Coming back to yourself – identity and spirit

russian forest in autumn

As a psychotherapist and a transpersonal approach practitioner the aim of my work with clients is to facilitate making ‘whole’ and help clients get back to themselves, get back ‘home’.

This time of year brings me closer to my roots, to my ancestors of birth and land. I begin communicating with and seeing them more clearly. My food changes according to how they had eaten and I occupy myself with activities, music, books that had been familiar to them. Most of those traditions are closely woven with nature cycles, seasons. My home and people carry nature in their blood. It is as natural to us as mother’s milk. All traditions and customs that we undertake every season is never questioned by anyone. They are observed in a way that flows very naturally between generations, genders and ages. There is this common knowing, understanding and love of nature. We are in a very close relationship with all things nature. Spirit, emotions, intellect and physical sensations can all be linked to our expression through a relationship with nature. There are references to it in literature, poetry, music and language is filled with a variety of descriptions of moods, changes and emotion-evocative experiences. Nature is a living breathing being for my ancestors and myself.

What happened to me five years ago was a shift, a push towards ‘home’, back to myself. I needed to get back to my roots from which I also needed to cut off for some time in order to survive and fit in. I had to start a process of remembering, re-integration, re-igniting of my knowledge, resonance and love of what roots and home meant for me. This journey also connected me to the land that I currently live on and through finding striking similarities in the landscape and the emotions that it evoked in me, that remembering of ‘home’ journey became very rich and fulfilling. The process happened with nature spirit flowing through me at all times. I connected to my roots through learning and remembering about trees, weather patterns, the elements, magic, plants, my love for certain things in nature and remembering and connecting who I was then and who I am now in terms of what spirit lives within me.

I am writing this after watching a wonderful presentation on ‘Identity and spirituality’ as part of my CPD and it reminded me of my own process of connecting with my roots and establishing a solid knowing and understanding who I am now through who I was then and the process of becoming and evolving. It is the process of finding what is at the centre of my being.

In my practice I feel passionate about working with both issues, identity and spirituality, and both are closely linked in making ‘whole’.

It opens up discussion about your beliefs on whether we are spiritual beings having an experience on Earth or are we human beings with a spiritual nature. It might mean the same to some, to others there are clear differences. It would depend on your own personal experiences regarding spirit and beliefs about life on earth and afterlife. To me, spirit is an integral part of who we are along with our other aspects or functions, cognitive, emotional, physical and all operate together and ideally harmoniously. However, where there is a lack of presence or distorting in operation in one or more of these functions then a ‘whole’ is disturbed. For example, a person struggles to express their emotions or their thoughts are distorted or they manifest their difficulties rooted in the mind or heart through the body or their spirit is asleep or remains unreachable or unknown. In my work as a transpersonal therapist I aim to bring a person into balance, and to get all functions/aspects operating together and in harmony.

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The power of the word – whisperers

healing whispers

I am saddened that the ancient healing tradition of whispering is said to be dying out, yet there is a hope within me that it will live on through some young people willing to carry it through to the future.

When I was about ten year old I was healed by a whispering Babka. I remember that experience vividly and to this day I know the feeling of being touched by magic. It is said that some powers can transmit through a person should they be willing to be open and receptive. The time when powers come into awareness and manifestation is not till much later in life, not till crone hood for many women.

If any of you have had an experience with receiving healing through whispers do pay attention to voices, words, sentences and a sensation of whispering that might form in your awareness. Something I am experiencing of late as we approach the end of the pagan year.

Whispering Babkas 

When they’ve seen your darkness…

When he’s seen your darkness and he still held you tight in his arms

When screams and tears tore at his soul yet he stood tall with his shoulder over your trembling body and his voice contained

When words of pain penetrated his being, but he received it with gentle calmness

One knew they were ok, they were allowed and they were held…

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Past lives reading

past lives

The mystery of my emotions holds me tight in its grip. It feels like it will drown and overpower me any minute I will run out of air. I am walking on the edge of an experience bigger than myself. It is present in my lungs and chest in particular and tears break out of me in uncontrollable sobs. It is grief. After years of wondering I am in great need to seek answers to my experience of the land I call spiritual home. So far no explanation offer itself to me and I continue to be tormented by some energy I can’t contain without losing myself.

Past lives is an idea that had been coming into my reality again and again yet I have always dismissed it. I do seem to understand the idea behind it yet I would say I haven’t experienced it, but how would one know, I wonder… Answers are not easily in front of us when we need them and with this, in particular, things that happen to us in our present are hard to explain. Are some of the things that we feel and experience now connected to lives we had lived before? This time I allowed a possibility of it strongly being an experience from my past life or several of them.

I reached out to my trusted Highland Witch I go to at least once a year seeking answers. What she came back with not only touched me deeply, but like nothing else ever did before provided a big relief and a welcome release. As I was reading my story from the past I was thrown into a life of hardship, love, loss, grief and violence. It was dark and felt very real. I could see that young woman with a child unborn inside of her, who had to endure immeasurable pain losing her young husband and being killed herself with the child inside of her. Her blood was spilt on the land itself and never in my spiritual experience had I felt something so strongly. I could smell the air on that murky damp day in the Highlands of Scotland and saw the blood running onto the soft moss and rock beneath my feet. It explains not only the feelings I have been experiencing for years while on the land, but also my responses to trauma and most of all my character. This reading I must say enriched my life and reaffirmed things I have struggled to place into context.

I am to take a specially designed ritual to the land of my sorrow to release the grip of my past and cleanse my soul in order to merge with the land in joy. Everything is finally clear and calm within me just like death was to that young woman. I feel peaceful for the first time in years and getting ready to take that emotional pilgrimage to the place of my calling.

Past lives readings and guidance, or regression, can provide many answers. I see it as one way to access material that needs healing and processing just like many other psycho-spiritual therapeutic techniques. land

Where there is discomfort there is an opportunity for change

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Potential is hidden within us all and pain and discomfort are ways of accessing it. Yes, staying with what is difficult in the moment creates an opening for changing things. When we are anxious, worried or feeling down there is a sign that something isn’t right. If we allow ourselves to truly embrace the way that we feel in that moment and hold our feelings as if they were our children we have a chance to discover things we run away from or parts of ourselves that have been needing attention to a long time.

Where there is discomfort there is a sign that an adjustment is needed in either our reactions, behaviours or dynamics. Some situations would trigger us into a place of dissonance, which is a perfect place to start, as when we know what we don’t like we can also discover what we do like.

Most of all we lack the ability to be with ourselves especially in moments of discomfort yet this is exactly where we need to focus our attention to discover who we truly are. A reaction happens for a reason, feelings surface for a reason and asking yourself ‘what is happening’ and ‘what do I need right now’ and ‘what does it mean’ can be invaluable. It holds a feeling, a vibration in that moment and we take a pause to look at it, to feel it, find a place where it is the strongest in the body and become curious. When we shift perspective from ‘this doesn’t feel good, I must pretend it is not happening or I must get rid of it’ to ‘this doesn’t feel good, I wonder why and what it is telling me, what is the lesson here’ things have different results. One way only delays the process that needs attention until the next time we feel a certain way, the other grabs the opportunity not just to explore what is happening, but through paying attention to your feeling you ultimately give yourself attention. This is self-loving, it is validating, it is acknowledging something is not right and allowing for a change to occur. Only by staying with we can move through something and come out of it with a different perspective.

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Reasons we reach for food and nature’s wisdom

psychology of eating

  1. Genuine hunger – instinctual us, animal us
  2. Meeting an emotional need. Using food as something pleasurable to get away from something painful we are feeling
  3. Being stuck in a pattern, a habit, automatic behaviour associated with certain activities

This week is all about the body and I felt it would be useful to summarise some information on our relationship with food. I am reinforcing these messages for myself as much as for everyone else and I hope you will find it useful.

We all heard of binge eating, emotional eating, overeating, over-consuming on calories, mindless eating, etc. These are unhealthy patterns of behaviour, which we either do consciously with a purpose or unconsciously.

There is one way of eating, which is natural and the most helpful is to eat when you are hungry. When we are consciously aware and mindful of clues sent to us by the body, NOT our mind, indicating it is time to eat. When we know we are ready for intake of food, we need calories and there is a genuine need for nourishment on a physical level. It is when we know that if we don’t eat we might not ‘survive’, it is instinctual function for our body to sustain life through taking in some food.

The other two ways of relating to food are the ones to watch for. One is us using food as a way of making us feel ‘better’, that pleasure trap when we seek a relief from a difficult emotional state and wanting to feel pleasure and we do it through food. This is emotional eating. I know, e.g. in the past my emotional eating had been connected closely to grief. It works similarly with other habits, like smoking, e.g., which for me, again used to be a way to gain relief when I felt unsafe. Very specific emotions that I would need to release through using something else. Once you identify what it is that you are ‘running away’ from through inducing pleasure using food, then it is time to FEEL that emotion, allow it to be, having courage to be with that, as it is part of you.

One other reason we eat is through habit. Something that we keep on doing automatically to a point that we are not always conscious of, we simply do it when engaging with a certain activity. A good example is watching TV in the evening. Many would reach for food when watching movies, favourite programmes, because this is something that they have done over and over again for a long time, hence a habit is formed and the brain knows it is food time once you are on that sofa switching on your television. The first thing to do is to become aware of where you might be using food, in what situations and circumstances that you might have not realised. The only way to break that pattern is to learn to interrupt that behaviour consciously. Once you are aware, conscious then you can begin to stop it in its tracks. It is like changing a cycle, interrupting something repeatedly should rewire our habitual thinking or automatic actions into doing something else. This needs to be practiced again and again and there will be time when you will be able to watch television without overloading on calories. This would happen overtime through interruption of the cycle and engaging with activities that take you away from that pattern and from food. Do something instead for a period of time to give your brain a different message. Remove your association between watching a film and eating.

Now think of nature in all its presentations and with all its inhabitants and species. What stands out to you when you look to nature? With me it is balance, it is a beginning, a middle and the end. It is time for everything where nothing is rushed or delayed, where everything has its place. Summer doesn’t come before spring, flowers do not bloom in winter and the earth is not producing food when the ground is frozen. Nature teaches us that there is a system of elements that constantly working together to achieve an overall balance. Sometimes challenges are thrown in its way in a way of adverse weather conditions like floods and droughts, yet it recovers, it catches up and it continues to live. There is a force of survival and thriving for that equilibrium state where everything is just as it should be.

Now think of your body in the same way. Evaluate when it is the right time for you to eat, e.g. are you a morning eater? Are you more of a snacker or a bigger, more regular meal eater? What is your body’s preference and schedule for calorie intake? What feels most natural and nourishing? Do you follow your body’s natural rhythms or are you even aware of it? The goal is to bring your body into balance with your mind, your spirit and your emotional world. Is it in balance? What foods bring you joy not when you use it to avoid something else, but when you seek to give your body nourishment and enhancement in order to feel better?

My connection to nature and the earth has helped me balance out my physical and emotional enormously. Eating produce that comes from earth gives my brain a message that it is fresh, it is filled with water and sunshine and it is full of nutrients. It is good for me. Remember doing something enough times repeatedly can rewire your brain into knowing it is working and good for you. Start small with changing one or two things a week in order to increase your potential for balance in the body, add something beneficial or take away something that is not good for you. Small, steady and continuous steps.

Remember to get sunshine and rain water on your face, as well as feeling the earth with your bare feet whenever you can. Connect to the wisdom of the intelligent system that is nature, the earth and let its wisdom go into all areas of your life, your relationship with your body and food included.

Many blessings!

Messages from the body

This week’s work is focused on and the first insight is about the physical body. As promised each week I am going to tune into a particular area for exploration with a purpose of gaining deeper insight and manifesting cleansing and healing.
Ideas flowed in this morning as I began my day. My intention was to make a set up for my work, first of all, in order to facilitate energetic, mindful and psychic work to come. Such a place would normally be my altar.
four elements altar, body healing
As the theme unfolding in my awareness was to do with the body I wanted to include the four elements, as the earth/nature holds them so do we in our bodies. Incense for Air, bowl for Water, Wood for Earth and Candles for Fire and purple crystal for Spirit. We are one and my intention was to include nature into the work as I do usually. This allows for deeper insight and connection to myself and to the outside world. It is stormy weather outside today so I had to bring the elements in, which was sort of very relevant in terms of exploring them within myself.
The idea was to explore a particular habit/attachment of mine to do with food and look into whether there was an emotional signature that was stuck within my physical container. I did this with my other physical habit with great success previously. The work is to discover what need or emotion might lie beneath a certain behaviour. It helped enormously and really is the best way to work with any addictive or habitual behaviour, which potentially harms us. It is bringing the wound up to the light and healing it consciously and meeting the need that we are unconsciously trying to meet with turning to various activities and things.
This morning didn’t go according to plan and I do love it when that happens. First of all I noticed huge resistance straight away to doing this work and I noticed myself delaying and delaying and once I was ready for my journeying pretty much straight away I was pulled out of it and insights came in strong and fast before I even did anything. I found that quite striking as it was quick but so illuminating.
I was told loud and clear before I started doing the body scan that it is my broken tooth that needed attention and ‘haven’t I procrastinated enough about it?’ and why wouldn’t I attend to my teeth when there is such a clear need. I felt well and truly told off :O) and yes, why wouldn’t I? Is that a loving thing to do to ignore areas that need fixing in my body and just ignore it? I booked my appointment immediately and went straight away. The universe had an opening for me in the next half hour (what are the chances).
So, the insight is to attend to things that we are actually conscious of first and foremost before delving deeper into possible unconscious reasons of whatever it is that is causing us discomfort in the physical. Quite simple, right, but how many of us are ignoring what is clearly visible, felt and screaming for help? Lack of self-compassion, acknowledgement and self-love could potentially be dangerous not just to our bodies but our well-being on the whole. It felt very different for me as again there was such avoidance and resistance to my making that phone call regardless of how loud the inner voice was. I hesitated as I realised that this was not familiar for me to stand up for myself, so to speak, and how often I had previous ignored it. Earlier last year I would have been in real trouble by ignoring something very serious if it wasn’t for someone else pushing me to make the call. I know I would not have done it myself and I am scared to think what could have been if I ignored the signs.
Deal with what is manifesting, felt and present. What you are fully aware of right now in your body? Where is pain, imbalance, discomfort? Attend to that. Deal with that as soon as you can because why wouldn’t you? Why would your body be less important in wanting to be well than anyone else’s? We are used to care taking others, as it’s been looked upon as such a positive and valued thing to do in the society. Self-sacrifice is an idea that somehow would lift you up above and merge you with God. But what about you? Aren’t you as one with God and nature? If you ignore one you ignore the other. If we really think about it, it doesn’t make sense and it is time to shift out thinking around self-love and compassion and listening to our bodies is one such step towards well-being on the whole.