Sometimes 'jargon' gets in the way of communication. In this case it did for me. But in the end I found the concepts familiar and comfortable. What's best is that I found Barbara's writing to be the best guide and ambassador into her world--much better than any of the reviews or synopses. Her descriptions of her journey are exquisitely clear, precise, and, best of all, interesting. Here's my favorite excerpt from 'Out of the Box'. It describes the process by which she 'got to the root' of her smoking addiction, cured it, and discovered a surprising pair of hidden issues that underlay the problem:
"Despite the 1985 heart-healing experience with my mother and Mother Mary’s cure of my smoking addiction in 1993, I apparently needed further healing. Call it thought field transfer, call it environmental modeling, call it what you like, the reason I even smoked in the first place remained unanswered. Full understanding came during two days of training in a psychotherapeutic method called EMDR, the acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. This is a powerful healing modality developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D., for her work with Vietnam veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Deep reaching, this total sensory/cognitive method unlocked the secret behind the addictive behavior even though I had chosen a seemingly unrelated incident from kindergarten to work on, one that had repeatedly come into my consciousness since childhood for no apparent reason. I had no intent going into the session to receive more healing related to my mother and our addiction to cigarettes.
Five years old, I was just back to Kindergarten after having had my tonsils and adenoids removed. Full of the surgical experience, I returned to school with the puppet the hospital staff gave me. Eager to tell all after a week of painful post-surgical silence, I was so chatty that the teacher separated me from the rest of the class. She put me in a punishment chair away from my classmates. The EMDR kicked in at this point, showed me how traumatic to my innately effervescent innocent self the separation from my classmates was. I saw that after this event I began to shut down. I lost self-confidence. Eventually, one event piled on top of the other and I avoided speaking at all in the classroom. I did not conquer this fear of speaking until my second year of graduate school—twenty-three years later. I loved my Kindergarten teacher. I do not think she intended to wound my spirit. The session really helped make sense of a critical childhood event that had been perplexing in its periodic tweaking of my memory, no explanation given. How very tender is the heart of the child.
The EMDR next propelled me straight out of the Kindergarten classroom into a state of co-conscious awareness of my self, as spirit, watching my mother smoke during her pregnancy with me. I observed from outside the physical body that I was to merge with at birth. I saw and smelled my mother smoking. Spirit me interpreted that she did not care enough to stop smoking to take proper care of the little body growing inside her. Next came a moment of epiphany. In a flash of insight, I understood why I’d begun to smoke when I became a teenager: it was my attempt to understand why my mother smoked. During the EMDR session, I complained to the team that was working with me about smelling cigarette smoke in the room. Irritated, I asked why the workshop leaders would ever permit anyone to smoke in the conference room. The next day, when my session was completed, the team said that no one had been smoking in the training room. Only I smelled cigarette smoke. The smell of smoke was in my memory.
EMDR and other psychotherapeutic modalities that have emerged over the past twenty years have proven to be excellent vehicles to get at what’s really cooking below the surface. My experience demonstrated the phenomenon called chaining: certain events connecting together like links of chain. In that instance, the entry point of the hurt caused by the kindergarten teacher/mother figure helped me to access the original pre-natal hurt by my birth mother. Deep lasting healing requires getting to the original injury and, as in good wound care, cleaning the pus out from the point of origin. The rebirth experience triggered during Dr. Whitfield’s workshop had gifted me threefold. I learned about the consciousness of the spirit that was about to be born, that what is experienced during this gestational time is recorded and has lasting impact throughout one’s life. The rift between my mother and me from lack of birth bonding acknowledged and partially healed, Mother Mary’s divine intervention cured me of the physical smoking addiction. The waving red flag school memory guided me to complete this particular body of work."
Barbara has settled into a tiny tree-house cottage that sits above a tinkling stream in the great state of New Hampshire. Living among the trees, the many lakes and mountains that are abundant with wildlife, she continues to integrate the lessons from her spiritual odyssey while opening to the mystery that is her new life.
This is the eleventh of a short series of Author profiles that features fellow authors in the All Things That Matter Press family.