by Barbara Findeisen, M.A., M.F.C.C.
The mind-body dichotomy has been entrenched in Western thought for so long most medical doctors have felt little need to concern themselves with the psyches of their patients. Conversely, traditional psychotherapy has shown little concern with physical problems. Recently the popularity and effectiveness of body therapies have prompted the acceptance of a concept of partnership between body and mind and a realization that they are not separate entities.
The majority of my clients enter therapy for psychological reasons, only to discover that change in the psyche affects the body, also. Conversely, colleagues who practice physical therapies frequently tell me that body work effects emotional breakthroughs and psychological insights. The two modalities are emerging as collaborators, avenues to the same goal of healing.
In regression work there are many instances where healing of both mind and body takes place. An example is Jessica, who came for a physical difficulty. Katherine, her mother, during the pregnancy with Jessica, had been bedridden with severe morning sickness. This symptom gradually disappeared and the remainder of the pregnancy was normal. She remained anxious about her pregnancy, however, and at the first signs of labor was driven to the hospital by her husband, only to learn that the labor was false. Since she lived forty miles from the hospital, the doctor decided to induce labor, and after eighteen hours and a very painful delivery, the little girl was born facing the wrong way. Her mother later told me that the pain had been intense and after it was over she was “too exhausted to care about seeing the baby.”
By the time Jessica was three months old she had developed severe allergic reactions. She was taken to the first of what turned out to be fourteen years of specialists. When I asked about her current situation she told me that her sleeping pills were no longer working nor were any of the latest allergy shots and that she had to go in for a new series of tests. She was concerned because she had to use sleeping pills and wear heavy gloves at night to prevent damage from nocturnal scratching. She showed me scars on her arms and legs. She wanted to be on the swim team but was allergic to chlorine, and her skin was allergic to all make-up. She was also allergic to all grasses, most animals, and a long list of foods.
After talking with her and her parents, we decided to see if we could find possible psychological causes for her problems. My years of regressing clients had demonstrated the connection between a breathing problem such as asthma and trauma in the uterine and birth experiences, so I regressed Jessica to the beginning of this life to see if there was any situation there which might be contributing to her allergies.
“Something’s wrong! I’m being shaken around. I can’t hold on. What’s happening to me?” These were the words Jessica spoke in her first regression as she experienced being inside her mother’s womb. “I’m not so sure I want to be here. Maybe she doesn’t want me here.”
There was some truth to this. Her parents had not been married very long when she was conceived and her mother felt it was too soon to have a baby. Perhaps Jessica had picked up Katherine’s feeling and Katherine’s resentment about the pregnancy may have influenced the traumatic first trimester. Whatever the reason for Jessica’s feeling in the regression, her energy field became fixed and rigid.
As Jessica went on in the regression she experienced a time of relative calm, though the seeds of guilt about being there and the fear of not being safe had been sown. When it came time to be born, she felt she was not ready.
“I’m not ready to come out yet. It’s the wrong way.” The birth was agony. She was angry because she was being forced to come out before she was ready, and she was in a position which was making her journey through the birth canal painful for her mother and herself. As she became aware of her mother’s pain, the seeds of guilt, which had been sown earlier, were intensified. She was caught between anger at the situation and her pain, and the guilt she felt for causing her mother’s suffering.
Frequently I have clients who feel responsibility for their mothers before they are even born. Generally in childhood they become the helping, the supportive, understanding, adaptive child. Later, they become the compulsive adult “do-gooders,” or caretakers of some kind. These qualities Jessica had already manifested. She was compulsively drawn to other children with serious problems. She sacrificed her own needs, time, and wishes to those of her friends and spent hours trying to rescue them, generally feeling heartbroken and helpless at the results.
After her painful entrance into the world, when her mother was too exhausted to hold her, we found the following words tumbling out in the regression, “I’ll take your pain. We’ll be together in your pain.” Pain was to become her avenue of connection with her mother. From then on she would unconsciously manipulate her relationships and her body to create the presence of those two demons in her life, guilt and pain, as if she had imprinted on them.
In a subsequent session, I asked Jessica to imagine the allergies as a figure with whom she could communicate.
“Mr. Red is an ugly, bumpy, crabby blob,” she said. She discovered that Mr. Red was there to keep her in pain. That was his job. He had been there all her life helping her.
As Jessica used the powerful tools of her imagination, she learned that Mr. Red was actually rather tired of his job. I encouraged her to image what he would enjoy doing. Much to my surprise he answered that he would like to go water skiing. Jessica imagined him water skiing as I sat silently. At one point she giggled and said, ‘He just fell, but he’s up again.” Then she added, “He’s not red and bumpy anymore — he’s turning blue. He likes it there.” The change in his color suggested that her energy field was shifting.
During the time we were working together, Jessica and her family rented the video tape “Gone With the Wind.” At the scene when Scarlett fell down the stairs and lost her baby, Jessica became hysterical. Her mother sat by her as Jessica relived a past-life memory of being pregnant and losing her baby. We later worked with this memory and uncovered the guilt she had felt because in that lifetime Jessica had not wanted the baby. In another life she had abandoned her family. The chain of guilt stretched back many lifetimes.
The rejection her mother felt about being pregnant in this life reactivated those earlier experiences, and Jessica’s birth strongly reinforced her unconscious belief that she needed to be punished. After accepting that mind set, she set out with no conscious awareness, to inexorably live it out. Mr. Red was an imaginary sub-personality whose task was to carry out her self imposed sentence. Her allergies, complicated, multidimensional, and resistant to elimination, kept Jessica in pain.
During this time I worked with her mother, Katherine, also. She regressed to Jessica’s birth and relived the pain and inability to bond with her baby. She was flooded with tears of release and forgiveness as she felt the love for the struggling infant and for herself, the suffering, exhausted mother. Since then, the relationship between mother and daughter has become more loving and understanding.
The most impactful result of this regression work is that Jessica’s allergies have disappeared. She went off all medication, she no longer scratches herself at night, she is now on the swim team, and she wears make-up and goes camping. Whenever she feels she may be getting an allergic reaction she talks to “Mr. Blue” to discover what she is doing to bring about the attack. He usually tells her she is not listening to her Self or that she is internalizing someone else’s troubles or pain. He has become an internalized source of wisdom and guidance. She has used this technique for the past two years and has been allergy free. She is now standing up for herself in a responsible and loving way and is learning to live without guilt and pain. With her expanded awareness she has more freedom to see clearly what she wants in her life without her former compulsive need to rescue and to feel guilty.
Why was this treatment successful? There are three factors that underlay or contributed to Jessica’s healing. First, both Jessica and her parents were willing and open to look at their experience and to cooperate with each other and the therapeutic process. Second, after fourteen years where only the physical symptoms had been considered, finding the cause of those symptoms enabled healing and change to occur. Third, we created via “Mr. Red,” who turned into “Mr. Blue,” an effective imaginary way to continue to reinforce the healing and to avoid slipping back into old destructive habits.
In this case the negative experiences in past lives were stimulated by Jessica’s pre- and peri-natal trauma, which was then manifested in her chronic physical problem. Fortunately, the correction was made early enough in her life so that her energy could be directed in a positive way before it could be acted out as a mother or an adult.
We know that to the extent an individual denies or represses large areas of experience, the physical body is affected and his/her creative life energies will become limited or directed in pathological or neurotic ways. We know, also, that to the degree an individual is open to all aspects of his/her personal experience and has access to all the different sensing and perceiving abilities, his interaction with his world will tend to be constructive both physically and psychologically. In Jessica’s case she now has the awareness of and access to psycho-spiritual abilities to create a more positive interaction with herself and her world.
Denial and repression of old traumas often show up in a variety of physical ways. Lois came in to see me complaining of severe pains in her legs. Throughout her life she had periodic bouts with these pains. In regressing to her birth she relived feelings of suffocation and lack of support from her mother, who was drugged and unconscious. Unable to free herself from the birth canal, she gave up and felt as though she were dying until she was pulled out with forceps. The mechanical intervention may have saved her physical life but it left her emotionally dead and feeling that she was helpless, at the mercy of others, and unable to stand on her own feet-Her mother was a schizophrenic, which reinforced her birth feelings of mistrust, particularly of women. So she turned to her father, who became “her legs,” her support.
In one session she regressed to a scene where she was running from a threatening group of people. Her legs grew exhausted and she stumbled, and the crowd fell on her and cut off her legs, leaving her bleeding, dying alone, and she lay still for ten minutes. When she opened her eyes she asked if I had heard the music or seen the lights. I hadn’t, but I had felt the peace. She had experienced her death after that lifetime as a release and affirmation.
Lois had been healing people in non-traditional ways in that lifetime and the official church had warned her to stop, but she had continued doing what she felt was God’s will. The church consequently condemned her and stirred up the mob so that it murdered her. After experiencing that death she moved into a broader perspective where she could respect herself for her courage and faith.
In this lifetime she had felt unable to support herself and at thirty years of age was still being supported by her father, as if she had no legs on which to stand. She noticed that whenever she began to strikeout on an independent path, her legs would become painfully cramped. Since the regression this has changed. The leg pains have not returned. Psychologically she is now standing on her own two legs with a sense of purpose, expressed in successful administration of an arts and crafts shop. Several years later she told me she could still close her eyes and remember the music and the lights of the blissful death experience and recapture that feeling of self appreciation.
Therapy releases deep blocks in our energy body, which results in added capacity to handle life’s crises. This expanded awareness and the ability to evaluate more clearly the implications of a stressful situation served two clients of mine in the birth of their first child. Bob and Jane had been married for nine years when I first met them. Beautiful, sensitive, and intelligent people, they had worked diligently on the developmental problems in their present life. They had healed the relationships with their parents and arrived at a place of acceptance of their life situation and relationships. They wanted to have children and after exhausting all known medical answers, turned to alternative methods, such as envisioning, meditating, and past-life regression. In one session Jane relived being on a pine table on the Frontier, unable to give birth to a large baby. As she died she saw her husband cut her open to save the baby’s life. She had retained an irrational fear that any baby would be too big for her and might kill her. Shortly after that regression, she conceived a child and carried the baby full term.
Throughout the pregnancy and even before the conception, Jane and Bob had communicated with their child, believing in the ability of this soul to be aware, to know, and to communicate. Because of their awareness of their own psychological and spiritual abilities, they were able to have a strong positive impact on the child’s birth. Had they not had this awareness and used it, the difficulties of the birth process might have had negative results in the psychological and physical well-being of the child, for Jane repeated the birth difficulties of the other lifetime in the current birth, laboring thirty hours until the doctor suggested a Cesarean Section.
Jane and Bob were opposed to such a solution and together talked to their child. Whenever Bob talked directly to the baby and ribbed his wife’s lower back, all the vital signs from the monitor became normal. The birth was difficult, a long labor in an older mother with a history of miscarriage, but the bonding connection among the three was powerful and consistent, and their mutual effort eventually produced a healthy baby girl.
We learn a great deal from observing, not only pathology, but also a successful intervention. Bob and Jane did specific things to create a change in consciousness. First, they looked at their own personal psychodynamics. They successfully released blocked energy so it could be used for healing. When they were trying to have a family, they sought help to clear away any conscious or unconscious negativity around the subject of birth, children, and families. Then, because of their expanded energy and awareness, they acknowledged the consciousness of the soul of their child throughout conception, pregnancy, and birth. They welcomed her into the world physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Both Jessica and Lois initially had no sense of self-worth. Guilt from other lifetimes was stamped in during the difficulties of birth, and influenced experiences in the current lifetime. After experiencing and reevaluating these old fears, Jessica lost her lifetime allergies and became able to express her creative potential. Lois gained a sense of self-worth that enabled her to move out courageously on her own and freed her legs from pain. Psyche and body give two statements of the same message, in other lifetimes as well as in the birth process and in current experiences. Insight achieved in regression work provides healing on all these levels.