Deven P-Shah (Host): Dawn (Dawn Agnos, guest speaker) really embodies the spirit of the theme of this call, which is "Surviving Life, Surviving Death, and Transformation Through the Acceptance of Who We Are."
One thing I do when things are really rough is to stay in the moment.
Birju, our moderator, is one of our thought-leaders in Service Space. Every time I listen to him I get a new way to think and a new way to approach my day-to-day life, and I find it priceless. What are your thoughts on the theme, Birju, if you would like to share that?
Birju Pandya (Moderator): I would quickly mention three words that came up. The first word is "triggers," the idea of being emotionally unbalanced as a result of trauma. The second is "shadow," the acknowledgement that despite my conscious awareness there is something behind my conscious awareness that is guiding my actions in an unconscious sort of way. And the third is "feeling." I spent most of my life not feeling, because it is not manly to feel, it is wrong to feel, feeling is a sign of weakness, and I can go on and on. I found that by walking towards feeling, by saying "yes" to feeling, it has changed everything for me.
I would love to share a bit about our guest, Dawn Agnos. She is a healer who used her own personal journey of hardship as a tool for not only her own transformation but for that of many others.
Dawn Agnos: It's an honor to be here.
Birju: I would love to start by asking how you feel today.
Dawn: Excited to be alive. Every day, I wake up in the same place of exuberance and of miraculous discovery that I'm here and that I've woken up. I woke up not that long ago and this is how I feel now.
Birju: Could you share a bit more about your work in the world and what that is?
Dawn: For me, work is also life. So I don't have a separation between those experiences. My life is really about learning as much as I can from every experience that I encounter, knowing how to apply the best to it. At this point my work is about taking what I've learned and using those experiences and those intuitive understandings of all the complexity of the information that has come in during my lifetime, and using it to help others out of the darkness, out of the confusion about what their experience is really meant to be. I try to be a bridge, with my gifts, toward understanding feelings that are not so easy for people to access.
Birju: You used this word "darkness," which hits me pretty strongly. I'm curious as to your own journey. You have shared about a really tough upbringing. I wonder if you could talk about the role that plays in your own journey of helping others.
Dawn: My life has been incredibly experiential. I came into this world with a knowing. I already knew as a child why I was here. What helped me to know that, was that I had feelings in my body that were able to translate what other people were feeling around me. I had abilities to receive information about people and their unhappiness, and I have an immediate need to make them happier or help them, from an internal place.
These gifts developed over the course of my life. But, as a child, I was in intense survival situations. I had a lot of uncertainty around me constantly. My mother was born into a family that was incredibly expansive. They had five girls. She was raised by a single mother. She had some things happen to her in that time period that really fractured her at a deep place and caused her inner turmoil. She ran away from home in the eighth grade. She quit school and became truant, living from place to place. She didn't feel safe in her home life. She was running internally, without awareness. She was running because something really awful happened to her at the age of six to fracture her. I believe it was a sexual trauma.
What I watched evolve over the course of my childhood was my mother having dissociative identity disorder. We came home one day from school and she was a six-year-old child and didn't know who she was. It was an incredibly traumatic experience to recognize that something like this could happen to your mother. Because she had me young, and because she had zero support, she developed a lot of addictions -- to alcohol, drugs, promiscuous sex --- which displayed her trauma. She was very afraid of working with truth within in herself. She was afraid to face the pain. So she faced her entire life with us as stressful and something to be managed and separated and highly controlled.
She created personalities of rage and she had many different sides to her. Some were amazing. We would go chasing rainbows, looking for the pot of gold. She allowed me to deeply develop my awareness of the world and my empathy, which is quite interesting, because she wouldn't allow her emotions to be felt. She experienced life through me as an empath.
I noted this much later, but she had learned to allow herself access to the beautiful parts of herself where she was with me. But apart from me her life was being destroyed with every decision and every action. In the process of that, our lives were also.
We moved from place to place once a year at least, different states and different cities, because she would self-destruct and we would escape. There was a lot of insanity. By the time I was 12 I wound up in foster care. I really couldn't take it. I was the oldest of four, and I had a tremendous amount of responsibility. I had developed OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and patterns of perfectionism and shyness. These things were the tools that helped me manage the chaos and intense neurological overwhelm.
No one knew it. No one saw it. They all laughed at my silly, ridiculous perfectionism of making everything look beautiful. It was a way of managing the ugliness in my life. It was my mind's way of creating rational circumstances around rational states of being.
I experienced a lot of spirit phenomena in my mother as well during this time of her addictions. Anytime she would go into these states, when she would get really, really drunk, energies would come into her and possess her, and she would become homicidal. We had a fear of death that we would face and have to know how to navigate it. At eight, nine, ten years old. I was the only spiritual person in the family who had sight and gifts at that point that were developed. I took on the protector role for my family at a very early age... at the age of three, really, when I saved my mother from suicide.
So I became this natural protector, because as a child I knew that I had some gifts that they didn't have, that they couldn't see. They couldn't see the spiritual world or the energetic world around them. That was what always resonated with me about Jesus's teachings. He would always say, "Forgive them, for they cannot see." This was a mantra in my heart that repeated my whole life without ever thinking. It was just something I came in with. My family wasn't Christian; they were atheists.
Birju: I hear you describing this intense trauma from your mother. It seems you work with those who go through trauma now on an ongoing basis. I'm curious how you work with trauma. Are you doing it at the level of listening or are you working with the body, or something else?
Dawn: All of it. Over the course of my life I've developed different skill sets to be able to work with it from an intuitive level, an emotional level, and mental, psychic, and all levels. Every person I work with is unique. There is no formula. Every situation is read intuitively with my gifts and my vision, for the person to be able to receive information about their energetic experience, about the experiences in their lives which are still speaking, and they may not be aware. There are imprints on us. You could call them patterns. We have these imprints we're conditioned by, but we also come in with imprints. Sometimes there is a perfect storm happening, where we might have something we've come in with and we're also experiencing it here. I home in on non-verbal communication happening in someone's life, and what's wanting to emerge within them, from a soul aspect, into their human journey. I try to integrate the two -- the human and the soul --- together through the architecture of the heart and mind.
Birju: And you've experienced trauma transform in people?
Dawn: Oh, yes. Do you mean, "Can people be healed from trauma?"
Birju: Their experience of holding it.
Dawn: Yes. What happens to us is not as big a deal as what we allow to change us. It depends on your experience in life. If you experience your life singularly from a human-dimensional understanding, then you're probably experiencing a lot more pain than is necessary. I believe in trying to integrate the person with their gifts and show them about having a life experience as a human being, or having a spiritual experience walking as a human being, and when you learn to flip in and out of those two different perceptions within yourself you can learn which feels better to you. And you can choose right action for yourself. I try to integrate those two ways of helping a person to decide for themselves feels better. " Better like this or better like that?"
Birju: It reminds me of going to the eye doctor who puts the different glasses on you.
Dawn: Exactly. That's the analogy that feels so spot-on to me. It really is like you're switching these lenses, and you learn how to do it, from inside yourself --- not inside your thinking, inside the other knowing, the other capacities that we have. That's another part of the integration tool that I try to bring in for people --- other ways of knowing.
Birju: From one perspective it can seem quite heady, and I certainly grasp where you're coming from here --- that if one shifts their perspective, one can have a very different experience of life. However, what I've seen is, especially in conditions where there's trauma, it's one thing to intellectually say, "Oh, yeah, I'm a spirit having a human experience." But when it comes to moment-to-moment living out of a certain way of being, it's really hard to let go of what has been learned and embodied unconsciously over an entire lifetime. What is the way of interfacing with that?
Dawn: The tool I offer is not the tool of healing, it's the tool of "Once you're on the path to healing, this is what your choices are, to play with your life and learn through your experiences about your empowerment. When someone comes to me who's severely traumatized or who has a lack of control, and there's something manifesting in their lives, I try to go within their emotional information. I try to go within their experiential information. I believe we learn by experience, not intellectually. Intellectually, we resonate. We learn by experience.
So I try to take people back through their experiences and really walk them through. The process for me is taking them back to very early parts of their life and finding the gems that there are to discover, so we can decide together what's on the table, and how this person was like. How this mature human being now would like to come back to their inner child and say, "You know, people have hurt you but I'm here for you and I'm going to take responsibility to make sure that never happens to you again."
When we integrate that playful child back from a wounded place, we mature internally and spiritually. The work is really about taking personal responsibility for wound care. That is the deep work of it. It's not about, "Oh, these awful circumstances happened to you and you poor thing." No, it's saying "What can we find that is really showing us how valuable this was?” When we find out how valuable it is, that's when we can use our perspective to change how we experience similar things that come towards us.
So it's not about resisting, it's about accepting and finding gratitude for whatever has come our way, to know what our strengths now come from. And also not to mask, because the worst thing that we do is hide in shame the truths and that's why we never recover the potentiality that they hold. Because there's this lack of transparency about us that speaks the language of fear and shame, the fear of being rejected. It walks us in these very young states of being.
Birju: When I have been in spaces where people are asked to get in touch with parts of their own background that scarred them, the request is for someone to move into a space of feeling some very uncomfortable sensations, and also some overwhelming sensations that can borderline shut people down, because it's so intense. If I ask you to relive being that child, first it would be inappropriate in a large audience. But even in an intimate setting, it requires a certain capacity for a person to say, "Yes, I want to go there again." How do you get people to even get that capacity?
Dawn: Generally, because my work is synchronistic, they're seeking by the time they find me. I'm not the type of person to advertise and not out there looking for clients. They find me. The people who find me are the ones who receive incredible miracles that happen. Generally, when they find me, they're open. They're seeking something inside them. They want unification. I find that I work best when I don't make it a strategy, when it's me just of service to whatever comes in.
When you focus things that way, it's not so much about a strategy or anything like that. You're being assisted by universal intelligence, and I don't work alone. I'm helped by many, many guides and many spirit energies that have passed, that love me and that feel connected to my work.
Birju: Can you share more about the role of health in your own sense of personal transformation? I know you also experienced health issues coming out of your upbringing, and apparently that impacted you as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
Dawn: When I came out of my experiences as a child and teenager, I hit the road running. I was still in a state of survival. I was in a state of survival until my mid-thirties without ever realizing it. This created an incredible drain on my system and I developed an illness called Grave's Disease. I had a rare case of it that doctors were afraid to treat, and it caused me to become bedridden. In one day I found out that I was incredibly sick. The doctor made the statement to me, "This could be terminal and you could die from it," because I had such a rare case of it. That shut my body down in an instant.
When I came home to the man that I was with who was my first love I told him what had happened, and that I would need radiation treatment. He didn't know that the right thing to do would be to say "I'll be here for you." It literally caused my whole body to fail in an instant. Within two weeks I was hospitalized and bedridden. I had lost all my hair; I was 80 pounds. I couldn't walk. I couldn't use the bathroom by myself. It was really bad.
An angel came along and rescued me. I didn't have support. I had no one. I had nobody to call and no place to go. Just by chance, one of my very good friends' mothers found out that I was sick and found me and said "You're coming with me." She cared for me for a year and a half unconditionally. It was the most beautiful thing. It rescued me. It's the reason I'm alive today.
She was a deeply spiritual woman, but she never spoke of her spirituality. She just showed it through the ways that she would bring people into their home and love them and care for them when they didn't have family. This was her entire life. When she saw children who were being abused by their family, she would take them and raise them. She was not a wealthy person, not in the monetary sense. I was fortunate because when I got sick she rescued me from a time and space that would have taken me out, and through that experience, through the next eight years of my life. Because it wasn't just a one-time thing. I would end up in ICU every year on the dot, until finally they took out my thyroid. And that helped my body maintain a certain equilibrium. Unfortunately I can't live without a life-saving medication now.
What I realized was that the way you treat yourself emotionally is absolutely the root of your health... the way you treat yourself and the way you allow others to be interacting with your emotional body. That is the root disconnection, when we often times see dis-ease.
When I worked as a body worker and healer, I saw this so often. People were either not loving themselves and taking care of themselves because of their disconnection to their love for themselves, or they were punishing themselves in environments of perfectionism and performance in order to be valid. I would see people forming all sorts of patterns of disease, whether it was physical, mental, or emotional.
I believe your health is integrated from the health of your emotional body, the health of your mental conditioning, whether or not your mind is clear and free, and can be an open space for your heart to construct anything in it. This is what I've learned about where my wellness comes from. And of course food, what you put into it, is incredibly important.
Birju: It's helpful to think about health in such an expansive way, and how your own skills are now being transferred to have not only a spiritual kind of discussion, but also a discussion of how it concretely lands in a person through their health.
This is a question that has come in online, from Half Moon Bay (California), "How did you first learn that these skills you've required through your early experiences could help people, specifically outside your family, through trauma, through healing, even through health?
Dawn: My first experience in that was when I first began doing body work. That's when I discovered access within myself that I had never had before. When I discovered this field within myself, I was able to tap into the knowing of others in a more interconnected way. Someone would come in for a massage and I wouldn't know anything about them whatsoever. They would lie down on the table and I would go into this space of unconditional love, and start to work on them and move and speak to their spirit in a way of asking permission to work at these deep levels. Certain energies would come in for them and have messages, or want to speak of wounds that they've had in the past.
I found myself in situations where I was more intimately connected to clients than I had anticipated. It wasn't my doing. It was just happening. I had to make sense of it. A lot of the therapists around me didn't have the same experiences at all and couldn't understand it or guide it for me. So I had to figure it out.
There were many experiences. People hold trauma in their bodies and then their energy imprints. Also in their psyches. These patterns can be accessed with someone with my gifts. The best way to explain it is that "I have a knowing." And when I find that someone comes to me or is led to me, and this information is revealed to me, without my inquiry, I recognize that I can be of service at this moment, at this time, to that person. And that's where I have to act courageously.
The traumas are different for everyone. There were some people I helped who had suppressed sexual trauma. They have no clue that this has happened to them. Or it was a forced denial situation. There are situations where the trauma reveals itself, and I'm just there to assist in the revelation.
Birju: Knowing where you're coming from, as I hear it, is not a step-by-step process. It's not a process you can go to school for and say, "Okay, I've my Bachelor's in knowing." (Laughter)
Dawn: No, it's a unique journey, and everyone has the ability. I only have these gifts because I developed them over lifetimes. I have a high level of gifting, but that's because I've been evolving for a very long time. But everyone has these abilities. I can help them develop them for themselves, and that’s what I try to do.
Birju: I'm hearing you share this and seeing how, from my perspective, it seems to demand a very high level of trust to engage with you in such a process, because it's a knowing, and therefore it's very hard for the mind to be able to grasp it. And it's very hard for a person who's undergoing it to even be in touch with the part of themselves that's undergone any sort of trauma. So what is it that you do to grow and build that kind of trust?
Dawn: It is about trust. Trust has to be there when you're in any kind of relationship of intimacy. That's foundational, across the board, whether we're in a working environment or anywhere. We have to have trust to extend ourselves.
Everyone I work with is not in a situation where they've had trauma in their lives. Those are unique situations and they're all different. Some people are traumatized emotionally, just from experiences of invalidation. People are at different levels of what they can offer you. What I try to do is not push people toward things. I try to find out where they are, see all the information that is coming in about them, and then serve them in that moment. Because, let's face it, when you first come to someone you don't know, the last thing you want to do is tell all of your dirty secrets to them. That can be really scary for people.
What I find is that when people come to me they're often very nervous; they have no idea. Many people say "I've never been through something like this. I'm really nervous. I don't know what to do." But after the first call, they're incredibly liberated and free and they're so glad they did it, and really revitalized. And they realize it's not a scary process. It's only scary because they were unassisted in the past through the process. The uncertainty creates fear patterns. So when you have someone who's highly confident and knows what's going on, the trust happens naturally because they can see it and they can feel it coming towards them.
Birju: It connects back with my understanding of your own journey. Through all of this I believe you started a business focused on this form of rehabilitation, but seemingly not in a traditional way. I was wondering if you could share more about what that was about.
Dawn: I offer my services online and in workshop environments or groups. I speak to people about many different things. I'm not just an empath or an intuitive, but I'm also a visionary who sees what changes are really wanting to emerge on the planet, and how to integrate the emotional bodies of people into this. That's the thrust of my work. My work is not so much about just our human experience. It's about integrating what we've been through with our higher selves in the larger projection of where we're going.
Birju: I'm thinking about an earlier stage of your work. My understanding is that you used to work with footballers on this sort of thing.
Dawn: I was a body worker for the NFL athletes.
Birju: And does this come up?
Dawn: Sometimes, yes. It comes up with everyone. We're all human beings first and foremost, regardless of the roles we play. I've worked with incredibly famous people, diplomats, and all sorts of people from around the world, and everyone is having unique human experiences, and everyone needs love and to be attuned to unconditional acceptance-love within themselves and that's why we often are fractured internally.
An athlete is performing with high performance anxiety and expectation. The person they need to help them is a person of high potency of love. Because they're not feeling the love, they're feeling the performance expectation for the love. This is not unconditional. This is very conditional. For them to experience unconditional love re-balances them a bit. So it's about internally knowing what you have to offer to others and being able to offer whatever is in that unique moment.
Birju: I'd love to share a question that has come in from Lafayette (California). The question is, "How does one who has experienced trauma from abusive parents and is now on an active journey of healing protect themselves emotionally from the parents' long-standing patterns once they are an adult in a way where the relationship can be genuine versus either fake, compliant, or over-reactive?"
Dawn: It takes courage. This is the part where we separate the serious from the non-serious. That's the crux. A lot of people are afraid to delve into their stories, their beliefs, because they are terrified of what that could mean once they know. There are many people who don't want to know, because the story they have in their lives is working. It may not be working in their best interests, but the situation is, they're complacent. They're comfortable. There's a learned helplessness that's been encoded in our conditioning.
It does take courage. When you recognize your family or your experiences with your parents, rather than just as your parents you start to see them as human beings. Because you are now an evolved human being. This is the natural trajectory of the parent-child relationship. Eventually this child will see you as a human being rather than just the parent.
When this happens and it doesn't happen well --- in my particular circumstance, it's still a story of tragedy and something that I've learned to grapple with. Being the protector of my family, and my mother more importantly, for my entire life, I took on this need to save her. I love her so deeply and so unconditionally it literally ripped me apart to see her suffering and, knowing it was caused by her own hand, there was nothing but forgiveness.
After a few decades of that, what you start to recognize is that this person is actually being harmed by me protecting them. It becomes essential for you to make them responsible for their own self-work, and what they can arise to. And we have to do that oftentimes with our parents. There are some times that our parents haven't dealt with their own humility yet. There are some times that parents are playing the role. They are not always aware of it. They have not connected to themselves emotionally, so they are playing these conditioned patterns out that have worked for them. But they are generally creating disharmony for others.
In the case of my husband's family, we had a conflict of stories. Our story was, Everything we do is really meant toward whatever we can offer to the world, and one day we're going to be gone. That's all that really matters to us, is, How can we be of service to the world? The family is in politics and when you're in politics, everything is shaped by an agenda. There's a strategy for everything. "What's your angle?"
When you come with love and integrity, it threatens people that are conditioned in these mental and emotional ways of being non-trusting and skeptical:
"Why are you loving me?" Very skeptical when love comes toward them. It's not that they aren't loving people, not amazing people. They're incredibly beautiful, amazing people. But it's because inside of them they didn't have a connection that compares to this potent love they were seeing within us, that was healed and whole.
So, basically, we were shunned by the family. They let us go; they didn't want anything to do with us. We had to go our own way. It was incredibly painful to have to go through that --- to say "Can't we find a way to have mutual respect for one another on some level of family?" But sometimes people don't want that. Sometimes people want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that their way is the way that is right.
My husband and I don't play this right-or-wrong game. We play, "How do you feel and how does it feel?" If it doesn't feel good you should move away from that experience. It doesn't mean you don't love them. It means you won't allow yourself to experience things that are traumatic or harmful to your health and the benefit of where you're going. It says that I let you go in love. You can send them love from across the way. I send love to the people that I'm not in connection with all the time, through my stomach, my heart, and my whole body. You can speak without language.
Birju: I'd love to follow up on the flip side of this. This is again where these concepts which are still so internal become concretized in the external. Could you comment on the real-world consequences of living a life of healing and awakening? How have you seen it change decisions on relationships or consumption or professional life, or lifestyle choices?
Dawn: I always use experience to educate. I birth everything through my own experience and awareness. The experiences you go through teach you everything you need to know. It's not about thinking and knowing everything to do in every moment. It's more about feeling what's right in each moment.
Birju: How have people's lives been changed at a concrete, tangible level as a result of engaging with this healing process for themselves?
Dawn: I've seen a lot of transformation. When you have something you're holding inside yourself and you don't know why it's there, it can literally be in one conversation. It's incredible. I've watched people transform in one conversation. It's bringing awareness to it. I've helped thousands of people. It's hard to say that there's a pattern. Everyone is unique with what they're holding and how you can concretely transform them.
The commonality is that we are transmuted when we focus our attention on the things that have hurt us --- we pay attention to the circumstances. I don't do what some therapists do, by taking people back and putting them in these trauma situations like Post-Traumatic Stress. I'm not that type of person. I don't believe I need to put a person in an emotionally traumatic experience for them to heal that experience. That's where my work is different. I don't have anything to say about how other people work. It's just about what works for me.
The key once we say "Let's go back and examine what happened around that time period," then we're able to discover that a piece of them has been stuck in that time period... has been fractured. Once they have their awareness of the experience and they feel differently about it -- they recover pieces that make them feel, "Ah! If I hadn't had this experience, then this experience couldn't have happened" --- it feels so wonderful.
When we start doing those connections, that's when you start seeing really incredible magic happening for people, where they're liberated. That's the best way I can describe it. You watch their spirit rise up from inside of them and possess their whole body, instead of a part of their body.
Birju: Can you share a story about someone or something that stands out in terms of that experience?
Dawn: Sometimes I work with children who have been labeled. There is a labeling crisis that's going on in America, with ADD and ADHD, and oppositional behavior, and all these labels are incredibly painful to the psyche and the emotional health of human beings.
A particular boy I worked with was a beautiful, wonderful spirit, incredibly intelligent, high-level sensitivity, but he had been medicated from the age of five on high brain-chemistry drugs, because his parents didn't understand his sensitivity and his intelligence. They didn't see it as intelligence. They saw it as oppositional behavior, reactional behavior, all these titles we give patterns of behavior. What this did to him over the course of his life was to shut him down as a human being in his knowing. He didn't know who to trust or what to trust about his emotional experience. All he knew was, "Something is wrong with me. I'm on medication because of it. I have to ask every caregiver who takes care of me what I should do forever more." He gave away his personal power.
When he found me, he couldn't look me in the eye, he was in such a state of anxiety and disempowerment. The transformation that happened to him on one call was nothing short of a miracle. All he needed to do was connect with the place within himself that was unconditionally accepting of himself, and to know the feeling and information coming towards him was valid. He had no validity within him because of these impressions left upon him of not being good enough, not being normal, not being healthy.
So we started working with calibrating his emotional, his mental, his physical, all of these things. We went into the emotional experiences, the things he felt shame over, the things that made him feel fear. I had him write out all his fear patterns, everything that made him anxious, then write out everything that he thought was beautiful about himself. I wanted him to compare those things and to say "What's true? What do you believe is true?"
I worked with him on that level first to get him to understand what his truth was and to move through.
There are many cycles of discovery and learning but the point is that he became very liberated, very connected to the fact, "I do have intelligence within me. It's encoded in a different way. When I feel this information come through me I now have better choices about how I react to external situations and how I learn through those reactions."
It's teaching people that your life is a cycle of learning, and not to be afraid of your emotional reactions and things that harm you or confuse you. Just inquire within. Know more. Seek to know.
He was able to get off the medicine. He's still in the process of recovery. But there are many people who have had incredible things that have happened. Everything is in the process of change and evolution.
Birju: From your perspective, what is the pathway for people on this call to dive deeper into their own journey of healing and awakening, and connecting to their own knowing, as you have shared?
Dawn: I would like to encourage people to focus on self-awareness. This is the key. Self-awareness is a sort of worm-hole to an integrated self. It is the fast track. The more you seek, the more it seeks you. This is a metaphor until you start working in this way, and you realize it's the magic of the truth.
When you trust that your life is a miracle, when you feel it and know it, when you start paying attention to that miracle --- "How is it that I'm alive?" This miracle, this moment of miracle, is something you can never get back, so what you do is really important. It's going to be very important on your deathbed. Trust me. I work with the dying. That's all the dying want to feel in that moment is, "Did my life matter?"
The other thing I'd like to encourage people to do is integrate everything you've ever known, experienced, felt, thought, become aware of those things. Become aware of the cycles of your life. When you can look back at where you've come from, that creates magic in itself, because you start to become alive as a person who can do anything. Any challenge can be fun from that standpoint, because you start to recover you strengths and your abilities.
The third point is that I'd encourage people to follow and trust. Our culture conditions us not to trust our feelings and emotions --- that we're meant to handle them in privacy. When we don't, we're seen as unbalanced and needy. These are all incredibly harmful feelings to empower within yourself. In fact the reason we incarnate on this earth is to feel and to sense. That's how we receive universal information. Our bodies are crystalline structures. If you disengage from feeling and knowing you will not be able to step into synchronistic alignment very well. It's going to be very difficult.
If you're moving through changes in your life and uncertainty, trust that there's a benevolence happening, and that those things that are leaving your life are like the decay that needs to go in order for new experiences to spring. The secret is loosening the grip and allowing life to dance around you rather than trying to grasp at any one thing. That's the cycle of the natural environment. If we look around us, we see that there is birth and there is decay. Those two cycles need one another in order to bring new life in.
Just know that what you experience is incredibly valuable to you, and that the more you've work with what you've experienced and what you've learned, the more you can overflow and help others with their loss and confusion.
We've ripped apart our tribe. That's the tragedy of this moment in our evolution is that we don't have tribal communities, we don't have intergenerational communities. We need that so desperately. We need the older people around our younger people, around all of us. We miss that, inherently. I miss it terribly. There's something really beautiful about an aged spirit. That's the reunification we're needing. I encourage people to diversify their experiences in ways they wouldn't normally think about.
Deven: I'm learning the power of living intuitively and just letting that feeling unfold. That's quite an insight for me to learn.
Mish of New York City: I want to thank you for a powerful share. I have to take some breaths. I've felt so much of what you've said on a very deep level, and I cried through much of your call. I have two questions. How do you protect yourself from the intensity of the emotions you're exposed to? I'm a bit of an empath and sometimes I take on too much, then burn myself out a little. I know what I do to protect myself, but I'm wondering if you need to do this too, and what you do?
Dawn: This is a great question. It's a really important question. Everyone has a different take on protection. I used to seek to know how to protect myself rigorously when I was doing body work because I had so much psychic abilities developing naturally that I didn't know. There were all kinds of things I had to spiritually battle in the middle of a massage. Things were freaking me out and no one could relate, so I would get seriously messed up, and people didn't know what was going on.
Mish: I understand that, because I did massage therapy too.
Dawn: You open up the vortex of knowing and all kinds of things can come in, and you can assist in many ways. What I've discovered on my journey is there is no need for protection. The need is to be integrated fully with your unconditional self. What I have felt and learned is that the more I am purged of pain --- and when I say purged, I mean that pain inside me that things didn't feel right, that should have never happened, or didn't make sense --- when I started to work on those pieces and make them whole again, I started aligning my integrity, my integral actions, with my spiritual heart and my intellectual gifting. All you need to walk in protection is to be walking in your love and your truth.
It takes humility, it takes apologizing profusely when you make mistakes, and it takes purifying yourself at all levels.
That's my process every day, all day. That's my intention. Even at this stage I can make mistakes and hurt another by a trigger, protecting myself: "Oh, wait, this person might be trying to take advantage of me. I should just shut this down so this doesn't happen." Then I'll realize, "Woah, there's something there." Don't be afraid of that. Possess it, own it, and be proud that it shows it's there, and go back and make it right. When you do that over and over again, you're protected.
Mish: Are you saying then that if I stay centered in my love and light center and not hold any fear, that's all the protection that I need?
Dawn: Yes. It's also about working with your conditioned patterns. Because fear exists no matter what. You're going to experience it at times that are unusual. But in environments where you're not used to experiencing fear, it's easy to control that situation, because there's no reason to be in fear. Pay attention to the things that are unusual, that are uncertain. Pay attention to reactions then. That's when you really start integrating all of the aspects. When you integrate walking in your truth through the intention of love for others, not just self, you're protected.
I've had spiritual energies come to me that I can't believe I'm not frightened of. What I've realized is that my higher self is incredibly powerful. No harm can come to you that you don't allow to happen to you. Nothing can hurt you that you don't give power to hurt you.
Mish: Do you feel that it's a divine plan that we're put into our particular families and to have our particular traumas because we must have them to fulfill our life purpose? Or is it just by chance, and the traumas we have create our life purpose?
Dawn: I think it's both. But the truth is, it doesn't really matter. It's like a question that doesn't really exist. (Laughter)
Mish: I'm very grateful. Thank you.
Makala Kozo, Cupertino, California: I want to thank you and your spirit guides for sharing with us in this lifetime. I heard the idea that disease, or dis-ease, in the body, in the mind, is your body and mind trying to catch up with a spirit that is raising in consciousness. It's an indication that your spirit is raising but your body and mind are lagging behind. I'm wondering if that resonates with you, either in your life or with the work you do with your clients.
Dawn: that's an interesting point. I can't say that I can answer it in a concrete fashion, but I can say that from what I know about spirit and soul journeys, we are not here to shy away from anything. We're here to go deep inside of it.
Makala: In your life, you have actually died.
Dawn: Yes, I've died many times.
Makala: St. Francis of Assisi said that it is in dying that we're born into eternal life. I feel like you've gone through bodily death, you've gone through psychological death. I'm wondering if that is your path to awakening.
Dawn: Yes, very much so. You have to die to the ego before you can transcend the limited, conditioned, thinking self. I literally had to die to everything. I grew up in this crazy uncertainty, where we were incredibly poor and managing chaos and insanity. I grew up with these images of perfect families and perfect lives. I didn't fantasize about them, but I had a concept about how they must be.
When I grew up and got on in the world and created my own life for myself, I realized that all of those constructs I thought must be are not. I started to recognize how broken and afraid most people really are in their lives. When I became a massage therapist I realized how many people weren't communicating. That's what really brought me into this work. Because I would have amazing fathers who have been seeing me for years for work, and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, they would just hit on me. It would break my heart; it would throw me off and make me feel incredibly disappointed that maybe I didn't understand what this was all about all along.
I had to go through experiences of literally dying to the constructs in my brain to come into an awareness of what a human being deals with at an emotional and psychological level, and find the bridge or the gateway toward better communication for others. That's the key to our health at every level --- when we learn to effectively communicate within and externally. Dying to ego is huge, because if our mind needs everything to be proven, we're doomed. The truth is that most of the world around us is not even seeing.
Makala: Thank you for dying for us as an example (Laughter).
Dawn: Well, I can finally say, it's my pleasure (Laughter). It's an amazing thing, when you die. You discover who you are. It's incredible. If people knew how liberating the experience was of seeking themselves we would never take so long. I kick myself because I say, "Man! I had all these gifts!" But I was in survival mind, so I didn't understand, and I wasn't able to do this much earlier.
This came along when I went through an incredible loss.
Makala: Plus the timing might have been off, because the people who needed you then might not have been seeking you then.
Dawn: I wasn't a whole being, either. I wasn't who I am now. What really happened was the loss of my soulmate in 2008. That ripped the veil completely away and all the illusions fell away. Everything that I had been holding. What an incredible experience that was. I was suicidal for a long time. I didn't want to survive it. There was divine intervention happening. My soulmate from the other side was literally keeping me from driving off the freeway when I would try to kill myself. It was an incredible time.
When you go through facing death, when you have tried to kill yourself, tried to end it all, and had these decisions at some level about whether you wanted to come back, when you do come back you have so much more to give others about what the whole thing is about. When you're coming from that place from your own knowing, from experience, it's way more transformational than just reading a book about it or talking to somebody. We mirror; we're encoded with mirror neurons. We learn very fast through visual and sensory acuity. When I attune myself to someone, they are able to see how I see them and feel them, and they see themselves from that standpoint then. The progress happens so fast that it's amazing. It's not traditional work.
Makala: In a sense it is, if you think "tradition."
Dawn: Yes, it's always been the same. This is timeless work on our planet.
Deven: I love that, "timeless work."
Devijam, Lafayette, California (via email): Were there any specific practices that were helpful for your emotional and physical healing, for bringing about calming and stillness and finding a state of love --- things like yoga nidra, chi qong, or breathing work? Did any of those help you?
Dawn: I didn't have a situation where I intellectualized what I needed, because I was in such a survival mind that I was intuitively led to experiences that I realized helped. And some of the things that helped me reprogram my mind and my way of connecting to others was dance. Music helped me tremendously to reprogram my brain, to reset my energy. Music speaks the language of heart. Music has a way of speaking to our inner dimensions and lifting us and nurturing us and taking care of us from deep spaces within that we don't let other things touch us with. Music and dance were really important to me.
I did do yoga and I love yoga, although I have a block around being motivated to get into yoga because I'm more of a fluid movement type of person.
Massage therapy had a tremendous impact on my healing and on my ability to develop my gifts. Touch, affection, those things are incredibly helpful and healing. Verbally, learning how to communicate my needs was incredibly healing. Self-awareness was one of the most healing tools to develop. And Eckhart Tolle was a big catalyst for that. His book, "A New Earth," saved my life in my suicidal times after my grief. So I would say a lot of things contributed to my healing.
When I went through that grief period, I was getting a lot of external feedback, like, "Oh, Dawn, you should be going to grief counseling, you should be going to groups, you really shouldn't do this alone," and I'd been doing everything alone, so it never occurred to me that I should reach out for others. So I did, I went to these groups, and I met some lovely, wonderful people, beautiful people. But I found that I only went a few times, because most people were hiding in those groups and had been there for a really long time. They weren't any better off. And what I discovered was that if I'm going to heal, I'm going to have to figure out how to do it on my own.
My soulmate, who passed, was everything to me, he was my entire family. It was deeply devastating. I had no motivation to live. I realized that if I wanted to stay, the only way I could really live was to find something bigger than myself to put my energy and love into, because I didn't have a desire to stay. When I started healing others again, and helping the homeless, and working with the dying, it no longer became about what I felt. It became about what I could do to help others. It became a lot easier to get through these processes, too, because I started to recognize, "Hey, look, I've got some pain, this is an awful, traumatic experience, but at least I've got things to be grateful for." My love died beside me. He wasn't murdered, like (loved ones of) some other people in the group.
There were other traumatic situations in which your heart breaks for people and their experience and their healing. I found reasons to be grateful. I found ways to use my energies to make it work for someone else. In the process, that's how I discovered myself --- who I was and what I was really here for.
Terry, Ithaca, New York (via email): I'm wondering how what you do relates to conventional psychotherapy and psychology. Do you use the tools of these disciplines in your work, and do you ever find yourself recommending that the people who come to you also seek professional help?
Dawn: This is a tricky one, because I'm not a psychotherapist. I purposely did not go to school for this. It doesn't mean because I don't believe in it. It means that it's a limited way of understanding that doesn't serve me with how I see who we really are. I've been to psychotherapists in the past for short instances, like when I was in foster homes. It was mandated. You had to go see a therapist. So I had my experiences with the profession. But for me, personally, I found that it was more of a way for them to analyze and create research for themselves. It was less of an approach to help people with real-life integration work, unless it was over years' worth of time. But I don't believe we need that long to integrate.
I do respect the profession. I do respect people who go into it. I know a lot of therapists who are wonderful human beings. But for me, personally, my gifts couldn't be used in tandem with something like that. I work differently. I go much deeper. A psychotherapist isn't "allowed" to use intuitive models with you. It's also about recognizing patterns of behavior, which I do as well.
So there's a parallel. There's also a "delving-into-story" parallel. There are parallels to the work that I do. But the work I do transcends the limited advice they can offer you as far as the deeper parts of yourself are concerned. They go into the mental, but they don't go into the emotional and the sensory, self, which is where you can receive a lot more information and a lot more assistance with your journey. I have chosen not to become licensed for anything for that reason --- so I can remain free to use all my gifts, integrated.
Deven: You're more in the realm of sensing, intuition, and experience?
Dawn: Part of it is about a sensory gift. But part of it is also about intellectual gifts. I have had to examine my life, my own patterns. Not just my own, though. My whole life I've examined the conditional patterns in everything I've ever observed, felt, seen, experienced. If I go out into the world to go to the grocery store, I'm observing and feeling everything. I can sometimes hear what people are feeling, thinking. What they're missing. It helps me to know how to be of assistance to them in love. It's a very different approach than "Sit down and tell me your problems and let me give you some advice." (Laughter) It's not like that.
Wendy Burke, Half Moon Bay: What gives you the strength to come through all of the trauma you experienced and then to be able to use how you grew up to help others? What advice do you have for the rest of us on our journey?
Dawn: That's a great question. The best way I can describe the strength that I've found is because I have allowed myself to break open. My whole life I've had this mental picture of what that process is. It's like a volcanic island. You have this intensity of eruption and it's cataclysmic. It creates purification --- the fire that we go through, the things that create these intense, uncomfortable situations for us. Because of their intensity, because of their purification, when the next cycle comes after the explosion and the volcano, the next cycle is not knowing. You're in the space in between, as Charles Eisenstein puts it. That's a very real space, and it can be terrifying for some people. But what I've learned over the cycle of these experiences is that, in the space in between, the best way to serve myself was to just be okay with not knowing and to serve others.
It comes full circle. You have purification, then you start realizing, "Oh, it makes me feel much happier, much more connected, to use whatever I have to help someone else. In the process they show me how valuable life can be, and what it's really meant for living for.
What I've learned over the eruptions is that if you allow yourself to go through these incredibly cataclysmic eruptions anytime they want to come up, or anytime they do come up --- if you don't allow yourself to go through them, you'll never get through. It is the eruption that brings the incredible brilliance and diversity all around you, just like we see on the Hawaiian Islands. We see all this beautiful vegetation and diversity of life. And that is what happens to us. We become incredibly deep and we become incredibly diverse in how we see and know how to touch life.
Deven: In Service Space, we always say, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." The inspiration I got from you, too, Dawn, is "Be aware of your own emotions. Let the experiences unfold.” That can open the door to so many things.
Birju: I want to share my gratitude to Dawn for creating the space today to share so authentically. What will stay with me is the reflection, Dawn, that you shared about what we can do in our journeys.... the idea of practicing awareness, paying attention to our experiences, both current and prior, and following and trusting what we feel. Thank you so much.
Deven: On behalf of our Service Space volunteers, is there something we can do for you in your journey of healing others?
Dawn: I could use support to share the messages I put out on my website to help heal others. I write blogs that help give families and individuals tools for knowing themselves deeply and knowing how to deal with certain things. I'm starting a video content series now that I would like to gift to the world, and hopefully just get this information out. If you see it and resonate with it, I can use help in getting the message out.
Daitri, Fremont, California: Do you also work with autistic kids? Are you able to integrate them into the mainstream?
Dawn: I do not work with autism. I feel that requires someone in your locale. You need somebody who's physically there to work with an autistic child. Are you looking for information on it?
Daitri: That would be helpful, if you know somebody who works with autistic kids. I don't know if I can use the word "transformation," but if you're able to integrate them into the mainstream.
Dawn: We believe autism is environmentally caused. Although the structure, at least in the United States, is that autism is genetic. Research is showing it's not genetic at this point.
Daitri: Could it also be part of the labeling problem that you were referring to?
Dawn: Yes, absolutely. These are highly intelligent children. I was a highly sensitive child, too, but I didn't have integration issues, with communicating and touch, and sensory issues. But these children do. And there's a high level of genius in a sensory child... in a highly sensitive child. But they all need to be approached individually in how you work with them.
Because we've created this academic approach towards methodology, it's not quite working well. I've seen some children who are not responsive verbally, and that's a level that's much more challenging to work with, but you don't need verbal (ability) to recondition anyone. If they are non-verbally responsive, then you have to have someone physically teach through ways of behavioral interpretation and sensory integration.
I see parts of myself that are on that spectrum, and certain patterns where I've had to recondition myself in different ways. I had to recondition myself from OCD and all sorts of things. It can be done. Many of these are survival mechanisms.
Daitri: You haven't worked with autistic children in your own area?
Dawn: No, I generally haven't taken those things on, because they're much more involved, and I don't have the bandwidth, generally, to get too deeply involved with one particular patient at this point. The type of work I do leads me into other areas. There's not a reason for it. It's just that the type of work that is brought to me is not autistic.
If someone were to come and inquire intuitively for advice, I would be able to give them intuitive information. I don't have patterns of reconditioning autism.
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