My Journey of Waking Up - - arriving at the Leveling Up Ascension Process Retreat
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
In July 2007 something kind of different happened.
I woke up.
No, I don’t mean out of bed. Or I kind of do. What I mean is, I woke up out of the dream of life as I had known it. I saw beneath the veil. This state is impossible to explain, really. I can try, but the moment words are put to it, it is not that.
But perhaps I can offer some descriptors that touch at the outer, outer surface of what IT is…
I had what is often referred to as a Samadhi experience, or expanded consciousness experience, in which the little “I” and the little "me" no longer existed or no longer existed in the forefront of identity.
Within this space all roles, labels, and expectations fell away. The person I identified with as me was no longer accessible. I was in a state of utter and complete union with all that is. Life was not more complex but rather profoundly simple. There was truly an unbearable lightness of being. There is nothing more simple than life as life is beyond all the projections of the mind. Noting at all changes and everything changes. Or rather, everything is exactly as it has always been but you can actually see for the first time.
Laughter came and came. Joy came and came. Laughter was. Joy was.
I was in the unified I am field. Just I am. Not I am so and so. Or I am such and such. Just I am. I was not oming (“AUM”) anymore. I was being Om’ed. I was Om. All of life was literally om’ing.
In this state everything that had seemed so important and had caused me so much strife and struggle was absolutely hilarious. The entire divine comedy, the absurdity and tenderness of the whole show of human existence—all of us chasing our own tails around every day trying to get somewhere, trying to prove something, trying to “be” something, now seemed like utter insanity…all of us missing the entire unfolding of beingness in the right here and right now.
In awakened consciousness everything is alive. Everything is beautiful, pulsing, radiating. There is a perfect harmony to the universe that’s impossible to explain. A perfect rhythm beneath the apparent stillness. I could see the plants breathe. I could see the air dance. I could hear grass cry when I walked on it too hard. And the thing that could see and hear all this was the very same thing that was being seen and heard. Awareness inside of awareness. Consciousness inside of thought.
Yes, really, all of this. Really.
It’s impossible to describe. The mystics, the seeers, the sages have tried since the beginning of recorded history in one way or another, but the best they can come up with is metaphor (as found in both poetry and myth). This is why all our sacred texts are so wildly misunderstood. They are speaking about a state of consciousness only understood through awakened experience.
I'm not special. I am just like you. One might argue, all humans are born awake but fall asleep quickly and then in one life time or another begin the waking up process— source remembering and knowing itself through coming into form one life after another. In this lifetime (if we are to say we have multiple lifetimes, which I do happen to believe), I am waking up in spite of my personality's many attempts to often keep me anchored to the absurdity of chasing my own tail around. I can be quite dramatic and feel quite heart broken when I want to. This last year in particular was an interesting mix of diving deeply into the human drama of life while simultaneously catapulting into massive periods of merging, transmitting, downloading, and opening. And yet the bumpy ride was interwoven and integrated into the fabric of all that is with the tools and lessons that have paved the way thus far.
When this first awakening experience happened in July 2007 I was perhaps even more at the bottom of the barrel, or rather bottom of the bottle, than most. In fact, I had spent the previous 7 years trying to reach an otherworldly, carefree experience through drugs and alcohol. As drunk or high as I could be at times, the high did not last and the weight of the world came crashing down like a thousand pound weight the morning after. When I had this first awakening experience (as in I have yet to become permanently awake so the "-ing" is still necessary) I was four months into my six month stay at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Wernersville, PA. After many failed attempts to get sober, I landed in inpatient care at the age of 25. Yes, on the outside I had some things “together” at the time. I was in a PhD program for clinical psychology and had been a longtime consumer of psychoanalysis (I still am). But, really, I was suffering enormously, trying to escape way too many years of heartbreaks, loss, and disappointment in life through a vodka bottle. Fortunately, when I arrived at rehab, I was ready to be done. I was ready for a new way of navigating life. I said yes to almost every single intervention and idea presented to me while there, including some books that would get me on the path I am on now.
About two months into my stay, I stumbled upon what I now call my gateway mysticism books in the bookstore. In particular, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, The Four Agreements, and two books I can’t remember the title of now on basic Buddhism and mindfulness meditation. I voraciously read these books over and over again because something about them fed my spirit in a way I could not explain but knew I needed. It was like someone had given me a flashlight, and I didn’t know where yet to point the flashlight but I knew all of a sudden I could see things I could not see before. Every day I religiously read these books, contemplated their ideas, tried to teach myself how to meditate, and walked around campus doing a mindfulness meditation walk that I had studied in the meditation book. During these walks I stilled all thoughts and focused all my attention on labeling the things I saw in their most basic essence without any other thoughts: “Rock” ... “Tree”… “Sky”….”Human”……and then deeper “nature” ….”nature.”
My mind became more and more still as each day went by. One day after reading my books and taking my meditation walk, I sat down for a meditation in the little garden of the back yard area of women’s extended care. I saw a bee and began labeling it “bee” when all of a sudden I fell into bee’ness. I was the bee and the essence of the bee. I was the buzzing and the flying. And then looking up at the mountains, I became the mountain. Then the sky. The grass. The essence of each of these I became while simultaneously having no other “I” to go fully back to. I was all that was and all that was, was me.
I knew it would be of no use to try and explain this to my counselors at rehab as they likely would have thought I was just getting high again or trying to distract from the process of healing. And the few times I shared about my experience at AA meetings, I was told “keep coming back, it works if you work it” (I.e. you have a long way to go kid. You’re on a pink cloud.). I had an experience of truth that I knew no one around me could comprehend, and I didn’t know how to explain it, who to talk to about it, and what it was called. I just knew that my life was forever changed and would never be the same.
All my previous desires seemed to vanish almost instantaneously. Goals I had held onto like an oxygen mask while in rehab, suddenly slipped though my hand like sand. No matter how hard I tried to force myself back into the box, my Spirit said, go this other way, go in the direction of the Way. I could not go back to New York City and continue my doctorate program in clinical psychology because I knew the “truth” they taught was like a minuscule, microscopic wave in the ocean, and I could no longer convince myself that spending several more years studying this tiny, tiny wave was really all that important any more. If anything, it was just distracting (notably, I did end up going back to a different graduate school and have since come to understand the realm of psychology as very important in our everyday 3d functioning and very helpful in creating the platform for a healthy relationship with spirituality…. but we'll save that discussion for another day).
It was in finding the path of Yoga right after getting out of rehab and devoting myself to my yoga practices that I began to understand what had happened to me. I was given a language in which to begin to understand the thing that cannot be understood in words. Yes, this was quite the paradox—beginning to find words for the wordless! I now all of a sudden was studying in a tradition in which this very same unity experience was one people were on the path to obtain. Unlike my more spontaneous awakening experience, yoga presented a path to go about it in a more measured, systematic and embodied fashion. I was given a roadmap in which to slowly awaken and to integrate my awakening. I was helped to have a body that could actually hold the energy of awakening.
Over the last 12 years I have awakened in bits and pieces. Some moments have been wildly expansive, “ascension growth spurts” I call them, and other moments have felt like I have come crashing down, slamming my face on the hard pavement of human drama in the 3d realm. But most of my opening has come at a more natural pace, one psychic center opening up and then another. I go into merge states but don’t lose touch with my precious, sacred embodied Self right here, right now. My primary path of meditation, Heart Rhythm Meditation™, holds the transpersonal, expanded consciousness experience while rooting me into power of my own heartbeat so that I don’t go up and out of my body in order to experience the All. I have gathered tool upon tool across traditions and lineages to help me expand and awaken in a grounded way. I have studied with some of the best known teachers and some of the most precious hidden gem awakened souls one could ever know.
The last three years the quickening of this process has been faster than perhaps all twelve years after the initial Samadhi experience. At first, this quickening was not pretty. I was unsettled, reactive, reclusive. But the more I began to work with it, the more I began to tap into the collective field of awakening going on right now across the world. The more I tapped into the universal, the more the experience become integrated at the personal. While it’s just one more label and labels are certainly not the goal, I have for lack of a better word, come to also call this quickly awakening experience, the “ascension process.”
As the world is getting darker, it’s also simultaneously getting lighter. People are waking up all over the globe. Being a conscious, “mindful” and heart-expanded human being is on the rise just as much as being a sleeping, angry, only-care-about-myself-don’t-care-if-I hurt-others or Mother Earth is also on the rise. The seeming polarity is no accident. The apparent opposites are waking each other up whether we see this or not (and sometimes to wake up we need to first take on the experience of being very asleep). And those of you (and you know who you are) who are waking up at a very rapid pace and going through all sorts of symptoms in the process, this is your call to action. Its time, with grace and with ease, to take responsibility for your awakening and learn how to work with it, use, appreciate it and respect it for the benefit of humankind and Mother Earth. Your healing, intuitive and psychic gifts are here to help the collective heal. High vibrations are contagious. Authenticity is contagious. Open hearts, open hearts. Open minds, open minds.
The world needs us to keep waking up, now more than ever before. And I am delighted to be here to support you in this process through horizontal, not vertical, guidance and empowerment. Horizontal guidance means me too and lets do this together as opposed to the unhelpful old school I have arrived on the mountain top and now let me minister to you from up there approach.
Between group and private family and individual retreats, I have led approximately sixty retreats over the last decade. This is my life’s passion. I believe retreats are the absolutely perfect opportunity in which to accelerate our growth and ascension in a nurturing, supportive atmosphere. Retreats provide the most effective tools in a short amount of time away from the distractions of our every day lives. I myself still attend a minimum of two retreats a year with my own teachers and mentors.
This particular retreat, Leveling Up: Owning the Ascension Process, encapsulates the sum total of my entire last twelve years as spiritual devotee, student and teacher. It distills down the most fundamental lessons and tools from all my experiences, studies, and training into a way that will help you fully harness your own awakening. The retreat will take place in Sedona, Arizona this October. Sedona is one of the most energy rich, sacred centers of awakening on our planet and the most perfect place for us to celebrate our ascension.
There is room for only 8 people. Currently there are six spots left. This small number is purposeful. This is not a retreat appropriate for the general republic. It is a retreat for those of you who KNOW In your soul this is exactly where you need to be and that you did not randomly arrive at this post.
Click here, and I’ll see you in Sedona in October, friends.
Our early registration incentives are pretty sweet too. I'm not going to lie about why we offer early sign up incentives. I could. But that’s not my style. Two reasons…1) it makes it a lot easier on our hOMe staff to have everything buttoned up early and 2) the more time I am channeling what needs to come through for each person and for the whole group once I know who is showing up. So sign up early. Saves you money; you get some sweet perks, and it seriously helps us help you more.
Many Blessings as you traverse the rugged, wild and free terrain of your own life,
Caroline (“Carrie”) Culverhouse