Every time we encounter someone, we have an inner response, unique to that person, so every developing relationship is a unique interweaving of two responses. When a person starts to do self-work with me, the process is shaped by the unique relationship that begins spontaneously. It will involve some combination of the following:
Spiritual teaching. Untangling motivating forces. Exploring dreams. Encouraging subtle realignment of bones. Moving the body's energy with vocalization. Slow movement, with focused attention. Awareness of inner sensation. Imagining events. Reprocessing traumatic ones. Pragmatic problem-solving. Moving meditation. Evoking ancestral spirits. Uncovering patterns of thought and behavior. Subtle-energy near-touch. I couldn't describe in advance what will happen as the work unfolds, yet some things can be articulated.
The work involves a mixture of practices that operate at different levels: spiritual, emotional, physical, philosophical, practical, bio-energetic, and neurophysiologic.
As the work begins, I sense how life was meant to be for you, that is, what your true path through this world would have been had you not been redirected by life circumstances. As our work progresses, we get to see how your true path can be made accessible. This does not involve an actual plan or set of goals. Rather, it involves a shared intuitive glimpsing of the Truth that is you, a vision of your potential, which will inspire the process, whether it lasts for a few sessions or several years.
I will listen to you. Deeply listening is a very potent process, serving to correct for all those times in your formative years when you needed patient, selfless, and compassionate attention but did not receive it.
Really being heard by another person does something else. It serves as a model for a process you will be encouraged to develop within yourself, that is, bringing about a more effective awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, by giving a portion of your energy to the role of a witness of your own experience. Being able to observe yourself with neutrality as you move through life is an inner skill that has vast power.
We will draw on established cultures. The ones that are most accessible to me are Taoist, Native American, Jewish, and Quaker. These threads of received wisdom are woven into connections, explanations, and suggestions for action, all of which lead the way towards self-healing, along with the teachings of the western psychological schools that I absorbed in my formal training.
That self-healing begins the moment we start. Words do a lot to point the way to needed changes, and articulated ideas provide context to clarify intentions. Speech produces a positive change both through its content and through the vibrations in the silences between words. When two people achieve deep connection through words, there is a bioenergy resonance between the language centers in their two brains and a simultaneous one between the fields of their two hearts.
And yet, there are limits to the self-healing that can be found through words. Many of the patterns that perpetuate our troubles dwell in parts of the brain that do not deal in words, and problematic patterns are also held in the body's bioenergy field that responds to body movement and emotional expression more easily than it does to terms. Therefore, for fuller self-healing of the major disruptions to life, we have to look to processes that involve the body, as shamans have been doing for thousands of years.
I will describe how one of the forms of non-conversational processes I employ works. It's for a common source of unrelenting trouble: an event that was too much to deal with when it took place, such as a natural disaster or a devastating loss. The body has automatic, irresistible visceral responses to events that are experienced as serious threats. These operate within the autonomic portion of the nervous system. Circumstances during and after such an event frequently prevent the full release from these threat responses, though they've already served their purpose. The alarm-giving side of the autonomic system then stays energized, and the relaxation-inducing side is blocked from coming into play. This produces the chronic state of imbalance that we call trauma. (That word is best used to refer to the resulting state, not the causative event.) The natural swings in the autonomic nervous system, balancing back and forth between aroused alertness and calmed ease, a basic characteristic of life (like breathing in and out), get replaced by a fixed tendency towards alarm. In other words, the protective responses of Flight, Fight and Freeze become too easy to trigger, and impossible to turn off fully. This state of affairs is the physiologic core of the bodily and psychological dysfunction of PTSD.
To effect self-healing from the trauma state, we need a way to access the autonomic nervous system. We can do this with the techniques of Somatic Experiencing, the process developed by Peter Levine. Through attention to inner sensations, the functioning of the autonomic system is felt and tracked. Through the steady witnessing of the basic felt sense along with the staged reenactment of the problematic event in imagination, accompanied by a gentle touch, that system is assisted in releasing the imbalance in which it has been caught.
The systems of the body fluids, another locus of disruption, may be addressed with other processes, such as hands-on craniosacral techniques, which attend to the tidal pulses in the cerebrospinal fluid, the crystalline liquid that supports and nourishes the brain and spinal cord. Ancient tradition holds that these pulses are the result of the interaction of the infinite, primordial energy of the universe with the body, so accessing these tides is a way of tapping into the ultimate source of all healing. Patterns of movement in the totality of the body's fluid can be engaged with the vocalizations and slow movement of a process known as Continuum, which we may also utilize.
These are a few of the modalities that will be at our disposal. While the specific nature of our work may vary over time, what will not change will be my devotion to the restoration of your life to its full promise.