I would describe the process of psychotherapy as a process of unfolding and becoming. It is a journey back ‘home to ourselves’. Therapist is a witness to that process, who is let into a world of a client to journey with and who serves a purpose of ‘being with’ another human being and reflecting empathy, acceptance and unconditional love. If that witnessing is successful a client slowly learns to be with themselves, get to know themselves and hence allowing the process of unfolding from unconscious to conscious begin.
When therapy ends one would hope that a seed of self-love, acceptance, compassion and understanding is planted so a person can go out into the world more confident in being with themselves, knowing their inner potential and being able to relate to the world and others in a more effective and beneficial way. They become their own witness. With awareness of themselves they go on to live in a more mindful and compassionate manner towards themselves and others. They would have discovered their qualities, strengths and weakness, darkness and light, become more emotionally intelligent and able to navigate the ups and downs of life with wisdom and acceptance.
The end of my own therapy after many years even though planned and conscious will take some adjustment. It’s been a routine and a weekly visit to my therapist provided me with witnessing and holding I found nourishing and supportive. An environment in which to process my feelings and experiences and grow. I now have a free slot on a Tuesday afternoon and what I am inspired to do is to create a process of my own where for that hour I will be with myself to witness what unfolds within and manifests without and reflect of my responses and ways to grow from experiences.
From that I will begin writing a ‘weekly insight’ blog posts as I continue on my journey of self-discovery.
We are not one person. We are many aspects within one being. There are many parts to us and all are equally in need of love and attention. All carry a purpose and a lesson within their manifestation and knowing yourself requires looking at all parts of ourselves.
We all have a child, adolescent, adult, parent, wise self, wounded self, divine self within us. Some of those split into further parts, some perceived as good and others as bad, or positive and negative. The truth is we are all of those and none of them are less or more, better or worse, higher or lower. We are one rich, ancient being carrying a kingdom within us with many parts that play a role in our lives.
From the point of view of the Elements we are all four. We are qualities of Fire, Air, Water and Earth.
From a role perspective we are sibling, child, parent, adult, grandchild and spouse.
We are the whole year with all four seasons within. We carry winter, spring, summer and autumn within us. We are animals, mystical creatures, plants, trees, rivers, caves.
We carry spirit within us also, that pure part of unconditional love, peace, non-attachment and non-judgement.
Different parts act out in different situations and scenarios in our lives. We are a mother one minute and the next we are a warrior. We are led to a particular path by our elder side and another is a playground where we are a child. We might sing like a bird one minute and the next we are in touch with the universe as a spirit. We pray, love, work, cook, teach, dance, flight and cry. We are all together a beautiful orchestra of different voices and a collection of qualities and resources.
We are powerful beyond belief if we look at ourselves as all of those parts and each is given time, attention and love when needed. We acknowledge what needs to change, grow or soothed at any given moment. We caretake our whole being with hearing them all out equally without rejection of anything and acceptance of all.
Intuition is invaluable when partaking in writing. Something I am becoming aware more and more as I write more. It often feels similar to magic when you simply know what tools to use, how and when and results just come together. It is the same with words, which come when one is tuned into emotions in the moment. It works when there is no overthinking and spontaneous leaps are taken in narratives. For sure you edit and edit and more edit as you progress but that initial expression is often the most powerful, in my experience. Some words seem to come from nowhere and that is so exciting to me when writing. The same applies to scenes and characters.
Just like I would intuitively know what oil to use with what candle and what Goddess/God/deity would support my work, I sometimes hear words coming out of me which happen to be just right for what I am writing about.
My tip is not to think, but to feel and listen and free write. I also recommend free associations as often as possible with images, nature scenes, trees, seasons, just allow for whatever is called for to come through. I think it stimulates and trains your imagination. It feels like magic and your intuition is your magic, your inner knowing that offers what is needed when it is needed.
Anxiety and panic attacks struck me like an unexpected dark storm and my ground began to slide from under my feet. I found myself in a ball of terror unable to go out and without a voice. I was scared to cry, my chest was constricted and tight. There was fear in the whole of my being.
I felt sadness and grief, but no ability to express it, which is directly linked for me with past trauma. I seem to be hooking into this position for a few years running now about this time of year where such energy becomes dense and concentrated and just strikes me motionless and paralyses all life within me. This is also linked to freedom, family obligations, which in no way align with what I believe in and grief and death, which again don’t really belong to me. In this darkness I seem to be unable to find that light, which contradicts the season and what I should be doing.
I guess what I am describing is a sort of hijacking of my ‘light’ and feeling imprisoned by all things irrelevant and hurtful to me. I am beginning of think that changes must occur and, perhaps, this is going to be the biggest challenge yet for me to transform this insight into a reality where I feel contained and safe. I sure don’t want to experience this again come next year. There is work to do.
We are approaching Yule and I have always loved this festival and I love the darkness but in a different way, in a way of needing to go deeper willingly, not being hijacked by stuff irrelevant, and in that sense being stopped from going deeper on my own terms, in my own time, I suppose. This stuff seems to want to keep me on the surface, on a level filled with fear and immobility devoid of heart feeling. My darkness understanding is the opposite yet I can’t seem to get there for I have to deal with stuff that hits me in the face and demands not just my attention but it demands me being in prison and silenced.
Yesterday I was unable to leave my bed after a sleepless night filled with episodes of anxious unrest and fear. My chest felt like a stone, stuck within a place where it felt like my heart would stop beating any minute. Love was draining out of me and anger was present, tears wouldn’t come and breath was barely present. Trapped.
Lying under my blanket I was desperate for a solution, for some hope I would be ok again. I must mention that these attacks are recent phenomenon, even though they began a few years back, they don’t come often, but in recent years becoming frequent and that is how I am able to recognise it now well. I plugged into music (below) and began my journey. I always remember one thing with trauma is a finding a safe place and I began my search allowing surrender to come in.
As music played I began slowly connecting with my Warrior self. I realised how grounding, Fire energy type music taps into some strength and reassurance within me. I step outside of my body and witness myself out there. It is like looking into a mirror to see yourself from an aspect, which is most needed. This links closely to the personality model of the elements and this one is a Fire side of me, which is in a balanced and healthy state. I notice my breathing changing and I become more engaged with surroundings.
I see myself on the shores of Loch Drummond, exactly here (images below) looking over the view from above and breathing the air deeply into my lungs. The music connected me to the beating of my own heart and I feel myself collecting my senses into a form that is closer to whole.
In the next scene I am on my knees on the shore of Loch Tay praying to the element of water, which is so powerful I am in awe of the scenery and my heart beats more and more love into myself and out into the lake.
On the shores of Lake Laggan as I stand up to my knees in the water tears come and music changes into this MUSIC I connect with Water element of emotions looking deep within dark waters of the lake.
I cry and sob and feel myself finally coming into my body as I become aware of my chest rising and falling with each tear and moan within me. It feels good and releasing.
With emotion also comes that deepest yearning for the land within me that I know so well. In this case it became unbearable, which helped the tears come in outbursts of screams and sobs as if my body needed to be ‘scolded’ from inside out. Intensity of emotion opened up my heart and in that deep love of the land within me healing came, release came. I merged with the aspect of myself that is pure, grounded, simple and peaceful. It is that spirit of the land within me that held my hand reassuring my being for I am ok, I will be. I came to my safe place, to the land where my spirit unchanged and untouched lives always and forever. This journey meant so much to me and it was so powerful I am deeply touched by my own inner spirit and wisdom that can guide me out of the darkness whatever happens.
On reflection I can truly say that nothing ever worked as well as the above did in reawakening my heart back to life.
Relaxing Nordic/Viking Music – Ótroðinn (Adrian von Ziegler)
The Mermaids Tears (Jeff Victor)
Photos copyright: taken by Raw Pagan (Natalia Clarke)
I learnt to apply elemental wisdom to my every day activities, the way I think, feel and behave. A certain system has been formed in my awareness based on the four elements. It happened through continuous observation of nature it all its forms and presentations. It seems to go like this:
When I am in my Air element my thinking is engaged. I focus on my thoughts in a given moment and go through them deciding an action or making a plan.
Out of a thought comes a certain feeling, emotional response to what my mind is presenting. The more I focus on a thought the more I feel. I engage my Water function. Some emotions are not pleasant and my Fire might come in to inform me whether to act or not, whether my Fire is to be dynamic, productive and needed or is simply a response to a thought, which is not something I want to engage with. Fire is the necessary part of the process as an alchemical operation of burning something to clarity, purifying something till its purpose is revealed. I am given a choice in this part of the process. I choose whether I trust my feeling and therefore the original thought it is connected to will serve me or I recognise its nature as something that needs to be put aside or healed.
After a thought and a feeling with engagement of Fire comes behaviour. Next comes manifestation, the doing of what once was only a thought form. The Earth element is needed here and I test myself on how ready I am to hold the energy of the thought and emotion and how confident I am about bringing it to life. Earth is holding, strong, calm and reassuring and when engaged is a powerful tool to help us manifest.
So that’s how the process goes in a form of a system. With practice similar to certain psychotherapeutic approaches one not only can become aware of their thoughts but how they make us feel and behave. Nature is a powerful tool to use along the same lines yet so much deeper as nature serves as a witness to our process engaging all of our senses.
Ever feel that you are being pulled into water when what’s needed is to stay grounded? Nature is clever like that it tests by giving us options and challenges our choices whether it is to act, feel or behave in a certain way, a bit like a therapist might.
The other day consumed by worrying thoughts, which were producing powerful emotions in me ,I found myself by the water. I needed to decide what’s next, am I to manifest my state or am I in need to look at it further before making a choice.
As I stood on the bank of a lake between Water and Earth I saw my dilemma clearly. Do I jump into my feelings and get consumed by them or do I remain on firm Earth and allow myself to be held together. There was anger, sadness, frustration all emotions with an undertone of Fire. I made a decision to transmute it back to the Earth through holding on to trees allowing them to balance things out within me. I left more together, composed and with awareness of what was happening within me that morning.
The quality of softness is beautifully warm, healing, lightening and transforming. I first heard of it from my parents many years ago in the context of the quality being very positive and admirable particularly in a woman. A girl or a young lady with a quality of softness was approved of and considered pleasant and easy to relate to and live with, however, this can be explained due to the nature of patriarchal society in which ‘soft’ otherwise called timid and agreeable woman was considered exactly what was expected. I often felt saddened as a child and then as a young woman as I was not considered soft. I was criticised for not being soft enough. I, however, always felt soft on the inside, but that’s for another post.
Here I want to look at the quality from a perspective of being soft without abandoning or diminishing any of the other qualities and remaining in balance. What I mean is that with the presence of softness, i.e. Water element quality, robustness and grit of Fire element is not missing or Air quality of intellect is absent.
Softness is a spirit quality, it is pure, it is aethentic and intoxicatingly beautiful. I experience it in a similar way I would sense a soft skin of a young child or the 5th dimansional being in a form of a young Goddess or a delicate bird or a stunning small flower amidst a storm. I can think of many archetypes from different cultures, which carry that quality well.
I have heard references to a ‘softer’ perspective on many occasions since I first came across it as a young woman. When something is presented to us, which feels jarring and hard, be it a person’s manner or a conversation that results in us being hurt, we feel wounded, lost and under threat. I feel it strongly when someone is being unfair or harsh or aggressive in an exchange for whatever reason. Natural reaction mostly for many is to react, scream in pain and project all the pain we feel on to the other. Some circumstances might require that, but what if instead we took a ‘softer’ stance. This can be done in various ways. Firstly one needs to know what the quality of softness feels like to them and what it means. Once that signature is found and integrated one can always access it whenever needed. It can be done with other things like ‘inner peace signature’ or a ‘productive fire energy signature’ to name a few. These are like environments we step into, suits or hats we can choose to wear in any given moment when it’s needed. It is a dance between the elements if you like. We employ certain qualities to balance something out or help us move forward from a certain position.
Today softness signature was the one I decided to choose. I was hurt by a conversation with someone harsh and ego-centric, inflexible and cold. I found myself crambling under yet another attack and felt it was enough. I expressed my hurt and in order to discharge that imbalance within me I called upon ‘softness’ before letting my pain consume me. These days I choose not to. An image of a woman flashed before me as I sat down. She had a delicate face, pure white skin and soft expression in her eyes. This is who I want to embody in that moment. She reminded me of the healing potential of stepping into softness.
I sat with it, let it wash over you. Choosing softness is neutralising and calming and puts you in touch with goodness. Softness when understood and used in the right context is a good quality, it is void of extremes and very grounding. More than that it produces forgiveness and compassion for the other persons. When merging into a softer way of being, not only you can express your hurt and choose not to spill into unnecessary projections you can also open the heart towards another who needs it even more than you do, perhaps, in that moment.
Every time the hurt came back I thought ‘softness’ again and again until I felt my body lightning and my focus returning.
This morning I went through a Completion Process by Teal Swan. She has been featuring in my life for a couple of years now. I resonate with her energy and adore her signature of vulnerability, intellect, compassion, pain and authenticity. I also like her writing style, which is always clear and methodical. Her latest book The Completion Processis very well written and I am delving into it at the moment.
Teal has been particularly present for me in the last month or so when my Inner child came forth needing attention, work and integration I showed resistance, made excuses, rejected the possibility of doing the work and wanting to hand over responsibility to someone else. Teal’s presence during this time synchronously guided me towards what needed to be done and signals only got stronger and stronger as days went by, more insistent with each day, which was clear to me that I simply could not avoid this and I must participate in my own healing to do with inner child in particular. Soul’s desire was and remains for that aspect of myself to be looked at. It is time, no more excuses, no more dragging this heavy load with me everywhere I go.
I woke up this morning earlier than planned and came across a video in my Inbox with a demonstration of the Completion process. I immediately went with it. HERE is the link. There was a lady in the video working on herself with Teal. I started listening to the process and found myself being able to go into my own process easily, sort of in parallel with the lady on screen. The fact that she was going through her process didn’t hinder me participating in mine fully. The fact that I was able to focus and work on myself while listening and watching someone else do their process told me loud and clear just how ready I was to go with this. It was the most intense emotional experience I had ever done and this is the truth. With Teal’s guidance I was able to stay with myself fully and on another level all together. I really went into the traumatic memories and feelings with my body shaking with tears and images coming through readily. It was such a wonderful opportunity I thought on reflection to be able to do something with Teal even when she was working with someone else.
There are no coincidences there are only pointers and alignments within environment, which lead to a solution or a possibility. Synchronicities. I have experienced this process in my life now for several years and I can say that for me it is impossible not to trust it and in many ways that is how I live my life now, with full awareness of what goes on around me and checking it against my emotional body every time. One might say it has become a practice, which now happens effortlessly.
I came out of the session with a sense of hope more than anything. A sense of knowing that whatever just occurred made perfect sense and that it hugely benefited me in this morning hour. Work will continue, but I feel somewhat braver, less resistant and more prepared to go places and be with it. What stood out for me in the process I had gone through this morning were the following words. See if any of those resonate with you:
Luxury and comfort
It is like putting together pieces of a jigsaw when something begins to stand out for you in your life more, e.g. you notice you get triggered more often than usual or you feel in one particular way, e.g. angry, more frequently with seemingly no reason. Notice, I’d say, it all begins with awareness, follow that thread, because it is often a thread of feelings or events or interactions, which will lead to what most needs attention and integration. If you are called to something, follow that path, allow yourself to be curious especially if there is a feeling present of ‘this is right even though scary’. This is what happened to me and Teal’s presence in my world this past month. I am going to follow it further and witness it unfolding. There is a hope vibration and an opening that invites me in and there is something in this that says ‘there is only a way forward’.