I Am Not Important

The More

I was born in 1965 in a small town in southeastern North Dakota.  My family and I lived on a small farm where my father was a second generation farmer on the land my grandfather had homesteaded in the early 1900’s.  My father had taken over the family farm about the time I was born.  He diversified his efforts at making a living by milking cows, raising beef cattle, pigs and chickens.  We also farmed several sections of land where we raised a variety of grain crops.  For me, my childhood experiences were by many standards, unremarkable.  I am the youngest of 5 children. I can never remember feeling like we were poor or rich.  I always felt safe, cared for, and I really can’t think of a time that I needed anything.  I will admit that being the youngest child, with my next oldest sibling being about 5 years older than me, I did tend to get more things from my parents than my siblings.  I don’t really know if it was because my parents had more disposable income as I grew up, or if they somehow felt differently about buying things at that time.  I don’t remember being a needy or a complaining child in any way either.  Life just seemed to go on and on and I was mainly an observer of it.  I can’t really recall interacting with my siblings or my parents in any great depth, other than working on the farm or at the evening meals.  With the age difference from my four siblings (each of them being about a year apart in age), I tended to spend most of my time alone from what I remember.  I was often wrapped up in listening to music, reading the encyclopedia, or later on, playing with any sort of electronics I could get my hands on.  Other than the occasional teasing from my one brother, I didn’t experience any real trauma as a child.  Or at least that’s what I thought anyway.

 

In one way or another, I believe that we all are searching for some sort of peace for our lives.  From my observations, some of us have similar struggles, but at times, very different perspectives on our struggles or even how to resolve them.  When I think about the various ways people experience trauma, it really has a broad spectrum.  Depending on how you look at life or your belief systems, trauma can even begin pre-conception.  Most certainly it can be agreed that trauma can begin in the womb with exposure to various drugs, physical abuse, or even environmental factors. I believe that even the feelings and emotions of the mom and dad toward being pregnant can cause trauma to the child before they are born.  Then moving forward, you have the actual birth itself being the first standard trauma that everyone has (no matter how well the pregnancy and birth went).  If you can imagine spending 9 months being completely carefree and supported in every way, then suddenly forced into the world to deal with gravity, breathing, hunger, bowl movements, you name it.  Heck, that’s pretty traumatic right?

 

No matter what your traumatic experiences have been, they play a part in how your life is shaped, the person you become, and how you view the world.  Some of us have very good support systems and/or families that are highly aware and conscious of their bodies and emotions.  This can help you to grow up more balanced and you naturally have various ways to release the tensions of trauma through physical activity, deep conversations, and overall support from those you love.  This however is not so common from observations of my little corner of the world. So what do the rest of us need to do when we experience trauma?  Well, some will stuff the feelings, some will act out in various ways including anger, depression, anxiety, self mutilation, danger seeking, drugs, over-working and various other destructive methods.  Then there are others who have tried more “positive” avenues like therapy, psychics, energy healing, meditation, religion, athletics, etc.  It seems to me that most, but not all, methods tend to start with the mind when trying to find peace.  The mind is indeed an important place to focus the healing practice, but only when you approach that healing from a positive perspective, that is focused on releasing tension in both the mind and body.

 

It’s very interesting to think about all of the classes I’ve taken and methods of “connection” or rituals I was shown.  While many of them are important and relevant, I could never really understand why they had to be so complicated (e.g. having to speak a mantra in a particular way, moving your body in a particular manner, vocalizing in a particular tone, etc).  I believe that there is purpose to these methods and they can even be valid depending on where you are at in your journey.  I kept going back to my childhood, sitting in church and thinking, why does this all have to seem so complicated and wrought with possible ways to fail?  I just could not believe that an “all-knowing” being that created us from dust, would even have a need for us to do anything complicated let alone be worshipped.

 

Like many, I’ve done a lot of the abovenegative andpositive methods for finding peace for my mind.  As I look back at many of these methods, the focus seemed to be outside of my body and mind, as if the solution was “out there” somewhere.  I can remember going to several psychics searching for one of them that could just reach inside my mind and flip the proverbial switch to allow peace in and the rest to go.  I even got to the point where I saw so many different psychics, I would consider myself a junkie.  As I spent a lot of time and money, I realized I was getting more and more angry that “they” weren’t fixing me. I realized that I was looking for the solution outside of myself.  After about 10 years of trying many avenues, I finally began to see that the solutions have always been inside of me.  I know this is not news really, as I’ve heard that kind of thing for years, but I never really believed it.  This was until I was introduced to a method of healing that is based on a very basic human function, breathing.

 

When I was introduced to Rebirthing Breathwork, I initially thought it was just another fad that sounded interesting.  However, on the very first session, I experienced an unexpected shift and release out of a seeming nowhere. At this point I knew I was hooked and I needed to know more, so I signed up for a year long training course to become a certified breathwork practitioner.  It’s been about three years since first learning the technique and I’ve been through many sessions myself and I’ve coach many people in their own sessions.  As time went on and life happened, I got distracted and stopped for several months from doing any sort of healing practices on myself and others.  Then I got an invitation from my teacher to attend a workshop called “Loving Relationships” with Sondra and Markus Ray.   This workshop was focused on improving all of our relationships, but more specifically our intimate personal ones.

 

One of the first exercises we went through at the workshop was to do sentence completion related to the negative thoughts that run through my mind.  The idea was to determine our personal primary negative belief that we have underlying our thoughts.  I started out with, “I’m not enough”, then, “I overthink and worry”, then, “I am a fake”, then, “I’m not important to anyone”, then, “I’m not important enough to be loved.”.  As I looked at what I had written it struck me that my primary negative belief is, “I am not important”.  This really resonated with me as I could see it was at the very heart of many symptoms I’ve experienced over the years.

 

When I was very young, probably under the age of 20, I don’t know if I ever thought much about feeling important to anyone or not.  When I look back and try to remember how things were during that time, I recall being connected to a very small group of friends more so than being connected to my family.  My friends seemed to fulfill that part of my life that wanted to be acknowledged and valued.  They would seek me out to do things.  They went out of their way to listen to me, try to understand and to relate to me their own stories.  It wasn’t until I went to college and afterwards when got my first career job that I started to notice how very disconnected I felt from my family.  When they would ask me how my life was going, I would tell them about my job or what I’m learning and I felt that they would just stop listening.  Sometimes they would say something like, “I just don’t understand [insert whatever topic I was presenting].”  I found that the harder I tried to explain my life, my career, my spiritual growth, or my thoughts, they would become more and more disconnected.  Finally it got to the point that I just stopped trying.  I just gave them what they wanted to hear, which usually meant saying something like, “Oh yes, I’m very busy at my job.  Lot’s of projects to work on.”, and that was it.  This was very common in all my interactions.  I became very skilled at giving a short answer and then turning the conversation around to focus on them.

 

Things seemed to progress over the years where I would start to attribute people not acknowledging me in one way or another, as me not being important.  This belief infiltrated my relationships with my wife and kids, my employer, my social friends, you name it.  I got to the point that I felt numb to even wanting to feel connected to anyone, or to allow love to be given or received.  It was easier and safer to protect myself than to be hurt by allowing someone into my heart.  So it went on like this for over 30+ years.  I was living my life, but in a very closed way.  I was quick to have anger, which I directed inward.  I had cycles of good days followed by many fraught with anxiety and depression.  I worked hard at keeping all of this bottled up inside of me.  I tried desperately to “protect” my wife and kids from all of this, but they suffered from the side effects despite my best intentions.

 

All of my thoughts around not being acknowledged, respected, smart, good enough, you name it; all came down to feeling or thinking that I am not important; not to life, family, friends, employers, or neighbors. If I were to cease to exist in this very moment, the overall rhythm of life would only experience a very small, mostly unnoticeable bump in the road.  This feeling was pervasive in my life making me feel very lonely, depressed and angry.  After the weekend workshop I made a promise to myself that I would start again with my own healing practices and I made an appointment with my coach the following week for a breathwork session.

 

When I went into my Breathwork session with Deanna (my coach), I really didn’t know what I was going to focus on. We started out by talking for at least an hour about what I was dealing with lately, I talked about my desire to be heard by others, feelings of being disrespected, and having no path for the future. Since I didn’t feel at the time that I had anything specific to breathe on, I decided to choose my primary negative belief (or primary personal lie), as this seemed like as good as anything else.

 

The breathing was done the same way we had at the retreat I attended. My mouth was more open, and with a relaxed jaw and with a fuller breath.  I began to breath in the specific cyclical pattern for Rebirthing Breathwork, having no pause at the bottom or top of the breath.  This makes your breathing a bit faster than normal.  My breathing seemed unremarkable as my mind flitted from one topic to another. As I saw each thought come up in my mind, I would just release it using the rhythm of the breath. This process went on for some time until I could feel “the flip” happen.  The “flip” is that moment where you move from consciously breathing, to a more automatic rhythm and your body takes over breathing.  My breathing became faster yet and my body started to cramp a bit, and my jaw and hands got stiff, which is normal in this process. Deanna was there to keep me on track, telling me to relax my jaw and open my mouth more, and to breathe through the cramping. I’ve definitely been in worse shape for cramping when I first did this technique, but I’ve since learned to recognize and release that tension.

 

At some point I relaxed more and I could feel my whole body, or what felt like an energetic representation of my body, began to rise up off/out from my physical body.  The sensation was similar to a heavy vibration that encompassed my whole body.  As the vibration lifted, I could feel my physical body become more still and relaxed.  Somehow I knew I needed to release this “representation” of myself, so I really amped up my breathing even more.

 

At times I became distracted by visions or dreams and my breathing would slow down. When this happened, the energetic “self” started to descend back into me. Deanna would coach me to focus and get on track again which would push the energy further and further out. Finally I felt that the release or separation was far enough away that it could no longer come back unless I willed it to. In those final moments my breath pushed it far enough away and I could feel it disconnect and vanish!

 

As I came out of a sort of trance I was in, we began to talk about the experience I had where I described each detail as I’ve written here. Deanna shared with me how she also could sense the release I was describing. Now that I’m writing this and processing more, I now know that the release was a sort of shield or armor. I had no idea what it was at the time, I just knew it needed to go.

 

At this point I felt like I was done and the session felt complete as I was relaxing on the table. Deanna was telling me how I had done well. Then, what felt like words from another source or dimension , Deanna said, “You are so important Dwight.” At this moment time stopped, and I could feel this transfer or a gift of love energy enter into my body and spirit. I felt shocked and very surprised by the feeling. It was like something I’d never felt or experienced before. I can only describe it as being very thirsty and you take that first mouthful of cool water and you feel it wash over your throat, chest and finally your whole body. In that moment, my breath caught in my throat and I felt a sense of laughter or joy that came out of me. It was just a moment, because directly afterward came a huge cascading feeling of a perfect mix of pure joy and sorrow flooding my whole body.  In those few moments, I felt like for the first time I had allowed myself to feel love, to feel my amazing importance, and it was so powerful I didn’t know what to do with it.  I was sad that I’ve been without this miracle in my life. I could feel the pain and sorrow releasing and joy receiving. The sorrow was from knowing that I’d starved myself from feeling love. My body and spirit were, what I can only describe as, being released from a concentration camp, a starved, emaciated skeleton of a person walking out of the wire gates of the prison. This flood of emotions manifested in my body by letting loose with sobbing, short breaths and a sense of fear of the letting go. My voice came with the sobs in short bursts as I fought the release, but Deanna coached me to let go and breathe!  At that moment I had to decide.  Was I going to trust that I was safe by letting go?  Was Deanna safe to do this with?  What would happen to me if I let go? Would I be able to come back or would I be lost in the emotion of this?  In that split second of thought, I decided it no longer served me to keep holding on.  I needed desperately to grow and to release the pain, and this was the moment.  I trusted Deanna and I trusted this process.  The breathing allowed me to let go of the last blocks, and to even sob harder than I can ever remember before in my life. I had no idea that all of this wastrapped inside of me.

 

As the exchange of released emotion and the taking in of love happened, I simply surrendered to it all. Deanna coached me along and I remember having my left hand over my eyes and forehead. I could feel the tears and sweat all over my face. My right hand was on my heart and I could feel Deanna’s hands on me. I reached for her hand and held on, feeling the connection to Earth and to humanity through her. I could hear her repeating the phrase, “You are so important Dwight.”, over and over in low soft tones. I remember my breath flowing and all of the tightness in my chest releasing more and more. It’s so very hard to explain in words the release of the pain and emotions.  It’s hard to describe the thirst I felt for allowing myself to feel love.  It’s hard allow myself to feel this vulnerable with anyone.  What would they think of me now after seeing me completely lose it?  Would I appear to be weak, not a man, not more in control of my life?  I believe many of us feel this way when faced with letting go of emotions and the possibility of being embarrassed or even ridiculed for doing just that.

 

I began to calm and felt the wave ending. I relaxed and wiped my face and blew my nose. As I laid there, I felt an amazing peace in and around me. We talked a bit and about the experience and I tried to express what I felt, but mostly I was quiet. Then Deanna started to say the mantra again and again, “You are so important Dwight.”, in continued low and soft tones. Thinking that I was done with the session was silly because the whole thing just cut loose again! I could feel that there was more that needed to be released and my body knew it, and apparently so did Deanna. This cycle was shorter but even more intense than before. For the first time in my life, I can actually say that I not only sobbed, but I wailed with sorrow and joy. I used my voice to transmute that feeling and energy. This final wave subsided after a time andI was finally done. I lay there completely spent.

 

It’s very hard to describe my session in words. The big releases that I had were nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. I know that I’ve never in my life allowed myself to be so raw, to be so vulnerable to the feelings I was having in those moments.  I only know that this was a life changing moment for me.  I had made a big step toward my own personal freedom.  I’d allowed myself to feel love and know that I needed and wanted this to be more prevalent in my life.  This is a huge thing for me because I’ve found the concept of love to be somewhat of a mystery. It’s not a that I didn’t understand it at all, I just never really “felt” love to any huge degree from what I remember. I knew enough of love, to realize that I was missing something.

 

In the moments and minutes that followed, I did some more processing with Deanna, drank water and talked. I found it difficult to move my body.  I felt like I was trying to force my very essence back into my physical body.  It was hard to coordinate my muscles to even move me out of the room and the building out to my car. Since I’d had some experience with doing this in the past, I knew I needed to be extra careful as I drove home. Breathwork like other types of healing practices can cause you to be in an altered state and even feel as though you are “out of body” at times. It’s important to spend time re-integrating, and a good way to do this is by drinking water and eating a small amount of food. Dark chocolate is one of the recommended foods to eat, but anything that is organic and unprocessed.

 

I know this is not the end. I know there is more, but for now I’m in a really good place. I feel blessed and loved. I’m ready now to move forward into the days to come full of love!

 

– Dwight Jon Raatz, 10/11/2017

 

(Edited 11/21/2017)

Submit

The More

Have you ever committed to something and the moment you do, things begin to change?  For me, I can reason and think about actions I might want to take, but nothing much changes until I submit and commit.  By submit, I mean that you take an action or step that commits you toward the goal or destination you have decided to attain.  This action is something that you can’t easily change your mind after submitting.  In my case, I recently went on a trip that involved quite a few things outside of my comfort zone because it was out of the United States and involved traveling to a retreat in the middle of the Amazon jungle with no connection to the outside world.

As I was on the retreat center’s web site and I filled out the payment forms, the moment I clicked the submit button to send my payment, I could feel things change and shift.  This was even compounded more when I booked the hotels and flights.  There was no changing my mind, no going back.  I committed to the journey and the Universe started to manifest my wishes.  I felt different immediately, lighter, more free, nervous, excited, focused.  Debate or worry about going on the trip ceased and a new perspective started.  I only had to decide what I wanted and it began to form immediately.  This has me wondering about all of the other things in my life that I’ve “thought” about, worried about, not decided.  I think about all the time and energy that I wasted in the space of indecision and worry that came to nothing in the end.  I can see how it’s better to make a dozen different decisions than to worry and think about one decision that takes forever to decide (if at all).  Deciding is an action that sets in motion a whole myriad of other actions and releases a flood of energy that is fully dedicated to making what you decided come to life.  If after making the decision you see that it isn’t working, then you decide something different and again set in motion more actions and energy.  The first decision loses it power and dissipates into the void (or some might say that the first decision continues on to create an alternate reality) and the new decision begins to take form.  It’s the indecision that blocks energy which can cause anxiety, high blood pressure, constipation, and other forms of dis-ease.

Submit to me also means to release.  Once you have “filled out the forms and clicked submit”, you have decided to do something and then released that decision out to the Universe to become manifest.  In my act of submitting to the retreat journey, I sent out to several organizations my intent to act and it was up to them to fulfill my intent.  At that point all I needed to do was show up!  Yes, that’s right; you can do the act of deciding and acting on that decision, but it really takes many subsequent actions to fulfill the intent for my part of the agreement.  Each subsequent decision and act continues to build a momentum of energy that culminates once you’ve reached your goal or destination.  Then the energy can resolve and complete to satisfaction, self-assurance, joy and even love.

If you’re feeling the anxiety and pressures of life holding you in place, the best thing to do is start making decisions and lots of them!

Dwight Raatz

The Darkness

I’ve been to that place of darkness. I’ve been lost there many times and felt the despair and utter feeling of hopelessness. I wandered the darkness with nothing to hold on to. No sense of direction or purpose. The only thing that kept me moving was not wanting to add more to the pain by hurting you.

The only thing that saved me from being lost to this life forever was the love beacon that stood by me and followed me everywhere. Why did it care so much, why couldn’t it just leave me alone to disappear. I am tired of fighting, weary of the struggle to breath and listening to my heart laboring. I wanted the pain to stop. I know that it’s selfish, but it is about the survival of my soul from hell.

This physical body of mine, this imbalance in my mind causing the living hell I was in. It was about survival and freedom from the torture. My soul yearned for the light. The darkness of my mind was the shackles of hell that bound me, torturing my soul. The only freedom seemed to be death of this physical form.

It’s not about you. There is nothing you’ve done and there is nothing you can do but wait and be patient. Send love to me, send energy, send me a detour route showing me away to the light without leaving you. If I find a way out and death is the answer, it’s not about you. It’s not about your failure or what you should have seen or done. I only wish I could have spared you the pain of my actions. But I know you are stronger than I. I know you will go on and live even in sorrow. I know you will find love and support to move on with your life. If I find a way out, it’s to be free of the hell of my mind. It’s to give life back to my soul. It is who I truly belong to and we will be together again.

I’ve been to that place of darkness, but I have found a way out in this lifetime, for now. I know I need to share my journey, but I dare not peer back into that place too long. I fear it will swallow me back up and I will be lost again. I dare not, even though I must. I must for you. You are why I’m still here.

Dwight Raatz

A Starting Point

I thought it was a great idea to have a “Make an Offer” garage sale.I mean whenever you have a garage sale, people will normally look at whatever you’ve priced your item and then make you an offer for a lower amount.So, I thought why not just skip the pricing step and just go to hearing what they would offer.Besides, it’s way easier not to have to price every stinking item in the pile right?

Well the “Make an Offer” sale didn’t work out too well.People would pick-up the ceramic coffee mug, turn it over a couple times and then ask, “What do you need for this cup?”I’d respond with, “Well make me an offer.”Then they would shake their head and say something like, “Oh I don’t like these kind of sales.”So, then I would end up saying, “How about a quarter?”They would then usually nod and say okay.And so it went on like this until I would just tell them a price right off.The upside is that they usually agreed immediately.I found it interesting that very few people would actually haggle on the price.Come on people, you need to haggle.

So what does this have to do with anything?Well, I was thinking about how the sale customers didn’t know what to offer unless they had a starting point.I suppose that some of it might have been that the people didn’t want to offer too little and offend me or it is a cultural thing.Moreover I think that most people need to have a point of reference to be able to function in most areas of their lives.For example, when you drive on a newly paved road that hasn’t been painted with stripes, you have a general idea of where to drive; but when it is painted it feels much safer and you feel more at ease when driving. You have a point of reference or boundaries which makes your decision making “engine” kick in and move you through the situation.

I was thinking about how when I’ve been faced with a mountain of work tasks to complete and feeling a bit frozen and overwhelmed with what to do.If you are in an employment situation your boss will (sometimes) give you the starting point or priority task so you know what to do first and then what is next.If you are self-employed, this isn’t so easy because you (as the business owner) have to prioritize and self-motivate to move through the tasks in an order you think will work best.This starting point is what makes the cascade of decisions fire and for you to take action.So, if you walk into a garage sale where there is a huge variety of items with no prices, it actually makes it harder to decide to buy something and you may just leave with nothing.

When I look at the various decisions I’ve been faced with in my life and I focus in on the hard decisions, I think most of the reason they were hard is because I didn’t have a point of reference, guidelines or a starting point (I was on my own completely).When I compare this to the flow of energy in the Universe around me, this decision point (where nothing is actually decided yet) is an energy blockage or the proverbial finger in the dam holding back a flood of possible outcomes.I can feel the tension of these decisions build the longer I procrastinate and then once I decide (for good or bad) the tension releases and the flow continues to its natural outcome.The problem comes in (for me) after the decision when I start to regret the decision or berate myself for making a bad one.This once again becomes a blockage of energy or natural flow.I’ve found recently that no matter the initial outcome, it’s the longer term result that you want to wait for because the flow of the Divine Universe will take you to the best possible outcome that your intention desires.It’s important to not focus on the initial decision, but rather your goal and the flow will guide you there every time.Along the way, you need to be open to the possibilities and opportunities presented to you and to embrace their meanings and gifts.Be aware of the Universe speaking to you from all sides (people, nature, words, song snippets, wildlife, bumper stickers, billboards, etc).The things that catch your attention are there on purpose, but it’s up to you to relate their meaning to what is happening to you in your life at that time.You must see the perfection of its synchronicity and patterns over time and seek help with its interpretation if necessary.

Step into the flow and float with the waters of the universal energy.You will find that you may get exactly what you desire, just around the next bend in the river.

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

Denial and Manifesting Your Future

For myself (and for some clients I’ve worked with), I have oftentimes busied myself with my life as a way of pushing away depression and anxiety issues that have come up. Issues could involve broken relationships with friends, family, lovers; traumatic life experiences, etc. For awhile this kind of methodology works and has even been recommended by my parents, mentors and teachers. While they don’t specifically say that you can deal with the issue by pushing it away and bury it in a busy schedule, ultimately that is what is being done.

If you deny that something specific has happened in your life, like an emotional trauma, and you think that by denying it, it will not be real and go away – you will fail. It will always come back to you and demand resolution. This “demand for resolution” could come about by anxiety, depression, sickness or disease, and any number of things. Just like when the body is registering pain when you burn or cut your skin as way of telling you to pay attention – there is something wrong here; depression and anxiety are ways of telling you that there is unresolved “pain” here. The problem, of course, is being able to recognize this for yourself.

As I’ve written in earlier entries, awareness of your anxiety and depression is the first step. Being able to feel the onset of these things is a critical part of healing them. Once you have done this, you are on the road to mastering this part of you. Yes, this “condition” is a part of you and the sooner you accept this, the faster you will be able to give it the proper attention needed. Oftentimes I think people see anxiety as a leech attach to their body, a separate invader of sorts that needs to be cut away and destroyed. What it really is, is your mind and body telling you that there is something wrong that needs to be healed.

Think of your anxiety as a very young child afraid of the dark. This young child may have read a scary book, watched a scary movie or been told a story by their older sibling of the “boogie man” living in their closet or under their bed. This child only has the perspective that these things are real and out there to “get them”. The child is looking for someone to assure them that they are safe, loved and to expose the stories for what they really are, an illusion. You need to be that person who loves your young child and teaches it the truth known from your life experiences.

As part of my search to resolve my anxiety I have tried many things. I’ve had tremendous success with NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) in sessions with practitioners trained to use this. From what I’ve experienced, I am asked to identify myself at the age when the “issue” happened and then using visualization, I actually verbally counsel …my own self (like a mentor mentee) as the “adult” that is wiser about my life. Knowing more about the truth of what happened with understanding, forgiveness and love. NLP has made a huge change in my anxiety to the point where it barely surfaces anymore, and when it does it is manageable and easily resolved. I also do a lot of energy work now with clients and this has also provided a huge shift in my awareness and love for myself.

If you are focusing on manifesting your future to have less or no anxiety or depression, you can only do this by continuing to search for the resolution. It cannot be achieved by denying that it exists.

Dwight Raatz

Accepting My Anxiety

I recently recorded a voice note to myself that was about how I’m coming to realize how I’ve “overcome” my anxiety.  I spent so many years trying to “get rid of it” or push it away or deny it.  What I’ve finally realized is that the anxiety was ME.  It was a part of me that I was trying to remove or feel ashamed of.  I was denying myself and this is why it would never stay away very long.  It kept coming back to tell me, “I am afraid, I don’t know what to do, I’m lonely, help me”.  This awareness of it being me was the turning point for me.  Through a couple different sessions with others (I think they used NLP as a tool, but I’m not sure), I was able to identify two critical points of time in my life and recognize the fear and shame I had for myself as a young boy and later as a young man.  My “current self” became the counselor to my younger self.  The main ingredients to the resolution of this fear is LOVE, Awareness and Forgiveness.  I gave these gifts to my younger selves and that was the final straw that made my house of fear and anxiety come crashing down.  It’s now up to me to continue to recognize these events as they happen and to know that I am a good person and lovable.

Dwight Raatz

The Greener Grass

Part of my struggles with anxiety and depression stems from the feeling that I’m a victim of my environment or “someone else”.  I often think during one of my “thought battles” that I wouldn’t be this way if only “someone” would truly understand what’s happening and could give me the magic antidote to make it all go away.  If only I had a better paying job, if only I could get my business off the ground, if only clients would see the value of my services and flock to my door, if only “that person” would have told me the whole truth, I wouldn’t be in this situation, if only… if only I could get to the greener grass.  Being the victim is certainly a safe place to be.  This absolves me of all responsibility to own how I am reacting to the challenges before me.  It’s not my fault for feeling this way… or is it?

I find myself challenged with a situation or possibly something someone has said to me in an off-hand comment, and that’s all my ego needs to dig in and drag me into the personal hell that is custom built for me.  Mind you, I don’t go down kicking and screaming.  Nope, I go quite willingly and along the way I’m doing whatever I can to please my ego, to make sure it finds favor in me.  After all, my ego is my best friend right?  It knows all the horrible things that people have done to me over the years.  It knows exactly how to console me and give me all the empathy I want.  Ego understands how to support me and give me a safe place to curl up and be protected from all the evil in the outside world.  Why would I ever want to leave this place?  Well there is something missing here, but I’m not sure what it is yet.  I am tired of feeling the way I am and ego has told me that if I just sink lower into my hell, I won’t FEEL anything anymore.  Isn’t that what you really want?  You want it to all be over – to end.  But yet… what is it that I feel is missing… what?

What I didn’t see on the way to my hell is a small Light that has tagged along with me.  This Light has very deftly dodged detection of ego.  It was just on the other side of me always hovering next to me, but just out of sight.  Each time ego would look away or get distracted thinking about how powerful it feels, the Light would sneak up to my ear and whisper, “you are perfect”, “you are loved”, “so many people you don’t even know love you”, “you are inspiring to many”, “you make a difference each day”, “the world is a better place with you here”, “your family depends on you”, “give it another shot my friend”, “you have power to change the world”… On and on this Light would zoom up and whisper to me, then dart away just in time not to be detected.

On the way down to my hell, the darkness would surround my eyesight only giving me a very small bit of tunnel vision to see.  The darkness blocks out all my hope and only allows me to focus on my fear all the while making me think I was safe in my despair.  But each time the Light would whisper I would see a brief flash, a glimpse of a wider, clearer vision with an undeniable truth behind what it was telling me.  Each time I would be reminded of how much I am loved by my family, by my friends.  With each flash I would raise my head up and look for the next one.  Slowly I feel something stirring inside my chest, it’s warm and open like the blue sky on a hot summer day.  Is this hope I am feeling?

Then ego starts to get suspicious.  It wonders why I’m being so active, why am I looking around, why am I seeing things it can’t see.  It goes into action quickly, reminding me again and again why I am there, after all it’s done for me to keep me safe and away from the pain of the world.  But it’s too late at that point.  The Light has now taken hold of my attention now and I find myself breathing deep.  I find myself feeling the Love that was always there.  I FEEL!

Now the Light doesn’t have to be so crafty.  The Light has now grown in size and brightness.  It is showing me the way out of hell and giving me all the strength I need to lift myself up, to smile and laugh and know that I have won another battle and I have come out even stronger than before.  I have even picked up some more gifts along my journey in the form of wisdom.  I am even better prepared for the next time ego finds a foothold in my thoughts and wants to be “friends” with me.  My vision to see the deception of ego is stronger than ever.

So what’s the point?  Ego and fear will always be there in the darkness looking for a way to grab hold of any weakness it sees.  The ego is the great illusionist, the pimp feeding my addiction to fear.  Fear is the evil we all experience in our own personal hell, but the reality of it all is that it really has no power over the Light.  It will lie and tell you it has power, and you might even believe it for awhile, but ultimately it can not sustain the illusion.  The Light is powerful, it will never leave us no matter what.  The darkness will leave you in an instant if you only tell it to in the name of the Light.

When you find yourself walking back down the path to your hell, always remember that the Light is still there with you.  The Light will always bring you home – there is no other possibility.  Be on the lookout for the flashing reminders and take heed that the Light is there for you.  You only need to notice.

Dwight Raatz

Understanding my Depression

There is a lot of uncertainty and history around my struggles with depression.  One thing I do know is that it just didn’t happen one day, it was something that I taught myself over many years.  Yes, that’s right, I said that I taught myself to be depressed.  Now, it’s not like I set out to be depressed, thinking that it would be a good idea, but all the same I did learn it.

What I know now from a physiological perspective is that there is indeed a chemical imbalance in the brain or body that is a result of being depressed.  There is research stating that low serotonin levels is the “cause” of the depression.  While I agree that there is definitely an imbalance, I don’t believe it is the cause of the depression.

I  think that over the years of being alone with my thoughts of feeling unworthy of not measuring up to the supposed expectations of my siblings, parents or even my peers, has slowly manifested my sense of depression.  I am in no way blaming anyone for what I went through for more than 30 years of my life with regard to feeling depressed.  This came out of not knowing what else to do with all the self-talk, the unworthy talk I gave myself day in and day out.  This came out of analyzing a thousand times each and every situation I was in, what I said, what other people said and how they reacted to what I did or said.  I manifested my depression because it was the only way I knew how to survive my social interactions and the lack of support I had around me.

As I got better and better at recognizing my oncoming depression, it was easy to see how my own thoughts would literally paralyze me in my brain-storm of self-analysis.  It was interesting to experience going from feeling completely “normal” to having the one thought; that one thought about what I said or did and that thought would lead to the next thought of how stupid or ridiculous I must have looked or sounded, and the next thought… and the next.  Soon I found myself just staring off into nothing while in the shower, driving my car or eating a meal; replaying the scenarios in my mind a thousand times in a thousand permutations.

It got to the point where I could actually step outside myself and observe myself becoming depressed.  This ability didn’t not come quickly, it came out of years of assistance from an anti-anxiety medication which allowed me to take hold of myself at some level and work my way back out.  My “cycle times” between depressions prior to medication became shorter and shorter as the years went on.  Medication was my godsend, but I knew that I didn’t want to be on medication forever.  It took about six or seven years before I successfully won my battle over the depression and the medication.  I tried three times to stop the medication, but the first two times just didn’t work.  They didn’t work because I wasn’t ready, I didn’t have my own tools in place to deal with the source of my depression, this would come later.

As I write this to myself and the world, I have decided that it is important for me to remember my journey and to tell my story.  Maybe someone will find this and identify with my struggles as their own.  Maybe I can give hope and a possible solution to their own depression problems.

As I move forward with this topic, I will be unfolding my past and my journey with depression.  I will tell you the steps I went through on  my journey out of the wastelands of depression.  I welcome feedback or questions as I move forward.

Dwight Raatz

A Comforting Blanket

I have been journaling various experiences of my life for awhile now and over time I will be sharing many of these with you.  The most recent happened last night before going to sleep and while I don’t entirely understand its meaning, I do know it was real and was meant for me to know.

Last night I had just gotten into bed and was lying there contemplating my day and the future.  My day had been fraught with feelings of insecurity, general unworthiness and anxiety.  I don’t really know what caused these feelings but I am slowly beginning to understand how the feelings and issues of others around me have an affect on me too.  I always knew that I had a “knowing” about others and their state, but it just recently dawned on me that these people could affect how I feel.  The weird part is that these feelings seem to be my own, but now I’m not so sure.

Anyway, I was lying in bed on my left side when I noticed a presence above and behind me.  I could hear some sound, but couldn’t quite hear or understand it.  It only happened once and lasted for maybe 1-2 seconds, then I had a feeling of being covered.  It was like a large heavy blanket was thrown over me and the bed, and I could hear the air rushing out all around me and then it continued through me.  This lasted for probably 15 – 20 seconds.  It was so very comforting.  I decided to lay there and just accept this feeling and I thanked the presence for that gift.

Upon waking this morning, my extreme anxieties of the previous day were gone.  While I do remember them, their hold on me is released.

Like I said, I don’t know what it all means for sure; but I do know that I was being visited and comforted for a reason.  Thank you for helping me.

Dwight Raatz