Independence and Suicide (Reconciling my teacher’s death)

Independence and Suicide (Reconciling my teacher’s death)


Sunday morning, an hour before opening Inner Sanctuary, I checked my email and found a note from my PSYCH-K® teacher. He was saying goodbye.


Over the last year and a half, he had shared with me his 13-year struggle with chronic fatigue, and his inability to connect deeply with his human existence.


In this time, I too had my private moments of struggle with fatigue and the penetrating frustration that ensues when it seems nothing you try is working.


He was near the abyss. I was too some days.


He was nearer.




Some say suicide is never the answer.




Independence Day is this week. The death of my teacher has me considering what freedom is, if at its most fundamental, it does not mean freedom over your own life. (Or freedom over your own body.)


Autonomy. Sovereignty. Self-government. Self-determination.


Our culture has strong taboos against suicide. Philosophers have grappled with suicide for ages. Camus writes, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.”


My punk rock, anti-establishment perspective concluded years ago that society declares war on suicide because the person who checks out can no longer pay taxes, or be a cog in the machine.


Schopenhauer had a similar idea. “It is an extravagant demand that a man who no longer cares to live for himself, should still go on living as a mere machine for the benefit of others.”


It’s no small irony that the vast majority of philosophers contemplating the moral, ethical, and societal questions that suicide poses were themselves somewhat immune to suicide’s siren song. Schopenhauer, whose own father may have drowned himself, lived to see 72, dying peacefully on his couch of respiratory failure in 1860.




When spouses and children are left behind with diminished resources to meet their needs, is suicide wrong?




Is refusing chemotherapy suicide? Somehow we understand that it isn’t. (On good days, at least.)




We met three and half years ago, when I took my first PSYCH-K® workshop. I was stepping away from the edge of my own abyss. At the time, I was receiving energy healings and my healer encouraged me to learn the tools she used to become my own healer.


I thought she was crazy, but the healings had been so profound in their ability to provide quick relief to the heartache and mental madness I was experiencing. My curiosity won out.


This guy was is a really great teacher. The perfect combination of playful and serious. He understood timing, and as a great communicator, he delivered content in ways it could be most easily assimilated. You knew without a doubt that he knew his material inside and out, backward and forward.


Through his classes and teachings on PSYCH-K®, you came to know that you could really change and free your mind. And help others to do the same.


He introduces his workshops this way:


Celebrate life by learning PSYCH-K®, freeing your mind, and sharing it with others. The processes facilitate attainment of whole-brain thinking subconsciously, the level where our responses and reactions to life situations (real or imagined) happen automatically. Whole-brain states, the outcome of all PSYCH-K® balances, result in expanded thinking and perception. More practically, whole-brain states offer significantly more available options with which we may respond to life’s situations. This includes how we respond internally to past events (including trauma), current situations, and opening pathways to move toward or attract desired experiences and goals.




Some say suicide is the biggest Fuck-You ever.


For what it’s worth, I hope his suffering is lessened. I’m holding him with compassion, curiosity, and loving-kindness. I hope he learned something useful for his continued journey.




I never knew if he wanted me, or any of us, to tell him it was ok to die. Or if he wanted someone to talk him off the ledge. (I tried. It was received with anger.)




Who am I to say you should live, to try again, to keep going? To celebrate life?


Who am I to say you should die?


Who am I to say that you didn’t do enough, or explore other alternatives to the fullest extent, or simply try harder not to die?




(What does it mean when your teacher, who knows the change processes better than anyone, cannot use them to find meaning, balance, or a will to live?)




Should I have tried harder?




This teacher’s death is complicated.


He says it was the result of a serious and lengthy deliberation. He says he felt he had learned everything he could. He says we should cheer him on. True to form, he even makes a joke using language. You can hear him smiling through the words.


And so it goes.


And so he went.




Independence is self-rule. It is the ability to choose your own destiny. It is authority and control.


How can anyone else say that “there must be another way” when we do not know the way for another?




Yet we do this. Every day. We expect others to live. We expect others to be the best they can be. (Or sometimes the worst?)


His death is not what hurts me. It is his pain. It is all of our pain. It is our disconnection at a fundamental level from each other.


It is the personal and collective abyss of isolation and separation upon whose edge we humans tread.




It would serve us well this week to remember that American Independence was not won by hundreds of thousands of individuals acting of their own accord.


It was won through forging alliances, putting aside our differences, and coming together for a single aim: that of self-government and self-rule.




In his death, as in his life, he is still teaching. The results of his actions are here now with us, rippling out, affecting many. As the butterfly flaps its wings in China, a storm has hit our shores. A storm of emotions, memories, laughter, and love.




Our work now is multi-fold: to find our own meaning and our own will to live. To understand this event in the context of his life, his experiences, his inner workings which we will never be able to know.


Our work is to take his teachings – all of his teachings – with us as we grow, heal, and continue to serve.


To show up fully at the edge of the abyss and decide if we shall cast love into it rather than ourselves.

Is Your Passion Project Collecting Dust?

Finish Passion ProjectHey, does this ever happen in your world? Got any passion projects you can’t seem to get off the ground?


You know what you want to be doing with your time and energy, you’ve got the skills and know-how to get it done, you’re super excited about it, but somehow it’s still a struggle.


Maybe you’ve got a solid studio practice, but you can’t quite seem to get the right foods into your shopping cart.


Or you’ve got the fitness habit nailed down, but you can’t find your voice at work and you feel out of place.


Or you know there’s a bigger, more exciting role for you to play in your community, but you just can’t muster the courage to put yourself out there.


Why is it that your passion project (at home, at work, in your relationships) feels like wading through thigh-high mud sometimes?


Some of this is just about making new habits, of course. Our brains and bodies like to take the same old path over and over. New paths can feel difficult to forge.


And it’s always good to do an honest assessment and ask yourself if you have too much on your plate, or if you need to delegate some of your duties to other people. A more difficult question is asking if you are running from project to project to avoid your feelings, or avoid participating in certain relationships.


Often, however, I find there’s a mismatch between our desires, our intentions, and our beliefs.


When I hit this wall (and I’m there right now with y’all), I know there’s a deeper level of mud waiting to be explored. And that deeper level of mud is the squishy realm of the subconscious mind.


Here’s what I’ve discovered through my coaching and healing work with others, and in my own life:

If somewhere in that gooey mud there’s a belief that whispers,

“Why bother, I’m no good,” or

“Everyone in my family is sick anyway, so why change my habits,” or

“I don’t want to shine TOO brightly, “ or

“I don’t deserve to feel satisfied and successful,”

then your passion project (or the life you desire) is going to sit on a shelf getting awfully dusty.


And a dusty passion project, or worse, a dusty life, is a huge detriment to you, your loved ones, your community, and to the world at large.


Yep, your dusty passion project, if left untended, is a huge energy leak, and can even make you sick. At the minimum, it will leave you feeling vaguely and persistently unfulfilled, and dare I say even a bit cranky.


So what’s a passionate, driven, capable, heart-centered human like yourself supposed to do?

1. Rewire Your Brain with PSYCH-K.

Our thinking is the biggest obstacle to experiencing everything we want. Yes, you read that right. It’s not about needing mo’ money, mo’ time, or mo’ skills and opportunity.

Our thinking sinks us.

If you want mastery over your thoughts, then PSYCH-K can get you there in a jif.

If you find yourself in negative or limiting thought patterns (broken record, hello!) and you want to break free, book a quick 30-minute conversation with me to see if PSYCH-K is right for you. Did I mention it’s a free call?


2. Learn to Embody Your Intentions.

Wait, whaaatt? Just like we need to retrain our brains to think differently, we need to retrain our bodies to act differently.

We need to break our chemical addiction to living in the past.

Dr. Joe Dispenza writes about this beautifully, but the jist is this: We think the same old thoughts day after day (roughly 70% of them stress-inducing and limiting) and those thoughts produce chemical reactions, also known as emotions. Our bodies become addicted to those stressful chemical cocktails coursing through our bloodstream, and the body says, “I gotta have more cocktail!”

And before you know it, you’re living the same day you lived yesterday, feeling the same things you felt yesterday, and your life, and your passion project is getting dustier and dustier.

If you want to understand this on a visceral level, and experience embodying your intentions in real-time with me, then you’ll want to join me for Inner Sanctuary, my mini online retreat on March 31st. Early bird and donation tickets available.


So how would you think and feel, and what would you do and say, if you were living out your intentions, and acting on your passions? If you were actually living the life you really want?


Let me know what your passion project is! I love hearing from you.