Evolution, Wisdom, Insights, and All the Pragmatic Practical Applications or Musings In Between
BodyTalk practitioner Shelley Poovey is the creator of a meditation practice/technique called Radiant Heart Meditation (RHM). Poovey developed the program around the same time that she became a BodyTalk practitioner. What prompted Poovey to bring her unique meditation to life and offer it to clients was her own experiences of heightened intuition. The practice of Radiant Heart help Poovey develop her natural sensitivity, insight, and tune into her right brain gifts of creativity. She began offering workshops in person at her Pilates studio in New York City then expanded her teachings through online classes.
When I was first introduced to RHM it felt just right as a practice to integrate into my own meditation habit. For me personally, it felt very Buddhist in its compassionate “vibe” seemed to focus on what yoga teachers call “the heart space”.
Paying attention to our physical and emotional hearts is a practice everyone should prioritize to cultivate.
A long standing phenomenon among those in service oriented jobs/pursuits who tend to over-give and exhibit “bleeding heart” characteristics in behavior improve self-care/reduce risk of burnout if they engage in consistent self-care practices that “balance the heart space”.
When Poovey offered a BodyTalk and RHM online workshop that met via teleconference/facebook, the topic of focus was codependency. The term is a blanket concept but certainly relevant among those who sacrifice their own needs/priorities/health/etc because of people pleasing or having various degrees of a savior complex (a covert side of subtle narcissism common in some self-help gurus IMHO)
Participating in the event helped us reflect at our personal patterns and experiences of codependency. A few weeks into my own integration of RHM in my life as a regular meditation practice, I began looking at much deeper patterns of codependency in relationships. These are the situations where it occurs in a way that is not so obvious.
This reflection came up as part of the facilitator’s morning prompt questions in the private RHM participants FB group. There is much more to RHM than just meditating to the guided visualization created by Poovey that has the benefits of listening to a recorded clinical hypnotherapy audio. The conscious thinking aspect of the technique works on the inquiry model.
This is what one morning’s prompt/inquiry from Poovey resulted in for me. Basically, its good news because every time a person has an A-HA moment that leads to a healthy change in their patterns and habits, everyone benefits.
A month before I choose to part ways with my therapist. I had benefited from working with her because she had a specialization in treating complex trauma with EMDR. EMDR is an acronym for Eye Movement Desensitization Response and has been used to treat people with PTSD. The reason I choose this therapist back in 2012 was to receive EMDR sessions. While I have never experienced combat, domestic violence, or survived a devastating natural disaster, I did have my own share of disturbing memories from vicarious trauma.
In my case, a head on collision that I witnessed at age seven between a motorcyclist and a truck was the root cause for my driving anxiety. When I was 15 and visiting relatives in a foreign country, my grandmother and I were passengers in a jeep (a medium sized Greyhound bus) with at least 20 other travelers on a rural road when the vehicle was stopped by police. Due to the country’s decades long history up until that time of corruption, it was considered common knowledge to assume that there was a 50-50 chance of corruption among officers. This fact was known to me at the time but what really frightened me were the kind of firepower they openly wore like a crossbow.
Fortunately, the stop was part of routine patrol as bandits had been reported on the roads. Needless to say, the cumulative effect of these fearful moments, were more the cause of my sensitivity to environmental sounds and general symptoms of anxiety. Subconsciously I was in in chronic fear mode. Throughout the two years that I received EMDR sessions, I found tremendous relief from the PTSD driven anxiety.
So why did I stop seeing my therapist?
She made me aware of the tendency of people with unresolved trauma to engage in behavior known as trauma repetition. This past July I mentioned in passing that I had met someone new recently named David. Naturally she asked how we met, and what he was like. I responded that we met at one of my hobby groups and the kind of work he did. My therapist then responded to me to be careful of men in that profession because they tend to great candidates for a preliminary diagnosis of psychopathy and all that entails. Nonetheless, those words coming from a professional and touching the nerve of my fear and mistrust, did the one thing I never expected therapy to do: cause me to doubt my own gut instinct.
Not only did my therapist’s comments cause me to behave with a suspicious mind towards David but it also motivated me to practically interrogate him all the time over the most inconsequential misinterpretations of my mind. Within three weeks David tells me he can’t handle my behavior any more. At the time I had not yet come to the conclusion that my therapist had made a premature conclusion heavily affected by her own personal bias.
Three weeks after I last spoke or heard from David, I did realize that her preliminary diagnosis of him and everyone who held a similar occupational profile, was faulty clinical reasoning. Lets just say she saw the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” and believed every man who ever worked and was successful on Wall Street was another Jordan Belfort. Interestingly enough, she never made a reference to the women who are just as successful on Wall Street as being female psychopaths, just the men.
Acting on my own hunch, I rounded up an impromptu team of informal advisers, including two clinical psychologists who had worked in public mental health and assessed people standing trial, psychiatrists who worked in correctional facilities early in their career and are presently adjunct faculty at Medical Schools, plus a social worker who had worked with the family court system on complicated custody cases.
Every one of them said there was not enough information for my therapist to practically declare a diagnosis that David and all of Wall Street was saturated with men who all were walking text book examples of Psychopathic Personality Disorder. They each said that she didn’t ask enough questions about it apart from the one she did ask me, to warrant such a conclusion. None of the people on this informal advisory list knew that I was consulting others because I spoke to every one of them individually. Another interesting footnote is that my experts don’t all know one another and were not consulted in the same day. Its unlikely they discussed it among each other before speaking to me.
The final analysis or assessment I made in the end was: David was fine. My gut instinct gave him a green light. Besides, the kind of men my therapist was referring to, I have come across more than once, and I was not their target market. They have never bothered me. I’m too boring, conservative, and analytical for the kind of cat and mouse game which my therapist was warning me about. The kind of personal play the corporate psychopaths are seeking never was sought with me (Thank You God!) even when I was in my early 20’s, and much more vulnerable on multiple levels. Despite the vulnerabilities that were so obvious to everyone, they never attempted to manipulate me, and it would have been very easy a decade ago.
When I realized what had happened I took stock of the consequence: David was gone and didn’t want to to talk to me, so I terminated the therapeutic relationship with my now ex-therapist, and decided to apologize in writing to David by the least annoying approach: snail mail. I wrote a letter and owner up to everything and clearly admitted that I was in the wrong. When I was finished writing the document I printed it out, inserted it in an envelop, and mailed it. I knew there was no guarantee he would read it or react positively. I had royally screwed up.
Luck was on my side. David was generous enough to hear me out by reading the letter and got in touch to let me know. I thanked him for hearing me out when I apologized. Then I told him I fired my therapist.
Then the wisdom of RHM occurred. My biased therapist was gone but one of my friends, Hank, seemed all too happy to be a sour note whose opinion stood out in contrast to the the friends who thought apologizing to David was a good and healthy thing to do.
After a few days of morning RHM meditations, I had been looking at deeper patterns of codependency in relationships where it occurs in a way that is not so obvious. Ever since David and I were able to reconnect and I apologized for my unkind behavior, Hank has been saying things to caution me to be careful. Just like the therapist, it comes from good intentions, but not derived from anything substantial. All Hank has heard is that David and I were able to smooth things out. Yet, Hank is fear mongering using the same thought process as my ex-therapist. He has insinuated numerous times that David is a wolf in sheep’s clothing because he is a guy from Manhattan who worked on Wall Street for over a decade. That is the worst attempt at profiling a person. At least the TV shows try to be accurate!
The term “Inner Authority” which master coach Chloe Rain uses often, can’t be under-estimated in this instance. My inner authority and Poovey’s RHM, led me to my own truth and standpoint about the whole scenario: Quite frankly, I am so glad that David listened to what I had to say and we’re back in communication. I’m happy to have him in my life and that is all that matters.
While I may have my personal preference/ideal scenario of how my ego would want things to unfold, I’m in the mindset of not being attached to the relationship being/looking a certain way/playing out to any specific outcome so to speak. Fundamentally, when I genuinely care about someone I want them in my life and am cognizant that their free will choice has to be respected too despite what I may really really want in the moment.
Afterall, the “Agape” kind of love is about kinship/brotherhood-sisterhood, and most of all …is unconditional. All we can ever ask is the relationship dynamic between us and another person be healthy, mutually respectful, and a positive presence and influence for both people. Naturally, its a given that appropriate boundaries need to exist in the context of such interpersonal connection. Depending on the form the relationship takes, the boundaries will differ, and when love transforms from agape to eros and back to platonic, so too shifts the boundaries to adjust appropriately. That’s all I can intend and stand for. The only person I can control in the end is me.
Speaking of which, as RHM has been integrated more into my daily meditation practice, boundaries have had to be put in with a Hank. Hank has been divorced for six years and was married for close to 15 years before his marriage ended. His time is dedicated to his career as a CPA and the college age sons he had with his former wife.
Since becoming a single man again, he has developed several platonic female friendships who occupy a pseudo-girlfriend role in terms of doing participating in similar interest with him, such as hiking, tennis, etc. The connection is like that of siblings. Hank is one of my honorary older brothers. On its own I don’t think this is unhealthy or not good, but as his female friends find romantic partners or potentials, or simply pursue other friendships and important hobbies/goals that diverge from Hank’s interested it means less free time in general to hangout with him, so his annoyance towards life increases and of course, we ladies hear it, or read a rant from him on text/email and practically play amateur life and dating coach to him.
After a certain amount of time, I personally started to think, wait a minute I could charge $150 an hour for this phone coaching I am doing every 2-3 days during his latest lament over his loneliness. Boundaries.
Besides, after playing Cupid and finding him well over 15 viable candidates for a date based on Hank’s “chick list”, the kind of support he is needing is beyond the bounds of our friendship. Finding potential dates is not hard. In the end he has to close the deal, but he can’t, and I’m not the Pick-Up Artist guy who had a reality show a few years ago. Besides, when you chase bimbos who are dressed like tarts in middle age or older … you automatically lower your odds of creating and cultivating a lasting connection.
Then there also Hank’s charming and pervasive cynicism that rears its ugly head when he gets into negative thinking loops about love and romantic relationships which are directed to his female friends. This tends to happens when they seek his male opinion/advice on the dating scene. Its a fine line. Friends give advice all thee time. People who care tell you to be careful but there is a line between cautious optimism and implanting suggestions in subtle ways that could cause unnecessary conflict/disconnection among two people. Not cool.
His behavior is well-intentioned and is not rooted in malice when he cautions female friends (including me) to be wary of the men they may come across who may have more than platonic intentions. On one hand its like the protective older brother but over time, it is his fear of being alone and not having people to do things with as well as him “implanting” his worries of being letdown onto others. In the end this way of being and acting may only encourage heart restriction rather than open heartedness. When the heart is not balanced, to me, it’s more likely to get into codependency with others whether obvious or not.
After my own experiences and observations in the field of clinical psychotherapy and various techniques of cognitive intervention (including clinical hypnosis), plus the wisdom of “holistic” methods like Yoga, meditation, EFT, BodyTalk, Access Consciousness, NLP, Body/Emotion Code, Three Dimensional Therapy (T3), etc …
I made a choice to have stronger boundaries and enforce them without hesitation between Hank and I. Ultimately I am not his girlfriend, do not and will never aspire to be, and choose to connect with others out of joy rather than fear, if that makes any sense. In a nutshell, I told Hank that he steps out of line again by talking with fear mongering advice, that I will only communicate with him via email, and he can’t make any comments about David, at all.
It was a very valuable lesson learned from my now former therapist, a licensed mental health professional for over 20 years, when her bias implanted fearful thoughts that were far from objective. The direct result was interpersonal conflict that didn’t need to be between myself and David. Lesson learned.
I trust my gut. It kept me out of danger and trouble as a naive 16 year old who left home and went 2000 miles away and far from any family. I’m streetwise enough have been wise to the world so long before I accumulated textbook knowledge of diagnostic criteria, signs of personality disorder, etc to know who is a mutually positive presence for me or not. Yes, people change, and sometimes they are no longer right to be around but until then, why cause a problem by indulging in negative fearful thoughts that aren’t based in reality and run counter to your gut instinct’s read on the other person.
I also will not tolerate and allow another person’s “stuff” or emotional baggage and flawed thinking to get in the way of my relationships (romantic or platonic) with people who matter to me deeply because of their own fear-based perspective on life. To allow that kind of thought process tends to enter into territory where a conscious/unconscious manipulation plays out because ultimately someone wants to share their misery with potential company.
Bottom line: I was very lucky to get another chance to have someone whom I care about give me the chance to explain very unpleasant behavior and allow me back into their life. Anyone who can’t keep their own “stuff” in check and tries to influence based on fear and not fact, won’t get past the gate (metaphor here for boundaries), simple as that.
Unless there is clear danger and undeniable acts of cruelty, its all just pessimism and the basking in the luxury of complaining since it does get someone attention when they are in victim mode. Remember, professional victims don’t want a solution. They want you to agree with them on why they are right to be upset at the world/God/humanity/parents/etc, and soothe them like a needy pet.
IMHO, most people of sound mind and above average intelligence, who are socially astute, know when something is off and what to do about it that is the positive, healthy, self-loving choice for them. When they get into chronic complaining and stuckness in their thinking is when they don’t want to do what they know to do, and go on a rant about wanting their cake and eating it too.
In the meantime, I’ll keep meditating to RHM, receiving BodyTalk sessions, et al and continue to be in the mindset of having mutually healthy and respectful relationship dynamics with people while staying connected to/strengthening my gut sense and its accuracy, and of course building trust for myself.
Putting up tougher boundaries with Hank and enforcing them is not about choosing one person over the other. It’s about acting in alignment with my “Higher Self” or my “soul” intentions. Besides, David is way more positive in his energy. No wonder I “picked” him.
As a side note, another BodyTalk practitioner whose programs I’ve also participated in, showed me the value in listening to my own truth. I was so scared to write David the apology letter and had a hard time trusting my intuitive promptings to just do it. Lyn Delmastro told me to use the cortices technique in BodyTalk and other tools to ground and tune into my own wisdom. I did and remembered a tool that I first learned from Tamara J. Green, LCSW who is another loving relationship expert I was fortunate to meet, taught me the light/heavy technique from Access Consciousness. Ask yourself a question and feel the energy of the answer of yes or no. Whatever is lighter, that is your inner wisdom’s answer. It felt very light when I asked my intuition about contacting David to apologize.
It told me write and send the letter and ask Lyn to write about trusting our own intuition. She agreed and I sent a print out of her blog post along with my message to David. The result I had wouldn’t have happened if I had listened to fear instead of my own truth.
Once I surrendered to my intuition instead of my fear-driven intellect, I spent the afternoon on a lazy, quiet, and fortunately very slow work day, to write my letter to David. To be honest, it was nice to have a break from writing clinical reports and staying within diagnostic guidelines to describe what was going on with a person. My intuition wrote the letter and the words flowed. Once I had written the first page there was no going back. The final draft would be done by 2:00pm and mailed immediately. If I was certain of one thing and willing to bet on it, it was knowing that regret is the worst emotion for me. Most, if not all, of my regrets are like what the cliche states: over things I did not do instead of what I have done. Yes, the letter was being sent, to his office of all places but I had to do what would get the goal done.
Click here to read the blog post Lyn wrote on listening to one’s own intuition.
Finally, it is hard to get past fear especially when its so familiar, is a default way of feeling all the time, and you’re wired to be afraid on automatic. Extreme emotional states can sometimes skew a person’s ability to see and think clearly.
Apart from traditional stress management techniques, navigating and releasing the fixed state of fear and tension for me, came complements of plenty of BodyTalk as fears came up one after the other (Heather Strang, Alexa Linton, Sherri Goering, and Michelle Valentino through their work helped my emotional body actually feel good about and resonate with the experience of trust, peace, and contentment which was nowhere near as familiar as fear and trepidation), Access Consciousness Bars (facilitator Dannah Lewis held a class the weekend that I was fretting over how David would respond to the letter and it stopped the head tripping future guessing thought loops that could have dominated my weekend), my trusted local soul teacher Marcela Veron redirected me to keep tuning in accurately to what my soul/subconscious was waiting to tell me.
The undoing and rewiring of familiar fear still had to tackle the core beliefs in my conscious/subconscious mind that led me to undermine myself with anxiety and fear. For deep seated belief busting and re-engineering, Dr. Bradley Nelson‘s Body/Emotion Code System seemed to do the trick of deleting and replacing thought clusters. Dr. Nelson wasn’t available but Allison Johnson, an RN whose the only Body/Emotion Code practitioner I know and work with, introduced me to the system’s newest modality: Three Dimensional Therapy (T3)