Intense. That’s the word I’d use to describe the first three-hour Journey session I underwent on Thursday. It was the psychic equivalent of a rocket up the bum and I am still dealing with the after effects.
I’ve read the book by Brandon Bays, I’ve asked other Journey grads about their experience, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened. And yet the process was so simple…
The Journey Practitioner asked me what had brought me to her. ‘Money,’ I said. ‘We have a dysfunctional relationship.’
We chatted for half an hour about why I thought money was such a big issue. I explained that growing up, I learned that you had to work really, really, REALLY hard to earn money. From watching my parents run their own business, I surmised that money breaks you, it causes arguments, nervous breakdowns, marriage splits, violence etc. Money is a nasty piece of work.
I also explained that if a relative ever gave my sisters or I money, my mother would make us hand it back. We were not to accept money we hadn’t earned. I remember pressing coins into my confused grandmother’s palm and forcing her fingers to curl around them in an effort to return the gift.
What feelings did that spark? Intense shame, anxiety, guilt, terror…it was supposed to be a loving gift, but felt more like handling ricin. Receiving money is still difficult for me. If it comes too easily, I feel dreadful – no wonder I’m in a to do about cash!
What next? I need to open myself up to receiving. I was told to close my eyes and relax. ‘Let go,’ said the practitioner. I find it so hard to surrender, but I was here, I had spent £1,200 on this process, I had to let my unconscious mind do its thing.
Then came the alchemy. It’s hard to describe really. All I did was go inside myself and have a good root around. What was I feeling? Where in my body was this? What did it look like? Could I let go and fall deeper into that feeling? Often, I would say ‘no’ fearing that it might overwhelm me, but gently and kindly, the practitioner urged me to plunge further into emotions I was afraid of, to let them consume me. I thought I might die in the process as my chest felt as if it were being crushed, but oddly, once I surrendered and readily experienced a ‘dark’ feeling, it popped like a soap bubble and disappeared.
I delved into my psyche, peeling it back layer by layer. I have to admit, I didn’t find any lightness or joy, only a black tarry chasm. ‘What is in that chasm?’ I peered in. Hell, it was a black hole populated by snarling, chomping, horrid sharp little teeth. My unconscious mind was giving Clive Barker a run for his money.
This went on for three hours. Afterwards, I felt a little light-headed and the first thing I did, was head to a cafe for strong coffee and cake. It dawned on me that I often use sugar and carbohydrates to stuff down uncomfortable feelings.
I was shattered when I got home. I felt small, vulnerable and sad. I couldn’t tolerate the constant chatter of my family and retreated to my bed. I fell asleep early and the next day I awoke…feeling just as bad.
I had two choices, I could distract myself from these difficult feelings with sugar, carbs, crap TV, exercise…all the things I use to salve emotional pain, or I could sit with them and dare myself to dive in deeper. I chose the latter.
What I discovered the next day, was a clarity of understanding I didn’t have before. Rather than react whenever a feeling pops up, I was able to stand back and observe it. When I asked ‘Why do I feel like this?’ my mind would offer up an answer, which was often a flashback from the past.
For example, I could feel tension in my neck and shoulders yesterday. I get this a lot. When I asked myself ‘Why do I feel like this?’ I remembered an incident that happened when I was 10. I’d been left alone at home in charge of my sisters aged six and four. While my parents were out, they had scribbled on and torn some plans for a new house they were going to build a few hundred yards from the pub they owned.
They were furious. It was all my fault. I should have kept an eye on my siblings. They’d had to pay the architect a lot of money for these plans. I was in BIG trouble.
Afterwards, my father apologised. He said it was wrong of them to expect me to be responsible, but that didn’t matter. I decided there and then, that nothing would EVER go wrong on my watch again. I bring that attitude into my work. It pains me, because you can never be 100% in control with PR. I am unable to roll with the punches. It crucifies me when things don’t go according to plan.
I chatted to the therapist yesterday and told her that I would never be the same again after this process and that scares me. Who will I be if I am not myself? The answer, apparently, is the real me. The true me who has been hiding under layers of misery.
As I write this, it sounds so odd as I have never considered myself a miserable person and you wouldn’t think so if you met me – I laugh a lot. Loudly too. Apparently, we all carry misery with us and that’s okay, it’s when it drives your behaviour that things start to get tricky.
The Journey is not a quick fix. The clue is in the title. I can see this is going to be an ongoing process and now that I have started, I can’t stop.
There have been a few obvious changes. I cannot survive the day without a 20 minute session of conscious resting (a sort of beginner’s version of meditation), I walk a little slower, I’ve been nicer to my husband and kids and a stress rash that I’ve had on my side for about three months, has totally cleared up. As for me and money, well, we’re talking again and I’m sure we’ll be spending more time together in the future.
My soul is in the driving seat.