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“Romantic Love delivers us into the passionate arms of someone who will ultimately trigger the same frustrations we had with our parents, but for the best possible reason! Doing so brings our childhood wounds to the surface so they can be healed.” (Harville Hendrix)
One of the greatest relationships secrets you need to understand, to transform your relationships is that every person in your life is a mirror, reflecting backs parts of you. These are templates or idealised images of positive and negative qualities that your parents or caregivers possessed. Unconsciously you are drawn to somebody who has these qualities. In other words, your partner carries some of your shadow.
Your relationships show you what you struggle with and need to work on, they mirror what you have learned to identify or disown during childhood. Superficially these patterns may not appear to be like your parents or care givers, you will however, inevitably experience similar feelings you did as a child. These can be positive feelings of belonging, acceptance, safety and love.
A significant relationship can bring up painful feelings due to more traumatic experiences, which trigger old wounds. Unconsciously, you are seeking out a partner with whom you can heal these wounded parts.
One of the scariest places encountered in relationship is a deep inner sense of how you are not loved, where you do not know you are truly lovable just for being who you are, where you feel deficient and do not know your value. This is the raw wound of the heart, where you are disconnected from your true nature, your inner perfection. Beneath your conditioned and learnt behaviour, exists a basic nature of the human heart which is unconditioned, awake, and present, with a caring, inquisitive intelligence, and openness to reality. These two forces are always at work, and your life hangs in the balance.
It is human nature to contain these two sides, your journey involves working with both. Intimate relationships are a path because they touch both these sides of you and bring them into forceful contact.
Your beliefs about relationships, about men, about women, about love and life in general are all there for you to see in your relationships.
Make a list of frustrations, problems and unmet needs from your parents or caregivers for example;
“she never listened to me and that made me feel…”
“He never had time for me and that made me feel…”.
“No one noticed me or made me feel protected…”
Once you have completed that list, make a list of issues you have with your partner and how they make you feel. Compare the lists and notice any similarities. Discuss with your partner the similarities. When they understand that they have triggered your childhood wounds, you cab do the work needed to keep each other safe and meet each others needs.
Every quality you recognise in your partner, whether you admire it or not, is your mirror; it shows you who you are. The more you dislike a certain quality, the more it shows you a part of your shadow. When your partner acts in a particular way that upsets you, you will find that you too act in the same way, most likely not towards them but towards yourself and probably others. The more a particular action frustrates you, the more it reflects a part of you that you are not owning.
The Turtle and the Hailstorm
You may have a lot in common with your partner, but may be incompatible in how you handle stress and conflict. When it comes to handling stress and conflicts, people’s reactions fall into two categories: minimizers or maximizers.
When minimizers are anxious, they contain their energy and go inside. Like a turtle, they retreat into their shell. When maximizers are anxious, they tend to express themselves loudly. Like a Hailstorm Their energy flows outward and they prefer to process their feelings with others. (Harville Hendrix, “Getting The Love You Want”)
Turtles process slowly and inwardly. From the outside, it looks like not much is happening and as if the person is avoiding rather than addressing the issue. However, the turtle processes their feelings and thoughts quietly on the inside, reflecting carefully before responding. Hailstorms visibly get things done; they love lists.
When a Turtle feels flooded and becomes overloaded, they need to withdraw. This feels like the Turtle disappeared to the Hailstorm making them more anxious, they will start hailing to get their partner’s attention.
Both of you need to learn to accommodate each others differences in how you process difficulties.
The Hailstorm can learn to give the Turtle a little shell time and make them feel safe to come out again soon by letting them know how much they are appreciated and valued.
To entice the turtle, you can,
1. Ask them what they need right now. Sometimes they are not sure, be curious about why they are hiding.
2. Do not do anything; give them space.
3. Write a short note of appreciation and leave it somewhere for them to find.
“Hailstorms hail because they are overwhelmed. They often feel like they are holding the weight of the world. And when you retreat, the Hailstorm feels even more alone. So the minute you hear a rumble, give them your full attention. Offer kindness and support.” (Hendrix)
The fastest way to get the storm to stop is to reassure the Hailstorm, they can rely on you and you will do your part to keep them safe and the sun will shine once again.
To calm the hailstorm
1 Respond! Let them know you are not retreating. Respond with facial expressions, a kind note, a service or gesture that shows them you care how they feel.
2 Listen and repeat back how the Hailstorm is feeling. They might not feel heard. Demonstrate that you are listening and understand them.
3 Ask “Is there something I can do for you?” They need to know you are present and care for them.
Turtles and hailstorms can teach each other what they are each missing to become more whole.
“Turtles need to learn how to push their energy out and how to ‘show up’. This means expressing themselves loudly and clearly, like the Hailstorm does. T
he hailstorms need to learn the turtle’s wisdom of stepping back and containing their energy.” (Hendrix)
Ironically, both partners need to learn how to be more like each other. When you embrace the shadow in relationships you reclaim the parts which you have disowned, you can get closer to each other.
Which do you feel you are in relationship? A Turtle or a Hailstorm?
“As the Turtle becomes more storm like, and the Hailstorm becomes more turtle like, balance is restored”
Join me on the next Couples Retreat
A Shift in Consciousness
The shadow & The Political Psyche
‘Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we’re so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act’. Ram Dass
There are currently significant shifts in the world presenting opportunities for you to make huge changes in your life.
Are you going to seize opportunities or get caught up in fear and polarised thinking?
Consciousness is possible by making changes based on considered decision making, and creating a support system that sustains growth and expansion.
How can you make the most out of the energetic shifts that are taking place? On the Healing the Heart Retreat in September and the Shadow workshop in November, I will be helping people to make conscious transitions, to awaken to their intuition, deal with conflict and transform depression, anxiety and fear into Empowerment and Love.
I ask you to consider these four points to bring some awareness to what pushes you into Fear and the Shadow
1. What am I afraid of?
It is important to know what triggers your fear response, what scares you? Is it about the moment? Poor health? financial insecurity? Freedom arises when you know what forces are at work within you and then knowing how you can deal with it.
2. Where do these fears come from?
Did you have parents who were abusive or neglectful? Did you have a parent who could not see who you were? Were situations unfair? Were you bullied? Oppressed? Are these founded in reality or are they projections or unresolved conflict within you? Have you been left or abandoned? Do you fear that you are unlovable?
3. What Triggers my fears?
What influences you? Who or what are you listening to, responding to? Are you suggestible? Are your responses coming from unresolved Trauma? How do you respond to a crisis? After a trauma, people may go though a wide range of responses. Such reactions may be experienced not only by people who experienced the trauma first-hand, but by those who have witnessed or heard about the trauma, or been involved with those immediately affected. Many reactions can be triggered by persons, places, or things associated with the trauma. Some reactions may appear totally unrelated. It takes care and time to unravel and heal trauma.
4. What changes can I make to create more Freedom?
Take action when you are ready and have regained a sense of inner peace and balance do not act from a place of fear. Stop telling yourself negative stories. Turn off the source. Fear is contagious when you keep replaying the same soundtrack over and over and over again– we are doomed – I will never have enough money – No one will Love me – When you keep repeating over and over again, you create a reality based on your shadow and fear. Stay in the present moment, do not worry catastrophize or anticipate the future….focus on the here and now and make better choices about your perception and attitude. Yes – your attitude is everything.
History repeats itself for those who are unwilling to learn
Consciousness is about transforming fear with courage to alleviate suffering.
Jung illuminated the root cause of conflict to be found in the unconscious psyche of humanity – A place where fear resides.
This is when people project their shadow, the unconscious, unseen, feared, unresolved and conflicted, the dark side or rejected parts of themselves. This ‘inner’ act results in incredible destruction in the “outer” world.
This is an act of Violence, when you attempt to disassociate from your shadow.
When you project your shadow, you throw your darkness outside of yourself and see it as existing only in others.
Many people react violently when they encounter an embodied reflection of their shadow, they may wish to destroy it, as it reminds them of something dark within themselves that they would rather have nothing to do with. They “demonise” enemies, believing that “they” are inhumane enemies who need to be destroyed.
This is the underlying psychological process which, when collectively mobilised, is the high-octane fuel which feeds war and conflict.
When a group or a nation co-operatively project the shadow onto an agreed upon enemy, you incarnate the very shadow you are trying to get rid of.
It creates a dangerous situation in that the disturbing effects are now attributed to a wicked will outside yourself which is naturally not to be found anywhere but with your neighbour…. This leads to collective delusions, ‘incidents,’ revolutions, war- in a word, to destructive mass psychosis.”
Jung wrote that “…the normal person…acts out his psychic disturbances socially and politically, in the form of mass psychosis like wars and revolutions.
Projecting the shadow, is a way of avoiding dealing with the ‘evil’ inside of yourself, it is a primal act which generates the very “evil” that you are attempting to avoid in the first place.
Jung said, “Nations have their own particular psychology, and their own particular kind of psychopathology…. the most striking is suggestibility which affects an entire nation.”
Jung continually warned that the greatest danger that the species faced was the psychic epidemic in which millions of people fall into their unconscious together and because of their “suggestibility,” mutually projecting the shadow onto an agreed upon adversary, thus reinforcing each others’ disassociation, and hence, madness.
When enough people fall into mass projection, they dream up someone to play the role of leader who is an expression of their unconsciousness. The Leader represents all that is unconscious in a nation, the voice of the all that is rejected and unresolved incarnated in the body of politics as a psychic epidemic.
A reciprocal shadow relationship existed between Hitler and the Germans in the 1930s, as is eloquently expressed by Walter Langer, author of The Mind of Adolf Hitler;
“…the madness of the Fuehrer has become the madness of a nation, if not of a large part of the continent…these are not wholly the actions of a single individual but that a reciprocal relationship exists between the Fuehrer and the people and that the madness of the one stimulates and flows into the other and vice versa.
It was not only Hitler, the madman, who created German madness, but German madness that created Hitler. Having created him as its spokesman and leader, it has been carried along by his momentum, perhaps far beyond the point where it was originally prepared to go. Nevertheless, it continues to follow his lead in spite of the fact that it must be obvious to all intelligent people now that his path leads to inevitable destruction.” Walter Langer ‘The Mind of Adolf Hitler.’
Globally we can see this being played out as though on a stage between nations, political parties and governments.
When you Awaken to consciousness – Violence is No Longer an Option within the entire spectrum of your relationships, intimate, friendships, family, social, economic, political seen and unseen.
Freedom is possible when you relate to yourself and others with openness to discover each individual at a time.
When you become aware of how you affect the world in every moment, intended or not. Your actions and thoughts matter because we are all connected. The path of consciousness is the only way forward.
Illuminating your inner darkness frees you from the unconscious compulsion to project the shadow outside of yourself. By recognising, owning and illuminating your darkness, you can transform the darkness in the world into consciousness. By withdrawing your shadow projections from the outer world, you can become an activist of peace.
The depth of intimacy with yourself is the starting point for profound love. Intimacy is courageously peering within, aiming the light of conscious awareness into the dark crevasses within yourself; acknowledging fears of abandonment, crippling jealousies, your sense of inadequacy, vices, triggers, shame, or predisposition to anger and outbursts of long buried rage.
It is about showing up and facing the demons in your abyss created in reaction to traumatic experiences. By working to make allies of these misunderstood enemies you can truly create an intimate relationship with yourself unearthing and transmuting, you begin a revolution. This is how family generational patterns are undone. It begins with YOU.
True intimacy attracts fellow travellers along the path, based on honesty and truth. Your ability to look non judgmentally at yourself, at them, at the world will be attractive and deeply appreciated along with your infectious dexterity in igniting change. People will find respite in your presence. Shared intimacy takes on a boldness and daring that is refreshing, passionate, and nurturing. As the love you feel for yourself deepens, your capacity to enjoy intimate love takes root and rockets.
The dark side of human nature is often described as the Ego, the id, or the lower self. Carl Jung called it the “shadow.”
The shadow represents the negative side of the personality, the sum total of all those unpleasant qualities that you would prefer to hide. Everything that is in your conscious awareness is in the light. Everything of substance which stands in the light whether it is a tree or an idea also casts a shadow. What remains in darkness is outside of your awareness.
When something is held back or something is left unsaid in, a shadow blocks intimacy and connection weakens.
Too many shadows the intimacy fades or becomes convoluted and confusing. The process of conscious relationship is one of staying fully open. Transparent. Loving. No matter what. Even when the difficult emotions are triggered and one feels dread, fear, abandoned, lost, alone, rejected, anxious, insecure or misunderstood.
These are moments in relationship when you shut the other person out or down. When you do not want them to see you in a particular way, be that way, feel that way, or act that way because when they are like that, they do not give you what you want or need.
When two people do the work of staying open to difficult emotion it creates an opportunity for intimacy to surface beyond projections and fantasies.
You are seen and loved for who you are, not who you need to be to make a person feel a certain way.
Relationships are opportunity to practice intimacy, opening up and revealing all of yourself to another who holds you in unconditional love in that light the shadows are dissolved by love as you hold each other in the process of waking up and release old trauma.
This is the path of Conscious Relationships.
‘We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.’
Unaware of your shadows you may only encounter them through other people, in the form of projections.
You may tend to see in other people the qualities and characteristics that comprise your shadow; that is, everything that you think is “not you.”
Just think for a moment of your like and dislikes.
Relationships do not mirror your ego back to you; rather, they mirror back your shadow, the other, unacknowledged half of your Inner Self.
Defined by your willingness to stay open and share and hold each other as your shadows arises. Defined by your ability to recognise when you are triggered, and to own your emotional states rather than project them onto others. Defined by your ability to hold each other in love when you are in a difficult emotional state.
A way to change this involves you taking the time to get to know yourself to avoid repeating unwanted patterns in relationships and circumstances.
As a result, synchronicities and miracles start to occur. You begin to live in a flow where the possibilities are endless.
The secret to living in flow is to become conscious of your shadow self – the part you do not know and learn to integrate it to become whole.
You may think your personality is who you are.
Blind spots prevent you from having conscious relationships with yourself and others.
Learning to release them is important to be able to create happy loving relationships with yourself and everyone around you and wake up your inner power and attract the relationships you want.
The shadow is that part of you that erupts spontaneously and unexpectedly when you behave in a destructive way to yourself or another person. The aftermath may leave you feeling humiliated, ashamed, and guilty. The shadow is that part of you that feels like it cannot be tamed or controlled.
There are cultural shadows held by groups of people – topics that are not commonly spoken about are held in the collective shadow, as taboo, forbidden topics or areas.
The shadow is anything that is unacceptable to you, anything that is hidden or denied including what what you want to hide from, what you do not want to know about yourself.
Are you familiar with blame? The one thing you may never ask for yet give freely. Essentially, blame is projection; it is your personality recognising your shadow.
An emotionally mature or genuine love develops with a mutually empathic connection between two people, which nourishes both of your mental, physical and emotional growth and capacity for compassion and self-actualization.
The neurochemistry of love relationships can merge into a dangerous mix of drugs more difficult to part with than alcohol, cocaine or heroine.
When you can’t let go of resentment and keep feeding your anger by continually pointing out everything the other person is doing and has done wrong, blaming him/her for your pain, then this issue is deeper and relates to your childhood wounding which is coming to surface. It relates to your needs not being met or old wounds from past relationships you haven’t fully processed and let go of are being reactivated. The same goes if you keep diminishing yourself with guilt and shame, making yourself feel worthless. It relates to your inner child that is carrying wounds you have not made conscious yet.
The wiring of your sensory brain and body when not modulated by your consciousness (awareness to influence decision making) can leave you susceptible to falling in love with the state of “falling in love” This can create powerful Sensory cravings that can switch off the frontal cortex (ability to consciously think and make optimal choices). Addictions can be a controlling factor in your life and relationships. Biologically speaking the human body is wired to gravitate toward what produces comfortable, feel-good sensations in you while also avoiding what produces pain and discomfort. The purpose of this design feature is to prompt you to both survive and thrive. Your body reminds you to avoid what is unhealthy, harmful or a threat to your survival, or to move towards fulfilling core drives that matter and create meaningful lives.
The state of falling in love, creates sensory signals consisting of a potent mix of chemicals, which have the power to change the sophisticated communication system between your Mind/ Body tampering with your ability to make healthy choices towards favouring intoxicating demands and quick feel good fixes.
If you experience fear or mistrust, your sensory system takes over.
Feel good hormones have the power to hinder your ability to make good choices, and hold your authentic wise-self (frontal cortex) captive, in a virtual prison of sorts, deceived by limiting unconscious beliefs and illusions of love and power.
Without consciousness your unconscious mind/body can not distinguish between pain or pleasure or that which threatens rather than promotes your growth and wellbeing and aliveness.
Discomfort is an essential part of growth, physical, mental and emotional; unnecessary pain leads to suffering. Pleasure is an emotional and physiological yearning for health and wellness, a sense of feeling good about your self and your capacity to contribute to life, create healthy, vibrant relationships that sustain you. Pleasure at the expense of your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing leads to needless and endless suffering of an addiction.
Learning how to receive and give love to yourself and another person is a great learning curve and challenge – it is not for the faint-hearted.
Addiction can be seen as pleasure-seeking, pain-avoiding, or seeking a quick-fix to have a sense of power or control even though it is temporary creating a false sense of self which ultimately avoids dealing with your shadow self. Working with the shadow can better help you integrate parts that thwart your intentions from forming conscious and healthy relationships. “Falling in love” can be seen as a beginning stage of a relationship which if nurtured can create genuine love with another person.
When you work on your shadow and uncover the character that is hiding within you. Uncovering its needs, what it is communicating to you, how you feel when it arises you, how you relate to it. It begins to lose its compulsive quality and does not drive you as much. When it releases its grip you are able to hear your authentic self – your internal intuitive and wise voice wisdom, the part of you that knows what is the right action. Jung suggested that that if we can shed a little light on our own darkness, it will remove some of the larger darkness from the world.
The right people will arrive at precisely the right time. Let your words be bricks in the foundations of the bridges others are striving to build. Let the wisdom gained through your committed intimacy be fruitful. Let love be your guide. And let your love speak profoundly
The true power and creativity unleashed from the shadow is your ability to see clearly and master the art of conscious relationships.
Learn more about discovering and integrating your shadow, bring your true self out of shadow and into the light.
On the workshop you will learn ways to transforming parts of your character with compassion and understanding, to find balance within all your relationships.
Begin the process of positive change on this interactive learning and growth experience.
Join me for the next workshop it is suitable for all
Image by Scott Wilton
A clients’ view of therapy. Whether we know it or not, social exchange is right at the heart of our human concerns. As social creatures, is there more to life than enriching give and take and fulfilling relationships? If we have a rapport with others and with ourselves that is loving and supportive, we feel nourished and alive. If our connections are ailing, we may suffer profoundly as a result. In this era, specific help is available for improving the way we interact with others. By working with skilled facilitators we can reap the rewards of shift made to our understanding and our behaviour, regarding ourselves and beyond. If you think of the many kinds of human relationship and, in relation to them, the many more types of personal difficulties experienced, you can sense the complexity of problems that therapists, worldwide, seek to address. Regardless of differences in symptoms, a critical part of healing relationship predicaments is coming to acknowledge that, as adults, we are now personally responsible for the quality of exchanges in our lives. This fact is both hard to swallow and empowering. A therapist is someone who helps us realise that we can effect change and how we can begin to promote healing. This weekend I attended a two-day workshop created and facilitated by therapist Aisha Ali. Under the banner of her healing project, Living from The Heart, Aisha offers a dynamic and comfortable space to engage with personal hitches we may experience in our relationships. Under her safe intervention we strategically cut to the chase of difficulties and take a driving seat in moving through obstacles. Aisha Ali runs a variety of weekend workshops to assist in making positive transformations in life. The one I attended focused on our own ‘shadow’ self and how that impacts our lives in an everyday way. In the group, there were seven people, plus Aisha. The weekend was held in a room that was enclosing, private and conducive to opening up to the nitty-gritty of honest therapeutic work. I didn’t know anything about the shadow self before we began. I entered the weekend with little clue as to what the work would entail and what scale of effect the weekend might have on me. Aisha led us forward into group activities that rapidly brought us to connect truthfully with ourselves. Using a combination of physical movements we tapped into our physical and energetic body, which is a resource of wisdom, honesty and insight. Through group exercises we also connected with each other in a way that was unself-conscious and supportive to our individual processes. Though we were a group, the issues we brought forward were dealt with in a very personal manner. Without any judgement the obstacles that confronted us were accepted and treated with respect. This level of trust was testimony to the atmosphere of safety and openness generated for the occasion. Though we were delving into our innermost selves, nothing about the facilitation felt jarring, abrupt or superfluous. After the exercises it was remarkable how much more relaxed, alert and focused we all were in preparation for the explorations. There was a very carefully selected range of music that powerfully aided the aims of the weekend. I observed, with some amazement, extensive ground being covered in a short period of time. In fact, I hadn’t anticipated how much unfolding could occur in one single weekend. I observed that under the right conditions, shift happens quite dramatically. The process looking at our shadow selves was a journey we each undertook and what is important is that the workshop was suitable for everyone. It was made clear that each person only delved as deep and as far as they were individually ready and comfortable to do. This is not to say that the process was unchallenging. Through attentive guidance, the right degree of enquiry and discovery was set before us, and the accompanying willing to face this was encouraged. I believe that the proof of a workshop is in the pudding. Having been stimulated in various ways to perceive and to begin to integrate my shadow self I felt an enthusiasm for this process that left me a convert to ‘shadow work’. I noticed that I went out into the world with such a fortified confidence that I marvelled at my own social relaxedness. There is a power to group-work that reaches parts that one-on-one therapy seems not to do. The reflections and the difficulties that others shared were enormously helpful and accelerated my understanding of my own behaviours. There was something mechanical to the weekend that began to fix problems in a rudimentary way. I found the comments of the people who shared this time with me uncanny in their accuracy and pertinence. Though it was a group aimed at helping the individual, it felt clear that the insights discovered, and the shift observed, was a collective group-experience. I heartily recommend Living From The Heart workshops to anyone wishing to improve the quality of their relationships with themselves and others in a down to earth and honest way. A clients’ point view of therapy Participant November 2012
Living from the Heart:
T 07855 781 210
Aisha Ali is a much sought after relationship specialist. She is known for her intuitive insight, she is very skilled at getting to the core of issues and helping individuals and couples transform unwanted repeated patterns. Her clients experience support clarity, awareness and a sense of peace, balance and accomplishment.