For those who want more than a brief testimonial like my other testimonials, here’s an in depth look at the one-on-one work I offer from one of my long-time students, Patti. As of this posting (May 1, 2019), we have been working together for more than four years and continue to work together.
If you want to read other testimonials, you can click on this link:
After four years of working with Jim, I thought I would write a testimonial about my experience as his student for those considering working with him.
I found Jim, as undoubtedly many of you have, through his blog and YouTube channel. After a lifetime of spiritual seeking that included astrology, numerology, mythology, past-life regressions, aliens, out-of-body experiences, yoga, meditation, conventional therapy to try to understand why I felt so “different,” etc., etc. (basically, if there was a modality to explore that might help me figure out who/what I was, I exhausted it!), I had hit a wall of frustration. I had stopped seeking, as each one of these explorations seemed to offer me a piece or two that intellectually satisfied me for awhile, but did absolutely nothing to satisfy this overwhelming urge in me for…something else. But, as many of you might have experienced, just because I had quit seeking, the seeking had not quit trying to find me.
It was in that state that I discovered Jim’s blog and You Tube channel late one night while googling yet another set of weird physical and mental arisings that I thought must only be happening to me since no one else I knew was talking about this stuff. But Jim was talking about it. And writing about it in a way that was approachable, and that was the key for me. Jim is approachable. His words and his metaphors (and he has the best metaphors!) were not cloaked in some arcane double-speak that was impossible to decipher without a degree in advanced Eastern Philosophy. His words and his guidance were practical, grounded in this world and this experience. Plus he had topics on his blog that I had never seen other spiritual teachers address. It took me about a week of fighting with my gut and my fear, and then I contacted him. My first message could basically be summed up as this: “HELP!! I think I am going absolutely bonkers.”
Approachable, Practical, and Transformative Teaching
Working with Jim has been a lot like how it felt to read his blog the first time: approachable, practical and, ultimately, transformative. But this work, this process, is not easy, and it is not going to make your ego happy. You are going to learn to sit in the fire of your own beliefs, desires, and attachments, and it gets mighty hot in there. In one of our first sessions, Jim described this process to me as basically cleaning out a bathroom that people had been using (ancestors included!) for generations and never cleaned. Gross, yes, but oh so apt. When you turn the lights on for the first time and take the high-powered hose to the grimy tiles, a lot of not-so-pleasant stuff gets blasted out. And believe me, as someone who considered herself very “spiritually and self-aware,” there was gunk in that metaphorical bathroom that I had no idea was in there or what it was doing to me in “present time.”
Trusting the Spiritual Process
As Jim’s blog name and book [Everyday Spirituality: Cultivating an Awakening] point to, this is a process. Even for those seeking or having had the “blow the doors off” spiritual awakening that many have gotten entranced by, you still have to do the work. Just because you’ve tasted the Divine nature of your own Being doesn’t mean that you’re still not human and, as such, have accumulated a lot of the baggage that we humans carry around.
For me, I recognized the transformation not so much by what was suddenly “there,” but by what was slowly but surely “not there” anymore. This has been a process of emptying, disintegrating, and dissolving far more than accumulating. It is a process of traveling in this world much more lightly than before.
As we cleaned out my “spiritual commode” of lifetimes of crap, an openness and stillness began to arise within me where, more and more, I exist these days. It’s not artificial or brought on by any particular practice or modality; it’s been there all along. It’s where I exist. And you do too. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. But you’re going to have to be prepared to do some excavation to find this place, although it actually has never gone anywhere to begin with. It never could.
Sitting in Silence; Opening to Emptiness
In the beginning, there was a lot of work to be done in reconnecting my over-intellectualized mind with what was happening in my body. And then my heart. There was also a lot of silence as the energy that naturally arose during the session was allowed to do its thing.
And how very uncomfortable that used to be! Sitting in silence was uncomfortable, foreign even. I initially tried to fill the space with words, to find examples of my so-called “progress,” and to show my teacher how well I was doing. However, for some sessions, we spent a majority of the hour just breathing.
My mind, of course, went wild with questions of how this could possibly be working but, as time went on, I learned to trust Jim and trust the process. And in those hours of silence and breathing, some of the greatest transformations took place. It allowed that silent, still, but very alive place to open “inside” of me (it’s actually not inside of you at all, but you are both inside of it AND it, so to speak). It also allowed issues to arise that either I had not known were there or thought that I had resolved before.
What started as a safe space transformed into a sacred space. That quiet was not quiet at all, but alive with energy and awareness and connection. And as you start to recognize that in you (AS you), you also begin to recognize it in others. Which, overall, begins to melt the concept of separation in the most fundamental way. Bonus: I finally understood the title of one of my favorite books, “Emptiness Dancing,” by Adyashanti.
Returning to the Transformative Fire Again and Again
Jim also has given me many practical tools over the years that have helped me through some of the fires that will naturally occur with this emptying out, including specific yoga practices to help dissolve the mind/body/heart separation to keeping a journal to record and diagram what was going on. This past year, we’ve done some deep work on core issues/wounds. Back to the fire again. Back to sitting with and learning to watch and learn from that discomfort, that pain. No running, no hiding. Just more breathing, and then, eventually, and with a good dose of grace, more space is revealed.
Dancing in Her Divine Emptiness
Life today is much different than it was four years ago when I reached out to Jim from a place of desperation and frustration. Am I dancing on the front lawn with my dogs, chanting mantras, living in perpetual bliss, and wearing saffron robes? No, of course not. Or at least not always. I am still human. I still get triggered and still stumble upon some old conditioning, desires, and beliefs that I need to acknowledge and work with. But I am traveling a lot lighter these days in all senses. Moments of feeling connection and unity and love are common, not a rarity or something to be chased. Blame and projection are mostly things of the past (trust me, this is one of the greatest gifts!). And that space where Emptiness is always Dancing, is now ever-present. I don’t have to “seek” what was always, already there.
So if you’re ready for that, ready to get down and dirty with the process, Jim is a guide who ultimately leads you back to your own Divinity with practical tools, approachable wisdom, and a good dose of humor and love.
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