As I settle back in to Connecticut, I’m met with the echoes of the version of myself from a couple years ago. It’s like I’m facing her for the first time after being gone for almost two years.
Almost two years – that’s such a short period of time in the grand scheme of things. But to me, it feels like lifetimes. Like many, many lifetimes.
Old friends and family have remarked on old ways I used to be, old habits, old stories, that I completely forget were my reality.
It’s like I have amnesia in many ways, but I also do remember. I remember who I used to be, how her insides felt, the thoughts she had, the feelings and the lack of feelings.
If you knew me back then, and you’re wondering who the heck is Genevieve now? Has she gone crazy? Is she running an underground spiritual cult? Is the old Genevieve lost forever?
Or if you’re new to me, and you want to hear my story and get to know who I am and why?
Well, I’ve written you a story.
I used to be stuck in a cage of my own creation. And I used to wail and scream and pound on the bars of that cage with such inner fury, never realizing that only I had the key to release me.
I haven’t lived the easiest life, and I definitely haven’t lived the hardest either.
Those who knew me, know that on the outside I was usually quite kind and loving and gracious and sometimes really smart and sometimes really awkward, and I had a snarky temper at times too.
My insides were a completely different story.
On the inside, I felt deathly insecure. I craved belonging and connection like nothing else in the world, though I repelled affection and physical touch simultaneously.
I was constantly comparing myself, tearing myself down, judging myself for all the ways I didn’t replicate my peers.
My intuition can read other people’s emotions instantly, which became a curse because I would always internalize their emotional reactions. I was terrified that it was about me, something I said, something I did, so in my head, it became all about me.
When a friend would hurt my feelings, as often happens in human friendships, I buried it in self-shame and held onto resentment. I wasn’t worth it, I didn’t deserve to be treated fairly or lovingly, were the words repeating over and over again in my head.
My emotions on the outside were always on an even keel, I was the person many would come to because I was a good listener, and I often had compassionate, empowering advice. But on the inside, I was constantly attacking myself.
I felt so alone and so isolated. When things got really hard, I would even get suicidal. And I never reached out in these moments. Even though I had friends, I wouldn’t let myself get really close. Intimacy I only found in romantic relationships, often with men who were just as wounded as I was.
I closely examined my every move, my every word, my laughter was stifled and awkward and sometimes would come out too loudly, my words would drown in saliva and attempts at sarcastic wit, and I never felt comfortable in my body. I was always aware of exactly how each of my arms were positioned at my sides and closely considering how I should best shift my weight in my hips in order to not look too awkward.
Yes, these were my thoughts on a moment to moment basis.
And when my anxiety got the best of me in social situations that intimidated me, my body would betray me. Countless interviews, dates, and office meetings I’ve had where my chest and face would turn bright red, my eyes would start to relentlessly water down my cheeks and involuntarily shut so that I couldn’t see, and my ears would start to roar like ocean waves so that I couldn’t hear.
It’s difficult to convince someone to hire you or date you when you can’t see and you can’t hear, and from the other person’s point of view, you look like you’re about to start sobbing.
The point of this isn’t to solicit pity however. Because despite what was going on in my insides, I actually had an amazing life in many ways.
I graduated from an ivy league law school, I never went long without a romantic relationship, I had friends who loved me, I had a great job for four years working with good people doing good things making more money than many people I know, I had a loving family who supported me and cared about me, and I traveled and went on amazing adventures.
I never stopped to think just how lucky I was, how privileged I was, how grateful I truly could be for my life.
I literally didn’t allow myself to feel happiness and joy. The closest I got, was that I could get excited for something that was going to happen, but I could never just feel pure, pulsing joy at the current moment surrounding me.
Instead, I was constantly in victim mode, holding onto resentment like it was the last morsel of food left in the cage, baring my teeth at all who came near and clutching it for dear life.
I was self-righteous and ungrateful and judgmental because I had drowned myself in shame, in self-disgust, and the deepest insecurities.
And I was dishonest about this with the people around me, pretending that everything was alright, often dishonest with myself, believing that everything was alright, when it truly wasn’t.
So why spirituality? Did God save me from my shame?
No. God didn’t save me. Spirituality didn’t save me. I had to save me.
Although spirituality did hold the tools that lead me to discovering that I had the key all along.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to spirituality by teachers and mentors who taught self-accountability and self-responsibility first and foremost.
First, it was shamanism, ancient spirituality passed down from ancient cultures in places like Peru, West Africa, and still remembered by Native Americans and Celtic descendants. Shamanism taught me how to lean into my painful emotions in order to free the beautifully positive emotions like happiness, contentment, awe, and pure joy.
Shamanism brought me to all of my dark places, painful memories, emotions stuck inside my body, ancestral memories living in my DNA, and connections to past/parallel life memories living in our collective consciousness.
I had to face paranoias, fears, anxieties, shame, guilt, judgment, self-righteousness, arrogance, victimhood, resentment, anger, rage, fury, helplessness, hopelessness, depression, and utter despair.
And though I had begun this journey while living a relatively normal life in Connecticut, I decided to completely extract myself from our modern day society with all its limiting beliefs and judgments in order to fully surrender myself to this process.
Moving across the country to Washington state, and struggling for over a year to find a job and to make an income created the exact circumstances I needed in order to truly meet my inner demons face to face.
And I am forever changed in the most beautiful ways thanks to that pain.
After completely rewiring my inner emotional structure with shamanism, I had dropped the masks of self-righteousness and judgment and shame, and I had begun to embrace self-accountability and self-responsibility.
Shamanism brought me to my knees in devotional reverence of pachamama (mother earth), of the wisdom of the Divine Feminine, of this physical existence, of sacred ritual, and the medicine of living in alignment with the cycles.
And it taught me that God/the Divine/Source/Spirit/the Creator lives in all things, animals, and people, no matter what. It taught me the worth of a human soul, regardless of anything they’ve done. No matter what, we are always worthy.
This was such an important step in my journey. Truly, calling it a step immensely understates the significance that shamanism played and still plays in my life. I have so much gratitude for the incredible souls that have passed these teachings down through generations in sacred places like Peru, where my teachers sourced their learning.
And this is how I changed. Many pieces of my personality in the past were rooted in insecurities. The way I talked, the way I connected with people I love, the way I planned my days, the hobbies I chose, the things I loved, all of it was rooted in this projected version of my self that wasn’t authentically me.
Which is why now, many people see me as a different person. But it wasn’t that I changed, I just stripped everything away that was not me. All the striving to fit in, to belong, to be accepted, all of it was stripped away, along with my pride, my money, my belongings, my credibility, anything tying me to my prior self.
All that was left was me, my soul, nakedly bare to the world.
But shamanism didn’t give me the tools to help me integrate this new emotional blank canvas into the physical world. If we are all worthy no matter what, if all happens exactly as it’s meant to no matter what, then how do we decide what to do or care about at all?
This is a common question on the enlightenment journey. Once you have reached a point of detachment from all, detachment from emotions, beliefs, judgments, etc. then how do you choose to live your life? You can do whatever you want, but does that mean there won’t be consequences? Not exactly.
So, I continued my search for meaning, purpose, and mastering this physical life.
And here I met new mentors and teachings in consciousness, quantum theory, universal laws like the law of attraction, and the evolution of humanity.
Although the belief that all humans are equally worthy no matter what is such an important belief to have in order to overcome feelings of unworthiness due to mistakes we’ve made, ways we haven’t measured up, or internalized childhood shame, it also is lacking an important piece.
This is where many people in spirituality get stuck, and they wind up as beautifully gifted healers, stuck in shadow healing, providing beautiful gifts to the world, but remaining in a life that is filled with chaos and pain, and are unable to achieve prosperity.
When I say prosperity, I mean receiving support to bring your purpose into the world, and by doing so, supporting and elevating others as well.
The piece that is missing lies in consciousness, vibrational frequency, and universal laws. This is where I finally was introduced to God.
Enlightenment leads us to believe that duality isn’t real, that time and space aren’t real, and that nothing is truly inherently good or evil because we are all one, we are all God, no matter what.
But there’s a next step. A step that prophets and ascended masters like Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the Egyptian Goddess Isis, Buddha, etc. have been trying over and over again to introduce to our world.
This is the fact that consciousness itself is benefic, or inherently values good. And therein lies the essence of God.
Although I had released myself of my shame and accepted that I was inherently worthy and decided to accept self-accountability and self-responsibility moving forward, I had to come to terms with the fact that not everything is neutral. And in fact, I had left a trail of negative actions and thoughts and beliefs behind me that I needed to account for.
Resentment held against friends, family, or acquaintances that was never communicated authentically. Times I had taken actions that, although ethical, were not in line with my integrity. Paths I had taken that were not in alignment with my inner truth.
And though our negative actions can build up karma that causes us to feel the negative emotions those actions solicit, spiritual law (ie. God) gives us a get out of jail free card.
And of course, it’s unconditional love.
It’s turning the other cheek. It’s being kind to those who are unkind toward us. It’s giving to a stranger. It’s loving people we want to hate or judge or dislike or that make us uncomfortable. It’s loving people we don’t understand.
It’s realizing that we don’t need to protect ourselves with fierce boundaries that keep us from being treated unkindly, because we are so full of love that their actions or words literally don’t even touch us.
But we need the sacred steps of healing and unconditional self-love before we can get to this point.
And the more unconditionally loving we are, the more support we’ll receive on our path toward living a life in service to others.
That’s what I’ve chosen. If you want to know why I’m spiritual and why I seem different now, that’s why.
Because I always wanted to help people, but I couldn’t effectively when I was too busy with self-hate.
Because spirituality gave me the tools to love myself, to hold myself accountable when I’m ungrateful or when I’m out of integrity, to learn to face my shadows and overcome my fears. And it taught me unconditional love.
I’ve been humbled and I’ve been filled to the brim with pure joy. I’m in awe of the chance I get to live this life, I’m no longer afraid of the what if’s, the failures, the rock bottoms.
I’m living courageously, in the arena, sometimes lying on the ground covered in sweat and tears, sometimes making big mistakes I need to account for, sometimes standing triumphantly, and always in awe of this life I’ve been given.
Above all else, I value freedom.
Freedom to live our dreams, freedom to embody our passions, freedom to bring our purpose into the world, freedom to create our lives in alignment with our values.
The freedom of elevated consciousness that is rooted in integrity, kindness, and unconditional love.
This story is meant to be many things.
It’s an introduction to my spirituality.
It’s an explanation of my journey for those who knew me.
It’s an apology to my friends for not being honest about when my feelings were hurt and for holding onto resentment instead of talking it out. And most of you know this, because I’ve apologized to you already.
It’s a taking of ownership of the times I was ungrateful or self-righteous, instead of being so incredibly grateful for this incredible life.
It’s a statement of gratitude, thank you thank you thank you for this life I’ve been given. And thank you for allowing me to return and integrate all that I’ve learned on my journey.
And it’s an invitation to join me – my hugs are always available, my love is pouring out to you, and there is always a seat for you at my table and in my circle.