The Truth of Senses

Do we make ourselves blind so we don’t see the color of skin?

But we could still hear and know the dialect, the language. We would still judge.

Do we also make ourselves deaf?

But we could still taste, touch and smell and categories would be established to segregate us.

Do we remove all the senses and become living vegetables with only our minds to interact within ourselves?

Our own thoughts would betray us and leave us utterly trapped thinking of what we did, what others have done, what we are missing and all manner of thoughts that mean nothing.

Do we stop living, abandon our corporeal self and free the spirit, the very essence of who we are? Is that what it will take to know that you and I are really the same? It will happen eventually and you will know the truth regardless.

But why wait?! Why not know the truth of how we are but reflections of each other in the shards of life. The truth is here in seeing the beauty of our skin, the rhythm of our voices, the tender kiss as we taste our lovers, the touch of our hands as we walk together, and the sweet smell of our bodies we are together in work and sex.

These all satisfy my senses, but it is my heart that knows you; that knows we are the same

Dwight Raatz – 07/19/2013

A Defining Moment

In November of this year, I will be traveling to Peru to take part in several shamanic ayahuasca ceremonies over the course of eight days.  Initially I was just excited to take part in a shamanic tradition that has been part of the native Peruvian culture for hundreds, if not thousands of years.  I know that there are many ways a person can experience deep connection to themselves as well as the realms beyond through meditation, journey work and other forms of energy work.  Even though I’ll be shifting into high gear during these ceremonies, I know that there are really no short cuts to this process.  I know that I will be processing and growing from my experiences there for months after.  My goals in going were simple but I also needed to focus on what I really wanted to get out of these ceremonies that would help me propel forward in my path, so I put the request out to the Universe – “Help me discover what I need to release and show me the next steps in my path.” was the request I made about two months ago.  Nothing has really come up that has given me clarity on what to focus on… that is until recently – the work has begun and the path is being illuminated before me.

 

In my last post (The Contradiction of This Day), I wrote about coming to terms with my feelings around celebrating my mother’s birth day and mourning my father’s death on the same day.  I also wrote about the feelings of loneliness that I’ve been experiencing lately.  Initially I thought that these feelings of loneliness were related to the five year anniversary of my dad passing.  It seemed to make sense, but I wasn’t completely convinced.  Then this morning many aspects of my life started to connect together in front of me, charting the course back through time showing me events and circumstances that have shaped as well as restricted me, until I reached one moment in time that stands out.  This moment is very vivid to me and is one that I’ve gone back to many times and have released the events of that day, but what I’m seeing now is a pattern of many other events that parallel this one.

 

I grew up on a family farm in south-eastern North Dakota.  If you’ve been so lucky to have been raised on a farm, you know that you grow up just “knowing” how to do things.  Things like driving tractors, vehicles, fixing things, working with animals and having a real sense of what to do next and the satisfaction of a good day’s work done.  I had all of these experiences and I also knew I was good at them all.  The “good” wasn’t boastful, just a knowing that had no doubts and I felt valued and appreciated by my family – even though this appreciation was never verbally expressed.  There came a day when my father decided to quite farming in 1978 and he made it clear to all of my siblings that he refused any of us to take up this vocation.  So, at the age of 14 I was “out of a job” so to speak.  I decided to look for work with a local farmer, but I couldn’t work at this age unless I went through special “tractor school” training to prove I could safely work on a farm, drive a tractor, backup up trailers, etc.  The training days arrived and one of the challenges was to back up a four-wheel trailer into a designated area.  While this kind of trailer can be challenging for some, I had full confidence in my abilities.  My turn arrived and up on the small tractor I jumped, and zip-zap, the trailer was in its spot.  I felt great that I achieved this easily and jumped down.  On my way back to the group of boys, three of four of them came up to me and said since I had done such a great job, I was supposed to walk across the parking lot to where a man was driving a tractor to get some kind of special task to do.  Thrilled that these boys talked with me and ready for the next challenge, off I went.  I walked right up to this man and asked what he wanted me to do.  As you might have guessed, it was a prank on me.  Then I had to make the walk of shame back to the group of laughing boys with my head hanging low.  This was my first real public humiliation and it came on the heels of a triumph I had just experienced.

 

I know that experiences like these are not uncommon for kids to experience, and in a way it’s like the many forms of bullying that kids experience every day.  What I didn’t realized until this morning was the huge affect this defining moment has had on my life.  From that day forward, I became very withdrawn and never did anything that would make me stand out from the crowd.  Even though I knew I had the skills and know how to do many things, I never put myself out there.  If I was in a group situation, I tended to let others lead – even though I would work closely with that leader giving them advice.  I was always second fiddle by design and very very infrequently allowed myself to have any fun.  Having fun means that I would be vulnerable to judgment and ridicule.  If I did have fun, it was still measured and only in the company of very close friends.

 

What I’m now discovering is this defining moment has created a ripple effect in my life creating boundaries, blocks and a huge amount of low self esteem that have lead me to anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and a tendency to be slightly obsessive to the point where I create drama where none exists.  This all came out of a pattern in my life developed from a moment in time where I lost my innocence and in a way, I lost the love I had for myself.  I doubted who I was and began to build an illusion that I was really not good enough for anyone, that I was really not worthy of anyone loving the true Dwight – because I was faulty.  So henceforth, I created the new version of Dwight that would be safer and less likely to be hurt.

 

The new Dwight lost much of his strong masculine traits like confidence, daring, rebelliousness, etc.  What come forth was more feminine traits like caring, nurturing, listening, protection of the self and connecting with others who were wounded.  I became obsessed with females seeing them as accepting and nurturing.  As I stepped more into my puberty years and on throughout college, I became preoccupied with masturbation and fantasizing about sex with women.  I saw Playboy pictures and Penthouse stories as the ideal of what women wanted and expected from a man and if I cannot deliver, then I am not a real man.  This rolled forward into my adult years where my expectations of what I was supposed to be able to do became sexual dysfunction and all the doubt and frustrations and self-judgment that have developed from that.  The maddening part is that I still have an obsession with sex, but it won’t work for me when I want it to the most.  I’ve become trapped in a catch-22 situation where I’ve sabotaged myself from enjoying sex because that means I would truly have to open up my real self to my partner.  It’s much safer to do poorly and maybe they will give up and reject me proving my belief that I am not a real man, that I deserve to be alone because I’m not worthy of love since I am not capable.  I can’t allow anyone into that protected space for fear that I will fail and be found out as less than adequate.  The funny and rather paradoxical thing is that even though I’ve done all of these things to myself, I’ve still managed to attract women into my life in a variety of relationships.  For those who have tried to get close to me or even the one I married, none of them have really ever known the true Dwight.  They may have an idea of me, or even caught glimpses of me, but no one knows the truth or that playful man that is deep within me.

 

I have those who do love me unconditionally, but I feel unworthy – I am flawed, I am a fake – Do they truly love the real me or my puppet.  I wouldn’t blame them if they left, said you’re crazy, you’re a twisted fuck who should be locked up.  They can’t waste their time with me, I wouldn’t blame them, I am broken – Imperfect

 

I’ve been my true self and been ridiculed, bullied
The walls are up to protect
Be quiet, follow orders, don’t stand out, don’t be free
You will attract attention and be ridiculed again
Protection is paramount
Acceptance is desired
Come and find me
I am alone
Who will love me?
Don’t let them know the true self
Put up a front – fool them
Don’t let them in
You may be hurt again
Must protect
Lonely

My salvation is to align myself – to no longer be trapped by my illusion.  I MUST come out – I must play without self-prejudice.  I must release the illusions and hell that I’ve created in myself or I will surely die without true fulfillment in the life that I came here to experience.

 

Dwight Raatz

Greater Than The Sum

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of being “in love” with someone and how it differs from being personally or intimately connected to them. I’ve also been thinking about loving other people that are part of my life. Can this love thing be applied equally across all these people? Was it really the same thing no matter what? I tried to apply this concept for awhile, but it didn’t hold water. So what does it mean to be “in love” with someone and how does that differ than loving them? That is the question.

I found that in religion when they talk about love, it seems to be just one concept. A global concept that is equal all around. This was reflected in the lyrics of John Lennon, “All we need is Love”. There really isn’t a descriptor, definition or guide to understanding love. We are just left to our own experience to decide what this means to us. Is this question of love part of the experience we are looking for when we incarnate into this world? I’m starting to think so because of many reasons. You can look around you to see how people are connected. Some seem to be flawless and smooth and others – well, not so much. For example, look at the relationship between a person and their abusive spouse. More than likely, both of these people witnessed or were exposed to an abusive relationship as children. As children we are sponges soaking up what and how to BE human. We do this through observation and experience of our surroundings. If we see those closest to us (like our parents) verbally or physically abusing each other or us, we perceive and understand this as love because this is our experience of being connected so we look for that in our future relationships. Likewise if you see your parents touching, hugging, kissing, respecting each other; then this is your touchstone or basis of what is love to you.

For me, I had my own experience of knowing love from my parents and family. Being the youngest of 5 children (me being 5 years younger than my next oldest sibling) and growing up on a family farm from the mid 60’s to the early 80’s, my family was busy. My parents were constantly working on the farm and part time jobs and my siblings had their own direction with friends and each other, and then there was me. In many ways I really grew up as an only child with working parents who had little time for anything extra. This was “normal” to me and while I was provided for with food, clothing, shelter – the personal time with my parents and siblings was not as prevalent. I don’t mean to say this as a way of blaming my parents or siblings for how I am today; it just was what it was. This way of growing up afforded me the ability to discover how to take care of myself, entertain myself, become a very keen listener to those around me and to be creative with what I had. In the opposite aspect it also made me question and doubt myself constantly because I had no reference or support in knowing if I was doing anything right. I don’t “blame” my parents because I now understand that they were doing the best they could with the time and resources that they had available to them. This concept has also allowed me to forgive myself for all the dumb things I know I’ve done with my own children during their younger years.

The more I think about this as I write, I am becoming more convinced that love has as many degrees and forms as there are individuals to experience them. I can’t even think of an underlying common attribute for all forms of love – like you would think that all forms have some common ground or defining attribute. Maybe by the end of this article I might discover what that is – at least for me anyway.

As of writing this article, I’ve been married for 24 years and I’d have to say that my definition of love in this marriage has changed and transformed dozens of times over the years. For me, I started out looking for a mate because I was lonely and needed to find any connection I could with someone. This was my primary objective in re-connecting with an old girlfriend and subsequently dating, proposing and marrying her within two years. While I wouldn’t say that this is a perfect reason for getting married, but my level of self-confidence was very low so I was looking for another to bolster me, to fill that void. Luckily for me, the Universe allowed me to connect with someone who not only did this, but also allowed me to fumble, make mistakes and grow all while loving me in her own way. I knew she loved me and it was obvious considering the amount of turbulence I caused in my own life with job changes, moving where we lived and bouts with depression. I never felt that she was putting up with me, but rather that she had a good solid foundation of understanding what love is and that she loved me no matter what I did or didn’t do. I still to this day don’t understand that place of love she knows or what it takes to get there.

It seems to me that love is fluid and gives people what they need at any moment in time during the relationship. With this fluidity, comes change and allows the person to either re-establish a new connection to each other or to opt-out along the way. Love can take the form of letting go, of allowing someone to move beyond what you can give them that maybe something or someone else can. It’s important to see how love is working in your relationships and to ask if it is something that is aiding you to grow, or is it holding you in place stifling you.

For me, love at the beginning of my marriage was selfish and I’m guessing that for my spouse, she was also looking to be connected because she wanted/needed to have that connection for herself. This “co-dependence” really lasted throughout the majority of our marriage, but with lesser and lesser degrees as we grew as individuals with our careers, confidence levels and spiritually (not related to religion). As I became more self-confident in mastering my depression, outlook on direction, path and goals; this has changed how I rely on my spouse. I’ve become more independent which has changed the definition or reason why I’m married. My original need is eroding before me and there hasn’t been something to replace this space being created. At the same time, the expectations or needs of my spouse (from her perspective I’m guessing), hasn’t changed much from the beginning. What I’ve come to understand however, is that her love co-dependence of me is now being challenged and that she is being forced to look at her own self – to understand who she is as an independent person and daring to know how to love herself without the support of anyone else. You might think that I owe it to her to stay in a relationship that she has “put up with” for so many years. I’ve thought of that, but I think the reality is that we both received exactly what we needed from each other for the time we were together. Now, we’ve come to a place that the definition of our relationship needs to be re-defined, altered and the established again in whatever form suits us best for our highest and greatest good.

I think it’s important that anyone in a relationship allow the fluid nature of love to ebb and flow and not to hold on too tight to its original state. If the fluidity takes form in a new bond that allow the two people to remain intimately close, then great. If the form changes so the two are apart but still honor one another, then that’s great too. Spending too much time holding onto an outmoded relationship will ultimately cause damage to it and cause issues with anyone connected to that relationship (especially if there are children). I believe that the more we love ourselves completely, the less we have a dependence on others to love us. We no longer need another to complete us or make us feel whole. We as people need to honor the fluid nature of love in order to be truly free and loving to all people.

As the relationship evolves and grows in a positive manner, the need and reason for love then moves beyond the selfish and, I believe, moves into the realm of being complementary. I see complementary love to be where the two people are becoming or creating something that is more than the sum of its parts. I believe this state of complementary love can be achieved and that it can take on different forms. I think that it can come along and establish itself within an existing relationship or that it can be created within a new relationship. Also, within each of these (new or existing) relationships, the people can choose whether they stay (live) together or if they move apart and establish themselves on new paths. Of the two forms (together or apart) the most challenging to me would be being apart.

If you decide to stay together in a living arrangement, the complementary love will intertwine and really be indecipherable as a unit (from the outside observer), yet each individual will be established in their own power center and path for themselves. If you decide to live apart, I believe the complementary love will only be observable by the most keen and closest individuals to the relationship. A distance complementary love while it appearing to be a good friendship, it will provide each person with a touchstone base to continue to grow from. While there is no “need” for this base, it is a gathering point of energy produced by the complementary love that then returns and amplifies the energy back to those individuals as well as other connected with them. Both the intimate and distance complementary love provide this base amplification, it’s just in the perception of those feeling that love, that it will be different. The intimate complementary love will likely feel focused and directed from the two, while distance will feel surrounding or like it’s coming from all around and without direct intent.

Next, I would like to touch on the feelings of sexual desire for another. This too has various purposes and degrees just as much as love (or any other emotion). I think too often people think of sexual desire as being in love. While I’d agree that there are complementary feelings that can occur between these, I think they are for the most part mutually exclusive. I believe that the hang-ups that society has about sex is directly related to distinguishing sex from loving or being in love with a person. I can see how wanting a sexual relationship with more than one person can cause any one of those involved to feel jealous and insecure. But I’d argue that this jealousy and insecurity is related more to a lack of self-confidence and self-love. If you are truly loving and confident in your love for another and yourself, seeing that person enjoying themselves with another would really have no bearing on you. I think this concept (referred to as poly-amorous) is easy to understand logically, but rather very difficult to implement in any long term fashion with success. I believe it will take a much more evolved society to support this, but it can be done now if you have the right kind of support system in place.

Finally, I believe there is another segment of love worth mentioning and that is the kind you would have for close friends, colleagues and family. If you could imagine love as being a sphere with the inner most center of it being the deepest most profound love possible and going out to the outer layers which is where you see and recognize the person as… well… a person – a fellow human being which may ignite some kind of compassion and caring in you. As you traverse further in toward the center you can in a way categorize groups of people that fall into the various “love levels”. For example an outer layer could be related to work colleagues, then moving in to the friends level, then to family and so on. Depending how your relationships are with each of these groups of people, their position in the “layers” may change. For example, you might have more affection or love for one of your friends than you do a sibling, aunt or uncle. I think the outer rings of love are still fluid and in flux as relationships change, grow or disappear. The important part here it to allow this flux to happen and to recognize it as a change that doesn’t have to have a meaning or reason behind it. It’s just how it is at that moment in time. This flexibility will cause a feedback loop that will amplify and provide a harmonic resonance within the relationship giving it space to grow and give the individuals involved a sense of peace and fulfillment within themselves.

So you might be asking where I am at with my marriage in the great grand scheme of love? My answer is that it has most certainly moved into the realm of complementary love in the distance form. This form is perfect for both my spouse and I and the eventuality of its form is yet unknown. As this is really one of the newest forms of love that I can imagine, it has a lot of unknown territory to discover and define. I find myself to be both excited and intrigued with its possibilities and hopeful as to being able to show this as a possibility for others who know there is another way of being together – yet apart.

Is there a common ground or thread among all these forms of love? My answer is yes and I think it’s called “fluidity”. So as the old saying goes, “Go with the flow”.

Dwight Raatz

A Letter to Charlotte

As I am wading through my historical writings, I came across this letter I wrote to a friend of mine who is also an intuitive communicator who has some very extraordinary gifts.  She has given me many insights into not only my personal past and life path, but also of those earthly and spiritual guides that are with me every day.  The names in this letter have been changed to protect their privacy. BTW, I never sent this letter… 😉

08/09/2009

———————
Charlotte,

This letter has been swimming around in my mind for quite some time now. I realized that my initial idea of you was not correct.  After reading Michael’s book that told of your extraordinary gifts, my imagination had this idea or hope that you had some kind of super power; that you could reach inside me and pull out all the fear, doubt and anxiety.  My mind had this hope that I could somehow make you understand what was happening inside me and you would be able to make it all right again (or at least make it right for once).

I now know that I have misled myself in this fantasy of what I perceived to be you.  Over time, more recently than in the beginning, I have realized that you are an interpreter of what others can’t see for themselves.  I know now that I am the only one that can make me whole and happy.  As much as I was hoping that you had some kind of “magic” that would fix me, that just isn’t going to happen.

I have reached out to you many times and given you my sad stories and poor me I’m helpless anecdotes, only to have you turn around and give me a healthy dose of reality and perspective.  These had at times made me very angry at you and thoughts of betrayal of our friendship.  I know now that this is exactly what I needed and how fortunate I am to have such a strong force in my life.  Please don’t misinterpret this letter to mean anything but a realization of myself.  I have been honored and blessed to have you in my life.

I have tried many things as a remedy for my issues.   I have spoken to a therapist, taken anti-anxiety medication, worked with you and other coaches, but nothing has lasted.  I know part of my issues are related to my internal chemistry which the anti-anxiety meds do help, but these are only a mask or a dampening field of sorts.  The mastery of my long term happiness lies within me and my own mind.  I need to journey to that world that is within me and conquer these demons, these doubts and fears.

I feel as if I have made huge leaps to resolve my issues only to be dashed on the rocks by my mind.  The doubts rise up like a huge water beast lashing and laughing at me from the depths of my mind.  I flow through life in a torrent of fear and anger and nothing abates this within me.  The eddies and currents pull and push me at their will.  The feeling is utterly hopeless and no control is there.  I reach out for a strong hold only to have the temporary grasp slip away with me screaming into the darkness.  Why does this elude me, how can I grab hold and pull myself up onto dry land with a footing that is true and steadfast?  I long for peace and quiet within.

My mind wanders to death and my perception of how this will free me from this torturous life I have.  I think at times that this is the easy way out and how much of a coward I would be to go this route.  I long for this peace and wish and hope for it every day.  I know that I have been kept alive for a reason, and I just can’t believe that it’s to endure this kind of existence.  What good is it to experience this for my soul’s journey?  Why do I need to lead this life of pain and anxiety?  Why can’t I live each day with peace and joy in my heart and mind?

Some say that I need to give my heart and mind over to Jesus and he will take on my burdens.  This seems nice, and I’ve tried this too, but nothing takes away this internal nightmare that is mine.

I have even tried drugs in my youth as a remedy for this mess, but found no enduring solace with them.  My compass guides me away from these jesters, these rose colored glasses.  I don’t know why I can’t hide behind them like others do every day.  Why can’t I spend my hours and days drinking or shooting some kind of chemical into my system to find that peace?

The funny thing is about this life of mine, is that despite my struggles and pain, I have surrounded myself with family and friends that care; as well as a safe home and moderate income.  By all accounts from the outside, I have been successful in life.  I know, deep inside that by removing this roadblock of anxiety, I could be so much more powerful in my life and be such a huge help to others beyond measure.  I feel as if the force inside me has been restrained by these huge wood and metal doors.  This force has been slamming its body against these doors for millennia on end; trying to be free, trying to evolve my soul and become the power that this universe needs.

I want to transform.  I want to turn out of my cocoon and spread my strong powerful delicate wings to soar.  I will never be able to be at peace unless I transform.  I need to peel away my old shell, my old skin and become anew.

Transformation:  To never more be what I am.  To start anew with new possibilities

What is me?

  • Doubt
  • Fear
  • Sexual desire
  • Anxiety
  • Low or no self esteem
  • No gravity
  • No stronghold
  • No direction
  • People reaching – calling – helping
  • I’m not good enough
  • What I do is not good enough
  • No peace
  • Great love

Dwight Raatz