With Expert Comment from Body Psychotherapist Tim Brown
Intuition: Sometimes we hit a crossroads in our life and it isn’t clear which direction we should take. At such times it’s useful to have developed a strong connection to what you may call your gut instinct or inner guidance. As our body carries a memory of all our experiences, physical bodywork such as acupunture, and certain types of dance and massage can release blocks and give us clearer access to that internal sat nav. As we learn to trust it, we’re able to make the leaps of faith which can change our lives. Here’s the story of someone who did just that.
From Confusion to Clarity – Following My Intuition. Ged Ferguson
Ged Ferguson used to be the former Director of a Freight Forwarding Company. Five years ago he knew he needed to change direction, so he followed his intuition which took him down a very different road.
I started working for a freight forwarding company when I was eighteen, initially up north and eventually moving south where I set up their London office. I’d always enjoyed my work very much but five years ago I reached a low point in my life; I was searching for something, but I didn’t know what. I knew I wasn’t in the right career any more and tried various therapies to find some answers. I thought that I might find one I’d enjoy practising myself and learned to do Reiki amongst other things, but nothing seemed to fit.
Then one of my close friends who is an osteopath with a strongly spiritual aspect to his work recommended that I went to see a therapist who practices five element acupuncture. Those sessions really blew my socks off. I was so interested in how it worked and asked so many questions that eventually she suggested that I consider training in it. She gave me the prospectus and the very next day I drove down to the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine. They interviewed me on the spot and I started the course 3 weeks later. It’s a four year degree course and I was still working full time but it felt absolutely the right thing to do and it has been a revelation.
My Second Leap of Faith
A year later, after making immense progress with my own acupuncture sessions, my practitioner, who was a Hoffman Graduate herself, felt the Hoffman Process would be a really useful next step. I knew nothing about it but the more I trusted that I was on the right path, the easier it was to act. I rang the office and, once I’d discussed it with the enrolment team, I signed up to a Process which began only two weeks later. It was one of the best weeks I’ve ever spent. It quite literally changed my life.
The most noticeable change was in my ability to open up and relate to people. Before the Process I had tremendous fear of abandonment which made relationships very difficult. The thought of potential hurt and rejection outweighed the loneliness of being single. In fact I was so guarded that I didn’t even realise that I was lonely, but since the course I’ve been open to new relationships and to giving and receiving love again. I’m also often accused of not getting angry since the Process, but I’ve discovered that now I know where the emotions are coming from I just don’t need to get angry any more. I feel much more confident, too. Prior to the Process I couldn’t do public speaking, for example. I’d freeze and dry up and forget who I was, even if I was speaking to a small group. Whereas after the Process I did a whole raft of public speaking engagements with no problem – I used some of Process techniques to release any anxieties and I actually enjoyed it. They even had to take the microphone off me at one point!
I also noticed how I’d changed on the acupuncture course I was doing, where an important part of learning comes from sharing your experiences. In the first year of the course, before I did the Process, I’d hide at the back of the room but afterwards I sat closer to the front and opened up and shared my experiences – I really unfolded as a person.
Insights at Work
The Process has helped me hugely in my work too. I started practising as a five-element acupuncturist last year and being able to recognise my own patterns has given me much greater self-awareness, so that I’m far more able to empathise with my patients. Somehow doing the Process has created infinite amounts of time and space so that I can sort out what are projections in a situation and what is real. It also helps me support clients in seeing what reflections and insights they can gain from people in their own lives.
One of the challenges of five element acupuncture is to identify what we call the patient’s constitutional factor (CF). With the awareness I’ve gained from the Process the client’s patterns and beliefs are much more apparent to me which means I can identify their CF more easily. Your CF usually unfolds from emotional trauma in childhood which later leads to energetic disharmony in adulthood. So, very like the Process, five element acupuncture (as opposed to other types of acupuncture) is rebalancing childhood imbalances and like the Process, five element theory sees the mind body and spirit as one interconnected unit; so although symptoms may be uncomfortable they are actually positive signs pointing you towards what’s needed for emotional balance. After all, how can we find the light if we’re not prepared to go into the dark? It’s often the pain of our imbalance which takes us to therapy in the first place and leads us to healing.
I’ve been practicing now as a five element acupuncturist since July 2011 and I absolutely love it. I’ve kept in contact with the Process by going to Reconnection Days and I often accompany friends who’d like to know more about it to Information Evenings. I’ve also recently started further training in the States with another Hoffman Graduate, Sonia Choquette. I use the Process tools regularly and people have noticed the changes in me. They say I’m lighter, more vibrant and more positive. My relationship with one of my sisters who already has a well established holistic clinic in Cheshire has also become closer since the course and my new career in acupuncture has enabled us to develop a working partnership.
In the past five years I’ve learned that we’re all perfect and we’re here to remember who we truly are. The important decisions I made along the way were through trusting my intuition and I’ve learned that the spirit is wiser than the mind. When I make a decision from my mind I often get a knot of doubt in my stomach but when I make a decision from my heart and soul I feel relieved and relaxed. Life flows much more easily now.
Ged offers face to face consultations and an initial free 15 minute phone consultation to explain what is involved. An initial consultation is 1.5 hrs. Visit: www.gedferguson.com
Tim Brown – Body Psychotherapist – How does the Process work on the body?
Tim is a Body Psychotherapist trained in Deep Bodywork, Advanced Somatic Integration and Authentic Movement..
Mind, body and spirit are interlinked. If that seems obvious, it’s surprising that so many of us routinely separate the three, particularly when life’s problems arise or when there is the urge to grow and develop. For example I might take my body to the gym, my mind to the psychoanalyst, my spirit to worship.
One of the things I like about the Hoffman is the way mind, body and spirit are treated as equal partners in the process. In particular, the body is taken seriously, listened to, involved and trusted. As a body psychotherapist I know that who we are is a result of all our experiences, especially the early years when we were growing and developing as human beings. As we grow, these experiences affect the way the physical and mental pathways in our nerves and tissues are laid down. As we gain a sense of who we are, our interactions with others give us beliefs and reactions that are literally held in the body. As we become adult this ‘holding’ may cause physical and emotional problems – and may also give clues to our potential for growth and creativity.
The Hoffman is an opportunity to go back to early development and allow the body to re-experience a more supportive, creative, responsive environment. For many people it can kick-start a new enthusiasm for growth and personal development, and give fresh insight into who we are, and why. I think one of the reasons the Hoffman experience ‘sticks’ is because its wisdom becomes embodied – and the body remembers in a way the mind cannot.
Tim runs Dance of Awareness workshops, events and holidays and has a bodywork practice in Hove, East Sussex. Visit: www.bodyworks.org.uk
Interviews with Nikki Wyatt