Michael (Part 1)

I have been mentioning him quite often since I started writing this blog at the beginning of this year.

Without him this blog would not have been possible, without him I would be living a different life, without him I would not be able to shoot the images I am shooting, without him I would not have any self-confidence and sometimes I wonder if without him I would still be around.

My spiritual teacher and very good friend Michael.

Having said that I don’t mean that Michael created who I am today. I was always what I am today. But it was buried. It was buried under my upbringing that lead to missing self-confidence what lead to not being able to do what I came here to do. When I met Michael I did not have anything. Well, I had a well paying assistant job but was treated like a slave. I had the gym and yoga and was good at that. But everything else was not working. I had a very low self-image, was rejected by every girl I ever had been interested in, had no access to my creativity and was not able to stand up for myself because I was too afraid not to be liked. I was a shell of a human being.

I was in the hole and the worst part was I had no idea how to get out of it. I tried to find refuge in extremes. I started to read spiritual books, hundreds of them over the years, meditated two hours per day, did practice yoga on a daily basis, stopped drinking, became a vegan and stopped going out. During that time from age 26 to 32 I did not really date either. This created a high level of spiritual pride. I felt like the chosen one so above the rest of earth dwellers but there was no joy in any of that. I kept on shutting down more and more emotionally. Nothing was working. I was trapped. I had to get up at five o’clock in the morning to meditate and do yoga because that was all I had in my life.

It was an empty life with very little joy and no love. I was striving for enlightenment. That was all I was able to think about, “I need to find enlightenment because I am not able to deal with my life.” Enlightenment seemed to be the way out, the only possibility to end my suffering. That or jumping in front of a taxicab.

After I met Michael we started to work together. We became friends first and would hang out together. Michael has this amazing ability to “feel” people. He can sit down with anybody and knows within seconds where the person is stuck. Then he is leading you to a point where you can understand why you have certain difficulties.

A few years later Michael decided to start something that he called the healing circle. A group of people would get together on weekends and we would talk about what was going on in our lives. We would look at where we encountered difficulties, found out where they came from and got homework assignments to resolve them. Michael believes very much in leading a group of people through the process. “If you can share in the group without shame you can live a life without shame” is what he said one day. I believe that enabled me to write this blog so openly.

I hated these first group sessions. I had so much spiritual pride. I felt so above everybody else in the group and I had to share my teacher and friend with these “idiots”. I called him one day, told him how I felt and said that I don’t want to come to the circle any more. He said, “Carsten you feel above everybody else because you have done a lot of spiritual work and are spiritually much more advanced. But on an emotional level you are more underdeveloped then anybody else in the group.” At this point I must have had smoke coming out of my ears because I was so upset. But I pulled myself together and continued the “Healing Circle” for another five years.

It was an intense time. The “group” ended up being only to people per session. There was a lot of letting go to do what is never easy but I kept on working on myself.

Today my life is so much lighter. Self-hatred has turned into being my own best friend. My low self-worth and self-confidence have turned into the opposite. I am free to be myself now. I am free to enjoy my life that has turned into an experience of very little suffering with a tremendous amount of freedom.

I credit most of these changes to my work with Michael. I did the work with as much dedication as he did the assisting. When I look at people I know that had similar problems as I did all of them got worse over time. I was working as a photo assistant for years. Almost none of my assistant friends were able to break out and become photographers. Again me breaking out and being able to do what I love to do, me feeling better about myself is something I do credit to my work with Michael.

The work has enabled me to do what I must do. I must take pictures. I am able to move people with what I do. Granted if the world would be a perfect place this is what all of us would do. We would be guided by our inner voice to express what we came here to express. But the world is not perfect. Starting at a young age we have been traumatized and brainwashed and that disabled us to access our inner voice, it hid the key to unlock happiness.

I have found the key and unlocked the door.

Thank you Michael!




“Michael (Part 1)” Williamsburg/Brooklyn/Leaf Project 12-03-08 around 12:30 PM


Please check out my website at carstenfleck.com

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