Love & Abuse: My Journey with Access Consciousness

It took me five years to write this.

I didn’t actually plan to.  But then life sometimes has its own ways.

Many of you know that I was deeply involved in an organization called Access Consciousness for 12 years. Recently, an old colleague of mine left that group, and has been creating quite a stir.

A surprising number of people have contacted me in the last few weeks asking about my own departure.

Hmmmm…

I have spent years wrestling with the question of if I owe anyone any words.  I helped create and maintain the image of Access as a beautiful self-help modality about consciousness for over a decade.

Do I owe the people that I brought in… an apology? Or details about anything I witnessed happening behind the scenes?

I still don’t have an answer to that question.  Because we are all on such very different paths.

But recently, as I see and hear about my friend Lauren’s experience (hear recordings of her being publicly shamed, sworn at, and slammed for speaking up), I feel compelled to say a few words.

I’ll start with one truth perhaps most people who know this work can agree on:

One of the things Access is about is awareness.  There are absolutely beautiful possibilities brought about by some of those tools.

I can tell you hundreds of stories of generous, kind and caring moments I had with the founders, Gary and Dain.  They, and the Access staff, made up almost the entire guest list at my wedding.  They were my family for over a decade. I get it.  The love. When they are vulnerable and undefended, it is an exquisite and enrapturing space.

I can also tell you dozens of shocking and extremely damaging things I witnessed, experienced and participated in.

Because here’s the thing….

Love and abuse are not exclusive.  These stories neither excuse each other nor cancel each other out.  That is precisely what makes certain relationships so haunting, confusing and maddening to unpack.

Both/ and.

I have come to believe that Access is about many things.  Included in my list, especially when questioned, are: power, money, gaslighting, retribution and abuse.

By the time I left, I was convinced that I was a narcissistic sociopath who deserved to die for telling someone the truth about an investment project that I was concerned was not legal. I have sat quietly for the last five years unpacking that sentence.

No one gets the blame for my story. It is perfect, exactly as it is.  It has been the single most growing, healing, maddening, soul shattering, liberating thing that has happened in my life. I have mined great treasures in the bits of truth I found in their accusations of me.  I was blind to many of my shadows, and I acted out of integrity in a number of ways.

I have also been liberated by seeing and naming some of the many atrocities and lies.

What a holy healing journey that has been!

One of the hardest things in this life is to hold a paradox.  To hold two conflicting truths in your hand at the same time.  How do we make sense of our most disorienting experiences? And the fact that human beings are so disappointingly…. human?

I don’t think Access was ever meant to be a destination.  It was meant to bring tools to empower people to trust themselves, then go into the world to create a more beautiful life.  Somewhere, amidst all the money and power, it seems, to me, to have gotten desperately off its rails.

A few weeks ago I went on a retreat.  For the first few days, I couldn’t figure out what I was experiencing, and why it felt so foreign in my body.

It was integrity.

In this space, there were no unspoken rules cancelling out the spoken ones.  What the leader said we would be doing was exactly, and only, what was being done. Speaking honestly had no chance of getting anyone shamed, mocked or cast out.

And if it would, I knew with every fibre of my being, I would simply walk out the door.

I think I have finally made it to the place where I will not give my authority over to anything outside of myself ever again.  If that is true…. literally anything and everything that has brought me to this moment, is a precious and sacred gift.

I am not here to chime in on whether Access is, or is not, a cult.  Unpack that word any way you will.

What I know is that a group can stand for absolutely mesmerizing principles… and when there are charismatic leaders that are not to be questioned at the helm, it’s a rather squirrely game.

It does not mean you should not play it. Only you will know that.  

For years I was afraid to speak.  Afraid of retaliation, sure.  But also afraid of my own subjectivity.  Afraid I might write the narrative incorrectly inside myself.  

I thought my story was so complicated and unique that no one could ever fully understand it.

It’s not.

It’s actually kind of simple.

I am you… (to the millions of women who have loved and defended your abuser).

I am you…. (to the billions of humans who have ever given your authority away to a teacher, a guru, a god).

We are not broken.  We are human.

And part of how we heal, is by the simple, and powerful, speaking of truth.

I would like to share a piece I wrote about taking back your life. It doesn’t say what you think it will.

May you walk your path the only way you can.

My Slightly Scandalous Marriage

Yesterday was my 5 year anniversary.

The other day I put up some slightly sappy sentiments on Facebook about it, which you are more than welcome to read.

But while I’m being sentimental… I have one more thing to say…

Dudes!

Ron is 29 years older than me.

29!

When we met that seemed scandalous to both of us.

Our second date the sweet old lady selling us museum tickets looked up from the counter and asked “is that one student and one senior?”

(Bless her heart.)

I’m not going to lie… there were things about that fact that were complicated. Kids, friends, perceptions.

But a scandal is almost always about what other people think. It’s never about what is true for you.

This life we are in… it is so full of conditioning that we often don’t even see it.

Have kids, settle down, find your passion, make something of yourself, don’t rock the boat, be yourself (the reasoned social media acceptable version of course!)

We start doing those things without even questioning if they are actually part of our path. If they have anything to do with what will make us uniquely filled up.

What do you know?

What works for you?

What would you like to create?

And who would you like to have along for the ride in what ways?

I like Ron. He’s kind of awesome. And uniquely kind. I got my life would be a greater adventure with him in it.

What if it could be that simple?

People will talk. People always talk.

While they talk, why not take a brave step forward with creating that life that is ravishingly yours and wonder full?

Every time I make a choice where that is the criteria… I’m glad I did.

Then just be kind and smart and present… Cause you’ll sort out the rest as you go.

Losing My Love. But Worth It.

I know it’s Mother’s Day.  And this is a sad story.  But it is also a story about being a mom. 

And a love that took me by surprise.  

If there is anything you have ever lost that you loved, I thought you might relate to my yesterday.

See the other night we had a thunderstorm.

I thought “I should go check on the babies.” And then I fell right back asleep. 

In the morning I could not find baby Rumi. Then I saw a hay bale in their fort that had been pushed about 6 inches out from the wall.

Rumi was down in the crack… upside down between the hay bale and the wall.

I can only imagine the babies got scared from the thunder and piled on top of each other (as they do) and Rumi got crammed down in the crack and couldn’t get back up.

I pulled him up and he was still warm, but not breathing. We tried all the things you try. Pumping his heart. A sort of goat CPR.

Panic. Shock. Desperation.

Baby was really truly gone.

And while many of the thoughts rolling through my head include phrases like:

— “I should have…”
— “If I’d only…”
— and “Why this one?”

​​​​​​​
My main question today is actually about love. What do we do with those moments of love that change us? Do we just be grateful for them and let them go? Do we let them haunt us? Do we bathe in them? Learn from them? Hold them lightly?

You see, Rumi was not just one of six little goats.  He was my wise little mystic.  There was no hiding that he was my favorite. Rumi was just pure love.

I slept with him in the hay. Fed him bottles. Nursed him back to health one scary night after he had found and nibbled on a toxic bush.   In a few short weeks he prodded open a very tender part of my heart.

In in turn, he returned to me just peaceful… open… sweet love.

I am so aware that I could do so many things with my sorrow. I could say I don’t want any goats. I could stop loving the other babies. I could say “it’s only a goat” and move on with my day.

Or I can just let that love wash over me. And that sorrow wash over me. And sit quietly in the grateful complicated mess of it all.

We all have loss.  

All day I have gotten messages, incredibly sweet messages, from people who have lost their pets or their children or their spouses.  Notes of beauty and caring and grief. 

We don’t choose what we lose.  But we do participate in how it shapes us.

Do we love less or more? Do we care more or less? Does it break us open or closed?

I don’t know what it is you have lost.  Lost your love? Lost your way? Lost your faith? Lost your parents? Lost your friend? Lost your dreams? 

I wonder…. How will that loss shape your future? Shape your heart? Shape your day? 

Today, I will cry until I’m ready to stop. 

I will celebrate this little goat man who passed too quickly through my life.

I will go plant a field of wildflowers and invite him to stay in my life.  

And then I will wonder who else I can love like that. Tenderly. Bigly.

Rumi, I will miss you so very much. I really am so very sorry you had to go so soon. But I thank you for coming in the first place. It was truly a gift to be your mom.

Happy Mother’s Day to all.  Be it a day of great joy or a day of deep sorrow.  

You are loved.
You are love.
You get to love. 

As the saying goes, you know that “better to have love and lost” one…

It is worth it.

Tenderly,
Blossom

P.S.  Warning: this video is a bit sad, but I was truly captivated by how my dog Milo responded to losing his friend.  If there was any way to bring baby back to life, Milo would have found it. He licked and prodded and whined desperately until the very last moment Rumi was blanketed with earth. What truly incredible creatures.

A Whole Chapter About Not Judging (Hidden in the Bible)

So the other day I got into a particularly precarious conversation with a group of people I really respect who have a very different opinion of what I think is a pretty important, humanitarian topic.

It was a predominantly Christian group of people and the conversation was about how the Bible called us to handle this particular thing.

Now I haven’t actually read the Bible thoroughly. Maybe like 20% if I’m being generous with myself.

But I had a pretty strong opinion on this point.

“I really just think that if we are talking about loving each other, the commandment of Jesus, the first thing we are called to do is not judge each other.” I said. “I just cannot see how it is our job to judge.”

My theological argument pretty much ended there.

With a piddly “You know, judge not, lest ye be not judged” thrown in for good measure.

Everyone nodded politely.

But I KNEW this was a key. And that there must be more than that.

So fast forward a week.

And randomly I pick up the Bible and start reading Romans. A book I have never read.

And I get to chapter 14 and my jaw drops.

The whole freaking chapter is about how we are not to judge our neighbors.

How we are to support them in doing what they believes connects them to god.

The whole freaking chapter!

It’s kind of about food. But it’s about WAY more than food.

To me it is about everything. About condemning each other for the way another worships or expresses herself or loves or interprets her own whispers from whatever name she have given any presence bigger than herself.

I’ll read you parts of it in this video. Because it is so good!

It says:

“Always receive them as friends, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on their scruples.”

and…

“Nothing is defiling in itself. A thing is defiling only to the person who holds it to be so.”

and…

“Happy is the person who never has to condemn himself in regard to something he thinks is right.”

I am in love with Romans 14 today.

And I continue to remain passionate about the idea that if we are to bring light and beauty onto this earth, that one of our core jobs is to give up judgment of each other.

To listen to the whispers in our own hearts and souls and minds and to honor others by allowing and inviting and even celebrating that they are doing the same.

As we jump into holiday parties and gatherings and difficult family conversations… what if we kept this in mind?

What if we focused on judging each other less? And loving each other more?