I would like to tell you about some healing that happened with a client last week. I struggle to accurately describe what it is I do with clients, as it is not solely The Work. It's a combination of many modalities; The Work, somatic awareness, a meditative dialogue with different energies and entities in the body, a meditative journey inward, and a bringing of whatever presence is available to be with exactly what is arising. I hope that the ensuing description is helpful in creating a clearer picture.
Last week, during a session with a client, it came up that she felt fear every time she walked into a doctor's office - in particular the sight of a blood pressure cuff, and the subsequent experience of constraint and tightness was absolutely terrifying. As such she had developed 'white coat' high blood pressure, and thus had no idea of her true blood pressure reading.
From past conversations with this client I knew that she had experienced repeated physical abuse as a child, and had been put in the hospital due to injuries her mother inflicted upon her when she was about 4 years old. While in the hospital she had had to lie about what happen to her, covering up for her mother's actions (and father's complicity).
I asked the client if she felt it was time to go back and sit with that little girl on the hospital bed. There was a long pause. She was willing, and she said she was afraid to do so. I let the client know that we could stop at any time, that she was totally in control. I also took note myself, and in the following work kept it a top priority to make sure that there was confirmation from the client that she was willing to take whatever next step was presenting. I have found that there is no help in trying to push anyone beyond what is ripe inside, in fact it is a subtle form of violence. What is ready is ready, and what is not needs more time. There is an innate wisdom there.
I guided through a short grounding and calming meditation. This served several functions - it helped the client and myself go inward, and it helped delineate a safe place to return to periodically during the journey- a place to rest, rejuvenate, and take stock. After several minutes of this grounding meditation I began to guide the client back to the little girl.
The client began by allowing the little girl on the hospital bed to appear. This was not forced, we simply sat there, breathing, feet on the floor, inviting the little girl to appear. By not forcing the appearance of the little girl she is able to arise uncontrived, actual, in the wisdom of her own time. She did appear, and my client was trepidatious about moving in closer to her. 'It's so sad' she said, sobbing. I reminder the client of her breath, and that she was in the room with me. I asked her if she was okay to simply breathe and watch the little girl for a while. She was.
Quite quickly an Eternal Being appeared on the bed. This Being was gazing at the client with reassurance. The Eternal Being being appeared, I believe, because the client was not ready to directly be with the little girl. The Eternal Being served as an intermediary to facilitate the contact.
The client described that the Eternal Being was holding the little girl and that the little girl seemed okay, she was playing on the bed.
There is a transition during these inward journeys where the client has the option to move from a role of watching to entering into the scene and making conscious contact with who or what has arisen. The client had not yet entered the scene, and I asked her if she was willing to go and sit on the bed with the Eternal Being and the little girl. She said yes and I prompted her to tell the Eternal Being that she would like to join them. Immediately the client began to cry. She did not feel worthy to go and join them on the bed.
There is an authenticity here in this type of realization that brings on tears. Something that was not know before is revealed, in this case the direct experience of not feeling worthy, and this revelation is in fact a clarity of seeing that is integral to true healing.
After a time I prompted her to tell the Eternal Being how she felt, which she did. After a pause she described that the Eternal Being was holding her and filling her with healing. The little girl was not there, she was inside of the Eternal being. The Eternal Being was filling the client with healing, with worthiness, and this too is a deep embodied healing that takes the time it takes. I sensed in carefully to not cut this short.
Once this felt complete I invited the client to see if the little girl would appear, and as the client did this I felt a fuzziness inside myself. I have come to trust that this fuzziness is not my own, but an indication that the client does not have the capacity or the ripeness to move on. This is not right or wrong, it's just where they're at.
Sensing this, I invited the client to begin to draw awareness to her breath and slowly open her eyes when she was ready. The client acclimated and gently came back into the room, and then we talked for a bit. (Often there is not much talking at this point, as talking can interrupt the integration process, but in this case talking felt right.)
I told her that the Eternal Being likely appeared because she was not fully ready to be with the little girl on her own. I know this client well, and I knew that this would not be met with defensiveness or shame.
I suggested that when she felt ready she could go back and be with the little girl, and I emphasized to never push herself or the little girl to do anything that they were not ready for. I invited her, again when she was ready, to sit with the little girl and say to her 'sweetheart, I'm listening. I want to hear everything you have to say. What is your life like?' , and then to just listen to the little girl. This creates an inner listening that is poignantly ripe for revelation.
Several days later I spoke with the client. She called to tell me that she had gone to the doctor's office and had a completely normal blood pressure reading, a first in many years. She was elated.
The client has a daily meditation practice, and several days before the doctor's appointment had spent the full 40 minute meditation going back and being with the little girl. She said that it felt like wading through a thick substance to get back to the hospital bed, but she was able to do it. Only the little girl was there this time, and the client sat with her. The client also went around the hospital room and really looked at everything, and went and got some alcohol and dabbed it on her wrist. In daily life the smell of rubbing alcohol makes the client feel faint. This is a very healing thing to do in the meditation.
The client, after she had found that the little girl was comfortable sitting with her, asked her 'sweetheart what is it like to live in your world? I'm listening. I'm really here.'
The client then cried and cried. The little girl told her how 'now she knows she has to take care of her parents'. (If I was facilitating this meditation I would have led the session in a slightly different direction at this point, I would have asked the client to look at the little girl and see if she (the client) thought it was true, that taking care of her parents was this 4yr old's job. If the client had seen that this was claearly not the little girl's job I would have invited her to tell the little girl that, and then just be with the little girl as she received that information.)
The client relates that when the little girl told her what she took to be her job it was completely fresh, as though this little girl was telling her, there was no sense that the client was coming up with the little girl's words. It was not what the client had expected her to say. This sort of inner communication has a signature of freshness and unexpectedness and uncreatedness that often permeates dialogue in work that is very deep. When you come across it you know it, it has a signature of authenticity.
When we are truly available to listen and be with the little ones (or other energetic forms), they really will tell us what it's like to live in their world. The information they give us is accessed from a very deep place, and is commonly not available to our everyday thinking mind. This is one of the beautiful benefits of going inward and meditatively dialoguing.
I suggested to the client that if she travelled to little girl in the future that she once more ask her if she has anything to tell them. To really be in a state of deep availability and listening for the little girl.
The little girl had to have stitches in her scalp because her mother had thrown a heavy ceramic bowl at her head. When she and her parents went to the hospital her parents told her to lie, to say that she had fallen off of her bed and cut open her head.
The client remembered (for the first time in her life) while doing this meditative journey that after she had been stitched up she was bouncing around on the hospital bed while her parents talked with the doctor outside. As she was bouncing around she fell off of the bed and had to have her scalp stitched up again.
This was also revelatory for the client, as she saw that quite possibly the little girl unconsciously re-split open her scalp by falling off the bed so that the lie her parents had made her tell would, in some way, be true.
I share all of this in part because the healing and sincerity of the client is so beautiful, and also in part to give a more in-depth taste of what I offer. As you can see, we actually did not do The Work. (Although asking the little girl what her world is like is a very deep, embodied way of asking question #3 - how do you react, what happens when you believe this thought?)
With this client the little girl arose as the place that was ripe, or ready for presence. Sometimes it will be an actual physical sensation in the body that is the entry point into inner work, sometimes it is the energetic sense of a whirling thought, or pit of sadness in the stomach. I trust that whatever is presenting in the beginning of a session is what is ready for more presence, and from there I intuitively move with the client into the healing journey that reveals itself.
Thank you for your time, and may your day have
Great Uncaused Peace and Joy!!!
Last spring I sat a 5 day retreat with Sharon Landrith at Omega. I had a heck of a time for the first 3 days - meditation felt less like meditation and more like my mind was a concrete mixer filled with glass bottles and a bowling ball, relentlessly crashing and churning away.
On the 4th night I stayed late after the evening meditation. As each person left the room a tick of pressure released inside my body. By the time all but the last person left I was quiet; a column of peace and stillness. This continued for a bit and then, quite suddenly, a tremendous wave of STILLNESS came over me. I was in the middle of an immense struck bell, vibrating, but vibrating with utter stillness and silence.
I sat in awe, eyes closed. It felt as though the stillness had come from beyond, a gift that washed over me. After a while I wondered if the woman sitting several chairs over from me could feel it, it was that palpable. Inperceptibaly I opened one of my eyes and looked at her.
Yes! She was there! And then, as I looked at her, I absolutely could not find a self in her. Perhaps it does not make sense as you read this, but that was the feel of it. I simply could not see the self in her. At this very moment the "self" that I had always taken myself to be dropped out through the bottom of me; a big popsicle of "self" that I hadn't even known was there was pulled right out.
It was totally wild, although I doubt that was how I would have put it at the time. This entire "thing" that I had heretofore taken myself to be, was gone. And this false-self that dropped out had a felt, energetic component. This energetic component was gone. I had never noticed this felt energetic thing in me before, probably because I was so used to it being there. It was only when it was pulled out that I could describe or notice it.
I ( the term 'I' is used for lack of a more accurate way to write about it) sat for awhile, maybe a long time, I'm not sure. Such peace and lightness. Holiness everywhere.
At some point I tuned in to some voices. It seemed that they had probably been there before I noticed them. I turned my attention to them and found the exact likeness of Bugs Bunny talking and walking about. He was soooooo cool and collected and suave. You know that Bugs Bunny style? He was talking and talking, I can't remember about what. He wasn't talking to me, in fact I didn't get the sense that he noticed me at all. I'm not sure who he was talking to. It was fascinating to watch him go on and on, as if I was watching a cartoon that someone else had created.
Then Yo Samity Sam entered the scene, in all of his Yo Samity Sam - ness, stomping, hollering, generally bristling with indignation and hot anger. He would carry on for a bit, and then Bugs Bunny would swing back with a cool retort. And so on, back and forth they'd go.
As I sat there, the STILLNESS washing over me, the moonlight and the peace, Bugs Bunny and Yo Samity Sam were there too. At some point it occurred that they were my mind talking. My thoughts. It didn't feel like a seismic realization, it just felt relaxed and true.
This is how much the thoughts and voices in my head are not me. Once the false-self is gone (once the energetic popsicle of false-self is pulled out) the thoughts and voices in the head are hardly noticed, and certainly do not come with the confusion that they are me. They are there own characters, living their own, completey unrelated life. For some reason they seem to be in my mind. That's all.
After more time passed I didn't hear Bugs Bunny or Yo Samity Sam anymore. Eventually I got up and quietly left the room, the other woman still sitting.The walk back to the tent was peace beyond peace, lighter than light.
When I awoke in the morning the popsicle of false-self had been reinserted, I could FEEL it in there, and for a week or so I could identify which part of my moment to moment experience was the popsicle. This knowing, or differentiation, faded after a week or so, and now I am left with the memory, and the lived experience that things are different than they appear.
At the end of the retreat the woman in whom I could not see a self came and hugged me. Crying, she told me that it felt like an angel had filled the room that night.
And now... a week ago I had bunion surgery. (And my foot is healing beautifully, and I got loads of support - particularly from my sister. Thanks Leah! Holy Moly Sister Giving!!)
During the first several days I had some particular clarity.
There was a sort of leveraging apart of my consciousness from body-identification. This has happened before, but this time it went deeper. I was occupying my ME, my consciousness itself more fully, and from that place it was plainly obvious that my body was form, of the world of form as Eckart Tolle would say, and not ME.
There came a sweetness towards my body, a tender stewardship. An understanding that my ME gets to be here in this world because of this form, this body. And from that understanding a profound gratitude and wonder for the body.
It's my ticket to be here! Without out my body my ME is not here in this plane of existence in the same way, or perhaps not at all. It is a perfect wonder that somehow this magically operating conglomeration of form that I call my body is somehow the means by which my ME is here.
It is here for me always - digesting anything I put in it, moving anywhere I tell it to go (with the mysterious operation of a thought directing form), for as long as I can remember doing every single thing I direct it to, unless it is truly unable to follow the command.
From this perspective it is astonishing that I could ever blame my body for being too this or too that, or not good enough in this or that way. In fact, it has been at my beck and call for years.
I invite you to feel into this. Look at your body, maybe your hand or am as it lays there. See how its sole purpose is to be there for you, at your service. See how it moves when you instruct it to. See how it has no ill agenda towards you. Only service.
In wonder of the mystical marriage of form and consciousness,
Well since I wrote that last email (about welcoming and being with what arises) someone (or many ones) in me got the message that they were welcome loud and clear and proceeded to throw a party for the day. They arose. They got down and boogied. They held nothing back.
Thoughts and energies of every kind were coursing though my being - all the worst, most stressful kind. Self-loathing, wordless futility, searing remorse, freaked out energy that had me shuffling around the kitchen, my forearms shaking. In the midst of this I felt compassion and wondered if this is what it is like for some people all the time. If it is, that is hard.
I sat down right there in the kitchen mid-morning and took my own advice. I sat and welcomed all of it. The sink of drying dishes, the cats crunching their food, the chair hard-backed, facing a huge mirror.
I sat with everything that arose, the energy that wanted to explode out of my skin, the paralyzing collapse that took away all motivation, the murderous anger. I sat with it all. The quaver that shuttered through my lower belly, I sat with it.
As this storm raged it occurred to me to listen to the quiet. Whether because I have consistently practiced that for a couple of years, or for some other reason, it worked. I began to listen to the quiet and a small cleft parted open in the pounding self loathing and fear. A little cleft that a breath of relaxation welled up through.
I listened to the quiet.
I listened to the quiet, and the panic and pain were still there, but there was a quiet center to it. If I stopped listening to the quiet all hell broke loose. Literally, this is exactly what happened.
After a while of listening, the storm beating above the sphere of quiet, I asked of the quiet "Are you me?"
A kiss of myself folding into myself. An ancient mother waking up. A joyful child. A timeless 'ahh'. A hint. Enough.
The benefit of the visceral dance of self-hatred, the not-good enough, the it was all-for-nothing, was that it was almost unbearable to live from the perspective of those emotions and thoughts.
I had to wondering if, in fact, I was actually the quiet, because to not consider this was to remain in hell. And the ante stayed up ALL day. If I slipped into identifying myself as the maelstrom of unconcniousnness I felt it immediately and fairly hopped back into listening to the quiet. Most days the maelstrom is not so burning hot and the reflex to hop back into the quiet is not as strong.
Blessings be Sri Maelstrom. Usher me in.
Love to you all, and to all of our Maelstroms,
ps - it is now several days later and I just reread this letter as I prepare to hit "send." It strikes me that I have no shame about the maelstrom I describe that ran through my body, it is not something to hide from my readers or clients.
I am not it.
It is something that moves through me, and the I that I am gets to be with it, observe it, give it the space and consciousness to be. I am with it. Shames comes in when we say whatever is moving though us is who we are.
I think of that as a state of being fused with the maelstrom. When we are fused shame can arise, or despair, or distress, because there is no deeper sense of the Ithat we actually are.
My love to you again,
Last weekend I spent a day in workshop with a group of people exploring our Inner Children and, when the moment was there, doing The Work with these Little Ones. One practice that we worked with throughout the day was to welcome every sensation, every emotion, every energy in the body exactly as it was. To just be with what was arising, exactly as it appeared, with no push to change it or figure out what it "meant". This is a practice I use frequently, with myself and with clients, and I find that since the workshop it comes to me many times a day, and I allow myself to be with what is arising.
Yesterday, after my kids got home from school, I had an energy move though my body that was strong and all-encompassing. Not peaceful. I felt the draw to numb it with food and screens, but instead went out and sat in the sun on an Adirondack chair. I just kept saying "I welcome you", and listening into it and energetically opening to the sensations. I did that for about 25 minutes, and when I got up I was light, energized, and peaceful inside. I was then able to go in and be with my kids and get ready for my son's choir concert with presence and flow.
In my experience sometimes the body sensations and energies speak, and then we hear their words of pain. Sometimes they don't. Yesterday there were no words. And I trust that, I trust that when they are ready to speak they will, and when they don't I can open to the wordless, label-less direct experience of them moving through my being.
To loosely quote Byron Katie - 'You are the one you have been waiting for.'
I am the one to be with the myriad of energies, pains, and suffering arising inside within myself. Or as teacher Sharon Landrith says (again loosely paraphrased) 'You are the portal of mercy without end.'
We try to get everyone and everything else to do this for us. And while there is help along the way, ultimately is it our own selves, our own presence that transmutes suffering to freedom. Outsourcing is a dead end. You are it. You are the source of peace and healing and love.
Here are some insights I experienced while on a recent meditation retreat. I have tried to keep them true to how I experienced them. I hope that the essence is conveyed :) They came from watching what was before me from a very quiet place inside.
Future is a utilitarian overlay we drape across the thrumming Now. Our eyes skim across the surface of things, ever bouyed above the abyss by a microscopic frantic search for existence. "Use use use, how can I use?" is the silent refrain just below consciousness, raking across the surface of Now.
Habitual fear drives every moment saying "Got to get to. Got to get to." You may not hear it, but it is there. Stop and look. Let the mystery well up from the luscious Now and begin to flow and soften and permeate the hard disced crust of the future. If we let that happen where would our drive go? How could the future be ok? Will it be utter chaos if we let the Now take us, swallow us into her embrace? All that would be lost is our fear. And ourselves.
Is the future real? No. Never here. A deep dark soil of Now is here, deepening down down down into the upwell of creation, terrifying in it's potentiality.
Everything I lay eyes on is shouting the truth that the future is not real. Everything is vibrating in Now, only.
When we let the past live in the objects in front of us they die. They sink as if a lead weight was tied to their feet. Swiftly, deep into pain. We look at the objects in front of us through the lense of the past and they become hollow, an encrusted emptiness, drained of life.
When the future skitter across the objects in front of us they recede, becoming dead, we cannot see them. Our eyes Harden in kind, killing us, rendering us robots in a mechanical world.
A grudge is like a hatchet of melded together memories cleaved into the softness of Now. This hatchet, when we look for it, is not Here. It is only an image, an energetic clench in our mind.