A Day in a Life: Mind Body Release

Last week I was unable to find a theme to write on. I kept looking for something that would be pertinent or significant, both as I worked on my book and as I pondered Jeanne’s answers to the questions I had asked her in Message #668, but alas nothing stuck out. This week, however, several themes have come up.

Today is quiet and the ending of some rainy and very windy weather is in sight. The other night, however, the wind blew harshly all night long. Sudden gusts knocked things over on the deck and rattled the house. It was a difficult night to sleep and I was constantly startled awake. As I lay there listening to the wind, the phrase, the winds of change are upon us, kept running through my head. Today, I present you with the following, beginning with a dream I had during that noisy and windy night:

In this brief dream, I pull open the double doors to our linen closet and stand there looking in at everything neatly folded, everything in its place, neatly compartmentalized on the shelves and I immediately think: “Oh, my mind did this. I don’t want to dream about this! I want to fly!” And with that thought I woke up.

Waking up out of that dream, I realized that what Jeanne had been reviewing over the past few weeks is that change is indeed inevitable, that tomorrow will always arrive, that we cannot stop time from marching on, just as we cannot stop the wind from blowing. The wind will always blow. It is what it does. The challenge we face, each day, is: do we allow ourselves to do the same, to constantly change? Or do we elect to sit tightly in our complacent lives, rearranging our linen closets and pretending that change is not happening? As soon as I called that dream for what it was, a mind conjuring call to stay complacent and caught in old fears, I allowed myself to let go a little more, to acknowledge that I do indeed want to be open, to dare myself to fly, as Jeanne called it the other day.

Do I dare to fly with the winds of change, to flow and become like a leaf on the breeze and truly let go of all the foreign installations, as Chuck calls them, all the neatly compartmentalized linen closets in my life? Where can I let go today? I must constantly ask myself this question rather than huddle in fear at the sounds in the night, of the wind doing what the wind does best. And how do I let go? How do I learn to fly?

As I ask myself these questions I immediately go to my body. Where am I tense, I ask, and where am I holding? Where can I soften? The body is the place that I personally find I must return to, over and over again, in order to truly let go. Releasing physical holdings is a big part of the letting go process. How many yoga classes have I walked out of feeling like I am in a new body, a softer, looser and more flowing body? Thousands of yoga classes that I have attended over the past thirty-five years have continually proven the simple fact that physical release is a vital aspect of allowing for change. Every week I experience this softening, this letting go of the physical, and the result is always startlingly amazing, because even after I have left the yoga class I notice that the softening automatically carries over into the rest of my day. Daily shavasana (relaxation) and daily meditation also suffice when I cannot get to a class or don’t have time for my own practice.

Finding that my physical body held most of my issues was a big discovery for me during my recapitulation process. When I first heard someone suggest, many years ago, that the physical body stores memory I found it hard to believe, but the longer I worked on myself the more true that idea became. Even though I had recapitulated my memories in my conscious mind, I found that my body still held so much more. The body, in its silent way, with its sturdy structure, seemingly so present in the moment, does indeed hold much more than we can see. Once I was ready to go to it and to allow myself to actually feel, asking it to show me what it needed me to learn, I began a more thorough recapitulation. Once I was able to leave the conjuring mind that told me I was done with my recapitulation and enter my body, I learned what it really means to fly, in the sense that Jeanne speaks of.

During one Embodyment Therapy session, which helped in the process of physical release, Jeanne came to me and said the following: “Let the bad out, keep only the good, only the essentials.” In a subsequent session she came again and guided me through the removal process of old memories, old ghosts as I saw them during the session, which I documented afterwards in my journal:

Jeanne is with me, pulling old ghosts out of me like tissues out of a box, all strung together. My body responds to the expulsion of them, reacting to the tearing sound each one makes as it leaves, the sound of a tissue being pulled from its slot in the box. Jeanne reminds me: “Remember, I told you it’s all about change, getting rid of the old that you have no use for, making room for the new.” I experience the physical ripping out, as if actual body tissue is being pulled out of me. It is quite painful, not easy to handle. I call to Jeanne to help me get through it. “Take my hand,” she says. “I will take you where you need to go. You aren’t dying, it’s just a removal of all the old dead stuff that you don’t need, dead issues, bad stuff, all the leftover memories and feelings that will bother you if left behind.” It is like having radical surgery. I am not sure that the pulling out of the old ghosts, the old demons, feels good. It feels like being disemboweled, that something is being yanked out of me, but I can’t stop it and I don’t want to either, because I know it is the right thing to do. I see the horrors of my life with my own eyes. I see every horrible aspect of the past as it gets pulled out and dragged away. In a quick blink of an eye everything that has ever happened to me gets pulled out and leaves my body. The process is fast, wrenchingly painful, but I go with it. I let go. I let it happen. I try to follow, to see where the ghosts go, but I am not allowed to follow. I am forced to stay in my body and experience the removal. (From a session in 2004)

This experience came to mind again during the night as the wind blew and the old demons fear and worry crept into bed with me, attempting a takeover. My dream, having jolted me away from them, prepared me for the winds of change that were blowing outside, reminding me to let go again of the old, to flow with the inevitable. I dozed and startled awake throughout the night, as the winds howled, never quite able to rest deeply, but at each awakening I would remind myself to physically relax, to physically let go. I repeated Jeanne’s recent words of guidance, to let go to the inevitable, finding that my intent to change had to be focused, as usual, on releasing physical holdings.

Self-hypnosis, repeating mantras, doing full body relaxation, quiet moments of breathing and calming meditation, as well as taking yoga classes, (and many other modalities of healing and relaxation) all offer release and bring attention to the physical body. If none of these processes are accessible or appealing, then simply notice the body and ask: Where am I holding? And then let it go and see what happens. And, as Jeanne has suggested, go deeper each time you ask the question, allowing for release and change to not only become a mind process, but a physical one as well.

Until next week,

#670 Choose Your Attitudes & Embody Your Wishes

Jan Ketchel channeling Jeanne Marie Ketchel

Dear Jeanne,
Currently, I am only channeling you for our readers once a week so that I can devote more time and energy to my own work, which is going well. I have certainly been feeling the energy of change and have been attempting to put it to good use. While it feels like a very creative and promising period in human history it also feels precipitously precarious. I feel that if we are not careful we could miss a very big opportunity. Can you discuss this today? Is there something that we, as human beings, are supposed to be grasping now that remains just out of reach? Because that is what it feels like. How do we, on an individual level, take advantage of this time for our personal evolutions and that of our divided world as well?

My Dear, you ask quite a question, but I get your gist and feel your frustration also, for that is what lies at the core of mankind at this brief moment in time. Frustration may be utilized for good, for the spark that is needed in order to jumpstart a stagnant situation. I suggest looking at the self, the personal situation, and using the energy of now to precipitate change. Precipitous, as you use the word, implies standing on the verge, and this is where you do indeed find yourself today, both individually and universally.

I would suggest that it would not be a bad idea to do a full evaluation of the self as an independent being who is also a member of a collective. No matter what your personal domestic situation is, My Dear Readers, you all belong to a larger group of family and community. The collective energy of the world around you impacts you no matter how busy, how contented, how isolated, how detached or how connected you may feel. And you impact it in return, of course.

A personal assessment of how you are using your time, your energy, your free time, and your daily activities in the world is the opportunity to channel your energy, so that you may take full advantage of this time of change. Perhaps you might question the self as follows:

What is truly important to me?
What do I truly want?
Who do I want in my life, and who do I need to remove myself from?
What energy resonates with mine and where is my own energy being drained?
How do I see myself in the near future?
Am I ready for big changes, or small changes?
Do I act as I speak?
Do I really care about my world and my impact on it?
Have I taken time for myself lately, for my inner self, myself as one part of the whole, of nature and the universe?
Have I found my spiritual connection yet?
Am I happy?
Am I truly alive in the way I most desire?
Am I daring myself, every day, to go beyond my limitations?
Am I facing my fears and allowing my inner spirit self to walk in my shoes and show me what I have been missing?

I could go on for quite some time posing questions, but I realize that I might make you more frustrated than you now are. You must learn that your emotions are your signs of discontent, of issues with the old self who continues to be in the forefront of your life, though your efforts have been to disengage this well-worn self and allow a new self to come forth and speak out for a change. When frustrations, moods, and discomforts arrive it is time to take advantage of such catalysts of change.

The energy of now is quite available for change, but it can go either way. Change will always happen, but by your intent, by your personal energy, you can make that inevitable change be for good, be advantageous, heart-felt and heart-directed. You have the power to affect the right kind of change. Every one of you upon that earth has the ability, simply by your conscious thoughts, to change the self and the world, for good. Positive intent and thinking as catalysts for change are not hocus-pocus, but real-time interventions that, if enacted, will have impact.

As I spoke of last week, you are each personally responsible for taking on the challenges of the self. In order to shift the self, one must dare the self to step out of complacency and the old ways of doing things and force new means of action upon the self by asking the self to breathe more deeply, to sit more calmly, to take in the earth energy beneath your feet. These are all actions of significance. To notice nature and to truly evolve with it, you begin to recognize that you truly belong there. But you are also responsible for everything that happens there upon that earth, and by your thoughts, your intents, your desires, your truths made known, you may afford the self new life.

Seek new life at all times. Think differently. Act differently. Accept the self and others with a new attitude. Be different, and you will notice that the world outside of you will respond differently as well.

Hatred cannot survive in a desert, for it will die without new hatred to fuel it. Without new despair, despair will dissipate. Without new love, love will also die. Choose your attitudes. Embody your wishes. Be what you most desire. Become the person you dream of becoming, and you will become that person.

It is not so hard to change the way you act, think, perceive, believe, or intend, but it takes a personal decision to be different, and that is what you must each seek now in order for the precipice you now each stand upon to impact you in a positive way. You can choose to fall, or you can choose to fly. It’s up to you.

#669 Chuck’s Place: Ecstasy

First, a Chuck-ku:

Wind blows, seeds disperse.
Earth softens, flowers emerge.
Divine Ecstasy!

We work very hard each day to stay on top of our responsibilities, to sleep well, to get up on time, perhaps to exercise, to stay abreast of world events, or keep them at safe bay so as not to infiltrate the calm, to be prepared for the day, to show up on time, or quietly sneak away. At the end of the day we want to feel good about our accomplishments, our challenges met, as we plan for tomorrow’s activities or weekend’s repose. These are all efforts of consciousness: decision making, planning, will power, efforts to create structure in our lives. But where’s the juice?!

Where is the joy, the electricity, the experiences that transport us beyond our hard earned structures to a deeper communion with life, a true experience of rapture, wholeness and union with the divine? We all crave this experience, this melding of consciousness with the divine instinctual energy that lies at the depths of our being. This experience we seek, to complete our day in wholeness, is the experience of ecstasy.

The Greek roots of the word ecstasy are ex meaning out of or to stand apart from, and stasis meaning stationary or stagnant. Thus, ecstasy is the experience outside the box of our hard earned ego structures. To get there we must loosen or dissolve the rigid static structures of our egos, stand outside our rules, our strict rationality, our thinking processes, to encounter the energetic fluidity and unpredictability of our deeper emotional divine selves. The challenge is to step outside the box and yet remain fully conscious and present, flowing with this intense ecstatic energy.

The tendency of the ego is to either repress the divine impulse due to its intensity and fear of loss of control or for the ego to volitionally check out, as for example in a drunken binge where ecstatic energy overtakes consciousness in a frenzied reverie. In either case, there is no union, and no true experience of wholeness and divine rapture.

How can we build a solid bridge capable of safely channeling such powerful energy? To construct this bridge, we must engage all the powers of ego and consciousness. Without consciousness the experience of the divine energy is a tsunami that overtakes all structures or simply passes over without notice. How do we build a solid foundation for our bridge? One stone at a time.

One stone is to recognize the stirrings of emotion within as we move through our daily lives. Perhaps we might experience an impulse, a feeling of warmth, of appreciation, of love, of excruciating tenderness in an interaction with another. Can we allow ourselves to stretch and feel the full energy of this emotion? Perhaps we feel quite vulnerable, overly sensitive, seeking to automatically shut down, cut off, and move away from feeling the energy of our experience. Beyond the self, might we stretch ourselves, allowing our egos to lay down a stone by actually expressing out loud our feeling to another? To allow the self to withstand and be reshaped by the energetic aftermath of this wave of emotion is bridge building.

In another instance, we might find ourselves moved by a divine impulse to dance, to sing, to be playful, or silly. Can we lay another welcome stone to this divine energy by stretching our rigid egos to be moved to action by this impulse?

Perhaps we partake of a sip of wine. Dionysus, the personification of divine ecstasy, is also the Greek god of wine. Even the Christian mass includes a sip of wine as a channel to divine communion with God. That sip of wine immediately invites the experience of another world. Boundaries disappear and the experience of everything as energetically interconnected emerges. However, can we stop at one sip, at one glass? Can we retain our consciousness and experience interconnectedness in a modest way? This challenge is certainly another brick in the foundation of our bridge to ecstasy. Too often the craving for more divine contact, so deeply desired, results in inviting too much energy to travel on an incomplete structure ending in oblivion or divine madness.

Ecstasy is its own crucible, its own alchemical oven, its own cross. Pushing the confines of the structure, which can ultimately increase one’s joy, is a painful and lengthy process. Take, for example, love and sex, a very challenging combination, a cornerstone of our bridge to ecstasy. In the beginning of relationship, when nature provides us with an unearned “in love” experience, we are afforded the divine rapture of ecstasy as the boundaries of our individual egos are stretched to merge with our “soul mate.” In this time, love and sexual energy flow freely. If this divine spark acquires duration and becomes a true relationship we are ultimately expelled from the garden. The gift of ecstasy must now be earned through the building of a bridge of conscious relationship. The more we get to know our partner, the more familiar they become, often, the more difficult sex becomes.

Love is a product of consciousness. Love takes work, hard work. Encountering and accepting the truth of our “human” soul mate, as well as revealing our own most vulnerable selves, is an extremely challenging process. Meanwhile, familiarity often drives sexual energy underground. Love and familiarity bring a lot of bright light to a relationship. The spontaneous, unpredictable flow of primal sexual energy seeks the darkness, where play, connection, and abandon are spared watchful, judgmental eyes and a thinking mind. To be conscious and present in abandon, without thought, is the crucible of love and sex. To merge the familiar and the spontaneous, the divine and the earthy, the spirit and the flesh, is a powerful, ecstatic moment. This is definitely possible if there is commitment, but it is often a painful, vulnerable, and frustrating process where the energies seek to escape the containment required for ultimate transformation and ecstatic union.

Stretching and softening the boundaries of the ego to accommodate and join with the divine spontaneous impulse is the essence of ecstasy. Yes, to be able to stand, which is to hold onto consciousness, outside the static structure of the ego, is to open to the flow of divine energy, true ex-stasis. In this piece, I selected the metaphor of a sturdy bridge built stone by stone to represent the place of standing amidst divine energy. The opportunities to lay these stones offer themselves daily in a myriad of ordinary life circumstances where the spark of divine impulse is felt subtly or profoundly within the heart.

Jung chose a different metaphor, that of a cork floating on the ocean. The cork being the place of standing, or consciousness floating upon the boundless, infinite flux. Despite the disparity in size of cork to ocean, Jung would argue that without consciousness there is no wholeness, there is no divine ecstasy. Rumor has it that Jung’s final words, spoken to Marie-Louise von Franz, were: “Let’s have a really good red wine tonight!” Wine or no wine, I suggest that you make your experience di-vine!

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,

#668 Do a Spring Review

Jan Ketchel channeling Jeanne Marie Ketchel

Dear Jeanne,
We are experiencing the first full days of spring in the Northeast, a time of rebirth, new life, and new stirrings of the energies of the earth. I find this time of year more meaningful than any other because I feel that spring is a harbinger of new possibilities, urging us all to change with it, offering us amazing energy to ride on, if we elect to do so. During the week I have practiced the process of setting intents as you described in last Monday’s message to us. As I repeat my mantras I often find that I receive answers and guidance in my dreams. I know that this is but one door to discovering more about myself, as dreaming allows me to tap into what I sometimes cannot grasp during the light of day. My dreams show me things of significance, perhaps a missing piece that I then can take into my day and work with. I know that many of our readers may not find what they need in their dreams, or they just may not have explored them for their growth potential as I have. What else is available as a means of offering signs, as a means of guidance, besides dreaming? What else can people look for to help them go deeper and yet know that they are on the right track? How do the answers come? And how can they be trusted as the right answers?

My Dear One, as you state, dreaming is one means of finding your path in life upon that earth, but there are as many paths as there are people, and I would be remiss if I were to conclude that life must be done in one way or another. In dreaming you are offered what lies hidden, but even dreams may not be helpful if one is not deeply studying the self in all aspects of life, in waking life, in relationships, in how one thinks and acts, in how one is present in life or not present. You see, the inner work must be a part of an evolving life in order for the inner self to recognize the signs and how they come to guide. In your own case, you had to learn to trust my intrusion in your life in order to come this far, in order to become this open channel, did you not, Jan?

Yes, I had to learn to trust you and to tolerate you because I did not really want the responsibility of this job. I fought you for a long time, but over time, and because of your unrelenting patience, I was able to get through the first almost annoying years with you. So, what do you suggest that people look for in their own lives, as they do their inner work?

First, I advise that inner work, in whatever form fits a person, is most beneficial.

Second, I advise learning what the personal inner voice sounds like.

Third, learn to recognize and feel the “other” voice that speaks, from beyond the familiar inner voice.

Fourth, learn how to communicate with this “other” voice. What language does it speak with you? Is it the language of poetry, of vision, of art, of music, of movement? Is it a voice that you know immediately though you do not know how or from where? Do you feel an ancient connection inside you?

Once you find this ancient connection inside, by your own diligent process of testing, of trusting, of rejecting, of inviting, and of discriminating between that which feels vibrationally, energetically right and that which feels energetically devastating, you will find your method of communication and your means of guidance.

As with all evolutionary practices, finding the voice of guidance within is an individual process, but in order for it to truly be available and utilized one must learn to trust it. One must allow oneself to be pushed by it, to be challenged by what is presented. For instance, if you are unhappy in a job or relationship and your inner work shows you what to do to resolve it, and you know exactly what you must do, will you allow your self to go forth with this knowing, though you foresee many hardships ahead as a result of daring to do what will truly be life-changing? Are you truly ready for life-changing steps?

In order to be open to the signs of guidance, one must make the decision to change. And this may be the most difficult part of the process we are discussing. For all the signs in the world, all the dreaming insights, all the guidance that is plunked down in front of you will not aid you if you will not make the decision that change in your life is good. If you will not allow for change then you will only accumulate a lot of useless data, until you are truly ready to review your life and see what you have been missing.

Perhaps that is the place to begin now, on this spring day. Perhaps it is time to review all the signs you have already been given in your dreams, in your interactions with others, in your signs outside of you, in your physical reactions, your mental stresses, and your yearning inner self. What is the greatest message that you have been receiving lately? What is it suggesting you must do? Why is it so hard to receive this message? Who are you protecting as you receive this message? What part of you is not hearing, seeing, feeling, or allowing this guidance to be meaningful?

As you do a spring review, look also ahead to your future. Breathe in the energies of the earth at this time, this transitional time. Intend transition. Will the self to make a commitment to allow for it. In this way will you find that your signs will be more recognizable, your guidance clearer, and your path revealed. Do you see what I am saying? If your intent is truthfully allowed to be acceptable to you, first and foremost, then all the guidance that you have not seen or heard or felt will be revealed. Here is how to set the intent to change:

1. You must state that you are ready for it.

2. You must open your arms, your heart, your mind and your inner self to it.

3. You must acquiesce to the journey that will unfold before you.

4. You must challenge your self to move forward, though the old you will fight you at every step.

5. You must trust your self. You must trust that you are strong, capable, and ready to change.

6. If you are at the cusp of change, at the verge, standing on the rim of darkness, of fear, of annihilation, you must review how you got there. Have you not already allowed for many changes? Have you not been helped and guided all along the way and lived to tell your tales?

7. Now comes the next big step in trusting your journey: Throw out your voice into the darkness, into the void, into the unknown, into the veils that block your clarity of vision, and wait for its echo calling you forward. With resonance in response you will know what you must do next.

This is a very exciting time to be alive. As I said, breathe in the energies of spring, of life, of possibility, of transition and transformation. Breathe in the possibilities of self and allow for change to guide you. Allow for letting go of the old as you see where it has landed you, and turn to the earth at your feet for the guidance you now need. Happy Spring!

#667 Chuck’s Place: The Foreign Installation

There is a preponderance of energy this week, pushing upward through the hardness, the murkiness, the silt, the nigredo of the earth, traveling its path to new life, to flowering in the brightness and warmth of the sun. This energy that bursts forth is nature itself, our deepest roots, and our conscious challenge is to harness and channel it safely into life. For this we need the sacred containment of our awareness and our physical bodies peacefully brooding, like the hen upon the egg, awaiting maturation and readiness for life. The major protagonist to this containment is the mind, what the shamans call the foreign installation.

When shamans view the human body in energetic terms they see swirling energy at different centers within the body, with one exception. In the head they see an energy that moves horizontally, in a rapid back and forth motion. For shamans, this energetic pattern is alien to the body; hence, they have named it the foreign installation. Many people recognize and experience this foreign energetic presence in the form of obsessive thinking, which bounces back and forth in the brain or gets stuck in a thinking loop with no exit, often experienced at 3 AM, initiating hours of senseless perseverative activity, allowing for no further sleep.

The goal of all meditative practices is to eliminate this obsessive quality of the mind, to free it up for concentrated thought or emptiness, and to be able to clearly channel the intent of the higher self. Shamans call this coveted state inner silence. In inner silence the internal dialogue is eliminated and the channel is opened to direct knowledge.

Buddha, as he sat beneath the bodhi tree, discovered that direct knowledge or enlightenment was achieved through the practice of remaining still while the conjuring mind presented intense scenarios that beckoned emotional attachment. This is the 3 AM scenario. Buddha was able to not fall for these enticements to engage his energy in illusory concerns. He was able to not grasp at these scenes; grasping, in the Buddhist sense is attachment, which engages and drains the energy and life force in empty imaginings, in illusory reality.

Like Buddha, we are all confronted with countless concerns through the incessant sales pitches of the foreign installation, the ultimate salesman vying for our energetic attachment through worry and obsessive thinking, gateways to illusory living at every moment of the day. How can we resist such a pervasive onslaught! Christ, like Buddha beneath the bodhi tree, instructs us in this dilemma in his own encounter with the tree, the cross, where he achieves his own stillness and ultimate enlightenment. If we understand dying for “the sins of mankind” as a metaphor for achieving non-attachment to the conjurings of the internal dialogue, Christ demonstrates how challenging it is to not attach, literally being nailed to a cross to maintain stillness amidst the pulls of this world. In Greek mythology, Odysseus binds himself to the mast of his ship, his own sturdy tree, to avoid the fateful lure of the conjuring Sirens. And who are these modern Sirens? They are Worry about those we love. They are Fears of illness, of ruin, of death, an endless sea of possibilities; empty imaginings, sensuous enticements, presented in living color upon the inner screen of the foreign installation, beckoning attachment.

The lessons we glean from heroes such as Buddha, Christ, and Odysseus are:

1. to remain aware that the conjurings of the foreign installation are all illusions seeking to trap our awareness, drain our energy, and engage us in false reality;

2. to remain still, like the tree; don’t budge; don’t attach; don’t worry or fear. Though you cannot control the incessant presentation of illusory sales pitches, you can choose not to give them your attention;

3. to exercise great restraint, as the conjurer is masterful, the offerings are plentiful, enticing, and terrifying.

I suggest the practice of shifting awareness back to the body, our own sturdy tree in this life, and placing our intent upon softening, going deeper and deeper into energetic calmness and stillness, regardless of how loud the band of the conjurer plays its songs. Keep bringing awareness back to the body, going deeper and deeper into the stillness.

The shamans do say that, eventually, the foreign installation leaves, if it is persistently provided no energetic sustenance through our attachment to its enticements. The key though, is perseverance without attachment to the outcome. Sometimes the foreign installation goes dormant for a while, producing a true sense of accomplishment. Beware though of attaching to this. This is one of its traps, as it awaits that moment of success to return with a vengeance, entrapping us in defeatism and a return to the dominance of the incessant illusory world conjured by the internal dialogue. Do the practice with no attachment to the outcome!

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,