Harmony’s Interview with Krysta Gibson of New Spirit Journal:
Krysta- Hello and welcome everyone. This is Krysta Gibson with Newspiritjournal.com. Those of you who read these online publication and listen to the interviews that I do know that you’re on a spiritual path and a lot of you have done a lot of personal work as part of that journey. My guest today, Harmony Kwiker, is a psycho therapist and relationship coach based in Boulder, CO. And she has been walking her path towards embodying her true self and records her journey in her memoir called Reveal, Embody the True Self Beyond Trauma and Conditioning. Now today she is going to share some of her story with us! Welcome Harmony!
Harmony- Hello Krysta, Thank you.
Krysta- So the first part of the book details the trauma and conditioning as a child and you did a fire walk when you were just seven, but then you were raped at fourteen and again at age twenty. I was really struck by the fact that your mom was a healer, a breath worker, and your dad was a healer, a osteopath, yet they didn’t seem to know how to provide you or your sister with the protection or of love that you craved. So, you really spent of a lot of time on this and rightly so in the book, can you talk a little bit about this environment and how you feel it affected you as far as being on a journey.
Harmony- Yeah, I think one of the most confusing wounds that we can have is the wound of neglect. In my life it didn’t seem from the outside that I was neglected because I had these two amazing healers as parents and we had financial means and abundance, but the emotional attunement that I was needing to really be seen and held and welcomed in my pain and my truth, it just wasn’t available. Even worse than that, I didn’t even know that I needed it.
Harmony-I didn’t know I needed something else from them other than what they were giving me. So I just started organizing this system around this neglect. Really creating a lot of misbeliefs about being unworthy, about my needs not mattering and about other people being more important to me. That became a patterned way in which I engaged with the world. And so, even at the age of fourteen, when I was raped, I actually, at the time, didn’t even know that it was wrong. Because my esteem was so low and my beliefs about myself were so minimizing I really actually thought that what he wanted was more important than any pain that it caused me.
Krysta- Big things for a child to deal with, huge things.
Harmony- Yeah, and having a mom who was a healer, who was an advocate for survivors of incest and rape in the 80’s, her response to the rape felt very confusing to me also because didn’t tell me that it was wrong. So the messages I kept getting were “hide the pain because there is no place out there in the world for it, nobody really cares”.
Krysta- I think one of the things that struck me most about that part of your story was the confusion and mixed messages. I think that’s why I wanted to bring that up, because I think sometimes we see people in the world who are healers and apparently doing a lot of good things and we don’t always know what’s going on in the background. And, so, for you, as a child, who couldn’t really make sense of a lot of this anyways. As an adult it would be hard, but as a child, the confusion that must have caused for you, in terms of coming up your own feeling of who you were, had to of been incredible difficult to handle.
Krysta- So what happened, because clearly you awakened, clearly there was a corner that you turned. So talk to us about that. Kind of how, and people can read your book to get all the details, but how did you turn that corner?
Harmony- I had started undoing a lot of the dissociative behaviors that were hiding my pain. I had stopped using drugs and having casual hook-ups, all the things that had been numbing my pain. I stopped doing them and realized that the pain inside me was so big. I didn’t know how to be with it, my relationship to my pain was suppress it, numb it, turn away from it. I didn’t have the skills quite yet to turn toward it, but I had a meditation practice and I had started practicing teaching yoga. Even as I was doing all these healthier behaviors, and obtaining from the unhealthy behavior, the pain was so big it was just consuming my life. I went into a deep collapse. And macro lapse. I used the healthier behaviors, the meditation practice in particular and decided to turn toward it. I felt like it was going to take me down and instead I got really curious about it. And I sat in meditation for a couple of hours, actually, just exploring the depth, and the textures and the colors of my pain. I got very familiar with it, so much so that I was accessing my witness mind. I was no longer identified with my wound, I was now the witness of the wound. And in that place, I could see that there was so much more to me. That I had been looking at the world through this lens of my wound and I believed it was real. And in the turning toward it and being curious about it, I accessed a different part of myself and in that I became wholeness and I woke up to my light. And it was so transformative and invigorating and exciting. I really felt alive for the first time in my entire life. I was young, I was in my early twenties, so developing the skills of really embodying this and anchoring this part of me in a really grounded way wasn’t accessible to me yet. I was still identified with my conditioned self in intimate relationship, even though this was my first glimpse at a bigger part of myself.
Krysta- So it sounds like, even though you had this experience, you weren’t healed immediately of all of your past conditioning.
Krysta- You still had things to deal with.
Harmony- I had a lot of work to do!
Krysta- It wasn’t like, “Bingo! We are over now! Okay that happened and all is love and light and easy from here on out”. Not quite what happened, huh?
Harmony- Right. And in that what I have learned over time is that the most important part of that work was actually really claiming my shadow. I believe that when we are identified with our conditioned selves, you know, we are in these habitual patterns that we learned when we were younger. We are navigating the world from a younger part of ourselves, not from the essence of who we are. And when we are identified with our conditioned self we are also disowning parts of ourselves. Like disowning darker part of ourselves. So for example, for me, my conditioned self had this habitual pattern of being really manipulative, trying to earn love by giving to get, by disowning my needs and desires making other people more important. And that was my deep unconscious way that I was trying to create control and safety in the world and trying to get connection in a really shallowy way. And for me a really big part of my work has actually been shadow work of claiming that. There is this part of me trying to manipulate my environment trying to get my needs met. The moment I claim that I become less manipulative. I can try to start the more truer thing, the thing that is more aligned with the integrity of who I am.
Krysta- So how does a person, and you know, I realize we just have a brief interview and this is a whole big thing, but just give us some ideas of like, okay, if a person recognizes that they have these disowned part of themselves from their childhood or, you know, experiences they’ve had, how do they begin? How do they step in to claim those disowned parts? How do they do that?
Harmony- Yeah, I love that question. I think because they are in the shadow they typically are blind spots. They’re the hardest part of ourselves to see. Really, the world around us, especially our closest relationships, are reflecting the thing that we disown. The thing that we judge somebody else for, or that we don’t like in somebody else is most likely in our shadow. So the work of being really curious about ourselves, like my mind is going over there to him, judging him for this behavior, where does that live in me? Does that live in me? Being in the “maybe” of it, the curiosity of it can really start the practice of claiming those parts that are harder to see in ourselves.
Krysta- So speak about that a little bit more. You said “claiming the maybe of it”, did I hear you right?
Harmony- Yeah, yeah you did hear me right. I think it is easier to make a guess, “maybe in my shadow lives a narcissist”. If i can say “maybe that might be true” it’s one step easier than saying “There is this part of me that is really narcissistic”.
Krysta- Right, right. To put it in a “hey, that could be” or “gee, maybe that’s true”, it’s less threatening to the disowned part who doesn’t feel the necessity to run and hide because you have totally named it. You’re just saying, “well, maybe that’s true”. And that makes it easier.
Harmony- Exactly. And it is also less threatening to the conditioned self because it is really the conditioned self that thrives on us disowning parts of ourselves.
Harmony- That’s what gives our conditioned selves power.
Krysta- Right. Now are there any specific practices people can do to, you know, start this journey? Anything in particular that they can do?
Harmony- Yeah, so, the first practice for me that was really transformative, and I see it in my clients also, is just the simple act of differentiating from our conditioned self. So if we can map out, “okay, what behavior do I do”. Like, if I’m going to meet the world from my conditioned self, what does that look like? So, if we can map out our conditioned self in that way we should start to see the mask of our conditioning with more clarity. So we are one step removed from it. Distancing ourselves from it is just like separating ourselves from it instead of being in it. And meditation is a great practice for that. I find that when I sit in meditation with the intention of differentiating my conditioned self I kind of give that part of me a persona, like a name, that is different from me. Whether it’s a name, so for me, my conditioned self is a helper. She wants to earn everybody’s approval and I kind of just give her this character that looks like me when I’m in that place. I can see that part more clearly. And from there, I believe that the practice is really aligning the midline of our body. Where the essence of who we are live. So anchoring down through our roots and really like feeling our body here on this Earth being held. I believe it’s the most vulnerable thing we can do, is to be really, really embodied. And so starting there, once we are differentiated from our conditioned self, like really landing. Inviting our soul to find its seat in our root. And then bring their intention up through the crown of their head with our inner eye. It’s about a foot above the head. And really aligning and holding hands with our Higher Self. And when we do that, just reminding ourselves, “This is me, this is who I really am”. Once we have access to that part of ourselves, just reminding the mind, “this is me, this is who I really am”. And then inviting that essence down, down to the roots, anchoring in our home base, in the midline of the body.
Krysta- Right, and it sounds like that would give you, um, another word for that, for part of that, is grounding ourselves, you know? In who we are, grounding ourselves. And once you do that there is more of a sense of solidity, kind of like a will of coming back to who you are instead of having yourself all spread out, you know, with everybody else.
Harmony- Yes, and for me the biggest piece of this, how can I bring this part of me to the relational field? How can I meet all of my relationships and all of my interactions with the Universe from the essence of who I am? Like I can do it for the meditation cushion quite easily, but really revealing my True Self to my relationships is the work. And this is why in my workshops I do a lot of relational practices with a lot of very clear guidelines and context for how we are going to be together. Because, you know, we have been practicing meeting the world from our conditioned self for so long trying to find safety and connection so showing the different thing takes, I believe, a lot of courage and a lot of trust in one’s self. And, so, finding language of the true self and speaking from that deeper place, to me, is the essence of the work.
Krysta- Right, now near the end of the book you used a term that I haven’t really ever heard used before, and maybe I just forgot I have heard it, but you talk about being an “emergent being”. So I’m curious if you could share what does that mean being an “emergent being” and how does somebody do that or is that what you are basically talking about all along?
Harmony- I love that question! So much! I can even just feel my whole Spirit just kind of light up just with the question! Yeah, so, “Emergent Being” is the title of my last chapter. And, for me, it gets to the essence of, when I’m in my life urge, I am living my life purpose, I’m in flow with the Universe, I am meeting what is from a state of presence, from a state of curiosity, which is really the essence of a healthy mind, and from the core of my being. So I am continually emerging into the truest version of myself with whomever is in front of me, with whatever it is that I am doing. I often it’s not about what I do or the words that I speak, it’s about the place within me from which I take action or speak. Right, I can be doing something from my conditioned self and putting a lot of effort in and not having the results that I want. And I can be doing the exact same thing, but from the alignment of the core of my being and just be in flow with what is. And so Emergent Being, in my experience, is we are in our becoming, we are in our fullness, we are in our life urge! And we all have a life urge and we all have a death urge and I believe it is our death urge, this unconscious belief that I need to die to get back to God, that has people place small. Killing parts of ourselves, not speaking our truths, not being our big expansive True Self. That’s why we do that, it’s part of our death urge, we think we need to be small to get back to God. But really it is about embodying our True Self, embodying our Higher Self, and being in the emergent of the creative life flow of energy, our vitality, in each moment.
Krysta- Sounds good! Now you have a website that people can go to, we will get to that in a second, but you are actually coming to Seattle to East West Bookshop on Saturday, March 30th. And then you are doing a workshop the next day at the Mind Body Sanctuary, also in Seattle.
Harmony- Yeah! I am so excited for both of these events. At East West Bookshop I will be doing a small reading of the book and I will lead a couple of experiences, these relational meditation is what I call them. Bringing our True Self to the relational field. People can get a taste of what I am talking about and then the workshops is an intimate vent to really go deeper into learning how to reveal your True Self.
Krysta- And you’ll do some of the practices so people can actually experience the practices?
Harmony- Absolutely, it’s a highly experiential workshop.
Krysta- And I will have the link with this interview on our website, but then is people want to know more about, not just these events, but what you’re working on in general then they can go onto HarmonyKwiker.com. And I didn’t ask you if I am pronouncing your last name correctly, am I?
Harmony- I am glad you asked, its is actually Kwiker with a long “i”.
Krysta- You know, I meant to ask you that way at the beginning. I like Harmony Kwiker (pronounced quicker) because it’s about coming into harmony quicker! But I didn’t do that right so we will go with Harmony Kwiker (with a long “i” sound).
Harmony- Thank you.
Krysta- Alright, sorry about that. Anyway, thank you so much for the time you spent here and for writing your book. You have shared yourself, you’ve been most vulnerable in the writing of your memoir so thank you for that. I am quite sure that is going to help other people with situations and things that they have experienced. Thank you for that and I wish you continued success in your work and with your book!
Harmony- Thank you so much.
Krysta- Take care now, bye bye.