When pain finds a home within your soul

painful emotions

In psychological circles this is referred to as pain addiction. This is real, lived experience for many. It is a state of being where separating pain from anything that we encounter in life becomes impossible. It merges with our being in a way that becomes familiar, safe, even sweet and impossible to imagine not feeling it. It becomes one of the personal signature of an individual, which brings all sorts of distortions with it. The process of unravelling is needed, deep diving into dark places, but mostly reintroduction of the light into a personal experience, as the light often goes into a personal shadow.

This is what it looks like when I tap into that part of myself still present although it no longer affects my life in ways it used to. It is now fully in my awareness and I know this character well, hence able to communicate with it and meet its needs if and when.

Ugly, dripping poison from its finger tips, so wrapped in its own pain it is second nature. This creature outgrown the most excruciating suffering that it feels at home with it, it’s learnt not just to be with it, it is inseparable from her being. It is very old, with bent and crooked limbs, long nails and grey hair or is it fur – both. It is animal-like with human eyes and deep intelligence. There is kindness somewhere there, but it is not apparent. It wants to be bad, it thinks it is a good thing, as it will fill up the cup of pain even more. It seeks the ritual and any opportunity to refill it. Like an addict it is constantly in search of the next fix.

Grown into my flesh it wears deer-skins and smells of wet mud and berries. Like an animal it claws into me holding on with a scowl scary and disturbing. 

I know it well and these days all that is needed of me is the acknowledgement it is there when I begin to feel its warm breath on the back of my neck. It is often present around my shoulder/neck area. It is very warm, sometimes feeling like a burn, but it also shows me some compassion these days and often sweeps away mud and moss pieces when it feels it made a mess. It is a child and an old creature all at the same time. It is deeply broken, but not unlovable and it likes to spread itself on rocks (I love rocks) and roll off them into a wet grass.

I often work with clients in ways of looking at different parts of them. I would ask when they begin to describe an energy that takes over them and affects their life. I seek to bring it to life with my client in a way of seeing what it looks like, what it sounds like and what is its behaviour before moving to what that part of us need. Many find this very useful and become curious about what else is within them that affects their everyday behaviour. When we make those characters real it is easier to relate whether we choose an object representing it, or we do a drawing or find a drawing that most reminds us of them or we relate to them through colours, sounds. However we connect with parts of ourselves it is about becoming conscious/aware of what takes place within our psyches and why.

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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.

Transpersonal Integrative psychotherapist and Intuitive witch

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What are the similarities between two parts within me, which are at play simultaneously. These two occupations, let’s call it that, have a lot more in common than one might think. I have experienced again and again the alignment between the two and it makes complete sense and feels whole.

At the centre of my work is intuition. It is my guiding, navigational, feeling system that allows me to relate and understand the other on a deeper level. Energies go through me and reflect back to whoever is sitting with me whatever I might be working with and it is that ‘going through me’ technique allows me to know what the other might need and benefit from.

Intuition is also used in ‘magical’ workings and 90% of my magic/spiritual work is intuitive, always has been from the very beginning as I stepped on the nature-based spiritual path. It is an exciting journey and I never once doubted what I do or did was somewhat ‘incorrect’, if I can call it that. There is not often right or wrong there is only better or poorer adjustments of what’s available. Some work can be intense and alignment is stronger and in other cases it is less so and effects are subtler. Intuition is something to be trusted and be open to and I am completely and utterly in its power knowing it will lead me where I need to go. It offers a well of possibilities of your own self-knowledge. All the treasure is already within us and one way to access that treasure is through intuition and listening to your inner voice of wisdom.

As an Integrative transpersonal psychotherapist I use myself and my intuition to decide and most of the time know what’s needed, when, how and for who. I pick techniques, approaches and a line to follow from my collection of tools, knowledge and experience through listening to the other’s story and working cognitively, emotionally, spiritually, using my body and being aware of the energy. I use my whole self to inform me of a direction and certain needs of a client. It is deeply relational, on a soul level, one might say, when myself and the other operate as one, as two humans on a journey of discovery. I work as a guide, support system, safe space and a container for the other while they go through a process of transformation. There is no judgement and we embrace an open heart, unconditional love and acceptance.

Magic is involved in psychotherapeutic work. There are often moments of connection and insight in a therapy room, which feel truly magical. Many of my colleagues would agree. It is the same in my work with the elements and nature, talking to trees, creating rituals and spells, working with deities. Magic in both contexts mean moments of divine connection when forces align and energies peak/flow in a certain way  that manifestation/transformation is possible. Results occur as a consequence of a way of working that is deeply spiritual and earthly at the same time. It is rooted in love and relating through the heart.

I am truly appreciative of how parts of myself align into one purpose whether I am being a therapist or a nature adventurer, ritual creator or a spiritual guide. It feels incredibly rich and immensely fulfilling. I can find magic all around me and I look forward to continuing my work with intuition as my guiding force and constant companion.

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Spring, Gold, Transformation

alchemy of transformation

It has been all about the Gold lately, which signifies a special phase of another transformational cycle we are entering into. It can manifest as a new job, a relocation, a completion of a project or a union of some kind. These are fairly general and it can be looked at deeper depending on your personal experience.

Gold is associated with treasure, potential, the energy of the Sun, a harvest of some sort and most importantly the final stage of transformation and coming into your own and shining to its full potential. Perhaps, some or all of these might relate to where you are currently on your journey.

For me gold came in a dream first when I was offered a chalice filled with golden liquid. I drank it and experienced feelings of ecstasy, freedom and serenity like no other. It was a very warming and pleasant sensation in the body and my mind was enveloped in thoughts of contentment, containment and comfort in the present moment.

I feel the season of spring, for me this year, is presentation differently and transforming into something entirely new. This was my intention for this work to occur, as through the years I had noticed a certain pattern, which would play out year after year, so when I paid conscious attention to it and unpicked it apart with the intention to heal I made a decision to work on transforming it with the next year. That time is now. I am already experiencing this season differently. Firstly I have welcomed spring with an open heart this year and I anticipated its arrival more eagerly than ever before. Previous spring had been a sad time for me, a paradox and a split, which presented as a wonderful season on the outside, yet my internal world would be in turmoil. A dissonance was always present.

Only last night standing outside I was acutely aware of just how pleased I am to see the spring this year and this time it wasn’t just words, thoughts. It was a strong felt sense in my body. I feel in love with the world and everything in it. My work is potent with love and care and joy to be in the presence of the human spirit resilient and vulnerable. I am so engaged with it all at the moment and drinking up its rewards and pleasures.

So, for me ‘gold’ is manifesting in that sense of having arrived somewhere new and truly transformed after challenging and dark times. Moving through the alchemical process of transformation, which begins in the dark place and engaging with functions of clarifying things through passion, fire, water and tears till we reach a place of purity and whiteness and feeling we have joined some dots, things began to make sense slowly till we landed with knowledge and insight to embrace where we came from and where we are now. There is a sense of balance also between the forces of the mind and compassion of the heart. At Spring equinox, in particular, it felt solid and in place when I sat with my past on my left and my future to my right, but solidly present in the moment facing what is here and now. A sense of achievement in the present moment and all the potential still waiting ahead. It is the perfect place of here and now. I am holding that golden chalice in my lap and I am overflowing with happiness and there is nothing that can’t be achieved.

Working with anxiety in a creative way

transforming anxiety

We have many parts within us. Our personality consists of many different qualities. Some parts are at play more actively than others, but that is not to say that if we display, e.g. unemotional behaviour or aggressive ways of interacting, we are devoid of empathy and sensitivity. We simply behave in a certain way because we learnt that behaviour in order to feel safe, survive or be liked. We engage with a certain way of being to gain something. Very often behaviour is based on how we think about something, or rather learnt to think. It might or might not be true. Therapeutic relationship is there not only to try and redefine how one thinks, but also through a relationship look at patterns of behaviour.

From a Transpersonal psychology perspective and my strong belief we are all ‘Whole’ essentially, however through life experiences parts of us get distorted, lost, hidden or rejected. I always say to clients that there is nothing ever wrong with a person/them, it is only that parts of them got a bit lost, broken or distorted depending on what they are experiencing. All of the person is accepted and perceived as a whole. We never want to abandon, reject or try and get rid of anything within us however uncomfortable it feels or negative it appears. Those parts more than anything need our love and attention and the work is to heal those parts by paying attention, listening, engaging with full acceptance and compassion and collect them back into the whole.

Working with anxiety this week the same idea of wholeness underpinned a creative activity where two parts were engaged in a cycle of behaviour deemed as negative and titled as anxiety, which then followed by a panic attack, shame and feeling down. There was a sense of powerlessness about it yet when a client drew a picture of the place where the unpleasant feeling would initially often surface it looked a beautiful golden ball of light, similar to the Sun. When they drew the second image that followed the initial feeling (the image of the Sun) that looked controlling and negative. The sun looked weakened in comparison when it is the Sun that is the place of potential, strength, security and place of belonging. Solar plexus (where the Sun resides) area is our power house, potential and security, our identity in the world.

I asked my client to add something to the image of the Sun to ‘make it feel better’. What did it need to feel less vulnerable, as the client described it, so a more empowering dialogue was possible between my client and the Sun when the feeling came up? They drew a blue circle around it – emotions, safety, and container, a part of the client weakened and abandoned to the mercy of the fierce image above it. It was easy for the other image to control the Sun. The work was to empower the Sun and transform a relationship with it from negative and weak to positively energizing and heart felt.

Using drawings with anxious clients can disengage the mind, which often tells us what we need to do and why and it can feel controlling. We learn to succumb to the mind and create an automatic way of thinking about things, so there is only one route that is available disregarding all the other possibilities. When we quieten the mind and engage with our bodies, where all our emotions live, we witness something much deeper, parts of ourselves that need our attention. Feelings often come up and connect us back to ourselves.

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Is fear always bad?

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Does fear need to be bad, always?

Yes, it is tarrying, yes it is a terrible vibration to hold and hard to shake off. I know it well. But it is also a messenger, it is a pointer towards something that is asking for help, or it can also serve a purpose of a propeller into action just like fire qualities.

Presence of fear can point towards a past trauma – yes. In that it is linked with an association of what had once been scary and threatening to us. We attach to that vibration, which gets activated when we are reminded of similar scenarios or have similar interactions. This is one part of what occurred for me, which I later became aware of, but what it also made me think of is another way of reaction to it. It is about relating to this particular emotion in a different way. I don’t feel like it would be serving its purpose if I always react to it in the same way. If one continues to do the same thing, results will always be the same. Something new needs to come through here to facilitate change and growth in me. There is a decision and a choice involved here again just like in my previous post, one can choose to continue aligning with something indefinitely or we can switch our perception of what it can be rather than what it had always been.

So, I asked myself a question ‘Is fear always bad? Does it have to be’? No

What came to me, as I walked through the forest touching my trusted trees, was the feeling of caring about something, caring a lot, too much one might say. When fear grips you it is an indication that you care about something or someone. We are all familiar with that. However, instead of working against it what if we worked with it? What we chose to channel it into something productive, beneficial and full of love? I am seeing it as an opportunity to do something different, to change something or take a different attitude or a route in order to express that care and love that we feel with the help of our fear as a guiding force.

It is a switch in perception or rather an extension of what fear means. It is allowing for fear to tell us more, to show us more, to align with its voice, because often fear comes in the moment and not always connected to anything in the past. It can simply be a vibration seeking its expression to point us towards a certain action or behaviour. The key here is to listen to the emotion, which is manifesting within you, not running away and rejecting your own voice, but quietly listen.

Someone pointed out fear within me earlier this week and yes, they are correct and on reflection I know where it came from and what it means, but rather than focusing on where it came from I am choosing to focus what I can do with it and what it really feels like when I sit with it. When we sit with an emotion giving it full acceptance and love it begins to tell a story, its vibration changes and something new gets introduced into the mix. I find emotions are not solid or static or one-dimensional. They flow, they are present one minute and gone the next, they are fleeting and if caught can be valuable to us.

My fear represents my determination and drive. The reason I scared is because my dream is big and meaningful. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t be scared. Have you ever experienced wanting something or someone so much you feel terrified it would slip through your fingers or something would take it away from you? Yes. Me too. That’s the indication, firstly, of how much you care. Secondly, it is an opportunity to do something with that in way of expressing your care whether it is manifesting love or achieving a goal with absolute certainty. Then, at least you are not surrendered to fear alone, you are journeying with what the fear means and acts as a catalyst towards. Direct it in the direction of positive intention, meaningful relationship, success through hard work or caretaking someone with the most open heart you have. Fear then turns to love and love conquers all. The choice is yours, fear can stop us, but fear can also propel us and transform into love ultimately.

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