Posted by: dylanemrys | January 17, 2008

Dark Night of the Soul

Have you had a time in your life when for several weeks or months everything fell down around you? Life was hell, nothing worked, perhaps everything you knew and trusted fell away?

Stan Grof calls it Spiritual Emergency. It is also referred to as Psychological Death. And in the Goddess tradition, “The Question.”

The Dark Night of the Soul was a treatise written in the 16th Century by a Carmelite priest and poet about his journey towards union with God. I didn’t know this until I looked it up for this blog post. Learning is a good thing!

Many traditions and faiths refer to this period, which can last up to several years. The idea is that eventually one would gain understandings, often spiritually, and find more connection, choices and vibrancy in life. Sort of like the phoenix rising from the ashes.

However, when one is in the middle of it, it can be difficult to recognize. It is a time of pain, loneliness, personal crisis, confusion, bewilderment, distrust, hopelessness and depth.

Recently events in my life culminated in a year fraught with tragedy following four years of struggle. From March through Nov/Dec of 2007 my family was in crisis, and I was in crisis internally. What I knew and trusted – both human and spiritual – I was now questioning. I felt I didn’t know anything and there was nothing I could lean on for comfort. I let go of almost everything I loved or that gave me peace, because there was nothing I believed in anymore.

What I knew to be true about Love, God, Life, Healing and Consciousness was called into question…I wondered if any of it ever mattered at all.

During this time I struggled with resentment towards people who loved me and needed me (with the exception of my daughter, who was the bright light that kept me going, and my clients who gave me a sense of purpose to get through). I struggled with money and having enough and I let my practice dwindle. I allowed myself to hibernate, sulk, sleep and eat whatever I wanted.

Last summer I met a community of people through the internet and allowed myself to become absorbed in that network. For the first time I was in a place where I could be ALL of me, with no “role” or expectations dictating my behavior or thoughts. No one to judge or question.

This community not only offered me new friends, but a new love: a man who so totally accepts and sees me, makes me laugh and is comforting in his ability to be present and unconditionally loving.

Wrapped up in that warm support, I began to re-make myself…to pull myself out of the ashes of the last five years. I reconsidered everything I “knew” before. I discovered my sense of humor, new ideas, new interests. Solid with my new friends, I reviewed old ones. Most of my friends have faded away or moved on. Those that I regret pushing away through neglect I have begun to make contact with again.

I found a job outside of my field that provides me with physical activity, mental stimulation, light-hearted banter and humor and hours that give me the day available for clients when I am ready to market myself again.

And after a few months of giving myself permission to just BE in that dark space, I am finding the sun on my face, a breeze at my back and motivation to emerge.

This blog is part of that re-emergence.

I am not all the way out yet. But I can feel the essence of Self shining in my heart, and trust that it is getting better…that I will find faith and my Truth again.

How about you?

Have you ever felt like you were in a Spiritual Crisis or Psychological Death? Have you had a Dark Night of the Soul? What did you do? If you are through it, what helped you, or hindered that process?

Posted by: dylanemrys | January 14, 2008

Afraid to “be seen?”

I just read a post by Peter on his blog about Highly Sensitive People (HSP) and he raised the question of how many of his readers have issues with or anxiety about being seen…that is, doing things that get themselves noticed.

This is an issue for many people, whether or not they identify as an HSP. In the field of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology, many individuals have found resolution and relief from this kind of anxiety by identifying and addressing woundings that occurred at the time their mother found out she was pregnant, and during birth.

Upon discovery of being pregnant, if a woman or the father has strong negative emotions, or if their is chronic stress (say, about finances with a baby on the way) it can easily transfer to the consciousness and into the cellular body of the growing fetus. The negative impact then imprints in the system of the individual, and belief systems are formed such as the belief “When I am noticed, bad things happen or people get upset.” Or “I am wrong/don’t belong, I’d rather hide than be seen and be wrong.”

Later, during birth, it is easier for a newborn to interpret difficulty in the birth process as reinforcement of the earlier experience as in, “See? I knew that when I get noticed/show up/get seen I get hurt!”

What we’ve seen when working with clients is that releasing the trauma and shock from the system helps to let go of the imprints and allows more room for different experiences.

I for one have become much more able to show up for myself and for others in many ways upon resolution of this issue.

What do you think?

What do you know about the circumstances in your family when your mother found out she was pregnant with you? Do you have trouble with the concept of “being seen?” Is it frightening for you to be noticed by others when blogging, giving presentations, speaking your mind or being vulnerable in relationships? If you could change it, would you?

Thanks Peter, for the great topic and idea (I am using your “talk back” format, I love it!)

Posted by: dylanemrys | January 13, 2008

Twins Separated At Birth…Married

An interesting, but incomplete article was released on BBC news about twins that were given up for adoption, but not told about the fact they were twins. They met as adults and felt an “inevitable attraction” and didn’t find out they were related until after they were married.

I find this very sad. I wonder how they found out, and I wonder if they knew they were adopted at all.

You can read the article here.

I am not surprised however, that they were attracted to each other. Twins carry an amazing bond, lived and grew together for nine months (give or take), and have very intimate relationships. Even if not remembered intellectually, we remember our prenatal experience. Adoptees know they are adopted even if not told – usually a feeling or a sense of not belonging to the family. These twins probably knew someone was missing in their lives and when they met felt completed.

Not having all the correct information however, the bond and connection they shared was tragically misinterpreted.

Their multi-layered loss can be resloved with some awareness about how important that early time was…and in order to prevent things like this happening – not just with twins, but with any adoptee that wonders “If I go on a date with this person, am I dating a relative?” Information needs to be given to the adoptees about their origins.

Even better, awareness that even as unborn and newborn infants, they are conscious and sentient, and what happens to them matters and imprints in their cells, psyche and neurobiology needs to be more prevalent.

Posted by: dylanemrys | January 13, 2008

Birth and Relationships

I just attended a one day seminar with William Emerson on Birth and Relationships. In his experience, and in the understandings, experience and research of many others, how we are born profoundly influences our thoughts, beliefs and actions throughout life.

I discovered I may have been “held back” with the umbilical cord around my neck, in addition to what I already knew about my birth (that I was induced, and it was very very fast, and my wrist was pinned between my jaw and my mother’s pelvis and fractured during the decent through the pelvis). I didn’t know there was anything new to find out about my birth, but the additional information about the cord and being held back puts a lot of pieces into place for me.

I have a pattern in my life of “Hurry up and then wait.” Feeling like I have to rush through projects, after waiting till the last minute to start them, only to be stopped somehow towards the end, or get really frustrated before completion, somehow feeling inhibitited in my progress through life, or an activity or a relationship. I see this pattern over and over.

The work I have done to heal and resolve the traumas that I was aware of has really helped. I no longer feel pressured to hurry through projects, or anxious about starting them.

Now, I have new information that I can work on because I don’t want to live my life from a template of trauma!

What patterns do you have in your life? Can I help you identify any of them?

Posted by: dylanemrys | January 11, 2008

Introducting myself

I am a clinical counselor with my masters in prenatal and perinatal psychology. It is unusual, pioneering, awesome and brings science and spirituality together beautifully.

The premise is that what happens during our very earliest experience shapes who we are as adults, how we react to others, the world and the choices we are faced with.

Its foundational theory is that we are conscious, sentient beings from before birth, as far back as conception. How our parents, especially the mother acted, what they felt, the basis for our existence (were we wanted or not, were there toxic elements, emotional or chemical in the womb, her physical comfort, any chronic stress she had) all helped to shape who we are.

This is true on a spiritual/emotional level as well as on a physical neurobiological level. The chemicals produced by emotion flood the system of the mother AND her unborn baby. Chemically, the growing brain is saturated in them if the stress is chronic during the pregnancy. What happens is the brain grows hardwired to deal with chronic stress. It looks like a baby that cries more, is harder to settle, has sleeping problems, eating issues, problems bonding, and then a baby can adapt to this as they grow and have whatever forms of behavior patterns manifest in the attempt to compensate for unresolved stress and trauma.

Emotionally/Spiritually, what the mother feels, the baby feels. There is documentation that shows that even before birth, the mind is present and absorbing messages about self, how the world works and what it means to be here. Also, the baby has feelings and awarenesses separate from the mother.

There is an entire constellation of interconnection between the fetus and mother, father, and their environment.

Ok. Breathe everyone. That was a lot.

Also, what happens during birth affects us. Our experience as we are born imprints in our system and creates patterns of behavior. For example something physical like forceps can result in an extreme dislike of hats, authority, migraines, resistance to help, confusion about pain/pleasure, needing help but always resisting it and the core message that could be ‘If I get help I could die” or “Help is not safe.” And then the life patterns form around those imprints. C-sections, long labors, really really fast labors, forceps and vacuum extraction…shoulders getting stuck, cord wrapped around the neck…the list goes on.

And these things don’t HAVE to create lasting negative imprints…much depends on how connected the parents are to the baby during the birth, if things are being explained, if afterwards the parents understand the newborn has a story to tell and some extreme distress to share and receive empathy for….

The main thing that gets missed is there is somebody home in that wee brain that cares immensely what happens to them during pregnancy and birth.

What I do, is help you identify the core messages and belief patterns that have been governing your behavior patterns and decision making, probably unconsciously. I help you bring them conscious, and then using techniques specialized to work in this area, help you resolve them, allowing you more health and a wider range of choices in your life.

I work over the phone primarily, but can do sessions in person.

I also work with babies and parents to prevent birth trauma from imprinting long-term.

What do you know about your birth and how it affects you?