Dr. Sandy Sela-Smith earned her Ph.D. in psychology after a 15-year healing journey that took her into the depths of her internal world, as well as into many cultures and countries in the external world. Her journey also brought her into the core of numerous spiritual traditions from the ancient past to the leading edge of current human spiritual understanding.
Perhaps, the single most important discovery of these multiple journeys is that no matter how disconnected we may feel, we are not separate; but rather, we are infinitely connected with each other and with everything that was, and is, and shall be.
Sandy began her life on a frosty October morning in the far northern territory of Alaska, the wild and untamed last frontier, before this Land of the Midnight Sun became a state. As with all of us, her early life experiences created the lenses through which she interpreted the world. And like most of us, the lenses that gave her sight, were also damaged, distorted, and shaded with multiple blind spots that threw her life out of balance.
Create the Worlds that we Experience
The world that each of us first constructed is one that seems true to us, build from our beliefs based on the experiences we had with our parents and the worlds they had created out of their beliefs. From our beliefs, we create our lives. Like so many other children’s belief, little Sandy’s perspective of the world was: “Out There” is not a safe place to be. And “In Here” is a painfully sad and confusing place…” A corollary belief the child adopted was: “What is wrong out there and what is painfully sad in here is my fault. So, If I try as hard as I can to be what ‘they’ want me to be, and if I don’t look out there too much–or don’t look in here too much–maybe life can become safe again, and I can finally feel good about being me.”
The little girl’s unconscious focus became the remodeling and rebuilding of what she believed to be her “faulted child-self” into an acceptable self. And she did that by:
- Learning to be very quiet, finding out what her parents, and then others wanted her to be and becoming what she thought they wanted—a chameleon, of sorts. And later:
- Becoming a peacemaker & caretaker.
- Succeeding in school and in life by trying as hard as she could.
- Building a reputation of an obedient God-fearing daughter, a devout woman, a devoted wife, an excellent teacher, and effective businesswoman.
- And by turning everything she touched into glittering gold…without noticing that it was fools’ gold.
And then ……….all that she built fell apart!
Reflecting on your Childhood
As you reflect on your own life, you can become aware of the world you experienced as a little child. Was the world that you saw and experienced “Out There” a safe place or were you afraid? Was the world inside you” sad, confusing, painful, or lonely? Or, did it start out as safe and love filled, but something happened that made you stop believing in yourself or stop trusting the world? Were your inner and outer worlds dangerous or generally peaceful, joyful, love filled with little pockets of distress? Did you decide that what is wrong out there or inside you was your fault? Did you try–or give up trying–to be someone they wanted you to be? Sometimes, did it feel like you had to divide yourself up into little pieces to be acceptable, and then, somewhere along the way, did you lose connection with the real you?
Did your conscious or unconscious focus become the remodeling of what you saw as your faulted-self to turn it into the acceptable child, or did you try to make the world change to accept you? And, if you did either of these things…how did you do it? Did you become:
- A peacemaker & caretaker, or a rebel with a little or a lot of bully in you?
- A perfectionist, or one who decided that all those little things and most of the big things just do not matter?
- Anxious about everything, worrying about what you did or didn’t do…and what will happen tomorrow or later because of your doing the wrong thing, or unconcerned about anything with little or no reaction to what you did or didn’t do, and unconcerned about how your actions impact others?
- Prideful and superior, or ashamed and inferior?
- A tragic and suffering victim, or hero/heroine rescuer?
- A dependent people pleaser and perhaps a self-sacrificing martyr, or one who enjoys being self-made, considered by some as arrogant and unaffected by the needs of others?
- Independent, strong, in need of no one, or needy and dependent?
- An isolate, a loner or the life of the party, perhaps needing the admiration of many?
- A daredevil, forever young, risk taker, or extremely cautious, focused on all your frailties and your aches and pains, feeling much older than your years?
When one choice did not work did you flip back and forth from one extreme to the other?
Whenever we do anything to try to be acceptable—instead of just knowing we are acceptable—we are creating a false self; we can have many levels and layers of false selves within us that make up the mask or masks we wear, and in time we might come to believe we are the mask..
Childhood experiences that keep a child from feeling safe in the outer world, cause the child to feel not good enough, to have self-doubt, or self-judgment, can lead to adult lives that feel like a puzzle with missing pieces.
As young adults, we often attempt to build lives to feel good about ourselves, to feel successful to prove our worth or we might fight the system that seems to have judged us as unworthy…all the while trying to fill in the missing pieces of our lives and make ourselves feel whole again. We might have become so good at something that we attach our identity to it and believe that is our real self, because it makes us feel proud, courageous, powerful, worthy, worthwhile…at least for a time. As long as we remain focused on that identity, we are sure of ourselves, but if we enter into any other space, any other experience, we can become frightened, angry, filled with anxiety, or depressed because we don’t know who we are outside what is familiar. And in time, we might even feel empty inside even if we are living is the safe world of our making and all is going well. We feel like something is missing.
Whatever way we choose for our life path (to build ourselves to be acceptable in our world or to change the world to make us feel better in it) might give us purpose and direction, but in time we learn that whatever we build does not give us what we thought we wanted, even if we have been successful in the building …and we feel dissatisfied, even if we don’t know what we want.
For many people, something happens in our middle years that shakes us up, turns our lives upside down, breaks us apart, and pushes us to reevaluate or reconsider the self and the world we created out of our childhood perspectives.
This event could be physical illness, the loss of a loved one, failure in financial interests, loss of whatever it was that we had built as our identity, a natural disaster, the loss of power and control, change in our life patterns, such as when children leave home, loss of a job, divorce, or a myriad of other life changing events.
This shake us up is a gift that will likely feel as if it were a curse…because it shatters what we spent our lives building. However, the shake up is necessary if we are to reconnect with the real self that we left behind when we decided that we were not good enough, or that the world was not what we wanted.
Sandy’s Adult Life
Sandy married her high school sweetheart and with an old Volkswagen and $147, she and her husband began their lives together. Her first professional job was teaching in a private Christian high school and a year later, her husband was drafted and sent to Vietnam.
After her husband’s return, the two of them focused on building the American Dream to make their lives safe, full, and happy. They moved from an apartment to a small house, and then to a larger one…over the years, they remodeled and expanded the house to make it bigger and better. Like so many of their peers, they worked hard to create a foundation that allowed them to accumulate the very best of what the world offered.
They were very successful at transforming a $3,000 business investment into a multi-million dollar corporation, working 7-days-a-week with very little time for rest. Though they worked effectively together in business, they grew further and further apart in their personal lives.
From the outside, it looked as if the two of them were the ideal couple. However, inside, Sandy became aware that something too important was missing, though she had no idea what it was that was missing.
Like the little child, her adult self was still afraid of everything in the outer world, though she had learned to cover her fear very effectively. Her inner world felt empty, painfully sad, and confusing; although few would have ever guessed. In time, Sandy knew that she could not make herself good enough and she could not make what was unsafe feel safe, or what felt empty, feel full.
Sandy knew something was wrong, and when she sought help to find out what that was not right, she discovered that she was living an inauthentic life, a life that was not the one she had come to live, but one she thought she was supposed to live.
Something deeply important was missing in her life and her marriage, and even more significant, something was painfully missing within herself.
Whoever she truly was, was not the person she had manufactured over the years…and she didn’t know how to go about finding the real person or finding what was so painfully missing.
Sandy began a journey of deep introspection, searching into the hidden inner world that had separated her from the Spark that had given her life–what she came to call Sandy-God-Essence–a spark that indwells each of us and connects us to all that is…all that was and all that will be (both within and in the external world).
And for the first time in her life, she experienced being connected to what she has identified as The One Who Has Loved Us From The Very Beginning. She continued to search for deeper understanding in many spiritual traditions as she traveled through the US and into other countries across the world, which included living 2 years in China, and training in New Zealand, and she journeyed another 7 years in graduate school, learning from the sages & gifted teachers. In the process, she earned a Masters and PhD degree in psychology.
A new life began to dawn…
In Sandy’s own words, she explained,
My Life’s Journey has taught me far more than what is represented by my formal education and the degrees next to my name. By going into the deepest places within, not unlike the challenges and dangers faced in climbing the most rugged mountains, or the deepest caves, I learned that:
Everything in the universe has been and is being created as an act of love; and everything in that universe is all infinitely connected with the One, what some call the Creator.
As a part of the Universe, we each create our own worlds based on the beliefs we hold about the nature of the universe.
These worlds that we create, though they seem to be concretely and absolutely true, are in fact created by interpretations and meanings we form deep inside us, and they exist as long as we hold the beliefs.
When many persons hold very similar world-views, it is easy to believe even more in the unchangeable reality of the world that we see and experience as being the real world.
The gift of pain, agony, and suffering, as well as the value of the shattering that happens when our lives go wrong, when we experience loss, disappointment, or despair, is that these experiences give us the opportunity to see what we believe. Becoming aware of our often unconscious beliefs can help us see the worlds we have created, and if we choose, we can change false beliefs that cause us to disconnect from our true self that is infinitely connected within the true universe that loves and supports us…
Once we connect with our true self, our vision and worlds will flow from our connection with the source, from the outermost reaches of the universe to the center of our being. This opens us to experience life as whole, with no missing pieces, no emptiness, no black holes …ONLY LOVE.
At the core of every major religion is a spirituality, which recognizes that life is a gift given to us to experience our being in the wholeness of the universe with infinite connection to the Creator of all that is.
Dr. Sandy Sela-Smith’s work, which is based on this core teaching, has a body/mind/spirit focus.
This work acknowledges that we are all whole, but beliefs, usually formed in childhood, cause us to experience ourselves as not whole, and as separate.
Any problem that we might have in our personal and professional lives, in our relationships, in the health of our bodies or minds, is a mind/body/spirit problem caused by a belief in separation and to false beliefs about who we are and what the world is.
These beliefs that are held together by thoughts and feelings block the flow of life and disrupt the connection with the authentic self, with Spirit, the result of which leads us to feeling empty, sad, angry, hopeless, living life without purpose or meaning, feeling lost, confused, conflicted, anxious …and on-and-on.
These disconnecting, empty feelings create stress, and over time, stress leads to physical and emotional illness and disease.
Sandy’s work assists people in their search for the false beliefs about themselves, most of which have been carried since they were small children or even as infants. Once conscious of these beliefs, and the feelings related to these beliefs, clients can release the beliefs, allow the feelings to move through them instead of holding on to them, and embrace the truth of their wholeness experience healing, perhaps, for the first time, they will be able to find themselves and live from this true self.
Accessing Sandy’s Work & Teaching
You can access Dr. Sandy Sela-Smith’s work through:
- Individual session by telephone consultation. Click Here
- In person sessions requiring Dr. Sela-Smith’s travel. Click Here
- Couples’ sessions also, via telephone conferencing with both people. Click Here
- Workshops and Seminars: Click Here
- Web Site Messages where Sandy posts insights, published or unpublished articles and other material to assist readers to reflect on the world-views they hold to release dysfunctional beliefs, and make new choices in life. Click Here
- CDs and Books, which can be purchased via links on-line.Click Here
- Psychotherapy phone sessions can be purchased on-line before or following a session as arranged. Click Here
- You can join the Community of Infinite Connections, connect with others, post your own discoveries, and comment on proposed topics on the Blog. Click Here
- View Dr. Sela-Smith’s Credentials. Click Here
- Contact Dr. Sela-Smith. Click Here