Lessons in Ego


“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~Wayne Dyer

It’s not about you.

As a teacher I learned it is not about you.  Everyone is on their own path--plugging along just as clueless as you (for the most part).  They hit speed bumps, terrible experiences, and struggles with love and relationships.  The more you respect this rule, “It’s not about you,” the more self-esteem you’ll likely have.  It provides a lens to view the world and the actions of those around you and you start to see how it really isn’t about you.  So what am I talking about?

When I was a teacher I worked with students with emotional disturbances.  Everyday I would go in and my ego would be tested (are you seeing a theme here?).  I’d say to the students, “Please take out your pen and paper and begin writing down the notes for today.”  Many times, I’d get a response like, “Go f--k yourself you white f---ing b-tch!” Hmmm, nice!

At first, my reaction was of shock.  Gasp! I never talked to an adult like that!  Plus, I was just asking them to take out a pen and paper to take notes for Pete’s sake!  A simple task-- with a please!  It only took several times of having my ego stamped on, that I started to look at the situation more objectively.  That’s when I started to laugh (instead of cry!).  I didn’t deserve a response like that and I was stupid to think that their response was really about me!  Of course it wasn’t!  It was really about what I represented to them, or it was a reflection of what they learned about treating someone, or about the fact that many of them could barely read and write.  Either way--it wasn’t about me.

This really got me thinking.  Why was I so shocked at that behavior, after all, they were classified as students with emotional disturbances (whatever that means).  I was shocked because I had an expectation of the way to be treated.  But that was my expectation that I placed on them.  I started thinking, is that really fair that I had an expectation on them they didn’t even know about.  Would they have still responded in that fashion if I had allowed them access to my expectation?  Who knows, but I started to realize that my disappointments in life were directly related to the expectations I had place on people. In addition, I’ve found myself a lot more satisfied because I rarely get disappointed by people.

The equation is simple. The more self-esteem you have, the less ego you have. The more ego you have the less self-esteem you have.  That’s just the way it is.  They are proportional.  You can’t raise one without the other falling.  That’s because when ego is the lens you view the world with, it’s all about you --and truthfully, it’s not all about you.


“We all are born, we all die, and here's the secret...we all need each other in between." ~Morrie (from Tuesdays with Morrie)


The book that happened to fall in my lap was Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse. This novel is about a man who is searching for inner peace through giving up his worldly possessions (what a gambler!).  He later became known as Buddha.

His journey inspired me to formulate a tangible way of illustrating the important connection between mind, body, and spirit and the energetic exchange that is constantly happening.  Balancing the supply and demand of your body’s energy puts you on the path to true well-being.

I call this balancing act an Energy Packets Theory.  For the sake of a visual, think of these packets like sugar packets.  Someone who eats healthily, exercises, meditates, and gets a good nights sleep daily would wake up with a lot of energy packets!  Who doesn't want that?  Someone who indulged in a double cheese burger and forgot to go to the gym the day before (ut oh!), would have less energy packets to get through the day.  The truth is, we all become lackadaisical in caring for our mind, body and spirit at some point. The key is to offset the imbalances when they occur (I'm sure you Libras are great at this!).

Throughout the day we spend our packets on different situations and people.  What we need to do is to use our packets wisely and gain them through things that make us feel better.  Many of us have things we “have to do,” so we can anticipate releasing energy packets for those things (sucks, doesn't it).  However, it is important to replenish our energy packets through things like taking a walk on the beach, devouring a slice of watermelon on a hot summer day, or sitting quietly with coffee contemplating life. Indulging in the things you love and feeding your mind with positive thoughts will help bring about inner peace.  After all, some of the best things in life are free (ahhhhh).

Taking time for yourself is about self love.  If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t have enough energy to care for others.  I learned this when I was teaching the inner city kids classified with emotional disturbances (yikes is right!).  If I wasn’t feeling 100%, the students could just smell the weakness within me.  They would pounce on my emotional instability and devour me like I was prey.  I learned very quickly, that it wasn’t worth trying to teach when I wasn’t feeling top notch!

So what are the frivolous ways we expend our packets?   Often, we lose our energy without even knowing it!  For instance, our grip on the way things should have been literally tires us out.  When you worry about something, or wish you could change something that happened in the past,  you are flushing your packets down the toilet!  It’s the same as having someone do an automatic withdrawal from your energy bank account each day before you even get up!  This is considered an “energy leak” and is seen as an actual energetic cord coming out of the body by those who see energy--quite literally holding you back.

This is why it is important to look at the people whom you surround yourself with.  Our friends and family are like an energy insurance policy.  If we need a few packets to help pick us up, we can call our loved ones and they are happy to get us back on track to feeling better (they've got nothing better to do anyway).  And vice versa.  It is the people whom we feel “drained” after being with that we need to be wary of.  Those people are only taking energy packets and not replacing them, so we need to adjust our relationship with them to preserve our reserves!

For many of us who have become overwhelmed by the demands of life, our goal simply becomes to “just get through the day.” If this is the case, you are likely not replenishing the packets you are loosing. The more you feel like you are becoming depleted of the vital energy that supplies you, the more your body will feel the scarcity of what is happening.  This causes your body to go into the Fight or Flight mode.  In reality, the mind literally down shifts into what is called “Reptilian Brain.”  The name says it all.  Your body has slipped into survival mode (and has released cortisol).  This is when you become less articulate and make irrational decisions because you are quite literally consumed with your survival.  That’s why during a verbal fight with someone, you can’t quite explain your point of view.  Your body has shut down important functions like digestion in hopes of supplying enough energy to get your butt out of that terrible situation!  You may have even experienced the “Ah Ha!” moment after the fight, where you have formulated the best comeback in your life.  You think to yourself, “Why didn’t I think to say that?”   It is because your brain has now shifted out of Reptilian Brain and you can think clearly, whereas before you were focused on survival. Pheeeew!

Lastly, we need to be sure that we are gaining high quality, long lasting energy packets! Sounds yummy!  Sometimes things can masquerade as high quality energy packets.  For instance, shopping is a way of gaining low quality energy packets, because the truth is a shopping high doesn’t last quite as long as a runner’s high, nor does it have the same beneficial effects on the body (wishful thinking!).  Continuing to choose booze over berries is another recipe for disease.  If you want to receive high quality energy packets, get some Reiki!  Reiki comes from an inexhaustible resource!  Awesome!  I'm looovin' it!

The bottom line here is  take that walk, spend the extra time with the kids---happiness is something we create!  So make the choice to rehabilitate your energetic system in efficient ways.  Health and happiness come from within. When it comes from within, it cannot be taken away.  Thank you Siddhartha for teaching me this.


Chasing Cars

“Ego... Edging God Out.” ~Wayne Dyer

So I had found my passion--I was ready to run to the hills and start healing people!  Then I looked at my bank account.  My heart sank to the pit of my stomach.  Ugh.  I was going to have to keep my job for a lot longer than I thought.  It’s not that I didn’t like my job, I was just growing tired of feeling like I was only using half my self.  I decided on a compromise, I’d keep my job, pay off debt, and work on clients when I had the time. All the while I would continue to cultivate my mind, body and spirit. This was going to take some serious discipline.

Anyone who has seen me in the last few years, knows I used to drive a jalopy.  It was a tan 1997 Nissan Altima.  It wasn’t so bad when I got it.  NYC made it into a “Hooptie.”  That car was uuuuuuuugly and came with two lessons.  One in ego, and one in discipline.  Prior to acquiring Hooptie, I drove a beautiful Infiniti G35 that could go from 0 to 60 mph in like half a second. I loved it!  It was also waaaaay over my budget considering the money I owed to credit card companies and student loans. I decided to sell it so that I could one day pursue what made me feel whole--energy medicine.

Trying to sell my car was taking forever-- at least longer than immediately.  It was sort of like ripping a bandaid off slowly.  I needed to just get on with my plan--plug one of the holes in my bucket of disappearing money.  I decided to sell it for much less than it was worth.  That’s when my sister’s boyfriend needed a “new” car so I sold it to him.  I remember the day clearly.  I was pacing the beach talking to him on the phone.  By the end of the conversation I managed to sell my car and get his car for free!  I have no idea how I was able to swing that, but it happened.  The excitement that soared through me felt awesome!  I felt like I was finally on track!

Then, one icy night in December someone hit my car.  This car managed to hit both the front and the back of the car (I have no idea how). They also didn’t leave any insurance information so I was left to fix the damages on my own.  This was not where I envisioned my money going, so I found a garage in Brooklyn where they would do the bare minimum to fix the car.  I just needed it to run, not look good.  There was $4,000 worth of damages (more than the total worth of the car), but they fixed it for $400.  For six months I drove it with half a bumper, a crinkled hood and a crushed trunk.  Best of all, I parked my little Hoopty in the Upper Eastside of Manhattan.  Finally, on one summer afternoon, a friend and I “fixed” my bumper with duct tape, mastic (it’s like glue for tiles), and some tan paint.

I had to ask my self why the universe wanted me to drive such a ridiculous car.  What was this situation supposed to be teaching me?  I have found that looking at moments and situations like these helps to learn the lesson it is providing.  That way you can avoid being hit with a sledgehammer (or the phantom car in the middle of the night) to recognize it.

Clearly I was going to have to get my ego in check even more.  I guess it wasn’t enough that I had decided I couldn’t keep up with “Jones” in the Upper Eastside-- so I didn’t even try.   Truthfully, that decision brought a lot of relief.  I was able to focus my attentionand money on other things (like paying off debt). But why did the universe mangle my car?  My only conclusion was that I needed to learn more about ego.

I decided to take a closer look at the word ego.  It comes from the Latin word ego (conveniently) and means “I.”  As you may know, egocentric means the world revolves around me!  The American way!  If we step back and look at that, the more that everything is about you the less it is about others. That’s just mathematically the way it is. So what’s wrong with that?  That’s when it hit me.  Hello McFly! If I was gonna do the work I wanted to do, I was going to have to be totally sure of myself (no matter what car or clothes I had) so I could be confident in my skills as a healer.  It’s not easy to say to someone, “So what’s going on with your hip, because it’s killing me!” I had to be able to trust what I was feeling, have the confidence to say it, and not care if the person looked at me like I'm crazy.  This work isn’t about me.  It’s about transferring information and energy through me.

To deepen this understanding, the right book happen to fall in my lap...