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T he G irl in W ave

the

Journey of a Shamanic Voyager

Carole Devereux


AUTHOR’S NOTE

This publication provides accurate information about the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher is engaged in rendering psychological or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.

Cover design: Carole Devereux Cover photograph: Title art: Back cover photograph:

4


Copyright Š 2013 by Carole Devereux All Rights Reserved Printed in the United States

Published by Windhorse Press 40402 NE 74th Ave. La Center, WA 98629

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Carole S. Devereux

Table of Contents

1.

Chemistry Gone Wild

2.

Death of a Shaman: A Soul in Exile 5


2.

Re-awakening to Soul

2.

What is Your Soul Myth?

3.

Ego to Soul: A Multiple Lifetime Journey

4.

Out of the Shadows and Into the Fire

5.

Childhood & Past Lives: Your First Embodied

Experiences 6.

Living Your Truth & Having Your Passion

7.

Gifts of the Deep Self

8.

Death as Natures’ Reset Button

9.

Tyranny of the Thin People: It’s all About

Numbing Out 10.

Accessing Your Inner Witness

11.

Trauma and Language

http://scienceofenergyhealing.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/11/3-Game-Changers-in-2012copy.pdf 14

Being in Your Write Mind

15

Are You Ready to Process Grief

16

The Shadow Effect

17

Coming Home

17

Embracing the Wave: Using Positive Imagery for 6


Past-Life Flashbacks 18

Spirituality and Trauma Recovery

CHAPTER ONE

Chemistry Gone Wild Empowerment comes from acceptance of who you are and responsibility for what you have done! Ellen Mogensen ~ HealPastLives.com

The title, The Girl in the Wave, refers to an individual Soul, tossing on waves of karmic, cyclical patterns that arise from intense, emotional and traumatic experiences, over

many

lifetimes.

These

metamorphic

waves

correspond to our deepest yearnings and unfulfilled desires. They reflect the defining moments in life that have imprinted on us from the deep past. As a result, we continuously cast ourselves into multiple incarnations in 7


the hope of restoring the fractured “self” in the ocean of life. The word Soul in this context is that immutable consciousness that remains intact from lifetime to lifetime,

even

in-between

lifetimes.

Through

the

repetitive process of reincarnation, the Soul undergoes its own evolutionary journey in order to remedy its limitations, points of stagnation, and spiritual blocks. The Wheel of Life, a Vedic and Buddhist portrayal of human existence, illustrates these conditions and circumstances–-generally termed samsara–-that reflect unsatisfactory cycles of life, death and rebirth that continue without fail until we work enough to change them. At the center of the Wheel, the forces that keep it turning are delusion, greed and hatred. These are the forces that drive the Wheel in a never-ending cycle pictured as a pig, a cock and, a snake. Delusion refers to our fundamental ignorance of the nature of reality. In a dazed state of delusion, on the one hand we attempt to escape from our discomfort by grabbing at whatever gives us pleasure. We call this greed. On the other hand, we drive away what gives us pain–our reactions of dislike, anger, anxiety and fear called ‘hatred’. If the words ‘greed’ and ‘hatred’ are overly strong for what we normally feel, we can 8


substitute ‘attraction’ and ‘aversion’. Yet, these are what drive us around the Wheel of Life. The path toward freedom lies in our ability to pay closer attention to the times when we are neither grasping nor clinging to someone or something, which is termed the “gap.” This is the entry point, also called the ‘Point of Freedom’ where we encounter a moment when we might bypass the Wheel and move onto the Spiral Path that symbolizes the creative impulse. Creativity is orchestrated by intention. It occurs at the individual level as well as universally and collectively, permitting the world to take huge leaps in evolution. When intention is repeated it creates habit. Buddhist practitioners use the breath to find this “gap” by focusing on the moment or gap in between breathing in and breathing out. We explore this idea in a later chapter. To move upward on the Spiral of Life we need to focus our attention on the way we respond to distinct stimuli. We have no choice about our feelings in most circumstances or what our experiences give rise to–this is the result of past conditioning. But, we do have an option as to how we react to our feelings. This is what divides 9


the path between the Wheel and the Spiral. If we respond mechanically to pleasure and pain, grabbing at whatever we want and pushing away what we don’t, we move on to craving. And, this takes us on yet another turn around the Wheel, and another lifetime of unfulfilled desires. Yet, if we face irritating situations and feelings of hurt, we can learn to respond creatively, whatever else our feelings may force us to do. Rather, we can open a door to unlimited freedom and step into a more creative way of being. Our first experience of doing this, either through meditation or yoga, or by not following our regular routines, may result in discomfort still because it is unsettling to be ourselves in new ways. Nevertheless, avoiding discomfort is what keeps us going around the Wheel. So, when the first step on the Spiral Path creates suffering or disappointment, we must remember not to abandon hope! All creativity is based on uncertainty. Since what we know is a habit of conditioning, creativity exists in the unknown, free of habitual conditioning. Creativity is anything that breaks us free from our prevailing conditioning. According to Deepak Chopra, that is why it is important to look for coincidences in our lives. He says, 10


“When you notice coincidences, you can discover their hidden meanings for your life.” In his book, The Spontaneous

Fulfillment

of

Desire,

he

explains,

“Coincidences are unpredictable synchronistic events and the very fact that something is a coincidence means that it is a message from God. If we heed the messages, we have a chance to take a creative action. It is an opportunity for a creative response.” The goal of enlightenment, Chopra says, is to go beyond, to transcend probability and experience true freedom. When we face discomfort, rather than run from it by grasping or pushing it away, we begin to deal with it. And that’s when we start to develop creativity that sets up new conditioning. This leads to more good feelings and, less suffering. When we choose to be creative, that is to say when we do not do our “everyday thing,” but instead make different choices, it opens up new possibilities and new neural pathways. For example, if we don't reach for that glass of wine, piece of cake, or the remote control, but instead meditate or go for a walk, we are optimizing the “gap.” Likewise, when we apologize to a ‘difficult' person for our side in an argument and ask them to lunch instead, we are opening new neural pathways. Or, when we stop using our limited energy to complain and start looking at 11


how we have contributed to the situation we are complaining about, we are being creative. When we do something other than normal, new things come into being. What aspects of your life around the Wheel have kept you distracted from finding your door to freedom? Can you recall a time when you shifted from being in a reactive and impulsive mode into a creative mode? What did you feel, and what effects did it have on your consciousness? In Eastern spirituality, life is not considered to begin in birth and end in death. It is believed to be a continuous flow, a wave, of being and nonbeing, past, present and future, occurring simultaneously. Whether something happened last week or 2000 years ago, we can still awaken to understanding the circumstances of our actions. This can lead us to selfforgiveness, which is the key to releasing pain of the past. How do we start to acknowledge our old behavioral patterns so that we are not continuously propelled into new lifetimes looking for answers to the same questions over and over again? The patterns we develop in this life and in past or parallel lives are apparent in our earliest childhood behaviors and 12


memories.

These

memories

often

originate

from

distorted beliefs passed on to us through the generations. We call these patterns “trans-generational beliefs.� If you can remember your most intensified negative behaviors as a child, until about the age of five, you can see what habits you have carried into this life that are not aligned with love and then begin to work to resolve them. Mine were extreme shyness, timidity, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-love, a weakness for sweets (looking for the sweetness in life outside of myself) and an equal amount of ego and narcissism. It is no wonder so many people today are suffering from anxiety and depression. We are not aware of repeating patterns from the past running in the present. And, we do not know how to heal them once we do acknowledge them. They are heavy burdens for sure, that is until we learn how to shed light on their root causes. In the following pages, I will identify some common childhood, past life and trans-generational patterns and beliefs that people carry in from other lives into the present (which are really one in the same.) We will learn practices for liberating ourselves from karma– karma that has cast confusion on humankind for thousands of years. We will learn how to integrate our 13


new knowledfe knowledge with emotions for a healthy, balanced, spiritual awareness. Karma is the unfinished business from our past that needs to be healed. If we don’t learn the lessons, or transform our past negative experiences, we will repeat them in some

form until we understand what

unconditional love really feels like. Karma is created when we are out of alignment with the universal laws of creation. Our unconscious, emotional, psychological, and spiritual shadows that no longer serve our highest good, have a lot of control over our everyday existence. When we begin to clarify our worst limiting beliefs and know when they are affecting us, we can become proactive instead of reactive. We can practice creative ways to recondition our self-defeating behaviors.

The Biology of Belief How

conditioned

patterns

develop

and

become

entrenched in the brain and neural pathways is a science in and of itself, called neurobiology or neuroscience. Neurobiology is the study of cells of the nervous system and the organization of these cells into functional circuits that process information and mediate behavior. 14


Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. All the same, memories and flashbacks often have their deepest roots in experiences of past/parallel lives that are recurring in the present moment. Most of the time we have no conscious memories of our past until we illuminate them in some form of analysis, contemplation and/or hypnosis or regression. Infrequently, a person can have a spontaneous recall expereince of a past life (flashback) which can be confusing and/or disturbing. It is best to employ an experienced Past Life Therapist to guide you through a past life regression. When I first started to observe my unwanted habits and behaviors in a conscious way, I began to wonder why anyone would drag such burdensome addictions into the present as karmic baggage. But, after a while, I started to understand that it is to heal the things that have gone unhealed for so many generations. What we bury alive never dies. When we do not forgive and release old wounding, we cannot experience unconditional love and which will repattern instinctual responses and triggers. If we strive to be responsible for all that has happened to us, without judgment, criticism, and blame, we can see that our legacy is to be the master of our own destiny. Although we can acknowledge the warning signs 15


and triggers of recurring childhood, traumatic events and post-traumatic stress in talk therapy, we still need to understand the neurobiological effects that stress has on the body and mind. If we do not do this, we can become the victims of our own denial and projection and selfhate. When we are in a constant reactive and emotional state, the body secrets stress chemicals that give rise to inflammation, which is a major cause of degenerative disease and aging. Adrenal fatique for the majority of the population was at all-time high during the 2008 collapse of the financail system in the United States. This is just one example Ironically, the same neurobiological responses that preserve physical and psychological wholeness during a threat, also drive the symptoms of posttraumatic stress for months, years and, even recurring lifetimes after the threat has ended. How does this happen? I am not exactly sure, but I am sure it is true. In my opinion, if a crisis is severe enough and prolonged enough, the effects of it can pass down through DNA to the next generation. How then do we remove this kind of psychological and emotional harm from out past? We do not survive unavoidable harm or traumatic events as a result of conscious, frontal lobe 16


decision-making. In the moment of a life-threatening event, survival responses are set in motion by an area in the temporal lobes called the limbic system. The limbic system is the repository for all of our emotional, sensory, and relational experiences in the brain. It is a group of structures that include the hippocampus, an important memory processing center, and the amygdala, the brain’s “fire alarm.” Emotion involves the entire nervous system, of course. But we have two parts of the nervous system that are especially significant: The limbic system and the autonomic nervous system. In the lower limbic system primary emotions such as fear and involuntary reactions to unexpected stimuli that seem hard-wired can hijack the brain—causing emotions to overwhelm reason. When our five senses pick up signals of impending doom, that information is conveyed to the thalamus, (Greek for inner chamber) our sensory information center, where, in a matter of nanoseconds, it is evaluated by both the amygdala and the left orbital prefrontal cortex (LeDoux, 2002) to determine if it is a true or false alarm. Most sensory input to the cerebral cortex goes to the thalamus first, where it acts as a switchboard, converting signals into forms that can be read by the cortex. 17


The prefrontal cortex is designed to hold the “veto power:” if the stimulus is accepted as benign, the amygdala does not reply. But, when the stimulus is determined

a

threat,

the

amygdala

signals

the

hypothalamus to “turn on” the sympathetic nervous system, resulting in a “wave” of neurochemicals cascading from the adrenal glands into the body to initiate an adrenaline stress response. Subsequently, there is an accelerated production of catecholamines, the brain chemicals associated with wakefulness,

i.e.,

dopamine,

norepinephrine,

and

epinephrine. An increase in these neurotransmitters produces an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity. Neurotransmitters are those chemical sparks that

jump

between

neurons

and

nerve

endings

conveying important messages in the brain. There are often decreased levels of corticosteroids and serotonin--the most pronounced effects probably being a reduced ability to control the triggered fight or flight response. Also, there are increased levels of endogenous opioids, which result in pain relief, emotional dampening, and memory impairment. As

we

prepare

for

fight

or

flight,

the

neurochemicals cause our heart rate and respiration to increase, maximizing oxygen to the muscles and ‘turning 18


off’ other non-essential systems, including the frontal cortex. We are now in “survival mode.� Pausing to think would just waste our precious time. So, the price for engaging our instinctual animal defenses at this level is that we lose the ability to bear witness to the experience. As we mobilize for fight or flight, the adrenal glands initiate reciprocal activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, preparing for the cessation of the danger and recovery from the threat. Then, production of cortisol increases; heart rate and respiration slow down and frontal lobe activity resumes. But this often happens hyperactively, which can create intrusive thoughts and images over a period of time until these chemical reactions settle down in the body. If fighting or fleeing is not possible, the parasympathetic nervous system offers two other survival alternatives--freeze and submission. Children, for example, are almost entirely dependent on freeze and submission responses, as are victims of domestic violence, prisoners of war, and hostages of terrorism. Following the event, after we have shaken and wept and trembled until our bodies have re-calibrated, the

hippocampus

arranges

the

experience

into

chronological order in preparation for transfer to verbal 19


memory areas in the cortex during sleep. The hippocampus is one of the “non-essential” parts of the mind and body that is suppressed under threat. So, for the very worst experiences, the mind is restricted from making any sense of what just happened. The price for surviving wounding experiences is that we are left with unfinished neurobiological business and an inadequate memory of what happened or how we endured it. If the experience is a singlular event, and we have had enough support afterward, and if we have not suffered prolonged prior trauma, we will be left shaken, but will feel the event is “behind” us. If the injury is on-going, and/or we are developmentally vulnerable, and/or we have inadequate support, we can be left with a host of unpleasant memories and flashbacks of the event. These intense responses and symptoms “tell the story” but without the words or knowledge that we are remembering a past event (Siegel, 1999). If a child experiences the environment as habitually traumatizing, as are most traumatic childhood environments, the survival response system becomes chronically activated, resulting in long-term problems for the developing brain and body. Just thinking about these 20


memories can incite a reaction from the nervous system as though the event was happening in the here-and-now. Instead of treating the emotional body and the pain that accompanies a fearful life-changing event through recall in talk therapy, counselors are now addressing the effects of trauma by “waking up” the frontal lobes of their patients in order to discharge old injuries. This begins with mindfulness awareness or a practice called “Inner Witnessing.” Mindfulness is knowing what you are doingwhen you are doing it. It leads to awareness and experiencing life as a living presence. By practicing mindfulness

and

breathing

exercises

during

an

emotional flashback and by becoming your own Inner Witness you can replace reactivity with knowingness. This allows you to pace your exploration of the past in a way that allows the autonomic nervous system a chance to experience regulation instead of dysregulation. Regulation simply means you are choosing to regulate the flood of stress hormones that are deposited into your bloodstream as opposed to having to clean up the “mess” after, if that is even possible, and it can take a fair amount of time and energy. When unforseen events shatter the integrity of the psyche, the resutls are what psychologists call 21


fragmentation. The primary split is between the body and the mind. The effect is called dissociation. In a stressful situation, the natural witnessing aspect of the consciousness (the higher mind) allows you to become an oberserver from a higher perspective. The higher mind can subdue and therefore talk the lower mind out of its control over us with its instinctual reactions to fear. However, this is accomplished mostly through skillful practice and the help of a professional guide, trained Shaman or Psychologist. Many

trauma

victims

experience

chronic

dissociation when severe forms of dissocation result in mental illness. Psychology has many terms to describe the effects of this kind of trauma and dissociation, but in the world of Shamanism the wounding of the psyche and soul is fully understood and treated by calling back those “lost” parts of the soul to the self that have become alienated. By reconnecting, reintegrating the “lost” parts and understanding the circumstances surrounding the loss, we become whole again. Author, Deborah M. Coryell writes in Healing Through the Shadow of Loss, “Within the idea of “lost” is the feeling of being alone. Are we saying “I have lost” and really mean “I am lost”? When we are attached to someone or something and become unattached, we lose 22


our sense of being connected; of knowing where our place is in the world. We’ve lost our place. Wheter it is temporarily lost or permanently lost is up to us. Part of the task of grieving is finding our place in the world again.” For me, reintegration is like teaching a bird that has been thrown from a nest, how to fly. Coryell says, “The issues of ownership and responsibility are intrinsic to the idea of “lost.” To lose something, it has to belong to you in the first place.And if it’s yours and you’ve lost it, were you irresponsible? Did you not take care of it? You lose something when you’re not paying attention”. In Shamanism the Soul belongs to God. It is the Ego that belongs to us. What do I mean then, when I say: “I’ve lost my tribe?” If my tribe is lost, where did I lose it? What exactly is lost? Our expereince of the world comes to us through our senses. We know this because we see, hear, taste, feel and smell. But, when someone or something or a moment is lost, it means have have lost our ability to sense it or feel it. That is unless our unconscious or subconscious intention is to develop the “higher” senses, and our psychic abilities, our higher sense perception. Those senses may include: clairvoyance clairaudience, or clairsentience. We discuss Shamanic soul retrieval in Chapter 23


Three. But, suffice it to say here that Shamans are masters at retrieving fragmented soul parts for those who have lost them to other dimensions during a traumatic event through fragmentation and dissociation. They help us feel whole again by helping us to feel connected to the Self again. Some events that make us feel disconnected are rape, murder, sexual abuse, and/or mental and emotional abuse by a parent. A shattering event is just what it says. A person is broken into pieces. Shell shocked is another term people used to use to describe soldiers returning home after WWII who had experienced what we call today Post Traumatic Stress Disease. By attaining homeostasis and equanimity and by learning new responses to old triggers that compete with habitual reactions to numbing out, we can change our addictive behaviors and old conditioning. This process is, however, much easier said than done. Traumatic

memories

of

the

past,

called

flashbacks, are classically described as different than normal memories becuase they represent framentary, isolated, incoherent and amnesiac elements of the psyche. Dr. Lisa Leit, author of a blog about the psychology

of

interpersonal 24

communication

says,


“Research suggests that men and women tend to experience

limbic

hijacks

differently due

to key

differences in brain functioning. Researchers at the University of

Pennsylvania found that functional

magnetic resonance imaging of men and women under stress showed neuroscientists how their brains differed in response to stressful situations. In men, increased blood flow to the left orbitofrontal cortex suggested activation of the “fight or flight” response. In women, stress activated the limbic system,

which

is

associated

with

the

emotional

responses.” In traditional trauma treatment, it has been assumed that enough re-telling of the story or experiencing the feelings enables new responses to develop naturally. But, neurobiological research tells us another story: The limbic system will always tend to respond to a reminder of a threat as if it were a real threat unless the frontal cortex can order it to “hold off” from sounding the alarm. In fact, re-telling the story has more of a chance of reactivating the limbic system than desensitizing it. People are increasingly turning to alternative methods such as acupuncture, massage, yoga, dance, art, meditation

and

breath-work 25

as

adjuncts

to


psychotherapy. Therapists are employing more somatic and energy therapies to teach clients to calm their nervous

systems

and

shift

into

other

states

of

consciousness that help a client imagine a new response and coping strategy. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy offers a way to address somatically-based symptoms of trauma through approaches that untangle traumatic events from intense feelings, bodily responses, and blaming thoughts. It combines

traditional

therapy

with

body-centered

interventions that address the neurobiological effects of trauma. By using the narrative just to evoke the traumarelated bodily experience, and by making that “sliver” of memory the primary entry point in therapy, a therapist can help a person attend to how the body has “remembered” the trauma and discover the emotional meaning of it. Sensorimotor work emphasizes the restoration of the “Inner Witness.” This witnessing self is the self that shows a person a way to intercept his or her emotions, and “just notice” the experience. It helps us to take time to observe how the body is responding to a certain stimuli. This type of mindfulness is an example of what is termed ‘parallel processing’ or ‘dual awareness.‘ 26


Using a twofold awareness, we can learn how to remain at a slight distance from our emotions in order to detrach from what is happening so that we can physically observe, but not engage in, the sequence of feelings, thoughts and sensations that follow. Dual awareness and parallel processing are the manifestations of self-witnessing. This is the ability that is lost at the moment a trauma occurs and the amygdala sounds the alarm. That’s when the frontal lobes go ‘off line,’ and we go into fight, flight, freeze or submission instinctively and unconsciously. When the traumatic past haunts us without our conscious awareness of the cause, we might not be able to undergo the process of healing. A healthy and happy life is built on a foundation of understanding, love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion. Everything in life has a purpose. Everything we say, think, feel and do has a hidden, spiritual intention based on past events we call karma. Even amidst constant turmoil and chaos, we can still realize our own divine purpose as the sacred ground upon which selfhealing and Soul growth takes place.

CHAPTER TWO 27


The Compassionate Witness “The beginning of freedom from the pain-body lies first of in the realization that you have a pain-body. Then, more important, in your ability to stay present enough, alert enough, to notice the pain-body in yourself as a heavy influx of negative emotions when it becomes active. When you recognize it, it can no longer pretend to be you and live and renew itself through you.� A New Earth ~ Eckhart Tolle

From Inner Child to Inner Witness Human ego identity starts to form, according to most schools of developmental psychology, in the first few months of life through the age of three to five. At the end of the fifth year, a parent can see the spirit of a child begin to shine or begin to die. This is the most formative period in an individual’s life and it shapes the core emotional and psychological patterns that remain with 28


us for the rest of our lives. These patterns continue to dominate us if we do not work on, examine or explore them and the unconscious ways in which they restrict our development. According to Past Life Regressionist, Ellen Mogenson, “Critical incidents from early life forge and mold us to help us heal our past traumas. The hallmark of a critical incident is that it causes a person, especially a child, to make a decision that lasts a lifetime.” For example, a child remembers being bullied and decides early in life how to respond to intimidation. Mogensen says, “A critical decision is one that we cannot change because--whenever we try--the feelings surrounding the incident stop us--cold. Critical incidents are so pivotal in our lives because they happen when we are young and impressionable.” Past Life Therapists agree that the most powerful critical incidents are often continuations carried over from previous lifetimes where we lacked understanding of what love is. We come back again and again to work on something until we remember the truth about our own true nature–that we have unlimited love and capacity for wisdom, compassion and Soul connection, that we are a part of an eternal universe, and that we are capable of communication with God to resolve our all of 29


our problems. We are one with God. We begin each new life where we left off in a previous/parallel life. The signs and symptoms begin to show themselves in early childhood. Most of the signs and symptoms reflect our deepest security needs that have gone unresolved and unhealed. Deepak Chopra says, “From experience in the past we create memories, which are the basis of imagination and desire. Desire is the basis of action, once again. And so, the cycle perpetuates itself.” Critical incidents mirror unhealed conflicts that need to be released in a new life. Often, we are unaware these old patterns, run by the reptilian brain, are there until we stop and look at ourselves through some form of self-inquiry and self-analysis. A Soul that wants to heal the past and can start over again by gaining a new body, a new life, and another chance to get it right this time. Desire is the main ingredient for reincarnation. But, the old patterns and responses to old trauma continue to follow us. We have acquired them over a long period and carry them from one lifetime to the next. The first step in attempting to disable old patterns from the past is by evolving a relationship with the persona of yourself called the “Inner Witness.” The 30


Inner Witness is an inner reflection of that part of yourself that watches events unfold from a place of detachment and non-judgement. The Inner Witness is an impartial observer motivated by compassion, not egotistical opinions or self-importance. It is that inner place that listens and pays attention with loving kindness and acceptance, like a loving parent. Eckhart Tolle writes, “ It is your conscious Presence that breaks the identification with the pain-body . . .When we don’t identify with it, the pain-body can no longer control your thinking and so cannot renew itself by feeding on your thoughts.� If our parents were unskilled Inner Witnesses for themselves during our childhood, they were unskilled models of the Inner Witness for us as children. Often their unconscious judgments correspond to our old, limiting patterns from multiple, previous lifetimes. And, since we mirror each other in family dynamics we are born into families where the signs and symptoms for each other are much the same, and stem from similar types of dysfunctional behavior. An example of this is a mother who responds to paternal aggression by retreating into herself. Her daughter then learns to do the same. Dr. Stephanie Mines, author of We Are All In 31


Shock: How Overwhelming Experiences Shatter You...And What You Can do About It, says, “Cultivating the Inner Witness is the preface to life-changing self-talk and the voice of healing.” It is a necessary strategy for people who suffer Post Traumatic Stress and other forms of mental illness. Mental illness in this context includes those symptoms that result from an overwhelmed and over-reactive central nervous system. In human consciousness, we frequently repress our instinctive responses to stress with delayed reactions that are not easy to decipher after the fact. Especially if “after” includes previous lifetimes. In an article, ‘Reclaiming Our Animal Body,’ psychologist Tania Dolley recounts a car accident from which she emerged unscathed and calm, only later to succumb to the classical symptoms of delayed shock. Instead of discharging the adrenaline which the body mobilizes to deal with danger, as other animals do by shivering and shaking, the human animal overrides its instinctual impulses by means of the rational mind. Then, the residual energy stays stuck in the body and begins to backfire as symptoms of anxiety and depression. The Inner Witness provides an alternative to irrational, obsessive reactions to shocking experiences. It 32


helps us to identify our unhealthy behaviors and addictions by observing them instead of getting hooked on them. Once you can do this for yourself, you can model this behavior for others. First, individually, then collectively, this method of discharging old, trapped negative emotions can help whole families and communities to heal. If peacefulness and mindfulness become a part of the collective unconscious, groups can radiate peace out into the world. Our shared, shock-based negative fears can be softened and absorbed back into the Earth where they are further neutralized. Consciousness is like a sea flowing through all of creation.1

We are at a tipping point with our social

23

expression of anxiety and depression today. Our children are exhibiting this by intense antisocial behavior in school. Psychic,

negative

residues

and

Plutonian

undercurrents are coming full circle for transformation on a massive scale. (Pluto in Capricorn) Mainstream culture

is

facing

collective

fears–-fear

of

death,

destruction, and the unknown. We are becoming aware

1The Way Beyond the Shaman: Birthing a New Earth Consciousness, Barry Cottrell 2 3 33


of our own personal and collective Soul in the process. And, the making of a Soul is forged in personal and collective suffering, tempered by contemplation on the Inner Witness and accepting the power of transcendence. The Inner Witness helps us to establish a bond with the truth rather than the lies that shocking negative events force us to believe are true as reported to us from the reptilian brain. The cycle of violence ends and evolution begins when each one of us, in our own bodies, stops emotional manipulation and learns to use the higher brain through education, meditation, prayer and healing self-care. Mindfulness is the lifestyle of a compassionate witness who presents us with a paradigm shift: We do not have to believe our own negative thinking. This fearful thinking is passed down to us from our ancestors. Through

reflection,

contemplation

and

compassion you can find your own voice of inner healing. The compassionate witness sees the true origins of egotistical behaviors as well as the Divine Soul. It is the connection to your Soul that inspires and empowers you to change. Learning what your individual Soul is here to do in this lifetime is key to healing your past. Once you realize how certain behaviors have become embedded in your body/mind, you will 34


understand how to forgive, release, and go beyond. Although this may take time, the more you practice, the more you can allow yourself to relax around your addictions, your self-destructive ego-talk, and your emotions of anger, hatred and delusion. If you face fear and anger with conscious compassion, instead of pushing it away, you will allow yourself to see through it, to what it really is--energy that has become stuck in a negative feedback loop. The practice of being your own best friend works because positive self-care changes the way you see yourself and the world. No matter how well you can summon positive words for others, you must first create transformation for yourself in order to reap the rewards of resolving old trauma. The Inner Witness helps you to see how you use language to perpetuate shock and trauma which affects your nervous system. The practice helps you to see that positive words are the equivalent to affirmative medicine that can stimulate neurotransmitter support. At first, you will only mute the ego button that comes with conditioning, but over time you can permanently reprogram the brain to stop negative self-talk and your reactive modes altogether.

35


How to Connect with Your Inner Witness Imagine you have a Perfect Twin standing next to you. You are one and the same person, only in two different bodies. Your Perfect Twin is with you without any judgments or opinions running in the background. Your Perfect Twin is observing the environment in a detached and neutral way, from an objective point of view, with higher vision. Imagine this as best you can now. Your Perfect Twin is neither grasping nor trying to do anything. Your Perfect Twin content to be, and is free from the need for self-conscious control, resentment, desire, guilt or emotional turbulence. Your

Perfect

Twin

is

“un-self�

conscious.

(Unselfishness means the opposite of egoism. It stems from the French word altruisme.) Your Perfect Twin is standing with you without criticism. Your Perfect Twin does not have any desires and does not wish to do or change anything. If you stand close to your Perfect Twin 36


you will feel how she/he feels and what it means to be free from overwhelm. The longer you stay in this “free zone,” the more you are able to regenerate your depleted adrenal function. The more you practice this kind of selfcare, and self-love the more you can merge completely with your Inner Witness who is that part of you that is integrated with your higher self, higher brain, divine self. You can practice this using breathing exercises and relaxing around self-control.4 Allow yourself to see out the Inner Witnesses eyes, feel the Inner Witnesses body and flow from inside the heart of the Inner Witness. This Witness is you, your divinely ennobled self. Dr. Stephanie Mines writes, “The compassionate Inner Witness is neither a victim nor a rebel. The Inner Witness arises from the frontal lobe, the higher brain, and is supported by the nourishing neurobiology of love.” The wise Witness calms the desperation of the reptilian brain and reorganizes and reframes memories of shock that are stored in the midbrain. The more selfcare you give, the more you are integrating neocortical awareness into all of your actions and speech. Then, even when a shock does occur, it can be tolerated by your nervous system because the higher 4Breathing exercise book on pranic healing 37


brain is in command, not the Mother Brain--the lower limbic system. A key part of this model is the notion that change, even at the psychological level, is a journey rather than a simple step. This journey may not be simple and you may need to go through several stages of misunderstanding before you get to the other side. Be patient. Now step into your body as the Perfect Twin and observe what is going on? What is the tone of your thoughts? Can you name them? Are they loving, blaming, sad, or neutral? How does your body feel. Do you feel connected and safe inside your body? Can you be non-judgmental? While observing the inner silence and using this simple, objective perspective, what do you see, think and feel right now. Are you noticing old tapes running in the back of your mind? Are they parental judgments? Or, do you hear a happy, inner child inviting you to go out and play? A compassionate Inner Witness sees through the true origins of old anxious behaviors and invokes the power to change. Forgiveness for the past is key to opening the door to the future. When the nervous system is refined in ways that bring purification and calm we are better able to polish our perceptions of the truth that sets us free. During the 38


time that I did work with my inner children I started to create images that helped me to connect with them. On a very practical level, we need to eat and drink only the purest food and water, practice moderate exercise, get enough sleep and rest in order to empower and boost the central nervous system and our immunity. This will help you to stay healthy and moving forward in the right direction while delving into your inner world. Cultivating the practice of a compassionate Inner Witness can be compared to the practice of yoga. Yoga is the mystical union of the self with a Supreme Being. When you are in a state of complete awareness and tranquillity through physical and mental exercises your body and mind will relax. The

practice

of

yoga

and/or

deep

meditation/prayer cultivates the ability to observe deep, inner silence, which supports the ability to surrender to emotions and thoughts without judgment. Feeding your inner demons this way will cause them to dissolve. The term ‘practice’ is important here because the idea of having an Inner Witness is a creative practice itself, not just a theory. It means you cannot just think about it, you have to do it. Some yogis teach that one does not have to practice to achieve enlightenment. But, I believe they are speaking to very highly advanced 39


people who are born close to enlightenment anyway. For the rest of us, it is practice, practice, practice. The Inner Witness is not something you conjure with your mind. It is pure awareness of being unattached to outcomes or results or clinging to ego-based selfimportance. The Inner Witness is unencumbered by the need for achievement, unruffled by deadlines, impartial to feelings of anxiety, depression or anger. When we are with our Inner Witness we can do everything with ease, grace and love. The Inner Witness clears the horizon because it sees with detachment. “Once

the

Witness

is

present,

self-inquiry

becomes reasonably automatic. The Witness is both the fuel and the destination of self-inquiry.”5 One particularly good practice for calming the nerves is to sit and repeat a mantra. It is possible to create your own mantra in the future, but for now, let’s use the phrase I AM. The practice is to repeat the phrase over and over without regard to it’s meaning. Using a simple mantra helps to still the mind and connect the mind to your Soul’s vibrations. Then, inner silence becomes the “witnessing” center in your life. With this practice we

5Self Inquiry: The Dawn of the Witness and the End of Suffering, Yogani 40


develop the ability for deeper, self-inquiry, practiced in the moment, not for a goal. Self-inquiry helps you to see when you are being tossed, like waves on the ocean, by your own agitated thoughts and emotions. From that place of agitation, we cannot know the depths of the ocean itself. When you realize you are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions, you are not your body or your mind, it becomes obvious that you are the Inner Witness. You are your own ocean, creating your own turbulence. And, with that understood, you can surrender at any time and move to the center of the storm. You learn to do much more for yourself even when doing less inside. If you cultivate inner silence, when you get angry, and practice the Inner Witness you can clearly see that your emotions are only the reactions of an overwhelmed nervous system. Anger is a reflection of unresolved, stuck, accumulated shock and trauma. All of which is not who you truly are! Commit, once and for all, to accept your Divinity. This is the foundation for my approach to spiritual trauma recovery. Deepak Chopra writes in his book, Super Brain: Unleashing the Super Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being, that there are 41


five myths about the brain that have been found to be untrue. They are: 1. The injured brain cannot heal itself; 2. The brain’s hardwiring cannot be changed; 3. Aging in the brain is inevitable and irreversible; 4. The brain loses millions of cells a day, and lost brain cells cannot be replaced; 5. Primitive reactions, (fear, anger, jealousy, aggression) overrule the higher brain. Chopra says we are creating our reality in every minute, and if that process remains alive in us, our brains will be able to keep up, year after year. When you are abiding in your Inner Witness, you will find your reactions to anger are rooted in your over identification with waves of emotions from the past. These waves originate from shock, violence and strong desire. In the past, you regarded those waves as your true self. Today, you have a chance to embrace mindfulness awareness and freedom to let go of old delusions. Those delusions were temporary anyway. You are the eternal universe experiencing itself through a human body. When we live from a place of silent witnessing, in the center of our being, at the level of the heart, we must also understand the need for detachment, which is the opposite of desire. Otherwise, our attachments can, and do, sweep us away. (Hence, the title, The Girl in the 42


Wave.) This is not detachment from feelings, but from the thoughts that give rise to our feelings. Our thoughts are what cause our emotions to well up inside of us. The rise of our emotions, as we all know, can carry us away into states of worry and over excitement. In the words of Yeats, “the center does not hold” and in the words of the poet Dante, “the way was lost.” Detachment is the power to be with your Inner Witness and feel embodied at the same time. To do this, rather than become disassociated from the body, is a spiritual practice. To feel embodied means to feel into those parts of the body where you are holding your most powerful emotions. Then, let go. Many people practice detachment in meditation but, often it is a detachment of the “disembodied” kind. They use meditation to go out of the body to produce emotional relief. This is not healing. They are afraid of their emotions and tend to be emotionally detached as a result. It’s no wonder people are afraid of intense emotions, especially when those emotions stem from fragmented fears. Then, their spiritual practice becomes a practice in “detachment from detachment,” which leads to depression and a flattening of the feeling senses. But, feeling emotions in meditation from a place of mental detachment is a form of self-acceptance and surrender to 43


the

emotional

body,

which cannot harm you if

you are “aware.� Witnessing is a practice

of returning to that still point in the center of your emotional storm. If you can become conscious soon enough to catch yourself at the start of a tail spin, you can begin to breathe and relax. When you recall the power of the center, within the silence while breathing deeply, you can breathe more slowly and thereby reduce the amount of adrenaline your brain is telling your body to secrete. Too much adrenaline and cortisol create inflammation and inflammation causes disease. When your body starts to slow down your nervous system, you begin to breathe in and out in a conscious way, you start to align yourself with the process of inspiration and letting go. Between the in breath and the out breath is a gap. This is the turning point. Over time, as you value inner peace, which is hard won, you will become a silent witness to your past, present and future. Abiding

in

the

Inner Witness helps us to choose how to respond to traumatic events instead of collapsing into chemicallybased, unstable, fear reactions. Benjamin Franklin once 44


said, “Whatever starts in anger, always ends in shame.” The Inner Witness leads to deeper self-inquiry. You will begin to see where you are depleted, where you are stuck in the most profound ways. It shows you your knee-jerk reactions and responses that have turned into habits that keep you numb and insensitive. With the Inner Witness you can begin to profoundly feel the hurts you once experienced in the past that you are still pushing away. But now you can identify those archetypal emotions and heal them. You can see where your responses have been automatic, compulsive and ill-considered. Author, Jonathan Ellerby writes, “The essence of the spiritual life is to stay connected to that sacred place within that holds the memory of wholeness, peace and balance, no matter how far our hearts and minds have wondered.” In the next chapter, we are going to look at some common reasons why people suffer from sleeplessness, anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress. Over the years, during my own Soul searching journey, I have found a strong association between spirituality, the life of the Soul, and trauma recovery. From the perspective of the Soul, everything we experience in life is specifically designed to help us find our center, how to abide in it, and how to walk a path of 45


transcendence.

CHAPTER THREE

Death of a Shaman: A Soul in Exile "I was provoking your self-importance," don Juan said with a frown. "Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it. What weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.� The Fire Within ~ Carlos Castenadas Quantum Physics tells us that the act of observing something changes it. The Butterfly Effect of Chaos Theory shows us to what degree the smallest wave can 46


eventually bring about a hurricane. Upon examining our emotional waves we can see how the tiniest change in any direction can take us down a different path when it is presented with the intention of healing the Soul’s deepest desires and unmet security needs. Through the practice of Evolutionary Astrology I have been able to recognize my deepest, unmet security needs and how they are impacting me today, even creating havoc in my life. By looking at the placement of the planet Pluto in my birth chart, along with aspects to the nodal axis of the moon and the planet Uranus, I have been able, with the help of Evolutionary Astrologers, Mark Jones and Stephen Forrest, to untangle my personal web of highly charged negative emotions-emotions that stem from a toxic buildup of shock and grief over many lifetimes. These painful, unresolved, deeply embedded, Soul memories of past critical incidents, (one in particular) have caused an unconscious desire

in

me

to

create

multiple,

self-sabotaging

reincarnations around the Wheel of Life, with no way out, until now. Only today do I see a way to break my addictive cycles. But, it is constant work. Critical incidents and the emotional charges that attend them, gather momentum over long periods of time. It wasn’t until I was mature enough to take an 47


honest look at myself, through psychology, Evolutionary Astrology, Jungian Dream Analysis, Inner Child Work and Shamanic Communication with animals and nature, that I could see the patterns that had kept me stuck in a self-destructive feedback loop---evolving very slowly and, often cataclysmically. I know many people use other methods as well. But, the methods I have tested are those that have worked the best for me. They are the subject of this book. I have friends who are committed to Rapid Eye Technology, Reiki, Pranic Healing, Core Shamanism, Plant Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Feng Shui to name a few. But, the combination of Past Life Regression Therapy, Psychological Inner Child Work and Evolutionary Astrology have proven to be the best technologies I have known for resolving anxiety. Of course, the issues you are trying to heal dictate the methods you will be drawn to use. A deeper understanding of the ways in which people create their own reality offsets the powerlessness we often sense when an intense, deeply entrenched Soul need is not being met. The placement of Pluto in a birth chart illustrates where traumatic past events, betrayals and/or threats to survival have affected us. The birth chart is a blueprint representing areas in a life where 48


deeply unresolved issues surrounding death, loss and trauma are still dominating our life force. A strong Pluto signature is often observed among children who have suffered physical and emotional abuse. If they were also victims of incest or have lost their parents through death or divorce at an early age, or were unwanted and treated coldly by one or both parents, the chances are they are still dealing with strong negative emotions, buried deep within the Soul as adults. Uranus, Aquarius, and the 11th house in a chart show where sudden trauma has affected our lives in the past. And, with a thorough examination of the planet, its sign, house placement and aspects, I have been able to experience a total re-visioning of my past. Once understanding becomes the foundation for negative past experiences, anyone can learn how to release their deadening effects. Grief is a dark cloud that follows us like a shadow from one lifetime to the next. Until we shed light on the truth behind it, it continues to separate us from our true selves and the love we know we deserve. Every

time

we

reincarnate

we

have

an

opportunity to resolve several painful past life issues that exist in parellel to our present lifetime. But, often these 49


issues are so deeply embedded in the psyche that it is nearly impossible to recover from their affects without some form of deep inquiry. Fortunately, we have at our disposal today a critical tipping point--an abundance of spiritual, mental, emotional, psychological and physical remedies that embody

and

reflect

our

accumulated

spiritual

knowledge. These modalities can help anyone see their way through a Plutonian fate. Let’s look into the some potential emotional states a person with a strong Pluto signature can experience and how to work with them.

Unresolved, Unmourned Death In my own life, I have experienced over twenty five deaths in my immediate family. All of them were animal companions that I had rescued, loved and cared deeply about for twenty-three years. Losing an animal is as traumatic as losing a family member in my experience. Recently, I discovered a link between one of my previous lifetimes and my current life with animals. This link or bridge, which represents a pre-existing pattern, highlights loss and death, and was orchestrated by my Soul for my own growth. It has helped me to discharge 50


and alleviate overwhelming, unexpressed pain after experiencing the deaths of my family and tribe in a past life. Those unmourned deaths created an unbearable sadness and grief that lingered stagnantly in my Soul for what seemed like eons. In this life, I have carried a dark cloud over me like a mysterious, untouchable, broken heartedness, a deeply felt wound, something I had buried in my psyche a long time ago. It wasn’t until I was stable enough emotionally to address these deeper issues, (after my second Saturn return) that I could reflect honestly and effectively on their meaning. Each animal death I experienced in this life sparked a deeper, more poignant emotional trigger from that past life. Like a domino effect, through the process of bereavement multiple times, I had the opportunity to more fully and completely express and release the grief I had been holding back from the past. In this case however, there was also a generous amount of guilt and shame because I had blamed myself for what had happened. The mysterious guilt and shame I felt my whole life started in a past life when my indigenous tribe, the land we lived on, our entire lineage, village and extended family was massacred in Central America in 51


the 1500's during the Spanish invasion. Right after the massacre, my grief took me to a place of total darkness and separation. I could not let go and felt I would never recover what I felt I had lost. I did everything I could think of in the bardos to punish myself. In succeeding lifetimes, I lived in abject poverty. I was born into slavery and never had an education. I was a slave to my ignorance of the truth, delusions, and unhealed sorrows that had kept me devolving for so long I cannot count. I did not know how to suffer such a loss and in each new life, my new circumstances mirrored my old consciousness. I did not love myself. I did not want myself. I did not value myself. In this life, the theme continued when I was born into a dysfunctional, cold and unaffecdtionate American family that did not want a baby. Anyone who knows the anguish of that circumstance, can relate to not being loved. Sometimes people who die do not perceive the light in the afterlife. And, for me, instead of releasing the sorrow I was suffering (which may not have been possible to do anyway) I became stuck in the bardos (the afterlife) with intense emotions of self-hatred and blame 52


while searching for my tribal family and being angry at those who had killed us. My desire since then has been to reconnect and find those whom I had loved and thought I had failed . . . as their Shaman. Imprints held at death that are this shocking and indefensible, become hard-wired in the psyche and often lead to soul loss, (see Chapter One.) In the book Karmic Complexes: Evolutionary Astrology and Regression Therapy, author Patricia Walsh writes, “There are so many variations of the kinds of imprints we can hold at death. . . . In Past Life Therapy, the work with the Therapist that happens in the bardos involves getting the soul to give up its obsessive thoughts about death and leave its complexes behind.� When people die in large groups, often the mass fear traps parts of their souls in a cloud of confusion, as the energy of the collective trauma binds them together. When a person dies in such a situation and they work on it through Past Life Regression, they are able to retrieve their soul fragments as well as those of others who were trapped with them. Soul loss is comparable to the psychological concept of disassociation. Some symptoms that indicate soul loss include depression, a feeling of incompleteness, an inability to move forward, lost memories, feeling out 53


of control, people who say I felt a part of me died when..., or I feel like so and so stole my soul. My Soul loss was attached to the feeling that something was missing from my life. Frequently, those who experience soul loss want their lost souls to return to them, but don’t know how to achieve it. So, if a soul part is lost to a person, or in a specific place, an individual may feel an urge to return to that place or that person even when there are no outward reasons for doing so. Occasionally, suicidal thoughts stem from a person’s desire to reunite with a lost soul piece or group. The animals who came to me in this life, were, I believe, the reincarnated souls of my lost tribal members who had reincarnated, in whatever form they felt would be most helpful, in order to support our combined healing with love and gratitude. It was a mutual Soul agreement between the animals and me: I would rescue them from an unknown fate, and possibly even death, and they would rescue me from “myself.” Our Soul Agreement was perfect for healing our karma. Little by little, I discovered my animal’s deaths were an important chapter in my “book of life” and that they had an even more powerful purpose I hadn’t realized. Could my animals have intentionally been born 54


to help heal karmic complexes on a deeper, Plutonian level? This is a wound I have carried for centuries, but now, was the time to be healed. As I reflect on the possibility that this could even be the slightest bit true, I have tears of joy from their love and devotion. If the animals were not the reincarnated souls of my lost tribe, then, they were certainly still my prefect teachers. Through subsequent past life regressions, I was able to find other interesting fragments of my Soul that fit into the story of this journey: My Soul Myth. The death of my tribe on my watch was not my fault. I was not to blame. I thought, wow, all the guilt I had been carrying for so long was unnecessary? It took a while for that to sink in. And, I wondered how many other people are carrying unnecessary guilt around? Even though it is the job of a shaman to usher the dead to the other side, I could not do that on such a monumental scale, especially when I was slaughtered too. From then on and for many lifetimes I could not forgive anyone for letting that happen, including God and his angels. Especially God and his angels. As an animal communicator, in this life, when anyone asked me if I worked with angels, I would shrug and think to myself, “Why? I don’t believe in angels.� 55


After a few more experiences and dreams, I learned there had been a change in the plans right before the massacred happened. The angels/sentinels that I had put in place to keep us safe that night at the edge of the village were suddenly given new orders. God told them to let the invaders kill the whole village because their lives as slaves would be shear torture. God told the angels therefore to let the invaders kill us. He would reunite us later in Spirit and we would rise up in triumph over death with Him. All the same, I did not get that memo–-not consciously, anyway. After we were killed, I was so obsessed with what had happened that I did not think to ask why! When I learned in this life, during another regression, that there was nothing I could have done, and that it was time to let go and forgive, I could not do it—not right away. Although I consider myself to be a spiritual person, my pain-body had developed so much over a long period of time that it necessitated more than just ‘awareness’ to alleviate. It called for patience, practice, and an unprecedented, profound miracle. It called for God to make good his Promise to us as a culture. However, I first I needed to learn the meaning of surrender. 56


Death and Surrender When someone is in a kind of “psychic coma” feeling lost and unworthy of love, it is a reflection of extreme soul loss, where more of the soul is out of the body than in. As with other features of soul loss, it can be an acceptable way for a person to deal with pain and trauma. If the body is in a great deal of pain, or if the soul needs more time to consider its situation, psychic coma provides the needed time for recovery. For quite a long time, I was in what I call a “psychic coma” after the loss of my indigenous culture. People experience deep insecurities in the context of change and evolution because our past patterns make up our unconscious emotional security needs. When these needs are not being met, we are fearful and our inner light is dimmed. The quote at the beginning of Chapter Three from The Fire Within by Castenadas characterizes what I was dealing with as my separating desire, to become my own person, to individuate. "I was provoking your self-importance," don Juan said with a frown. "Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it. What weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance 57


requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.� This pivotal, past life lesson has formed the basis of my present day authority complex and addiction to truth and meaning, the opposites of faith and trust. When the animals started coming into my life, one by one, in the early 1990s, they began to facilitate a long, healing process. I

spent the next 20 years learning and

remembering

animal

Shamanic

communication,

and

teaching it to others. I wrote and published

a

book

with

my

horses, Buddy, Ellie and Dutch, titled, Spirit of the Horse: The New Myths of Equus. I traveled to the south of France to study the cave paintings there while relearning Shamanism as the foundation of the book. By the end of that time in my life, I had rescued over 30 animals who had helped me to remember my ancestral gifts from the past as a Shamanic Counselor and artist of the spirit. This happened at a time in our history on Earth when it was becoming a crucial necessity to show people that what we were doing to the Earth and her creatures was greedy. What better way to help humans to realize this than to teach them how to 58


communicate with animals and nature. The life lived by a healthy shaman warrior is always connected to the life force of spirit that is in and through all of creation. A practicing shaman radiates love outwards, and resonates the love animating the universe. She sees the beauty of spirit in nature, in creatures, and in the events of her life and the world. The shaman uses the movement of spirit and the truth in the body to turn inward to receive guidance. But, at one stage of a young shaman’s initiation there

is

a

ritual

performed

that

is

known

as

dismemberment (fragmentation). Dismemberment is when an individual, who is being trained to become a shaman, is ‘taken apart’ figuratively speaking, and devoured by evil spirits. This involves a descent into the lower worlds. Through the process of gaining spiritual allies, support of the community, being reassembled and mentorhsip, the Shaman learns to ‘re-memeber’ him or herself and master other worlds. He/She then becomes a bridge between those worlds for others. Through this process, the Shaman learns to live through death and experience resurrection, The Light. My Soul’s quest has been about resurrection and learning to surrender to the Will of God.

59


Soulful Means: Awakening to Your Root Complexes There is a great price to pay for not expressing grief after a tremendous loss or traumatizing event. Imagine never washing your clothes or showering. The toxins that would build up from everyday living would be dreadful. The same is true for the spirit and psyche. Now,

let’s

imagine

a

shocking

experience

happens in a past life, say thousands of years ago, and you have been unable to let go. Many of the healing tools we have today could not have been practiced then. So how did we deal with trauma? What did we do about it? It appears the effects of neurological patterns that develop from traumatizing events become entrenched in our genetic make-up for thousands of years. These unresolved, karmic complexes are passed down transgenerationally, from one generation to the next. Sobonfu Somé, author of several books about African spirituality says: “It is known that each generation has the ability to heal the wounds of previous generations. But, we must be willing to visit our old wounds to do this healing, or, our children will have to carry on those burdens. We have the ability to stop the patterns of suffering for our children; but we need to be 60


brave enough to take the next step.”6 Sobonfu says that surrendering to our sorrow has the power to heal our deepest wounds. For many, grief is an option. But, throughout life, grief can also be a recurring theme. We experience so much conflict in our lives. Our loved ones die, our dreams are dashed, illnesses occur, relationships end. It is important to practice ways of releasing pain and clearing ourselves of past devastation. Hanging on to an old affliction makes it grow until it smothers our creativity, joy, and the ability to connect with others. In her own community, Sobonfu practices grief rituals in order to heal deep wounds and open to spirit’s call. She says she felt this way of dealing with grief was only natural, until she came to the United States. Here, she says, we don’t experience collective grief and the individual then has to bear all the weight of the suffering alone. When so much grief builds up we become numb from not expressing it and we carry it in our bodies and that makes us feel separated from our Source. Unexpressed pain causes injury to the Soul. It is directly tied to spiritual drought and emotional confusion, not to mention psycho-somatic illnesses such as depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress. 6A version of this article was originally published in Alternatives Winter '06 Issue 40 . 61


If we experience grief as a natural process, we don’t have to feel separated when it is happening to us. We need to learn how to express grief communally. To allow someone to express grief means that we understand emotionally that it is okay to express our pain outwardly and let it go. It is not harmful. It is healing. Sobonfu believes the future of our world depends on the ways in which we handle our grief. Positive expressions of grief are healing to the whole commuity. But, lack of expression of grief and its improper release, are at the root of our unhappiness, all of which lead to war and crime. Grief can begin to develop in early childhood. Or, a child can bring old, unresolved grief into a new life from the past life (like I did.) We now look at how grief develops in a child and then how grief is passed down from a past life into a new life, which manifests as symptoms

in

childhood.

There

is

an

important

connection between the two, and we will discuss this link.

Your Inner Child’s Self Expression In Toltec Shamanism, (which is my lineage,) it is said that 62


during the process of raising a child, also known as “domestication,” the child is often rejected or punished for expressing certain feelings and behaviors that come naturally to children but do not fit into a family’s sense of social acceptance. That part of the child’s personality that represents those experiences are sent into “exile.” Allan Hardman, author of The Everything Toltec Wisdom Book writes, “Nearly every human is required to disown part of the self in order to fit into his or her family and society. It is necessary for societies to have rules that govern or restrict the expression of behaviors that could harm the cultural structure. It is important to choose which of these rules are valuable to you as an adult.” The deal the child makes with his or her parents is later enforced by the child's own “inner judge” or internalized parental voices.” This oftentimes happens to us for the rest of our lives, until we work to unravel the fear of rejection we carry into adulthood. An example would be when a child agrees to reject his or her clown in order to be acceptable to his family unit. In time, the child becomes rigidly stuck in denying that apsect of his or her total being. Consequently, after the child makes the unspoken agreement with the parents, the child begins to judge 63


others who are allowed to express their light-hearted selves. When the child meets others who are acting clownish, he/she is uncomfortable, judgmental, and sometimes angry because of the repression of his/her own childlike behavior. As an adult, and/or until a child understands the reasons for his or her projections, people are unware that the “victim child” within is the one who resents the deal he/she made with the parents. As adults we begin to react with anger and judgment toward certain types of people who express our suppressed parts because the “other” represents those parts of us that were judged and punished in childhood. People who push our buttons or trigger us are what the Toltecs call “petty tyrants.” If, as a child, being “needy” was judged, a child probably learned how to become autonomous and selfsufficient in order to fit in. But, then he judged others who appeared “needy” as a result of the way the parents judged him. These things happen mostly on the subconscious and unconscious level. If you were ashamed whenever you expressed emotion because your parents told you to grin and bear it, you likely were triggered by emotional people. If you were a talkative child, and your enthusiasm was 64


ridiculed, you may have learned to be quiet or tried to be invisible. Later, you were irritated by boisterous people. If we take a closer look at the strongest parts of our personalities, our favorite strategies and masks that we wear, we can see if there is a corresponding opposite expression that was judged and denied by our families. This part of ourselves needs to be reintegrated into wholeness. If you can list those parts of youserlf you can see the qualities that you are now ready to reclaim. The petty tyrant shows up as the opposite strategy that we adopted with our families to show us how we have relagated a piece of ourselves to the shadows. The petty tyrant does this by way of mirroring our negative selves back to us. If we were forced to be on time, we exiled (disowned) that part of ourselves who is late. And, when we marry a person who is chronically late, we are constantly judging them or trying to change them. We react to people who are disorganized because the internalized fear of rejection is so strong. It’s what keeps us on time, but at what cost. If you are a serious person, you may react to jokesters, and if you are a jokester, you may react to serious people in a negative way. These are all petty tyrants mirroring our disinherited selves. Imagine going to an orphanage and bringing 65


home all the kids that were taken from your inner family. Enjoy the reunion! These are the exiled parts of yourself that want to be whole again, and that is up to you now. Bringing home your late, serious, invisible or quiet selves, and other parts does not mean you have to become them all the time. It only allows you to enjoy parallel when it feels right without guilt. This helps you to reclaim the personal power you have been using to keep them at bay. In my own creative way, instead of imagining going to an orphanage and collecting a bunch of kids, I went instead to Goodwill and collected a bunch of dolls. Along with the dolls I got stuffed toys I felt represented those parts of me I wanted to reacquaint myself with, and expreience their joy. When I got the dolls and animals home, I realized I needed to make them more my own, so I bougth sparkly fabrics, toy jewels and silk flowers to dress my dolls. I made the girls hats and refashioned them to fit my own vision of how I wanted to see myself. It was a lot of fun. The one I liked a lot was the first inner child that I reconnected with. I named her Oleander. She was my joyful inner child. The next connection I made was with my sad and neglected victim inner child, who at the time 66


of our first meeting was about the age of 5 or 6. I named her Chloris and dressed her to make her feel special. I added props and glitter and ribbons, and gave her a bear named Bellisamo. I set out a miniature set of tea cups that I had from a few years earlier. When I felt good enough about my entire new family of kids I arranged them on the dining room table and photograph them with a backdrop and spot lights. I created artwork from the photos using a computer paint program and here are some of the results: One way to recapture those parts of yourself that were exiled is to look at old family photos. When you see yourself as a child, how do you feel? Do you look happy? Do you remember catch phrases, or thoughts that were the opinions and beliefs of your family? What were the circumstances surrounding the photos? This is a good way to get back in touch with that part of yourself that you may have lost. You may also see parts of yourself that you have developed since childhood on purpose. All of these memories help you to recover something from the past, either for retrospection or release. If you do not have photos, or were not raised by your parents, but instead were raised by relatives or in an orphanage, you can still recover lost memories through Past Life Regression Therapy. 67


It is important to know that whatever you hear and feel is not to be judged as good or bad, right or wrong. It is simply the chatter that goes on in the mind, as background noise. The best way to examine these memories is with detachment, as discussed in Chapter One through the use of a compassionate Inner Witness.

CHAPTER

68

FOUR


You & Your Shadow “ At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to Nietzsche of what he called “the love of your fate.” Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment— not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.” ~ Joseph Campbell

At the same time I was getting acquainted with my inner children I was likewise going through some tough emotional times during my second Saturn Return, at age 58. My therapist and I decided it would be beneficial for me to get in touch with my “Shadow Self.” It was perfect timing for a person experiencing their second Saturn Return.7 My therapist told me about Debbie Ford’s work and it sounded interesting. I learned about Debbie’s 7Give reference for explanation of Second Saturn Return. 69


books, of which there are many, and that she wrote about the disowned parts of ourselves, what Carl Jung called “The Shadow.” I did get in touch with one of my Shadow selves one night when I couldn’t sleep. I asked, “What do you want from me?” The answer was, “I want to leave a legacy.” I felt that was understandable owing to the fact that entire cultures have been wiped out in human history. Who wouldn’t want to leave a legacy. Essentially the "Shadow" is that part of ourselves that we disown or hide so deeply that we really do not even know it's there, somewhat like your inner children. Psychologists tell us it is the ‘false self.’ It can sometimes ruin our lives because we are so afraid to interact with that part of us. Frequently, we project it onto others. It is similar to the Toltec Petty Tyrant mentioned earlier. It can be a trait that our parents had, or it can be something we despise, such as greediness or meanness. In my case, one of my Shadows was not so much a dark persona, as it was a connection to my history and the unmourned deaths of my past. That part of me wanted a chance to recover and learn to surrender. It is not only my wish, but the wish of my ancient culture. We were a spiritual people full of ancient wisdom. If you sit in a dark room alone for nights on end 70


unable to sleep, your deepest fears will rise to the surface too and you will experience your Shadow self. But in general, people do not connect with that part of themselves they deeply despise, unless they are forced to by something outside of their control, where there is no other way to clear their conscience. I think of my insomnia, lasting six months, and how it created an opportunity, a window into the dark reaches of my Soul. It was a time people refer to as the Dark Night of the Soul. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the famous line, "In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning." Let me explain. One day, during a rourtine physical exam, my doctor noticed I had enlarged nodes on my thyroid gland. She told me to get a blood test, not for thyroid secreting hormone (TSH) which I had already done, but for thyroid antibodies. The antibodies would reveal if my thyroid gland was under attack. My thyroid antibodies were off the charts. When I took hormone replacement therapy I started sleeping again. But, I was going through menopause and my body wanted estrogen. If I had gotten the help I needed sooner, I may still have a healthy thyroid gland today. But, I didn’t. Unfortunately, none of the doctors thought to check my thyroid antibodies, or even suspected a link between thyroid 71


disease and insomnia. I took HRT for about a year and a half, which helped. But, when I felt well enough, I stopped. My thyroid was working normally at the time, even with the nodules. But, six months later it failed completely and I started taking synthetic thyroid. I will be taking that for the rest of my life. That’s when Debbie Ford’s book “The Shadow Effect,” took me to a new level of spiritual awakening. I was interested in her work because it revolved around showing people how to accept and love all aspects of themselves, and how to stop self-sabotage. If you learn to reparent yourself, as I did, with my inner children, you can start to reintegrate those darker aspects of yourself through inner dialogues with them. I found this intriguing because I had had a difficult childhood and had already done some work in that area. Once again, I was guided to ask my inner child, Chloris, how she felt about being “Shadowed” by an inner judge. Chloris was obviously not happy and wanted to feel loved and supported, not criticized. I told that her I loved her and would take better care of her from now on. I asked her what she liked to do for fun and we started a new relationship that has helped me to feel better about myself, happier and more comfortable 72


in my body. Chloris, like any healthy child, wanted to play, dance, sing and have fun. When we got a new puppy, I learned that training a child is similar to training a puppy. So, the timing again was perfect. Chloris helped me to connect with the puppy, and the puppy helped me to connect with old childhood attitudes that needed mending.

Social Dynamics and the Shadow When it comes to social relationships, an unwillingness to see yourself and your Shadows tends to spread to significant others. If you cannot see yourself first, you cannot see others. A significant complication occurs when someone’s unwillingness to see, hear and feel themselves, leaves another persons’ need to be seen, felt and heard ungratified. The gap in communication that results from this has far-reaching consequences: Murray Bowen, a psychiatrist who was a pioneer in family therapy, shed light on family dynamics about why individuals within families choose disabling coping mechanisms, instead of looking for the underlying family currents, the bigger waves of beliefs that are passed down, trans-generationally. (Kerr and Bowen, 1988). 73


Understanding your own psychological needs and the motives of others involves several stages. First, you must stop what you are doing and reassess your life. This is not easy because we tend toward homeostatis in order to continue our daily activities, in spite of internal and external messages to the contrary. The desire for homeostasis helps us to stay on track. But, it can also cause inertia and prevent us from examining ourselves when needed. So, first of all, you must stop. Then, it is important to reflect. This is difficult because it requires conscious effort and time and a willingness to contemplate the things you have pushed to the side and would rather not deal with. Reflection (a form of introspection)

involves

self-questioning

and

re-

examining the emotions, thoughts and behaviors we have not attended. But, it forms the basis for learning about

ourselves

environment.

and

Once

we

our are

relationships aware

of

to our

our basic

unconscious negative behaviors and fears, we can endeavor to work to change them. Eventually you will have lived enough lifetimes to know that you have been here before. Then you will know that each life contains a unique and rare gift of experience and should not be wasted. In this way, we gradually develop a fuller perspective that is essential to 74


becoming a realized co-worker with God in the evolution of His awesome creation.

Detachment Helps to Resolve Old Hurts Since detachment is the art of letting the will of God become our will, it helps to guide us into a desireless state. This state is what Eastern religions believe is nirvana. It is the key to leaving the mundane world behind and being one with God. Until we unite with our own state of perfection through detachment, we will be drawn back into the world by our unrealized desires. Since we are in a body in this life, we have attachments. They are what brought us here in the first place. Determining what our desires and attachments are in this life is an important task and committment toward releasing them and realizing freedom. In order to evolve, we need to learn how to be detached from the ego. For if the ultimate goal is to become a co-worker with God, it implies complete acceptance of and surrender to His will. Without accepting God's will by continuing to support our egotistical expectations, it is impossible to move away from desire and participate in the infinite expression of

75


the Divine Plan.8

What Story Are You Living? When we are living a partcular story, either from this life or a past life, we tend to see the world from our own vantage point, completely attached to our own personal beliefs, desires, visions of the truth, experiences, memories, and trans-generational patterns. This is not nirvana. Since our thoughts are guided and shaped by our personal beliefs, let’s look at some of the ways we can support positive believing from a Self-Empowered perspective:9

Never Quit on Your Deepest Dreams The only way you can fail at anything you deeply desire is to quit. As the old saying goes, "winners never quit and quitters never win!" Often times, when you are ready to quit, you are closer than you think to manifesting your dreams. When you think about quitting,

remember

the

Chinese

proverb:

"The

8Ellen Mogenson, www.healpastlives.com 9Reprinted with permission from Ellen Mogenson at www. Healpastlives.com. 76


temptation to quit is the greatest just before you are about to succeed." Believe in yourself!

Try, Try Again Failure is the opportunity to start over again more intelligently" (Henry Ford). Most things do not work the first time they are attempted. Just because what you are doing now is not working, it does not mean it will not work in the future. Maybe you need to do something differently. Maybe you need to ask for someone else's help. Maybe you need more information. Most things in life worth having require work! For example, the only way to heal your karma is to work at doing so! So if you will

believe

it,

you

can

achieve

it!

Find Role Models For everyone who says that they cannot do something... there is someone else out there doing it. Learn from these role models. Find out what they believe that is empowering them to succeed. Dare to ask questions! 77


Most successful people love to share what they know. Why? Because others helped them to get to where they are and it is good karma to pay that kindness forward to you!

Believe

it:

it

is

true!

Lighten Up There is always a reason to smile. Find it. Count your blessings. The first reason is that you are really lucky just to be alive. Life is short: so make the most of this lifetime by living it. You are good enough to achieve your dreams... that is why you have them to begin with! Stop waiting to believe in things until you see them. For you will only see things when you believe in them... with all your heart!

“Imagine following a shamanic, spiritual path. You have found a teacher, worked with the tools and created allies of your inner children and your Shadow Selves. You have been redeemed from your Inner Judge. You are an artist of the spirit. Life is beautiful. You have reclaimed your birthright to play, create, love, and live in happiness, whatever that means to you. You enjoy the 78


abundance the world has to offer. You share it with everyone. Your friendships are openhearted, your partnerships are overflowing with love and acceptance. You no longer need to uphold your old concepts of domestication or stories that you repeat to others to feel accepted. You have made the essence of who you are, your core self, your priority. People are drawn into your light and you teach them what you have learned. There is no authority watching over your shoulder, judging you, or telling you what to do. Imagine you are an artist of your own life, living the most beautiful life you can live. You are an eagle warrior, a Toltec master, the perfect you. This is personal freedom, and the goal of the Toltec path. It is the vision of heaven on Earth.”10

Active Self-Acceptance Imagine you have been released from old concepts and beliefs. You no longer suffer from the “selfimportance” that once prevented you from surrendering to your Higher Self. You are experiencing total acceptance, love and compassion. Since we were taught self-rejection in childhood

10The Everything Toltec Wisdom Book, Allan Hardmann 79


as a part of the cultural domestication process, selfacceptance and individuation must be actively pursued now. You must work to apply yourself to your Higher Truth. When the Shadow/Judge shows up, go inward and connect with the love you are made of. Engage with the compassionate Inner Witness who tells you, “It will be alright, follow me. I am your companion.” As a Toltec warrior, your prey is your selfrejecting thoughts and negative judgments. Whenever you encounter self-rejecting judgments you remember you are a spiritual warrior who manifests self-love and self awareness. You can transmute negativity with love because you no longer engage in selfish concerns. You are one with the universe, and the universe is one with you. You are a free spirit. You always were and always will be. Accepting yourself just the way you are is the same as taking your power back. It means you have won the inner victim child’s trust, who now feels worthy of love and acceptance without having to meet anyone else’s expectations. You do not have to negotiate or bargain with your Judge, or give up anything to feel love. You are happy just the way you are. Living in complete acceptance means that you 80


never have to accept another negative criticism or judgment again. When you receive a negative comment, you know that people are not talking about you; they are projecting their dream onto you. Your mind is still and calm. If the Judge arises in you, no one in your world believes him anymore anyway. He will go away. You can even tell him to leave, and he does. You can shut the door and you can relax. The magic of self-acceptance is in the peace you feel with the rest of creation as it grows and affects everyone. When you accept yourself the way you are, your love radiates to everything. When you accept yourself the way you are, all of creation agrees to accept themselves just the way they are. When you accept yourself the way you are, you are no longer a victim at the hands of other people or events. You know and accept their perfection too. You are free to be in the world with an open heart and celebrating life in every moment. Are you in?

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The girl in the wave mar 15, 2013