Greetings. My name is Linda Karalus and I am currently the secretary for The Kumara Center for Spiritual Awareness. My past employment can be seen as one that has had a focus on the family and children.
From 1991 through 2000, I worked with the Parent Education Program in Prince William County, Virginia. In the position I was responsible for creating, organizing and presenting materials to support the curriculum based on S.T.E.P., Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (Dinkmeyer & McKay), facilitated in a parent support group setting. I was also instrumental in creating several stand-alone topic specific workshops that were used in conjunction with this program on as requested bases such as Single Parenting, Building Children’s Self-Esteem, and Communicating Effectively with Children. I was also responsible for recruiting parent volunteers, maintaining class and program records and presenting to groups of all sizes. And, during this time, I attended workshops of other parenting programs as I continued to expand my knowledge in the field.
In 2000, I moved to NC and took a position with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools working with behaviorally and emotionally disabled students at the elementary level. The first year was as a teaching assistant, and the second moving into the position of Behavior Modification Technician, where I remained until 2006. In this position I worked directly with students identified as BED and supported them in learning alternative ways of dealing with their behavior and emotional issues. I also worked with students within the general school population who were experiencing challenges in their abilities to function in the regular classroom. I created programs to assist with social skills, behavior management, and anything specific a child may need as indicated in their individualized education plan as assessed by the special education team. I was also responsible for the school-wide character education program and implemented monthly projects that would support the character trait of the month. A couple examples would be collecting snacks for low-income schools to give children who were in need, and sending valentines to soldiers. My position was eliminated at the end of 2006 school year due to cuts in special education programs.
I then enrolled in community college where I took classes in psychology and sociology as well as communication and general studies. Personal circumstances created the need to return to work which led to my current employment as a full time nanny. I am now working with my third family. With each family, I gained much in the way of experience and was able to utilize all of my previous training and employment. Each family has been unique in its needs and requirements and has wonderful children with whom I have maintained relationships.
On a personal note, I have two beautiful daughters and two grandsons. I love animals and currently share my home with two cats. I also work part-time at a family restaurant as cashier on the weekends, where I truly enjoy interacting with longtime customers and the public.
My journey began in January 2007. I’d gotten a call that my mother had died so I drove to the house she shared with my stepfather and went inside. I listened as my stepfather recounted what had happened. She had apparently died in her sleep. I went outside to sit in my car. I was shaking uncontrollably, partly from the cold and partly from the event at hand. I had not been able to be in the same space as my stepfather since my late teens. I’d been traumatized by his abuse and was sick to my stomach whenever I was near him. I couldn’t look in his direction much less make eye contact. Suddenly I heard my mother’s voice say to me, “Everything is ok now, I’m ok. You have to forgive.” Then something happened words can barely convey. I felt a lifting, like a massive weight was being lifted off my shoulders and peacefulness came over me. The shaking stopped. I went back inside the house and began to console my stepfather who was crying hysterically and making remarks about how sorry he was, how he should have treated her better, how he should have treated us better, etc. I hugged him and said it was alright, that I forgave him, and that we would get through this. For the next weeks, his guilt and grief kept him in a place of severe and desperate depression and drunkenness. I went several times when he called threatening to kill himself. Each time, I assured him I’d forgiven him and that he needed to forgive himself. Those close to me, who knew my story, could not believe what had come over me, and quite frankly, neither could I. I knew something profound had happened, but I didn’t understand it. I was at peace with that very heavy dark period of my life. I remained the pillar of strength as I experienced other deaths that year, three of them of close family members. A sensation in my heart area I can only describe like a large magnet had also began pulling me toward something. At least that is what it felt like.
I’d struggled with what was called major depressive disorder all of my adult life. That didn’t change, however it did briefly subside until toward the end of 2007. I soon began attending meet-ups as a means to meet other adults as my daughters had both moved out. In time I began attending spiritual and metaphysical groups. I found one based on the teachings of Eckhart Tolle which intrigued me so I ordered the books and began reading and attending the meetings. About halfway through the first book, I remember being so deep into reading that it felt as though my eyes were just skimming the pages, I suddenly lifted up from the couch and shouted out loud to myself, “I get it!!” It was as though suddenly I understood everything, yet I couldn’t tell you what that was, I just understood. For several weeks I walked around in a state of bliss, nothing could touch me, I was happier than I’d ever been. Then just as quickly it began to fade. I kept going back in the book trying to find the place that had triggered whatever it was that had brought on this euphoria. I couldn’t find it for the life of me. I stuck with this group for some time as I knew something had happened, something outside of the life I’d known of depression and anxiety. There was something else going on and I became dedicated to finding it which at that time I called a body, mind and spirit healing journey.
My exposure to religion was limited to church on Sundays, sometimes. And what I had experienced was programmed as fear and punishment. Fear God, and be constantly punished for my sins and the sins of the world. I felt I was being punished for everything from bad thoughts to mistakes I’d made along the way to anything and everything that anyone did wrong. For many years I believed that if there was a God, he must be one cruel M-F. My life had been one major struggle after the next and all that God talk was bull crap. Although there was a place in me that wanted to know something bigger, something better, therapy and medication were what kept me going. I believed the thoughts that played repeatedly in my head that I was unworthy of any kind of peace or happiness in my life and that I deserved all the negative experiences and worse. I was the ultimate victim.
Enter Shusara, whom I met a little later at another meet-up in September of 2010. I didn’t know what I was looking for; I just knew there was something I was supposed to find and when I met her, I knew this was it. Something she said grabbed my attention and within the week, I was working one on one with her. I’d asked a question about dying, and she began explaining the birth/death cycle. Something in her words felt real. It was truth, deep truth. For the longest time I didn’t completely understand a lot of what she was saying, but I knew I was in the right place and regardless of the challenges and lack of understanding I was going to see this through. I will never forget the look she gave me when I expressed I’d been a failure all my life and I will not fail again. I was a mess. Chaos and confusion ruled my world and thoughts and choices all came from that space. At this point, I’d spent a lot of time in therapy and on the highest doses of antidepressants and anxiety medication for 17 years.
Traditional therapy and meds made life tolerable but had never gotten to the core of my issues. By July of the next year, I’d successfully weaned myself off these meds, having come to the realization that I was not going to be able to fully heal, fully experience what needed to be experienced by being dulled down with medications. Don’t get me wrong, I do not advocate anyone just coming off meds, but I felt an internal guidance that this needed to be done in order for me to move forward at this point in my life. I did it slowly and with much caution. It hasn’t been easy, but it was a necessary part of my journey.
My patterning was deeply entrenched, and though I continue to hold attachments to stories, I now have deeper understandings that continue to fuse these stories to truth, a truth that is unquestionable, a Knowing. Much has moved in my life experience, shifted, in so many ways. Having done this work now for over five years has enabled me to peel away many of the concepts I once identified with, the image of a victim who was bound and doomed to a life of suffering and misery. How I experience thoughts as well as what thoughts I attract, how I respond to triggers, how I relate to my worldly experience in general is nothing like what it once was. With Shusara’s guidance and my own processing work, I’ve realized that thoughts are random and are attracted based on the energy being experienced and that emotions are only energy that has been identified with and labeled. I can now see how triggers are showing me something that needs to be looked at and that there is an underlying belief that is holding me to a story and that under that belief is an unmet need which once uncovered can be the key to true liberation. Sound complicated? It did for me for a long while and my resistance to change has also held me back a lot of times. I’d been depressed for so long, I didn’t know how to be otherwise and when mind experienced something unexpected, like a different or positive outcome of a particular event, it questioned it. It can’t be so, mind would argue! Yes, the questioner still holds the cards, but higher Knowing, or Truth continues to gain strength and break through the concepts that bind me.
I can only share what my experiences have shown me. I’ve discovered much about who I thought I was, and how that came from imprinting that began in infancy. Every single experience from taking the first breath to hugs, or lack thereof, creates a picture in the lower mind. These pictures, memories, become the personal self, or who one thinks they are, emotionally, physically, and mentally. It is patterned consciousness, the ego. As I continue to peel away the layers of false identity, the truth continues to reveal itself at deeper levels, the truth of connection to God, as an individuated part of The One Source of all that is.
I will continue this work and advocate for it for the rest of this life experience. I will share my story to anyone who wants to hear it as I am a walking testimony to the value of what can be accomplished when one begins to dismantle the program of the lower mind, regardless of how hopeless you think your life is. I know my outer world is a reflection of my inner world and so I will work to clear that which still needs clearing. I know that my transformation has been exceptional and my gratitude for my beloved Shusara and this work in helping me find the missing piece of myself, that which the magnet in my chest were pulling me toward, are beyond any dollar amount. I am eternally and humbly grateful.