I gave it all away. All of it. My power. My choice of how to live my life. My determination of how to express, what to eat, how to sleep, who to live my life with, where to go, what to do in any given moment, how to think, what to allow myself to feel. I chose the collective in which to be assimilated. The assimilation then followed according to those to whom I gave the offering of my complete essence. It was assimilation like that of the Borg society in Star Trek, the popular TV and movie franchise. The goal for me and my co-assimilants was to merge as cogs in the wheel of the greater collective. Our minds and our social construct became that of the hive mentality in which all of us were the worker bees—every ounce of energy and every thought in our day was in devotion to the hive and its matriarch.
This was the essence of how I lived my life for eighteen years in the secretive, esoteric, cloistered group that would eventually come to public light as the Heaven’s Gate cult.
I stayed until I couldn’t. I reached my breaking point at a deep unconscious level that surfaced in my conscious awareness as a simple over-riding thought, “I cannot be here anymore.” At the time I didn’t know why. But I was sure. It was the surest thing I had ever known. It was my touchstone in the face of the ensuing assault of cult party-line thinking and vernacular holding me to task to reconsider because: “You know how rotten the world is out there”, and “You’re throwing away the keys to the Kingdom of God if you do this”, and the thought always in the back of our minds, “You’ll be spaded under in the coming recycling of civilization, after which who knows when your soul will have another opportunity like this.”
All of the conditioning of the past eighteen years paled compared to the inner knowing that it was time for me to leave. My compelling thought was, “Yes, I might later see this as a wrong decision, but I have no choice but to leave the group—I’ll take my chances—it’s the only path that makes sense to me.” It was a deep, abiding, undeniable inner authority. It was not until years later that I understood the dynamics that contributed to this deep inner knowing sparked within me.
In case you need a refresher, the Heaven’s Gate cult was the infamous group of “nut cases” who took themselves out of the game of life in the largest mass suicide ever on American soil. I left the group in August of 1993. The remaining members of the group committed organized, orchestrated, intentful group suicide in March of 1997, three and a half years after I left.
Taking the man out of the cult is one thing. Taking the cult out of the man is another. For the next two decades, I lived a life of unremarkable mediocrity. The skill of software development I had learned during my time in the cult continued to serve me well. I was never lacking for an adequate way of life physically, though I never achieved higher than a threshold of “adequacy”. But the cloistered nature of the cult stayed with me. I remained isolated. In the few relationships I had, I played small. I didn’t know who I was inside, let alone being able to express who I was fully in my life. I was afraid to dream. I was afraid to fail. I was afraid to live. I was afraid to be me.
It was fully two decades later before I finally, fully, deeply, consciously knew that, “if it was to be, it was up to me”—if my life were to amount to anything, it would not happen for me or to me, but by me. Again, it was an inner knowing that compelled me to move out of my comfort zone. Where I was in life and what I was doing wasn’t working, wasn’t bringing me happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment, or meaningful contribution. My first marriage had ended in divorce six years later. My second marriage had followed a similar course. The common denominator was me.
I knew I needed to change on the inside—change how I thought, my perceptions of myself and of the world, and change how I related to myself and to everyone around me. I didn’t know how. I just knew I had to undergo a transition of some kind into something better. Thus began my re-exploration of myself, and my search for my “place” in the world. It began with a book called Transitions, followed by a seeking of information of all media types. I began a process of stepping out into the world in ways I had not done in 40 years. It was scary and uncomfortable and at times I retreated back into the perceived safety of seclusion.
Enter Accountability. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”, or paraphrased, “when the protégé is ready the coach will appear.” A year and a half ago, I “met” Kim by phone. Our initial session was a “tapping” or EFT session by phone. It impacted me profoundly and led me to enroll in Kim and her husband Mario’s year-long mastermind and coaching program “Radical Health Mastermind”. Kim is now and has been my personal coach for the last year and a half.
In the two decades following my departure from the Heaven’s Gate cult, I encountered many teachers, coaches, and healing practitioners. I had been in “search” mode often throughout that time. But I hadn’t benefitted from the guidance I encountered. In retrospect, the reasons I didn’t benefit were that I wasn’t fully showing up, fully engaging, fully present. And most often, after a session or seminar, for the same reason I wasn’t engaging initially, I didn’t subsequently apply what I had been taught but instead retreated back to my comfort zone. I didn’t know why—it was just the way it ended up. And it was consistent. Again in retrospect, I see that I was trying to apply what others were teaching me as techniques or band-aids, and they didn’t stick. I wasn’t doing the inner work; I wasn’t engaging my inner teacher to lead me on the best path for my most profound life.
What I brought to my coaching relationship with Kim was a drastic change in motivation that came out of the desperation of knowing that my life wasn’t working. I felt like I was suffocating and on a dead-end road. I was determined from the outset of my association with Kim to be fully present, to “play” full out, comfort-level be damned! I did so, more than ever in my life. And Kim and Mario mirrored my presence with their own. In my playing at 110%, they met me with their 200%.
My coaching association with Kim and Mario has changed the trajectory of my life. It’s not that they provided the magic bullet; they didn’t. But meeting Kim ushered in and helped inform the restart of my real work—the best work of all—the work one does internally on oneself, which is the only real and meaningful work I know of. “Know Thyself”, as is carved on the Greek temple at Delphi—wisdom known in ancient Greece and still the best advice I know. This is my ongoing focus.