True Confessions of a Woo Woo Dancer

sun dogsLast night I was scribbling in my notebook once again in search of what I should do when I grow up.  I make these interesting loops and end up in arguments between my scholarly, scientific self and my spiritual, earth-loving sprite self.  For some reason, in this moment, I saw that it really was a standoff–swords drawn—between the external me and the internal me.

Outwardly, I teach and study the brain, work with complex systems and processes, and consider myself to be straight up and on the ground.  Inwardly, I seek resonance and connection with some mysterious rhythm or energy . . . the realm of the creator. This is where I write, create, and use stillness and silence to find the subtler energies in myself and others.

I keep this inner self pretty private.  I’ve had a fear of being considered too new age or “woo woo” in my work with others.  In fact, when I thought about it, I realized that the novels I’ve written that are most meaningful and precious to me I’ve not even brought into print.  These stories all wander and play in the mystery.

I think I understand my fear. Over the years I’ve seen or heard hundreds of ego-driven, dollar driven “teachers” out there who seem to just exploit other people. They often seem parasitic and sometimes dangerous. I’ve also seen that those large egos are often a cover-up for some scared or damaged child self. It is messy. And I’ve met literally thousands of people who jump from one workshop to another in order to “heal” without ever really envisioning what they will do with all that wellness. As a result, the endless healing becomes the path.

We are not broken. Whatever the ads or the quick fix teachers tell us, we are all just on a developmental path toward some unknown end. The only thing we really can do is to increase our awareness of both our inner and outer worlds and do the best we can to choose a way forward.

I remember an old book from the early years that I think was titled, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road—Kill Him.  It was all about learning to trust our inner tuning fork rather than seeking someone to tell us who we are and what we should be doing.  In fact the real Buddha and sages tell us that the true answer lies within.

flSo, how do I resolve this conflict for myself? When I write here in this blog I think it is apparent by any of my posts that I am letting you into my secret garden.  I talk about flow and resonance and constellation work and the beauty and allure of the other realms. I get personal. But when I am writing I’m alone and linked to my inner self. Out there when I am hired to work with organizations—I feel stifled and convince myself that I mustn’t stray from the tried and true path of science and strategy.  Even in my Life by Design retreats I’m sometime too-focused on the brain and not speaking to the spirit of the people who come to spend the day with me.

I feel the need to align myself with the part of me that seeks wisdom and nourishment from the subtler realms.  In this space reflection, writing, and stillness are all an important part of learning to read these quiet rhythms and energy.

The spirit is alive.  It wants to be heard.  It wants a greater say in the path we choose.  It wants us to be  better listeners.  It wants us to seek stillness and respond to subtle cues.  It grows weary and sad that it is constantly pushed to the side while we supposedly seek wellness—or security.  The spirit IS wellness.  That is really what I want to be teaching.

And yes, we do have some faulty wiring that needs to be repaired and cleaned up.  I won’t give up that part of my work, but we only fix the wiring so we can connect more directly to the spirit and find meaning and purpose in all that we do.

This afternoon I had a nice conversation with Helena, an old friend from our early constellation training days.  We have both done constellation work and grown older and grown into the work in very deep ways.  She is (and has always had) a great spirit.  We both agreed that just taking a path of personal growth is not enough.  We need to be more active and engaged out here in the world—doing more and being more.  That is my goal when I teach Life by Design—is to grow a stronger core so that we can get mouthier and more active out here without fear of rejection or falling into the dark pool of self-doubt.

So, I personally will work to bring these two brilliant parts of myself into the same room more often and not pick and choose which one to let out at any moment in time.  And if people think I am too new agey and woo woo, well, so what.  My life is too short to let myself be defined by others.

Do you have two brilliant parts of yourself who are warring it out?  I’m interested.

And more true confessions to come.  In my next post I will tell you some stories about woo.  Please share this with others if it feels right.  Also, I hope I don’t get spam slammed from my weird title:)



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True Confessions of a Woo Woo Dancer — 6 Comments

  1. I appreciate your bold choice and transparency about the struggle. My teacher Mickey Mikeworth says 90% of the people are not for or about you; that your 10% needs you to be uniquely you. That once you allow your true self to emerge,self-propelling joy and energy come. It all seems true to me. The hard part ironically is just knowing who I am. That seems to be a constant unfolding, at least for me.

  2. I should add, the joy and energy is still mine as long as I allow myself to continually be myself even as I unfold transparently into who I actually am.

  3. Dear Jamie,
    Thank you so much for writing this post. I can relate to much of what you express.

    To your question at the end of: “Do you have two brilliant parts of yourself who are warring it out? I’m interested.”

    My answer is “Yes,” and I am grateful to have found a wonderful process developed by Hal and Sidra Stone called “voice dialogue” for working in a constructive and beneficial way with these “parts” or “selves”. For more information, see:

    Similar to the two “parts” you speak of in this posting, here is a re-creation of a voice dialogue session I had in August 2013 with my “Skeptic” and “Believer/Hoper” selves:

    “Keith Jensen’s Voice Dialogue Session on Tuesday, August 13, 2015”

    I drove up to Salt Lake City for my fifth “voice dialogue” session with Rick Graham. Meeting with Rick is making a huge positive difference in my life. In my session yesterday, the two “selves” we worked with were my “Skeptic” and my “Believer/Hoper”. I first chose to speak from my “Skeptical” self. This “energy” felt to be to my left and slightly behind me, so I moved my chair to this area, and allowed this energy to speak through me. Here is a re-creation of some of the dialogue that ensued:

    Rick: Well, welcome. I’m glad you’re here. Would like to tell me about yourself?

    Skeptic: Thanks. I’m glad to be here. I don’t know what you mean: “Tell me about yourself?” This whole “voice dialogue” stuff is all pretty wacky. You know what I mean? I mean let’s get real. There is only one “Keith” here. This whole talk about different “parts” or different “selves” is pretty damn weird. We’re all just one person; we are not a bunch of different people inside. I mean really! This is starting to sound pretty schizophrenic. Now I accept that we may have different thoughts and feelings, but good grief, that’s just part of being human. Regardless of how you put it, we are still just one person; we’re not a bunch of different people.

    Rick: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

    Skeptic: I really appreciate you asking. Also, I like how you are listening to me. I can tell that you’re not judging me for the opinions I hold. It means a lot. Thank you.

    Okay now, so let me go on. I’ll tell you one thing that really pisses me off is people who use their position to take advantage of and manipulate people. Some of the worse ones for this have been so-called “spiritual” or “religious” people. They can get really manipulative and abusive. Thank goodness for people like James Randi who have set up scientific conditions to expose these frauds.

    I’m not so pissed off with people who practice their “illusions” for entertainment purposes or for those who ignorantly—or unknowingly—deceive or mislead people. What really gets me angry is those people who—because of their position or status—use their power and influence to deceive people for their own benefits.

    Rick: So you are really concerned about Keith and other people being taken advantage of. You might say that you’re there working really hard to prevent this from happening.

    Skeptic: That’s exactly right. Keith is a really good guy, but he’s too trusting and naïve. He was really devastated as a young man when he learned that Santa Claus wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. And then, it just about did him in when he discovered that all the stories he’d been told were “gospel truth” about Mormonism weren’t the whole truth either. I just wish that before he assigned a specific meaning and interpretation to some event, he’d be REALLY careful. I think it would be wiser to say: “I noticed ‘something’ happen, and I have various opinions about why this happened and what it may mean. However, I just don’t know.”

    Rick: So, it is important to you that Keith doesn’t assumed things too readily. You don’t want him taken advantage of or duped.

    Skeptic: Exactly. I liked how you put that. Now, I realize there are mysterious and seemingly unexplainable things that happen all the time. Here’s a perfect example:

    Keith has been reading Levi S. Peterson’s book “A Rascal by Nature, A Christian by Yearning: A Mormon Autobiography”. Because of their similar personalities and relationship with the LDS faith, he has felt a real connection with and affection for Levi.

    The last weekend of July Keith and his wife took a trip to Southern Idaho with Kim’s sister Karyl and her husband Randy. On Friday afternoon, July 26th, the four of them—Kim and Keith in their car and Karyl and Randy in their car—stopped by this little remote hot springs resort near the Snake River called “Miracle Hot Springs”.

    There were only a few cars in the graveled parking lot of the resort when they arrived. Keith and Kim pulled into this spot in the shade by a maroon car; Karyl and Randy pulled into another empty spot nearby. Within a couple of minutes after arriving, Keith saw an older gentleman walking across the parking lot. He thought he recognized him from the cover of the Levi Peterson book he’d been reading.

    Walking up to him, he tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but are you Levi Peterson.” To Keith’s delight, he said he was.

    Anyway, that’s the experience. Basically, Keith and Levi met in the middle of nowhere at a place called “Miracle Hot Springs”. The timing was such that if either had been a couple of minutes later or earlier, they’d probably not have met. Kim took a picture of Keith and Levi standing next to the alligator pen. It seemed to be an appropriate place to get a picture of these two “backsliders”.

    Note. Levi Peterson’s 1986 book “The Backslider” is considered a Mormon classic.

    Anyway, that’s what occurred. I’m not exactly sure what the meaning or purpose of this event was. I just share it here and acknowledge that it was a pretty interesting coincidence.

    Rick: Hmmm. Thanks for sharing that. Is there anything else you’d like Keith to hear?

    Skeptic: Well, first off, I just want to say how much I appreciate you listening to me. It’s nice not being judged or condescended to. Thank you for that.

    It matters to me that people aren’t taken advantage of and that they are treated fairly. I think everyone desires to be heard in the same way you’ve been listening to me. I just want to make sure that Keith doesn’t make a fool of himself and that he not be taken advantage of. Hell, I hope this for everyone. I know that life is a risk and that there are no guarantees; however, I also believe that with a little foresight people can avoid a lot of mistakes and embarrassment. Anyway, I guess that’s about all I want to say right now. Thanks for listening.

    Rick: Well, thanks so much for being here this evening. I sense that you care deeply for Keith and want the best for him. Please know that you are always welcome here. If you ever need to step in and say something or to wave the “bullshit” flag, please don’t hesitate to do so. Okay?

    Okay, if you’re ready, you can now move back to the center.

    Note. I get up and move my chair back to the center of the room and about six or seven feet in front of where Rick is sitting. After allowing some time for me to collect myself, Rick continues:

    Rick: Well, how was that for you? Is there anything you’d like to share?

    Keith: Hmmm. I liked it. The experience feels to be of worth. It kind of reminds me of how an actor assumes a “role” for a movie. In fact, my colleague at UVU—who is going to be doing the wardrobe for a movie about James Randi—recently introduced me to the producer for this movie. His name is Duane “something”. Anyway, after meeting me, he turned to Nancy—my colleague who is doing the wardrobe for this movie—and said something like: “Boy, he sure looks like that one guy in the footage, doesn’t he?” To which Nancy replied: “That’s exactly what I was thinking.”

    Then turning back to me, Duane said: “Have you ever thought of being an extra in a movie?”

    I replied: “No, but I think I’d like to give it a try.”

    Anyway, the bottom line is that it appears like I am going to be given the opportunity to be an extra in this movie that re-creates a scene from a past experience in James Randi’s life. Life is so interesting. It kind of feels like I’m being invited to “play” with all this “serious stuff” a bit more. I sense that for me this “playing” is coming through voice dialogue now and being an extra in the James Randi movie later.

    Rick: So, would you like to sense the “energy” that is opposite to your “skeptic” energy and speak from that place?

    Keith: Yes. Thank you.

    Note. I get up and movie by chair a bit to my right.

    Rick: Well, hello. So you’re that part of Keith that is opposite to his “skeptic” self. Do you have a name you’d like me to call you?

    Believer/Hoper: Hmmm. Thanks for asking. I guess you might call me Keith’s “Believing” or “Hoping” self. You know I actually agree with most of what “he”—pointing to the spot where the “Skeptic” was sitting—said. It all kind of reminds me of the title of Levi Peterson’s autobiography: “Rascal by Nature, Christian by Yearning”. Of course I don’t know if “magic” is real. I don’t know if life goes on after death. But, I sure hope it does. At times, I sense there is some kind of benevolent energy, person, . . . or “something” behind so much of what has happened and is happening in my life. My “Skeptic” friend told you the story about meeting Levi Peterson at “Miracle Hot Springs.” Of course, neither he nor I know all the causes and meanings of this event. However, it sure was interesting . . . and fun. Heck, I don’t know the meaning of the “why’s” or “how’s” or “what’s” of much that occurs in my or other’s lives. Still—I’m having a hard time finding the right words to say all that I sense—still, I sense there is “something” meaningful and good that is somehow orchestrating much of what is occurring in my life. I guess some people might call this “something” “God”. I just don’t know. It’s something I sense is there, but I don’t know what it is.

    I am starting to get some understanding of who, or what, this benevolent “something” might be through the writings of my good friend Stewart Edward White. He’s an author of some of my favorite books. Of course, I don’t know him personally. Still, through his writings I get a “sense” of him and feel that we would be friends.

  4. Jamie, thank you for this blog post. It is always thought provoking to read about your experiences. Your reminded me of a conversation I had with my friend Sue Liedl. She and her husband built a brand new Hermitage in a lovely open field by their home in the country. They are working on a brochure that will get the word out about the opportunity they have created for people to come to this space for Silence. It seems to me that you are on very similar paths of thought.
    You wrote, “I feel the need to align myself with the part of me that seeks wisdom and nourishment from the subtler realms. In this space reflection, writing, and stillness are all an important part of learning to read these quiet rhythms and energy.” When I hear Sue Liedl speaking about her desire to offer people a Still place where her hope is that people will really listen to the wisdom of silence and all that being “present ” can provide to one who truly listens. I imagine Sue’s hope is that people will attain nourishment and wisdom as they experience the subtler realms. I believe if we take time to be in Silence with ourselves and the energy that surrounds us we will gain wisdom the we seek.
    I am so thankful to Sue and Steve for creating this space where people are invited free of charge to experience ourselves in Silence. Any monetary gift that they might collect from people who stay at th Hermitage will go toward Peacemakers in Bemidji. If you want to know more details you can call me at 218 586-2678 and I can refer you to them personally.

  5. Oh, Jamie! Thanks so much for yet another outstanding, and thought-provoking, sharing of self. Or, should I say the sharing of the many facets of self? “True Confessions of a Woo Woo Dancer” expresses beautifully the interesting conflicts occurring between the external self and the internal self . . . something we all experience. We just need to open our minds enough to recognize that’s what’s causing our confusion. Yes, the spirit is alive in each of us, woo woo or not. It wants and needs to be heard. It offers the wellness we seek, and the security. We just need to respond to its cues. I’ve watched you, worked with you, listened . . . I get it. Wish you were closer — I have pies in the oven for tomorrow’s sharing of the holiday season’s beginning. Wish you could join us! I’ll keep this blog in mind, and you, and try to listen for my inner self and those inner selves of others at the table!

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