Tag Archives: Trauma

Celebrating 20 Years of Zero Balancing!

Standard

Hello Beautiful Beings!

I was sharing a post of a video with Dr. Fritz Smith a couple of weeks ago on my Facebook page when I realized that it’s been 20 years since I began studying and practicing Zero Balancing.  In the video, Fritz shares about how ZB can induce expanded states of consciousness similar to meditation that can lead to healing and a deep sense of well-being. Below, I’ve included this video as well as a post about my journey with Zero Balancing, which in addition to informing my work as a body/energyworker and holistic healer, has also helped me to experience a sense of safety and wholeness I never imagined was possible.

In honor of this anniversary, I am offering a Celebration Special Offer on Zero Balancing Sessions in Annapolis and Energy Balancing Sessions by Phone/Skype now through 8/31 and a free Guided Pyramid Meditation for you to explore.  See below for details on special offer, to access the audio and how my journey with Zero Balancing changed my life!  Plus, be sure to check out Fritz’s video…


My Journey Into Zero Balancing…

I had not even received a Zero Balancing session when I attended my first course but it was highly recommended by my acupuncturist in New York City, Dr. Li.   There was something in his enthusiasm about this that led me to sign up for an upcoming four day course.  We met is a dance studio in Tribeca and were a small class of only 6 people. We started each day with a pyramid meditation and in addition to learning hands on Zero Balancing protocol, we spent a lot of time exploring the concepts of ZB of balancing structure and energy. When I left that studio after the 4th day, I was a different person!

That was just the beginning of my journey with ZB and over the last 20 years Zero Balancing has supported my life in many beautiful ways!  It was a few months later at my 2nd ZB course that I met Dr. Fritz Smith, founder of Zero Balancing.  It was clear from the onset that this was an amazing man to know.  His breadth of knowledge and experience about body and energy work was incredible but even more so was his enthusiasm not just this work but life itself.

I came to see life in new way after that weekend.  This came from all that I learned and experienced but even more so from one short moment when I received a demonstration of a fulcrum from Fritz. We were working on the feet which is a foundational part of ourselves. Our discussion was on how far one needed to go to make a connection and what arose was the understanding that as long as the door is open there is an access point for connecting. The door can be wide open, but it can also be slightly ajar and yet – it is still open.  In the course we were speaking in terms of technique, however this idea is one we can carry into other areas of life!

As Fritz performed this foot fulcrum on me, I felt a tremendous sense of anxiety come over me, almost to the degree of a panic attack. My heart was racing, my palms sweaty.  I suddenly was a child in my room in the middle of the night with my mother, who suffered from schizophrenia, standing over my bed saying she would kill me.  This was a recurring theme that I had experienced as a child and teen.  I’ve shared about this more in my story, Lost & Found: The Birth of a Shaman.  After a few moments of this memory, I was back in my body on the table with Fritz.  I felt a sense of safety and calm that I had never experienced in my life and one that until that point, I had not imagined was possible.

In Shamanic Healing, we speak of a concept called soul loss. This occurs when a part of ourselves leaves our body because it does not feel safe.  Sometimes the part returns on it’s own.  Sometimes support such as a Soul Retrieval process or ongoing healing work is needed.  I know this moment with Fritz wasn’t the end of my healing but it was a moment that informed me on a deep level that safety and calm was possible in a way I had not experienced in my life up until that point. And, that profoundly changed me!

At the time, I was just coming to understand the impact of trauma on my life and my health – physical, mental and emotional. In addition to Fibromyalgia, I had struggled with chronic migraines, anxiety and depression since my teens. I depended on alcohol, substances and process addictions to cope with my pain.  Many of my memories had been repressed and this momentary experience woke me up in many ways.  It might seem that stirring up this traumatic experience would cause more pain, however having these feelings held so deeply within me had been paralyzing me in ways I didn’t understand until this release occurred.  In a flash of awareness, a very deep clearing occurred. I came to understand how much repressed emotion I was holding inside of me and how body-energy therapies such as Zero Balancing could help to transform my pain.

We all hold feelings, patterns and beliefs from our life experiences. Some are more traumatic or affect us more than others.  They inform us whether we are conscious of them or not.  In ZB, we hold that we are all energetic beings and that as such, bone is the densest form of energy. There is understanding of the relationship that occurs between energy and structure.  Working in this way helps to facilitate the movement of energy on all levels – body, mind, emotion and spirit.   As Fritz shares in the quote above it is these imbalances in our energetic field that can lead to disease if not addressed.  Most simply this is the mind-body connection that we hear so much about today!

Zero Balancing has supported and informed my life and work since 1997.  It’s one of the core modalities utilized in my Integrative Shamanic Healing Sessions as well as on it’s own to support overall balance and well-being.  It’s also been an essential part of Holistic Recovery Pathways, too.

I still today get ZB’s regularly to help me stay healthy, balanced and grounded so that I can support others and live my life to the fullest!

Did you know I currently offer Zero Balancing sessions in my Annapolis, MD?  These sessions are available on their own or as part of an Integrative Shamanic Healing Sessions. I also incorporate some aspects of Zero Balancing into my Energy Balancing Sessions, which can be available in person in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype.

In honor of practicing Zero Balancing for 20 years, I am sharing a Celebration Special Offer now through 8/31/17…

60 Min. Sessions of Zero Balancing or Energy Balancing ~ Regularly $100, now $85.

Packages of 3 Sessions ~ Regularly $270, now $245.

Visit my Discover The Healer Within Website to access this special offer….

Also, if you would like to explore Zero Balancing, one of the most cutting edge body/energy therapies, I encourage to look for a practitioner in your area.  Visit http://www.zerobalancing.com/about/practitioners.

Also, I am excited to share this guided Pyramid Meditaion for your to explore!  I experienced this powerful practice in my first Zero Balancing class and it’s been one of my most beloved practices ever since!


Featured Benefits of Zero Balancing

Zero Balancing offers many powerful benefits to people of all ages. Here are some of the compelling reasons why you should seek Zero Balancing:

Increases feelings of health and well-being
Zero Balancing induces a state of deep rest that allows you to feel truly relaxed, renewed and well. Regular Zero Balancing sessions may help you to feel more vital and alive.

Releases stress and improves the flow of energy in our bodies
Did you know that bones and other connective tissue actually conduct energy? Zero Balancing helps to free the flow of energy in the musculoskeletal system to help relieve stress and boost your body’s natural energy.

Reduces pain and discomfort
Blocks in the body’s energy often lead to imbalance, discomfort and pain. Zero Balancing helps open stuck areas in the body’s natural shock absorbers: the tarsal bones in the arches of the feet, the joints where the ribs meet the spine, the neck, the hips and the sacrum. Once these areas are free, pain can release.

Enhances stability, balance and freedom
Zero Balancing helps to create a wonderful feeling of inner and outer balance, alignment and organization. When your body is clear and balanced and your posture is aligned, you can move with freedom.

Amplifies the sense of connection, peace and happiness
Zero Balancing is deeply satisfying. Often during a session, you experience a sense of expansiveness, peace and contentment.

Releases mental, emotional and physical tension
Zero Balancing works on multiple levels to release tissue-held memory and tension patterns that may be affecting your mental, emotional and physical states.

Supports us through transitions and transformations
A Zero Balancing session supports positive changes in behavior or attitude by giving you the chance to state your personal goals for change – which then become the focus of the session. With the ZB practitioner’s attention and touch, energy is realigned so that old patterns can drop away and resistance to change subsides.

Improves quality of life and increases capacity for enjoyment
Zero Balancing helps us to feel better equipped to handle daily pressures. Many people who receive Zero Balancing on a regular basis find themselves more joyful and satisfied in both personal and work relationships.

Now through 8/31/17…

ZB Celebration Special Offer…

60 Min. Sessions of Zero Balancing or Energy Balancing ~ Regularly $100, now $85.

Packages of 3 Sessions ~ Regularly $270, now $245.

Visit my Discover The Healer Within Website to access this special offer.

I hope you enjoy the guided meditation and will come explore as you feel guided to! 

Advertisements

Heal Thyself!

Standard

Heal Thyself is the name of a book written by Dr. Edward Bach, creator of the Bach Flower Remedy System of Natural Healing; this is one of the main holistic modalities I utilize in my practice.  I have spent the last 15 years in the role of holistic practitioner, facilitator and shaman.  At the core of this work is the understanding that we all have the innate ability to heal ourselves.  It is through the process of self-exploration and increased awareness that we can find the resources and tools to support us on our journey of transformation and healing.

Here are some of Dr. Bach’s words from Heal Thyself, first published in 1931:

“Disease is in essence the result of conflict between Soul and Mind, and will never be eradicated except by spiritual and mental effort.  Such efforts, if properly made with understanding as we shall see later, can cure and prevent disease by removing those basic factors which are its primary cause.”

“Suffering is a corrective to point out a lesson which by other means we have failed to grasp, and never can it be eradicated until that lesson is learnt.  Let it also be known that in those who understand and are able to read the significance of premonitory symptoms, disease may be prevented before its onset or aborted in its earlier stages if the proper corrective spiritual and mental efforts be undertaken.  Nor need any case despair, however severe, for the fact that the individual is still granted physical life indicates that the Soul who rules is not without hope.”

“The development of Love brings us to the realisation of Unity, of the truth that one and all of us are of the One Great Creation.  The cause of all our troubles is self and separateness, and this vanishes as soon as Love and the knowledge of the great Unity become part of our natures.”

I have found these particular messages to be true in my own personal journey of healing and my work with clients over the last 20 years.  You can read more about Dr. Bach in my post, Visionary Voices: Dr. Edward Bach

I have found the message of “Heal Thyself”, to be at the core of my personal experience.  I would like to share with you a bit about my journey and how I came to the field of holistic health.

Amazingly, this path began for me at the age of 11.  I had a very inquisitive nature and I was an avid reader, often finishing a book a day.  I had a developed a propensity to peruse any bookcase that I came across to see what titles jumped out at me – I still do this today! One summer while spending some time at grandparents apartment in Queens, NY, I was looking through their books, which at that point, I knew quite well, but I happened upon a book, I had not seen before.  It was back a bit, wedged in between two other big books, The Joy of Cooking by Julia Child, and a copy of the Talmud, a Jewish text, that my great-grandfather had brought with him from Eastern Europe.  

For some unknown reason, I was drawn to the this little red-covered book, Healing Yourself with Foot Reflexology by Mildred Carter.  This seemingly random choice actually opened a big door for me.  As I read it, I began to apply the techniques of Reflexology, an ancient practice which uses pressure points on the hands, feet and ears to support health and wellness. It’s been around for thousands of years.  I was amazed to see that by pressing a few simple points on my body, I could feel differently.  I found I was able to ease headaches, quell sinus/allergy issues and lessen stress and anxiety, just by holding a few points on the body.  I was truly amazed.

When I was 14 years old, my cousin, who had been called Zed all his life, suddenly returned from India with a new name, Vijay, which means strong or victorious.  He shared that he was given this name by his guru, or spiritual teacher Osho.  He talked a lot about yoga and meditation and although he did not show me what this was, I was very intrigued.  He seemed so different, so much calmer, and more vibrant.  Once again my curiosity and my bookishness got me going.  I raced to the library and found all of the books I could on meditation and yoga.  Surprisingly, for 1981, the Paramus, NJ library, had quite a selection, and I was able to begin to explore a practice yoga and meditation within a just few days.

Once again I found that I was learning and growing and aware of my own innate ability to be clearer, calmer and more focused.  I came to experience the flow of energy in the body through yoga and the power of using the breath and awareness to create a change in my experience.  This was an amazing gift to have as a teenager.  I continued to learn and explore over the next few years.  Although a seemingly random experience, I credit developing these foundational practices in my survival through a very traumatic time growing up with a parent with schizophrenia.  And, they have continued to be a part of my life ever since. 

The awareness that I had gained as a teenager was also helpful when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at age 20.  This term was quite new at that time and conventional medicine did not have a lot of understanding about the condition.  In some ways, it is still a bit of an enigma today.  The only treatment at that time was to take heavy pain medication and anti-depressants.   I found myself in a place where I was physically in a lot of pain, highly fatigued and very despondent due to the limitations that I experienced. I did not find any medication really helpful and at age 20, having to drop out of college due to my illness, I felt certain I needed to find a my own solution.

So, having the basic awareness that I already had, that healing and change or at least what I call in my work, “a state change” was possible, I began a journey that took me most of a decade.  At the time I did not know it, but this journey was really a holistic exploration of life and healing.  As I explored a variety of modalities to help ease the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, I came to understand that for true change and healing to occur, it is key to embrace a holistic approach to not only health and to life itself.

What is a holistic approach to healing?

Holistic approaches focus on the whole person rather than just on an symptom, illness or specific aspect.  Holistic healing focuses on supporting a person in body, mind, emotion and spirit, acknowledging these elements of a person are interconnected and need to be supported, balanced and integrated to maintain overall health and well-being.  So, when one part of the body or mind is out of balance, it is understood that can affect the whole person and be a factor in disease.  Learn more

I spent the better part of a decade, exploring various approaches and modalities that addressed body, mind, emotion and spirit.  At the time, I didn’t know what I was doing was holistic, I was just trying to find things that helped me to feel better and to heal.

I focused on my body with diet, nutrition, supplements, bodywork and chiropractic care.  

I focused on my mind by exploring beliefs that were not supporting my well-being and worked to reduce the stressors in my life.  

I focused on my emotions, at first through therapy and later when I came to work with the Bach Flower Remedies, which are flower essences that support emotional health and balance.  At this point, I came to understand the role of emotions in the disease process and particularly how the impact of trauma was a factor in my physical experience of Fibromyalgia. 

I focused on spirituality and found ways to foster a sense of connection to myself, others and the world.  Finally, I came to study Shamanism, which is another ancient practice of healing, that has since become the heart of my life and my work as it embodies a holistic approach, which I have come to believe is key to living and being healthy, happy and vibrant.  It is based on the interconnectedness of all things – the “Unity” of which Dr. Bach speaks of in Heal Thyself. 

It has been over 16 years that I have been free of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.  I credit this to embracing a holistic approach to health and wellness.  And, it was this exploration that lead me into the field of holistic healing.  As I learned and improved, I began to study some of the modalities, which supported me.  I felt strongly about sharing my experience and learning with others, particularly in terms of the importance of considering body, mind, emotion and spirit and the interconnectedness of these parts of ourselves in experiencing happiness and well-being.

I continue to explore resources and tools that support wellness for myself and for those I work with.  In my role as holistic practitioner, facilitator and shaman, I begin by introducing my clients to a holistic approach and asking how they care for their body, mind, emotions and spirit as it is my hope to support and awaken the healer within them.  There is no magic formula or pill; each person needs to know themselves and to seek their own innate wisdom for healing.  In the words of the great medical doctor, Albert Schweitzer:

 “The shaman succeeds for the same reason all the rest of us (doctors) succeed.  Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.  They come to us not knowing this truth.  We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work.”

I wish you many blessings on your journey of transformation and healing!

Beth


If you’d like to explore working with me, feel free to visit my website, www.bethterrence.com and contact me to schedule a complimentary 20 minute consultation to explore what’s possible!

Summer of Love Special Offer ~ Three 90 Minute Integrative Holistic Healing Sessions For $337 (Reg.$450).  Available in person in Annapolis, MD or by Phone/Skype.  This is a great way to explore and focus on a specific challenge or pattern you’d like to create change around in your life. Come Explore! Access Offer

I’m Okay, Really! ~ A Healing Story…

Standard

I recently had the opportunity to share some of my healing stories as part of a shamanic healing workshop while my mentor, shaman Ross Bishop,  was visiting in Maryland last month.  As I read the stories, I realized how much I have changed since I have written them and even more so, how I have changed since the time I was a child.  The other thing that I realized is that I am still healing and this is a lifelong journey for me.  There is certainly today a lot more balance, joy and ease of well-being than I have known throughout my lifetime, but there is no “magic pill” and there is no “this work is done”.   I share this as a survivor and thriver of trauma, but I know that it’s not just my story – healing and transformation are part of the ongoing journey of being human.

Our stories may differ.  Yet, what I have learned through my own healing journey, and my work supporting others as a shaman, holistic practitioner and recovery coach as well as a writer is that there are universal themes that we as human beings experience, especially those of us living in a modern world.  These include feelings of unworthiness, disconnection, isolation, shame, abandonment and the list can go on.   I touch a lot on these themes in my story, “I’m Okay Really!”, which was featured in Harmonic Voices: True Stories of Women on the Path To Peace, a Heal My Voice collaborative book project.

I had the honor of supporting this project as a facilitator in training for the Heal My Voice process and will now be co-facilitating a new project with HMV Founder Andrea Hylen starting this Fall called, Recovering Voices: True Stories of Women and Men Healing Grief.  This will be the first HMV project open to men as well as women and we are kicking it off with a Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief Workshop in Annapolis, MD on Saturday, May 2nd and a 3-Session Teleclass in June, dates/details TBA.

Here is my healing story from Harmonic Voices...

10298376_10152122370960168_563882781120428117_o

“I’m Okay, Really!”

by Beth Terrence

It was a quiet Sunday afternoon when I headed down to my favorite coffee shop with my journal in hand.  It was just a few weeks after joining this Heal My Voice Peace Project and I was ready to begin to invite in an idea for my story to emerge.   It wasn’t until I actually sat down and began to write that I realized it was Mother’s Day.  It’s usually a day or two before that I realize this day is here; and as others begin to celebrate in various ways, I feel this huge wave of sadness and loss wash over me.  It still seems to catch me by surprise each year.  

It’s been 11 years since my mother passed away and yet, this feeling of loss was one I felt long before.  My mother died when I was 35 but I really lost her when I was about 8 years old.  Whether I actually knew it then in a conscious way or not is a question, but I remember when things began to feel different.  On the outside everything seemed pretty much the same and as any good suburban family would do, we did our best to keep it that just that way.  As time went on, it was evident that something was wrong.

The “something wrong” became clear for me one day when my mother forgot to pick me up from school.  I lived too close to school to be bussed and too far away to walk, so part of our daily routine was my mother driving me to and from my elementary school.   On this day, I was only in the 2nd grade; and I stood waiting for her, just waiting outside the school.  I waited and waited until everyone else was gone.  Still, she did not come.  

I was an only child, but I don’t think I had ever been “forgotten” before.  As I stood waiting by myself outside the school, I began to ponder my choices.  Could I walk home on my own?  It wasn’t that far to my house, but I knew for sure that I was not supposed to walk alone.  And, yet here I was all alone.  Perhaps this was the first time I really felt alone in this lifetime.  

Oddly, I remember wondering, rather quickly, if I had done something wrong to cause my mother not to come.   I couldn’t think of what that might be.  I began to question if I was in the wrong place or if I was supposed to go somewhere else that day.  I couldn’t think of where.  I just felt alone, afraid and abandoned.  I don’t think I was old enough yet to know that I would be okay.  

Alone.  Afraid.  Abandoned.

As I waited and waited, I wondered where a teacher was or why no one had noticed I was there.  I was at the back of the school where I usually met my Mom, so not many folks were often there.  Still, I thought, “how could no one know where I am?”  As I reflect on this, I wonder why I didn’t seek out a teacher or think to ask someone for help.  It didn’t occur to me to ask for help – that’s how old that pattern goes.  

I remember feeling a wave of shame come over me and somehow I knew I should be able to figure this out on my own.  A few times I made the move to walk home but wasn’t sure the best way to go.  One way was through the woods; the other was on a street with no sidewalks.  Both were options I knew not to take alone.  As I struggled to find a solution in my mind, I felt scared, really scared and all alone.

Ashamed.  Don’t ask for help.  Not knowing which way to go. 

At some point I began to cry in that silent way that I had already learned.  Instead of letting the tears flow, I tried to suck them back and be brave.  A “brave little soldier” was a phrase I had heard.  Maybe folks said that more about boys than girls, but somehow I knew this was a good quality to have.  As I stood there alone and scared, I tried as hard as I could to suck back my tears.  And, I did!  I told myself to just act like it was okay and I felt the façade of “I’m Okay” wash over me, perhaps for the first time in a conscious way.  

Brave little soldier.  Hide your tears.  The façade of “I’m Okay”.

As I reflect on this, it seems so strange because I stood there alone, all alone.   There was no one to hide my tears from, there was no one to be a brave little soldier for and there was no one to put the “I’m Okay” façade on for except me, just me.  There I was, at only 8 years old, standing alone and putting on a mask of protection that I would wear for decades to come as I told myself that life was okay when I knew deep inside it was not. 

I know that something changed in me that day.  I stood alone trying to prove to myself and to the world that all was well, when in my heart I knew it was not.  Thinking back, I have often ”accused” my family of this very thing.  After all, I was a child and they were adults.  I don’t know what I could have done, but as I grew older I thought “they” could have done something and didn’t.  Now I know they were doing all they could do to be okay with a situation that was truly not “Okay”.  

Denial.  Protection.  Isolation. 

It is this kind of unspoken truth that can destroy families and lives, and yet seems to happen so often.  For me, it was a truth that remained unresolved for many years as my mother descended into  the depths of mental illness untreated.   Although she remained present in body, the mother I knew was gone long before her death.  This created a deep thread of abandonment and loss I carried with me throughout my life.  It was not long after that day of being “forgotten” at the school that I remember beginning to feel abandoned by God, too.  

I had always felt a strong connection with God.  I still continued to pray each night;   sitting by my window, looking up at the stars and asking for that same support, protection and love.  Yet, I had a sense no one was listening and in some odd sort of way, I felt like I had to make it “Okay” for God, too.   Like what I was carrying was too big for the Creator.  It’s hard to imagine how I could come to that conclusion at only 8 years old, but I know it’s true.  Today, I know I was not the only little one who made that conclusion, many of us do.

When my mother finally arrived that day, how late I cannot say, she was very angry.   She blamed me; somehow this was my fault.  “I was a bad child” was a message I was already familiar with; it was intermingled with messages of love and caring, at least still at that time.   If something went wrong or my mother did something not quite right, it was usually not her fault but mine.  This was a pattern I learned early on in life.  Later my mother’s words got harsher and ultimately, my own words to myself were just as harsh – I came to believe that I could do no right.

It’s all my fault.  I am bad.  I am wrong. 

I took on the belief that I was a mistake.  I was not the perfect angelic child that my mother wanted and needed to be healthy and whole.  Somehow, I was defective.  I came to believe that I had failed her needs and so she left.  Her body stayed but her spirit went to dwell somewhere else, leaving space for other energies and entities to reside.  For many, many years, I truly believed this was my fault.  If I could become the perfect child, the perfect daughter and the perfect woman somehow I might be able to save her.  This mission became a driving force in my life, one that caused me much suffering – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Be Perfect.  Sacrifice yourself.  It’s up to you to save her.

Living with the legacy of a mentally ill parent is one that you carry with you each day.  For many years, I wondered if I would lose myself in this same way, too.  I carried the burden of feeling like I had chosen to abandon my mother just to live in the world.  Often, the pain was so great that I honestly didn’t know if I would survive.  Through it all, I continued to wear the mask of “I’m Okay”.   I was like a soldier walking alone through my own internal war.  

As I write these words my tears flow as they could not flow back then.  For many years, I shed no tears or when they bubbled up, I sucked them back in.   Now I can shed tears and often do.  I know this is growth, progress and healing.  It wasn’t until I was willing to take off the mask, lay down my head and shed the tears of this lifetime that the healing began.  I came to understand that by being a “brave soldier”, I had continued to abandon myself just as my 8 year old had felt abandoned by my family, by God and by the world.  

It took a great commitment to healing for me to stay present the pain of my inner ones long enough for them to feel safe and loved.   Today, I can hold that 8 year old in my heart and soul and tell her it was not her fault, she is not alone and she can let her tears flow, too.  It was in building this relationship with myself that the façade of  “I’m Okay” finally melted away and my true self emerged in a deeper way. 

“Healing means making yourself vulnerable by exposing the core of your being and admitting how you really feel about yourself.  The decision to heal requires the willingness to accept that you may be as flawed as you fear (we never are).  It also requires an almost ruthless commitment to find and live in the truth, irrespective of the cost.”  – Ross Bishop, Healing The Shadow

Alone. 

Afraid. 

Abandoned.

Ashamed.  

Don’t ask for help.  

Not knowing which way to go. 

Brave little soldier.  

Hide your tears.  

The façade of “I’m Okay”.

Denial.  

Shame.  

Isolation. 

It’s all my fault.  

I am bad. 

I am wrong. 

Be Perfect.  

Sacrifice yourself.  

It’s up to you to save…

Through the shamanic path I came to see that although we each have different life experiences, there is a much bigger picture at work.  Our individual struggles may vary, but the feelings, patterns and beliefs that emerge are a natural and necessary part of the journey of a soul on earth.  Becoming conscious of our feelings of separation and healing through them is the path back to source and to reclaiming the essence of who we are. 

The Big Picture.  Separation.  Coming Home.

Today, I know now that peace begins with being true and honest with myself.  As I allow my authenticity to shine out into my life and into the world, I continue to move into greater harmony; this is my path home.  Rather than feeling alone or abandoned, I feel a deep connection to the greater whole.  This always begins and ends with my relationship with myself.  As I am willing to love, support and embrace all of me – body, mind, emotion & spirit, I grow in my ability to experience peace and joy in my life.  Even when it doesn’t feel okay or when painful feelings or difficult situations arise, I know, “I’m okay, really!”.


If my story speaks to you in some way and you’d like to explore Shamanic Healing, feel free to contact me for a Complimentary 20-Minute Consultation to explore what’s possible!  I am available for Shamanic Healing and Integrative Holistic Healing Sessions both in person in Annapolis, MD or virtually by Phone/Skype?  Learn more at www.bethterrence.com.

Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman

Standard

The following story, “Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman“, was first published in February 2013 in Inspired Voices: True Stories Of Visionary Women.  The writing of this story came through my participation in a 9-month Heal My Voice program.  The mission of HMV is to: empower and support women and girls globally to heal, reclaim their voice and step into greater leadership in their lives and in the world.” (www.healmyvoice.org)

Since that time I have written several other stories found in Heal My Voice collaborative books including:

“I’m Okay, Really!” in Harmonic Voices: True Stories by Women on the Path to Peace

“Afterword: Becoming Peace” in Harmonic Voices: True Stories by Women on the Path to Peace

“Foreword” in Tender Voices: True Stories by Women on a Journey of Love

“Recovery Is Possible” in Feminine Voices: True Stories Of Women Transforming Leadership

In addition to writing these stories, this program has helped me to step forward as a leader and share my voice with the world.  I am excited to share my first Heal My Voice story, Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman, with you here.  Later this year, I will be co-facilitating a program with HMV Founder Andrea Hylen called “Recovering Voices: True Stories of Women & Men Healing Grief“. We will also be leading some local workshops and virtual teleseminar classes on Writing To Heal ~ Transforming Our Grief.  Visit www.healmyvoice.org for more details.

In my story, I talk about how my life experiences, particularly those of trauma, loss and grief, led to my path of becoming a shaman.  I mention my teacher, Ross Bishop, who I came to meet a decade ago; he helped me to understand and integrate what I had experienced as a child in a profound and healing way.  This led to my apprenticeship as a shaman; and this work has become a foundation in my life and my work with clients today.

Ross will be arriving in Maryland tonight to spend some time offering healing space in my community.  If you are local to the MD/DC/VA area, I invite you to join us on Saturday for a Community Talk and Sunday for a Half-Day Workshop at The Zen House in Annapolis, MD.  To learn more visit azenhouse.com or Ross’ website, www.rossbishop.com.

 

Inspired Voices Book Cover

Lost & Found: The Birth Of A Shaman

By Beth Terrence

Dedication:

I write this story in honor of my inner children, the ones who were willing to travel into the darkness to find the light. The ones who walked through fire and instead of emerging charred and burned, transformed themselves into the light of illumination which carries me through this life, allowing me to be happy, whole and filled with love.

It has been 10 years since my mother died. My life has transformed so much in that time; I might not even recognize myself if I passed the former me on the street. So many blessings and journeys have emerged since then that were unimagined. Around that time, I didn’t know it but I was about to experience what I consider to be my first soul retrieval, the return of a soul part that has been lost through life experiences. Looking back, I now view this part of my life journey as the gateway to stepping forward on my path as a shaman.

Prior to ten years ago, I had spent a good part of my life exploring spiritual and holistic practices. This was both through a deep sense of calling and also, in response to the struggles that came from dealing with anxiety, depression and the physical condition of fibromyalgia. In retrospect, I can see those imbalances were due to the effects of the severe trauma I had experienced as a child growing up with a mentally ill parent. I had made tremendous progress by the time of my mother’s death. I felt a sense of health and well-being that I previously never imagined was possible. Still, I felt something was missing.

For as long as I could remember, I had felt such a sense of extreme loss. Like there was a hole inside of me that could never be filled. It felt so deep and vast. When I was willing to look at it, all I could see was the darkness of an infinite abyss. Most of the time, I tried to pretend the abyss wasn’t there. Sometimes, I attributed it to the loss of my mother to her illness and to the wound of not really having a mother. Even stronger was the nagging and recurring feeling that some part of me was missing. I truly believed that a part of me was lost to the past and I doubted that it would ever be found.

From a shamanic perspective, it is believed that a portion of the human soul is free to travel and leave the body. Our souls are thought to travel during our dreamtime or as we enter into a shamanic journey. Also, a soul part may leave the body to protect itself from potentially threatening or dangerous situations whether they may be mental, emotional or physical. In situations of trauma, the soul fragment may not return to the body on its own and a soul retrieval or other healing process may be needed to assist it. However, a soul part may return on its own once a sense of safety has been established.

As I invited the story for this book to emerge, I found myself waking early one morning thinking about Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Telltale Heart”. As I imagined Poe’s story, I began to feel my own heart beating and pounding so strongly. It felt like it might shoot right out of my chest. That was an old and familiar feeling that I had known for much of my life. Living in fear and intense fear – fear of the unknown, fear of the unseen, and fear of the unpredictable was something I had experienced on a daily basis.

Although the memory I was having could have been many nights of my life, I realized it was the first night I spent alone in my mom’s house after she died that felt reminiscent of the Poe story. This was the house I grew up in, often a place that people cherish and love to return to, but for me it felt more like a house of horrors. I hated to go there for even for a few hours. I went as infrequently as I could, always feeling a sense of guilt for not going there more. I hadn’t slept there in over 15 years; one of the last times I had to be rescued by the police.

My mother had died very unexpectedly. I was shocked and really not sure how to feel. Energetically, she had been gone for so long. I felt like she had died when I was a child. I had mourned that loss in many ways. There was this woman who was my mother; she was not a real part of my life. Yet, she profoundly affected it. I longed for a mother to turn to for guidance, support and sharing; sometimes I still do. My mother was not that mother. Even if some part of her wanted to be that mother, her mental illness prevented it.

I found myself inheriting my mother’s house, my house of horrors, a place that still truly terrified me. Soon after I got the news, I had to go up there to deal with legal paperwork, go to the courts, and become the representative for my mother’s estate. There was no will, no instructions, just a mess, a big mess and a lot of pain emerging. I had the daunting task of cleaning and preparing the house to be sold. It felt utterly overwhelming even though I had a lot of support from friends and family. The house was in total shambles and filled with clutter in almost every room. I felt so much shame about that house, about my mother and about all of the memories surfacing as I merely thought about going into that house, let alone actually walking through the door and spending time there.

Surprisingly, I found myself feeling a need to spend a night alone there. I needed to know that the house and my memories couldn’t kill me. That’s how it felt for so long, like if I went in there and spent time there, it would kill me. I imagined going in and never coming out. I felt like it could just swallow me up whole never to be seen again. I believed it was a miracle that I had made it out of that house before.  Going back seemed like going into the lair of a dragon whose breath of fire could annihilate me in an instant. This house was the place that terrified me most in this world and yet, I knew I needed to return.

I had to sleep on the couch in the living room that night because there were no beds left in the house. My mom had died in her bed. I imagined my mom dying in her bed, lonely and alone. Just her and Percy, the sweet, sweet, loving Percy; the cat who had blessed our lives in so many ways. My mother dying lonely and alone isolated from the world at only 62. It seemed like that house had kept her prisoner, too.

As the sun descended and night arrived, my fear began to crescendo. My heart started beating like it used to, harder and harder until it beat so hard it felt like it would jump out of my chest, possibly even explode. I sat on that couch. I lay on that couch. I tossed and turned. I knew that sleep wasn’t going to be possible. I lay there hoping and praying for the night to come to an end.

Many memories began to surface. The knife fight. Locking myself in my room, again and again. Barricading the door. Hiding in the closet. Crawling under the bed. Sleep walking. Hearing the voices. Seeing the entities and not knowing what they were. Knowing my mother was gone and finding this being who seemed like a monster in her place. Constantly, fearing for my life. Hearing those familiar words that played, over and over again, in my head for so many years – “I will kill you, I will kill you, I will kill you”. Again and again. And, knowing that for so long those were not voices in my head, but words my mother would say to me, over and over again.

It truly felt like the words “I will kill you” came not from my mother but from some part of her that was not her true self. And eventually, it felt like it was the voice of the house. Every time I thought of it, whether I imagined being there or actually was there, I heard that voice. It was like it was captured in the structure or the energy of the house, just like the heart beating in Poe’s story. And, when I thought of those words and those memories, my heart would beat like Poe’s, too.

As I lay on that couch, I could feel that energy, hear those voices, and see those memories playing like a horror movie in my mind’s eye. I knew I was me now. I knew the house couldn’t kill me. I knew my mother was gone and she couldn’t kill me. Still, my heart continued to pound. I felt a full on flight or fight response arising.

I remembered all those nights, lying in my bed, begging and praying for God, for the angels, for someone or something to come protect and save me. Many nights, I wondered if I would make it to see another day. I wondered if this was the night she, my mother, would fulfill her words and kill me.

I longed for someone to hold me, to rock me, and to tell me it would be okay – I would survive. I wanted to cry for my mother, my mommy to come and save me, but she was the one I needed saving from. I was scared and terrified all the time. I was confused and lost.  I felt totally lonely and alone.

So often, I wanted to run. I wanted to run from that house. Or scream, scream really loud. When I heard those voices, when I awoke in the middle of the night to my mom’s paranoid ramblings and to the one voice that always wanted to kill. “I’ll kill you”. He’d say it, over and over again. I say he even though the voice came from my mother. I don’t know why, that’s just how it felt. I knew the voice wasn’t really my mother, but some other energy or entity that possessed her, encased her and suffocated the beautiful, loving being that she was inside. Even then, as a child and later, as a teenager, this was something I knew, something I saw and something that would lead to me to the shaman’s door.

So many nights I awoke to her standing over my bed, staring at me and saying those words, over and over again. “I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you”. I’d try to remain perfectly still and invisible, because that seemed like the safest thing to do. Eventually, I knew if I did that it would pass; she would return to her bed and usually not even remember what had happened during the night. In the morning, she would sleep late, often into the afternoon. When she finally awoke, for a short time, she might actually seem like the sweet mother that I knew before her illness took over.

It was scary and tricky. I didn’t know when to trust. On the occasion when she was a sweet loving mom, the one I longed for and wanted to share my life with, I was guarded because I knew in an instant she could turn. Just one wrong word. One funny look. One thing said that she didn’t like and KABOOM! Explosions, rage, anger, attack. And those words – those vicious, hurtful, and terrifying words, “I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you.”

I wanted to run and I wanted to scream. But my legs seemed to always be frozen or not even there. My voice was gone or frozen, too. Even if I would open my mouth to scream, no words would come, just silence. I told myself over and over again, “Just be still and be quiet and maybe, we will survive.” I know it was on these nights that I learned to travel or journey within. I found places I could go inside that felt safe and secure, where I could hide parts of myself for protection.

However, in the world of people, I came to believe that silence and invisibility were the safest places. And, having a voice and being seen were very dangerous places. I learned to put on a cloak of invisibility that was nearly impenetrable. I learned to silence myself even when I was crying inside. Even when I was screaming at the top of my lungs inside for Help! Help! Help! no one but me could hear it. And, when I wanted to run, all I knew to do was to stay. Stay frozen and stay still. So I stayed. As my life went on, I stayed in many situations when I should have run or at the very least, walked away.

Spending the night in that house alone changed me. I am not sure if I slept a wink that night. So much fear arising; so many memories swirling around. I feared I might not make it through that night. But I did! When morning came, I was still alive! I finally knew that house could not kill me, my mother could not kill me and memories could notkill me. I was alive! I could get up; I could walk or run out of that house and still be alive! I could take the part of me who thought we might die if we went into that house and begin to create a new life. And I did! I could finally live my life. I didn’t need to stay. I didn’t need to be invisible. And, I didn’t need to be silent anymore.

As I look back, I view that day, in the morning as the sun rose when I “woke’ on that couch, alive and well, as my first soul return. I had lost myself there in that house and that it is where I found myself for the first time in this lifetime. I had survived that night and that life. As I walked out of the house that morning, I walked into the sunshine of a new life. I was awake enough to know that I was safe, supported and whole.

It would be a few years before I fully entered the shaman’s path. My own healing continued and eventually, led me to apprentice with a shaman. I finally came to understand on a deeper level what I had experienced. I came to know and view my childhood experiences as an initiatory process. I had learned to journey on those terrifying nights, to find places within that were safe and secure. I had left parts of my self in those secret places and it was in learning to journey with my inner children that I became whole.

I learned that loving myself is the key to healing. And, honoring and embracing the inner ones, the soul parts, who carry the memories, pain and traumas of the past, is what brings them home. As my healing progressed, I learned how to support others in reconnecting with their lost soul parts and in healing their core wounds. I consider this the gift of my past. I now know that it was those experiences that opened the door to a deeper understanding of life, one that allows me to walk between worlds with an awareness that is grounded, centered and open to the beauty of life as it unfolds.

*********************************

If my story speaks to you in some way and you’d like to explore Shamanic Healing, feel free to contact me for a Complimentary 20-Minute Consultation to explore what’s possible!  I am available for Shamanic Healing and Integrative Holistic Healing Sessions both in person in Annapolis, MD or virtually by Phone/Skype?  Learn more at www.bethterrence.com.

Bach Flower Of The Month: Star Of Bethlehem ~ The Remedy Of Comfort

Standard

Star Of Bethlehem

“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.” ~ Arthur Golden

I have been feeling to bring Star Of Bethlehem into the monthly posts and now is the perfect time as the energy and support it brings can really be of benefit this time of year.  As I shared in my recent post, Autumn Tips For Happy & Healthy Living, this season is one that can bring feelings of sadness, loss and grief to the surface.  Dr. Edward Bach, creator of the Bach Flower Remedies, referred to Star of Bethlehem as “the comforter and soother of pain and sorrows”.   It is one the five remedies that is part of the well-known Rescue Remedy®, which is the only pre-made composite Bach Flower Remedy designed for use in emergencies and for acute stress and it is an essential part of any holistic medicine cabinet.

In the Bach Flower System, there is a category of remedies that are indicated for Despondency and Despair; Star of Bethlehem is in that group.  This can also be defined as remedies that may support “depressive feelings”.  I say “depressive feelings” because in the Bach Flower System and other holistic modalities, we do not treat a specific disease or condition such as depression or diabetes, but we focus on the whole person.  As Dr. Bach would say, “We treat the person, not the disease.”  These types of feelings or traits are an indicator of where a person is experiencing some type of imbalance or disharmony that needs to be addressed.

In determining what Bach Flower Remedies would best support a person, the practitioner and client work collaboratively to identify emotional states and personality traits that are present at the surface.  It is by addressing this outer layer of experience – i.e. what is at the surface or being experienced on a daily basis that we begin to access where a person is out of harmony with their soul and ultimately, the greater whole.  The remedies help to soothe our imbalances and like beautiful music, bring in vibrations that harmonize our being.  As we address one layer, then another will surface, bringing to light others areas that are in need of attention and healing.

In my own healing journey and my work with others as a practitioner over the last 15 years, I have found Star Of Bethlehem to be one that is often needed.  Star of Bethlehem is indicated when there are feelings of sorrow, grief, sadness or loss at the surface as well as when there are old losses coming up that we have not grieved.  Also, as the remedy of shock and trauma, Star Of Bethlehem is highly beneficial for anyone who has experienced trauma, and although it is this can occur in varying degrees, most people have experienced some shock or trauma that has gone unresolved in their lives.

Trauma can exist on all levels – body, mind, emotion and spirit.  And, it is something that creates an imprint in our being that often stays with us until we attend to it.  Some traumas resolve themselves naturally, however, it is not uncommon for those energetic imprints to remain and lie dormant until something triggers a re-awakening signaling it is time to be resolved.  This is often experienced when we have a loss occur and the new feelings arising tap into the great pool of unresolved loss we tend to carry within ourselves.

We may think of this only in terms of emotional trauma, but this can even be seen in the case of physical traumas or injuries when suddenly the pain or restriction of an old football injury or childhood accident resurfaces.  And, from many of the case studies of Dr. Bach, it was seen that unresolved shock and trauma on any level might later manifest into a physical condition.  Star Of Bethlehem is the remedy indicated to help resolve these patterns that may be affecting us on many levels.

Dr. Bach shared the following words about the Star Of Bethlehem remedy:

“For those in great distress, under conditions which for a time produce great unhappiness.  The shock of serious news, the loss of someone dear, the fright following an accident and such like.  For those who for a time refuse to be consoled, this remedy brings comfort.”

Here are some questions to see if Star Of Bethlehem may be beneficial for you at this time:

  • Are you experiencing feelings of sorrow, grief, sadness or loss?
  • Have you had a recent loss or one from the past that you are still struggling with?
  • Do you have a tendency toward feeling despondent?
  • Have you experienced trauma or abuse?
  • Are you working to resolve the effects of past trauma or PTSD?
  • Are you in a state of shock or numbness?
  • Do you feel a sense of agony that comes from what you have experienced?
  • Are you in a grief period or in the process of healing or grieving prior losses?
  • Do you feel like you carry a thread of sadness that won’t leave?
  • Are you experiencing a seasonal type of depression with feelings of sadness, loss and grief bubbling up?

Star Of Bethlehem has many benefits that support our ability to move through shock, trauma and loss.  Here are some of the ways this remedy can provide support:

  • Neutralizes shock in any form, current or past, from bad news, accidents, losses, etc.
  • Helps to clear and release trauma
  • Eases feelings of sorrow, grief, sadness and loss
  • Supports inner child healing
  • Brings us a deep sense of comfort
  • Helps to bring us back into the body and awaken us after shock or trauma

In thinking about losses, we tend to focus on the loss that comes through a death.  It is important to consider that there are many types of losses that can affect us – the loss of relationship, a job, a home, or a phase of life.  Even when we have an experience that is positive, such as getting married or having a child, it is possible that we feel some sense of loss due to the change in our lives.  It is natural to need to give some time and space to the feelings of loss that may arise in response to the constantly changing aspects of our lives.  In these cases, Star Of Bethlehem can provide a support as can Walnut, which helps us to ease through our transitions.

Also, I’d just like to mention that Star Of Bethlehem can be highly beneficial for animals that have suffered any type of abuse or trauma.  In my work with Rescue animals, their histories are often uncertain.  Whether they have experienced abuse in their prior situation or merely the trauma of being moved from one situation to another, Star Of Bethlehem can support them.  Rescue Remedy is always a good starting point for “Rescue” animals, but treatment with Star Of Bethlehem can be a great support in the resolving the trauma an animal may be carrying and can help them to settle into a new situation with greater ease.

I’d love to hear your experiences with Star Of Bethlehem or any thoughts, reflections or questions that may arise in response to the post.