Personal Change: How-To

Choices ~ Always Choices ~ Always Changing (Photo by Maggie Begley)

Energetic Bodywork ~ An Avenue for Lasting Change…

On one of Oprah’s final shows, she was reflecting on lessons learned. Oprah was interviewing an anorexic woman who was being given the advice, by a celebrity guest, “Just change the way your brain works,” in other words, to just change her thoughts. And the woman replied, “But HOW do I do that? I’ve tried and it hasn’t worked.” Oprah said it was at that moment that she realized that she not only had to show people different possibilities for change, but she also had to show them HOW to accomplish that change in their own life, by giving them the tools to do so.

I agree, we do have to have a tool box of resources that we can go to for support. Such basic information as to the ‘care and feeding’ of our own body:  HOW to eat and exercise right, how to lose weight, how to meditate, how to have better interpersonal communication, organizational and personal make-over skills, as well as how to awaken politically and philosophically to new ideas. But some things go way deeper than the how-to basics, like with this poor anorexic woman, who felt helpless and eventually succumbed to her disease. For this we do need added support of another human or two…professional and personal…unconditional and without agenda of their own.

We don’t have to stay victims. If we can manage to get help, we can get to the undercurrents of psychological trauma that’s going on, which often influences all else that we try to accomplish. I, and many of my clients, have asked the same question: “But HOW can I change? What can I DO?” It is never as easy, nor does it happen as quickly as we’d like. We just want it fixed, and NOW! But it takes awhile to unravel those things, most of which have been with us, at least initially, since birth. Like unravelling necklaces that got intertwined in the jewelry box, it takes gentle patience, not force. Pulling and tugging just makes the knots tighter. But if we are not DOING, we feel like we have no control, and we don’t like that! Sometimes no matter how much our Conscious Mind wants something, our Subconscious/Unconscious Mind may not be ready, it’s just not up to speed with the rest of us yet. Those energetic blockages in the Subconscious/Unconscious Mind, are what need to be dealt with first, or at least in conjunction with that which we are already conscious of.

“A real solution comes only from within and then only because the patient has been brought to a different attitude.” ~ Carl Jung

Energetic Bodywork is one of the best things one can DO to facilitate this movement of energy towards a ‘different attitude’. I can personally attest to this. The Fundamental Field® Bodywork portion is one of the most important things I have participated in. That (largely Unconscious) Mind-Body connection is what helps integrate disparate parts of our Selves, thus making the ‘different attitude’ an obvious and welcomed by-product of the process. You can’t just think, talk, or will your way to changing those deeper unconscious dysfunctional un-truths, those learned thought patterns that compulsively drive you to feel or act the way you do, even when you try your best not to. Eventually you will embark on a journey of personal and psychological processing. As I said, energetic bodywork has been my preferred route. (Click here to investigate other avenues of psychological processing/change. Though I know nothing else of the mudrashram.com organization, theirs was the only other post I found on the internet today that spoke of psychological processing in a way in which I could relate, and thought very interesting as well).

This inner attitude is not so much about DOING, as it is about BEING…patiently waiting for our own information to be revealed as our own Innate Intelligence permits and deems it so. Certainly another thing that we can DO is to consciously maintain a positive and open attitude of surrender about going through the painful process of returning to a healthy, authentic place, finding a lesson in every situation and learning from it, with gratitude. This is almost impossible to do without a spiritual belief/community, and/or practitioners/loved ones to support you during the unbearable rough times. The Mind-Body connection healing process of awareness is a very visceral experience, sometimes without words, only FEELINGS and sensations (like shivering, shaking, stomping, kicking, anger, crying, and familiar physical pain/discomfort).

I’ve heard many a therapist say, “You have to feel it to heal it,” and “Breakdown equals break through. I’ve learned to trust and honor every feeling, sensation, thought, and vision I have, as it always speaks to me. Even though I may not understand what is happening at the moment, I eventually notice a pattern and make a connection (over time, with help from Energy Resonance Scanning, Dr. Metz, and my own intuition and experience). Most things that you think are crazy are trying to communicate something to you that you are holding in your Unconscious/Subconscious Mind. All I can say is, it is a process, unique to everyone, but with the same disconcerting components…Growing Pains!!!  All of us who are going through the deep healing that is born of integration and purification tend to feel majorly crazy, like we are going bonkers, and ‘losing it’…never to be regained…

To give you another perspective on the process, from another culture, read the following excerpt, which is just a portion of a bigger article:

The Shamanic View
of Mental Illness

(featuring Malidoma Patrice Somé)

by Stephanie Marohn

(Excerpted from The Natural Medicine Guide to Schizophrenia,
pages 178-189, or The Natural Medicine Guide to Bi-polar Disorder)


What a Shaman Sees
in A Mental Hospital

In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé. These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.

One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression,” Dr. Somé went to visit him.

“I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.” What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”

Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane. Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.

My view on this is slightly different, as I feel that none of us are healers per se, though we can heal our Self; in fact that is our mission, with the help of God, the Creator, the Energy Source of Love.  Along the way, we lose track of our own Divine Essence, it’s no wonder to me that it is such a crazy-making adventure to find our way back. Unfortunately, our Western culture doesn’t do a very good job of supporting this process, I think because it is such a foreign concept, so mysterious, and therefore scary, to most. I so agree with this sad misinterpretation that people who are struggling in this way are dismissed, instead of supported.  Later on in the article the Shaman refers to possession by outside spiritual/psychic entities being problematic. To this I would say, I don’t think we are necessarily “possessed” by any outside entities, but rather by the constraints and traumas, the energy fields of our own poor minds.

I would agree that our individual energetic make-up can cause us to be more vulnerable to certain outside entities. The energy fields of other people, places and things we encounter — such as a stressed-out partner, a frenetic traffic jam, a flu virus, certain foods or medications — can destabilize and disrupt our own systems in the process. So I suppose, why not other more psychic and/or spiritual entities? Regardless, I think the same would hold true, you have to be a energetically receptive host in the first place for anything outside yourself to take hold. That’s why being grounded in your self is so important. Reel it in. Ask for Divine protection and guidance, and highest healing good, for whatever you do.

Here’s some further insight, from an acquaintance of mine who asked to remain anonymous. This was she and her husband’s experience with the benefits and challenges of receiving psychotherapy. I give this example, and the one above, so that if you are going through this, you don’t feel quite so alone:

“BOTH my husband and I have been working on these things during the past couple of years…Last year, because of the work he and I had been doing with therapy, he TRULY got in touch with his authentic self. This resulted in a break-down, of sorts. He had severe anxiety attacks – not realizing what they were initially, and seeking medical ‘solutions.’ His therapist said he had seen this many times and, while it was scary to watch, he had never had anyone who hadn’t landed on their feet. My husband did. As he now says, be careful going into therapy and digging deep – the end result is INCREDIBLE, but the process can be challenging.”

This has also been my personal experience as a patient, under the care and guidance of my mentor Dr. Metz, as well as witnessing it with a few of my own clients. Just for clarification, Dr. Metz and I are not psychotherapists, but we do deal with the psyche as an energetic field, from an Energy Medicine point of view. There is no doubt that the psyche and the body are an intertwined, interconnected system, with the Unconscious Mind largely in control of the show! The goal is to bring the entire cast of characters to center stage, so that they can be fully revealed, and dealt with in the light of day! You can then write a new and improved script for yourself.

I also must emphasize that the healing process is ultimately about love, compassion and acceptance, not about assigning blame or judgement. Even if we go there first, for natural and valid reasons, we eventually learn to look beyond and deeper. It’s about connecting to the ENERGY of the emotion, feeling, or thought. Relationships create their own dynamic which become an entity of their own. Ultimately, we are angry at situations, not people. Reflecting on our relationships with other people is our way in to discovering the pain. Working through that emotion we feel towards another is part of discovering the trauma. Eventually we will be able to be more objective and to forgive the person, ourselves, and the situation. Remember, we are all at least half responsible for every adult dynamic we are part of. The half that is ours is what we must own, whether or not the other is ‘on board’ with the idea. It is the part we are responsible for. In this way, we are all students, and teachers, of one another.

The connections and realizations of the Conscious Mind usually come last, as the final step, not the first. Or in a series of slow unfolding, as often the pain is too much to bear and/or the information is too much to integrate all at once. That’s why it’s called a “process,” of processing. We are healed from the trauma once that energy is able to circulate freely through all the three Poles of the Fundamental Field: Positive Pole (Conscious Mind – Central Nervous System), Neutral Pole (Subconscious Mind -Parasympathetic Nervous System), and Negative Pole (Unconscious Mind – Sympathetic Nervous System). I myself have suffered from many illnesses. Energy Work has helped me get in touch with the dissociated emotional pain that has gotten displaced into my body, making me ill. Once I heal the associated psychological/emotional pain, the illnesses diminish or cease altogether. I only have a few left now, maybe three…lol. Believe me, there used to be many more, at least a dozen.

I have realized along the way that stress, from holding those emotions, plus all the new triggers, was/is one of the largest culprits (and I think that’s true for everyone). When I took a 5-month trip abroad, my illnesses disappeared after a week or two. To me that was no coincidence! Not that the trip was easy breezy, it was not. But it allowed me a temporary reprieve from my limited sense of self and the expectation and overwhelm of responsibility that I was feeling at home. For me, travel has always been a welcome drug of choice. In Polarity Therapy terms, it supports my Ether Element, the Element that governs identity, self-expression, communication, boundaries, personal space, freedom and beauty. Ahhhhhh, just the thought of it makes me breathe easier. It’s been so long…In the end though, “Wherever we go, there we are”. There comes a time when we can no longer flee those those inner demons. Gotta stay put and clean house.

What is your pain and your plan? And what is your ‘go to’ place? What information can you learn to incorporate, to DO? And then, can you learn to just BE with yourself, and your emotions, from a place of acceptance, in a way that is honest and supportive? You can start by asking for Divine Guidance and Protection, set a healing intention, ask questions, contemplate and reflect on the answers that come to you, layer by layer. 

Pack your toolkit and be ready use it. Gather the wagons, or hide in one (lol). Trust the process that unfolds…for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. Make a commitment to love your Self, as you would love another.

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