The achievement wheel is a treasured American institution. We are groomed early on in a structured education system to strive for that golden place of success defined by titles and prestige, our own small piece of the American dream. As the 2010 documentary “Race to Nowhere” points out, these pressured expectations have been produced and reinforced by the culture at large, from colleges to parents to workplaces, and these messages get internalized by kids from a young age. Many of us continue on this treadmill of achievement and expectations long after we have left grammar school and grades behind…
And I was no exception.
After perfecting my high school educational manifesto and making my way through an Ivy League college degree, the next obvious step for me seemed to be the world of cubicles and commuting. When I took my first job in 2006 as an entry-level publicist at a corporate book publishing company in New York City, I thought I had made it.
As the new year is in full swing, I’m looking back at the past month or two and am grateful for the opportunities that popped up to share more of my story and talk about psychology, energy healing and women.
In December, Joanna Chan and I were interviewed on WBAI The Positive Mind radio show in New York City in anticipation of our December 13th womens’ event, Trusting Transition.
We had a small intimate ground of women discussing and sharing their own paths and hopes for moving forward in the New Year. Through energy healing, intention-setting, discussing needs and values, and guided meditations we all (even Joanna and I!) made shifts to set us up for the fresh energy of 2018.
On the Positive Mind radio show, Joanna and I got to speak more about women in transition, our own personal transitions, and how to confront fears and blocks to change. We even spoke about how focused intention-setting and groups of women coming together in support of one another can be powerful to elicit changes. Listen here (part of the audio on the recording gets cut off in the beginning, so to skip that part start at about 3 min in):
Then, on December 31st, I was pleased to debut an interview with my friend and meditation facilitator, Jeff Carreira. In the discussion, we go in all different directions, speaking about Jeff’s kundalini awakening, my kundalini experience, what starts to happen after kundalini awakens in the body, and what specifically started to unfold for me afterwards. We also talk more about energy healing and the future of psychology as we start to learn more about and understand these sorts of phenomena as a culture.
It’s the age-old question, the source of our existential angst….
Ultimately, it’s a much bigger question than can really be answered in a blog post, or even two or three.
But I’ll give it a try…
So why are you here? What are you doing here in this body? Why are you here, in this spacesuit of skin and bones, looking through your eyes?
It’s clear that the identities and meaning we create through social media aren’t always the authentic version of ourselves, and the freedoms we have sought through the mobile worlds at our fingertips sometimes only serve to keep us more bound up in one version of reality. We have created a vast world for ourselves through technology in the name of broader horizons, yet have somehow managed to stuff our true selves deeper down into hidden places, far beyond the online profiles and photo collages.
Engaging with technology requires us to constantly engage with stimulation outside of ourselves, to seek answers outside of ourselves. We think perhaps we can fill the many voids and spaces within us with the knowledge gained through this continuous engagement with information and content. But what if all the answers we seek already lie within?
I’ve contemplated writing about my spiritual awakening experience for a while now, but it has never quite felt like the right time. Words aren’t always adequate to capture an experience that’s both deeply personal and is best understood as a felt, embodied sense rather than something that can be described and analyzed. But I am going to try my best because it feels important to begin sharing how my own path has included twists and turns for those who may have had their own interesting, unexplainable experiences.
I grew up within the Catholic religion, experiencing all the prescribed milestones throughout my childhood: Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation. I even had the opportunity to visit the Vatican and see the pope from afar in my teens. While I always appreciated the rich tradition that Catholicism provided, beautiful religious art and architecture especially, as I grew into my late teens and early 20’s I began to look at religion as a cultural signpost, a representation of my heritage, rather than as a spiritual tradition. I recognized that religion did provide spiritual support for many and good moral foundations, but it had never fully connected the dots for me and the dogma didn’t seem to fit my developing sense of self-autonomy. And so I left it at that….without the drive to explore further, I labeled myself as agnostic in my young adulthood and visited Church only on holidays.
Science and research became another “religion” of sorts for me in my late 20’s as I entered graduate school for psychology. It seemed to provide solidity in a way that was comforting, in a way that I could get behind. There was a prescribed sequence of inquiry, analysis, and data that research provided. My analytical left brain found satisfaction and excitement in finding new ways to explore the world of human nature through reading, citing, and conducting research. I felt like I had a greater understanding of the world, a foundation from which to base my decisions, actions, and worldview. And I did….but little did I know, as I entered my final year of graduate school, that things were about to get a whole lot less linear.
I’m excited to announce that I am now offering more remote coaching and energy healing service for those outside of New York State…
Are you looking for a clearing and reset of your energy field and a deeper dive into removing the mental, emotional, and energetic blocks holding you back from moving forward? Are you looking for a deeper insight into subconscious core beliefs and intuitive guidance on specific life concerns? Try an Energy Renewal session: http://healrenewtherapy.com/energy-psychology-1/
Do you want to refine your life goals and create your next steps in alignment with your highest vision and path? Are you a spiritual seeker or on a healing path looking to get in tune with your own higher guidance, define your soul-based values, or dive deeper into shadow work and clear old beliefs or traumas? Try online Skype transpersonal coaching sessions, which blend a focus on your everyday life goals with the path your Soul is destined to take: http://healrenewtherapy.com/transpersonal-coaching/
Tara Cuskley, Psy. D. is a licensed psychologist, Reiki Master, and energy healer based in New York City. For more information, visit: http://www.healrenewtherapy.com
More and more, I am hearing stories from parents and educators of an epidemic in our schools. Seemingly on an upward trend each year, mainstream school classrooms are more packed with children with IEPs (individualized education plans) or needing additional services like counseling, than ever before. They may be given labels like high-functioning autism, ADHD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or are anxious or depressed. There are times when a single diagnosis fits perfectly for these kids and leads to the access of appropriate school services and therapies. But for more and more of these children, there seems to be a blending and overlap of symptoms in diagnostic categories, leading to unclear diagnoses or more than one diagnosis, or only a few scattered characteristics with no clear diagnosis. They may not fit in with their peers, often struggle with their emotions, and have difficulty with a traditionally structured school day, or even shut down, refusing to attend school all together. They may demonstrate high intelligence, high creativity, high emotionality or empathy, but combined with oppositionality, anxiety, sensitivity to external stimuli, attention problems, or obsessive thinking and perfectionism, it makes functioning in traditional classrooms difficult to say the least.
Parents and professionals in the psychological field are struggling to understand this growing group of children who don’t fit into traditional special education services, yet aren’t quite served by the mainstream model either. We are coming to terms with the differences we see children facing today than when we grew up. Children now are exposed to screen time and smart phones at a younger age, with more access to immediate sensory gratification and are used to rapid attention shifting and peer scrutiny through social media. They are being asked to memorize more information from a younger age for state testing and are being placed in an academic pressure cooker of expectation by well-meaning parents and school staff who see the competitive road these youngsters face in future college and job applications. Meanwhile, they are faced with an outdated, overly structured school system, not rising to meet the needs of their increasingly stressful world and overworked, sensitive emotional systems.
I find as I commit to write more that writing is my healing. I never considered it in this way before. I thought that I’d start a blog because “I like to write,” and writing seemed like a useful tool to convey information in a way that gets my viewpoint across. Yet, I never considered that the mere flow of the words on a page, finding the exact right word that fits each second in time could be an exercise in healing.
You see a page is a blank field. There is nothing there in the beginning. The battle begins when the first word emerges. Was that what I wished to say? Is that exactly the right way to convey it? This battle often heats up when I have a plan in mind. When my analytical left brain thinks it knows what I’m supposed to say or supposed to write about, it somehow ends up jumbled up, not emerging exactly as planned.
And I fight it. I fight the very flow the page is inviting me into.
You see, I’m learning that each blank page and each moment in time seem to have a specific mandate. A specific thing is wanting to be said. And this specific thing may be very different from what I think I’m wanting to say. Perhaps this thing is emerging from my right brain, the intuitive, emotional side of myself, from which creativity seems to spring unbidden.