Life After Ayahuasca.. An Integration Workshop on November 25th

After the phenomenal experience that is Ayahuasca, many of us are left wondering how to carry this experience into our everyday lives. Many of us pursued the medicine to improve our lives and our relationships. In this workshop, we will focus on the most important relationship you have in this life: your relationship with yourself. You’ll discover the ways in which you may improve this relationship by exploring the decisions you make in your life and the considerations surrounding these decisions. You’ll discover the agreements that are in place in your life and the beliefs that support them. Most importantly, you’ll recognize the immense opportunities for change that exist in these discoveries.

The entire presentation has been inspired by the guided and integrative experiences I’ve had with Ayahuasca. In ceremony, Ayahuasca asked me to ‘put pencil to paper’ and this is the result: http://offthedeepend.ca/blog/category/ayahuascawisdom/ The workshop was created in this way and will be devoted to applied Ayahuasca wisdom with the central focus being self-love. Ayahuasca continually reinforces the idea that we create our own reality. If we create from a position of love, our lives will be a healthy reflection of this love. Ayahuasca is often an introduction to ‘the work’ and how we apply what we learn is the work-in-progress that is our daily lives. For me, it’s a labour of love and I look forward to sharing it with you.

 

Please email reach_rebecca@yahoo.ca to register!

Hypnotic Ayahuasca

Is it possible to experience Ayahuasca with hypnosis?

Yes.

Rebecca Hayden (Ayahuasca Talks Radio Show) and Albert Nerenberg (Hypnotist from TEDX, IdeaCity, The Hypnotic Bar) will present an experience of Hypnotic Ayahuasca in Toronto on the evening of July 8th. A limited number of places are available.

There are no actual substances involved and all states are achieved naturally through trance, shared ritual and deep relaxation. In deep trance, people are able to have Ayahuasca experiences that may help them with integration. Recommended for those who have already experienced Ayahuasca.

Hypnotic Ayahuasca is an opportunity to work with the medicine in a unique way. With the help of hypnotic techniques we can re-enter the Ayahuasca state. This can be an extraordinary integrative tool. Having re-established this connection to Ayahuasca through hypnosis, we can use intentions and hypnotic suggestion to integrate the experience into our daily lives.

Testimonials:

“I was able to journey back to my time in ceremony in Peru, and I even had a new heart opening while I was there”  “I’m pleased it helped play a role in my integration work.”

“Through Hypnotic Aya, we have the opportunity to delve into a deeper level of consciousness where we can ask the questions and allow the answers to come. Your gentle and compassionate presence made it safe for me to trust, not only in the process but in myself and my natural ability to access that state of Aya that is in all of us.”

“I immediately connected to Mother Aya, and had remembered my lessons learned in Peru before. I had a lot of grief and upon reconnecting I found forgiveness and unconditional love. I highly recommend this session for everyone, it gently reminded me of how I have to keep honoring this sacred plant’s teachings and that she will always be with me on my journey in life.”

“Going into the Hypnosis Ayahuasca evening was exciting and a little nerve-wracking for me. That’s how I knew it was definitely the right decision! A group of us with varied stages in personal growth and life experience got together and were led through a series of hypnosis- based ‘journeys’ that allowed us to explore and enjoy working with our unconscious minds. We came out of the whole experience feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and for me specifically – I definitely feel more aligned with my inner Love Warrior! If you’re thinking about joining the group – or participating in a session, I say – do it! There is no one that will be able to tell you exactly the experience you will have, and if you keep yourself open to self-love, and acceptance and just allow yourself to be taken on the journey, your unconscious mind will uncover exactly what you need it to.”

“Although there were candles and trance music, this was not a hippie-style hangout. Facilitators Albert Nerenberg and Rebecca Hayden are both professional and warm. And they are genuinely knowledgeable about the subjects of Ayahuasca and hypnotism. Ceremony and ritual are integral to the Ayahuasca experience. These are things people need. Native people know it but the rest of us have largely forgotten. Unfortunately, a lot of people caught up in the micro aggressions of modern life will dismiss this kind of experience as so much superstition and self-indulgent time wasting. I’ve been there. In fact, I’m still afraid of trusting people, of letting go and looking foolish. But this was a sublime opportunity for experiential learning and I found it very valuable. It’s the kind of learning that is largely unconscious. It’s hard to rationalize listening to trance music in the dark; sharing stories of our mental experiences with people who care; letting go of self-control even though it is a source of stress and depression. It’s hard to verbalize but I can feel the learning and the benefits of this experience in my bones.”

 

Please contact me via email to register: reach_rebecca@yahoo.ca

Workshops Coming Soon!

Plant medicine experiences are often deeply profound experiences that inspire us to examine our lives and to live in a healthier way. This opportunity for change is a gift but it can be challenging to continue to make the kinds of changes in our lives that honour these experiences once we get back to our daily lives.

My own Ayahuasca experiences involved a dialogue that continued long after ceremony and continues to this day. I have been experiencing a guided form of integration for years now and have begun to produce written work that is entirely inspired by this continuing dialogue. http://offthedeepend.ca/blog/category/ayahuascawisdom/

I’m now in the process of creating workshops under this same guidance that will be designed to help people to pursue their own path of personal development in keeping with the wisdom of plant medicines.

Please reach_rebecca@yahoo.ca (email me) to get onto the contact list so that you will be informed of the dates and times of upcoming workshops!

Ayahuasca Talks!

This is a talk I gave at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto on November 30th, 2016. This is the back up video and lighting challenges made it necessary to film in a close up fashion but hopefully, the message will outweigh the video quality. 😉

A huge thanks to Yvonne Erlichman for filming this talk and my unending thanks to the Temple of the Way of Light for not only providing some of the photos for this talk (of the vine itself and of the Shipibo Maestra/Shaman) but for the extraordinary time I spent there in the jungle where I first discovered Ayahuasca.

How do you expend your mental energy?

One of the lessons I’ve received and continue to receive when needed is about how I expend my mental energy. When I find myself carried away with thoughts about a frustrating experience I had, I am reminded that it’s over and it’s time to be present. Even when I am present and dealing with say a customer service dilemma, this is an opportunity to learn. There seem to be plenty of these opportunities in today’s climate and on one such occasion, while I felt my frustration begin to build, I was taken through various outcomes in my mind and realized that under no circumstances would getting angry serve me or help to improve the situation. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t encouraged to be persistent when it was appropriate, I just didn’t expend the kind of intense energy on the matter that I might have previously and in the end, things always worked out better for me. The outcome was always measured by how I felt, not what transpired. However, soon I began to notice that I not only felt better but the overall outcomes improved considerably. I made better choices because I was in a better frame of mind to do so.

The energy of the mind is something that is worth our attention. It is an environment that needs to be taken care of just as our physical environment needs tending. The thoughts we entertain send signals to our body and out into the world around us. Both our bodies and the world responds. When I invest in fear, worry and doubt, I end up feeling tired and experience a loss of energy. This state is reflected outward to others around me and they respond accordingly. There may be superficial activities and responses that seem to ignore this inner state but on a deeper level, this is what we’re all responding to all of the time and this is the level at which real change is possible.

We are sending out signals all the time with our energy and when we choose to engage in those highly charged negative emotional exchanges, we’re sending out the kind of signals that invite that same negative charge in whatever form it may take. Understanding this helped me to begin to take an active role in what I allowed to fill my mind because it was my engagement with certain kinds of thoughts that ultimately sparked this negative energy. We all have a choice in this. Our thoughts are not who we are but they affect how we feel and behave and that affects everything else. I began to actively refuse to entertain thoughts that I realized were continually intruding and causing harm. I used visualization techniques that seemed strange to me at the time but I soon realized that the method isn’t what matters, it’s the results that matter and the results were and still are consistently good. I began to treat negative thoughts as though they were people intruding in a harmful way and I would no longer engage with them.

This is a powerful exercise. It taught me that by using my will to cast out these intrusive and negative thoughts, I was beginning to take control of my life. I soon began to do this gently but firmly with some people in my life too. It became a ripple effect showing me clearly how my state of mind reflected outwards. By clearing out negative space inside of me and around me, I began to invite the more positive experiences and the kind of community that I had been craving. It has been the most liberating experience of my life and it all happened because I began to pay attention to what was going on in my mind and to actively participate in changing it in a positive way. We all have the power to do this and if we are willing, it can change everything.

 

 

Everything You Need is Inside of You… Trite and True..

One of the first messages that ever came to me was one that I’m sure I had read on a plaque with a picturesque photo somewhere before or heard in an uninspiring speech at one time or another – probably many times. The message was: “Everything you need is inside of you.” If it had been any other time under any other circumstances I might have laughed – probably bitterly. But I had been suffering from a deep depression for 4 years at this point and having exhausted all conventional forms of treatment, I had moved beyond the point where I cared where the help I needed came from. If there was some profound truth to be found in this overused statement I was determined to discover it. I had begun to work with energy not long before this, which led me to explore shamanism (the origins of energy work my research revealed). All of my preconceived notions about life had long since fallen away and I was surprisingly open as a result. I was single-mindedly determined to end my depression. This seemingly trite message came in response to my request for help after making what was deemed a connection with my spiritual helper in a shamanic workshop. The message was delivered into my mind in such a powerfully direct way that I was compelled to respond with “How do I access what I need?” “Show me how”. The answer to this is the guided work I’m doing today.

At the time that I received this message I was ‘sick’. I now realize that it was actually a healing. I had been severely congested for years. I had lung issues after the birth of my son and although I had an operation, my lungs continued to be sluggish and my sedentary lifestyle didn’t help. Being exhausted all of the time (and depressed) didn’t lend itself to an active lifestyle. This ‘sickness’ came in the form of pneumonia and I had a temperature of 104 degrees at times. I recovered fully and after evacuating much of the mucus that had been weighing me down for so long I took the first long and deep breath I had taken in years. Things were beginning to change for me. Not long after this I came across information on an obscure African plant medicine called “Iboga” which was renowned for addressing issues like depression among many other things.

My involvement with plant medicines changed everything for me and I still work with them today. These particular healing tools are not for everyone but many of us who have been lucky enough to be called to experience them know why they’re called ‘teacher plants’. The lessons that come out of these experiences often have to do with changing things about ourselves. If we heed these lessons, they can change our lives for the better. Having emerged from depression I’m now learning about the many other things inside I must emerge from to achieve my goals. Through some intensive work, I’ve begun to navigate this inner world that contains the key to my well-being. Previously, I had been heavily focusing on external factors when really, I needed to understand what was happening inside of me. Inner work is not visible or easily recognized by the outside world but the results definitely are. It can be a solitary endeavour at times but that is by necessity to avoid the kinds of distractions that can reinforce all of the things I’m working to change within me.

This is why altered states are so important to this kind of learning for me. It takes me beyond this world of distractions and set perceptions to one where messages and lessons can be delivered in a more effective way. Dream work can be like this too and although there are times when things are very murky indeed, there are other times when messages come through my dreams with startling directness and clarity. We all go into an altered state every night and it is integral to our health to do so. It is an optimum time for healing and not only physical healing. I think it’s important to explore the extraordinary healing that’s possible during the many hours we spend in this altered state every night.

All of the work I have done and continue to do is based on my agreement or intention to engage in it. All of it begins with this small exertion of free will. It can be a very powerful thing. None of this was possible for me until I was willing to entertain the possibility of it. Just doing this can open the door to life changing experiences that defy description at times. I have learned more about myself in this way than I could have from any other source. It’s an important endeavour that I had neglected for most of my life. Now it’s transforming my life in a way that for the first time in a long time, reflects who I really am.

Becoming the custodian of the landscape of my mind…

I remember people always remarking to me that I was ‘in my head’ a lot and this statement carried with it some negative connotations. I understood this at the time because it meant that I wasn’t engaging with those around me and that created a sort of distance. Who knew that ultimately, this would become a strength that would help me engage so much better with those around me?  I have been working with plant medicines (Iboga, Ayahusca, Peyote & more) for some time now and although the immediate results of taking these medicines is pronounced and inspiring, I know that it’s just the beginning of the work that needs to be done to bring about lasting change. All of the healing work I’ve done has required me to engage with my mind in new ways. One of the things I learned to do was to take note of the nature of thoughts that occupied my mind. One by one I became aware of different kinds of harmful intrusions. One was ‘The Bully’ which was something I needed to address head on so that it no longer imposed upon my thoughts and ultimately affected my outlook. The word ‘outlook’ pretty much says it all in terms of how these kinds of thoughts affect your reality. The outlook is the lens through which you see the world and getting rid of intrusions in your mind can improve your life enormously.

Another form of intrusion I dealt with was an invasive form of panic. It’s not like an all out panic attack. I had those in the past and they are long gone. I think that the panic attacks happened to let me know that there was a lot of deeper work I needed to do to become healthy. It was a messenger and instead of receiving the message, I did what a lot of people do. I treated the message as a disease in itself rather than the symptom of a greater issue I needed to address. Ultimately, I had to endure a long and painful depression to bring me to a place where I was able to face the many issues that had been making themselves known to me in various ways (illnesses and other physical and psychological conditions). Now I have the tools to address these issues and the work is intensive. When I feel an emotional or physical discomfort, I know that it’s a message and that I have to take time out to discover what’s behind it. Not long ago it was a slight but persistent panic. It was very subtle so I had been diligently ignoring it in favour of getting other daily tasks done. This is a long standing habit – to ignore pain or discomfort whether it’s physical or emotional. Most of us do this and it’s understandable. I had to acknowledge this slightly panicked state, which was brought to my attention, and then make time to deal with it. When you realize the degree to which something like this impacts your daily experience and know that there’s a chance to address it, you have all the incentive you need.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, sometimes film is used to illustrate lessons and provide me with messages. This time, it was used to show me the many experiences I’ve had in my life that helped to construct this state of fear and panic. The sense of panic had a charge – a potency – and to release it, I had to acknowledge its origins. Sometimes this can be difficult to do but the stories that accompany this healing have the power to reach right inside of me and expose something deeply ingrained. Once I acknowledge this deeper reality and release the charge it has, sometimes through some tears, I’m able to then let it go. This panic had become a fixture in my mind no longer attached to old events and I would attach it to just about everything. In this way it became a constant part of my reality and I expended a great deal of energy to support it. Given that this was my everyday experience, I became so used to it that I didn’t even realize it was happening but felt the impact of it constantly. Once this was brought to my attention and I agreed to deal with it, the process of healing commenced. It takes time and commitment to do this but it’s well worth the investment. I often question this while it’s underway, while I’m watching movies thinking: “Can this possibly be good for me?” “Does this really constitute work?” I do this time and again despite the consistently positive results I’ve been getting from exactly this type of work. This questioning mind of mine is also constantly at work. But I have managed to not engage too much with this questioning side so that the other important work can continue.

Sometimes I think I allow the questioning to continue so that I can still remain connected to those who find this extraordinary work baffling. There are times I find it baffling too but I move on from this baffled state into a state of wonder.. a much more enjoyable state indeed. I’m still very attached to the world of thinking which can be helpful to a point but then it can become a barrier of intellectualizing. Perhaps it’s a unique form of intrusion in itself. I’ve found myself moving beyond the questioning so many times to a sensing, which leads to a deeper place of knowing – a much more peaceful place. It’s a profound state that needs no justification. It doesn’t pay homage to the endless struggle of the mind – the intellectual callisthenics we often think necessary to achieve knowledge. I’m now taking action within the mind itself and ordering it according to what serves me. It seems to me now that much of this intellectual wrangling is for its own sake. It wants to be acknowledged for the act itself – the thinking rather than the result – the result in this case being the evidence of thinking. This impressive tail chasing is a familiar scenario. When the result of these efforts of the mind is a knowing that can’t be evidenced by logic but by reality – by a healthy and peaceful state of being that can be experienced – I think it’s pretty clear which one will better serve me. It makes sense!

Movies, Healing and Emotional Detox

After returning from Peru in the spring of last year I underwent an unusual form of healing. It was a long and guided process that was tailor made for me and involved one of my favourite activities: watching movies. Initially upon my return from Peru I participated in what is called ‘The Presence Process’ as I had been guided to do in one of my Ayhuasca sessions but after that, the guidance continued and I have been continuing on in this guided way ever since. While in Peru, experiencing group Ayahuasca ceremonies, like many others, I was witness to some outpouring of emotion by various members in the group as part of their healing process. I was surprised to find that only one night in the entire two weeks did I find myself becoming emotional and it was fairly mild. After returning home and finding that I was being guided to do specific things to continue my unique healing process, I soon came to understand that there would be many opportunities for me to pour out my emotions.

One of the most consistent ways that I engage in this emotional healing is through film. It’s hard to tell at this point what I find more surprising, the guidance or the fact that watching films has become an act of healing for me. I think this pronounced internal guidance I’m receiving tops the list of surprising things hands down but it has become so much a part of everyday life for me that I begin to put it down to the regular internal dialogue that I’ve always had and that most people have. The difference is that my internal dialogue was never so wise, instructive, healthy or supportive. Shortly after completing the ‘presence process’ which was a revelation in itself, I was guided to watch certain movies. The first such instruction came to me while at home going about some regular tasks and the movie title would not leave my head. It was reinforced over and over. It was a film I didn’t really want to watch which helped me to accept that this was more than just some kind of preoccupation I was having. I watched the movie and found that I was very emotional during certain parts of it. It was not a normal experience. Of course I had been emotional during movies before but not on this scale and not in this way. During this movie there were parts that struck me in such a profound way and my response was immediate. Through these certain parts of the story, I was made to understand the message that was being communicated to me. There were both messages and lessons that formed an important part of my healing.

This form of healing continued and I was guided to watch other movies. Sometimes through a certain part of a film or during an entire film I was made to see certain parts of my behaviour that was not impressive to say the least. This is a common phenomenon when working with plant medicines so it was apparent to me that this medicine was still having an effect. This has been known to happen but everyone’s experience of it is different. There were also many other kinds of insight I received through this form of healing. I was made to see certain events in my life in ways that changed my perspective and gave me a better understanding of what I had experienced and how it had affected me. Other times I was given greater lessons about humanity. Some of these lessons we all know theoretically: the tragedy of how we hurt one another and how this is perpetuated generation after generation. We do this because we’re unaware of things we carry inside of us that cause harmful behaviour which is difficult for us to see from our own standpoint – unless we make a concerted effort to do so that is.

This lesson is one of the most important ones because it’s so universal. We hear it and it makes sense but somehow these lessons for me took on a whole new depth when watching these movies. It was something I had agreed to do for the purpose of healing and this is what took it beyond the usual movie watching experience. The movies became a tool or a vehicle to reach me and they did with tremendous impact. It’s really quite startling the difference between just passively watching a movie (as I had done so many times before) and being guided to watch one for the purpose of healing. I could watch the same movie an hour, a day or a week later and have no reaction at all. The agreement I made each time pertained to a specific movie to be watched with an intention of healing at a particular time in my life. This combination was what seemed to bring about this extraordinary experience.

The messages I receive in this way rarely have anything to do with the subject matter of the film. Sometimes the subject is used to convey certain concepts but mostly it’s the mystifying power of stories themselves that have been traditionally used to convey ideas, concepts and lessons for centuries. Sometimes an actual sentence will stand out in a way that I know it’s meant for me. It’s very clear and the messages are always full of wisdom, compassion and insight. It’s been such a fascinating experience and the best part is that after I commit to watching the film that has come up for me, I feel so much better afterwards. There is a distinct difference between this and having a good cry at a movie. With every tear, something within me changes and afterwards the feeling of release is unmistakable. This change happens on a deep level and I feel lighter. Through this process I’m often relieved of something that had been dogging me for a very long time – an emotional or psychological weight has been lifted. This is often in stark contrast to the way I feel beforehand.

I’ve come to refer to this process as emotional detox. I do this because the build up to the healing itself is a feeling of emotional toxification. The things inside of me that need to be healed rise within me and it feels awful. Sometimes I need to live with these uncomfortable feelings for what seems like a long period of time before they are relieved through this form of healing. The word uncomfortable is really too mild a word to describe what happens. Sometimes it’s almost unbearable. It varies of course like illness often does from mild to more severe. When it’s severe I pity the people I’m around and try to minimize the casualties in my midst through containment. I try to manage my reactions to things. This is something I agree to as well and it can be quite the challenge. Given how long I’ve been at it, the severity of the build-up has reduced significantly. I still don’t like the feeling of each build-up but I’m reminded of earlier days and know that it’s well worth the progress I’ve made. It seems that this healing happens in stages related to layers of pain that have been lingering deep inside for years. The timing of these healings is still a mystery to me among so many mysteries I will probably never understand.

Some movies I was guided to watch were very hard to get a hold of. They were movies from my childhood – obscure ‘70s movies – but the response once I watched them was so powerful. Other times it was obnoxious ‘80s movies I had no interest in seeing and I really had to muster up some faith to bring myself to watch them. This was especially true because of how miserable I was feeling working up to this point and yet my motivation to relieve these awful feelings always eclipsed my reluctance. No matter how consistently I was healed by this process I questioned it every time. I still do. It’s something I had to get used to. I often laugh about the tenacity of my doubt given the consistently positive results but after a lifetime of believing that this kind of thing is not possible, it’s difficult to shake the part of myself that still doubts. I’ve become accustomed to doubt now and allow it to flow through me without giving it too much energy.

It’s been and continues to be a remarkable experience. I’ve been asked to watch films where I can relate to every character in the film – even the nasty ones and ones I never could have imagined relating to before. It’s been enlightening, astonishing and liberating. It has released me from issues that had been clouding my judgement and holding me back in so many ways. It has alleviated maladies I didn’t even know I had and healed others that I felt were beyond anyone’s powers. It has strengthened my relationships with those closest to me, especially my young son, and has helped me to face things in my life in a more honest and direct way. This has been a result of not only this peculiar movie technique but the constant guidance I’ve received daily. It’s been an extraordinary experience that I doubt words can do justice to but I’m utterly compelled to try.

I’ve always been a questioning sort of person and continue to be although I don’t always get the answers I want. Sometimes I don’t get answers at all but what I get is far more important than that. I get positive change. That’s far more valuable than anything that answers can provide. These changes within me are worth embracing any notions I previously considered to be strange or impossible or flighty (the list goes on). The truth is that I’m not asked to believe anything really. I’m just asked to agree to do certain things to heal. One of the things that I know is part of my healing is to speak and it would be impossible for me not to speak about this inner guidance. I know it’s inside of all of us. It’s a phenomenon that has such possibilities to end suffering and to bring about peace. It has astounding potential and yet it is a very personal and unique experience for everyone. It can’t be bottled or marketed but it can be shared and people can be inspired to pursue their own experience of it in their own way and that’s what I hope to do.

 

Observing my thought patterns… the reason I never have to watch disaster movies

Inner work has been quite an adventure for me at times. I began this inner work after becoming involved in shamanism and ultimately working with shamanic plant medicines such as Ayahuasca and Iboga. These plants can do amazing things to propel people forward into a state of improved mental health, but often the work begins after taking the medicine. The most popular term that people use to describe the application of the gifts that these medicines bring is ‘integration’. I have worked steadily over the last couple of years on integration and one of the most important aspects of this work is observing the mind. I have come to a point where I’ve been able to observe my thoughts and begin to change the kinds of thoughts that occupy my mind. Some repeating themes have surprised me. I wrote previously about getting acquainted with The Bully Within and the inner adventures continue.

Becoming mindful can be a bigger experience than I had ever imagined. Of course, I had never imagined becoming ‘mindful’. I just wanted to cure myself of a deep four year depression. This led me down an astonishing path of revelations that continue to amaze me daily. A requirement of my healing was to observe my thought patterns. What havoc! I will start out by saying that this is an ongoing process as is all of this inner work but one of the first things that struck me was how often I had conjured up images of disasters. It reminded me of listening to my mother’s worries when we were kids. “I could see you falling and breaking your back and the ambulance coming!” There were lots of references to the spinal cord. My father was a big one for “you’ll crack your head open!”. This always inspired interesting images in our little heads but the point is, that although there were some accidents when we were kids (I was one of 5 children) reality could never compete with the incessant vivid catastrophes that took place in my mother’s mind – it simply wasn’t possible. Well, as it turns out, I take after her and far too many of the thoughts that came to my mind with alarming frequency were disaster scenarios. Not only related to my child, although that one I’m sure many can understand.

I was surprised to discover that I was haunted by such thoughts on a regular basis. The internal stress that this caused was immeasurable not to mention the effect it had on my outlook. These thoughts would come unbidden at all times of the day, completely unrelated to anything I was doing at times. I would have images of accidents and all manner of painful or dangerous events happening either in my house or on the street.. things falling, me falling, tripping and getting caught under a bus, stepping on cut glass, getting electrocuted, fires, injuries, natural disasters, you name it. Granted, sometimes these things were related to issues I was dealing with i.e. while cleaning up a broken glass or getting on a bus but I realized after observing my thoughts long enough that this was sort of like a program that continued to run completely independent of anything I was involved with at the time. These little images flew into my mind and out again and I was left with the impression of them and the internal reaction to these impressions. It’s hard to believe that this had been happening for so long without me being aware of it or taking note. I guess I had never thought that this was something that could be changed or that I had any control over. But I did and once I became aware of this pattern, I began to address it and intentionally change it.

I remember that the idea of being on the edge of my seat in a movie theatre (or in my living room for that matter) was never appealing for me and now I understand this better. I had a disaster movie marathon running through my mind on a regular basis. Having worked to change the landscape of my mind, I admit that I’m still not in any way tempted to watch disaster flicks.. I don’t think it was ever meant to be my thing but I’m grateful to be at liberty to find my ‘edge of the seat’ experiences in other ways. Of course there was a point where I breathed easier and was pleased with my progress about this. After some diligent work I can honestly say that this doesn’t occupy my mind much at all anymore. Did I feel peaceful as a result? Of course, and then I was presented with the next challenge but this is a path I have chosen and there’s always more work to do.

I will admit to having more of an attraction to adventure films rather than disaster films (or thrillers) and although that’s still true, I have found that this inner adventure is quite enough for me at times. This work has also involved its fair share of external adventures as well involving travel and plant medicines (travel on many levels) so I think I am sufficiently sated in terms of stimulation. And as far as movies go, there are times that this work for me involves watching films and receiving lessons, insights and healing using this medium as a tool. It is a very customized regime that is also ongoing. I will write about this more fully in another post but for the time being, I just wanted to share about the nature of my thoughts past and present, both thoughts I have worked to oust from my mind and thoughts about observing my thoughts. Is that enough thinking for today? I think so, we can always move onto feelings soon, which is quite the adventure too.

The World of Conflict and Coming to Terms with Who We Are..

Some of the major issues in the world that loom large and seem ominous are larger and more extreme versions of the kinds of issues we face in every day situations in our own lives and more importantly, of issues we face or often don’t face within ourselves. One of the things that I have discovered on my path of healing is how much conflict there is within me. It’s been the focus of most of the work I‘ve been guided to do on myself, and it’s been an incredibly insightful experience. Once I got past the ego driven resistance that didn’t want to acknowledge there’s anything ‘wrong’ with me, I was able to learn about the things I needed to change to help make my life experience richer, more peaceful and more fulfilling.

The truth is that there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with me. This notion of being ‘wrong’ was a misinterpretation. It was my response to the idea of recognizing the things within me that I needed to address. Even the worst parts of my behavior were and are just a reflection of internal conflict and addressing this internal conflict is an ongoing process. Orienting myself to this view has helped me a great deal. It has helped me to become more gentle with myself and to become less judgmental of others. The reason that many of us have a strongly negative reaction to this notion of being wrong is because we associate this wrong behavior with who we are but deep inside, we know that this wrong behavior is not who we are at all. In fact, it’s at odds with who we are and therein lies the conflict.

Working through internal conflict can be challenging but so consistently rewarding and with this work comes a change in perspective. It doesn’t take long to see parallels between internal conflicts and the conflicts that exist within close personal relationships. From there you can see how our immediate community and ultimately, the global community is a reflection of these same kinds of conflicts that exist within us all. It’s clear to me now that we’ll never be able to solve these greater world issues of conflict unless we can recognize and begin to address our own internal conflicts.

I think that this is part of what Jesus meant in the “throw the first stone” lesson. I’m not religious but billions of people have been profoundly moved by similar tenets in religions and belief systems worldwide for a reason. There’s a part of us that recognizes the truth of it. Underneath all of the conflict inside of us resides a source of wisdom – an intuition – that can be the guiding principal in our lives. This guiding principal contains the essence of who we really are. It is a unique aspect of our being that is often ignored to our detriment. By simply forming the intention of connecting with this wisdom, we acknowledge its existence and from there the journey of healing ensues. If we allow ourselves to be guided by this internal wisdom we may begin to address internal conflict that reflects outwardly and in doing so, we can take the most important step towards addressing conflict in this world.