One day in March 2004 I received an email that was hate-filled, threatening, and bullying. It wasn’t personally directed at me, but at the Academy I was working with. I didn’t realise at the time the effect that email would have on my life.
A single, relatively powerless individual, determined to destroy an organisation, apparently because her application to our Academy had been rejected, caused severe damage to our reputation and years of struggle and expense.
I was the person who had to deal with her attack on a day to day basis. She wrote similar emails, full of defamatory lies, to all the major authorities including the police, the Education Minister, the Ombudsman, and anyone else she could find. She also took her story to the 20-20 TV program, a fact I discovered when the program reporters contacted me with a list of questions. It was the equivalent of being asked, “When did you stop beating your wife?” There was no way to answer without making things even worse.
I spent months working with lawyers to correct these stories and to reduce the 20-20 program’s coverage to something less than scandalous. But by then the damage was done. It affected our academic accreditation status, which affected our ability to receive students, which affected our immigration status, which affected our business, which affected all our future plans at the time.
When that first email arrived I didn’t know how to transform the situation at a deeper level. In the years since, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to reflect on those events and to work with clients in many forms of difficulty. I’ve explored new approaches to dealing with crises and I’ve observed their effects.
Again and again, I’ve been astonished by how much we’re able to influence our circumstances, even when they appear to be wildly out of control and in the hands of people seemingly bent on evil and destruction.
From this work I’ve learned 12 valuable principles and practices for handling any kind of crisis. I focus on business disasters, but the same principles are valid for health, relationship, and financial disasters, broader social, political, and physical crises, and all forms of bullying and harassment.
Your experience is a reflection of your consciousness
This is the core underlying principle. It can be very hard to accept or understand, especially when really terrible things are happening to you. Essentially, this is a way of saying that nothing happens to you by mistake, even if what’s happening feels totally undeserved. At a deeper spiritual level there are patterns inside you that are being reflected in your external world.
The reason this is so important is because it gives you the power to change things. As you shift your consciousness, your circumstances change, sometimes in the most remarkable ways. Since you can change your consciousness very quickly, it’s useful to reflect on this principle in quiet times so you’re prepared when a disaster hits you.
The way this plays out is that your fear makes the situation worse. When you experience anything more positive, especially love, the situation starts to improve. You can track your inner state by what’s happening on the outside. I’ve watched people yo-yo emotionally and seen their crisis come and go over and over again as a consequence.
It’s not always easy to see at the time, but when you look back, the pattern is startlingly clear.
Relax and make peace
Most extremely challenging situations play out over an extended period. In my case, the initial falling apart took 12 months of wave after wave of shocks that built to a big crescendo around the airing of 20-20 on prime time Sunday night TV.
The first thing you can do to keep shifting crisis energy is to relax at every stage and make peace. This has to be a daily practice. And at the most difficult times you may need to pay attention to relaxing all day, especially if the situation is extremely tense. It makes a difference, even if you don’t succeed very well.
Every time you relax, your energy softens and becomes more open. This allows new energy to flow through your system. New energy is always positive and brings new solutions and possibilities. It also makes you feel better. When you feel better, things shift. This may not be obvious at first, especially if there’s a lot of noise in your mind.
I’ve seen several people turn very difficult legal cases around, despite all expectations, simply by relaxing every step of the way and making peace with whatever is happening.
Clear your karma
In most severe crisis cases there’s a lot of karma involved. In my case, I discovered many years later that I had very strong karma of slander as well as abuse of power. That’s why I was the person who had to deal with the situation, even though it wasn’t about me personally. If you’re a powerful person and you ever find people sabotaging your success (or you’re doing it to yourself), you can assume that karma is playing out. Learn how to clear it.
I’ve seen physically and emotionally abusive situations change within hours or days when the victim cleared their karma. This doesn’t mean they’re responsible for someone else causing them harm. Each one of us is responsible for our own behaviour and no one has to hurt another person. But clearing the karma is a way to take responsibility for ourselves quickly and powerfully and stop being controlled by a bully or abuser. I’ve written many times about karma and I run regular masterclasses for clearing it, using a technique you can learn and master for yourself, for whenever you might need it.
Open to unconditional love
Once you’ve cleared the karma you’ll be more open to love. This is a call to your higher self to express itself at a time when your lower self may be more interested in revenge, punishment, and self pity, quite apart from the fear that usually takes over. One way to open to love is to recognise that your tormentor is a human being who’s clearly in pain. You don’t need to feel sorry for them, but it’s important to understand that people who are hurting hurt others. Christ was a good example when he said on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
This helps to break the energetic tie between you and allows you to connect with your higher self and take the high road rather than the low road. You may still need to take legal action or other necessary steps to stop what’s going on, but this shift into love is important because it opens you to a more powerful aspect of yourself. When your world implodes there’s an upgrade going on at a profound level. As you expand your capacity for love, you both support the growth of your new upgraded self to become stronger and you let go of the fear.
Align with the Light
Above all, these situations challenge us to align with the Light. In my experience this can be as simple as saying to myself over and over again “The Light, The Light.” I also remind myself that I am the Light and everyone else is the Light. Sometimes I say to myself something like: “I align with the Light. I’m present to the Light. The Light is in every situation.” These kinds of words remind me that there is nothing in life that is not the Light, even the parts of life that feel terrible. Remembering is what makes the difference.
Return the negativity to the sender
If people are sending very negative energy towards you, you don’t have to accept it. A simple way to respond is to ask it to return to whoever sent it. This is not with the intent of harming them, but with the intent that they take full responsibility for their own thoughts and energy. This way they can directly experience the impact of what they’re doing and you’re protected from their negativity.
Let go of the drama
This might be the most challenging part of all. As human beings we seem to love drama. Of course, that’s what’s feeding the whole situation. If we didn’t love a good drama no one would be remotely interested in destroying someone else’s reputation. It simply wouldn’t work.
The tricky part is that when you’re in the middle of a crisis, you’re hooked into the drama. It feels so unfair, frightening, and destructive and sometimes it seems like your whole world is coming to an end. It’s hard to know if or how you’ll ever recover.
What you’ll discover, however, is that all those thoughts are fundamentally untrue. You are not your work or your reputation. You are far bigger than either. You have way more creative power than your thoughts are suggesting. You can turn your life in so many different directions at any moment; so you’re much more free than you may realise at the time.
At a deeper level, you will also realise one day that other people are responsible for their own lives. This doesn’t exonerate you from your responsibility in damaging or causing pain to others, but it does mean that if other people have been pulled into your crisis, at a soul level they’re prepared for this. You’re not responsible for how they react. They are.
And deeper still, ultimately, you discover that death is also not real. Yes, we leave our bodies and they turn into another form of life (soil, bugs etc., so not really dead at all). Yes, we leave our physical presence on this planet, at least for the time being. People will miss us and have to change their lives. But do we really die? Not as far as I can tell. I can feel the presence of the close people who’ve died in my life any time I want. Apparently this is so common that it’s strange that we don’t talk about it more.
When you let go of the dramatic stories of life and death that enable people to hurt, threaten and frighten you, you let go of the drama of your particular situation. Then it has no emotional hold on you any more. You may find it funny, uplifting or intriguing or you may find yourself grateful that it happened.
Some people reach this through exhaustion or after a very, very long time. If you can be conscious about it, you can do it much more quickly. This frees your energy to explore and create your future rather than be trapped in someone else’s drama as if it’s your own.
This is oddly important. I remember experiencing one big drama when a business I was running was failing during the last recession. Although I and my colleagues worked hard at many different levels (including spiritual and energetic) to prevent what was happening, it was obvious that many of us didn’t really want to be in that business any longer. Looking back on it, I see that the more connected we became, the more what happened matched our deeper wishes.
Sometimes disasters make you sincere. They force you to face who you really are and what you really want. If you’re living out of alignment with what your soul wishes to experience, this is your chance to find yourself at a deeper level.
Keep practising, however hard it feels
It’s easy for me to write about relaxing, unconditional love, and aligning with the light but I know all too well how hard it is to do it. One of the things I discovered over and over again is that it doesn’t seem to be important that you’re good at any of those. Sometimes people feel bad because I tell them to relax and they can’t. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you give it a go. You want to relax. You understand that it’s the right direction and that being tense isn’t the answer even if it’s your current state. At a certain point it will pay off. So keep practising.
Don’t expect to be able to do it all on your own
It’s very hard to get perspective when you’re in the heat of a full-on crisis, so it’s important to have people to talk to who are wise, level-headed, and can see the bigger patterns beyond the personal experience. At a deeper level there’s always something positive going on, whatever it looks like on the surface. It’s impossible to see this for yourself if you’re locked in fear.
Unfortunately, most people find it hard to see what’s really going on. You may find that many of your friends get caught in the drama and make things worse, not better. Professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants) also tend to take a limiting view, which is the correct thing for them to do as professionals but may not help you turn the situation around. There’s a fine balance between listening to experts and tapping into something bigger and more powerful than human knowledge.
Personally, I prefer to use experts to give me the facts, so I can choose how I want to react to them. I’ve seen that following these principles regularly produces results that surprise professionals, sometimes results they consider impossible.
Tap into divine support
You are never alone. Whenever there’s a crisis on the ground there’s an extraordinary amount of divine support for everyone affected. The big question is whether you recognise it and use it or not. You can call on divine support to help you emotionally and to change practical things. It’s more powerful if what you ask for is aligned with the Light, so don’t ask them to take revenge for you or to hurt someone else.
I’ve found that when a crisis is in full swing, it’s a good idea to stay closely in touch with my divine team. I always connect initially via my Higher Self because I know it’s coming from love. Then I will connect with many different divine sources, depending on the situation and what comes to me in the moment.
I ask for specific help to get things done. This needs to be done on a daily basis, often over and over again. It relieves a lot of tension and changes outcomes, especially if you build up lots of frequent, smaller requests for help rather than one big desperate prayer.
Stay on the case all the way to the end
When negative people are hell-bent on destroying you or your work there can be wave after wave of assault. The minute things start to feel better, they drop another bomb. Then the ripples start and they create more negativity in many different directions that weren’t part of the original attack. Sometimes it feels as if the situation is spiralling out of control.
This is where all the approaches I’ve outlined above become part of your daily practice. I’ve found it’s easy to take my eye off the ball as soon as things feel a bit better, and I’m then surprised or shocked when the next wave hits. Of course, it’s important to take any time you can to relax and let go whenever the pressure reduces, but do keep all your practices going every day, all the way to the end. Don’t be fooled by a single miracle. You may need many shifts and small miracles over days or months to transform all this negativity into a beautiful outcome.
The whole situation is a great opportunity for your personal and spiritual development, that’s for sure. You’ll never be the same again.
What happens when you do all this?
Every situation is different and things change very fast when you’re in the middle of a big scenario. I’ve seen judges make unprecedented (and very positive) decisions; people who would normally collapse under the pressure take it relatively calmly and keep moving forward with dignity; challenges dropped within minutes of shifting an inner state; people become friends with their arch enemy; tax departments make decisions that are more favourable than anyone dreamed of; court cases dropped against the lawyers’ expectations. Above all, I see that situations designed to destroy someone end up making them far stronger, more effective and more determined than ever before.
You can’t always prevent the situation, but you can always change its outcome.
Why does it have to happen at all?
I still ask this question from time to time. Why do people experience such extreme attacks on their work or their reputation? Is it really a sign of their impact on the world or is there something else going on? There are many answers to these questions, but none of them satisfies me. It remains part of the mystery of life, as far as I’m concerned.