“The Shattering”, Deconditioning, the Not-Self, Plant medicine, and Integration Support


Published 04/17/2020

Amy: In today’s episode, we discuss shattering the experience of a sudden major shift in our sense of self or the world as we know it. Can this be a gradual process? Is it inherently shocking? What can we do when we feel like things are falling apart? How can Human Design and other modalities such as plant medicine and therapy provide support? Join us for the conversation with Human Design guides, John Cole, Amy Lee, and Kendra Current.

Kendra: We’re back, everybody. Thank you for joining us: Amy Lee, John Cole, and myself, Kendra Current. We’ve been swimming in the conversations of Human Design and the various modalities that we’ve been working with. Most recently, we got interested in a conversation surrounding the process of shattering, and how it relates to Human Design, plant medicines, and different kinds of change work practices and therapies. I thought I’d start off by asking you, Amy, the shattering process is referred to a lot through a foundation reading or when someone initially goes through their Living Your Design experience, and I wonder if you’d like to kick us off talking a little bit about the nature of shattering experiences through those two different doorways?

Amy: I think it’s a term that’s been used. It’s a pretty intense word to use, but when we’re talking about it, I think it points to the way that human design has been described as a system and a pathway to awakening. Awakening is a pretty big buzzword. Now, people talk about it in a lot of different terms, whether that’s through healing processes, or through spiritual practices. However, it seems like this awakening process that we can come to, part of what it involves, is a shattering of illusion. There can be a shattering of, or letting go of the way we’ve seen ourselves. I think that’s really one of the biggest gifts of a Human Design foundation reading. Then, if you take it further and go into a Living Your Design class, part of what can get transmitted through that is a recognition of what you are, and what your true nature actually is. When you really feel that or get to experience that, it can radically alter the way you see yourself. It sort of challenges whatever beliefs, worlds, or conditioning that’s been created in us, so that we suddenly have this different recognition of, “Oh my god, I thought I knew what was going on here. I thought I knew what was wrong with me, what was right with me, what was wrong with everybody else, what was right with everybody else, what worked and what didn’t. I thought I knew what was possible and what wasn’t. I thought I knew what my problems were, and what my strengths were.” I think what can happen in a Human Design reading is you suddenly get this transmission or recognition that shows you, “Oh, my God, maybe this isn’t at all what I thought it was.” So then, if we take that to something like plant medicine, or to some of these modalities as we’ve discussed with you that is all about shattering, conditioned beliefs, letting go of conditioned beliefs, I think, at the moment that this happens, we call it a shattering, because it can feel like suddenly the world I thought I knew is blown apart. What are we left with? It can be a really complex process, and it’s something for us to sort of integrate and reorient to. That’s how I see it and what the gift of it is, but it’s not necessarily an easy thing. I think people experience it in a lot of different ways. I’m curious also- I know that both of you have some really deep experience in some other modalities that offer a similar kind of process with people. So, I’m curious about how you see it as well.

Kendra: I could speak to that a little bit through what I sometimes call change work, personal change work, specifically speaking about NLP, but also other modalities that work with subconscious processes or peeling the layers back on unconscious beliefs. When we start to mess around in that territory, it can very much rattle the cage a little bit and shake us out of who we think we are. There can be this process of destabilizing the identity, the coherence of who we think we are. In transformational NLP, they’re calling it an illusion of release. The illusion that when we release that coherent sense of identity that we’re so familiar with, that we know that we can survive, or maneuver through the world with, whether that’s at the highest state of thriving or not, it’s familiar to us. So, the illusion that when that goes away, we might actually die, and the physical body can even go through a process of extreme disorientation from feeling fatigue, several days after doing some work. I saw in some of my training- now, this is the extreme, obviously, when we’re going really deep after someone has massaged the field for a while- I did see someone who got into a pretty deep core issue and ended up laying down for a whole day in the training and was vomiting. The body really releases things that it has stored on a cellular level, in the immune system, and on an energetic level. It’s really interesting to think about ways to access the conditioning that takes us just enough to the edge where we don’t have some kind of psychotic break. How can we titrate this experience that brings us into those layers? I have a friend that calls this, “Wear your comfy boots,” in the spiritual path. We’re going to press the edges and come to the edge of reality as we know it. However, let’s also be kind to ourselves in that process. That’s something that I pay attention to when I’m consciously taking someone into a shattering or when they’re calling for it, whether they know it or not.

Amy: There’s something that’s just occurring to me as you’re saying that in terms of Human Design, the way that Ra Uru Hu, who was the originator of this, worked and was a manifester, who was very much like, “Shatter and go.” Just get the thing out, and then he’s gone. I’ve heard him talk about how he was aware of the impact of that, and that people would do with it what they will. I don’t know how responsible he felt about that. I’d imagine that for all of us, as practitioners, and as projectors, it’s probably not quite as easy to think of just sort of dropping the bomb and walking away. I think that’s an interesting thing to think about. How do any of us choose to go through that process? Some of us may be more well-equipped for something that’s very radical, intense, all-at-once, and totally disorienting, and then somehow be able to adapt to that. Other people might really need to take it a lot more slowly and small bite-size it in some way. What do you think about that, John?

John: It’s interesting. It brings to mind a question. As you’re saying with Ra, where he was coming from with that type of orientation to the shattering or awakening process? From what I can gather, he may have felt like it’s really not up to him, and it may not even be up to us in terms of whether someone actually wakes up or not, or how they come to a system like Human Design or any other modality that has that effect. It kind of brings up this question of choice again. This gets a little bit slippery, but I think as either projectors, therapists, counselors, or people who are used to working with others and taking them through a process, and really putting our attention on them- for us, we’re going to do it however we would do it. That probably involves kind of a longer-term exchange or interaction with somebody where there is this sense of like, “What’s appropriate for them?” Then, coming out of it, and saying, “Alright, well, what kind of support do they need? How can we help them integrate this experience?” That is my orientation, from the point of view of Ra manifester. With who he was, it’s not too surprising that he would have a different way of approaching it. I think some may have been informed by just the amount of awareness he had about how things are. Kind of like we’ve touched on before, we can pretend a little bit, like we have a certain amount of say about how things go. However, in the back of my mind, I’m always kind of wondering, “Where does that really begin and end?” It’s probably going to come down to the individual in terms of how we resonate with others and what we feel comfortable doing.

Kendra: Both of you are pure individuals. One, the channel of initiation shock, John, and Amy, you being a mental projector, having all the individual circuitry up there. I’m curious- you mentioned that, assuming all three of us have some sense of walking people through their integration after coming into contact with this information that changes people’s worldviews. Would either of you like to speak about that, how you might see your frequency impacting the other or being an individual? How do you work with the other in that process?

John: It is an interesting question for me to look at. I have a single-Channel definition of the 25-51. The 51 is the gate of shock, it’s the channel of initiation. What I’ve seen or noticed in my own process is that when I’m working with someone as a Human Design analyst, I do a lot of foundation readings. I’ll get people coming to me through my network as a 2-4, who were either referred to me or they’re friends of a friend. For a lot of them, it’s a foundation reading, or it’s their first experience with Human Design. I find myself constantly in that position of taking someone who’s more or less brand new to it, coming in, and kind of delivering like a fire hose approach. I’ve got one shot at getting something across to them, giving them as much as I can in that moment. Probably too much in a lot of cases. I’m really just putting everything into it. It does seem to have this kind of initiatory quality, like, “I’m just going to drop this on you.” Maybe I share that to some degree with Ra, he was also at 25-51. Interestingly, it just occurred to me, but as a projector, I feel like I do feel – I’ve got gate 27 in my Incarnation Cross, I do care. It’s just a part of who I am. I also feel some sort of obligation to be there for them afterward, to be available, but I don’t really push it. A lot of people will have their foundation reading and they’ll go away. Sometimes, it’s rare for me to hear from them or get feedback until maybe a year later someone comes back around and says, “Wow, that really had an effect on me,” or, “That really shifted things for me.” I’m like, “Oh, really? Oh cool. That’s nice to hear.” I don’t know. That’s been mostly my experience. It does seem to just come through my design, it seems to kind of shape my approach in a way. That’s what I see, we’re literally doing our design when we work or when we’re working with people in these situations. It’s really funny just to watch that from more of a passenger consciousness way. This is just how I do it. I don’t know if I have a lot to say about it. I can try to do a little bit better, but it’s just me.

Amy: I can relate to a lot of what you’re what you’re saying, John. Just for the geeks out there, I have 51, my personality, Earth. So, the gate of shock is something that I feel very connected to, but I have the 57 out front, skate of the gentle. For me and working with people, I’ll tend to go gentle at first, just kind of feel my way into it. I feel like I’m always sort of sensing into that other person, as a projector, and kind of finding where the opening is. How far can I go? How deep can I go? How much can I deliver? It’s kind of an experimental process, and it’s something that I rely on- what I’m taking in from the other. I rely on my own intuition to have a sense of what I can do. It’s almost like the real-time practice of being a projector. It’s like, how open is this? How far can I penetrate? How deep am I invited to go with this person? It’s a very interpersonal experience. The image that was coming to me when you were talking earlier, Kendra, was almost like how sometimes in a reading, it’s almost like I am delivering something and it opens a door. Suddenly, it opens a door to a different world, a whole different sense of reality and a sense of self for the person. It’s almost like, okay, the doors open. Now, where are you going to live? You want to go further, you want to really walk through that door and keep going? Some people are like, “Yes, more, more, more!” I want to come back and have more sessions because I can tell I’m going to need help to keep that door open. For me, that’s what integration sessions are about. Some people, they’ll put a toe in, but then they’re sort of like, “Okay, thank you. Um, I’m gonna go now.” Maybe I’ll hear from them again, or maybe they’re just gonna be like, “Yeah, I think I want to close that door,” or, “I’m not ready, or not interested in going further through that door.” Yeah, that was the sense. There’s something about it that almost feels like breathing to me- the image that was coming to me. You learn to be able to live in that new different world, that changed reality. You learn how to like find your way in it, be able to breathe air, and find some trust in yourself which is the whole point of Human Design. If you’re willing to experiment with it, what it’s offering is a whole different sense of what you can rely on in yourself. The shattering is part of shattering all of the outer authority, outer conditioning, and things that we’ve been relying on.

John: What’s coming to mind is that I think we have to talk about the Not-Self. That’s essentially what we’re shattering. I tend to look at the Not-Self as almost an alter ego or persona that’s developed. It’s kind of backed by mental decision-making, adaptive strategies, coping strategies that may have been useful at some point in our life, and relevant at some point, but we built a kind of sense of self around it, a persona around it. We’re operating through that in order to get on in the world, to do what we think is the right thing to do, what we should do, or what we’ve been told to do. If we’ve built a life around that, and then that starts unraveling, or it starts being taken apart or gets brought into question, then it kind of begs the question, what do we have at that point? What are our points of reference? We are given a point of reference in Human Design as it’s the true self or something that we can go back to in terms of turning inward on ourselves through strategy and authority, through connecting to our bodies, or a deeper sense of truth within our own process. To me, that’s essentially what the shattering is about. It’s this deconditioning process that we can embark on.

Kendra: All of this might sound kind of scary to people like, “Whoa, I keep hearing about Human Design, and I should check it out, but I don’t know. Shattering, what does it mean? My life’s going to fall apart?” Okay, yeah. So, things start to unravel. Maybe we have a choice or not around how quickly the process happens. We’re also following our primary health system and eating in a certain way. There’s detoxification of the body and things that really can speed up the process in a way, and the beauty of coming back to strategy and authority as the ground. That’s what was coming up for me as you were talking. Yes, it gets uncomfortable. The whole way through the first couple of years, in particular. In the seven-year cycles that Ra has talked about, in terms of the deconditioning process, how do we find ground in the midst of this unraveling? The thing that is stable is the opposite of the Not-Self. It is our definition. Coming to deeper and deeper recognition around our type and the Authority that we have to decide as we get more and more comfortable with not knowing along the way.

Amy: I like the point you’re making because I actually think that in a lot of first-time readings, and probably through a lot of therapeutic modalities as well, where you’re establishing a kind of safety and a working therapeutic relationship with someone, the process can be more gentle at first. I certainly experienced a lot of people in a foundation meeting for the first time having a sense of, “Oh, yes. You’re naming this thing, and that’s what I’ve always felt was actually really true about me. So many things around me have had a problem with it, but somehow inside, I kind of knew that that’s just the way it is.” There can be a very sweet and very gentle sense of feeling recognized, and that feels good. At some point, whether it happens early on or if it happens in later years, we all have experienced such a depth of conditioning in this world that we can’t escape that. I think at some point, we all hit certain decisions or certain choice points. We face certain things in our lives that really confront this question of, “How am I going to navigate this?” The safe and painful conditioned thing still feels safer, and this other thing feels very unknown and out of control. That’s where I think we get into a mind confrontation. That’s where we get to really see what this mind control that we all end up getting wrapped up in is. At some point, if we’re really going to get access to our true nature, we’re going to find a place where we have to confront that beast, in one way or another.

John: I can relate. I can recall the article I wrote about a year ago, which was titled When Life Becomes a Free Fall. That was my attempt at putting some words to some experiences I was having of deconditioning and letting go. Essentially, feeling like I was flying through space without a tether, and I kind of realized this may actually be closer to a natural state for me in some ways, but it’s certainly not the condition comfortable, safe experience that I may have been aligned towards or oriented towards before seeking the conditioning. As you’re saying, it’s not a joke and it takes longer than I thought as you start peeling back these layers and layers. I remember when I first came to Human Design, and I heard this seven-year period for entering into the experiment, and going through a cycle of deconditioning. I had done a lot of work before I came to Human Design, personal work, working in different spiritual traditions, and mind-body work. I was like, “Yeah, well, we’ll see about that.” Once I got into it- I’m still just five years in, I’m like, “Okay, I’m starting to get this. This is a slower process. There’s a lot more going on here.” It may involve some real-world significant changes in one’s life that are very unsettling and shattering. It’s not for the timid, I guess, on a certain level. As you’re saying, Kendra, it doesn’t have to be so scary. It can also be kind of helpful to have points of reference, allies, or people that you’re connected with going through that process with you. Kind of going back to the topic around plant medicines and the types of experiences that you have in those arenas. That’s something that is recognized, there is this kind of integration period after a very intense retreat or ceremony that’s necessary. It can be helpful to have others who have gone through that before or to feel some sense of community or support through that process.

Kendra: That seems to be a big conversation in the ceremonial world. Especially, before us, sort of in the Western frame of mind, that we dive into these unique experiences that have originally emerged out of a complete Cultural Foundation where there’s a space for people to have that experience, and there’s more of a frame of reference for it. Taking someone who doesn’t have anywhere for any of that to land, but the experience that they go through, I think it is a conversation of how do we assist people after going through something like that? For them to come back to their life and not just blow everything up, or blow everything up if it’s right for them to do that. It makes me think of the conversation around waiting. Also, in Human Design, waiting through an emotional process, waiting for something to respond to, waiting for an invitation, that life has its own timing and way of things too.

Amy: I think, at least in terms of Human Design, you can see the kind of bite-sizing potential there. There may be moments of some kind of waking up to something in a different way or having some insights or realizations about what’s actually true about yourself rather than what you thought was true. In terms of everyday life, in a lot of ways, it can be a slow, moment-by-moment process. You can take the guidance that comes through a system like this. If we slow down and don’t try to tackle our biggest dilemmas and our most major decisions first, which is often what people come to a reading or modality for. Just kind of slow everything down, listen to some of that guidance, and just try waiting, and seeing if you can feel your body’s response. Try using this other way of navigating in relation to a little decision today, rather than trying to tackle the biggest things first. It can be a gentle process. Kind of like what you were saying, John, I do think it can kind of be tailored to who you are as an individual and how you’re going about your process. When I think of something like plant medicine or some of what you’re referring to, Kendra, it seems to me like the potential value of some of those experiences is that it takes away some of that sense of control or mind interference. Whether we like it or not, it does in a pretty radical way. You’re going to step into something where you might think you’re going to have some kind of control, but you’re probably not. You find out that there can be those moments. Maybe we have that in an altered state, or in a ceremonial state. We can have that, I’ve certainly experienced that, in just normal life, with no substances involved. We can have these moments where they can feel like something’s dying, like, “Am I dying? Is this the end?” I think that can be a big experience to go through and maybe bring us to the realization of how much our bodies are actually storing. I think that’s something too, that when it comes down when talking about the deconditioning process, why doesn’t it happen just like that? There’s a whole lot our bodies have been through on this planet. It makes sense.

Kendra: Mutation, something out of nothing. Just arising. I am thinking about the context of these times. Here we are having this conversation about shattering and there’s a collective shattering going on right now.

Amy: There’s a lot of information getting put out from all different kinds of authorities, all different kinds of groups, and people are gathering behind all these different opinions, beliefs, and scientific data. It’s quite a thing to watch all of this stuff out there. To me, it really shows why any of us would want to support somebody in being able to find some internal sense of being able to navigate their own personal truth, and how they’re going to relate to what’s happening in the world. We’re living in very intense and complex and heated times, I would say.

John: Seems to be needed more than ever now. Which, from a certain point of view, you might argue that that’s part of the role that Human Design has in our culture right now, to kind of point us back to ourselves back to inner authority, reconnect us with our bodies, as something we can ground in, through strategy and authority. As you’re saying, having that as something of a contrast or point of reference for turning into a very potentially confusing, collective field when it comes to facts, data, science, and the different beliefs and opinions that are everywhere.

Amy: I’m thinking about what you were saying earlier, Kendra, in the context of this, because obviously, we’re living in times where there are some shocking and kind of radical changes happening, at least in what we’re being confronted with on the societal level. You had said something earlier, Kendra, about when somebody goes through an illusion of release process, which made me think of a death process, when they go through some experience of like letting go of the old world or the old belief system gets shattered, and then they’re in a new place. How do you hold work with someone in that state or in that process?

Kendra: Very much like you’re talking about I’m kind of tracking them where they are each time I meet with them, and seeing what’s available to move. I’m energetically, in a way, inviting them into that space and holding them as the totality of a being with multiple ages and one body, multiple generations concentrated in being. I’m also paying attention to it during the conversation, in terms of the ecology. This is a phrase that’s used a lot in the NLP world, the way that I’ve been trained anyway. I don’t know that all NLP talks about it this way, but really being respectful of all the life experiences that have come up to this point. Rather than trying to look at it as bad, or wrong, or to sabotage certain parts of ourselves that we think have been the bad guys to say, “Oh, there’s a useful context through which this behavior emerged.” Appreciating and including that. You have less of a game of resistance then, and it creates more of an opening for a change that can be more smooth. It can be even sometimes less recognizable to the person who’s going through the change because when you’ve done change work that is facilitated skillfully and inclusively of all the parts, the system can adapt a lot more easily, training them in a way or inviting them in a way to become much more familiar with their true self or with the desired outcome that they’re interested in, throughout the session. As their nervous system calibrates to that, when they leave the session and the change work has been done, we’ve rewired some neurological patterns and introduced some resources. The system has more bandwidth, and more potency to deal with whatever changes might then happen in their external world. I appreciate that dance and the art form of being with someone and all the complexities of their humanity.

Amy: I can feel through you the way you’re talking about it, just the way that our bodies can be such a resource in really simple ways that we don’t always see right away. Sometimes it just takes another person being like, “Okay, we’ll take a deep breath,” or, “You’re not alone. We’re still here, you’re still alive and breathing.” We can find some of those resources in the body or we can find resources in another person’s body. Just being there, having a different nervous system, a different set of realities, a different frequency that’s there, that isn’t scared or confused by what’s going on inside of us.

Kendra: Entrainment?

Amy: Well, hopefully, we haven’t scared people too much. Hopefully, we can see that there are a lot of ways to explore this kind of approach in this process of change.

Kendra: When it gets uncomfortable enough in the way that things have been, it starts to feel better to reach for something that is less known.

John: I’m wondering what kind of advice you might give someone who’s going through a shattering process or a deconditioning process, and they’re looking for a point of reference or some way of grounding. We’ve talked about strategy and authority as being one of the major tools in Human Design. I know that in plant medicine work, a lot of it comes back to the relationship one has with one’s body, the breath, and a certain level of surrender, and acceptance like, “This is what’s happening now. This is my experience now,” honoring that. Letting it be, not feeling like you have to do anything about it necessarily at this moment, or it needs to change or be different. Those are some of the perspectives or tools that I’ve used and relied on. Do you have either of you have any guidance or thoughts for people who are looking for some sort of grounding or support through this?

Kendra: I love that you’re asking about this. It reminds me of Ra talking about how it’s all about foreign consciousness. The shamans knew it, like everyone who’s worked with awakening processes, it comes back to the body awakening that happens through the body. Something that you were mentioning, you just breathing, or when we find the mind racing and trying to run after an answer or land on something. When there’s a humming, buzzing sensation in the body, or when we find ourselves speeding up and trying to create some sense of stability. Even just dropping the attention to a lower focal point in the body, or even if most of the body feels uncomfortable locating one place, no matter how small, that feels good, or safe. It’s like, “In my left shoulder right now, I feel like soothed over there, even though there’s other stuff going on in the rest of my body.” That kind of thing. There are so many things, even just getting up and putting your feet on the ground, or listening to music, dancing, or being with another who feels regulated. I invite people to experiment with ways that work for them, or even recall times in their lives when they have felt more resourced and what has worked for them. We can so often forget- like in a time of stress, all our higher functioning goes offline, and we resort to our least resourceful options.

Amy: I think what you’re both saying is a really great invitation to people to get to know your body. There was something that struck me about Human Design, and a lot of people will say Human Design seems so mental or so complex. It is in a lot of ways, but it’s pointing to the body as a resource. Some of the aspects of strategy and inner authority, I think, can be hard to relate to if you don’t have a relationship with your own body. If you don’t have a sense of embodiment, I can certainly relate to them, an extremely mental person. I can go through days of not remembering that I have a body. I have gone through that slip in my mind, but I’m really grateful to have come in contact with just different experiences or practices that helped me get to know my body. I think that’s a big invitation to anybody, especially when you’re not in a state of distress, just get to know what works for you. It sounds really simple, but I think a lot of us get really busy with life and all the things we feel we have to do. We don’t pay as much attention to it as we could. Find out if it helps you to take a walk. Does it help you to be touched by another person? Does it help you to breathe by yourself? What helps you connect to this form is what’s actually okay in this moment, right here right now, whatever kind of sensory or movement or connecting experience gets you there. There’s something implied in all of this where it’s almost like there’s a realization that’s possible, but embodiment is part of it. Embodiment is a huge part of it. It’s an invitation to get to know your own body.

John: Thanks, y’all.

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