Tag Archives: EMDR

Chuck’s Place: Assuming Full Ownership

Native American Soul symbol…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

To own is to take full possession of that which truly belongs to oneself. If a child dreams of her enraged father at her bedroom door with a club in his hand, this dream originates in her own psyche; she completely owns the dream, it is her dream and nobody else’s.

Regardless of the meaning and outer causes of the dream, the dream, with its inner impact upon her, is her personal experience, constructed and completed within the boundaries of the self. The child must assume full ownership of her dream. The experience of the dream may take her years to fully integrate, but the experience is forever a fact of her life, a part of herself which must be reckoned with and given its rightful place within the inner boundaries of herself.

If, in a waking state, that same child is confronted by her enraged father at her bedroom door in reality, her inner experience of this rattling intrusion is hers and hers alone too. The experience is fully recorded within herself and lives on within herself as a psychic content that beckons a legitimate place among the many other psychic contents of experiences that reside within her. Though in both cases a person beyond the boundaries of herself is implicated, that is her father, and indeed some outer actions and interactions may be necessary, her actual experience in both situations and how it is represented within herself is hers and hers alone. No one can tell another person what their inner experience is or should be; it is fully what it is within the person who is having or has actually had that unique inner experience.

Experience is. It happens. Like nature, experience takes us into the unknown, the unexpected, the dangerous, the terrifying and the spellbinding. Experience leads us into the unfathomable depths of our own nature, to places, emotions, sensations and thoughts we may have no preparation for.  In one instance we may experience bliss, in another serious loss. Experience itself is unconcerned with whether something is good or bad, right or wrong—it simply happens. We of course must apply a judgment dimension to our experiences in an attempt to make sense of them. Without sense we have no order, and without order there is no definite self, and without self there is chaos. Chaos within the psyche results from a logjam of undigested experiences.

We must decide if an experience is right or wrong, good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate, acceptable or unacceptable.  All these parameters help us to quantify and qualify an experience, to truly ‘know’ our experience. These are the operating tools of the rational mind, the foundation of our consciousness. Unfortunately, as helpful as these conscious tools are, helping to stabilize and navigate our consciousness, they can have the unfortunate side effect of distancing us from the fuller impact of the experience, which transcends the ordering function of the rational mind and continues to haunt the self in some form of psychic or physical symptom.

We must reckon with the full impact of an experience to be freed of such antagonistic symptoms as anxiety and fear, which may actually be placeholders of our disowned experiences, discontented prisoners within the self.

The psyche might also be riddled with obsessive anger and blame as it locates the responsibility for its experiences in the person of an outside perpetrator, or some permutation thereof. Of course responsibility must be assigned where it is due and appropriate action be taken to address or redress an act, but inner reconciliation with one’s experience requires full ownership of one’s experience as one’s own, regardless of the sources or players involved in setting the stage for one’s inner experience.

Shamanic recapitulation and EMDR are two practices that enable one to fully assimilate and own the deeper impact of an experience. Both techniques incorporate psyche and body to facilitate assimilation.

C. G. Jung observed that we internalize the soul of the land we inhabit. For America, that means that the American soul is Native American. Carlos Castaneda gifted us the practices of the shamans of the Americas, in particular the breathing practice of recapitulation. Francine Shapiro, founder of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), discovered the bilateral movement of recapitulation, I imagine, through the Native American soul of America that projected itself onto her unique discovery process.

Reliving one’s life experiences while bilaterally breathing from side to side is the simplest gift from the native soul of America. With this simple breathing practice we consciously put our houses in order, fully own our experiences and, relieved of the tension of them, we are  prepared to fully engage in new life and new experiences, all energy on board for new adventures.

Assuming full responsibility for one’s own experiences provides a most powerful container of self, from which we are empowered to reconcile life lived and release the self to fully enter new life unburdened, with fluidity, totally freed and ready for new adventures!

Owning the experience,


Chuck’s Place: Alter In The Body Temple

We all have inherent wisdom within the body temple... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We all have inherent wisdom within the body temple…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Deep work on the self is inevitably accompanied by equally deep encounters with anxiety. Heightened anxiety states not only shut down our ability to explore and process our self-discoveries, but often become a major preoccupation, taking most of our energy and attention to manage.

Inherent in our body are physical movements that regulate our anxious states. When we dream our eyes move rapidly back and forth as we put to rest disturbing experiences from our days. This is an unconscious, built-in body movement that regulates our anxiety every day. Without this body processing function, our lives would be overrun by the anxiety of one long run-on sentence without the punctuation of completion and rejuvenation that our daily dreams provide us with.

The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered, in their dreaming, the Magical Pass of Recapitulation. This pass also involves a back and forth movement, similar to the rapid eye movement of dreaming, though not just of the eyes, but of the entire head. This movement is accompanied by an inhalation and an exhalation as the head sweeps from side to side. Those shamans discovered that those movements could be consciously performed to put troubled life experiences to rest, whereby reducing anxiety through release of energetic attachment to the past.

Francine Shapiro inadvertently discovered the same bilateral mechanism inherent in the body in what has come to be known as EMDR. In EMDR, like in shamanic recapitulation, anxiety is reduced through bilateral movement that enables processing and putting traumatic experiences to rest.

The ancient Hindus discovered many body poses and breathing techniques to master the central nervous system, which manifests anxiety. They came to call these body practices yoga. One such breathing technique is called Nadhi Sadhana or alternate nostril breathing.

In this pranayama exercise, using our right hand, we close off the right nostril with our thumb while breathing in through the left nostril. When the inhalation is complete, we close off the left nostril with the ring finger, in effect gently pinching the nose closed for a brief pause, before lifting the thumb and exhaling through the right nostril. At the completion of the exhalation we inhale through the right nostril, close it off with the thumb, pause for a moment with pinched nose before lifting the ring finger and exhaling through the left nostril. This back and forth breathing practice counts as one complete breath. The sequence is repeated, going back and forth through alternate nostrils.

Jan and I practice this breathing at least twice each day for a total of at least twelve complete breaths. Our personal finding is a significant reduction in anxiety, resulting in a calming of the central nervous system that lasts throughout the day. This yoga breathing activates the inborn automatic bilateral movement of dreaming in a conscious way, offering a high level regulation of anxiety.

We do not recommend this breathing to accompany the processing of memories or trauma, as the recapitulation breath takes care of that. However, it is highly effective, if practiced regularly, to reduce the overall tension and levels of stress in the body. And for that we recommend it.

The body is our temple. Though itself mortal, it houses all that we are and all that we will become beyond our mortal lives. The body as temple houses physical movements that we can consciously access and exercise that greatly support our spiritual journeys, and that prepare us for our ultimate life without a body.

Enter the temple of the body self with reverence for its movement wisdom. This is not a mental process, but a physical doing. Do it, and see what happens!

From the body self,

Chuck’s Place: It’s All In Body

We must go down into the murky depths of our own reservoir if we are to experience wholeness... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
We must go down into the murky depths of our own reservoir if we are to experience wholeness…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

The clinical wisdom of our time highlights the role of the body in psychological healing. To resolve our deepest issues, we must go down into the depths of the body to discover our hidden truths and restore a fluid connection to the wellsprings of our life energy.

For many years, I have spoken about out-of-body experiences and energetic life beyond the physical. Soul retrieval journeys, such as the kind taken in recapitulation, are in fact intimately connected to our in-body reservoir.

When we reenter the scene of an earlier experience in life, we utilize the sensations in our bodies to lead us to the actual event. The body stores all experiences and once we arrive at their gate, in recapitulation for example, we are thrust full-body into what happened to us in the prior experience. In traumatic recapitulation, we may have a full in-body sensation and complete reliving of a long-forgotten experience.

Many visits to hospital emergency rooms actually result from unknown, unsupported, tripping into stored bodily memories of trauma, inadvertently triggered by some associatively related current life experience. Often, after exhaustive testing, physicians are clueless in diagnosing the disturbance, often assuming panic attack. For the patient, the physical experience has been so real and in-body that this explanation seems highly dubious. Nonetheless, what ensues is perhaps a trail of treatments to control panic, which misses the true nature of the symptom: the triggering of a dissociated life experience stored in the body seeking re-association through reliving and resolving the turbulence it holds.

Modern clinical wisdom and ancient shamanic wisdom point the way to the innate, archetypal bridge of bilateral body movement to enable the grounding needed to experience and integrate dissociated parts of the soul that lie in wait in the body reservoir.

In dreaming, we naturally experience bilateral rapid eye movement, commonly called REM, that clears and processes the remnants of the day just lived. In nightmares, we experience failed attempts to naturally resolve traumatic moments. When no resolution occurs, these traumas end up stored in energetically volatile and incomplete states in the body—often a cause of physically distressing symptoms. Chronic pain and debilitating symptoms, even anger and fear of intimacy or conflict, may in fact be trauma related.

Francine Shapiro advanced the instinctive bilateral physical movement that we all use when we dream, incorporating it as a direct method to facilitate the integration of traumatic experience, in a waking state, through the protocol of EMDR. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico discovered the bilateral recapitulation breathing Magical Pass millennia ago, as a means to enable reintegration of lost parts of the self. These inherent and consciously facilitated practices provide the bridge to safely encountering and putting to rest the stored energies of unresolved traumas.

The body stores that which is incomplete, awaiting resolution when the time is right. The body equally holds the key to safely resolving that which it holds, through bilateral movement, whether exercised consciously with recapitulation or in EMDR, or unconsciously in dreaming. Only through fully accessing and resolving all that the body holds will we acquire the energetic wholeness to launch, with completion, out-of-body when it’s time to pass on into new life.

In body,