So, over the weekend, I went to one of Teal Swan’s synchronization workshops in Orlando. It was my first time going to see her and it was a really awesome experience. If you get the chance, I highly recommend it.
In the past, I’ve had a bit of a resistance to New Age spirituality or anything too much on the metaphysical side. So, when I first saw her videos about two years ago, I had a strong attraction/aversion reaction. But I pushed through it and continued watching her videos (albeit with the lights out and the blinds shut. J/K), which mostly offer psychological and spiritual help through the metaphysical lens. It was SOOO helpful for me, that I truly credit her work for helping me get through one of toughest times in my life. I probably wouldn’t even be in a place to be bettering myself and making blogs and videos without the clarity that her videos have given me. She really helped me pick myself out of some deep psychological traps that I had been caught up in for years, due to a lack of deep understanding.
Despite this, to say that I don’t still have a lot of fear relative to New Age spirituality would be untrue. So, if I look at that under a microscope, what do I find? Am I actually averse to New Age spirituality itself… No. I’m afraid of the social stigma associated with being seen as ‘Woo Woo’ or gullible. The truth of the matter is that I really love the idea that there is more to this reality than what it appears at face value. I’ve always, since childhood, had an attraction to anything magical. It is only my social persona that I’m watching out for. I also have Out of Body Experiences, that I try to stay open minded and closed mouthed about in daily life.
So, when I met with Teal Swan in person after the workshop, I asked her a question about an Out of Body Experience that I had had with her in it about two months prior that I wrote about in an earlier blog. (It's my blog from January 18th if you want to check it out.) I asked her if it was really her that I was seeing or simply a thought projection that I internally projected upon my experience. She said that it was indeed her, and that we had met Out of Body about 25 times prior over the course of the past two years. She said that I had come here for a similar purpose to why she came here: to be a spiritual teacher. So, I felt intensely happy to be validated in that way, but then immediately deflated because I didn’t want to feel gullible and I certainly didn’t want other people to think that of ME. It’s all ego. My egoic fear sapped me of my joy once again. It’s a huge problem.
I like to pay a lot of lip service to being radically open minded, but I have a lot of issues with this when it comes to my reputation. I like to be able to think that I can hold space for contradictory opinions or different viewpoints on reality without clinging to beliefs in either direction. My policy is to neither believe nor disbelieve something, if I don’t have a firsthand experience of it in the present moment. But my ego gets in the way of this, and always wants me to fit and acquiesce to the social situation at hand, nullifying my unique perspective and connection to my wisdom. It’s hard to shake free of this tendency to try to sell myself to others.
So, the next day, I went to one of the local parks in Orlando to meet up with the volunteers who worked at the event as well as a few other attendees at the workshop. I was pleasantly surprised to see Teal there too. And I spent about two hours with her and about 15 other people... (and got a pretty gnarly sunburn on my arms). Everyone there was really nice and open minded. Normally, I feel that I have to keep myself to myself to fit in, but there was no such issue here.
But then a conversation came up where I was the odd man out: vaccines. I got both of my kids vaccinated. But it didn’t feel good given my older sister’s allergic reaction to the Pertussis in the DTP shot back in 1974. She had petite mal seizures which left her with many developmental delays. In many ways she has the personality and interests of an 8 year old and she has to live with my mother to this day.
So, I did a lot of research on vaccines from the establishment and from those against the establishment. Both explanations made sense to me logically and rationally. Ultimately, I decided that not getting them vaccinated would feel even worse to me. I’d rather my children risk being mentally challenged than risk them being sick with a fatal disease. My sister is at least happy. If I could have chosen to both vaccinate and not vaccinate at the same time, I would have. But of course, this isn’t possible. A decision had to be made. So, I decided to do all the vaccines except the Pertussis. This always to me felt like a game of Russian Roulette during that time. Both options felt like a huge risk, with my kids’ futures at stake. Plus, some of the nurses at the Health Department and at my regular doctor's office got super judgmental and invalidating, which was very painful to me. They were denying that my sisters seizures were caused by the vaccines, which is just untrue. They happened directly after the vaccines and it even says on the American Academy of Pediatrics website that this is a rare but possible side effect. But I digress...
Now, Teal Swan is a huge opponent of vaccines, and I was fangirling out so I wanted her to like me. I didn’t want to make a bad impression. So, I was tempted to do the same type of social survival that I would normally engage in with the more mainstream social group. I was tempted to keep myself to myself. But given Teal’s ideology on authenticity I decided to be honest, and ask a question to Teal that had been on my mind before many times in the past and to use the vaccine topic as an example and springboard for that.
I told her that I decided to vaccinate, but wanted to know how to discern between two binary options when both sides seem wrong to you emotionally but both sides seem right to you rationally. I would either have to exercise faith in the medical establishment or exercise faith in the anti-establishment. Neither of which do I have much faith in… I’m a bit of an iconoclast in that way. Both would certainly be biased by their own ideologies. So, it’s always going to be basing a decision on second-hand information. She recommended to me relative to vaccines to get the vaccines myself prior to giving my kids the vaccines, so that I could experience my personal physiological reactions to them. Then make my decision from there. I found this to be sound advice, although my kids have already gotten almost all of their vaccines that they will ever have to get. I don’t plan on having any more kids, but if I do, I’ll definitely consider this as an option.
But later she gave me the answer to let go of fear relative to the issue, whether it be vaccines or any other issues where I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. Essentially, both options for me involved huge amounts of fear… especially with my sister’s reaction. So, I think that for me, this has been a major issue throughout the course of my life. Fear is always in the background for me, subtly lurking there and blocking me off from my innate wisdom. It is the only thing that keeps me back from happiness, joy, love, and all the other positive emotions. It is the thing that makes me deny what is most natural to me and what really feels authentic to me. It’s like all the best food and drink is ruined by a subtle nasty after-taste that won’t go away.
The only time I ever got clarity was during my two ego-transcendence experiences where there was no separate me to actually protect. So, there was no fear and wisdom naturally came to me. There was no such thing as an unwise decision. I would imagine that I’d know which option truly felt right to me, if I could just get that clarity and drop away my fear. I’m sure that I would embrace whatever was of interest to me too, and I would never worry about what others would think because there really isn’t any value in that in the first place.