Exposing the Bully Within

I just returned from a trip to England with my young son and during this trip I became more acquainted with the bully within. I first encountered this concept of the bully through a dream that illuminated the fact that my writing was suffering due to internal interference. In this scenario, I was both the bully and the victim. The guidance I continue to receive on this and many other issues is a result of my involvement in shamanism and plant medicines for the purpose of healing and growth. During this recent trip to England it became clear to me that this bully inside of me interferes in every aspect of my life if I allow it to and I have done so because I’ve been unaware of it. Thoughts arise in my mind and are often immediately responded to by the bully sometimes in the form of ongoing harmful chatter. This affects the way I feel about myself and about everyone and everything around me. It also affects how I make decisions both big and small. I have identified it as the voice inside that asserts itself as soon as I come up with a thought or an idea – going to a store to pick up something I need, redecorating a room in a way that I have wanted to for so long, embarking on a project that intrigues me or even as I begin to imagine myself in some pleasant circumstances. Usually the reason I have put off some project is because the bully comes up with an endless list of reasons why it won’t work out or why it’s a bad idea. Sometimes this is expressed in arguments or images and other times it’s a pressure – the kind of uncomfortable pressure you might feel when you’re being scrutinized. What follows is a discouraging heaviness. Sometimes I avoid the heaviness by moving on but of course the ideas and bullying tactics simply resurface.

This situation has created a harsh atmosphere within my mind that has affected my daily experience for a very long time now. It’s been exhausting. I believe that this is what ultimately led to a deep depression that lasted for years. It was just over a year ago that I began to fully emerge from this depression although it’s been a long and involved process that became the path that I am still on today. This discovery of the bully within has had a tremendous impact on me. It was a deep knowing that I’ve experienced before when receiving these spiritually communicated insights. It occurred when I was wandering the streets of London with my son. We were venturing out to explore the area around the place where we were staying. I was excited and daunted at the same time. It was the first time that I traveled overseas alone with my young son (6 years old). We were looking for a café and some shops and as the feelings of excitement became eclipsed by the daunting feelings, there was a pause and then it was made clear to me what was happening. My inner guiding voice made me aware of the fact that the bully had taken over and that this was a common occurrence in my life.

The truth of it descended upon me and began to permeate my mind and body. It was a physical, spiritual and intellectual event. I didn’t need to rationalize it – I knew it to be true instantly. This knowing is superior to rationalization. Rationalizing is bully territory. It gives the bully an opportunity to legitimize all of its assertions and tear down the notion of its existence. Instead of rationalizing, what usually follows these revelations is processing – allowing all of the pieces to fall into place in my mind and they often do with startling effect. It’s the kind of experience that inspired exclamations like “Eureka!” or in modern times “Aha!”. As this revelation occurred, the bully subsided and I continued to walk the beautiful streets of London, marveling at both the outer and inner events of my life. I was enjoying exploring London with my son and moving through this revelation that I knew would change my life for the better although not without some work.

During this trip to England, some stressful situations arose and that is when the bully began to encroach upon my thoughts again. My son became ill and there were times that I began to question everything. It was at times like this that I was most vulnerable to the bully. Instead, I was guided: “don’t enter the victim state”. It was true that I was on the verge of tears and that my capacity to navigate this situation was being compromised by this pull towards the victim stance. I was tired and confused. I even began to write about it while my son was playing loudly with some toys in the waiting room of a walk-in clinic in Weymouth. I didn’t have long to write or to do anything but attend to my son and try to address his needs in this unfamiliar environment. My son was up throughout the night with a high fever and I used damp cloths to cool his head and read to him. We watched bad late night television until he finally fell asleep just before dawn. The next day we prepared to travel again and I wondered if he would be well enough to get on the train. As he lay on the bed my son looked up at me and said “we’re really having an adventure now aren’t we!” I smiled at his attitude after such a night and the wisdom of his statement stayed with me as I realized that challenges are pretty much an essential part of any genuine adventure.

The adventure continued as later that day I saw that my son’s eyes were becoming disturbingly red – beyond bloodshot. I knew that as soon as we got off the train and arrived in the next town, I would have to find another doctor. I heeded the guided warning each time it was given but it was a struggle. I’m so thankful that it was repeated many times as I was made to see that things would have been made so much more difficult for me (and my son for that matter) if I gave into the familiar victim state. I’ve been learning about how the external world responds to or is a reflection of our internal state and that this is why inner work is the most important work of all. Not only is this notion of reality shared by some pioneers (both new and old) in the world of quantum physics and science, it was also revealed to me in an Ayahuasca session during which my curiosity about the matter was responded to with “your reality is a result of your state”. All of the work I’ve been guided to do since then has been about improving my state. Now that I’m home safe and sound with my son who is feeling better, it’s time to address the issue of the bully within. I have to try to become more aware of this bullying in action so as to expose it and in doing so, render it powerless over me.

It has been revealed to me that this bully entity within is a composite of many negative and judgmental voices and influences that I have heard and experienced throughout my life. This is quite an extensive collection of opinions, assertions and attitudes and it will take a huge effort to oust this internal influence but I know that it’s something I must do if I am to move forward. I have been so used to tuning into spiritual guidance over the last few months that it’s almost as though this bully snuck up on me. However, now that I’m becoming more familiar with the rhythm of this healing path, it makes sense that this bully is being revealed to me prominently now so that I may address it. The voice of the bully must be heard so that I can recognize it, acknowledge the role it has played in my life and officially say goodbye to it.

Recognizing the voice of the bully within is no small task I can assure you. Often it’s like there’s a low volume radio program on inside my head and although I’m not aware of listening, the content is registering. It feels as much a part of me sometimes as breathing but I know now that it’s not a part of me at all but it’s a part of my experience and thankfully, I have a spiritual ally that will help me change this. After all, I wouldn’t even be aware of it without the help of this guidance. It’s an inner guidance that comes from an authentic place that cannot tolerate the bully. I think this bully within is the root of many issues in my life so this is an opportunity for extensive growth. In a shamanic workshop over a year ago I asked for help to silence the harmful voices within. I think that so much of the work I’ve done since then has led me here to this point of addressing the bully within. There were steps I needed to take to get here and the path continues to take twists and turns with peaks and valleys but ever upward. Sometimes the upward climb can be a strain, but it’s always rewarding.

I have been constantly given tools to negotiate this path and I can’t imagine life without them now. Some of these tools are available to anyone (the presence process, plant medicines etc.) but not necessarily appropriate for everyone and some of the tools are customized for me. I’m often given phrases, intentions and concepts that help me understand and address various issues in my life as they arise. Once I became committed to this path, the guidance was more pronounced and accessible to me and has become a way of life for me now. I’m ever grateful for this guidance I’m receiving and it’s this guiding voice that urges me to share these experiences as much as possible. The very act of sharing these experiences is healing for me and it has been very clearly indicated to me that this is my purpose. I feel the truth of this every time I share my experiences.

The Presence Process

During one of my Ayahuasca sessions in Peru I was instructed to start “The Presence Process” right away. I had bought the book before I took the trip as I had read about it on the website for the organization I visited in Peru. I had the book with me on this trip but had yet to read it and of course, Ayahuasca knew this along with all kinds of intimate details of my life. Most people who do Ayahuasca can tell you that this plant spirit reveals things that make it very clear that it has in-depth knowledge of who you are and it can be surprising at times how completely it understands you – often more than you understand yourself which is why it can be an extremely insightful experience to connect with this spirit. I had the intention of changing my life completely according to the revelations of these spiritual experiences so that I may live a more meaningful, authentic and powerful life. After reading the substantial intro to the book “The Presence Process” (almost half the book) I embarked upon a remarkable healing journey and realizing the powerful tools it had to offer, I knew why it had been recommended to me.

It’s a very difficult process and many times during it I had been desperate to find some kind of support beyond the book. I looked for some feedback about it online and it was only after I finished the process (or the main part anyway) that I found some questions and answers on the portal that was somewhat along the lines of what I had been seeking. However, I realized in retrospect that if I didn’t find it when I was looking, I wasn’t meant to. I’m beginning to have a lot more faith in these kinds of things in my life as I am now being guided in so many ways that I can’t fail to see that most if not everything in life has a rhythm and is a result of some part of who I am and where I’m at. In fact, Ayahuasca responded to my curiosity about the nature of reality by stating that my reality was a result of my ‘state’. And ever since, this spiritual presence that has remained with me has been guiding me in ways to help me change my state for the better. Some of these changes are painful and this process is a powerful vehicle that facilitates these crucial changes.

During the process I experienced a great deal of emotional upheaval. I began to realize that this was (and still is) a sort of emotional detox. It’s helpful to remember this while experiencing it because it can be confusing and discouraging. We all associate healing with good feelings but when we feel bad, we immediately think that something must be wrong. We often have this reaction when we’re feeling physically sick but again, there can be symptoms of detox that facilitate healing that are quite uncomfortable. I remember a couple of years ago having pneumonia at Christmas time. I had a fever of 104 and needless to say, I was quite seriously ill. I purged a great amount of mucous (my apologies for the graphic description) and afterwards, my chest and lungs felt better than they had felt in years. I could breathe much more easily and felt so much stronger for it. I realized then that my body was actually healing me. I think this happens far more often than any of us realize.

On an emotional level, it becomes very difficult to keep a steady view of this necessary part of healing and I still marvel at how often I am taken off guard by it when these bouts of emotional detox occur. Although I have completed the process, I am still undergoing the healing process in a more relaxed manner so to speak. When the need arises, I am able to put the tools I learned in this process to work and of course the need does arise often enough for me to know that in order to fulfill my intention, I must do a lot more healing and in so doing, continue to change my ‘state’. I often still balk at these feelings when they overcome me and once I catch myself in this familiar reaction, I realize that I must accept these feelings or I won’t be able to integrate them and therefore overcome the way they affect my life (and my reality). I can’t pretend that I always react well. It has been a huge learning curve to respond to these emotions differently than I have done for so many years but I am determined to do better each time – or to try anyway. One way or another, with a great deal of help from my guiding spirits or this ‘presence’ I’ve felt since I returned from Peru, I have managed to make progress.

It has been and continues to be a tremendous challenge and an empowering experience. I’m not sure what other people’s experience of this process is but I know that I’m just so grateful for the guidance I received during it and continue to receive. I would be interested in hearing about other people’s experiences and whether or not they felt a presence working with them. I want to make it clear that I’m not in a position to guide or advise anyone else because I know how unique everyone’s situation is, and from what I can gather, this process is about working one on one with presence itself to sort out these very personal issues. Having said this, I also know that sometimes it can be helpful just to share experiences and give and receive support when going through such a challenging process. My process was and continues to be fully guided and I was given some very specific instructions while going through this experience. I continue to be guided and although I may still get confused at times and feel doubt, I know that my life is immeasurably richer in every way due to the guidance I receive. I can only hope that others find their own way of seeking internal guidance, as I believe that this is the way that our world will truly change for the better.

Post Script: The source for Q&A provided by the author of The Presence Process that I found after the fact can be accessed now through this link: http://presenceprocessquestions.blogspot.ca/2009/07/i-have-done-presence-process-twice-but.html