When thirty-three-year-old Tony called me, he said that he was close to suicide. He’d been on disability for almost six months because of a painful back injury. He’d hurt his back on a job that he loved – a big job in the movie business, but he couldn’t think of going back to that work now. Something was stopping him, and he knew it wasn’t just the pain. He was desperate, confused and at a loss. That’s why he called me.
“Do you think you can help me?” he asked, almost in tears. I told him that I could help him, but only if he wanted to change, and that it would take hard work on his part.
“I’ll do anything it takes.”
“Great,” I said. “That’s what I need to hear.”
When people come to me with what would be classified as serious depression, I take it very seriously. Falling into the “pit of despair” can literally change a person’s brain chemistry because “like-thoughts link together, and like-nerve cells fire together.” And once “like thoughts” get going on a trajectory hurtling downhill, they pick up speed and become a giant poop-ball that spatters misery over everything. I call that “poopy brain syndrome.”
I don’t have a magic wand, but I teach techniques that can be extremely effective if someone wants help. First, I get a commitment that the person wants to change. I tell them that it’s going to take at least five sessions, so they have time to learn the exercises that can literally change their brain. I ask my clients to become “the head investigator,” and to find out what they actually think, do, and believe. Finding out what constitutes a “hidden belief,” or finding out what a person really wants is the most difficult part of the whole process, so it takes time. I get so many calls from people who want a quick solution to a lifelong problem, and they want it now. One session, please. But those people are not my clients, because I need smart people, who know that everything takes work and commitment. Second, I get people to flip their brains into “Puppy Brain,” that is focusing on what is good and being enthusiastic.
Now, back to Tony. Curley haired and handsome, he was from a big New York Italian family, but he’d come to Hollywood at nineteen, and worked his way up in production, ultimately working on many Academy Award winning movies. He could have stayed in New York and worked construction with his dad, but he wanted more. He had a great girl, Leslie, whom he loved, but because he’d been in so much pain lately, they’d stopped having sex. Besides that, he was vacillating about commitment. Leslie wanted a family and she needed him to become a man. He felt pressured and overwhelmed.
Tony was an amazing “student.” He did everything I suggested, from changing what he ate, (what you eat affects your brain!) to listening to the CDs twice a day, to walking through the pain, focusing on what worked in his body and encouraging his back to heal. Within a few weeks his back pain had disappeared and he was thinking more clearly. His brain fog lifted because he was eating well, and I was so proud of him, but yet, I was worried. I actually worried about him a lot, and that seemed odd to me. I would have “classified” myself as over-involved, if I were a traditional therapist.
When we did the first past life regression, Tony saw himself on a horse, in winter overlooking his troops.
“I’m freezing,” he said. “I seem to be in command. It’s the war – the War of Independence. This is awful! My men are in rags. Some of them have no boots. We have no food. We’re starving. I feel lost and desperate. I don’t know what to do!”
“Let’s take you back to your childhood,” I said. “Find your parents.”
“I’m standing outside my house. It’s brick. I’m in Boston. I’m about seven. My name’s Josiah. We’re very rich. I’m from a very prominent family.”
“Find your mother,” I said.
There was silence as his face scrunched up.
“Anyone you know in this lifetime?” I asked.
“Yes, I recognize her. She’s much younger, but I recognize her.”
“Who is it?” I asked.
No wonder I was a bit “over-involved,” I thought.
“Great. Now find your father.” He found his father, but he didn’t recognize him, and he didn’t like him at all. A strict task master, his father belittled everything he did. He felt he could never please him. I walked him through that lifetime. He’d gone to Harvard, like his father before him, and his father expected him to become a lawyer. But Josiah didn’t want that.
His father was a Loyalist, but Josiah sided with the Patriots and now all hell broke out at home – classic father /son drama, and not unlike Tony’s real life relationship with his own father.
“Next pivotal experience,” I asked.
Tony saw himself as Josiah, now as an officer. He could feel the fear he felt, but he knew it was his time to test himself. He described how he felt as he won his first battles, and how he felt as he lost men. He felt his own leadership skills increase, and he felt proud. He was a warrior. Then he stopped and gasped, because his “boss” had come to check him out. I won’t drop names, but it was pretty impressive! The War for Independence dragged on until he found himself back at the moment when he didn’t know what to do.
At that point, I moved him forward. I knew he would either die or triumph.
“Next pivotal experience,” I asked.
“We won! We did it! I’m home. And I’m married.”
“Look at your wife’s face.”
“It’s Leslie! She loves me so much! She believed in me. She waited for me.” (Leslie is the girlfriend, whom he was afraid to commit to.)
When he came back to room awareness, Tony understood what he needed to do. Because he is a leader, he needed to find a way to use his leadership skills. And that’s what he decided to do. He created an amazing new business, and then he moved back to New York, and married Leslie.
Tony was able to heal his wounded warrior self by connecting with his past “hero self” – and knowing that even when all seems lost, there’s always a way out. He understood that it was his own fear that was causing so much havoc in his body, and he was ready to own his “hero self” in this lifetime!
Enjoy your own Independence Day! Flip your brain into Puppy Brain and focus on all the Freedoms we have in this country. It’s not perfect, but what is?
And if you liked this blog, please pass it on! Thanks!