For most people, spring, which we’re celebrating now in the Northern Hemisphere, is a period defined by rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation. It’s a fantastic time to take stock of our health and lives, putting a lens on who we are and where we’re going, especially as we climb out of hibernation and take in the magical, powerful, life-giving rays of the great yellow sun in the big blue sky.
Oh, how good this feels! Toe-curling good!
For me, I’m in the midst of a period of tremendous emotional release during a long, hard dark night of the soul and feel like a phoenix slowly rising from the ashes. No matter how brutal and unrelenting life has been for me, I’m grateful to be alive, taking the hits and keeping myself moving forward, in the direction of all my goals. It’s my hope that this story will impact and motivate some of you to explore a couple of natural health and personal development modalities I’ve recently embraced. It’s my hope that, through them, you’ll find tremendous relief and joy, just as I have.
Dark Night of the Soul: 2018 Was the Most Challenging Year of My Life
One year ago today, I was separated from my beloved cat, Inky, a.k.a. “Little Moo,” of 18 years and lost everything I owned except my car, Chromebook, phone and clothes on my back. After getting a call late this afternoon 365 days ago, I rushed home to my rental cottage to see it completely engulfed in flames, and my heart sank. All my thoughts went to Little Moo. Did she escape when the floor in one room collapsed? I’ll never know. I returned four times to find her and passed out fliers, but our physical connection was no more. I am choosing to live with the thought that she made it out alive and is teaching some young kitties all her dynamic wisdom.
Early the evening of the fire, I began driving to my parents’ house a half-hour away when I realized I had no food for dinner and no food for the days to come. I just lost my cat and practically everything I had bought over the previous four-and-a-half years after selling and giving away everything I owned before unsuccessfully moving to Thailand in 2013, and then suddenly I was jolted back to the real world of short-term needs. A Gangster Vegan location was along my drive, and I stopped to pick up a taco salad. The look on my face told a story to the team member who took my order. I was shocked to the point of numbness by what was happening in my life. The man who made my dinner said, “Your life is about to get a whole lot better.”
But it didn’t.
It got worse.
The turmoil amplified less than three weeks later, when a childhood friend and marketing and SEO visionary who recruited me for a copywriting job a half-year earlier was fired, forced out based on the lies of two ugly, soulless conspiring managers. For me, the ground caved. I knew what was coming for me, and it was just another huge thing to have to deal with. I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted, trying to keep a job with a longer commute while searching for a place to live most nights after work and staying in my sister’s basement. I was also having to play detective because no one—not my former landlord, not the fire marshall and not fire departments—was forthcoming with information about the fire beyond what the fire marshall told me colloquially the morning after. The landlord’s home insurance covered none of my items, but she agreed to pay for items stored in the shared kitchen—and then she shut me out completely, giving me nothing and blocking my emails. I woke up one Saturday in April with, at the time, the worst headache of my life on my way to a shingles outbreak that covered the left side of my scalp and encroached on my left eye, threatening its vision.
All this, and life kept coming after me with big angry fists. I told myself I would stay as strong as possible and learn what I could from these events, turning the lessons into advantages. It’s moments such as these that truly test you. I kept my spirit up.
The next blow came when I was fired in September after these same despicable managers sold HR and the CEO on a pack of lies about me, breaking every rule in their company handbook. As much as I felt safe on no ground whatsoever by now, I was grateful to be able to breathe again after shouldering unbearable stress every day for five months.
There I was the night of September 7, processing it all. I was just about broke, having little in savings and facing massive debt. I went through a fire, the firing of the best boss I ever had, a health challenge that hampered my vision all spring and part of the summer and cost me thousands of dollars, and then I was wrongfully fired. This, folks, marked my 2018.
My 2017 wasn’t kind to me either. I was run out of a mentor’s house, where I had rented a room, by a maniacal drummer who considered the whole house to be his musical studio, showing zero regard to others, even when police came to pay visits because the mentor and landlord just couldn’t bring himself to take action. I lost my closest friend of seven years and a business partner in this mentor as well as a community where I was a leader, giving many presentations and running health festivals over five years. I was also lied to and verbally abused by a boss at a freelance video SEO job I had for a few months. This boss frequently withheld payments as long as he could get away with, all while promising me and a few others we’d be millionaires in 18 months despite sharing no requested legal documentation.
Dark Night of the Soul: What Does It All Mean?
“What does all this mean?” I wondered. “Why am I attracting all these crazy characters and all this mayhem and suffering into my life? Am I atoning for grievances in a past life or this life?” All I have wanted to do for many years is to help people as part of my mission, make a good living pursuing my passion, and live simply, fulfilling my desire to be a fruitarian in sun-splashed nature most of my days.
I was mired in a dark night of the soul.
The phrase “dark night of the soul” originates from a 16th century poem of the same name by St. John of the Cross. Over time, a “dark night of the soul” has come to refer to a period of spiritual desolation in which all sense of consolation is removed.
I finally had time to just stop. Since the dawn of 2012, I had averaged mostly 80-hour weeks. I had built Fruit-Powered into a powerhouse health destination, calling for enormous time and money investments, even going into debt partially because of the costs involved. I had worked some survival jobs for periods of time and even went back for a full-time desk job, my first in four years, when my friend called me. And now I was taking a long-overdue break to stop, listen, think and regroup.
My saving graces during this time—and at all times of my recent life—are my unfailing commitment to what I consider to be the best diet and exercise practices out there along with meditation. My other saving grace was a tabby kitten with defined stripes I adopted, Blossom, who I often call Baby Blossom because of her diminutive frame.
And then some new things entered my life.
Shift from Dark Night of the Soul Comes First with Embrace of the Sedona Method, Helping Promote Emotional Release
I connected with my friend Irene Bojczuk, a Philadelphia-based personal growth and success coach since 1987, who advised me in October 2018 to explore and practice The Sedona Method. The Sedona Method was formally created by Lester Levenson in 1973 after he developed this self-therapy for emotional release over many previous years. Lester Levenson, at age 42 in 1952, was a successful physicist and entrepreneur but was unhappy and unhealthy. Doctors gave him three months to live, and then he discovered two truths that saved his life.
Lester Levenson learned that his own feelings were the cause of all his problems—not the world or the people in it. He found that his own feelings were what he had struggled against. This struggle ate him up and tore him apart, destroying his health, happiness and life.
Lester Levenson also learned that he had the ability to let go of his feelings in the form of emotional release. Whereas before he suppressed, coped with and vented feelings, he now found out how to completely discharge them and all their negative influences from his life.
The Sedona Method has evolved over the years, and Hale Dwoskin, Lester Levenson’s finest pupil, who helped bring The Sedona Method to a worldwide audience in the past several decades, calls for a Six-Step Release Cycle in The Sedona Method book. At its core, The Sedona Method calls for us to give the time and space to focus on issues we would like to feel better about. We welcome the feelings connected to each issue, and, looking at the Chart of Imperturbability, containing dozens of emotions, write down what these feelings are. This chart lists nine umbrella emotions: apathy, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride, courageousness, acceptance and peace.
We next ask, taking the time to think about and answer each in a declarative tone:
- Could I let this feeling go?
- Would I?
This process is repeated until you feel the feelings leave you. My instincts told me to do this while laying in bed, with my back, shoulders and necked propped up on a wedge pillow. I found it helpful to take big breaths and exhale slowing while saying “Now” in answering the question “When?” I could literally feel feelings leave my body, shooting down my chest, through my legs and exiting from my toes. It is extraordinary, powerful and freeing, this emotional release.
I dug deep, looking at what I wanted to change in my life to healing from events that caused me trauma. I went back years and years to get at things that I knew continued to cause a storm in my mind from time to time. I had to let go. Meditation has helped me lots with regard to visualizing my life, healing from traumas and quieting my mind, but my practice of The Sedona Method heightened the level of emotional release I began enjoying starting with the launch of my practice, in October 2018. A key part of The Sedona Method is that it forces you to confront and define your emotions with regard to events, situations, people and other things in your life and focus on removing these feelings from your mind and body. Let me tell you, you feel it!
Some days, I had to put on the brakes, feeling achy and tired as deep-seated memories and emotions came rushing to the surface as if they were catching their breath after being held underwater. I even felt nasty at times, but only briefly such as for a day or two. This reminded me of my experience in starting my green smoothie revolution, back in spring 2010. A few weeks in, I found myself gorging on animal products from fast-food joints for a week because, I think, my body was off-kilter. I was consuming so much good food in fruit and greens and eliminating so many stored toxins that enough toxins got kicked around in my bloodstream, confusing my body. I then hit my stride on my way to becoming vegan on October 1, 2010, and raw vegan on January 1, 2011.
Anyone who’s invested in personal development, a world in which I’ve been a serious student since 2013, is familiar with the notion of staying positive. Some, I believe, take this too far, wanting to dress up any negative situation immediately in pretty clothes without ever looking at and learning from tough situations. I don’t think it’s possible to grow as much as possible without doing some hard work. You can’t help yourself or the world if you think you or it are perfect, after all.
Thinking positively on its own doesn’t work, according to Hale Dwoskin. “When you’re trying to think positively without letting go of those uncomfortable feelings, it’s like putting good apples on top of a barrel full of rotten apples,” he says. “What’s eventually going to happen even to the good ones? They’re going to rot. That’s what happens with positive feelings and positive programming and positive thinking when you’re not letting go of the negative. So what we do here is we assume that underneath all those apples in the barrel, the barrel’s made of gold. If you’re willing to dig out those rotten apples and all those uncomfortable feelings, you’ll discover that gold within you, and you also start to see it in your life.”
Emotional Release and Understanding of Myself Deepens with Neuro Emotional Technique Sessions
I also reconnected in December 2018 with Kitty Ghen, a leading guide in personal development and health services, serving Greater Philadelphians since 2002. Kitty Ghen specializes in Neuro Emotional Technique, and we began meeting about weekly for several months after I got my feet wet with NET sessions with her in summer 2017. Emotions amass as chemicals in the body, and Neuro Emotional Technique works physiologically on the body.
When we experience events in our lives, our brains release chemicals into the blood, and our biochemical bodies register feelings such as love, confidence, anger or fear. These chemicals are supposed to be released, but often they get trapped in the body, binding at receptor sites. Anger binds at the liver and gallbladder, and fear attaches to the kidneys and bladder, for example. These receptor sites are designed to attract chemicals to help the body operate. If these receptor sites are overrun with stored chemicals, amassed from feelings connected to life experiences, our bodies will reach a point at which they cannot run efficiently.
With these lodged chemicals attached to receptor sites, patterns get to be instilled in the body. Whenever our subconscious brains connect a new event with an old event, our bodies react by storing these new chemicals in the same places they put the chemicals linked to old events. This is why folks experience repeated episodes such as continually making the mistake of dating romantic partners who aren’t the best fits for them.
Neuro Emotional Technique applies gentle muscle testing in finding original events, referred to as cathexes and defined as the investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object or idea. This modality helps reach these chemical patterns, and patients experience physical release from the binding sites.
In working with Kitty Ghen—truly one of the world’s finest Neuro Emotional Technique practitioners—the lid came off my head. My mind was blown over how much I came to understand myself and my choices in life. We covered a lot of ground, and many events at certain times of my life are connected with later thoughts, attitudes and choices. We continually went back to when I was 18 years old and a freshman at the University of Maryland. In my first semester, I was enrolled in the college’s engineering program, and in my second semester, I was in the computer science program. Half the 10 courses I took were weeding-out classes, designed to boot out those who aren’t up to snuff to advance in two of the best technical programs in the United States. They sure weeded me out, and I got my first “F” on my way to failing out of the school by one-hundredth of a point in my grade-point average.
I followed up this challenging experience by doing very well at Penn State University as a journalism major, completing six internships beyond writing for college newspapers, including one internship at a top-50 U.S. newspaper. A Pulitzer Prize-winning former Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor who became a professor set me up with my last internship, which turned into my first full-time job. These were huge successes, but they didn’t erase the past. This Maryland experience caused devastation in me, someone who wanted to do well and certainly put in his best effort. Chemicals from the emotions I experienced during this tumultuous time period bound inside me, creating patterns that played out throughout my life.
We focused on my relationship with my parents. We zoomed in on the challenges of being a fruitarian in a world dominated by 15-minute meals of animal, cooked and processed foods, especially when it comes to survival jobs. We examined my money issues and obstacles in manifesting money, in breaking through financially with my business. We looked at the time in my senior year of high school when I started a petition on a brown paper bag while working as a supermarket cashier. I had wanted the company to bring back its program of rewarding honor-roll students with gift certificates in what might’ve been my first instance of activism. We also went time and time again back to a concept completely new to me: having had a vanishing twin. I am absolutely driven to help people improve their health in the same kind of way legendary New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is driven to win Lombardi Trophies. My body told us that I had a vanishing twin with me in my mother’s womb and that my drive is buoyed by my wanting to help people because I couldn’t help my twin. Kitty Ghen informed me that lots of healers and even first responders such as firefighters had a vanishing twin.
Just as with The Sedona Method, I felt a change during and after my Neuro Emotional Technique sessions. Only with Neuro Emotional Technique, I always felt good. Many times, I felt extraordinary! I recall telling Kitty Ghen that, the day after a session, I had my best day in a whole year, going all the way back to January 2018, when I snapped back after a healing opportunity with electric energy and divine inspiration to overhaul my posture correction exercises and calisthenics workout routine, start creating new exercises in my Posture Exercises Method and approach my website in a fresh new light. I’ve loved how deep we go with and what we unearth during these magical Neuro Emotional Technique sessions.
I will forever be grateful to Kitty Ghen, who displays exceptional kindness and has an amazing heart, for being a mentor to me during this challenging time in my life. I am fascinated with her ability to connect dots in my life that I can’t see, producing many eureka moments. This is an extraordinary gift. My working with her makes me think how lucky I’ve been to have gotten to work with many mentors in recent years, from Dr. Barry Gillespie, Ellen Champion and Betty Korba to Don Bennett, Arnold Kauffman and Dr. David Klein.
Consider Embracing Natural Health and Personal Development Modalities to Help You Live a Better Life
The Sedona Method and Neuro Emotional Technique have shown me much about myself and how experiences and emotions can deeply influence our lives. These are wonderful emotional release modalities that not only affect your health but personal development. These modalities are helping me, hopefully, turn a corner from a dark night of the soul and move on, all the wiser.
I wish I could say I’m out of the woods with my recent struggles. I wish I had some incredible news to share beyond my gratitude for learning about and experiencing The Sedona Method and Neuro Emotional Technique. The truth is, I’m still struggling and a work in progress. The reality is, we’re always a work in progress no matter how high we’re flying or whether we’re stuck in a rut.
This spring, as you’re moving through a rebirth, renewal and rejuvenation of your own, consider stretching your wings and embracing The Sedona Method and Neuro Emotional Technique. I trust you’ll be glad you did!
Wishing you peace, love, health, happiness, freedom, truth and passion!