I’ve been a “seeker” for a long time. I’ve studied psychology, spirituality, the subconscious mind, and brain wiring. And that led me to think I was pretty “evolved” for quite a while. But the tricky part was integrating that intellectual data into my subconscious beliefs and behaviors. Knowing the information was only the first piece of the puzzle. I’ve learned to get very curious about my first internal reactions. I must first recognize that I feel a brick in my gut or a lump in my throat. Only then can I ask myself “what’s going on?” Then I can try to identify my feelings and be honest with myself about them. Participating in a weekly process group for the past few years has taught me this. It’s very helpful to have a room full of people and a facilitator observe your communications and stop you mid-conversation to help you process something that you may not have been aware was going on internally. It can also help to let your five-year old inner child journal and purge on paper in order to visually see the silly story that the mind has made up about a situation. Brene Brown calls this her “shitty first draft”. Hopefully, this can be done before reacting to a situation, or before too much damage has been done.

For many years, I wasn’t aware of my feelings or the stories my ego made up. Until joining my group, I didn’t know how to be that vulnerable with myself which meant I wasn’t able to be vulnerable with other people. I was too in control and self-assured for such nonsense. If a negative reaction was really obvious, I judged myself. Because I was better than that, or so I thought. Or I might get blameful or judge others. Since I didn’t have compassion for myself, I wasn’t able to have much compassion for others either. I didn’t understand why I felt so disconnected from the rest of humanity. I was pretty clueless.

If I had read these words on someone else’s blog a few years ago, I would have thought “I’m glad I’m so much more evolved than that.” The scientific evidence shows that most people are not aware of their thoughts and behaviors, and I was like most people. So I invite everyone to get out of your intellectual mind and into experiential workshops, process groups, or other new eye-opening growth experiences. For me, that next transformational experience will undoubtedly be becoming a foster parent. There will always be room for more growth and I’m committed to the journey.