One day I awoke to find myself in a narcissistic and abusive cult. Tearing it to the ground and getting everyone else out is how I discovered my authenticity. This awakening freed my authentic voice and gave me a sense of truth I had never known before. After being in the cult for 18 years, getting out was not easy.
It was 2020. After decades of vocational study, professional work, and deep psycho-spiritual development, something in my life was still tormenting me. So when the leader of the group suggested I try Iboga, I took a leap of faith. Iboga is an African psychedelic used in recovery from addiction and for psycho-spiritual development. Bwiti is the spiritual discipline associated with this medicine that several tribes in Gabon and Cameroon practice.
During the Iboga journey, I received a clear message from the medicine: I was following my mentor and not myself. The truth of this statement was very simple and profound. This truth turned my whole life inside out.
The medicine dropped me several layers deeper into my being. Things I used to be unsure about became crystal clear. After the medicine journey, I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I could feel it in my body. As I reintegrated into daily life, this sense of authentic truth only grew deeper and stronger. I would no longer yield to suggestions from others when they felt wrong to me.
The more I spoke my truth, the more conflict brewed with the leader. Eventually, the leader of the cult read a piece of my writing expressing exactly what I felt about him, his psychological abuse, and his lack of integrity with the work he professed to embody. He accused me of being out of integrity and threw me out of the group, claiming it was for my own good. As he threw me out, he pressured me to donate my shares of our co-owned business back to the other partners. It was at that moment that I fully realized I was in a mind-controlling cult.
Over the next month and a half I did everything I could to communicate to everyone in the group about what I was seeing. At first, no one would listen. However, the spark was alive and after a crucial conversation this spark grew into a flame. Within about two months of my awakening to the cult, everyone was able to liberate themselves from the group except for the leader and his wife. For those of you who don’t know what it’s like to be in a cult, getting out is simply the first step in a long journey of recovering our authentic selves. At the time I got out, I didn’t realize how long my true journey to recovery would be.
The process of liberating myself and supporting others in their liberation from the cult showed me many of my gifts in leadership. I came to realize that I was an extremely authentic person fiercely committed to honesty. I started to find my voice and truth in the world. I was no longer satisfied with following other leaders and wanted to collaborate with peers while being the biggest version of myself I could possibly be.
As I grew into this next layer of myself, I realized that not only was my fiancé acting in a toxically selfish way toward me, but so were the managers at my company, many of my staff, and about half of the people I had called my friends. I arrived at a crossroads. Should I continue to follow my mind and make life a comfortable place for manipulative people just as they are and thus deny myself? Or should I follow the truth of my heart even if some people will be uncomfortable with my authenticity and fall away from my life?
Samantha is my friend, musical partner, and a longtime employee at my company. Together, we improvised a song called “The Crossroads.” Singing this song was a watershed moment. It was a point of no return, like crossing the Rubicon for Julius Caesar. After singing this song, I knew the path I was required to walk to fulfill my destiny. While playing the guitar and singing, it became crystal clear to me what I had to do with the company and what role Samantha was going to play. She sang herself into the leader position of the company as she helped guide me forward on my journey.
I drew a line in the sand and vowed to be completely honest and true to my heart moving forward–both at work and in my life. I let all the chips fall where they may. This led to lots of conflict as I entered into a complete revolution. Over the next five months, 20 of the 22 staff left or were fired as we reshaped the company in a way that was more congruent with our values. We wanted to create a company that works for everyone. To do that, I had to start with myself. I started prioritizing my truth over compromising and appeasing others to avoid conflict.
Authenticity became my new religion. I spoke the truth in every interaction and was no longer afraid to say anything to anyone at any time. When I initially came out of the closet as my authentic self, I was so full of repressed anger toward the cruelty and lies that were suddenly clear to me. I was furious at all the lies and manipulation in our culture. Anytime I sensed a micro-expression of hostility toward me or anyone else, I would fiercely state what I was perceiving. I did not realize how sensitive my awareness had become and how difficult some of my perceptions were for others to understand. I noticed how I was able to feel negative and unsafe energy somatically as a stab to my solar plexus. At the time, I was unaware of how unique my perceptions were, and expected others to hear and accept my experience as valid truth.
I drank deeply from the well of inspiration. The stars shone brightly for me and I drew on the sun’s rays each morning. I received a deep vision of a world that truly works for everyone. I began receiving profound visions of love, and was moved to do what I can to bring them into being. As a result, I founded Heart-Centered Revolutions, a nonprofit dedicated to making this a world that truly works for everyone. I became inspired to bring more empathy and unconditional love to this world. I completed my first two books and started 30 others on self-care, unconditional love, parenting, empathy, divisive energy, leadership, and so much more. My creativity that had been repressed for 18 years came bursting out.
In time this radical authenticity softened in me. I began to realize this authenticity was what my father and my whole family had modeled for me. It was something that had always been inside of me all along. I’m grateful for the cult experience and all the narcissistic abuse because it helped me find what I always had deep down inside.
Authenticity is an integral part of my life’s mission and work. I believe it is part of each of our destiny paths. When we find our authentic way of being, it becomes crystal clear what we came here to do. By turning our passion and energy toward what we love, we set ourselves on the path of fulfilling our deepest purpose. When any of us fully and truly become ourselves, the whole world blossoms. This is my vision for how authenticity can spread from person to person.
You are drawn to this work because you are a carrier of the seeds of authenticity. May these seeds be sown in your life, family, community, and work. May a truly authentic way of being take root and blossom in all our hearts and in our world.
Heart-Centered Revolutions was created to lead humanity into an age of empathy and unconditional love. You’re invited to participate in the revolution through joining our mailing list for the newsletter and enrolling in events or courses.
The best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart with empathy and truly coming from unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. For more on how to bring heart-centered principles into your everyday life, we have a collection of books to help guide you. You can also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles by reading the articles on our blog. We offer business consulting and personal and parenting coaching, as well as workshops and courses.
If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!
Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to making a world that works for everyone.