April 23, 2017

How I Woke Up from the Nightmare & Found my True Self.

Oh, it’s such an exciting feeling when a book lands in our hands and stirs our inner selves.

Recently I picked up Courageous Dreaming by shaman and healer Dr. Alberto Villoldo and couldn’t put it down. The first few chapters set the stage for experiencing life as either a nightmare or an awakening.

My mental engine started to rev and flashbacks appeared as clues led me to an honest answer. Before I share my story, it’s important to learn about role-playing.

Throughout human history, a group of energies coalesced out of the ego into three primary roles: Rescuer, Bully, and Victim. Until we become aware of these archetypal roles and how they play out in us, we don’t even stop to consider if they are working for us or not. We act them out unconsciously and believe it is normal and rewarding to “perform” or express ourselves based on them.

Read the following descriptions and notice which relationships are rooted in one or more of these “award-winning” roles.

Old Roles.


Rescuers judge others as suffering or requiring some type of rescue. Without help, Rescuers assume others are incapable of improving their dire situation. Rescuers desire admiration for their efforts. Their private agenda is to want others to depend on them. Rescuers love being the charging hero.

As I reflected on my life, I see how much time and energy has been dedicated to the role of Rescuer. Yeesh, I even got a master’s degree in social work, a Rescuer by profession!

On countless occasions, I carried the stories of others in an imaginary backpack. Fixing and saving people was normal. I wore this backpack all the time and didn’t know how to put it down.

After several years of collecting stories, you can imagine how it weighed me down in my personal life. Until I learned the benefit of caring for, not rescuing clients, I was burned out, stuck, and numb. My long-term survival as a social worker and a spiritual person depended on the release of the Rescuer.


Bullies perceive others as unworthy and beneath them. Using pushy take-charge tactics, Bullies charge forward with their agenda. Intimidation is among their favorite tools. Others’ fear of them ignites their energies. Bullies love grabbing full authority and getting their own way.


Victims use others as pawns to get the attention they crave. They whine and cry “poor me” to get noticed. Victims advertise their suffering and pain in loud terms in an appeal to minimize the needs of others. They want everyone else to feel obligated to make things better for them—or at the least to recognize their victim status.

However, when we walk in the way of our spirit instead of ego, we shift energetic prototypes keeping us spellbound and consigned to well-worn roles we don’t even realize we’re playing. We begin to notice how these roles no longer resonate with our true self. We feel more authentic when we believe in ourselves and seek to assume more advanced roles.

Roles such as Spirit Dreamer, World Changer, and Healer lift us closer to our natural and true calling. These new roles serve as great growth opportunities and keep us alive and awake in body, mind, and spirit.

New Roles.


Healers are awakening to enlighten others. They teach higher truths with simplicity and grace. They offer all beings a path of discovery to connection, creativity, and openness. Mother Theresa was a healer who ministered the teachings of love, compassion, and healing by serving the poor and sick.

Once I decided to dump my old and ratty backpack it was time to choose another role. I left my full-time work as a cancer social worker and opened myself up to the idea of blending clinical skills with spiritual curiosity. Friends encouraged me to serve others by exchanging messages of love, peace, and joy.

To help me flow in the direction of my dreams I created a personal mission statement. The words are simple and true: To help others express and maximize the inner voice. Every day I am committed to shifting people out of nightmares and into awakened hearts and minds.

Spirit Dreamers.

Spirit Dreamers intend to bring dreams into the landscape of day to day living. They understand there is no difference between night dreaming and daydreaming. Their example helps others to retrieve their own dreams and make them come true. Loving parents take on this role for their children.

World Changers.

World Changers approach global challenges in fresh and meaningful ways.

Think of TV anchor Katie Couric. The unfortunate loss of her husband to colon cancer evolved into an international campaign to bring greater awareness to prevention and research into the disease. World Changers transform their private nightmares into inspiring the world.

Look inside and figure out if life is a nightmare or awakening. If there is a backpack to throw away, head for the nearest trashcan and discover a new role. Yes, it takes courage to wake up and stay up. Once we become aware of the practice of awakening, nightmares begin to dissipate and possibilities expand. We discover the rewards of quiet contentment in our maturing genuine selves.

Author: Rita Abdallah, LISW-S, LCSW-C, ACSW
Image: Unsplash
Editor: Lieselle Davidson

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