My Story: Influences On My Philosophy
I have often been asked:
Where does my wisdom come from?
What influenced my philosophy of life?
Where did I get my training from?
“My Story” is not a chronological biography of my life but rather a deep sharing of some aspects of my life that have helped shape the philosophy behind my work. Thus, it does not read as a single chronological timeline of events; there are overlaps in the timelines.
When I was a kid, I taught myself how to literally breathe under water.
Swimming underwater was one of my favourite activities. It allowed me to escape into a world where I could seemingly transcend the physical laws of gravity and other restrictions of moving on land. I enjoyed being able to wade and propel my body through water. Sometimes, I would imagine that I wasn’t in water but gliding through air.
As a kid, my mind had already developed a curiosity to seek, question and explore new ways of relating to the world. The world, as I was told it was, just didn’t seem to encompass the full potential I knew it had.
That curiosity manifested throughout my childhood in some pretty destructive behaviours. I was constantly testing the boundaries of what-is and what I could get away with. Not for the sake of provoking a response from others but an intense desire to see what was beneath the apparent layer.
One day, my fascination to look beyond took hold of me while I was underwater. I started to entertain the thought that I might be able to breathe in the water. I started by experimenting with what would happen if I were to breathe normally; I found that by drawing in air like I would on land, the water would start to go into my nostrils.
By slowing down my breathing, I learned to control my consumption of oxygen. I breathed very shallowly, so that the water would move in and out of my nostrils millimeter by millimeter. Mentally, I saw how much volume of air was needed for me to breathe on land in order for me to get enough oxygen for every breath. The amount of air I was breathing in underwater was not giving me enough oxygen to sustain myself for long in the water.
So I had a thought: I needed to find a way to extract more oxygen out of the volume of air I was breathing in. In that moment, an idea came to my mind: The physical reality of the world was opened to challenge.
Who was to say that only X amount of oxygen could be extracted from Y amount of air? My mind rapidly ran through a list of variables that I could possibly manipulate –e.g. the strength of my breathing, the angle at which I held my head, the size of the cavity made available to hold the air.
After playing around with these mechanical variables and finding no real satisfaction, my mind began to explore the spiritual nature of what I was dealing with. If I wasn’t able to extract more oxygen from the water, what if there was another life-sustaining substance which I could extract from it? Something equally or more life-giving than what most of us knew?
With that thought, I experimented with holding my mental space differently. I saw a door that would enable me to do what I knew was possible and it required me to operate beyond my physical self.
I can’t remember exactly what I did or how I did it, but in a short time I was able to train myself to breathe in the water.
That experience became part of the foundation of my present philosophy of life.
Note: If you think the language is more complex than is possible for a young child, understand that I am crafting words in present time to represent my thought processes as a child.
I think my perception of the world around me started to change after that. There was a certain glee and fascination at having challenged and proven otherwise a common belief about the world.
Yet I did not feel that I could tell anyone about it. Not only did I not have the language to communicate it at that age, I also did not know who I could tell it to. I didn’t know if anyone else thought the same things I did and if I shared it with someone who didn’t, I’d run the risk of being judged in some harsh way. Thus, I was contented to keep it all to myself, while secretly relating to the world in a different way than I assumed others did.
Around this time, I started to become aware of the movement of energies in and around me. Having succeeded in tapping into what I thought of as a mysterious energy, my mind was naturally opened to sensing something other than the tangible.
For instance, I sensed an interconnectedness between nature and myself. Whilst I couldn’t see the energy visually, because I had a strong proof that what existed on the physical level wasn’t the full story, I was able to rely on my imagination with a great degree of trust.
The most powerful thing that came out of this for me was a belief that I could manipulate what was around me by manipulating what was inside of me; and vice-versa. Much later on in life, I learned that these processes form the basis of all religious, sacred and magickal practices throughout the world. In my work, I call them “externalising” and “internalising” – a major element in the work I do today.
In time, I began to entertain the thought that if the action of breathing could allow me to draw from the physical world something that enabled me to defy the laws of biophysics, I could probably discover some cool things by moving my body while practising the same mental-spiritual manipulation.
The core idea was, when we exercise a physical action, something else potentially gets moved as well. More and more, I sensed the mysterious energy within and beneath the physical world… and its power both fascinated and frightened me.
I discovered that when I tuned into this energy, it had an intelligence that provided guidance for everything I needed to know. Tentatively, I let myself be guided to move my body in a certain way, and getting a feeling of being in alignment with a force that seemed to govern this mysterious energy.
I don’t remember if it happened gradually or at once, but the next thing I can recall is being completely plugged in to this energy. When I think about this energy now, in present time, it feels like the energy of pure creativity.
I remember being seemingly able to predict what people were going to do, and sometimes it felt as if I had an ability to manipulate the people I interacted with, as though I could make them do anything. On hindsight, it was my ability to connect to the invisible force in them that allowed me to see into a person’s thoughts, feelings and intentions, and I was able to move around those thoughts, feelings and intentions like a dance. Gradually, the effortlessness of it all gave me a dissatisfied feeling – as though everything was too easy.
Then life presented me with a big block to make things more interesting.
Structure and Rigidity
There is no need to go into the details here but my environment became one of restrictions and limitations. It turned me from being in a state of fluidity to rigidity. Almost overnight, my reality was one of being trapped in an environment where I struggled to escape from it.
This became a theme that extended through my childhood and most of my adult life. Like a heavy game, it challenged me to find ways of seeing beyond, to find a way out. Doing so has put me on a path of finding liberation – to free myself from one entrapment to another, to see through the illusion of my imprisonment.
The moment this structure was in place, I had lost my connection to the mysterious energy and the force that governs it, as well as the ‘higher knowledge’ I had acquired earlier.
I started again on the lowest emotional vibration. Depression, body image issues, eating disorders, drug addictions were some of the afflictions I suffered in the ensuing years. My curiosity to see beyond what was apparent didn’t come back for many more years as I struggled purely on the shallow level of trying to cope with my inner turmoils. My road to rediscovering my personal power was long and arduous.
Challenging the Norm
One thing I did maintain was my reluctance to fit into what was considered normal. But it also conflicted with a need to be approved of by those around me. This internal conflict between two very different needs became the source of many more painful situations created.
In my early teens, I became interested in writing down my philosophical thoughts. It served as an outlet for expression that would alleviate some of my terrible feelings of being trapped. Still feeling that I could not share my deeper thoughts with anyone around me, I resorted to a kind of cloaked writing. I would write in an old-fashioned language (to hide behind another era) using a pseudonym and submit my writings to obscure publications. Whenever I saw my words being published, it would give me a sense of victory knowing that someone had read what I had to say.
Most of what I wrote then was in one way or another challenging the reader’s view of life. I enjoyed thinking up a completely new way of seeing something about the world and the way we lived. I felt that doing so would clear an imaginary path for me to escape from the unbearable imprisonment in which I found myself. Moreover, I instinctively felt that there was something wrong with how most people had accepted the way things were, and I was driven by something to push the envelope.
Most of what I learned in schools were at best useless, and at worst, damaging to my sense of self. From an early age in school, I’d felt bored and uninspired by what was being taught. I remember sitting in classrooms and wishing the teachers would speak faster and get on with the next point, or tell me something I didn’t already know.
I was more driven to find my own source of knowledge. This became the root of a pattern that would later emerge in my adult life: resisting being taught by any widely accepted body of authority in any teachings.
But as a child, gradually, even this remaining spirit was crushed. As it occurred, my feelings of being trapped were compounded by my schooling.
The convent school I attended was the perfect example of how limited and limiting the education system was in general. Governed by a fearful mentality stemming from generations of repressed Catholic nuns who resided in and ran the school, the dark, oppressive culture that permeated the school’s system was palpable. There was an undercurrent of religious judgement across all the activities in the school and a type of witch-hunt agenda aimed at exposing those who did not fall in line with their strict, implicit moral codes.
The approach was medieval. Girls were punished for being girls. The staff seemed to take perverse pleasure in publicly humiliating those unfortunate enough to be dragged out of a crowd at general assembly by the monstrous Discipline Mistress whose sole responsibility was to carry out a system of punishment. I escaped this very public punishment but cringe at the thought of how many girls’ self-esteem was destroyed in those days.
They ruled by fear, intimidation and shaming. The tactic often employed was emotional terrorism where they would strike with just enough warning of what was to come, to instil fear and uncertainty. I never really knew what exactly would be deemed worthy of punishment; the rules weren’t clear but I think they were deliberately so.
One thing was clear: they were on a campaign to wipe out girly sins. Every few weeks, a nun would come charging through the corridor, on a mission to check:
The length of our dress (must not be shorter than the knees).
How long our hair was (must be tied back if past the shoulders).
The transparency of our uniform (pity those with poor parents who could only afford hand-me-downs with worn-out fabrics).
The length of our fingernails (if they could see nails poking out from behind your fingerpads, you’d be asked to extend your hands face-down to receive a powerful blow to your knuckles with a wooden ruler).
We were made to lift up our skirts to show that we were wearing a petticoat underneath and if not we would get demerit points (accumulation of a certain number of points would have us sent to the Principal’s office for caning). Wearing makeup was a complete no-no, and in those days only the most hardcore rebels would dare to come to school with any makeup.
The message was clear, “You are sluts, and I’m on a mission to de-slut every one of you.” It seemed that the repressed were acting out their frustrations by repressing those who had a chance at flourishing – by controlling our natural expressions in the name of God. The repression of our natural gifts and beauty instilled a lasting message in me that it was wrong to be expansive, expressive and creative.
This, coupled with the restrictive environment at home, made my world seem smaller and smaller. The more limited I felt, the more I sought for a way out through disempowering ways. Eventually, I adopted the mentality of a victim, crying out to be saved. I depended on others to give me answers, solutions, to change my life… and when it didn’t work, I would choose the path of escapism.
Now I see what a gift even this had been to the work I would later come to do. After years of trying to find a way out of these restrictions, I’ve developed a passion for creating self-empowerment tools that can help reveal the power and options for others who are struggling with a sense of limited possibilities.
As I was forced to change from being someone who was expansive, expressive, creative, gushing with a strong life force, to being constricted and inhibited, I plunged into a depression that would take almost twenty years to be free of.
Depression made me feel heavy, quite literally. Moving was made difficult, and I’d stay in one place sometimes for hours and days. It was painful to move, because it stirred up emotions that were too intense for me to feel. My mind was constantly foggy, dull, and filled with unhappy thoughts. I could not feel interested or inspired by anything around me. The world seemed bleak and unfriendly, and I felt stuck in a very small world where pain and suffering were constant. This was my default state for a very long time.
In my early 20’s, I started to self-medicate with a host of drugs. I became addicted to the drugs since they could change the way I was feeling. They, however, did not make me feel ‘normal’ (or, more accurately, feel the way I was feeling before). But they were reliable for knocking me unconscious whenever I wanted to stop feeling.
Sleep was welcomed, but I always had to face the next day when I woke up, feeling worse than the day before. Like any addict, I spent every day looking forward to getting the effects of the drugs, when sleep would come. My days were planned according to my drug use, and in those days I was very good at keeping people away from me. I functioned whenever it was called for, yet I lived a pretty isolated life which enabled me to indulge in taking more and more drugs.
At the same time, I had a strong desire to appear ‘together’ and hide my inner reality from people. Eventually, I started taking drugs that would make my mind sharper, quicker, stimulated. I became superfast in everything I did. I had found another way of escaping from my feelings. But I also missed out on a lot of things that I skipped over due to the speed at which I was operating. At that speed, I was operating on a superficial level, with very little real interaction with people. It was another way of going to sleep, except now I was sleeping even when I was awake.
After some time, I became frustrated knowing that I wasn’t quite awake even when I was awake. It made me feel like a ghost – existing between worlds and not being totally present. It took a long time for me to remove the veil so that I could experience being truly present.
This eventually became one of my strongest areas of interest in my work. The process of removing the veil entails stripping away the defenses we’ve put into place that keep us from our truth. They can be patterns of behaviour, the lies we tell ourselves, thought patterns, unhealed pains. What results is you start to shift into being fully aware and conscious, and able to perceive and appreciate the beauty in your world.
Because of the messages I’d received from those around me, my fundamental sense of self was destroyed. I had no real reference for who I was. Inside, I felt uncertain, insecure, and that I had no control over anything in my surroundings. Eventually, I channelled those feelings onto the one thing that I had any control over: my physical body.
Moreoever, by then, my image of myself was so damaged that I hated who I was. I felt like a bad person who had sinned and who could never redeem herself. My self-hatred translated into an intense dislike for my body. This, coupled with a desperate need to control my body, drove me to more self-destructive behaviours that would entrap me further in a limited existence.
Food became a fixation. At first, I was using food to comfort myself. Since I couldn’t possibly achieve lasting comfort unless my relationship with myself was healed, it was like eating with a bottomless pit. Bingeing became a pattern. I hated the after-effects of a food binge: guilt and self-disgust followed by the realisation that I had been out-of-control again. To counteract these feelings, I would attempt to withhold from eating for an extended time.
Then I found a short-cut to counteract my addiction for food: diet pills. They allowed me to control my cravings for food while cutting out the bloated feelings by draining water out of my body. The sensation of being able to control my body was immediately addictive, and I became hooked on the pills. But these weren’t just ordinary diet pills; I was taking a cocktail of potent drugs, some had long been banned but found their way through the black market, that when taken together could lead to serious health problems.
Soon, I was collapsing in seizures. People started to comment that I was all skin and bones. The effects from the stimulants I was taking on top of the pills were bringing out a violent rage in me. In the evenings, I would use potent tranquilisers to knock me out and forget about another shitty day.
Caught in a cycle of abusing my body, my attempts at alleviating negative feelings about myself resulted in the very opposite of what I was trying to achieve, and I hated myself even more. After the forth time collapsing and being taken to a hospital, I started to reduce my drug intake.
But at some point, I replaced them with excessive exercising. If I didn’t work out for at least several hours a day, my mind would be filled with thoughts that fed my self-loathe and by evening I’d be exhausted from running those thoughts over and over… and it would take many days of “being good” to regain a sense of being in control.
Since my body was an encasement of my rotten self, I saw a lot of flaws and defects in my body that probably didn’t exist or were blown out of proportion. Looking back, I must have felt that if I could only make my body perfect, I would change the way I felt about myself.
But no amount of change to my physical body would have been enough because the point of perfection did not exist. It was an illusion created out of my not-enoughness and therefore, it would forever be something out of reach as long as I had not reconciled with myself. The imperfections I perceived in my body were merely a reflection of my unhealed inner self.
When I read The Broken Mirror, a book by Katharine A. Phillips about body dismorphic disorder (sometimes described as “the disease of imagined ugliness”), I recognised my own traits in obsessing about the ugliness of my body. The only difference is that whilst a BDD sufferer obsesses over a single body part, I was obsessing over almost every part of my body. That revelation shocked me and I think it prompted me to begin healing my relationship with my body.
Thus began a long journey of accepting my body, and by extension my whole self. In my healing, I came to understand that the physical body is a microcosm of our entire world. The way we relate to our body reflects the way we cope with our internal landscape of stuggles and triumphs, which in turn creates a kind of template for how our external world would take shape. As our outer world takes shape, the way we cope with what’s happening outside of us influences what happens in our body. This interconnectedness between our physical body, emotional landscape and external reality provides a myriad of healing possibilities where changing the template of our life can take place on any of these levels.
A lot of my struggles with body issues came as a result of an internal conflict between two opposing motivations. On one hand, I was driven by an obsession to appear perfect; on the other hand, looking good made me feel intensely bad about myself. It was impossible for me to get to a place of peace because my guilt and self-hatred about looking good would prevent me from achieving any lasting physical change, and the more I strived towards perfection, the more conflicted I would feel. This created a big, messy knot in my psyche that would take a long time to untangle.
But whilst lasting change was impossible given the conflict in my psyche which drove me to quickly sabotage any achievement, I was very good at achieving radical change quickly. Physical transformation was something I became good at, and it reinforced what I’d discovered in my childhood about the malleability of matter in the physical world.
This conviction became the basis of one of the main principles in my work – that we can renew ourselves on any level of our being. It is also the basis of why I believe in miracles – a gift which has allowed me to maintain a mindset of curiosity and expectancy when working with clients, and to have staying power to keep looking even when the client has given up.
As grim as this may all sound, my entire experience with my body has given me a real appreciation for the liberation I’m able to enjoy today. I am no longer controlled by food, exercise or the current beauty ideals. I am able to love my body even though it is not perfect, but perfect in its imperfection. In all of this, I have developed a strong objection to how the media imposes unrealistic standards of beauty, and in creating these ideals for women to aspire to, it blocks them from seeing their inner beauty and tapping into their real power.
Preserving the Rawness
From the age of 26, I started to look at my pain and inquire into why I was so unhappy. I began to have an understanding of how the dynamics that had played out in my childhood had influenced who I had become. For years, I spent a lot of time pulling apart, analysing, cross-referencing and finding links between the different issues to gain a deeper understanding of myself – to the point where I became very skilled at psycho-analysing myself and others.
My fascination with human psychology, coupled with my interest from early childhood to seek alternative ways of relating to the world, soon culminated in an interest to work in personal development. It was a natural progression from all my experiences of struggling with a confused sense of self and what I’d discovered to be the truth about life.
I began to notice that I had a gift for saying the right things to people that would make an impact on their lives. People started to remark about a certain wisdom and intuitive awareness I seemed to have that had the power to guide them to a place of hopefulness and peace.
Increasingly, I started to share more of what I had to say. At first, I was simply fascinated by what goes on in a person’s psyche; my mind loved the challenge of finding clues and linking them to reveal why a person was driven to act out a certain pattern of behaviour. But soon, my fascination turned into empathy as their plight would often stir my own sentiments. Eventually, it would grow into a great desire to help those who suffer to find a way out of their pain.
I considered going back to school and being trained in psychotherapy, and enrolling in courses that would qualify me to work in the personal development field. But at the back of my mind, there was a voice that said I didn’t need to go through the traditional route of learning.
Somehow, I trusted that I would know whatever I needed to know, through my inner guidance and experience in the world. Listening to this voice would become a crucial element in the shaping of my work today.
As I continued to delve into the realm of human psychology, at some point I realised that it only provided me with one dimension of reality to work with. My childhood experiences with the spirit world kept nudging me back to explore how this other reality might provide a richer and fuller understanding of a person’s plight and where the doors that lead to liberation might be.
I began to turn to other sources for knowledge and wisdom. I was fascinated by the various philosophical and spiritual teachings from different cultures and eras. But whilst I had a respect and admiration for these teachings, something kept me from studying them. The voice that had told me to stay true to my own learnings would prevent me from looking at these sources of wisdom beyond giving it a sweeping glance – so that I could preserve the purity of what I needed to know and work with.
Whenever I embarked on studying any form of teaching, the voice would redirect me to focus on letting my own experience with life inform me of how the world works. This guidance has led me to resist studying and training in any traditional, widely-accepted disciplines. It suited my nature to resist being moulded by conventional structures, and it gave me the gift of discovering some things that might not have been considered before.
Even though I’ve always loved reading and research, I was blocked from reading up extensively about any ancient or contemporary systems of belief. At various stages, I was drawn to the traditional teachings of Sufism, Taoism, and most forms of mysticism; shamanic and occult practices; and explorations into alternate realities and expanded consciousness. But whenever I attempted to make in-depth study into any of them, I would receive a clear “No,” followed by a quick energetic scan of that teaching/system/body of work, leaving me with a broad, intuitive understanding of its potential and limitations, without needing to know the details.
This was true for all my forays into learning techniques of healing, which resulted in many botched attempts in acquiring some kind of formal training. That strong guidance in me to continue to allow what I needed to know to flow from within, uncorrupted by outside influences, in time imbued in me a knowingness that the wisdom I was searching for was not to be found in the literature and teachings available, but from within me, guided by spirit. I somehow trusted that there was a better source of knowledge and that I had to allow that wisdom to emerge from within me.
When I look back, I’d always received guidance from the spiritual world. During my first severely depressed years, at times I’d be woken up at night by the sound of birds and the fluttering of their wings over my face. When I opened my eyes, I’d see a flock of white birds circling above me, and I’d feel peaceful and fall asleep again.
Almost every night, for several years, I would slip into an accutely aware state of consciousness and see many visions from the past and future. At first, the images would appear one after another at great speed, like a reel of film being unwound quickly in front of my eyes. Eventually, I was able to slow down the speed at which the images were moving and to pause at an image, much like pressing the slow motion or pause button when playing a video, and zoom in to get the details.
Every image I focused on would expand into interesting visions, often to the scale of an epic movie, containing a lifetime of lessons. Within that, I could control where I wanted to go deeper, much like playing an interactive computer game; by simply focusing on any point, the view would zoom in and open up another aspect of that story. The possibilities for exploration were massive.
These visions became the source of nightly entertainment for me as I could choose any image at random and watch what would unfold. The visuals were rich and interesting, depicting anything from the life of a person to the mechanical workings of a peculiar object. But I also knew that they held some serious lessons, that I was given access to a library of information containing all that I needed to know about the Universe.
I also encountered malevolent forces but somehow the good spirits would always show up to give me comfort. As trapped as I had felt in most of my life, there was always a door in the background gently inviting me to explore what else I might find. I think this was what pulled me through the darkest moments. Somewhere in me, I had never really disconnected from the spirit world that had shown me as a child that the physical structure I was in was only part of the picture.
As the years went by, I started to sense certain spirit guides around me. One of them was an old Chinese man from a distant era. He seemed to appear in different variations of forms, as if his soul had expressed itself as different beings who had existed in different times and dimensions. I recognised the core essence of this soul in all these different beings – an ancient spirit that held a body of esoteric wisdom which it seemed to want to impart to me.
I later discovered that this was the same spirit as Lao Tzu, the Chinese sage often considered to be the father of Taoism. Since most of my childhood and adult years were spent rejecting my Chinese roots as a symbol of my self-rejection, it came as a surprise that I was so connected to something that had played a big role in shaping the beliefs and traditions of that culture. It was difficult for me at first to accept that what I had been rejecting all along had turned out to be an important source of wisdom which I must somehow open up to receive.
Around that time, I was guided to explore shamanism for my personal healing, and gained enormous appreciation for the fact that it mirrored several of my foundational beliefs.
Shamanism works from the premise that there is spirit in everything, even physical objects. This mirrored my childhood perspective of the biophysical world containing something other than matter. In shamanism, that concept extends to the intangible realm, such as the memories we hold and the stories we use to define our identities. Our memories, stories and perspectives can store much of our power which can be made available to us. Moreover, the movement of things, including rituals and ceremonies, can move much more than just the objects or physical body; it has the power to give us more power or to take power away from us.
The concept of misplaced power, expressed in some form or other in shamanism, really appealed to me. Ever since I disconnected from my source of power as a child, I had been seeking for ways to return to that space of total connectedness and empowerment. For most of my life up to that point, I’d been searching for unusual sources of power – places where most people would not think to look when they’re trying to find a way out of their suffering.
Whereas I had thought that I could block out my ancestry, I learned that healing can and must happen by tracing back along the ancestral line. In other words, I was forced to go where I didn’t want to go. In one of my shamanic journeys, I encountered one of my ancestors, a scholar in the time of Lao Tzu. I started to decipher my connection with the sage.
In one of my visions, I was standing on top of a hill, with Lao Tzu standing behind me. He placed his hand on my lower back, and I started to float off the ground. Suddenly, my perspective shifted from observer to being in my body in the scene. I looked down and saw that I was about eight feet off the ground, my body tending to wobble slightly in the air but held steady by the hand on my back. His hand wasn’t actually touching my back but there was a force coming from his hand to my body that caused me to levitate; I could feel the heat where this force was directed to on my back.
That night, I had a dream in which I was in a war-torn place, running away to dodge bullets and bombs being dropped from the sky. An Indian lady came to my assistance and she pushed me to the ground. As I was lying face-down on the ground, a bomb fell on my back, lodging itself in the base of my spine.
I woke up from the dream feeling a hot, numb, deep pain in my lower back; the pain progressively grew to be so unbearable that I had to get out of my bed and walk around my room, trying to dissipate it. Eventually, somehow, I passed out on my bed. I woke up the next morning feeling perplexed about the experience.
I became fascinated by how the dream had carried over to my physical world and manifested in my awake state as pain in my body. My curiosity led me to research the links between Lao Tzu and levitation. I found that Lao Tzu was indeed known to be able to levitate. I also found that in some mystical texts, a figure of eight is drawn over the sacrum (lower back bone) to activate the merkaba, a kind of light body vehicle said to transport one to a higher vibrational dimension.
Finding these links gave me a new appreciation for my lineage and the potential power I could tap into. All of a sudden, that source of wisdom became deeper and more interesting, not two-dimensional and boringly old-fashioned as I had previously perceived it to be. I think it had previously reminded me of rigidity and being stuck in something obsolete, but now it fascinated me with its supremely rich and cross-dimensional possibilities for wisdom. This gave me the incentive to remain open to the wisdom which I trusted would continue to pour in.
Over the years, my connection to other spirit guides continued to strengthen, and increasingly I’ve been able to perceive them more clearly as I opened up to their guidance. Individually, they have each brought specific healings to me, and together, they have steered me to where I am today: a truly blessed and sacred place where I know I am bigger than any of the mundane challenges even as I choose to participate in them.
Consolidating My Learnings
At one point, while I was working as a freelance writer in Jakarta, I became interested in something that was being talked about a lot in women’s circles. There was a form of exercise called Body Language, developed by the Indonesian choreographer Roy Tobing after spending years studying and synthesising various forms of movements such as tai-chi, modern dance, martial arts, yogic practices, pilates and qi-gong. People were raving about the effectiveness of Body Language for losing inches off their bodies, improving their sex lives and enhancing their physical beauty.
By then, I had already developed an interest in anything that substantiated my belief about the malleability of matter, including changes in the physical body. The general consensus in the fitness world then was that ‘spot reduction’ was a myth, but it seemed that Roy Tobing had busted this myth and he had thousands of people substantiating his claim. This intrigued me, and I was eager to find out more, so I pitched the story to a newspaper, which gave me the go-ahead to write a feature article on it.
As part of my research, I signed up for a 10-day course at his studio and conducted interviews with him and the participants of his course through the period. The course consisted simply of one-hour daily workouts. I found the movements quite difficult at first – not in a technical sense but because I was more used to doing hard exercises in those days and was resistant to anything that was slower, graceful, feminine. I was addicted to the false sense of power I was getting by nurturing my rage, and mistakenly thought that anything feminine would make me weak.
His staff would take a measurement of every participant’s body before and after the course. Without fail, every participant would show remarkable loss in inches. But what was interesting was that I had apparently shown greater results than most people. I was intrigued to find out what I was doing differently that gave me greater results than others.
I realised that whilst I was doing the exercises I was also performing a series of mental-emotional processes. At that time, I was deeply into working through the issues that blocked me from expressing my full potential, and I was using the workouts as a platform to break through my blocks. Whereas I would often hit a wall whenever I did the work sitting still, I found that doing it while concurrently moving my body and breathing in a certain way helped to take my personal growth to the next level easily.
For the next few years, after my article was published and I’d stopped attending the classes, I thought about this exercise from time to time. Even when I wasn’t doing the exercises, my mind continued to appreciate its potential for healing and would begin to form creative processes that would enhance this healing. I didn’t know it at the time but I was starting to develop my own self-empowerment system.
Several years later, I found myself in a transitional stage after leaving a stressful life in Indonesia and moving to Thailand. I decided to pull together all the things I was interested in to create doing something I would love to do, something that was completely different from my previous formal jobs. I realised that all the things I loved doing were what I had already started doing in the past; some were aspects of my previous jobs but which I wasn’t paid specifically to do, including life coaching, training, personal development and spiritual growth facilitation. Additionally, I reconnected to my interest in dance, body movement, energy movement, self-inquiry, creating tools to empower people, and teaching.
The one thing that came to my mind that would allow me to incorporate all these elements into one body of work was to teach my own version of Body Language. I started to formally put down on paper the various ideas that had been formulating in my mind previously, and as soon as I did so, a huge amount of information came pouring out of me. I did not stop writing for three weeks.
It was a guided process, and I was connected to a wonderful sense of creativity as my mind found links between various concepts and ideas that gave birth to some refreshing perspectives and enough material to produce a solid body of teaching. For years, I had kept a journal that recorded my profound insights and revelations about life, and I decided to incorporate those learnings into my teachings. I modified the movements to align them to my own style and natural inclinations, and shifted the focus from a purely physical level to a holistic workout where the mental, emotional and spiritual bodies were also engaged, through a series of psycho-spiritual processes.
I called my system Body Renew – “body” to represent the different bodily levels, and “renew” to reflect my fundamental belief that we can renew ourselves on every level of our being.
After the first six months of teaching Body Renew, I started to write a manual. From this, another body of knowledge flowed through me. I received guidance about the metaphysical properties of each movement, divided into six dimensions of properties. I learned that meditating on these properties while performing the movements could open up worlds internally, so I started to refer to them as “door opening” movements. This became a system on its own, within the bigger system, and it provided tremendous opportunities for practitioners to heal and empower themselves.
Besides creating a system that has helped others, my own healing and growth have accelerated through my own practice of this system. It has helped me to heal my image of myself to a point where I can now appreciate my true beauty and worth, and most profoundly, it has facilitated me in moving into my feminine power. What I had thought of as a weakness has revealed itself to be a remarkable source of strength that has empowered me and enriched my life.
Alchemy: The Only Way Out is Through
Gradually, as I continued to teach Body Renew, I shifted my focus more and more to the spiritual-energetic aspect. As my own physical body became less and less of a focus in my self-image (i.e. I started to see myself more and more as a spiritual being), I became more drawn to working with the spiritual-energetic aspect of the movements.
Around that time, my search for unusual sources of power had led me to seeing pain as a source of power. I started to receive strong ideas to write a book that would expand on the philosophy behind Body Renew, and everything I believed about life, our place in it, and how to manoeuvre ourselves out of low-level struggles. I finished writing the book in a year, and what I produced was an in-depth guide on how to process our pain to turn it into power.
Where Body Renew can back it up, as a tool for this process, is the practice of using the body as a microcosmic representation of one’s entire world. Within that, there are many healing processes that can transform a person’s world. I felt the presence of my spirit guides, guiding me to gain clarity when clarity was needed.
Eventually, what I was guided to do was to use the body as a vehicle to transmute pain into joy and empowerment, using pain as raw material to generate something positive. Later on, I found similarities with what is termed “internal alchemy” in Taoist esoteric practices. Combining it with my earlier learning that shifting our internal world can bring changes to our external world, I saw an emerging practice of personal alchemy that has put a lot of power back into my life. This is now a major focus of my work for those who have done enough personal work to lay a solid foundation for more ‘advanced’ work requiring a great degree of courage, sense of adventure and self-responsibility.
My work as a therapist grew as more and more people with depression, addictions and body image issues showed up seeking guidance. It was an easy role for me to flow into since I’d had years of unintentionally honing the various qualities that make for a versatile therapist. Being in a position to use my learnings and share the wisdom I had received to facilitate liberation from the very afflictions I had endured made my work fulfilling for the first time in my life.
Eventually, it led me to work in the specialised field of addictions, which seemed a natural progression considering my background and work experience up to that point. That platform enabled me to gradually bring out and consolidate more and more of what I knew about healing, human sickness and suffering. It also highlighted to me the limitations of what was being offered in the mainstream – but every awareness of limitations became an opportunity for me to ‘fill the holes’ with more of my own tools and seeing what would enhance healing.
Emerging Soul Work
Throughout my work as a therapist, I have battled an internal war of head-versus-heart. In simple terms, I’ve been too scared to completely let go of my analytical, structured, intellectual – acceptable – approaches and plunge into the depth of spirit work. My strength in the former sphere has been an asset, especially in working with individuals who are also very strong in their intellectual sphere, because I have an ability to explain and convey spiritual concepts in a way that is clear, grounded and therefore, non-threatening. This has allowed me to reach people who might otherwise have remained closed off to a greater body of resources within them.
Yet my experience informs me that the real work starts when we move into the realm of spirit. Whilst working on the mental-cognitive realm helps break down the ego barriers, transformation takes place when the individual enters with me into the invisible world.
In recent years, I have received guidance to be truer to my authentic work. There is an increasing sense of urgency in the messages I receive from my spirit guides to connect deeper to my primordial wisdom and shed the steps that make the work more complex than it needs to be. From this, I have adopted a sense of urgency when working with clients – which is not to be confused with impatience but an urgency to cut through the superficial layers and go to the deepest layer possible.
The messages I receive seem to emphasise the importance of helping individuals to awaken to their hearts and connect to their true spiritual powers. It appears that we are at a pivotal point where humanity must evolve or self-destruct, and it hinges on whether we can shed our collective masks and reveal our authentic selves. Heeding these messages has led me to creating programmes that focus on awakening the hearts of individuals using addictions and other afflictions as a gateway.
My work as a soul worker is still emerging. I am increasingly being guided to deepen my connection to the wisdom of power animals and nature – and this will likely shape my work in the future.
For more than 10 years, I have been having visions of plants every night just before dropping off to sleep, as though the plant spirit world is calling out for me to hear their music the way I had as a child.
I hear the calling from The Mother spirit to tune into the heartbeat of the Earth which drums so loudly whenever I connect with several power spots around the world.
The more I tune into the animals that inhabit our world, the more I am able to appreciate the innocence of their spirit. The contrast between the power of the purity of hearts, and our diluted power due to ego-driven lifestyles that disconnect us from our hearts, is made even more apparent.
Thus, the urgency to redirect us back to the human heart, as part of the spiritual purpose of soul work.
Groundbreaking Work to Heal Shame
In 2014, I was guided intuitively to write a book on healing shame. I finished writing this book in few months and began sharing the groundbreaking techniques that I was given. The book ‘Embrace The Unlovable’ rocked the boat for some people, as it went against the grain of some conventionally accepted principles. But for those who were ready for this deeper level of healing, the wisdom and tool brought permanent liberation from lifelong patterns of self-rejection. As shame is healed, what’s being revealed is divine beauty and love.
Dissolving Unwanted Reality
Just a year after my second book, I was given a body of wisdom to teach and share with the world. In 2015, I wrote ‘Magical Possibilities: The Art of Dissolving Unwanted Reality’ and have been passionately teaching it ever since. In many ways, this teaching is the culmination of all my years of exploring the nature of reality, and in an instant download I was given the concrete steps to transform the reality we feel stuck in.
These two books solidified my strengths as a facilitator of transformation.
Immersion Into Spiritual Realms of Multi-Dimensionality
Eventually, I found myself at a place where I could let go of my resistance to being a spiritual worker first and foremost. My own personal practice in the bodies of wisdom channeled through me for my last two books had elevated my consciousness to the point where I have no doubt that spirituality is truly where it is at when it comes to healing and transformation.
When working with clients, I tend to pull out spiritual tools first and aim to shift the energetics, which is beyond the cognitive and emotional levels, and where the deepest healings can take place. I hold frequent Soul Alignment Circles where the focus is on aligning back with our soul, the premise being that problems crop up when we’re out of alignment. I am comfortable with having reclaimed the path I was destined for, as from the very beginning I was always guided back to here.
In the process, I have opened up to becoming more multi-dimensional: sensing and perceiving more layers of reality, and thus, eradicating more limitations. In essence, it is a return to who I had always known myself to be, before my first disconnection.