Archive | July 2011

Experiencing the Veil in Between

Increasingly over the past few months I’ve been experiencing something quite new to my slumber. In the moments between sleep and awake, whether it be at night or in the morning, I have been slowly connecting with another aspect to “my reality”.

Most recently (as of this morning) I had awakened at about 4am to find myself hot under the covers, but cold where I wasn’t covered. It was a weird place to be and didn’t afford me comfort in order to fall back to sleep. So, I decided to get up and check out my Facebook account. After finding nothing too interesting, I became a bit more sleepy so I decided to lay down on the couch for awhile. In doing so, I relaxed and drifted off a bit with my eyes shut, but not completely asleep. I knew that I was not asleep and where I was at, but at the same time I wasn’t awake either (and I knew that too). I began to “experience” other people and beings in the room with me. I knew that they also could see that I was sleeping, but not fully asleep and aware of them too – but not completely. It was a weird place to be, but it fascinated me. I have been hearing about those who can consciously direct their dream state, but this was different – I wasn’t dreaming either. As for the “beings” in the room with me. They were all very familiar, but I honestly could only identify one or two of them. I was not alarmed in any way and felt very comfortable.

As I was laying there, occasionally “they” would interact with me in some way. Maybe they would talk with me, or stand close or whatever and that interaction would become such an intense moment that I would awaken. I would open my eyes to see who was there, but nothing was in the room. So, I would close my eyes again and the same thing would happen, yet with a different being. This happened two or three times until the last time where, in addition to the beings in the room, I also could hear a buzzing sound in the near distance. It was not high pitched tone like a fly buzzing but rather a lower reverberating town that I could hear moving about the room – to and fro. This buzzing reverberation got closer and closer until at one point the sound came right by my ear and was very loud! It was so loud, it woke me again only to look around to see where the sound was coming from – but alas, nothing to be seen. I can’t describe fully what was making the sound, but I did see glimpses of a shiny silver grey body that had a tail and the wings where a shiny silver blue translucent color. I did not see the face or full body, but it seemed like a miniature human “type” body.

Some of my past experiences I’ve had while going to sleep at night have included feeling pressure on my legs – pushing down into the mattress; feeling a soft covering feeling like a big blanket had been tossed up and over the whole bed, falling softly over everything with the air rushing out from under it; moving my leg suddenly then feeling multiple small feet stumbling and running off my leg onto the bed, etc. These experience have never frightened me, but rather intrigued me and made me feel cared for, watched over.

I look forward to my next in-between time. I’m going to even try to stay there longer if I can.

Dwight Raatz

The First Time I Met a Rocket Scientist

I believe it was the summer of 2005 when I was working for a local point-of-sale (POS) software developer.  The company was very small and even though my title was Director of Customer Service, I also took care of shipping/receiving, software support, website updates, customer training among a number of other duties.  After almost 20 years in the IT industry, I saw this company as a shot at being on the ground floor of an up-and-coming business.  I was okay with making less because I didn’t have much of a commute and I felt that there was potential for personal and professional growth.  Well this happened, but not quite the way I expected it…

One of the “jobs” that I have always enjoyed in my years in IT, was going on-site with the client to do software support, installs or training.  This is an exciting time for the client as they have committed to a business change that is both challenging and exhilarating.  They have committed to starting a new process or change and existing one.  For businesses that have been around for many years, this can cause a lot of anxiety on the part of the employees who have an established work routine that serves them perfectly.  It could also mean changes in staffing by hiring new or possibly replacing skill-sets to match the new technology.  I have seen all of these variations and more over the years and while the premise for the change is similar, each implementation is unique because it involves people.  I have come to understand recently that it wasn’t the technology that fulfilled me, but it was the interaction with people that made me want to continue with my work.

On one of my trips I had to fly to Orlando, FL to install the POS hardware and software and then do all of the setup and training for the owner and staff.  I was there for three days in all and the funny thing is, is that I really don’t remember much about the software install.  The bits and pieces I do remember could fit into any number of installs I’ve done with the client giving me little or no direction nor them having any sort of organization to their inventory whatsoever.  I do remember that it was at least as challenging as any other install, but nothing out of the ordinary.

What I do remember happened “after hours” when I wasn’t working on the job.  I had finished for the day and I decided to go to a local cafe/bookstore to eat.  While I was there, I had finished eating and was sitting in one of their many couches and overstuffed chairs reading a magazine or maybe a book when I nice couple in their mid sixties sat down across from me.  For me, I’ve always been a bit of an introvert and didn’t do very well in talking with strangers, but this time I decided to go out on a limb and say hello.  The couple smiled and returned my greeting and then asked me how I was and what kind of work I did.  I explained that I was an “computer guy” here doing some contract work for a client.  What struck me most initially about this couple was their apparent age difference.  I’m not the best judge on age, but the gentlemen appeared to be 10 to 15 years older than the woman, but there was a certain natural connected nature about them that made the age difference invisible the longer I talked with them.

As our conversation continued, I came to know that the woman (Stephanie) ran her own commercial real-estate company in Orlando, the gentleman (Bill) was retired and that they had been married for many years.  She explained that she was having some issues with her software system and she wanted to know if I would be interested in taking a look at it while I was there.  I agreed to help her and was excited about this new adventure of meeting new people.  I had taken a chance to open myself up to others and it was really turning out well.  Meeting this couple was a very new experience for me because they were so very genuine.  I felt that they truly cared about me as an individual just based on talking with me for a few minutes.  I felt important and worthy for who I was.  We spent the evening talking and they even gave me a short walking tour around the area.  During my few days there, I was treated to dinner by this couple, I visited their home/office to review their software issue and in a very short time felt close to this mystery couple.  I was even invited to return to visit them and to bring my family too.  It felt very surreal to be there and I think it was because I chose not to be closed off to others.

When I was with this couple, I remember feeling very fortunate and blessed.  In retrospect I feel as if they were sent to me, just to help me understand that I was worthy of love and respect from everyone I meet.  But more importantly, I was worthy of my own love and respect.  I was reminded that I have accomplished many things in my life and that I should share myself with others because they want to know me too.  I had stepped outside of my fear and found a part of me that I really like.  It was the first time this had happened in many years and I am grateful for the reminder.

During my visit with this couple, I was very focused on solving the software issue for the Stephanie’s  business.  I was so focused that I didn’t spend time to chat with her husband Bill until toward the end of my visit.  When I first met Bill I was struck with how much he looked like a “hippy from the 60’s”.  He had long grey hair with a ponytail in the back and carried himself with a very relaxed, slow and easy gate.  I find it funny now to think about how appearances of people seem to automatically put them into a certain social-historical category.  I find it interesting and a bit disturbing that this happens, but it was what it was I guess.

In talking with Bill I knew he was retired, but I didn’t know from what so I asked him.  He then told me that he was a retired NASA rocket scientist!  I was blown away and even remember snickering to myself a little (especially with all the times I heard various tasks in life compared to rocket science).  I mean how often do you meet a rocket scientist?  He continued to tell me how he worked for NASA in the jet propulsion division  for over 30 years and had been one of many people to work on the ships that first went into space and even to the moon!  I was totally in awe of his stories and was yet again humbled to be with these people.

For some reason I have been thinking about Stephanie and Bill a lot lately.  I even took a chance today and sent an email to Bill telling him how much I appreciated him and his wife for the time they spent with me over 5 years ago.  He probably won’t remember me at all, but I remember them.  My time with them was short, but they affected me greatly throughout these many years.  It goes to show you how much of an affect you and I can have with everyone we meet.  We can show them kindness and genuine interest.  We can show them we care and even if we never see them again, it could positively impact their lives forever.

Dwight Raatz

Ironing the Dish Towels

A friend of my suggested that I write more about my own experiences with depression and anxiety in my life and how I’ve dealt with it.I’ve hesitated for quite some time to look back at this state of being mostly because, well, writing about depression can be… depressing.But I’ve decided that perhaps some of what I can share might help someone else step out of that space and move onto actually feeling in control.So, with that here it goes…

As I’ve said before, I am not a doctor of any kind and have no formal education around psychology or psychiatry.I am however, an expert witness of anxiety and depression from my own personal struggles and triumphs.I’m not going to be so bold as to tell you that what I’ve done will work for you.But what I do know is the fact that you are reading this and if you have struggles with anxiety and/or depression, you have come a long way to making a permanent change in your life for the better.If you know of someone who struggles from these issues, I hope that this can give you some ideas on what you can do to help them.Just remember – you do have the strength to last another day.

I’ve written at length before in my blog post “Understanding my Depression” about how anxiety and depression started in my life, so I’m not going to cover that here.What I’d like to talk about now is some revelations on not only how I combat it, but how I see other people deal with it (even if they don’t realize that’s what they are doing).

I see anxiety and depression (AD) now as being very similar to constipation.AD is a blockage in my system that creates a downward spiraling, self fulfilling outcome of more AD.Just as your bowels can be constipated in the lower/large intestine and can cause a backup in the rest of your system so it is with AD.The very first and most basic step in combating AD is to create movement in your life.Movement can include a variety of things like physical, environmental, sensory, etc.You need to take one step, then another and another.If you feel so overwhelmed with your circumstances and have a storm of immobilizingthoughts causing you to freeze, say to yourself, “Excuse me – I’m going to interrupt you right here.” and then take a walk.Change your environment in some way.Walk around your room to start with and be sure to look at every part of your room.Look at everything and think about each thing you see, identify it, remember where it came from and think about what you can do with it, then move onto the next item and the next.

The next most important thing to remember is to breath!This seems simple right?Well most people do not breath properly.You need to take deep cleansing breaths.Breath in through your nose way down into your belly.Breath until you can’t suck in another morsel of air and then hold it for a few seconds, then let the air out slowly through your mouth.Once all the air is out, hold that position for a few seconds before taking the next breath.Do this process at least three times slowly and you will feel a burst of energy and be very much more connected to your body.

Anxiety and depression (AD) is constipated energy in our body and we can remove this blockage by breathing and movement.I also consider these actions to be a distraction from what we are lamenting over at any given AD moment.It is this art of distraction that will set you on a path of moving out of the AD state.It has also been proven that by getting more exercise, we increase a naturally occurring chemical in our system called serotonin.Serotonin has been linked to helping many people with AD moods.

I’ve often wondered what people did in the “old days” before medication or even knowing what AD was in order to deal with these feelings.In watching people and some of the older generations, they seemed to deal with hard times by keeping themselves busy.This “busy action” is the distraction that would pass the time and also make them feel good about accomplishing something worthwhile.I would often shake my head as I watched my mom ironing the dish towels, underwear and bed sheets wondering why did she do this?I know that culturally this was sometimes an expectation of the dutiful wife, but I also think it became a sort of mundane task therapy.It was a way to have time to herself and to be distracted from some of the stresses of life.

The real lesson here is give the mind something different to focus on rather than whatever issue caused you to slip into that state of anxious uncontrollability.This movement is a rhythm that brings you into a state of harmonics with the universe around you.This brings peace and creates a space for you to untangle webs that clog your mind.

Dwight Raatz

The Illusion and the Puppet Master

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about people’s perceptions of each other and basically any communication they receive in any form. This goes along with what I wrote in my last blog post, “Intentions, Perceptions & Truth” and it is so fascinating. It’s part of why I haven’t written in a long time. I’ve been spending a lot of time not only observing how other people communicate and their perceptions, but I have also been seeing how I perceive and react to communications as well. I believe this whole perception thing is the primary domain of our ego mind twisting and turning information as it comes in. The ego is comparing the info to its known database of experiences and then making sure that the whatever recommended action it gives is in line with a fear based response steeped in self preservation. I believe my perception of reality (via my ego mind) has taken the primary role in my life of anxiety and depression.

Some of you might be familiar with what I call the “monkey mind effect” where the mind chatter you hear can be overwhelming. My monkey mind (I call mine Virgil) had free reign for most of my life. Virgil would see a situation that has happened or might potentially happen to me and then start in with a multitude of possible outcomes (none of which are good). These generated outcomes would then cause me to have one or more reactions like: being emotionally paralyzed, self beratement, reclusion, anger, weight gain, constipation, body aches, or any number of things that are not supportive in me in any way. This perception that Virgil had was taken as the complete truth in every way and at the time, my created reality supported this. My life literally became the outcomes created by my ego mind, which became the “truth feedback loop” proving that my ego was right. My fear based reality would then become a self fulfilling prophecy and continue to perpetuate itself. In my studies, I now realize how incredibly powerful I am as a being and that I’ve been giving Virgil (my ego) the lion’s share of this power.

I was watching a movie last night called “The Nines” where there are three stories being told utilizing the same characters but slightly different story lines. The most interesting part of the story is the ending (nope not going to spoil it), but the second most interesting thing was how the main character was reacting to the people and situations around him. How he felt in control at times but more and more he had the sense of being out of control and confused because of that. What was once a very easy existence was becoming increasingly difficult and he didn’t know why. The answer all along was that he was “asleep” in this false reality that he created and he didn’t even realize that he was the one who created it in the first place but he was trying to awaken from it. While I understand that I have control over my life and even get the concepts of manifestation through thoughts, watching this movie somehow made something click inside me to really know that I do have more control than I give myself credit. This gave me a new perspective and changed my paradigm of life forever. It also gave me an overwhelming sense of peace and self control I haven’t known for a long time.

I think it’s so interesting that I can know something logically for a long time, but I don’t “get it” energetically or truly know it until the time is right for me to know. Many concepts over time have come to me that are not new, but it still surprises me how much sense they make once that time of knowing is upon me. This “time of knowing” is really a state of awareness that we achieve at various stages of our lives. Sometimes the awareness comes easily without much effort and other times it arrives after we have experienced a particular situation. One way of looking at this is highlighted in a TED talk “Different Ways of Knowing” by Daniel Tammet. Daniel Tammet has linguistic, numerical and visual synesthesia — meaning that his perception of words, numbers and colors are woven together into a new way of perceiving and understanding the world.

As I look at how I perceive life through my personal filter(s) I see the illusion of my own reality. I see how I carefully create the construct of my life in every moment based on my experiences. I then run those experiences through my reality building engine guided and directed by my ego or what I would call the “Puppet Master”. My observer self (not the ego) has seen the puppet master or “man behind the curtain” as having no real power at all and is slowly taking more control of the outcomes of my life. This awareness is a form of enlightenment that allows me to see the illusion for what it really is and that it truly has no control over me.

Dwight Raatz