Clearing Emotional Baggage
Does the glass of your life seem half-empty, or is it three-quarters full to overflowing? Do you have the sense that there is something missing in your life, or is your life permanently 'in transit', or never seeming to arrive? Alternatively, is there too much going on in your life and do you wish you could find more balance, and break some habitual customs or habits? Either way, you could be carrying some 'emotional baggage' and we would like to talk about how this affects health and how something can be done to help lighten the load. People who come to us through our psychotherapy practice on the one hand (who experience their 'glass' being half-empty) or through our leadership coaching business on the other (glasses three-quarters full to overflowing), have one thing in common: they all suspect that there is more to life.
So what is emotional baggage, how does it show up, why is it harmful and what can be done about it? First, can we measure emotion and its effect on the body?
In Positive Health, January 1997 Issue, Dr Alan Watkins talks about ways of harnessing the electrical energy generated by the heart. He says, "this may sound unusual, but the energy generated by the heart is the largest source of bio-electricity found in the body and 40 to 60 times greater than the electricity produced by the brain. The energy produced by the power station of the heart reaches every cell in the body and can be measured up to 18 inches away from the body with sophisticated modern electronic instruments called magnetometers. Our light really does shine and it can be measured scientifically!"
He goes on to describe the heart rhythm associated with two feelings, frustration and appreciation, and shows two graphs, one where the rhythm is jagged and chaotic and the other smooth and undulating. The quality of the energy produced by the heart of an athlete at peak performance looks very similar to the quality of energy of a person who is experiencing sincere appreciation. He uses a process called 'Freeze-Frame' to help people clean up the energy output from their heart; Positive Health can put you in touch with Dr Watkins, if you are interested.
So, how much frustration or appreciation do you experience in life? Are you seeking confidence or trying to break some obsessive behaviour like overworking or smoking, or perhaps you are in a loveless relationship? All of these can be affecting your health. Alan goes on to say, "it is well known that the brain sends messages via the autonomic nervous system and hormonal and immune systems. What is not well known is that the heart sends messages back to the brain, providing a two-way communication system that directly affects perception, reaction speeds and decision making ability." No wonder that a bullying or sarcastic boss or teacher can so quickly take us to that feeling of being paralysed by fear. But does a negative emotional experience have a lasting effect?
Candace Pert, in her ground breaking book The Molecules of Emotion, has made the connection between molecules, chemistry and emotion. Her search started as a graduate student looking for receptor sites, the little keyholes where drugs like morphine, heroin and opium fit. The sites were hypothetical until she found them and initiated an explosive search for the brain's own morphine. The University of Aberdeen found the clue, a peptide which is a relatively simple chemical. This was the beginning of the peptide revolution, because endorphins (endogenous morphines) are found not just in the brain but throughout the entire body, in the immune system, the digestive system and so on. In an interview with the journal of the Scientific and Medical Network last December, Candace said, "I was interested in studying the brain because I thought that's where the mind and consciousness was located. I think that one of the really shocking and exciting implications of the work is the fact that the molecules of emotion are found not just in every system of the body, but are running every system of the body, connecting every system of the body to every other system. This means that our body really is our subconscious mind!"
So, if our body is our subconscious mind, then do the emotions that we experienced in the past stay in the body and affect our behaviour and our health? If you are reading this publication and this article, it is a fair bet that you already suspect this. But what of those in the world who do not make the connection between emotional health and physical health. We work in commerce helping people to become leaders, and elsewhere, helping professionals and performers to excel. Many of them have been looking outside themselves for techniques to improve performance. We call this 'Performance Excellence'. The problem with this is that they can learn to perform excellently as measured by material success, but can cover over insecurities, inner conflict and suppressed emotions, and in this case, perform means to 'act' or 'pretend'. You may know someone like this in your life. How does someone like this gain emotional intelligence and is it important to do so?
In a recent edition of the Harvard Business Review, Daniel Goleman explored 'What Makes a Leader' and based his article on studies of 'Emotional Intelligence' in 188 global companies, including British Airways. These show that for those who rise fast to senior positions in the business, qualities such as empathy, self-awareness, motivation and social skills are 90% more important than hard analytical skills such as financial management or marketing. He goes on to describe people without emotional intelligence who need coaching, constant feedback and guidance in order to access or make habitual the soft skills that lead to feeling empathy or love for others. However, we believe that coaching can become a long term crutch.
There are other ways of helping a person to access their stored emotions and to understand how these affect behaviour and health and you will from time to time find them in the pages of this publication. But focusing on our approach, we have coined the term 'Authentic Excellence' which goes beyond mere performance excellence to access all of the person and their subtle energies. As a means of demonstrating how we do this, we will use a short case study to demonstrate how a person constructs a 'holding pattern', loosely called 'memory', which is held both inside and outside the body. We find that energy can exist further outside the body than magnetometers can currently measure, and that people are able to describe how their subtle energy system or consciousness has become fragmented, and continues to influence their feelings and their subsequent behaviours, years after the event or events that triggered the splitting of the consciousness. In effect, the person is feeling the feelings of the lost, suppressed or suppressing parts of themselves, the 'thoughtforms' that are stored and which often correlate to physical symptoms, headaches, pains, and a range of unexplained illnesses. We will illustrate how the so-called 'emotional baggage' is in fact trapped usable energy waiting to be discovered and released.
Lara's Story – An extract
From childhood (age 5 to 6), Lara (not her real name) experienced stomach problems, severe constipation, stomach cramps. By late teens this became nervous anxiety, acid stomach, difficulty in keeping food down, "indigestion from hell." A stomach ulcer was suspected and antibiotics prescribed, which eased the symptoms when taken, but once stopped, the symptoms returned. At age 25, Lara saw a homoeopath. The first interview was a disaster, she said, but she did listen to the advice to stop eating meat. Symptoms lessened and she realised that the homoeopath had helped her to uncover some 'emotional baggage'.
At age 28, Lara sought help from Lynn Willis, an associate at our Centre, and in five sessions, during mid 1995, Lynn used the Ravenscroft Approach, our form of psychotherapy/healing. Lara resolved a number of family issues, finding an inner small child and father which dissolved back into her energy and provided her with some peace of mind. However, this did not affect the stomach problems, and by January 1996, she found her way to Dr David Schweitzer, in London, who applied something called the HLB test and provided the first blood scan, which showed her acid and stressed condition.
Lara decided not to take the medicine prescribed but to undertake further work at our Centre, this time with the two of us. She clearly had the belief that the symptoms and the root cause could be discovered and resolved. Not knowing about the medical tests, we began to see her in March 1996 and saw her for 6 sessions ending on the 25th April. On the 19th April, Lara had her 2nd test with Dr Schweitzer, which showed that her condition had reached a climax, its worst point (in our terms a healing crisis). The third test on the 10th June showed that the condition had completely cleared which, we understand, is still the case some three years later. At the end of her sessions with us, Lara shared the medical evidence with us. What happened?
The first four sessions involved a great deal of further healing/ releasing of the 'thoughtforms,' the protected and protecting energies that populated her system (the whole body/ consciousness system). The fifth session on the 16th April brought her face to face with a "controller" in the back of her head, whose mission statement was "to struggle." We helped her locate this because of her language and the way she kept touching the back of her head unconsciously, and the palpable feelings of heaviness and tightness that she began to notice in that area, and we also felt in our bodies as we energetically matched her system. For a week, in between sessions, she lived with the realisation of how she was leading her life (at this point, her blood test showed the worst stage of her condition).
By the sixth and final session, Lara fully understood that the deepest level of cause of her physical symptoms was a pattern of struggle. The 'Unconscious Equation' (the concept pioneered by Eileen to explain the illogical logic of the right brain and the reason why so many people find it difficult to change), in this case was that "struggle=achievement." Behind her body-self, (the her sitting on the chair), Lara found another self, aged 14, still acting out the beliefs that she learned in the North of England from her family. Visualising an Adult her with the 14 year old, communication began. 'Looking' into the form of the 14 year old, as if with x-ray vision, she saw "light below her feet", secreted there when "she took charge of her life and stepped on any sensitive feelings".
After acknowledgement and dialogue, the light was freed to flow into the 14 year old form, creating a radiating being, which dissolved into pure energy which flowed into the back of Lara's throat and then up and down into her physical body, her body-self. "I feel I can breath at last" she said. The physical change in her outward appearance was obvious, in change of skin tone, facial expression, softening of the body posture and a general softening of the person. "My acidosis will clear in six weeks," she was able to predict. Six weeks later on the 10th June, Lara had her last test, and the acidosis had gone.
Some time later, Lara talked about the total experience and she summed it up by saying, "I want people to know what is possible. Given my symptoms and experience it would have been easy to give up and think that I could not change, that things could not be different, and given my struggle pattern, that was true. However, I found the root cause and the symptoms have vanished. It's so nice not to be ill any more, it's also so nice to feel how I feel inside and to view life as I now view it. Something has manifested on the physical level. I would say that a lot more things have manifested on an emotional, mental and psychological level."
The reason that Lara could not 'dump her emotional baggage' and that it continued to communicate with her through her symptoms, was that there was a part of her that would not be dismissed like some unwanted 'baggage', and was, in fact, the source of her release and healing. It was the missing potential that she, as a senior executive, had both been searching for and compensating for through obsessive and stress-producing work. Like the relief that you feel when lost luggage is found by the airline, when you are travelling, in this case, on the road of life, Lara was finally able to begin her 'holiday' and that relaxation now permeates her being, her behaviours and her life, till this day.
Now where is the key to my left luggage compartment?!....
Lara – Case Study
Digby-Jones, C (1995) Allergies a healthy response Positive Health Aug/Sept 1995, Bristol
Digby-Jones, C (1996) The Ravenscroft Approach Positive Health March 1996, Bristol
Goleman, D (1998) What Makes a Leader Harvard Business Review,
November 1998, Cambridge, MA
Goleman, D (1995) Emotional Intelligence, Bantam, USA
Goleman, D (1998) Working with Emotional Intelligence, Bantam, USA
Pert, C B (1998) Molecules of Emotion, Simon & Shuster, USA
(Pb February 1999)
Watkins, Dr A (1997) Positive Emotions – The Secret to Positive Health, Positive Health, January 1997
Watkins Seymour, E Digby-Jones, C (1994) The Structure of Excellence, NLP World, Vol. 1.1, March 1994, Switzerland
(describes the unconscious equation)
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