I’m actually very surprised that I was able to hear the Desteni message with such an immediate acceptance and understanding. I am surprised because before Desteni, not only did I have no beliefs in any form of religion, spirituality or supernatural phenomena, but I thought those who did were crazy. I felt most things could be pretty well explained in a reasonable and logical way, and those things that couldn’t were too few to count and were just freak occurrences or anomalies.
But these freak occurrences and anomalies intrigued me, because if reality was the way I believed it to be- then they shouldn’t occur at all. So a part of me remained open to the possible existence of something more, and my intrigue led me to investigate the unexplainable, because it was messing with my worldview.
I tried really hard to believe in something spiritual, something occult, or ‘something more,’ but every attempt I made just proved to me that it was all a sham. A couple experiences I can remember are playing Ouija with some friends. I just knew one of them was pushing the little thingie to spell out the name of another of mine friend whose father had just passed away. That friend was convinced that it was real and she got really scared. Another time a friend of mine convinced me to go to a psychic because he had gone and had been convinced that she was reading his present and future situation. He even told me that she said stuff about me, so I went. I didn’t tell the psychic that my friend had just gone the day before and the she had told him things about me and our future together. She read my palm and told me an entirely different story, and nothing was accurate and I left feeling mostly just ripped off. Experiences such as these showed me how easily people can develop beliefs and be misled by others, so I developed a skepticism about such things.
In terms of religion- I went to church when I was younger, but at that age I was very shy. I was picked on at school and I had very bad experiences with teachers. I found my place with animals and in nature- things which, to me, were real and filled with what I experienced as ‘love,’ acceptance, understanding, ‘joy,’ fun, excitement- everything worth living for. I found the human world devoid of these things and actually rather hostile. I found the teachings of Jesus and god’s supposed creation in nature and the animals and not in people, but at church these things were not given any significance or any attention whatsoever. Also, religion was so boring- how could it be the explanation of existence- which is full of wonder and mystery?
This is of course from a child’s perspective. But later on I saw movies about brutal missionaries, I learned about what the catholics did to the aboriginal people in my own country, and I learned about wars in the name of religion. To me it was just more people believing in something that’s not real, and people just being really mean and shitty towards each other, just like people were mean and shitty towards me. But I didn’t experience anger and hate towards these people like god apparently did when he would send them to hell. No one deserves that. So I just couldn’t possibly relate to any of it, and nothing made sense.
I was never actually exposed to any spirituality. I met self-proclaimed spiritual people along the way, they always seemed happy. Too happy. My experience of the world was confusing and scary, yet they seemed to have it all figured out, and in a way that didn’t include me. They were in their own little bubbles. Again- I felt they were believing in something by choice, and not because it was real, just as I had seen good friends of mine do, such as with the Ouija board and the psychic.
I first started noticing something was wrong when I began observing the general disregard for animals and nature. When my family got our first dog we had to choose one from the hundreds of dogs at the shelter who were crying for help. I didn’t understand how or why people allowed this to be this way. I was just a child, and I thought ‘grown ups’ were supposed to know how to fix problems, and here was a huge and horrible problem, but everybody acted like it was normal.
With regards to nature- I lived in a city, but my dad had built a cottage on a lake. It was like a dream come true for me to go there and spend time in the woods- mostly alone, but also with friends and family. I just loved exploring and discovering new animals like frogs and salamanders, and sometimes there would be animal tracks or carcasses and I could get a close up look at them. I couldn’t understand how any person would design a city such as the one I lived in, without leaving any room for nature. And why people would spend all day in these big boring buildings with nothing to explore or discover. There were hardly any animals, and the ones that were around were hungry and scared. I’d see them dead on the side of the road along with the garbage; I’d see animals with mange, and no one to help them. At a young age I had travelled to Cuba and Belize with my family. I saw kids younger than me begging in the streets, and homeless starving dogs everywhere. When I got home I saw that the community I lived in was nice, but what about everything else I had become aware of? Where was god? Where was purpose?
This was all before I became old enough to begin to see that I was actually living in the most privileged part of the world, and I began learning about poverty, factory farms, the leather industry, deforestation, water pollution, drag-net fishing- all of it just the tip of this never ending iceberg of horror. So this feeling of ‘what the fuck is going on here’ just amplified. But I grew older and started becoming distracted by a social life and boys and I began drinking and experimenting with drugs. I started changing who I was so that I would be accepted into social groups and I started trying to forget about the bad stuff in the world. But within this I became very unhappy and full of stress and anxiety.
I got married and moved from Canada to Vermont in the U.S. My husband and I lived in a poor area where people were on welfare. I had come from a middle class family and now I lived next to poverty and I began to see how close it was to home. My husband worked in government housing and he would tell me about the corruption he saw within the system. We were really broke during my process of immigration and I felt very disempowered and loaded with money stresses. That’s when I began to look for an answer. I decided “this is it: I am open to anything. I am young, able-bodied, and ready to do something.”
I enrolled in the local community college and started taking classes in all subjects I thought could provide a solution. But everywhere I turned all I found was dysfunction. In environmental science I saw only partial solutions, leaving out huge problems. I saw green-solutions that were plagued with pathologies: ‘green’ companies unable to compete with polluting and destructive corporations, local farming and farmers markets selling good healthy organic food that neither I nor any of my neighbors could afford, and an alternative energy sector that was a patchwork of under-funding and unaffordable technology.
In psychology I found no cures, pharmaceutical companies on a rampage, and no jobs for a girl like me who could only afford a BA at a community college. I saw kids from rich families going to the big universities in my neighborhood- $40 000 a year for the program I would have chosen to attend at the University of Vermont. How could I expect to compete with that? On top of that, I found dysfunction within myself as well. As I tried to develop a social life I realized that I was unable to relate to those around me, and I was also uncomfortable with who I had become as a personality and I had social anxiety.
When I got my green card I gave up on school and began to look for a solution in my working life. I worked at a ‘green’ restaurant and at a senior’s residence with the idea that I could become a nurse and at least help some people- maybe get some skills that would further me somehow. But all I got was minimum wage, and my husband and I worked full-time just to keep our heads above water. Rent was expensive, we had some debt, our car was breaking down, bills kept getting higher but our pay stayed the same. We were slaves to the system.
Our big break came when Toyota had a recall on the Tacoma model truck, which we owned- they had faulty frames that collected salt from the roads which would rust them right through. Trucks began snapping in half mid-drive, sometimes cutting the break lines. We got 150% of the Kelly Blue Book value for our truck that was barely running. We would have had to pay someone to take it off our hands, but instead we got 9000$ for it. We got a new car and we got the hell out of Vermont. We moved to Maine and that’s where I discovered Desteni three years ago.
I can’t remember the first video I saw, but I remember it spoke to the fact that I, as an individual, had the power to change, not only myself- but the world. I learned that I would have to work within a group and deal with my own dysfunction to do so. I watched videos and I read the writings of people who were applying self-forgiveness. They were using this tool along with some others to change themselves and overcome things like social anxiety and depression. When I read their writing it was like I had written it myself, their problems and issues were just like mine, but they were overcoming them! They weren’t asking me for money, and they weren’t asking me to believe in something religious or spiritual, they weren’t asking me to believe anything. They were presenting me with a way to empower myself and actually stand up and voice myself, and to speak about the problems I had been observing my whole life.
Desteni explained everything: about how greed and self-interest cause the problems we see today, about how money controls everything, about how humans distract themselves with religion, spirituality and other beliefs so as not to have to face themselves and the world. How the mind creates habits and patterns that trap us and bring us down to that point of giving up. How Life is actually Here with us, but we are too busy in our minds to see it or even realize it within ourselves. But Desteni didn’t only point out the problems- the problems are blatantly obvious once you just open your eyes. What is different about Desteni is that it offers tools anyone can use to take back control of our lives, to take the wheel and direct our world to where we want it to be. So that’s what I did.
I began writing self-forgiveness, investigating the material like crazy, and after a year I finally built up the courage to participate on the forums. I got support there from those who had been applying the tools already. I received support that I could actually apply in my Life. I did the work, I created space within me, I got better at moving myself instead of losing myself in my mind of anxiety, fear, stress and insecurity, and I got real. I got my driver’s license which gave me more independence, I began taking responsibility for myself within my relationships. I shaved my head, I started making some videos and writing and becoming ‘visible’ and public with my process and I am still working at that.
The biggest challenged I faced has been going back to school. Desteni taught me to fearlessly utilize whatever resources I had available to further myself and become more stable and effective within the system instead of just being a slave. So I applied for a university back in my home town where the school is cheaper but has a better reputation. It’s cheaper because it’s back in Canada, so I moved back. Now my husband and I live far apart while I get my degree in politics. I’m doing very well at school and I’m working my ass off for it. I’m still very new in my process and I’m pushing myself more than I ever thought possible. I’ve become so comfortable speaking up that I have to now keep my mouth shut in class sometimes because I talk too much! I am at complete ease in social situations and I actually look forward to seeing old friends, hanging out with my husband’s friends and meeting new people. I stopped drinking and smoking pot about a year ago, and I’m much better at staying on top of keeping my shit together so to speak- in terms of money, responsibilities and just staying calm about everything and directing myself instead of reacting to things.
I’ve definitely got a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go, I have a LOT of things on my list to change about myself: I still have anxiety and stress, it just doesn’t stop me anymore. I’m working on that stuff still, and there’s room for improvement, in fact, ‘that’s the biggest room there is’. But I no more feel as if the world is just a confusing mess with no solution. I have been spending my whole Life trying to work towards a solution and an understanding and only ever hitting dead ends. Desteni has taught me that walls are made to walk through, so that’s what I’m going to do while I continue to work towards a solution: the Equal Money System. Only the path towards this solution is one of self-realization, self-expansion and self-empowerment, so I’m actually getting back so much more than I am giving to help realize this new economic system. I’d like to change that to an equation of equality, by further empowering myself to be able to do more for the Equal Money Solution, because why would I do anything else?