An article I wanted to share written by Matthew Engel
You will find more about him at the bottom of this page.
How In Control Are You of Your Life?
People often ask me about which aspects of their lives they control and which are pre-determined. How much control do you have based on the circumstances that have been given to you from your parents, decisions that other people make, traumatic events, losses, etc? Exactly how in control are you of your life?
I work from the belief that we all come into our lifetimes with a Soul Contract. Prior to birth, the soul agrees to incarnate with a particular set of circumstances that will present lessons that are most needed at that point in the soul’s evolution. At some point before long, I’m going to write a book about the lessons we all address here in Earth School. In a nutshell, every soul is working through the following themes: Power and Control, Divine Love, Boundaries, Self Identity, Balance, Authenticity, Speaking One’s True Voice, Creative Expression, Depth, Joy, Spirituality, Material Values, Autonomy vs. Partnership, Finding a Tribe, Caring for Body and Earth, Nurturing and Being Nurtured, Discernment, Aligning with Change, Transformation, Surrender, Personal Accountability vs. Letting Go, Seeing through the Veil of the Physical, Passing on to Others the Lessons Acquired - to name a few. We are all teachers and students simultaneously.
In order to refine our ability to deal with these lessons, we incarnate with different archetypes. They create a lens from which to approach the lessons. Archetypal themes for a particular lifetime can be identified through one’s astrological chart, use of tarot and other modalities. Inevitably, there are challenges and crises that prompt us go deeper into the lessons presented. These lessons bring up our shadow!
Rage, manipulation, victimization, wounded child, misuse of power, complacency, greed, fear, dependency, blame, excessive identification with materialism or the physical world, judgment, loss of self identity, giving our personal power away, avoiding personal responsibility, cynicism, refusal to engage in personal and spiritual growth, harming others, naively following the pack, ignorance, all of the ISM’s, addiction (EVERYONE is addicted to something!) are just a few examples of the shadow self. The shadow isn’t a bad thing, nor is it something to avoid. It makes us human and creates a template for growth.
So exactly how in control of your life are you? To begin with, your soul agreed to come into this life with whatever struggles you’re dealing with. If you’re cringing at that thought, your soul may be confronting some themes ofcynicism or refusal to engage in looking deeper for the gifts in whatever crisis is in front of you. You may be questioning the function of examples like mass genocide, starving children in 3rd world countries, and survivors of nuclear bombs. Since the 2nd World War, multiple psychics have channeled that the souls of the 10,000,000 people who were put to death in concentration camps played a major role in clearing and rebalancing their individual and collective karmic histories. It was a way to heal the karmic scales in order to allow for further ascension. The holocaust also prompted millions of others to address themes of victimization, blame, rage, questions of faith, efforts to support equality, the creation of the United Nations, greater awareness of discrimination and naïve following of leadership, etc.
By facilitating hundreds of past life regressions, I’ve seen some of the most spiritually aware people revisit lifetimes where they led troops into battle, raped, burned and pillaged through villages, oppressed innocent people, took unfair advantage of their financial circumstances, mistreated their children, etc. In other words, every soul has done some pretty heinous things in the past. Think about the karma being accrued by the big wigs at the oil companies, corporations who are using slave labor in 3rd world countries (and polluting the earth), the bankers who created sub-prime mortgages with terrible terms, your crazy boss, your cheating ex, your abusive parent, a rapist, someone beating his dog - or even your own negative attitude!
When we experience the losses, traumatic events, and challenges in human life, we have an opportunity to look more deeply at ourselves, people around us, and society at large. We have an opportunity to connect the dots by putting our situations into a Light of the Bigger Picture. We have an opportunity to develop more compassion (for ourselves and others). We are often prompted to let go of things that aren’t really important. We have an opportunity to find our power to heal, transform, support social change, create and express in ways that could not ever have occurred without those challenges.
I recently shared on Facebook a quote posted by world renowned Author and Spiritual Teacher, Wayne Dyer: “Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.” This quote led to quite a range of reactions - both on my FB page and Dr. Dyers! A lot of people “liked” the statement and others challenged it. Someone pointed out that children shouldn’t be blamed for their behavior. Someone else pointed out that someone who’s raped and has severe PTSD may spiral out of control (because of the nature of how PTSD works biochemically and psychologically). Others argued that we behave the way our parents teach us to. One person criticized the statement as being one of many “gross generalizations” that are “plastered all over the internet” and only applicable to some demographic groups.
I agree with all of these points. What I’d add is that every living being learns through experience and certain patterns take a long time to change. A state of emotional unraveling because of significant depression or trauma is not an end point. It’s merely a stage in the journey. Part of the soul’s evolutionary process is to play out whatever “drama” is needed for long enough to raise consciousness about how to heal, the need to shift gears - or at the very least, how to actively engage in the process of healing and transformation. I should also point out that Dr. Dwyer did not have a charmed childhood. He experienced abuse and neglect as a child and grew up in an orphanage.
All of my spiritual role models have experienced their share of struggle. Louise Hay was abused as a child, raped repeatedly as a teenager, had a baby at age 16, was in abusive marriage for many years and self published her internationally acclaimed book, You Can Heal Your Life(which I highly recommend reading) when she was 60 years old. For several years prior, she acquired fame for working with AIDS patients in the 1980’s to help them achieve some degree of well being by changing their attitudes. Now in her 80’s, she has become one of the most prolific spiritual teachers of our time.
I spent 12 years working as a therapist and social worker in predominantly low income, urban mental health settings. Intergenerational domestic and community violence, gang involvement, poverty, limited education, English as a second language, substance abuse, sexual assault (and people who witnessed it as children), robbery, murder, and various legal involvements were the norm. Many of my clients had emigrated from 3rd world countries where they experienced abuse from their governments, genocide, natural disasters without help and limited medical care. There was also marked pressure to conform to this behavior in order to be part of the community. Certainly I witnessed many clients engaging in all kinds of self-destructive behavior and some seemed to go down perpetually downward spirals by repeating the same behaviors for many years. And yet, I can’t help but remember multiple examples of marked change among people who simply made a decision to respond differently - even if it took a while to get there:
Case Examples from My Counseling Practice Over the Years:
1. A 41 year-old woman who had 7 kids with 7 different abusive boyfriends from the time she was 15-40. She lived on welfare, hadn’t finished high school and never had a job. Her children became parents when they were teenagers and she was already a great-grandmother at the age of 41. After her 7th child was born, she made a decision that she didn’t want to continue to pass on that lineage to her youngest. She stopped dating, got her GED and obtained her first job as a receptionist. She was piecing things together and felt more power and pride from doing so than ever before.
2. A 23 year-old woman who was pregnant with her 5th child. A few of her younger kids were in state custody because she wasn’t in a position to care for them. She was living with her parents in an abusive situation. In our first meeting when talking about her plans for when the baby was born, she said “Well, I’m not sure what I’m going to do in terms of work. But the first thing I’m going to do is have my tubes tied. I can’t keep having children. That isn’t helping me get ahead.”
3. A 15 year-old boy who was living in urban housing projects surrounded by kids who were either gang involved or going down a self-destructive path. When a teacher “disrespected” him by speaking harshly, he felt he had to save face. He knocked over a desk, threw a chair across the room (toward the teacher) and shouted at the teacher to “Fuck Off!” Under the school’s No Tolerance To Violence Policy, the boy was facing expulsion. He was given a choice to meet with me for several counseling sessions or get expelled from school. He didn’t like either option but eventually agreed to meet with me. In our sessions, he justified his actions by stating that he needed to defend himself - persistently arguing, “that’s how it is in the real world.” He wouldn’t budge. After several sessions, he was able to articulate that he didn’t want to get kicked out of school. Although held onto the belief that he might need to behave similarly outside of school, he agreed to apologize to the teacher and to do things differently in school. As a result, he was able to remain in high school. The following year, the young man was accepted into college.
4. A 16 year-old boy who was severely depressed and self-medicating with a variety of drugs. He refused to give up his addiction and was surrounded by peers who were engaging in similar behavior. However, he came to therapy regularly because he knew that he needed to try to get to the root of his pain. Even if it wasn’t visible on the surface, he wasengaging in the process of change.
5. A 38 year-old woman with severe depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. Her mother had 6 kids with 6 different partners - each more abusive than the previous one. In addition to having been beaten regularly as a child, she described some of the most horrific domestic violence that I’ve ever heard about. At one point, her mother’s boyfriend tried to kill her mother by beating and stabbing her repeatedly and trying to murder her infant brother by putting him in a 500 degree oven. As a young adult, this woman had been kidnapped, tied up and pistol whipped by gang members after they horribly assaulted her best friend and then tried to sexually assault her. She was afraid to go out in the dark, afraid of failure, and had some learning disabilities which made it really hard to get a suitable job.
Despite her pain, she attended therapy every week from the time she was 16 years old. Her symptoms prevailed with varying waves of intensity. At the age of 38, she mustered up the courage to meet with a career counselor and accepted her first job working part time at a nursing home. She was terrified. Over time, she grew to love the job and she eventually went off disability to work full time. She remained in therapy and agreed to take medication to help with her depression and anxiety. Her pain didn’t disappear, but she confronted it head-on and gradually made positive changes in her life - despite periods of apparent stagnation. I had the privilege of working with this person for 2-3 years.
Sometimes losses and traumatic events are so severe that they have impacts for an entire lifetime. As a result, some people may not go as far as others in the process of creating abundance or living a self-actualized life. However, there is always room for some degree of change. Take notice of where you have small opportunities to engage in self care, achieving greater awareness, and the process of healing. It may take time, but your spirit has profound capacity to heal!
As always, it’s an honor to support you in your transformational journey. In many cases, we can work by phone if you’re far away.
Matthew is a professional Intuitive-Channel, Counselor, Business Success Coach & Certified Hypnotherapist. He began intuitively reading family and friends 20 years ago and has been doing so professionally since 2003. With a passion for personal and spiritual growth, Matthew has worked in the counseling field for 17 years. His services include:
(Most Services Are Available By Phone & In Person)
* Intuitive Readings
* Past Life Regression
* Counseling & Coaching
* Holistic Psychotherapy
(CA LCS #24169)
* Psychic Development & Channeling Classes
* Workshops, Teleseminars
* Media Appearances
* Business Coaching & Development
* Radio Host
Here is a link to his website