Carlos Castaneda would often talk, and even joke about the cult of “me, me, me”—the self-centered, human, ego-driven obsession of self-importance.
In my years of training with him, I had the opportunity to observe myself worry and be obsessed with my “self-presentation”—taking extra time to fix the way I looked, which I judged harshly. I spent so much energy in seeking external approval, and in trying to “fit in” with friends and people at work. The self-presentation, the idea I created about myself, was a heavy load to carry around. I could never feel fully satisfied. In fact, it made me feel joyless, worried and stressed out.
“There is a way out of this,” Castaneda told me one day, smiling at me, aware of my misery. “You need to leave the cult of Me, Me and create a new reference point for yourself, a new way of being by thinking of yourself as a mystery, as something to be discovered, unfolded.”
He taught me endlessly about dropping off the mask that I used to wear and to dream a new mask for myself, a new mask that would make me feel lighter, joyful, and more open. “You need to build your personal power,” he said, “and that is something that you intend, that you call upon, that you dream about.”
It has been almost 20 years since that conversation. I have been practicing tools and recapitulation to free myself from ideas of unworthiness and feeling unlovable—slowly releasing my “idea of myself,” the “me, me, me” inside me. Then something special happened to me just a few weeks ago.
Recently, I have been taking my son to the ocean for daily swims. He loves the water, and I get great pleasure watching him swim. However, every time my son asked me to join him, I resisted getting my head under the water.
I made the decision to look deeper into what was preventing me from submerging myself in the water. I immediately started remembering a time in childhood when I really enjoyed swimming. Then a memory came up about an experience in the ocean: One afternoon when I was 14, vacationing with my family, I got in the ocean and got paralyzed. I remember standing on my tippy toes, with the water just below my nose, being completely unable to move. After 20 minutes of struggling, I was able to wave my arms and was rescued by a lifeguard. It was scary, embarrassing and traumatic. I knew how to swim, but I got paralyzed by fear.
Since then, my relationship with water had somehow been frozen in time. I realize now that I’ve always found excuses for NOT going swimming. “Too cold,” “too hot,” “my hair is done,” “I don’t look good in a bathing suit,” etc, etc. It turns out that I was numbed by fear, not able to enjoy the water for more than 30 years.
So this is what I did last Friday: I went into the ocean, and I recapitulated right there in that spot, my experience as a 14-year-old. I called on my “personal power”—the part of myself connected to Spirit—and I cried (and didn’t care about people watching me). I prayed to Mother Ocean and I released a big chunk of self-defensiveness and stress. I’d been holding fear deep down in my bones without even being consciously aware of it. After that experience, which lasted around an hour, my body completely changed. I felt much more relaxed and my belly was softer. I have been sleepier and have allowed myself to take naps (something unthinkable to me just a few months ago!). I am still processing, but something fundamental shifted in a very deep way.
Getting out of the cult of “me” and awakening to my higher self has been a journey. It’s a process. It doesn’t get done in one weekend. But I can say that thanks to the consistent practice of movements and knowledge given to me by Carols Castaneda and inherited from his teacher, and to the Path with Heart classes that I have been guiding with my husband for the last five years, I have been able to release this thing that was so old and deep.
Our Path with Heart series has been especially effective in supporting this process and sustaining my energy levels and my commitment to transformation, growth and expansion of awareness.
I am a happy fish again, free from the obsession of the Me, Me, Me.