The cold of New York City is the meanest kind of cold. It is a cold that is vicious and bitter like a miser who takes his pain out on other people. Like that old man who is yelling through the hallways, the cold targets you in the gray streets and alley ways of the city. At this time of year, it seems like everyone is spending the majority of their time just trying to evade its wrath.
Some people are so identified with the city they live in or with their culture that any negative appraisal is taken as a personal attack. I would be lying if I said that didn’t make me just a little apprehensive to be honest about my perspective on the places that I visit. I’m especially apprehensive to speak about New York because New Yorkers are the Americans that are the most identified with their city.
I’ve already done an energetic diagnosis on New York. Nothing has changed on that front. But people seem to be much more desperate than usual. This is not just true for New Yorkers. I’m wondering if it has to do with the current political climate or the rapid expansion cycle we are in universally right now as a species. But in general, people are wanting something so badly that they don’t feel like they can have. And this is what desperation is all about. On an energetic level, that state is like getting ripped in half. And your emotions mirror that internal splitting process perfectly. That desperation leads people to extremes.
My trip to New York this time did not go smoothly. It seemed like the universe was putting me in a position to stop doing anything and go even deeper with inner journeywork. The restaurants we tried to go to were totally booked out. It seemed like every time we tried to go somewhere, we were prevented from doing so. Things I wanted to buy were sold out. People I was planning to meet with cancelled last minute. I tried to go to the Frick Collection and the line was so long they told us we would have to stand out in the cold in a line for an hour. This was physically not possible unless you had a ski outfit on. New York is not a friendly city (I know people who identify with New York City hate when anyone says this). No buildings nearby were willing to have anyone standing in their foyer, not even parents with tiny children. So we gave up on it. I spent the entire trip either on stage or inside the apartment I rented.
I ended up seeking shelter from the cold that day in the closest store I could find. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong street… A street lined with nothing but high end fashion designer boutiques. I wandered around the place trying to connect to the place. I tried to connect to it as if I were a buyer. When that failed, I tried to connect to it as a former model that loves the runway. When that failed, I tried to connect with it as a fellow artist. None of it was working. The people working in the place were deliberately playing a status game with the occasional person who walked in. It was the exact opposite of an enthusiastic sales approach. The attitude was like “We are too good for anyone who walks through this door but to our dismay, you were lucky enough to find us, so we will tolerate you looking around.” When a buying client walked in, it was like watching a body language pissing contest to establish pecking order. I understand it on a psychological level but I still can’t believe that the kind of exchange that happens in those high-end boutiques would motivate any person on earth to return.
I ended up smiling to myself wen I realized that I feel the exact same way in high end fashion designer boutiques as I do in some super fancy restaurants. Like you pay an exorbitant amount of money for an empty plate with a carrot curl on it and some fancy dressing made from something that only grows in the bottom of the ocean… Like they are really selling you on the idea that you are special by virtue of having it; as opposed to there being any real intrinsic value to it. There are only a few fashion designers on earth today that I feel are worthy of the clout. And in the name of fashion as well as for the sake of a little shout out to any of you who are fashion enthusiasts, my favorite designer is Herve Leger.
The best news is that by being in New York, I had access to Whole Foods again. My community likes to tease me that there is one way in which I am super American… I am super attached to convenience. The consumer aspect of me is the one who just cannot let go of the attachment I have to giant natural food/product stores. It is my adult version of a toy or candy store. You could drop me off and come back hours later and I’d still be lost in the aisles, completely content and picking out items to try. I took full advantage of the luxury this week. And long story short, as of this morning, the kitchen in the apartment looked like someone had gone on a binge bender.
I must say that I felt safer in New York this time than I’ve ever felt there before. Usually, I have to kind of hold my breath and close my eyes and run into the fast lane when I come to New York City. I get emotionally bruised a little bit and then go home to heal the bruises. But being able to at least speak the same language as everyone and have access to any product I want and to be familiar with the culture and to feel like even the poorest demographic of society isn't primitive, made me so confident compared to usual. It’s incredible how spending so much time in a third world country can make you feel instantly safe in the most unsafe parts of a first world country. It’s completely psychological.
To be completely authentic with you, I had really painful dreams last night. Recently in my public life this desperation people are experiencing has been making it so a lot more people do not treat me like a person. Instead, they see me as a resource to exploit. They really don’t care about the impact on me or on anyone else for that matter. This is the reality for anyone who is famous. But it is much, much worse for ‘expertise celebrities’ than ‘entertainment celebrities’. People tell me (in not so direct ways) that I have no right to feel bad about it because I chose this line of work, where I literally am a resource. But because of this desperation, I feel consumed. Also, lately the money some people spend to attend an event I am putting on is now only worth it to them if they get exactly what they think they want out of me. My entire team has been observing this shift in my public life. As well as how it is forcing all of us to be less and less available just to be able to have the energy necessary to really be there for people. It has been leading to some very emotionally painful dreams.
In one of my repetitive dreams lately, I am sitting on a stage in a blue kaftan. My legs are exposed to the audience. Every time I try to speak, an audience member interrupts me with a question they have to know the answer to. Like it is life or death for them to know the answer. But each time they ask a question, a strip of flesh goes missing as if taken off by a vegetable peeler from my legs. I feel the terror of not being able to have boundaries. I am paralyzed and don’t want to get up and leave the chair because I know if I don’t let them consume me, they will feel as if it is me who has prevented them from having what they need so desperately, which makes me the enemy. And I see them turning into an angry mob of dissatisfied haters. Eventually in the dream I look down and I have no flesh left, just fragile leg bones. I feel doom knowing that I literally can’t get up and off the stage because the leg bones are too fragile and will shatter if I stand on them. Then I wake up.
The pressure of my position is going up and up with no glass ceiling in sight. And the hard part is that I can’t fault people for it. I know what it feels like to be desperate for something. It is a real question how responsible someone can be for their actions from that place of emotional hell. I want to be there for that desperation. I want to close the distance between the side of them that wants so deeply and the side of them that doesn’t think they can have what they want. I love that work. But with enough desperation, it feels like energetic cannibalism, which is hard for anyone to hold space for.
The theme of this entire trip, no matter what event it was, was shame. I think humanity is in the process of clearing up the collective subconscious. And shame is the heart of the subconscious. I am going to be teaching a great deal more about it I think. I am becoming more and more aware that the nature of my work (pointing out the shadows as well as authenticity) is inevitably bound to trigger shame.
I think that out of every spiritual teacher in the world today, I am the one who hates spirituality the most. Spirituality is not a box that you can open and close again. Like Pandora’s box, after you open it, you spend half of your time thanking the heavens that you opened it and the other half of your time cursing yourself for having cracked the lid. There is nothing comfortable about awakening. Awareness is as painful as it is satiating. So much of spirituality being practiced in the world is a coping mechanism instead of an avenue to awareness. This kind of usage causes pain to the world. This kind of usage drives us deeper into ignorance and illusion. I have very little mercy for this kind of spiritual practice, which is hard because so many of the ‘sacred irrefutable pillars’ of spiritual practice around the world fall into this category. And very few people see it.
One of these beliefs is that all of our relationships with people are just a substitute for our relationship with God (or whatever you want to call God). That everything you need (even emotional needs) are within you and will ultimately only be met by your relationship to God. This is not an objective truth. This is a belief that sounds poetic, which was invented as a cognitive coping mechanism by people whose needs were not met by the people in their lives. Essentially, it’s better than emotionally starving to death. Watching the people of New York this week, most especially those people who are consciously trying to un-need other people by adopting this belief, makes me particularly sad. The human race needs to learn how to have relationships far, far more than they need to learn how to not rely on other people for anything. For that reason, before I leave New York, I am going to present an alternative perspective.
That the ultimate truth in this universe is the truth of oneness. Therefore each being in existence is in fact an extension of what many call “God”. We are indivisible from it. And as such, having good relationships with people is the same as having a good relationship with God. That by deciding to give up the quest for good relationship with people for a good relationship with yourself or a Greater God, you are actually giving up on having a good relationship with part of God. Therefore, because you are indivisible from God, you are dividing yourself. You are giving up on part of yourself.
Perhaps the point of human life is not to find our way out of human-ness (including human relationships) and back to God. By doing that, we have chosen to exit the world due to our own discomfort with the illusion of it. We have done nothing to heal the fragmentation in the whole. Perhaps the point of human life is to really be in it. Perhaps by resolving our war with other physical people and creating harmony in our human relationships, we will automatically be resolving our war with our self, healing the fragmentation within God and creating embodied unity… Because that which we call God is a mirror image of us.