaneity and creativity are natural in children, not apathy. Inactivity and aloofness are the mark of trauma not of a healthy emotional upbringing. Our children can achieve success in two different ways. One will be a direct expression of their being, happiness and creativity, and will often translate in fulfilling and meaningful careers. Other will achieve success at the price of intense inner struggles, coping mechanisms, misery along the way often followed by a crash, realizing later in life that they hate their job and their lives. They will often fool people on the outside as everyone think they are successful. These two categories of success can be observed in all walks of life, especially with top athletes. The human doing is the personality than has repressed the human being or the inner child, the seat of the soul with all its creative, expressive and intuitive abilities. Our human doing has done enough damage shutting down our inner child. It is time to have our human doing serve our human being for a truly meaningful and satisfying life.

Do you want to be a human doing or a human being? What do you want your children to become?

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Earth, the shame planet

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This morning when I woke up, I felt some intense and dark heavy energy. For the last 6 years, meditation has been my refuge when I was faced with challenging emotions. For this reason, I put on my favorite meditation music, sat and started to listen to my internal world. I have verified what Teal teaches, which is that strong emotional triggers can be used as a rope to get deep within yourself and to get unique insights about the healing that needs to be brought forth. Often the strong energy of the trigger will bring on an altered state of consciousness. In this altered state of consciousness, you can see yourself from a higher perspective.

The first energy I felt was connected to the loss of my two children that I have not been able to talk with for almost a year now. A wave of shame ensued. How bad do you have to be if your own children aged 11 and 13 refuse to have any contact with you? At a conscious level, I can understand the psychological dynamics at play. I intellectually understand that because of the many complex aspects involved in this situation I should not be so hard on myself. However I find that my inner child is unable to separate from the deep shame created by this separation.

In my coaching role over the years, I have worked with many people that have daddy issues. Some of them had the most horrible fathers but the children were still trying to have a relationship with their father. They were doing this despite an obvious lack of reciprocity. I am not saying I was the perfect father as I can see that I have made many mistakes along the way as a father. I did what I could with what I knew at the time. Losing all contact with both of my children (like I never existed for them in the first place) feels utterly unfair and cruel. It feels so painful.

At this time during my meditation, I remembered my talk with my friend Avtar in Atenas, Costa Rica. He was telling me that I was making the pain worse by creating a story about the situation that would make me feel worse and solicit other people’s support. I challenged him. I told him that there is a part of us that requires validation, care and concern when we are confronting pain and suffering. Dismissing and discounting the part of us that is suffering is even more damaging. I shared my personal experience with him that I had become an expert at coping. Earlier in my life, I developed the ability to perform & function no matter what the circumstance. I had created a spiritual personality that could always see the silver lining in everything and even convince myself that situations that are traumatic are “all perfect”. While this is true from a higher dimensional perspective, it was only after being with Teal that I realized that I was bypassing and that I had repressed a lot of traumas this way. As a result, they kept manifesting externally. This is exactly what happened with the loss of my children.

My spiritual personality had shut down my inner child and left me disconnected. I had lost my spontaneity and my aliveness. Avtar and I agreed that it is important to avoid the two extremes of identifying with the story around the pain and repressing it. There is always a higher alternative which is to fully experience the energy around the trigger without a story and let this energy runs its course without resistance within ourselves.

As I reflected back on our conversation, I let myself fully experience the pain without identification or without the need to create a story around my pain. I went to a higher perspective and saw that I was continuously creating and emitting the energy of loss in my life. I dove into the energy of loss and I saw my life from this perspective. I re-experienced the loss of intimate partners that I was so close to. I felt their betrayal. I felt the pain of losing my stepson. I felt the pain of losing most of my friends who cut all contact with me after I made the decision to leave the cult I was a member of when I was 23. I felt the pain of losing my own children after a horrendous court battle. I felt the pain of suffering the betrayal of colleagues and employees that I worked with so closely for a long time. I have a self-concept that I am a good guy however all these events seem to show a different story. They show a herd of people angry with me, seeing me as an awful person. I acknowledged this fact and sank into the deep shame underneath all these events.

In the meditation, I was brought back to my parents and I was shown their shame. Shamanism teaches us that we inherit all of the unresolved issues of our parents through our genes. My mother lost her own mother when she was 3 years old after a neighbor had reported the abuse of the new stepfather. She became a foster child raised by an old lady. She was taught to shower in the dark because her own nudity was considered shameful. She was forbidden to turn on the light to do her homework so as to not waste the money of her caretaker. She was instructed to use worn ugly clothes in order to not attract the envy and the negative attention of people that were paying for her upbringing through subsidies with their tax money. My mother’s first love died in his early twenties from terminal illness.

My father’s story is also built upon shame. Unbeknownst to him (until he was in his sixties), his mother became pregnant with him after a love affair with a Nazi officer during the Second World War. She moved away and managed to hide the truth of the situation. However in order to avoid a possible punishment, she gave her son away to an old lady in the countryside. She would send her money, and rarely would visit. Though she loved him, she was incapable of hiding her own feelings of shame about this liaison from her son. It was only after getting more stable in her life and marrying the man that I thought was my grandfather that she took her son back. He was 10 years old. At that time, he hardly knew any French and was acting more like a wild animal than a boy of his age. Considering their background, my parents did relatively well. However, all of the shame they were not able to transform was passed to my sister and to myself.

For this incarnation, I chose to be the son of two parents who were struggling with huge shame issues. During this meditation, I saw my soul contract with shame. 4 years ago, during a spiritual experience, I saw how earth was a prison planet. I saw a vision that we were all souls that had deviated from the divine plan. I saw that from our own freewill, we started to hurt other beings in the universe and as a result, were brought to earth to re-learn the consequences of our actions to become benevolent again. From this perspective, we are like fallen angels using earth as our purgatory. Our sense of guilt has brought us to our human experience.

For a couple of years, I volunteered in jail as a chaplain to provide spiritual guidance to inmates. I realized that most convicts carry an immense amount of guilt and this is how they become a match to the experience of jail. There are a lot of people that have committed much worse actions that walk freely in the world today. If they experience no guilt, they would not end up in jail. This is why someone like Doc (Teal’s abuser) is still walking freely today. In this new meditation I saw how shame, even more than guilt, was the energy that was attaching us to earth. It is acting just like the force of gravity.

In the spiritual community, people see Love as being the opposite of Fear. From this new perspective, I could see how all fears stem from shame. When I am jealous, I feel ashamed about not being good enough for my partner. When I am afraid to do public speaking, I am ashamed to look like a fool. When I am afraid to lose my job, I am ashamed that I cannot support myself or ashamed of the disapproval of my supervisor. Most conflicts in relationship emerge from shame as well. We are desperately trying to make each other wrong so that we can be good. This is a deep realization I had with Teal a couple of weeks ago and now, we decided to practice owning our shame consciously rather than deflecting it in order to avoid conflict escalation.

I recently read the excellent book of Ross Rosenberg called ‘The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us’. He describes the codependent, narcissistic and borderline personality disorders and how they play out in relationship dynamics. As a result of reading this book, I realized that all personality disorders live within us in various degrees because they are the direct result of emotional abuse or neglect that took place in our childhood. From that perspective, there is no mental illness but only traumas that have not been released or integrated. When I realized this true cause of personality disorders, I began to see that these personality disorders all come from the shame we acquired in the face of trauma.

As a child, if something bad happens to us, we need to create meaning to deal with the suffering and most of time the meaning we create is that we are bad and this is why we deserve to get into painful experiences. The personality disorder we will develop will depend upon our degree of powerlessness in face of trauma and our own predisposition for coping. Of the three types, the codependent is the least powerless. While still raised in an environment where their emotional needs cannot be met, they are able to somehow affect the response of their caretakers. For example, a child like myself could have felt powerless with his mom’s mood swings, emotional unavailability and dark suicidal thoughts however he may have been able to get his mom’s attention by crying to evoke her pity at the very least. Codependents learn to control other people through various emotional manipulation strategies because they are not able to meet their emotional needs directly.

The codependent has a desperate need to appear to be the good guy to cover up his own inner shame. The two other disorders (Narcissists and Borderlines) develop from complete and utter powerlessness to create any needed emotional reactions from their early caretakers and they will split into 2 groups. The first group develops the ability to shut down their feelings as a coping mechanism to cover their own shame. These people can end up being narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths. They become unable to feel. They replay their own inner drama externally, often by creating great pain around them. More often than not, men will adopt this coping mechanism because they are head centered. When the individual is unable to stop feeling as a coping mechanism, they will most likely develop borderline personality disorder. This often translates into self-injury, self-hate, suicidal tendencies and emotional deregulation. Women who are more heart centered are most likely to develop this personality disorder. This personality type creates a lot of turmoil around them however they are creating a living hell for themselves more so than for anyone else.

Some of the descriptions of these personality types may appear extreme, however we should consider that each one of us demonstrates some of these traits depending on the amount of unresolved trauma we experienced. And you will always find shame at the core of each dysfunction. Skilled therapists are reluctant to use these labels (narcissist or borderline) because they know their clients will automatically feel shame as a result of being put into that box, which would make the therapy unproductive. These terms are only useful when used from the point of view of self-observation and accessing the wealth of knowledge and tools available around them. They are not useful as a shaming mechanism.

Today, I did an exercise where I listed all the things I am ashamed of. To my surprise, there was over one hundred items in this list! It felt like I was finally being authentic and it helped me release a very heavy emotional burden that I felt I have been carrying for a very long time. I am only sharing with you a few of them because I am too ashamed of the rest 😉

  • I am ashamed that I have been such a terrible father that my children have chosen not to have a relationship with me
  • I am ashamed that I am so unattuned that people sometimes see me as dangerous
  • I feel ashamed of my heavy French accent after 20 years in the US
  • I am ashamed that I trigger my significant other often
  • I feel ashamed that I am not valuable enough to my father that he decided not to go to my wedding with Teal

This exercise helped me so much that I would like to invite you to share your own shame list with all of us in the comments below. We should consider that most institutionalized religions and most social organizations are anchored in shame. I am finding that one of the fastest ways to advance on the path of liberation is to become consciously aware of your shame.

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