Cue Boyz II Men and open your psychic ears to hear me hit those whiny constipated notes. While you are at it, pass me some cosmic tissue. It has been six months and I have reached the end of the first installation of this awesome, life-changing project. As the participants responses come in, you will be able to read what they got from it (hear from Pearl and Ginger). But now, I am going to share what I learned from them, in order of appearance.
The first Person I had a session with was Pearl. When we first started, she was afraid of everything it seemed. I felt my job was to help her release the fear. As things would come up, I found that I was able to explain what was happening in her life in a way that not only gave her security, but me as well. You see she wasn't special in having fear. I have had plenty of fears, especially in the realm of psychic phenomena. I have been afraid to see, hear, sense anything that others couldn't, but in my responsibility to her, I felt myself quickly overcoming these fears. Working with her also forced me to acknowledge all of my fears, big and small. I actually get excited when I find a hidden fear now. I feel a sense of triumph, because I know if I can see it, I can address it. Pearl also taught me about the unconditional bounds a mother's love can truly have. She is willing to learn whatever she needs to help her children and it is awesome to see. It influenced me to do the same for this group.
Ginger, Oh Ginger. Ginger helped me grow a even deeper appreciation for my mother and life. She came to me feeling like there was nothing left. She felt old. Every time she expressed it, I would then go look at my mother who was outside working, getting ready to go dancing, or applying for volunteer positions, and realized that there is no such thing as retirement (and that was a good thing). With Ginger, I realized that until I am ready to transition from this experience called life, I am going to enjoy it and work to have as much fun as I can. Before working with her, I was more excited about the relief of death. Yes, I was working, but I didn't want to. Yes I was trying to build a business, but I didn't see its worth. Had I been diagnosed, I would have been considered depressed. As I encouraged her, I encouraged myself. Over the six months, I have watched her come back to life. Her voice has strengthened and she helped me hear the beauty of mine.
Our dearly departed Raccoon will always be special to me because she showed me the strength I had in my commitment to this project. She left probably about 2 months in. The first day I was disappointed because I really wanted everyone to do it together and I saw so much potential in her. She taught me to let go and trust the process, not just for the project, but for everything. After she left, the energy of the group changed for the greater and I found myself becoming even more creative and exploratory. Her presence and disappearance forced me to look at my work ethic differently, with a kinder eye. Before starting, I questioned if I could maintain these weekly sessions, and when she left I knew could do it. I was built for it.
He's the Whiz and he lives in OZ! If you know anything about the symbolism of the Emerald city, you will know that it represented the heart center. Without a doubt, the Whiz lived up to his hometown. He taught me about love and relationships in a way I never expected. He was exploring a polyamorous lifestyle and in order for me to help him, I had to tap into that perspective without judgment or my own issues. As I did this I started to inadvertently explore aspects about myself and my past relationships. For a long time, I felt guilty about having a big heart and loving the way I did. If someone accused me of "still" loving someone, I immediately felt wrong or weak. I felt this way so much that I had tortured myself into trying to change, but without success. Working with him, help me to release the guilt and then love myself even more. I realized that there wouldn't be a way that I could do this work if I was selfish with love. I also learned that anyone who would try to make me feel guilty for being myself, needs to learn how to love. Hey, wasn't Dorothy polyamorous too?
Last, but definitely not least, is Coco. She has been a gift to us all in every mysterious way you could imagine. Every time I wondered if I was getting through to her or felt helpless, something miraculous would happen. Feminine energy is described as the mystery, the void and most people are afraid of it. Coco taught me to find comfort in it. She exemplified feminine energy in a such a pure way that I was constantly pushed out of my comfort zone of intellect, ration, and logic. She taught me not to be afraid of the unexpected. I welcome it with open arms now. She taught me that what we fear most about ourselves is often the most powerful attribute we have. Early on, I called her the angel of our group and in these 6 months I have seen a transformation in her that I truly can't put into words. Every time I think about it, I find my head swaying in quiet shock and a mistiness cloaking my eyes.
Pearl, Ginger, Whiz, Raccoon, and Coco, you have been an amazing group of souls. I don't know what happens next, but I have a sense of wonder and excitement from this experience that I have never had before. Something BIG happened in this work we did! There is no need to hope, plan, or expect anything because we are cloaked in a delicious richness that just wants to be experienced. Experience, love, and trust your path. I love you all!
I started this project about three months ago and because I have asked the participants to write the story of their experience thus far, I have decided to do the same. Prior to beginning, I wanted to know if energy work could have an impact on mental illness. Deep down I felt of course it could, but deep down I also felt there was no such thing as mental illness. It doesn't mean I don't recognize that many people are not able to live the greatest versions of their lives due to the way that they perceive and act in the world, but the word "illness" always felt inaccurate. I have been very close to people who had the diagnoses of bi-polar, paranoid schizophrenic, manic depressive, and severely depressed and although I didn't always enjoyed their behavior, I could see the heart behind it all. I have never understood that even though they saw a therapist every week and took medication they never seemed to get better. Each episode was worse than the previous one and when they were on their meds or somewhat stable, they were either zombie like or functioning with a cookie cutter like personality. Their authenticity seemed to be missing. Sometimes I wondered if what I felt was their authenticity, was actually their "illness". I began to wonder who is this person really? Do they know who they are?
My work over the past 3 months has begun to answer those questions. At the heart of the work, I realized that with each person, they never took the time to define the way they wanted to function in life. It was never presented to them as a choice that they confidently and securely could make for themselves. I feel this is the case for most people. The traumas, joys, and parenting we experience in our childhood shapes our adulthood with very little of our input. Our lives become surrendered over to the past that we then try to survive moment by moment, year by year. Personal power is no where to be found. I can then see how it is easy to be afraid of everything. It is very easy to be afraid of everything when you aren't taught that particular everything you are experiencing is really an extension of you. In my sessions, I have found myself holding the space for that unfolding of awareness.
Before I became a Holistic Energy Practitioner, I learned about myself through making a commitment to love myself. I learned that self-love isn't about being a great person or even having a great self-esteem. It isn't done so that one may acquire a life partner, be a better family member, or a humanitarian. It is about accepting yourself fully so that you may know who you are. Self-love is about self-realization. It means that as those not-so-cute aspects of who you are surface, you are able to stand and face them instead of running and hiding. It means you experience the wholeness of who you are. You don't look for a savior outside of you because with the love you have cultivated within yourself, you find there is a place and function for all of you. Love becomes the fuel for your growing inner intelligence. The guides, angels, and creatures that show up now are a part of you. The voices you heard are now you speaking to yourself. The visions you see are a glimpse to an aspect of who you are. Loving yourself is a daring act because self- love is both destructive and creative. Love burns, floods, purifies, nourishes, and balances. Love creates a shift. That shift is what I see happening now within this group.
During our sessions, I have taken to letting the energy build up during the sessions and then guiding everyone through a process of integration at the end. I really enjoy this method because I get pretty excited to see what has developed. It is like aspects of them are revealing themselves in technicolor and I am the one to describe all that I see. It's fun. I work with energy altogether differently than I did before. It's more subtle, yet upfront and far more feminine. I find myself dancing, swirling, and being in a greater harmony with the process. Since I shifted my approach, they have given me great feedback and confirmation that magic is indeed happening.
The past three months haven't been daisies and roses for everyone. They have had their regular life challenges and a few sunflowers got trampled on. So much change has happened for everyone, but I can tell they are moving through these changes differently than they were before. There is less anxiety, less emotional suppression, and more awareness. Everyone has put in the work and it shows. I was talking to The Whiz and I realized that in all of our sessions that the phrase, "mental illness" hasn't come up. Somehow the term has become near irrelevant. I feel this is because of the absence of judgement and my desire to understand more than label and categorize. And I have dug deep in my quest to understand and ultimately know. I find that I'm not afraid to cut to the chase as I see my blunt honesty become even more magnified in these sessions. I guess otherwise, I feel like we would all be wasting our time.
Each week there are awakenings and epiphanies for everyone. I am growing exponentially through this experience as well. I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity and I am excited to see what the end result will be. Right now feels like that moment in the Wizard of OZ where Dorothy and the crew get all primped and pretty. We made it to Emerald city and the exploration continues.
It's hard to even say that what I am doing is working with people who are mentally ill because I actually feel it is far from the truth. I think that has been the biggest revelation in my work with the 5 people in this special healing circle I have created. To me, they are just people who along the way forgot who they truly are. They represent the story of humanity. They serve as our beacons to find out who we are. What is also interesting is that although they are prefect strangers to each other they have an impact on each other. Isn't that how life is anyway? We are all truly connected and in this little world I have created I see the evidence and proof.
Ginger surprises me each week. As I get to know her, I learn a new tidbit about her past and I continue to be fascinated. She has hung out with medicine men, monks, and she can marry you, deliver a sermon, and bless your babies. I feel like her list of accomplishments continue to grow. She teaches me that if you don't love yourself, all of the achievements in the world don't matter. So of course self-love is what we are working on. She calls depression a monster. I get this image of the monster in the closet or under the bed you often hear children talk about. These fears start young and as you grow, so does the monster. But I can't help but want to tell her to really get to know this monster. What are its likes and dislikes? Does it have a sense of humor? I bet it does. Shrek comes to mind.
Raccoon is coming along even though she tends to creatively evade homework. When I used to teach and had to discipline the children, they would usually apologize to me for their behavior. I wouldn't accept their apology and instead stood them in front of a mirror and told them to apologize to themselves. I now find it funny to watch the teacher come out of me in these sessions. Part of Raccoon's homework is to look in the mirror and say, "I love you.", but sometimes when she apologizes for not doing her homework, I'm tempted to send her to the mirror with that apology. As the saying goes, "What you eat, won't make me shit." The larger lesson of both exercises is about taking personal responsibility for one's life. and actions. At what age this lesson is implemented is unimportant, it just needs to happen. It's the difference between being the victim or the victor, the wounded or the healer. When we talk about what would be considered her "breakdown" I suggest it was her call to be a healer. Her journey through her diagnosis is her call to heal herself so that she may teach others to do the same. It's a gift, not a life sentence. With all that said, her name is Raccoon and I like to think that under the mask of not doing her homework, she is making the transformation she desires. She doesn't fool me. I hear the wisdom that hides beneath it all.
Pearl is unfolding her magic every week and it is so beautiful. I swear I shed at least a tear each week in joy for her. Working with her has been such a treat for me because I see a fearless magical woman emerging right before my eyes. We Skype and each week her smile is brighter and a certain kind of inner joy that has grown within her is palpable. I joke with everyone, but we tend to have the longest laughs. She is more comfortable with the spirits that surround her and I find that I am able to confirm and affirm her experiences. Even I am shocked about how an image that she described the week before all of sudden showed up in the middle of a casual browse on facebook. Each time we work together, I swear a team of spirits show up for our sessions helping me along the way. The energy is very light and fairy like. This is probably why we laugh so easily. To think that we aren't even halfway done makes me excited for the next 4.5 months.
Coco is truly an angel to this healing circle and to my practice in general. When we first started working together, I struggled to use my intellect and experience to help her. Now, I just let spirit flow and it is amazing. I have her to thank for that lesson in surrender. She walks a fine line between a fool and genius and it is amazing to witness when she steps into her genius. This happens EVERY week. The journey there is always unconventional. Our sessions will start off with her stating her limitations like a broken record and like a laser I keep my focus on the magic within her. Sometimes I find myself getting stern with her, asking questions that I know she doesn't have an answer for, or making jokes she doesn't laugh at. Then, I transition into a gentler tone and that is when "Coco the genius" shows up to blow my mind. It is the greatest feeling for me and once she gets going, I just hold the space and play the mild-mannered yet giddy coach on the sidelines. No matter what role she is playing, she is a treasure. The fool is sweet and cracks my heart open wider than I thought it could go and the genius fills me with gratitude for "impossible" dreams and wonder for the unknown. As we move forward, I smile towards the balance, merging, discovery, and expansion that is unfolding within her.
The Wiz is intent on evolving his character. He isn't hiding behind a big voice, smoke, and mirrors passing out platitudes as wisdom. In the midst of what seems airy and forgetful is a person making a clear path for himself. Last week was when I noticed it in him. It wasn't because he quit his job, or what he said his plans were, but because energetically I could feel a determination that wasn't there before. During his session, I said to myself, "This guy is going to get things done." I could see his energy moving forward, navigating, constructing, removing obstacles, and making whatever it is happen. We have been working on defining manhood for himself and I already can see the energy of what he has created impacting him. Emotionally, we have really begun to dig deep and I find that it is allowing him to open up and see himself more clearly. As we move forward, I will continue to hold the space for him to be what he has set out to become. Now let's see if he did his homework this week...
This is my 8th week in this and it has been purely joyful. I laugh at my highly unconventional ways and marvel at the things that come out of my mouth. Yet, so much of what is happening, I have no words for. Each day I am learning something new and I come up with new healing techniques as I work. After each session, I sit in an afterglow of gratitude and amazement.