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. 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 Bully

Dream: I am given a writing assignment. The editor at a major literary magazine has given me an assignment to write an article about a gift he plans to give a celebrated author. He tells me that he is giving a particular book to this writer and he wants me to write an article about it. I was given the book and asked to write a certain amount of words and then was left to it. When I turned around the author was right behind me. I set out to find a private place to write and she followed me. The look on her face told me everything I needed to know as to why she was following me. It was a familiar look. It was the look of the bully. I tried to find several places to write in this building and wherever I went there she was. I went to great lengths to find a spot where she would not find me but no matter what I did she managed to find her way there and stood there looking at me pointedly. I tried to write with her there and was unable to do so because she made me so nervous. I went so far as to ask for help from someone at the magazine. I was given the keys to an apartment that was for the exclusive use of the person who granted me the keys. He told me that he went there to write and that it would be a good place for me to do so. I went there and locked the door behind me but when I looked up just before I began to write, there she stood, the author who wouldn’t leave me alone. I had become so distraught that I knew I couldn’t write and of course that was the point of her haunting me. As I continued to try to find a place where I could write undisturbed I thought of the book that was given to me, the book that would be a gift for this author. The book was about a bully and of course I was considering writing about what an appropriate gift this book was for this particular author but it seemed that I would never get a chance to write at all. After several attempts to find a peaceful place to write I finally stopped and looked directly into the eyes of the author who had been so aggressively pursuing me and taunting me this whole time and I realized that I was looking into my own eyes. The author who would not let me alone, who would not leave me in peace to write, this bully was me.

This is a perfect example of an instructive dream. These dreams are given to me to teach me a lesson that I need to learn about myself. Almost every dream I have of this nature is about myself or about my relationship with someone in my life. A dream like this is sending me a very direct message, one that I am intended to act on. I don’t have dreams like this very often. I realized some time ago that when a message is intended to get through to me, I would have no trouble interpreting the dream that was the vehicle for this message. There were times in the past when I struggled over the interpretation of one dream or another but since I was given this inner voice as a guide in my life I was able to receive direction on this matter. So now I will stare down that bully and tell you about the experiences that I am having and have had over the last year or so that have changed the way I look at the world and the way that I experience it. It has changed everything for me and I know that I was meant to share these experiences with you.

I know that we all have an inner voice. Sometimes it becomes apparent to us in the form of intuition, which many of us don’t pay much attention to at all. I know that I didn’t and once I discovered the significance of it, it astonished me that I was able to go so long without tapping into it or even acknowledging it. Having said this, my inner voice was never so prominent and complex as it is today. I had to do many things to bring this about having no idea where it would lead. I’m now writing a book about my journey and sharing some of these experiences on my website. I began this journey as a means to heal myself from depression. This is where my journey led me and I know that these things unfold differently for everyone but I do encourage everyone to find ways to connect with this source of infinite wisdom that is available to all of us. Some do this through meditation and others through shamanism and/or various spiritual practices but it all begins with intention and you can do this independently. If you have the intention to connect directly with your higher self, presence, your spirit guide or whatever word you feel comfortable with, you can begin there and see where it takes you. I don’t think I know of anyone who regretted it and there are millions of lives that have been utterly transformed by it.