MORE ABOUT ME

I had a life-changing experience then, which opened and catapulted me onto the path of the mystical seeker.The part that could be called “an experience” lasted for only 9 hours, but left me in an altered state for 30 days thereafter.


I always felt I was walking between two worlds, the world of the Spirits and Beloveds and this world of tragic abuse and violation. What changed after this was I found that what I had felt all my life was indeed real, at least to me. That my relationship to all that world was confirmed and recognized in the outer world by ones who I had grown to trust and love. All agreed something had happened and that I was not the same person that walked into that bedroom earlier that day.


After 30 days exactly, of being in a complete altered state, in a room with nothing more then the spiritual texts I could find (Catholic Bible and Koran)and my precious dog, where food was brought to my door three times a day, I was left alone to move through what was happening and be in this state of meditation and prayer without interruptions.


I asked all the questions and was answered on a level and depth no one had ever come close to. I spoke every few days with a spiritual teacher my father had connected me with and who had been monumental in opening this whole process. And that was it.


I heard an inner voice which spoke louder than ever before. Taught and reminded me who I was and why I had come once again into the body. I was healed of the tragic pains I carried all throughout my young life. I understood things I could never before begin to imagine and to forgive the unimaginable as well.


I saw visions, waking and sleeping. Dreamt dreams of worlds I can not even explain which were more real than real. Met others who I felt I knew more than anyone else alive on the planet. It was what I later understood after finding Stan Grof’s book, A Spiritual Emergency. Felt like spiritual madness at the time, but wrapped up in the most complete sense of love and acceptance free from all the negativity, abuse and invasion I was so often exposed and subjected to as a child.


I was in a complete peak state experience which was fortunately held and honored throughout this time by two men, my biological Father and Spiritual Father. I walked out of that room on the 30th day, all palpable love essence gone, sparkles disappeared, inner voice muffled, connection felt far far away.


I was shocked and hurt, I felt angry and disappointed. Abandoned yet again. Forced separation from all that I loved in life. Yet all of these emotions had escaped me all throughout this month-long process. I had felt nothing but love and union. Ultimate compassion and grace uncompromising. And now, I felt human pain, loneliness, separation from all that we are and what we have come from.


I left the room, tears pouring down my face to my father, who could not contain me let alone understand me, so sent me to the one who had held my hand and coached me through it all.


I called and cried and sat silent again. This man shared with me the perfection of it all, and how this was a time for me to choose. To choose love, to choose forgiveness, to choose to feel and have pain and see through the illusions projected at us and still walk the love and union, the transcendent embodiment that had been my permanent state without any effort or choice over the previous month.


Now to walk it will purpose and choice. I somehow got it. I could hold these feelings and accept that the opposite was also present and true.Living a path of Soul, connected to all things Spirit, was a choice of being and relationship I would need to make, and honestly on some level had already made.


I was awakening to a decision I had made, for a course of life which knows and loves the Spirit World, which has not been completely forgotten my place there, or those allies and beloveds I once thought were lost.


The Spiritual  Emergency/Emergence I had at fourteen changed my life for obvious reasons. It was April 4th, 1988 when it all began, a day which stretched into timelessness, and one that I will never forget.


I left that room that day and soon after high school, boyfriend and friends, my home with my Father and every comfort and discomfort of home I had ever known.


My pilgrimage began, alone and completely naive and unaware of the multiplex smorgasbord of spirituality there was out there.


I felt alone, but not lonely. Lead but not guided. Allowed to search, get messy, get lost and found all over again. I left the mundane worlds of worldly desires, all of which I had no desire for anyway, to see the place where the ones l knew and loved were known and loved.


To find teaching and others who knew the places I knew of the power of the death and rebirth I had experienced, of the all-consuming love and longing to be there again, with the complete acceptance of never finding it again.


The inner springs which were revealed to me during that time were running, bubbling and free. I could join them, enter them at any point, with surrender and trust in what I already knew. No faith was involved. I had experience which was still present and alive within me, and I was looking for others who had been there too.


Similar to when you know and love someone completely, and meet another who knows and loves them like you. It’s almost as good as a meeting itself. Their essence and subtle presence arrives, and the two of you can swim in ethereal waters of memories which feel alive and timeless.


So this was what I wanted to share with others. I just found it less and less available anywhere I looked. And the doors I was knocking on were not always ones which were of authentic seekers. I learned my share through those years.


I offered to serve to all whom I could. I told stories and prayed, fed the ones without food and gave my most favored possessions away. I fasted, meditated for days and weeks and even months on end. I worked with children mostly and was celibate without a partner or sexual relations for six years.


I wandered through mystical Christian underground worlds, into eastern meditation halls. Eastern and western, I held no ideas of separation or conflict. I found my discrepancies to the love I knew, or the tenderness of vulnerability and truth, and so I could hardly find a place to rest out there.


That part of the pilgrimage lasted until I turned 21, and left it all to follow my uncle into the hospital as he was nearing the end of his fight with Aids.


I learned, while sitting with him, transition of worlds was always around us, transcendental states of being and awareness as well. The life and death process was where I felt most, and what I could relate to deepest after everything I had just been through.


We laughed until it hurt, cried and healed. I found my hands held medicine for the first time, for a dying man, who daily became more and more childlike in his essence.


I learned my voice and song held magic to dying ears, and that my fearlessness around his transition, and all-consuming love that I had for him, were the exact waters needed to allow him to let go and float on the river of death, out of his body and back to the Source.


After his death, it was almost a year I spent trying to save the world, with both political and environmental strategies with a fantastic group of young spirited college students.

Then I too joined the college psychology world. This was a fast track to finding out precisely the worlds I could not merge with, as well as understand that if I was going to learn and study, that structured institutions were not the way for me.


I love being in relationships, and in coming back to them in an intimate way with both men and women, I learned the pain of that connection on the most primal intimate levels. I learned to walk through betrayal, which mirrored my mothers and fathers. I learned to let go when it no longer served us to be together.


I went through many levels of sexual healing and embodiment practices. All of this was such a fantastic process of re-discovery and messing up all I could, only to learn this pain was how I was finding those wounded hiding places within me.


The next year I had another life-changing spiritual experience, something like a near-death experience, where I was present out of the body through my death and emergence with the divine light. I was gifted by remembering this was something I knew and had experienced multiple times throughout my incarnations. It was familiar and novel all at the same time. I was offered answers again to the present questions I held, and from that, all containing oneness of nirvana I was shot back out into the tube of rebirth and the body yet again.


With the full memory of what had just taken place, it was like hitting the control/alt/delete button. A complete restart on life. I then went on and studied transpersonal therapy and hypnotherapy. I practiced and engaged in the process personally as well, of course, this was always the juice and means in which I would be unable to hold space for others to enter and this process helped me to integrate my death and rebirth once again.


I learned so much, I was only 21, but it became a stable foundation to what I would later integrate and offer others in the world, although at the time didn't turn out to be what I wanted to offer. I continued moving.


Moving first around the US, mostly to connect with the nature, animals and the wildness I so loved, which also was a tremendous part of my childhood. I then again let go of all I had acquired here on the mainland, including my beloved best friend and companion thus far, India, my dog. And funny enough jumped on a plane to India with a short stopover in Thailand. Leaving my relationship behind as well and quickly finding another companion who wanted to join this leg of my journey, and play an essential role in the finding and losing of myself again.


The story is as detailed as it is long, so I will try at this stage to shorten it a bit, leaving only the highlights. I found through many crazy, "only in India" stories, each of which I could write a book, that this external teacher, long lost outer spiritual guide or father, did not exist in form for me. Not in India, nor in the US and most likely not anywhere.


I let go of this outer search, for the time being, and fell in love. With a man who seemed to love the gods as I did, and wanted to serve from the most authentic real places I had heard expressed.


We merged to build a dream, a spiritual manifestation of all we knew could be, and in all the ways we felt called to serve. Money was a hindrance, and so we left India after two plus years for California, my childhood home.


We studied all forms of bodywork and continued to practice Yoga and Meditation for hours daily. To read and pray, walk for hours on the beaches without words. We shared a deep love for the divine, and yet on the personal level there was very little we shared or held in common.


Just before repurchasing our tickets to India, we got pregnant, and my next initiation, into motherhood began.


Mothering has been something I wanted from the time I was a child. I wanted seven children until I became a Nanny in those years of service to 5 children, seven and under. That for me was a turning point, to the place of all children being my children and never really needing to have my own personally. But life had another story line.


I was 30, and with all signs showing us she was indeed ours and on her way, I threw myself into this devotion completely. I continued working with people therapeutically, but my focus was on meditating and preparing for this life wanting to emerge.


Again I felt this line, this transitional point of this world and that meeting, and became fully engaged and present for this process of being. Learning every aspect of healthy mothering I could find and even feeling pulled to become a midwife myself but was denatured by the insane amount of time and attention this amazing little girl called for. She really became my manifest teacher and we were so very in love.


My partner and husband at the time, was ready to go home to India, I needed to remain close to my mother and family while raising this little one. His desires changed and shifted away from creating the vision we had shared, and I let him go. Maybe even asked him, until he agreed and went back to India where he lives with his wife and two children and beloved family in the peaks of the Himalayas today.


Rekindling the old India connection with Shai began then. Finding ourselves both attracted and studying plant medicines and shamanism, healing and deep consciousness work, we felt drawn to the flame of that love we both shared for each other and our life as spiritual beings on the planet.


We became teachers of the healing modality we had practiced and loved. We got pregnant and had a baby, then moved back to the US for some bureaucratic reasons. We learned and taught students in the US, saved money and tried to hear where we were being called to next.


I loved being a mom, and I enjoyed teaching more than anything I knew. I loved being in the present moment and leaving all known agendas behind and stepping into the wild unknown, only to meet magic and mystery which fills and feeds all present. With my kids, clients and friends alike.


I found I could no longer hold or be held by any structure or modality. Not only did it limit me, but it also limited those students I taught and even the structure we all found ourselves. As with anything, there were holes in the theory and the teachers' authenticity which once again lead me out and into the waters of discovery.


Feeling healing was the last stage of the process, what I felt called me was the earth and it's warm darkness, into the depths of self and story and pain. Into the traumas, we hold on to at personal and collective level.


I studied trauma therapies, somatic SE therapies, different forms of progressive treatments and past life work.


We again moved back to Israel to teach the new work and hold process and sessions for our people there. I wanted more in-depth bodywork to accompany my work with the psyche, so I learned biodynamic craniosacral although did not complete that study it did profoundly inform my understanding of presence and connection, allowing what is to be and do what it so intelligently knows to do, to find neutral space and hold space from there.


We worked with different shamanic paths and teachers, we were in ceremonies, red road and other, studied and researched everything we could on all subjects of interest.


I began having a series of dreams that accompanied a conversation Shai, and I were having at that time. I was feeling again this unfulfilled place of wanting to midwife others in a spiritual process and yet not finding a way that genuinely honored what I knew or the exact container I felt called to hold.


He was feeling called to work with the Sacred Plant Medicine of Africa, Iboga. Doing what I do, I dove into the subject and all of the printed and nonprinted materials I could find. I began to dream dreams of a little small black man, mostly just his face but pulling me to a place I had never been or felt a call to visit. Costa Rica.


Within months we were selling everything yet again, (yes, I have done this all throughout my life and probably always will) and set out over the oceans to a land where we would host a New York born man who had gone to Africa and been initiated as an Naganga, Iboga Bwiti Shaman, ceremony holder.


After finding the perfect home and center to offer this work to the world in the middle of the rain-forest,he came to live with us and build a rehabilitation center, a rebirthing home, of ceremony and spiritual midwifery.


It all felt like what I had been waiting for, what I was somehow born to offer and give service. It was many things, we all learned a lot. I learned this was an invitation I needed to move through, a hero's journey, and that for now anyway, our place was back in Israel, with those we loved and had become soul family with until the tides pulled us out again. That working here in this way, with those who came to work with this man, was not our work after all. We did almost die a few times in order to arrive here, but hey, par for the course they say.


In a Bwiti initiation ceremony, where Shai almost died after 22 hours of straight purge and blood pressure below any reasonable level, I cried out for grace and a more tender way on spiritual path. I wanted equal depth and discovery, potency and magic, spiritual support and tribal connection, without the death part, at least physically. I Knew it possible, I had been there before, in past modalities or paths which I had moved past and could no longer be authentic and present with but I knew it existed for me.


My prayer was something along the lines of, “There must be another way, show me that way, with equal depths and truth revealed, ability to connect to all that is and with physical safety and liveness. I prefer death through birth!”


Dreamwork arrived shortly after this experience,(as did my final pregnancy) when I stubbornly sat to listen to a podcast on "The Plant Teachers of the Amazon" and kept being redirected a total of three times to an unknown teacher sharing his observations on the Red Book of CG Jung and about dreams and how he worked them.


Everything he spoke of sounded to me, like the same archetypal worlds I knew and loved from farther back then memories hold and maybe even lifetimes. I called and connected with this group of dreamers and asked for a session. It took about a year from that time to collect dreams and fill out the intake form and move from Costa Rica back to Israel with my two kids and partner and then to have my baby. Death and initiation through birth you say? Yep, I did and here it was.


I still had no idea what I was getting into with this. After that first Skype meeting, I was hooked and knew I would need to learn everything there was about dreams and ways of working and translating them. Shortly after my first session I joined the course to learn dreamwork and found the deepest waters I had ever met.


Without my personal work with my dreams, all of my studies would be meaningless. More food for the mind maybe, nothing more. My journey into my inner worlds via the dream open me to see and hear and love and fear all of these parts of myself before unknown or at least not well acquainted.


To meet the dance of me, the song I had forgotten and the love which had always been so intimately present throughout my life, yet almost never acknowledged outside of me.


I learned that conversation is always happening around us. I felt that place of alone I had ever known acknowledge and held, even celebrated and then merge with everything around me, all the non-human family.


All of me was welcome to come, tell my tale and create a relationship. Those “others” of which my dreams were full, along with my dearest dreamworker, Bill St.Cyr, held the most profound container of my undoing, rebuilding and unfolding. Tearing down the structure or blowing it up, leaving parts that weren't mine and finding ones who’d I loved forever but had long since lost contact.


Invited into the most devastating pains, I thought, only to find honey of the heart and rebirth on the other side. I learned about my reactions, my traumas, my relational dynamics to both inner and outer people. I learned who I am to the ability I could witness and understand it. The mother I am and how to BE with my children as me. I discovered I love to show people how to find the forgotten, lost springs of the mountain we hold within us all. I learned more and more that I am the one I have always been searching for and that my connection to all things sacred is what feeds and sustains me.


One of the gifts I bring into my relationships is the power of beautiful questioning and being genuinely interested and willing to hear the answers. I feel that the depth of inquiry and awareness of the questions we ask lend to an equal if the not more profound answer. So my overwhelming push to ask those unspeakable questions, to be present to the peeling back of the layers which mask you, without judgment or any sense of knowing the answer myself along with a trust and knowing the answer is already here.


Being here offers such a door into the worlds we have yet to uncover and discover about ourselves and the world which surrounds us. Meeting places in ourselves, we have longed to know and understand, although also have been most afraid of facing and acknowledging.


The dreams have helped me to be the most authentic me thus far. To know me and be known. To know others in their innermost sanctum and to become witness to life's tragedy as well as life's most significant love. Midwifery of the Soul, from some degree of disembodiment back into embodiment, recognition, and relationship. Removing the obstacles to the healing process so that the innate inner thrust towards wholeness can happen.


So for me in my dreamwork, that meant feeling and agreeing to witness the places which I held myself away from the world, apart from myself to be safe. Safe from those without boundaries, those that wanted inside of me without consent. How to find my voice and speak my limits and needs.Needs?!


I was gifted by the dreams to see where the roots to those patterns existed, to cry the pools of water needed to wash the wounds and then to be supported back into the life I had been so afraid of the meeting, of meeting me and being me.


So step by step, dream by dream I was more and more open and willing to be me outside of my circle of safety. That circle still grows today, sometimes even shrinks as well, but I remain in relationship to that process, and the pulls to close and open again. Knowing whats healthy for me, where my boundries are and that sometimes, a lot of times really, self care gets a back seat and when I forget me, I pull back from the world which I feel too sensitive to be with.

Overall I am here doing what I am doing today because of that work. Speaking what I do, because of my work with dreams. Because the love and the nourishment I finally found there, after what felt like a lifetime of searching. I found it is available to me every day, without fail, regardless of my memories of it happening.


I am connected and learning and growing and being all parts of me, everyday, and always in those places that are not conscious reality, but a very real reality indeed.


Another huge thing is I have a language of personal accountability now I never had. I have relationships of truth and depth and even connection where it was never possible. I actually can’t say I wasn't “out there” or in meaningful relationships my whole life. I was indeed, but the "who" was different. The "what" is different as well.


Today I can say I am more aligned with what’s true inside me at any moment, what is beautiful and wanting to emerge now than ever before. To know when I am hiding and be in relationship to the why. To be tender and loving to all places brave enough to show themselves in the light of consciousness. To know that pain comes and it heals as well, the darkness arrives almost without warning from the love and softness of your belly, and again seeks for movement, integration, and wholeness and protection with the light of you.


It may never leave you entirely that scar tissue, as it does change you and the world that became a part of the abuse or tragedy, but there is integration, lost and separate pieces that come into the whole again. No longer buried and being played out on the screen of life through unconsciousness behaviors and projections.


My life, it’s far from what would be considered perfect or even “spiritual.” It’s full of highs and lows, pains and healings, togetherness and separation, mothering and being mothered, finding it and losing it all over again.Finding my voice and forgetting I ever had a mouth to speak.


But each day, I have connection and proof in that connection. I have a bridge which is forever forged, where I can go, and listen, hear and learn, sing and lose my voice, face the unknown and be loved entirely in all the ways I could have never known I needed. I meet the beloved, and he/she meets me. I know that these places are available for everyone who dreams, and even those who don’t. They might have a harder time agreeing to that reality though.


I know how to get there, how to accompany others there, how to walk through the fires and see what's there to be seen. I know how to hold space there, and I know my support when I get moved or triggered in session, which comes in and holds where I can’t.


I know that whoever you are right now, is a doorway and gate to "the you" yet to come and be with us all. We long for your arrival, for your sweet souls song to be sung, by the uniqueness of that voice only you hold. I welcome you, or anyone you might feel is ready for this type of initiatory work of Self-becoming, to reach out and contact me, let’s meet and see where it all might lead us.


I am a survivor of childhood sexual, physical, emotional abuse by my family members and once older loved ones I chose to be with briefly. I survived growing up alone and isolated from anything which closely represented me other than nature and animals and my inner worlds. I survived spiritual abuse from mentors and teachers for as long as I had them. Betrayal at the hands of the people closest to me including myself.


All of this I have walked through, and more that I won’t leave on these pages now. I wouldn't ask you to open and feel and reveal if I had not walked the path through it all and arrived on the shores of my soul's essence and celebrated complete homecoming on the other side.


I'm not done with my work, and actually, I love that I still have work to do. I have not figured it all out, but enjoy and grow from those places not found yet, those answers still being questions. I am a forever student, of myself, the world around me, of the divine and the dreams which guide me, of every new spark which finds me, as a signpost along on path towards me and all I love.


Thanks for listening, and welcome into me.

CONNECT WITH ME

Sessions are available in person at The Dreamlodge, 12 Coyote Loop, Taos, NM or worldwide via Skype or phone. The offering button for the session work is posted below.

90-minute individual soul session $150

Reach out if you have any further questions. I offer a free 15-minute consultation to explore the possibilities of our work together. Also, please let me know if you would like to work with me and cost is an obstacle; I can offer some flexibility through payment plans on a case by case basis.

"Find the thread of your being and follow it as far as you can follow it. You will be led into places you would not choose to go that wind up being revelations that you didn't know were possible."
- Michael Meade

Contact

Holly Shabtai
Santa Fe, NM
USA

hollyshabtai.com
holly@hollyshabtai.com

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