Last summer, after unexpectedly landing in Miami Beach, Tatiana and I decided we wanted to stay. We started apartment searching and found a couple units that looked good. After months of living out of hotels and airBnB places, we needed our own space. And we needed to bring our housing budget back down to earth.
Neither of the apartments were anything fancy. But they looked clean. The buildings were decent. They were in our favorite part of our favorite North Beach neighborhood. So we picked the one we liked best and went to fill our an application.
The guy at the property management firm who was assigned to us seemed nice. He looked at us a little sideways when we told him we were both self-employed healers. But he showed us the apartments and had us fill out an application. Asked us what our combined income was. Told us we had to do a free online credit check.
Long story short, both of our credit scores were below what this company would accept. The realtor said maybe he could get us approved based on our income.
So we provided statements from our online payment processors showing that we our annual income was sufficient to rent an apartment nearly twice as expensive as the one we were trying to lease. The realty guy was mind-boggled that we were showing him PayPal records. "What's this?" he said. "No one is gonna know what PayPal is. I need statements from a bank."
We had been rejected. In a way that felt shaming. We were super bummed. Before long we both started shame spiraling, each in our little world of hurt. Then we got together and talked about what we were feeling.
Often, it’s so much easier to see your own trauma in someone else. When I realized how much Tatiana was beating herself up for her bad credit (which was way better than mine), I started getting angry.
This woman that I love has survived abuse that would send shivers down your spine if she told you the details. She has overcome so much adversity to become the beautiful healer she is, someone who helps so many people live better lives. She is insanely generous and incredibly loving. She gives constantly of herself and her gifts.
I know most of her bad credit is the result of over giving to people in the past who didn’t deserve her love in the first place. It’s a story we both lived for far too long.
Also, like me (and so many empaths), she spent many of her young adult years just existing, using drugs, booze, relationships and whatever else was at hand to numb out.
So, why did we live such hardscrabble lives, "ruining our credit" in the process? Was it because we were lazy, irresponsible energy vampires? Or greedy, abusive power mongers?
No. We spent years trapped in “self-destructive” behavior patterns and bad relationships because that was the only way we knew how to make it through.
Like Adam and Eve in the garden after eating of the tree of knowledge, we hid from life, from our gifts, from our essential selves because we were ashamed
We did it because living with the low self-esteem that comes along with childhood abuse and trauma makes your mind a living hell. We did it because it bought us one more day on Earth. Maybe a day where something good would happen.
We did it because our parents didn’t love us enough to consistently nurture and protect us. Instead they used us as dumping grounds for all the shame and anger they didn’t want to feel. Just the way their parents did to them.
What do children learn when their parents don’t deem them worthy of even the most basic respect we accord one another as human beings?
You learn that you are not worth it. That you’re a burden. You’re sick. Weak. Too much, too loud, too needy. You learn there is something deeply wrong with you.
You're Not the Sick One
OK, so it’s not like all of this was a revelation. But the realization that came next was the catalyst for forming Cosmic Fire.
I saw how the same sick society that fills us with debilitating toxic shame right from birth uses that same toxic shame to keep us trapped in the sick, struggling, strife-filled illusion we’ve been trained to call reality.
I saw how my family and my exes had shamed me repeatedly over the years for not making enough money. "Why don’t you just get a real job?"
[I worked in the corporate world for several years in my late 20s and early 30s. Sooner or later, I’d start to go crazy. An empath trapped in concrete warrens of Kafkaesque meaninglessness, feeling the resentment, despair and terror of the fellow inmates in our open office plan. And I couldn't even deal with my own feelings at that time in my life. No one had ever told me what an "empath" was. All I knew was that my "sensitivity" was a burden.]
I saw my “work life” flash before my eyes. Saw myself becoming homeless at age 33 because I couldn’t pay my rent and I was too crazy to “go get a job.”
How was that my fault, when no one had taught me how to deal with my own strange giftedness? How was I supposed to “succeed” in a society that honors greed, narcissism, and brute force over kindness, beauty, and compassion? A society that honors mindless repetition over creative self-expression?
I realized that the gist of everything I’ve written over the years about the parasitic forces that shame and frighten us into feeling bad about ourselves so they can feed on our energy (Eckhart Tolle calls this the pain body) is true. And I saw that the only way to change it is for enough of us to say, “Enough! No more.”
We didn’t come here to mutate ourselves to fit into a sick society. We came here to
heal our trauma, rediscover our creative powers, come together,
and make society mutate itself to match us.
If you’ve been trying for years to live a life where you can share your gifts and have real love and have your basic needs met and you still haven’t “made it”?
It’s not your fault. It never was your fault. And it doesn’t have to stay that way.