Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise can mean different things as my friend and colleague, Jane Teresa Anderson, points out in her recently published book, Bird of Paradise: Taming the Unconscious to bring Your Dreams to Fruition. See photo above.

Jane is a dream analyst and dream alchemist. As a dream analyst, she uses her skills to help her clients understand their unconscious desires and concerns. As a dream alchemist, she gives her clients a process to make desired changes by reprogramming their dream in unusual and creative ways.

I first met Jane in 2009 at a talk she was giving on dreams. There was something about her that I found compelling. Maybe it was her silky blonde hair that would glide and shine as she moved her head. Perhaps it was her gentle English accent and softly spoken voice that still somehow carried to the far corners of the room. More likely it was all these things, as well as her stories which showed how dreams reflect our unacknowledged motivations.

After the talk, I spoke to her briefly when my friend Jen introduced us. Although we never exchanged details, I had a feeling we would see each other sometime in the future.

In early 2010, we met again, this time at a book launch. Both our husbands were present, and they hit it off. Michael and Ian are both writers and, soon after meeting, they became friends as did Jane and I.

In Jane’s new book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, she notes a number of synchronicities occurring during her life. After reading it, I considered some of the synchronicities I have experienced. One that stood out involved Jane. At the time, it was so unexpected that I couldn’t dismiss it – like I often had with other potential synchronicities – as coincidence.

One particular day, a young girl of about 17 came to see me at my psychology practice. She had only one request, she wanted to know the meaning of her dream. Although dreams had been mentioned by other clients as side issues, in seventeen years of practice, no one had ever come to see me for the sole reason of interpreting their dream.

At one point in the dream, the young girl was immersed in water, and there were other complexities that struck me as cryptic. I had no idea what any of it meant. But something else was puzzling. That very evening, for the first time ever, Jane and Michael were coming to stay. Not knowing what else to do, I gathered as much information I could and told my client that a dream analyst was coming for dinner. She booked in for the following day.

Using contextual information which I had gleaned from the client, Jane easily unravelled the dream, told me what further questions to ask and how to make sense of it all. The client was thrilled.

Since then, I have had some of my dreams interpreted by Jane and have read some of her books. So now I know a little more about dream analysis than I did before—but still so little. While listening to Jane’s podcasts where she deciphers people’s dreams, I am amazed at her skill. Like the work I do, it is a calling. She heals people through working with them and their dreams.

When I was doing my life between lives training, Jane agreed to be one of my practice clients. In Bird of Paradise, she mentions doing this regression and only while reading the book, did I learn how much the experience meant to her. I also became aware of many other interesting and wonderful experiences she shares of her life.

I enjoyed her book so much I wanted to share it with you. She takes her readers on a lyrical journey through a floral garden of meaningful anecdotes, dreams and stories. I felt a sense of serenity in her writing which left me smiling by its end. Somehow the world felt safe and calm again. I am curious if others will find something similar and wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

If you are interested in dreams and what they mean or if you would like to read Jane’s beautiful book, here is a link: https://www.janeteresa.com/

Absent Fathers (Part 2)

Absent Fathers (Part 2)

In part 1 of this topic, I suggested that a father not being fully present for a child is part of their souls’ plan. Children develop strategies to cope with the emotional absence of their father and, as a consequence, the soul learns and grows. We look at another two examples of father absence. Christian Christian was a perfectionist. Although this sometimes suited his career as a specialist engineer, it also contributed to his general feelings of dissatisfaction. He tended to be self-critical, frustrated with his work colleagues and annoyed with his boss who failed to acknowledge his efforts at work. The source of his perfectionism was his childhood relationship with his father. His father, an excellent provider, believed his only job as a husband and father was to bring in the money, mow the lawn occasionally and take out the garbage. Christian’s father worked long hours in a high profile and demanding job. At home after work, he flopped down in front of the TV and tended to be grumpy and critical when interacting with his family. Christian was talented at sport but his father took no interest, never coming to see a game. As is often the case with absent fathers, Christian craved his father’s attention, relentlessly seeking to impress him and gain his approval.   Even though his striving never worked, Christian continued trying to be perfect. He desperately needed to be acknowledged by his boss, colleagues and friends but even when he received a compliment or thanks, he remained unsatisfied.   During his regression, he learned his perfectionism arose from his feelings of worthlessness and his compulsion to please. He was his own worst enemy. He never praised himself, doubting the quality of his work and being constantly self-critical. In previous lives, he had been careless and flippant. His current life plan was to make a shift to being more diligent. His absent father was a catalyst. By withholding fatherly attention and acknowledgement from his son, Christian developed his perfectionism. On the continuum of being very easy going at one end and very precise at the other, Christian had shifted significantly. He was now rigidly precise, causing a lot of frustration for himself when he didn’t quite measure up. Once Christian saw the larger plan for his development, he relaxed. He was on track with his life plan. His negatively reduced and he began acknowledging the progress he was making. He realized there were tasks where being precise was important and others where it wasn’t necessary. Having his perfectionistic tendencies, he easily found the motivation to apply this new knowledge. Once he felt positive about himself and his work, he stopped needing as much positive attention from his boss and colleagues. He was more relaxed at work and started enjoying his work environment. Anna Anna’s father was a quite man. He sat in the corner, reading his books or watching TV. Every now and then he would be annoyed by something his wife did and blow up angrily. He had no interest in his two children. Even though she disliked her father, Anna married a man who was much the same. She soon discovered that her husband was also distant. He took little interest in their two children. Eventually this became too painful for Anna. She sought counseling and decided to leave the marriage. Anna’s father never changed. After her marriage broke up, she went back to live with her parents for a few months. Her father kept to himself and ignored his grandchildren. After her son was diagnosed with autism, Anna realized that both her father and her husband had autistic tendencies. The marriage had survived for as long as it did only because she played the same role as a wife as she had as a child. She tiptoed around her father and she had tiptoed around her husband. She did a life between lives regression because she wondered what she was supposed to learn from these relationships. Anna’s guides reassured her that she was on track. She was on the path of learning how to balance her needs with the needs of others. This is a very difficult lesson to learn. Some people give so much of themselves they become ill. Others are selfish and ignore the needs of others. No matter which side of this continuum, you are on, the consequences of being out of balance are unpleasant. Anna’s husband and father are also in the process of learning this lesson.  Her husband was not happy about her leaving. He had to fend for himself. He might have many challenging lifetimes before he understands the importance of caring for others. When Anna left her husband, she was emotionally drained and feeling lost. She didn’t know who she was and what she really needed. She had given too much of herself away. Now she is tasked with solving this dilemma. Bringing up an autistic son is challenging, especially since she knows she need to balance looking after him with looking after herself. Knowing this is a difficult journey is helpful. We all learn through experience. This means trial and error. Being kind to herself is crucially important whenever she finds the balance getting out of kilter. But she knows she is on the right path and this is a comfort. Absent fathers have their role in our soul development. Those people who have had absent fathers often envy their friends with attentive fathers. Although that is understandable, if you had an absent father, it is worthwhile meditating on the gifts the absence of your father may have given you. One client met his father during his life between lives. He complained. “Why didn’t you ever do anything with me when I was young?” “Don’t you remember son,” his father replied. “You asked me to step back when we first made the plan for your life. You wanted to build your independence.” The focus of our two sessions had been on his need to develop independence. The client knew immediately his father was right. All the past hurt drained away. By taking a high perspective of your soul’s journey through many lifetimes might reveal that your absent father is, in fact, a blessing.
Absent Fathers (Part 1)

Absent Fathers (Part 1)

Fathers who are emotionally absent leave a legacy to their children. Their children usually grow up feeling incomplete, empty or lost in some way. Although many of us disapprove of this legacy, we discover during life between lives regressions that this “father absence” has a purpose.

“My father was absent even when he was present,” mused my client, Lara, as we explored her childhood. Her father read the paper in the morning, rarely acknowledging his three children. He sat at the head of the table at dinner, watching the news on TV. The only time he engaged with Lara was when she had done something that he considered incorrect. Even this critical attention was rare.

Adult children of absent fathers use different strategies to deal with the emptiness they carry.

Desperate for her father’s love and attention, Lara spent her childhood being ‘the good girl, hoping to get a few crumbs of positive attention. It didn’t work, her father had his mind on other things, mainly his work, fulfilling what he believed was his male role—providing for his family.

In her teens, Lara gave up being the good girl and rebelled. She decided her father wasn’t important. In fact, her behavior was largely a reaction to him. Subconsciously, she was trying to get his attention and punish him by being the bad girl.

Lara struggled with her relationships with men. She didn’t know how to relax and be herself. She didn’t know how to express her true feelings. She was always afraid her partners would leave, and they did.

She was attracted to men who were like her father, expecting them to treat her the same way as her father did. And they did. No matter how much she tried to get her partners to love her, they remained distant.

Of course, there was a part of her that would have been terrified if her partner suddenly become loving and attentive. She had no model for dealing with that level of intimacy.

When we did a regression, she realized she was still living with her ‘internalized father.’  She was guided to look more deeply at her father and his history. She saw that his father, her paternal grandfather, was also distant, never emotionally connecting with his children. Times were tough, back then. There were wars and danger. Nearly everyone shut off their emotions and focused on surviving. The father absence had come down the ancestral line.

Lara’s guides told her she could change her relationships with men and attract a different type of man. First, she had to heal her relationship with her father.

She was given an image of her father as a child. He was alone, afraid and confused. She knew what this felt like and she started weeping. She wrapped this little boy up in a blanket of love, crying many tears, not knowing if the tears were hers or her fathers.

After this session, her relationship with her father changed. She didn’t see him as the cold rejecting father anymore. She saw him as the hurt child. She was gentle with him and just a little affectionate. He softened and sometimes asked about her life.

Her guides told Lara that she was here to learn to be loving rather than judging. She had been hurt by her father’s absence, believing it was about her, thinking she was unlovable. In truth, it was not about her at all. Her father was emotionally shut down. His heart had hardened to survive and when Lara was acting out the bad girl, her heart had hardened too.

Lara realized that there is always a reason for people being cool and distant. Sometimes, by asking our guides to help us see the truth, we are given a glimpse of their pain and suffering. Seeing the truth of people, their inner pain, fear and isolation, can lift us out of judgement. Then, as loving souls, we are inclined to treat them carefully, with kindness and compassion.

 

In part 2 of Absent Fathers, we explore two more illuminating cases.

Better than Wild Sex

Better than Wild Sex

I know two women who are missing out on the best potential time of their lives. They are looking after their elderly husbands. Many years ago, each married a man who was around twenty years older than they were. At the time, each woman was not coping well alone. Their husbands provided much needed emotional and financial security.

For around thirty years, the marriages survived and were reasonably happy, but in recent years there has been a change. The men grew old and became ill. Both men were successful in their businesses, seeing themselves as strong, protective and capable. Now they are struggling to cope with their physical demise. Their wives describe them as weak, needy and demanding. Both women are tired, frustrated and resentful. They hate looking after these men who once looked after them.

Blanche d’Alpuget didn’t miss out. She was the main carer of her husband, Bob Hawke, the former prime minister, nursing him during the last year of his life when he was at his weakest.

After his death, she said the joy of mature love involves great softness and intimacy with no pretence or secrets, and that she found it wonderful to look after the one she loved.

We often said to each other that we’ve been blessed to have this period together.

 [It has been] the most tender and intimate of our whole lives. For me [our relationship ranged from] the wild excitement of sexual ecstasy to the great tenderness of looking after a person who was completely dependent upon me. And there is much greater intimacy, actually, in looking after somebody who is in that ­debilitated state than there is in even the wildest sex.

Some people might find it difficult to believe that caring for a loved one can be so gratifying. But I have come across this before in my clients. Some feel like this in their current lives and some have felt it about their past lives. One of the latter is Lorraine.

In the regression, Lorraine re-lived a past life in America as a man, Jimmy, who married in mid-life. Three years after they married, his wife, Maddy, fell off a horse and was crippled.

She is sitting in a rocking chair and I am bringing her iced tea on a platter. I am the carer. I just want to look after her because she is so brave, and I love her so much. We didn’t have any children and we really wanted them. There is a sadness about that in her.

I am looking at the sunset, realising there is more to life than children. She appreciates the care I give her.

We are sitting on the porch of a two-story house, near the town. I see horses going by. We have lots of friends and they and others come by and say hello.

We love bantering, being funny, singing, talking and dreaming together. She is not demanding but she does have a mind of her own. She has a view about things, she reads and teaches me what she knows. I had to wait a long time for her to come into my life

There is a piano in the house, and I play it in the evenings. Now we are having a drink together. I carry her upstairs to bed. Although it is limited; it is a lovely life.

Now I see myself on the porch alone, feeling sad. She is gone.

I died around 60, from a heart attack about five years after she passed. I grew some plants for her and watched them grow. It was too long. I missed her.

We made a pact. She would like to look after me next time. She is my friend and the love of my life. That is why I love sunflowers. I planted some.

I feel peaceful now. I see that it is important to appreciate looking after another and doing so is joy. It was pure joy looking after her with the love between us.

No doubt it takes a lot of energy looking after another who is needy. There are times of exhaustion and frustration. But it gives us an opportunity to reach into the most loving part of ourselves rather than giving into resentment. To do this, our love for ourselves needs to be strong and resilient, as strong as our love for another.

We are spiritually mature when we realise it is privilege to be either the carer, or the one being cared for.

.

Shining a Light on Neo-Nazism

Shining a Light on Neo-Nazism

 

 

Recently I read about an American a white supremist, a singer in a Neo-Nazi band, named Arno Michaelis. He is now the author of a book, My Life After Hateand works with young people via an organization, Serve2Unite. His story sheds some light on a question I have often wondered about. How does emanating light make a difference to the people around you?

Many people who come to see me for regressions are looking for meaning in their lives. To their surprise, they often find their main purpose in life is very simple. It is not a job, a career or doing thing for others. It is simply “being.” But there is something special about this “being.” 

One of these clients is Simone, 36, a trainer and coach, who comes to see me because she is tired of the politics playing out at the office—even though she enjoys her day to day work with people. She wants to know her life purpose and her next career step.  

During the regression, Simone is taken to a past life as a man. He is a wise advisor to a King in one of the kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, a long, long time ago. The king is a jovial man who reigns over a relatively peaceful kingdom. He greatly appreciates the advice of his respected counsellor who is devoted to the king and the kingdom.

The advisor dies looking out at the ocean on a sunny day. He reflects on his life.

It was a life of service. My opinion was valued. I was an honest, ethical person and the people around me were like that too. It was a wealthy place and people were taken care of.  It had a good energy.
Simone meets her guide in the library after proceeding to her life between lives. The guide opens her book of lifeand she is given information about the advisor’s life and the relationship to her current life.

My job was to teach people to not be greedy and to have compassion for each other. That is why it was a happy peaceful place. I helped them understand the importance of contentment and compassion. They saw the sense in that.

Now my guide is saying that I fulfilled my purpose. We touched multi-generations with that golden energy all around. It is a time after Atlantis when the golden light and energy returned. I was to empower others and keep that energy humming. I sensed an awareness of what had happened in Atlantis.

I feel that is my purpose again, to increase the higher positive vibration and light. This time I feel more people are onboard. It is not as hard as we think, if we remind people of connecting. People are becoming more aware of what they want, their connection with others. Even just doing this one on one is worthwhile. It sends out energy like a ripple in a pond.

I ask Simone and her guides how this will work in her day to day life.

I am not going to be told now. I will know in three days after I sit with this contentment, absorbing and integrating this memory and experience. I need to step into the power I have, and remember who I am. I have this great light within me. The thoughts, ideas, images and words will come to me just when I need them. It is like a “knowing.” I need to keep trusting that it will come.

I didn’t really get my question answered during that session, but I found an answer when Arno Michaelis explained how he turned away from hatred and violence.

He experienced a number of incidents that influenced this shift.  One memorable moment happened some years before he made the final change.

I radiated hostility, especially towards anyone with a darker skin complexion than mine.  

One time at a McDonald’s, I was greeted by a black lady who had a radiant smile for everybody who walked through the door. That smile alone was blowing my bullshit out of the water. I had a swastika tattooed on the middle finger of my right hand and I tried to hide it. But she noticed it anyway saying, “What’s that on your finger?” I couldn’t say, “It’s a symbol of my race because I am white warrior for my people.” I was completely disarmed. I just said, “It’s nuthin.”

She looked up at me, “That’s not who you are. You’re a better person than that.” Powerless against such compassion, I fled from her steady smile and authentic presence, never to return to that McDonald’s again.

Arno didn’t forget this woman nor the energy she emanated. It stayed with him as one chink in the armour he had developed as protection from a childhood of alcoholism and emotional abuse.

He finally changed when he became a single parent of his little daughter. But he never forgot the sunny woman at MacDonald’s who saw right through his protective shield into his heart, and touched the person he really was.

Playing with fire

It was a cold, damp day so I decided to light the fire. Watching a roaring fire and feeling the warmth, I thought about how comforting it is to have a fireplace in the house. Of course, humans have enjoyed fire for eons of time.

Immersed in these thoughts, I also remembered how deadly a fire can be when it is out of control. Fire is energy and too much unexpected energy all at once doesn’t warm nor comfort, it destroys. No one wants to be in the vicinity of an out-of-control fire. It can incinerate us.

Emotions are also energy. Although we think of emotions as something intangible and imperceptible, they have power. Like fire, expressed emotions can be comforting and reassuring but, if they are hot and out of control, they can burn people.

Many of my clients face volatile people either in their current lives or in their past lives. Learning what action to take when confronted with hostility is part of our curriculum as humans on our soul journey.

Think for a moment when you have been in the vicinity of someone expressing uncontrolled, hot emotions? You are likely to feel a blast of negative energy coming your way, especially if you are invested in the content and are emotionally connected to the angry one. Afterwards, you might have trouble putting the incident out of your mind.

How can you protect yourself from disturbing emotional outbursts?

Let’s continue with our fire analogy. Firemen wear amazing protection when they’re in the vicinity of a serious fire. Highly rated thermal insulation makes up the outer skin of their protective shield while next to the skin lie several layers of breathable thermal material. Sandwiched between the two is a substantial moisture barrier. Firemen also breath oxygen through a mask. All this protection means they can survive in temperatures of 370°C, even though skin burns at 55°C.  Still, in an enclosed space, they are always in danger of a flashover. A flashover occurs when material in a heated space spontaneously combusts. Temperatures are deadly high, once this happens. Each fireman needs to be acutely aware of the warning signs to survive.

Obviously the most sensible thing to do to protect yourself from a fire or someone having an angry emotional outburst is to move away. But maybe you, like the firemen, want to help. So, you stay and try to calm whoever is having an emotional outburst. If you do, you need to be cautious. What protection do you have? How are you likely to react? What knowledge and skills have you developed?

Firemen train constantly to be ready for a fire. What preparation have you undertaken?

You need to know how to access your protection quickly and you need to make sure it stays in place.

Firemen have their protective armour. If you decide to stay in the vicinity of a hostile person, what protection do you need to be safe?  

Strong boundaries are important. These are non-physical boundaries. Objectivity is the cornerstone of strong emotional boundaries. Your objectivity keeps you from being caught up in the inferno.

You need inner strength, the strength to stay calm and unrattled even though the blaze might be getting more intense.

You need to know when to leave, especially if you are in an enclosed situation and the person you are dealing with is getting hotter and hotter. You might be in danger. Are you aware of the signs?

You need unconditional love, wisdom and skill when dealing with angry people. Otherwise you are likely to inflame the situation. Love comes from spiritual maturity. Wisdom comes from experience and emotional intelligence. Skill comes from knowing and practising useful communication techniques.

Like water quenching a fire, unconditional love can quell an emotional outburst. But some people burn with such deep pain and hate, they are not open to being calmed. These are the “fires” that are dangerous.

Firemen are trained to make sure they have an escape route. When you are in a volatile situation with someone, you need to know how to safely get away. Don’t put yourself in danger by not having a quick accessible exit.

The best way to deal with uncontrollable fire is to immediately get away—unless you are a fireman with all the protections outlined above. And for most of us, the best way to deal with a furious, uncontrollable, emotional outburst is to walk away.

When you leave immediately, you are refusing to be a victim. You are giving the offender a clear message that you will not tolerate their fiery outbursts. And if you return later, leave again if all is not calm. Actions always speak louder than words.

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