It was in February 2017 that I first heard about Diederik Wolsak’s work and the Six Step process.
At that point I had been a student of the Course in Miracles for 4 months and had been hoping for the miracle that would take me out of the deep anxiety and the feeling of hopelessness that I felt on and off for years. My life had become one coping mechanism after another for years, between a desperate spiritual practice, tools and medicine journeys, workshops, study groups and I had spent thousands of Dollars and countless hours in online courses to try to find out what was wrong with me – I figured there had to be something wrong with me because despite all the efforts, and the deep spiritual journeys, realizations and having lived in an Ashram for years nothing seemed to last more than a couple of days or weeks at best, before that same old feeling of desperation and being a failure came back. What was wrong with me??
I was 50 years and I felt like all my childhood fears and anxieties, followed by rage and depression, had been catching up with me. The more I wanted to get away from it, the faster it came up, the more intense it became … I encountered the voice of hate and fear that I had known since my childhood telling me I was never going to get “it” and would have to continue this lifetime in a state of coping at best, hopelessness at worst. I felt trapped, desperate and tired beyond my wildest imaginations.
When a friend suggested the Six Step process based on the Course in Miracles, I agreed half desperate, half hoping that the word ‘miracle’ would be of good fortune this time …
Upon watching the videos about the process, I decided to see if this would work for me and I started going through the process by myself as best as I could. I was fascinated and at the same time horrified by what came up within me, the wounds I thought I had left behind and the depths of desperation I felt. It was like staring into a sea of sadness that I had been avoiding and that I never really dared to talk about.
I continued doing the Six Step process but there was a point where I felt I needed help going deeper, help from someone who had been doing that precise work and that I could work with before I would give up and into the feeling and the voice that told me that my life was a burden to others and I should think about ending it rather than feeling that much desperation. I needed help!
I finally got in touch with the Center in Costa Rica and was warmly welcomed with some questions and information plus an invitation to come anytime and join them. The Center invited me to think about staying at least a month for a deep dive and a lasting transformational experience and I prayed for guidance on how to find the money, time and courage. I weighed the investment toward the cost of not going and answered - YES.
My journey began with hurricane Irma delaying flights and me panicking that I would not be able to go or stay as long as I needed to “get it” and come back healed… the whirlwind of fear inside of me was perfectly mirrored in the world around me and I rendezvoused with all kinds of fear before arriving in Liberia.
I was welcomed by Andrea, one of the wonderful facilitators and amazing manager of the center. Her warm hug and smile immediately made me feel safe and the group of participants took me to my first day of healing to the beach – a true treat!
I spent the day admiring the openness of the facilitators and felt as if I had been part of the group for days or weeks. I finally fell in bed that night hoping that this trip would really be the healing journey I had hoped for … and I had no idea that it was that and so much more.
The next day after yoga, a short meditation and breakfast I met Paul, another amazingly skilled facilitator. His first question after the introduction to me was:” What are you hoping to gain from your stay here”, and my immediate answer was “I want to learn to love myself and my life again”. He gently asked:” And what are you willing to give up for this?” I paused before I answered, “Anything that stands in the way between that goal and me”. And so I started my journey …
I got used to a daily routine and I learned to be completely present – nowhere to go, nothing to do but be here and now, no distractions but my mind and the nature which was spectacularly beautiful and for me, quite overwhelming. As the days passed and I dove deeper in the process for hours each day, I realized how much of these old wounds were present in everyone around me in a different form. Every participant was Me in another form with a different story.
Every process brought up more and deeper memories, and I would face each one of them not knowing where it would lead me but feeling that I was safe and held by everyone around me. Everyone became my mirror and I stared at my ego at night when I could not sleep, hoping the pain would stop and I could finally forgive myself.
Here, life was simple – same daily routine with slight variations, the invitation to process whenever something came up, to let go and choose different. Inside, it felt like the same ego, the same old voice that started with fear, went through guilt and then became vicious - the deeper I went into forgiveness and letting go, the more viciously the ego popped up … the facilitators all listened kindly, their gentle but neutral message was always the same – we hear you, are you ready to forgive, to let go and to choose differently? I was amazed by their calm attitude and their loving and peaceful words. Each one worked relentlessly to lift us up when we were ready and willing to do so. The work was felt in my body at the deepest level and I cried for the first three weeks every single day, either with the group or alone but I felt after a couple of weeks that little by little this huge burden started to be lifted.
I became radically honest with myself and I learned radical forgiveness. I learned that self-love is the other side of forgiveness, and that my story was just that – a story I had mistaken for my life. And finally I not only saw but deeply realized that I had a choice, that I was free to choose again and again and again. I started feeling it, seeing in within and without, witnessing the world I saw transforming before my eyes and most of all - I started feeling love for myself. Real, true love for this body, this mind, this whole being. For my humanness and all the past ‘mistakes’ which were just experiences. And I forgave myself for all the times I hated myself. I felt gratitude for my life, for myself and the gift that I decided to come here and to give my time and myself to the process fully, the gift of becoming my true Self. That real Self started emerging as if awoken from a deep sleep, it was subtle at first and yet stronger than anything I ever felt before.
I realized that I did not have to learn anything or radically change my life – I simply had to unlearn all the old, let go and give it up to the Spirit of Love that has always been inside of me, to feel and be that wonderful amazing love, joy and peace that is my true essence.
The process of unlearning is ever present. The process of getting through this phase of unlearning as described by Diederik and applied by all the facilitators is simply forgiveness and a shift in perception - it is simple and truly miraculous. All it takes is my willingness and my practice to continue daily to let go and forgive, to choose again and let go and forgive and choose again.
It became easier, faster, maybe because after 4 weeks the neuropathways were starting to be re-wired into a new pattern, a new behavior and a new attitude. The course states it simply – all it take is a little willingness on our part to be open. For me, it was a radical willingness not to give up, to stay open and to receive the loving kindness of the people around me, of nature, of all that was offered. I add gratitude, that miraculous tool that opens all the doors to a new perception and perspective.
When I left to go home after a month I did not know if I was ready for all that would await me on the other side of this reality – going back into the same life and being my Self, different and yet the same. I left knowing that every tool that I learned and applied for weeks – be it the process, the Yoga Nidra, the tapping or breathing techniques – I knew, I would take them with me. There is nothing magical about this process – it is simply the willingness to be completely honest, to forgive and be willing to go through it. And apply it. And choose again. And again. And again.
I have been home for a month now and life has been so different – for me. The outside is the same but my outlook is different. I don’t get angry anymore as I used to, I don’t feel depressed or hopeless and when I get upset I remember. I process immediately, every day and sometimes I touch old wounds again. And it is OK, I feel the pain and I can embrace it. My daughter says I am happier, calmer and more kind. I taught her about self-love and forgiving oneself. Whatever resonates with her, this too I let go of – wanting others to change or accept my ideas. This is about me and it lifts the burden I carried.
In essence, nothing has changed and everything has changed. I accept who I am and I am loving life again and living freer and freer.
And I love myself –I mean: I love myself fully! In all my humanness and all my divinity. Every upset is gold, every misperception is a gift. Because they are the same. There is only One Truth and that is the gift of this process … nothing is rejected, everything is embraced to be integrated so that I can be the gift that I always felt inside.
I realize that I am the creator of my reality, that I am never alone because I am that which always was and always is. I AM That. And: this is available to everyone who chooses it.
When I forget, I choose to remember. And to forgive. And then I choose again and again.
And I am grateful. Every day. Such gratitude for this gift of awakening to the Truth of who I am. For everyone who made this stay possible. And for my own willingness.
El Cielo – the name says it all… Thank you God
P. L. - Intensive Retreat Centre Guest
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