This is a two-part story about real life lessons on Integrity. The journey for us as a married couple has been quite adventurous, climbing over obstacles and living an adventurous lifestyle from the perspective of total wellness. And yet, the foundation we have built on integrity has continued to remain solid.

My beloved and I have been back in Texas for 4 months. Our adventures in New Mexico were prematurely cut short, leaving us with much to process in terms of reflecting. Although we miss the organic beauty and peace found in nature loving at 9,000 ft. elevation in the mountains, we have also discovered a different kind of peace. One that is affiliated with being back on safe and solid ground.

The stability that comes with absolute integrity.

Many of you know of our story! You have followed us from the time we packed up our entire life to seek a spiritual neutrality intended to grow us as a couple and as individuals. You might have even read all of our stories and watched our 8-month experience, not only with nature but with the polarities we dealt with between nature and man.

Polemic energy is anything polar opposite, such as hot and cold, anger and joy, even starvation and over-indulgence. For us, it was spiritual peace and evil chaos.

On one hand, there was so much beauty, peace and opportunity to craft an experience. From waking up every morning to the symphony of birds, to fluid sounds of the winds navigating the massive pine trees. We built. We raised. We created. We problem solved. We slept deeply and richly eight full hours a night!

Even as husband and wife, we were able to love with such raw intimacy and enjoy being together, working together, eating together and even picking up supplies together 24/7!

A lifestyle that we both absolutely loved!

On the other hand, because we were not living on our own land and were doing work for the land owners who lived on the land most of the time, which was different than our original agreement that they would be absent a significant amount of time, both our time and energy as a couple and as individuals was subjected and highly influenced by their harsh personalities and mental chaos. The intense darkness and materialistic, ego-driven energy that followed these individuals created such a daily pole of chaos that it seemed everything and everyone who was affiliated with them brought disruptive shifts to any potential peace or harmony we were trying to develop. The collective darkness around us even at a distance was creating a major tear in our peace. It was confusing at first, but the polemic patterns were there and we became more and more aware.

From the very first day, I felt a manipulative energy that felt very dark. I was treated 180-degrees differently than my beloved and at times, as someone else eloquently put it, like I was caged or living in indentured servitude. I chalked it up to me over analyzing things, maybe even needing to develop a new perspective of curiosity.

As a couple, our relationship was challenged and tested daily by energy attacks on our time and our integrity. We often felt browbeaten into servitude, forced into silencing our voices and at times, ridiculed by contempt and criticism for any attempts we made at independent boundary setting.

Now, I know my husband will disagree with the words ‘browbeaten’ and ‘forced’, for we were free to leave this place at any time. However, in situations of abuse, it is common for the abused to come to accept the abuse because it’s often small bits handed over a little at a time. Moreover, an abuser will even make ‘excuses’ for the abuse to simply justify the abuse.

In our situation, there was infinite ‘sudden’ demands that were frequently preceded with some form of dramatic chaos, criticism, controlling aspect, playing of victim and then followed with a gift. Often, the gift came with justifications and further demands. Other times, the promise of a gift was without follow through.

When we complied with the chaotic demands, we were praised like dogs and given treats.

When we failed to meet the unknown expectations or show up to the chaos, we were talked down to or confronted in a ‘this is our way, our land’…you aren’t required to do it, but you will treated badly if you don’t manner.

Aside from being treated in a removed and very ugly manner regarding having any family come and visit us, we were passively put into some sketchy, even dangerous situations that taught us some great lessons and gave us some excellent stories to share with loved ones and our own students down the road!

From El Toro, to the crazy strung out meth head carrying a gun, to standing on a tall unsupported ladder in order to build roof supports on the side of a mountain on uneven ground with a 10’ pitch that we had to take down after it was 3/4 complete because they didn’t like it and that caused us to silence our YouTube videos, to the cat who climbed up a limbless pine tree on the side of a cliff and needed rescue after being stuck for days. That’s just a few of the stories!

When my mother, our son who was leaving for the service and a close family member came to visit, the land owners were not even so much as hospitable to them. In fact, we were told that they just didn’t have time to say hi or meet them. My mother recognized the cold, even Narcissistic energy almost immediately!

But, it was when my family was sitting outside and the land owners drove by, stopped to tell my beloved their plans and absolutely refused to acknowledge, smile or even say hello to my family who was actually helping do the land work too, did we as a couple fully realize the severity of the situation. It was not long after we decided to leave the land.

But the real gift we were given? The lesson of TRUE integrity.

As a woman, I am typically subject to being treated much differently than my spouse, especially by egotistical and chauvinistic men and their Egotistical supporters. Machismo males over-talking and even ignoring my presence and capability. I dealt with this in the gym setting both as a client and coach as well as in the tv shop handling male customers.

Because I am a woman, I am perceived as less powerful or having to consult with a man in order to make decisions. Being in this situation was no different.

When you are vulnerable and in NEW territory, you often make sacrifices that sometimes include your OWN PEACE, VALUES and BOUNDARIES in order to NOT upset that ‘good thing you have going on’.

You begin to accept being talked down to or told that everything you do is wrong, or in error and that you must do it THIS way to be RIgHt.

Don’t tap rice off of a wooden spoon.

Don’t use a shovel this way.

Don’t drink almond milk, with this one giving rise for sexual innuendos too!!!

Don’t use toilet paper or sit on a toilet!

Don’t shower regularly.

Don’t protect yourself from meth heads.

Don’t cut garlic like that.

Don’t lift weights or strength train.

Don’t put this particular knife in the sink.

Don’t schedule your own clients during certain times.

Don’t do videos or write articles, unless it’s their way and with their pre-approval.

Don’t have your own schedule on your own time…because they decided when and what and where!

I cannot tell you how many times we were browbeaten into 6pm ambush dinners, only to eat at 10pm and then be sick all night because it was so late.

Don’t touch their dogs or let them into your life, even though they are allowed to roam free because they might like you!

I wasn’t even allowed to pet or love on the dogs on the land, and when I did, I was sharply criticized or told to cease giving that much love to the animals.

Psychotic control much? I tried to oblige their controlling ways and then realized they were crazy! It was during these pivotal moments I began loving and cuddling the fur babies even MORE because life and connection is about love!

Everything we did seemed to be subject to major criticisms, humiliation, stonewalling and then an overcompensation of fake love, kindness and generosity after the period of abuse. The latter was psychologically the gift of the abuser, often extended to their victim when they risk losing out and is NOT a genuine olive branch. It’s a pattern of abuse. Studied and written in both tribal accounts and in modern psychological medicine.

In and of itself, this was depleting of my self-confidence and independence. Every abusive encounter, every taking of my time and invasion of my space created a tension.

I found myself feeling like an animal! I was in a beautiful cage, but I was becoming absolutely depressed. The illusion of freedom was all around me, but the jailer’s unrealistic rules and monopolizing of time, addictions, narcissistic tendencies, gaslighting and stonewalling cycles, almost psychotic mannerisms, chaos, maltreatment and attempts at division of us as a couple and humiliation was such a high price to pay.

My soul was beginning to suffer.

In terms of working agreement, we worked 7 days a week from around 11am to 7pm, doing physical and very strenuous work at a 9,000 ft elevation, sometimes not even stopping to eat, in exchange for a <100 sq foot (maybe 10’x6’) one room rock shell cabin without hot water or even running water during frozen winter months, no electricity, no bathroom or shower. There was a small wood stove for heat and cooking. The floor was a dirty raw concrete and stone floor, so everything stayed dirty and dusty that touched it. The cabin was full of mice, noting that we killed over 300 mice in our time there, and thousands of spiders that crawled on your face at night. Also, the cabin would fill up with hundreds of flies every day.

There was limited shower use down the mountain, some very limited refrigerator space that reduced to even smaller space (like the stapler guy on Office Space), a basic outhouse that requires a small hike up the mountain and a propane stove located in a separate kitchen space that also required short trip to access.

These amenities that come with with basic modern society were our only payment. And let me say, I AM NOT COMPLAINING about the cabin in exchange for work agreement. If it had simply been that, we would still be there today….selflessly building, care-taking and repairing as needed. But the exchange was beyond this. It was control, domination and even some shady practices!

We did contract work, plumbing work, cleaning, heavy lifting, appliance repair, yard maintenance, animal control, tool repair, land care taking, gardening, animal care taking, pouring concrete, framing, roofing, painting, log hauling, wood splitting and chopping, tree removal, personal auto repairs, hole digging, horses-shit shoveling, tilling, sub-zero blizzard chores, repairing, fence-mending (which ended up being such a low priority because of all of the last minute demands, chaos, project shifts and those ambush meetings). We did so much! Two workers giving 8 hour days MOST days and all we wanted was the peace and freedom to simply be left alone to work.

We didn’t want friends. We didn’t want dinners or tea. We didn’t want to be part of some community of darker energies. I mean, there was a moment where we BOTH realized the what if scenario had something apocalyptic occurred! The crazy dark energies and meth and intoxicant addicted friends of these people would be welcomed and this compromised our safety even more.

There was another guy on the land, a paid laborer who my husband helped out and really enjoyed being around. A type of friend and a genuine connection. This guy made $35 per hour doing the the same or lesser work than we were doing…only he was treated much better.

The PAID laborer was called the JEDI. We were called the ‘help’, as we had witnessed both land owners call us on multiple occasions!

If BOTH my husband and I together had been paid the same rate, we would have been making $2,000 per week or $8,000 per month, but we were TWO full-time laborers and for $12-$15k worth of work every month, we received the cabin space I explained above. $8 grand a month for 8 months worth of one of our labor time would have been nice!

This doesn’t account for any OVERTIME spent plumbing until 10 or 11pm, early morning calls for dangerous cattle removal or cat rescue, sudden shifts in our plans, forced late night meetings and obligatory engagements or driving in order to pick up appliances, supplies, tools required or other requested demands.

Our personal cash began dwindling faster than we anticipated for gas to pick up tools and equipment needed for the ‘job’, things we needed to kill rodents, flies and spiders, and even necessary daily food to keep us nourished and healthy. We had to use our own tools most of the time. We bought our own food. We supplied our own solar panels. Our own garden supplies. We bought our own stuff and spent a lot of money on trying to make our lives simple. We could not keep up with their demands and we had almost NO time off. I cannot tell you how many times we tried to adventure out for ourselves that got overridden by some last minute demand.

If this isn’t a realization of true sacrifice, I don’t know what is!!!!!

BUT….the sacrifice was for ourselves. Being taken advantage of, even abused, was more about us evaluating every interaction and realizing there was a toxic pattern.

Funny….there was a strong pull back when we began the journey….a deep intuitive voice to say NO to even going there. Both he and I felt it, but we dismissed it.

I picked up on a very bad energy from the woman upon first meeting. An evil darkness that I was confused about. But the man, he was raw and real….similar to my husband. I said yes because I wanted to live this life. I said yes because I wanted my husband and I to grow closer. I said yes because I tried to rationalize the ‘vibe’ I was picking up on as my own fears. I didn’t trust my gut. But that’s okay, for the experience was one of many lessons!

When we did get away to relax….twice in 8 months, it was so emotional and liberating for me. I felt like a bird flying free.

One day was just me and my husband. In 8 months, we were able to spend just one day escaping from the people and their energy. One day was when my mom and son visited and we took some time off the land to look at highway-side stuff. Both times, I felt a wave of freedom, like a kid in a harsh military boarding school being released for a day trip to town!!!!

I hated driving back onto the land because it was just a matter of time before the toxic demands ensued. Controlling was evident just by the way we were told we had to open the gate!

I tried so hard to oblige and connect with them. Compliant, really. Too much so and honestly, out of fear for upsetting my husband or creating conflict between us because of my own intuition. But I quickly realized it wasn’t me who had issues.

It’s really funny what you will tolerate to avoid conflict!

Once I had enough and my beloved started to see the their patterns of maltreatment, especially towards me directly and realized that there was a sstrong strong lean of favoritism towards him and him being a ‘novelty’, he broke the chains of illusion and said WE ARE OUT!

Men are different than women. Men can hate each other 100%, masculine men, and still get the job done. Had it just been my beloved doing work for the man of the land, things would have been fine. In fact, the paid JEDI of the land had told us dozens of times that the woman was ‘two people’ psychotic and had it not been for the man, he would have left a long time ago.

But my beloved, he would still be there most likely. He could ‘tolerate’ the short engagements with the woman, but saw them for what they were in terms of being ‘off’ and deceitful.

Once my beloved fully opened his eyes, he began to see the drug addiction and Narcissist ‘victim card’ of the woman and her obsession with him. Her covert attempts to please him by cooking his favorite foods for him or forcing him into one-on-one conversations, alone and at vulnerable times or even calling him on the phone NOT with anything direct, but to just chatter about something ridiculous (he often said ‘I think she’s drunk!’). He absolutely hated the chatter and often made horrible faces and worse comments after he hung up. She would use the gift of spiritual plant medicine to try and allure him and to guilt me.

It was as if she was obsessed with him and I was in her way.

Her husband was 40 years her senior and appeared to be physically deteriorating at a rapid rate and she was more interested in him building HER dream and what was written into his trust than genuine loyalty to him. I felt so much sadness for him because she treated him so badly! She made her true intentions clear by the sexual innuendos used with my husband and statements she made to me about MY husband’s body, as well as her asking me to make sure that HER husband’s legal trust omitted his kids from the land.

Not to mention, she continually talked to me about my husband in childish sexual terms like ‘he’s so hot’ or ‘he looks like my first husband who was so fucking hot’, even telling me stories of her being a prostitute and a drug abuser. Her energy was obvious.

This was very difficult for me! A toxic position to be in.

Fortunately, my beloved is a man of integrity and he told me every time she pinned him down. He told me what she would say. He wouldn’t go into their house alone without me or when the male owner wasn’t there. He wouldn’t take her offerings or her wanting to cook his favorite foods. She tried on several occasions to lure him in. He might get stuck outside in a one on one conversation with her, especially when she was under the influence of some drug and would be overly attention seeking, BUT he always found a way to escape. Always.

There were even times where he and I had serious conflict and he would be down at their house doing work for them and I promise you, this was torture for me! Of course she would exercise the opportunity. But my guy! He saw through her shit!

Even when she called and asked HIM to keep the call private, just between them, he would put her on speaker so I could HEAR her manipulations! Her lies and deceit.

We left because of the absolute lack of integrity, manipulation and ego-control….their egos, their lack of service to their own bodies/health, their agendas and competition and their jacked up spiritual quest that was ridden with ego, contempt and control!

I guarantee you she didn’t tell her husband she did or said those things To my husband. Her energy spoke loud and clear.

It was ironic because the way she treated her husband when my husband wasn’t around was at best, degrading, humiliating and abusive. She called him a ‘fucking little bitch’ so much, I genuinely believed she had zero respect for her spouse.

It was the same energy I felt about how she treated me!

But In front of my husband, she played the sweet and generous card…the pretend damsel who could do work….she actually helped offload logs ONE time in front of him as a display of competition with me….that was for my husband to see and not to really help!

Her husband was old, 40 years her senior, and physically broken, in chronic pain and barely able to walk, but he carried the wisdom of his craft, and he was desperately trying to maintain, even clinging to his masculinity, but working hard to please her psychotic and insatiable lust for status, wealth, control, competition, attention and power.

She didn’t really show up to labor and her claims of ‘WE’ will do this or that meant someone else would do it. She used everyone for her benefit. Her maid and land worker absolutely hated her and spoke much hatred about her when she wasn’t around. Dozens of other people in the town spoke very ill of her and absolutely hated her, telling us how abusive she was and how narcissistic she was.

She treated people with absolute contempt as judgment, even disgust. She had divided many relationships between her husband’s Long-time friendships and when we were able to spend one on one time with these folks, we quickly saw that everyone disliked her, thought her psychotic, that she was ‘two people’, a user, a one upper and shit talker!

My husband became a potential benefit to her and I was an obstacle in her way. Together, we were being divided with this toxic conflicting energy.

Had it not been for our journey through INTEGRITY, this situation could have proved to be much worse than it was obviously. So many toxic variables and destructive pathways.

But integrity kept us on our pathway!

Once we recognized the pattern, following the path of integrity saved us from attack and possible collapse.

You see, in life, many people operate under the false guise of integrity. But true integrity in a relationship means you 100% show up to yourself and your spouse 100% of the time. You make major sacrifices and sometimes walk away from a situation that may feel tolerable to one but is harmful to the other.

You must see people for who they are and set your boundaries and adjust your actions accordingly.

We learned a great lesson of integrity, from our own marriage to how others treat us. We learned that sometimes the allure of spiritual gifts are not really gifts, but huge sacrifices of the self to build up someone else’s ego.

As we have come to realize, the gift they gave us has SHOWN to be so beneficial. We are having to do things a little different now. There are many sacrifices we are making BUT there is absolute peace in our life, even amongst the loud noises and materialistic world around us. We still have nature and our marriage is much stronger than ever before.

We realized that the lure of spirituality and plant medicine doesn’t always bring beauty and that practitioners of ancient ways can be seduced by ego and materialistic energy as well. My husband realized that no plant medicine is going to help him because he is so far above it. Me, it validated my own knowing of my wisdom and spiritual gifts as well as showing me the intense darkness of this couple and their place.

In part 2 of this story, I will share the beauty of how this lesson of integrity holds true in everyday situations.