The Unbelievable Collapse of my Life
How I lost everything and gained the pearl beyond price
Breaking Down -Emptying Out - Being Scrubbed Clean
January 2006 - August 2006
The decision to stop Family Constellation Work (read here why) was immediately followed by a breaking down, clearing out process that began ravaging my system. I couldn't have anticipated that this would happen, although in hindsight, it was definitely a natural sequence of events. What ensued was incredibly terrifying. Everything I'd studied over the past twenty years during my involvement in the personal growth, individual development and alternative healing field - all of it - was taken from me. I say taken from me because that's what it felt like. It was as if a whole cleaning crew had entered my body and began to scrub clean everything that was there. All that was important to me, all that I had believed in and knew for certain, all that I had witnessed and understood throughout my life - all of it was eradicated. I was shown how everything I believed to be true was non-sense. My beliefs were based on mere ideas and opinions that various people at some point in time had thought up. There was no truth to any of it. I was shown how we take concepts to be real that have as their basis only somebody else's opinion. We take ungrounded notions as solid and valid aspects of life and never question them. We accept other people’s assumptions to be meaningful, important and true. In reality, these beliefs have no substance whatsoever. As time went on, none of what I once held dear had any relevance for me. The meaning, legitimacy and importance of my prior world view had totally vanished from my being. This whole process was excruciating. I felt myself being emptied out every day with nothing given back in return. I became more and more hollow inside and began to seriously question life and the purpose of my existence. All I had wrapped myself around in order to define who I was as a person, as an individual, as a valid part of society – had vanished. Nothing was there any longer. I was no more the Margot Ridler I had known myself to be. All that I had known and believed in, which had given my life significance, substance, value and purpose - all of it was gone. Who or what was I without all that, which had previously made up Margot Ridler? What was becoming more and more apparent was that where Margot Ridler once was - emptiness now reigned. Huge empty spaces of no-thing-ness replaced more and more the solidity of how I'd once felt. As this process continued week after week, stark terror would often shake my body violently, alternating with cold sweats and total lifeless exhaustion. I realized I was being erased bit by bit and could do nothing about it. The whole process was bizarre beyond comprehension and terror provoking in the extreme. I was becoming ever more worried that I was going crazy. This was a serious concern of mine. When the reality we know begins to wobble, crack and break down, this question arises, not just once but many times. Might it be possible that I'm loosing my marbles? Yet, quite frequently, to my utter astonishment, unfounded bliss would often surface out of nowhere, totally taking me by surprise. In an instant, the terror and fear would be replaced with immense freedom, peace, joy, gratitude, delight and wonder, flooding my body through and through. It took four entire years until I was shown in another flash-knowing that this direct experience of freedom, peace, joy and wonder is our natural state.
Everything Is Taken - Nothing Remains - Standing Completely Empty
January 2006 - August 2006
My challenges were not limited to losing the entire make-up of my personal self. In addition to that inner collapse, which was enormously nerve racking and energy draining, I was working in my daily outer life to generate a new stream of income. I'd walked away from the only earnings I had without first having devised a back-up plan (not a very smart business decision!). I found myself in a severe financial bind. My long illness two years earlier (read about it here) had forced me out of work for eight months. Not receiving any income had taken a huge toll on my finances. In addition, traveling extensively thereafter, taking countless workshops and trainings on Shamanism in order to improve my work for people had pretty much brought my savings account to a zero balance. I had not properly recuperated financially by the time I walked away from Constellation Work and therefore, had not much money to tie me over until I figured out what else to do with my life. At first, I was not worried because I had an idea to start a new business that I felt certain would work out fine. However, after investing some time and money, it was clear my business idea would not work. I had to look for a job, which was a bit daunting because I had been self-employed for over 15 years. Everything I studied had been cutting edge in the alternative healing field. No employer in the typical employment market would be able to do anything with my professional know-how. Every day I was actively seeking work. As time passed, it became painfully clear that few jobs were available that paid enough to cover my monthly expenses. Living in California, basic living costs were insanely high. The jobs that did provide a modest but reasonable income, for some strange reason, I couldn't retain. No matter how hard I tried, I ended up having one door after another slammed in my face. It got to the point where I felt jinxed. I couldn't earn enough money to keep a roof over my head, have gas for my car and food to eat. When all my money had run out and it came to the point where I was going to be homeless and on the street within a month, I sat down one day to look at my absolutely ridiculous situation. I mean, I am an intelligent, well-educated person who speaks three languages and has twenty years of business experience under her belt. I have many different skills and qualifications and yet I could not even keep a waitress job. I was baffled at all that had happened since the day the flash-knowing surprised me. I came to the conclusion that there must be some higher wisdom involved in creating this absolutely ludicrous situation. It had to be - there was no other way. Everything was just too messed up, with huge boulders piled up in front of me, making any kind of movement forward impossible. I literally threw my hands up in the air and gave up. I mean, what else could I do? I was going to be homeless and on the streets even though for the past seven months I had tried everything I could think of to keep my life stable. Regardless of what I had done, nothing had worked. By throwing my hands up in the air, I addressed who or what was responsible for the flash-knowing, my Margot Ridler identity evaporating and rendering me penniless and homeless all within six months. Suddenly, it was clear to me some real ingenuity was at work. My mind had run out of options of what else to try. I was finally on my knees, willing to hand over the reigns of my life. I didn't know what else to do.
That's when I said out loud: What do you want? Immediately after that statement was uttered (and I truly, truly meant it) something weird happened. A waft of fresh air hit my face. I could actually feel it against my skin. In that instant, everything became clear. All this time I had been focusing on remaining in the United States and beginning anew. But what if Life had different plans? What if Life wanted me some place else? How could Life have gotten through to me? I was so driven to find a way to survive in the USA that the idea to leave the United States could not enter my consciousness. I was too closed and too focused on the limited options my mind was programmed to suggest. In that closed state, nothing new, adventuresome and extraordinary could reach me. Yet, the thought to leave the United States, even though it had been my home for over twenty years, felt right. It made sense although logically I could not explain it. My son was 21 years old and living on his own. He was doing well. My obligations to him as a mother, which was why I had remained in United States after his dad and I divorced, had largely ceased. I was actually free to leave.
The thought appeared about finding a retreat place where I could spend a few months on a work exchange (since I had no money left to pay for a retreat stay) so that I could find some inner quiet and rest. After those extremely stressful seven months, it was a welcoming and refreshing idea. This would allow me to collect my thoughts and I was hoping that in the process a realization would come to me about what Life wanted from me as a next. Everything inside of me said yes to that idea and a sense of relief and calm came over me. I decided I wanted to find a retreat place where the weather was warm and sunny. Doing a Google search for only two days, an ad about such a site in Costa Rica jumped out at me. I contacted them and within a few days I was invited to come. What was fascinating was that once I had relinquished control, everything fell into place as if by magic. No effort, no striving, no thinking, no pushing, no making anything happen was required. All I had to do was follow the invisible (but definitely felt) thread that was being laid out right in front of my feet - like the bread crumbs strewn in the Brother Grimm's Hansel and Gretel story. Nothing was needed from me except to follow step by step the bread crumbs Life kept dropping on my behalf. I didn't know at the time that this initial experience was my introduction and first taste of what the next three and a half years would be like.
The craziest thing about going to Costa Rica was that I had never been interested in that part of the world. I didn't speak a single word of Spanish, the native tongue, nor did I know any person there. Unlike other countries that I had a personal wish to visit and explore, the countries of Central America had never pulled me. Yet, suddenly I found myself on a journey there and every single thing about it felt absolutely right. I was jumping off the cliff into the unknown and knew somehow that everything was going to be just fine. By selling all of my furniture and my car I was able to raise around $6,000. That was all I had left to my name. At age 44 that sum would be considered by most standards pretty dire. What I did not know was that eventually all of that would be gone, too. I would have to stand in foreign countries not only with having no more personal self functional, which brings with it a distinct experience of no longer knowing anything, but also, being absolutely penniless. The message that I had to learn was, of course: you don't need to know anything, you don't need any money, you don't need to be in charge. Life will provide every step of the way. And that is exactly how it was! Life provided in spite of my mind continually falling back into terrible survival angst. Yet, the most unimaginable, magical, adventuresome and miraculous time ensued, which my Margot Ridler programmed self could have never fathomed possible in her wildest dreams.
Are you sure you surrendered completely? Let's test you one more time.
The experience at the retreat site in Costa Rica, which had promised to be a safe haven for this tattered soul of mine, turned into a pretty hopeless situation rather quickly. To keep a long story short, after six weeks I was kicked out of the retreat site because I was speaking up against the guru. I was given two hours to pack my stuff and then was deposited by the side of the road rather unceremoniously, with my two huge suitcases filled with stuff that I had brought, thinking I would live there for six months. Standing there by the side of the road with very little money to work with, in a country I had no safety net to fall back on, plus did not speak the local language, the last inkling of being in charge of my life vanished completely. Hence started the journey of no return, having suddenly been kicked off the cliff, free falling within the empty, unknown space of no-thing-ness. I did not know this then but the free-falling would eventually become my way of life. Living from complete not-knowing as to what is to happen next, within a three and a half year period, I traveled from Costa Rica to Panama to Mexico to Guatemala back to Mexico back to Guatemala to Denmark back to Guatemala to the USA back to Mexico and eventually back to the USA. The empty no-thing-ness, which had instilled so much terror and fear in me initially eventually emerged to be my most trusted friend. In November 2009, four years after the flash-knowing had shown up in my life, the no-thing-ness which had become my constant companion, was finally seen for what it really is: Everything, God, Spirit, It, That, The Source and Substance of All There Is, matter's non-physical essence or counterpart, our true, impersonal, formless nature. Suddenly, the survival fears and terrors, which had been such a huge part of my process were seen to have been completely unnecessary. There was nothing to fear because the no-thing-ness I'd befriended by having lived with it for four years, was actually what's in charge of my body and life. It's no-thing-ness that's looking out Margot Ridler's eyes. What comfort, what grace, what delight and what gratitude. All questions were answered and in that instant, peace and calm set in that are now experienced daily in regards to all survival fears. Even though still today, at age 48, am penniless and homeless and possess absolutely nothing that in worldly terms would supply safety, protection and security. However, I feel safe and protected by Life and know I will always be taken care of in the best possible way. The above account was written in May 2010. The wording would be somewhat different today but it was left on purpose in its original version. All of what was experienced during the Central America and Mexico travels was incredibly amazing. Much of it would be termed by normal standards miraculous. One day, my experiences traveling as a wandering hermit might be put into a book or video format to be shared.