In our lives, the first people that we follow are usually our parents. We look up to them, try to mimic them and sometimes we see them as invincible gods. Until the day that we discover that, like us, they are also human.
I think it may be a natural tendency to want to look to other people for guidance or inspiration. Many people look to their faith and their churches for this support. Others seek further to spiritual leaders or gurus to help themselves push past their own abilities by themselves.
My parents had a period of time when they were following various spiritual leaders. When I was 10, we moved to a bigger city and joined what some people might like to call, a cult. Whatever that means, really. But, it was a type of community that was inclusive of the people in the group, but wasn’t so interested in interacting with those people outside of the community. The leader of the group, Ramos, was, in my young eyes and then in retrospect, the type of guru that was authoritative and confident. People looked to him because he was commanding and seemed sure of himself. And he abused that power. I just read on his website that he eventually realized that. People allowed themselves to blindly follow him and were scared to question some of the things and practices he did.
After leaving there, my parents ended up in California, where they found a group of people that had a course called, The Miracle of Love. For my then 13 year old self, all I remember from these things were that when people would finish the course, they’d have a celebration of dancing where everybody would dance around in a circle. At the time, I loved it. So much energy and so much freedom. I have vague memories of a type of sexual openness that I wasn’t very comfortable with at that age, but that I was curious about. I remember there was a 15 year old girl who was with a much older man. We were only around that community for a few months, as far as I can remember.
Then, when I was 17, my dad’s girlfriend, who then became his ex-girlfriend, was interested in a leader named John De Ruiter (who I liked to call Roto Rooter. At this point, I was a bit cynical about these leaders). This man was quite intense, with his deep set piercing blue eyes and whirling grey curls. I remember that he stayed at our house one night. I had forgotten my glasses upstairs and at that point, I was very near-sighted without them. So, I was sitting a few inches from the computer screen, emailing my friend Sarah in California, when he came over and tried talking to me. I remember being civil but not particularly friendly. I wasn’t going to be yet another woman that he charmed. My mom became interested in his group and even followed them to the city he was from. That didn’t end very well.
So, I’ve become a bit jaded in some ways. I think when people follow one person, and don’t critically think about what that person is saying and are hoping that the person will cure their pain, that is when there is a problem.
Funnily enough…I am a part of a community of people. I consider it a personal growth course. I can give tribute to my parents who opened the way to seeking…something besides the daily grind. To be more aware and pursue being the best person that I can be. So, at the end of the day, I believe we are our own “gurus”. And helping guide each other along the way is wonderful. And we are going to fail. And fail. And fail. But, that’s okay. Because that is all a part of this journey that we are on.
I’m very grateful to this family that I have. To this community of people that I am a part of. To my friends.
Slowly, I am working on being grateful for me. xo