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 

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

The journey of psychotherapy

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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 many parts

  
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 and writing 

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.

Healing powers of the Land and music

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.

MUSIC 

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.

loch-tummel
Queen’s View, Loch Tummel

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Looking over Loch Tummel

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.

loch-tay
Loch Tay, Perthshire, Scotland

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.

loch-laggan
Loch Laggan, Highlands, Scotland

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.

Music by:
Relaxing Nordic/Viking Music – Ótroðinn (Adrian von Ziegler)
The Mermaids Tears (Jeff Victor)
Photos copyright: taken by Raw Pagan (Natalia Clarke) 
Header image: http://crianlarich-hotel.co.uk/