They gave me what I never knew I was seeking. In retrospect I can attest to the strength of not resisting the unexpected and surrendering with trust to the unplanned. It is only now, after considerable research and study that I can call what I previously would have named as foolishness by its proper name: resilience.
When I first met Mary Iino Burmeister who taught me the healing art of Jin Shin I was an overworked, distraught single mother. I had the daunting task of earning a living and parenting a five year-old on my own. The last thing I needed was to study an oriental therapy. When I entered the classroom I could not help but reel from what I thought was my utter madness. Why was I even there? Why had I listened to the people who had insistently urged me in this direction? Was I completely lacking in any common sense?
Yet somehow my presence had been perfectly orchestrated. I was given the time off from work. Child-care was arranged. I was not losing money. In fact, someone volunteered to pay my tuition. Nevertheless as the five days of the course unfolded I was flooded with increasing doubts. It felt ludicrous for me to pretend that I knew what I was doing. In a room full of people who appeared to be familiar with each other and with the course material I was a loner; an outcast. I definitely did not fit in. And worst of all, I had no idea what I would do with what I was supposedly learning.
As I practised the system though there arose out of these chaotic feelings of confusion and loneliness a vague sense of hope that through the use of this method I might somehow become emotionally more stable and confident; less fragile and desperate. From my directionless surrender I began to see something unclear and far off that appeared to be a direction, a path leading me towards myself, toward who I really was beneath the disarray of my inner self-demeaning chatter. That vision, fuzzy and illusive as it was, kept me going.
From my directionless surrender I began to see something unclear and far off that appeared to be a direction
If nothing else I knew how to take good notes about anything. I already had an advanced academic degree and I felt guilty enough about money that I was determined to make this investment worthwhile. So I read my notes and practised the hands-on treatments that I learned, touching areas on my body and my daughter’s that were said to be vibratory fields; points of connection on a strange meridian circuitry mapped centuries ago. This, I was told, would bring me into some mysterious state of equilibrium that I was certain I had never experienced in my tortured and arduous life. It was all quite unbelievable. Still, as I listened to the optimism and the stories of recovery from the others assembled in that room I inhaled a hint of possibility that something worthwhile might come from this. Trust was beginning to be born.
Now, forty years later I have adapted this unique hands-on system for the treatment of trauma and written at least five books about its application for shock, neurodiversity, pediatrics and war trauma. I have integrated it into doctoral research on Traumatic Brain Injury and tested it clinically for stroke, aphasia and autism. Currently I am reviewing it in the light of climate change as a healthcare resource for detoxification from environmental pollutants and as a way to sustain the overwhelming shifts that we must meet to thrive in a climate changed world.
Most significantly I feel that my daily self-care practice using this system and the auxiliary tools I have assembled to complement it has freed me from the burdens of sexual, physical and emotional abuse that orchestrated the cruel torture of my early life and that led me to make disastrous relational choices. From what seemed an entirely undisciplined decision to follow the breadcrumbs onto a mysterious trail, a stalwart personal discipline has evolved into a dependable and consistent self-care practice and a sense of trust in life. This keeps me buoyant and responsive to the vicissitudes of life. I have cultivated an unerring confidence in the power of my creativity that, despite any other failures on my part, steers me homeward to truth. This self-care discipline has ignited the neuro-resiliency to evolve and respond in the present to enormous and dramatic challenges in my personal and collective experiences. Recently I took a bad fall and hit my head on concrete. In the emergency room at the hospital I was ordered to have a CAT scan. After looking at the results the doctor turned to me and said, “Are you sure you are 72 years old? Your brain is so big!”
a stalwart personal discipline has evolved into a dependable and consistent self-care practice and a sense of trust in life.
Mary was the first but she is certainly not the last of the teachers life has given me when I was not looking for them. Self-care and self-trust were two awakenings that Mary initiated in me. I hardly knew what these were when I met her. Clearly none of this was accidental despite the fact that it all appeared to evolve by chance. That was another great teaching. There was an overarching guidance protecting me even when I had no consciousness of it. It is only now that I can name it.
In fact the practices I learned from Mary and that I have since amplified both for myself and in service to others are saving graces. But the true grace is the guidance that led me to them. Uncannily I am coming more and more to focus on receiving the guidance itself in a conscious and direct way. What Mary taught me were treatment interventions to vitalise health and well-being. These protocols became the learning focus for me and many other students. We accumulated them and tried to find ways to organise them so that we could keep track of them. But now my attention is on the guidance that is the origin of those protocols. Tapping into that abundant and vast source with trust saves me from busy work and opens me to be a vessel of service rather than an index.
Learning to trust and surrender to the unexpected, allowing my teachers to appear has become a way of life for me. On the journey to here I was given a sense of self, the piece that was missing from my early years, but now, increasingly, that sense of self becomes less necessary. When teachers and teachings appear out of “nowhere” it awakens in me a humbling respect for an intelligent, benevolent and intentional mystery that orchestrates evolution. We can trust it. I know that I need to empower my essence because that is the way the landmarks point but in the context of our current reality the purpose of that seems to be more and more thoroughly about service.
When teachers and teachings appear out of “nowhere” it awakens in me a humbling respect for an intelligent, benevolent and intentional mystery that orchestrates evolution.
I was raised in what would be called an orthodox religious tradition. Looking back on that I am struck by how anachronistic it seems that the purpose of that orthodoxy was to instill a sense of unworthiness in me. I have been led to a place in life that I would never have planned or predicted. Many of the gifts imparted to me, like the hands-on subtle energy practices that Mary taught me, do not resemble anything I thought I wanted to have. But what I want to share in this moment is that I have been shown the universality of worthiness. The magnitude of possibility that comes through me now is only viable because I am allowing myself to realise my inherent worthiness. What I realise now – and what I share with others – is that we can all make our inherent worthiness a living reality. Capacity and worthiness are interchangeable. We are capable to the degree that we open ourselves to be a channel for the very same kind of guidance as the guidance that steered me here. Recognising this, all that remains for me to offer back is gratitude.
What I share now in my Essence and Empowerment courses is a way to tap into your true capacity to receive and act on guidance, despite the flood of distractions we live in daily. You can book my upcoming Findhorn Essence and Empowerment workshop, September 2 – 9, here.