A Walk in the Forest that Changed My Life
At the time, my life was really good. I had a great job as Assistant Professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. I had an excellent circle of friends, an apartment I liked and I enjoyed living in Boston. I loved a man named Jim and he loved me. Having recently gone through a painful divorce, I deeply valued Jim’s love, his kindness and his support. There was only one major challenge: Jim lived in California and we were both sick of being in a long distance relationship.
No problem, I figured. Jim liked Boston. He’d lived there as a post-doc at MIT. I’d go to California, help him recognize how much sense it made for him to move back East, and he would come to live with me.
Imagine my shock and chagrin, when Jim informed me that, though he really wanted to make a future together with me, Massachusetts was out of the question. He’d tried hard to find a job there after his post-doc and opportunities simply did not exist in his field.
We both agreed that this long distance thing could go on no longer. If we were to remain together, I’d need to leave my life in Boston and move out west to live with him.
I was plunged into turmoil and confusion. I loved my life in Boston, but I also loved Jim. Starting over professionally was a daunting prospect and I’d certainly miss my friends. I didn’t want to lose Jim, but I knew through painful experience that relationships were never a sure thing. The arguments for and against this move swirled endlessly in my mind, like a crazy cyclone.
I went for a walk that day in a redwood forest to find peace. I didn’t go looking for an answer and I certainly didn’t expect to find one. But, when I paused for a moment in the silence of that forest, surrounded by those magnificent trees, it came to me as clear as the path that stretched before me through the woods. I needed to move to California to be with Jim. It was as simple as that.
How can I describe the relief that came over me? All confusion dropped away. There was no longer a shred of doubt in my mind. I felt totally comfortable and at home with my decision.
And that decision has created positive outcome in ways I could not have anticipated at the time. 25 years later, Jim and I are still happily married. This is what I’d hoped for. But more than that, I feel certain that within the conservative confines of the Medical School, I would never have pursued the path that has transformed my own life and the lives of so many of my clients, the path of Interactive Imagery.
Perhaps most important, however, at that moment in the redwood forest I discovered a powerful inner resource I knew I could trust, one I’d never known before. I longed to be able to connect more dependably with that source of clarity and inner knowing.
How I Came to Love Interactive Imagery
When I first moved from Boston to California, Mel Bucholtz, a dear friend and mentor, encouraged me to look up Steve Gallegos, the person who originated the Interactive Imagery process I use. Mel was eager for me to experience this powerful process and, since Steve lived in Oregon, my move to the west coast would make it relatively easy for us to connect.
Despite Mel’s enthusiasm for Interactive Imagery, I was highly skeptical. Frankly, Interactive Imagery sounded totally flaky to me. Besides that, I felt scared. Suppose I found some ugly, nasty things when I went searching deep inside myself? What if I went in and never came back? Though I agreed to contact Steve, inside I knew I wouldn’t follow through.
A year later, when Mel came all the way to California to attend my wedding, I felt touched and grateful. When he asked me if I’d met with Steve, I was embarrassed to admit that I had not. This time, when I promised Mel I’d call Steve, I knew I would do it, if only because I felt obligated to Mel.
As luck would have it, Steve would soon be passing through my area on his way south for a conference and agreed to work with me. In this first session, I experienced the Personal Totem Pole, a system Steve developed for connecting with the energy in each of the seven chakras. (To learn more about The Personal Totem Pole Process TM click here.)
I found the process interesting. I received some valuable and meaningful information. None of the things I’d feared – that I would encounter something dark and terrifying within, or that I might get lost and never come back – materialized. In all, it was a positive and illuminating experience.
My second experience with Interactive Imagery transformed my life.
While in the first encounter the imagery progressed smoothly, in the second session I initially felt blocked. When I became aware of a painful tension in my right temple, Steve suggested I return through imagery to the first time I experienced such a sensation.
Instantly I was standing in front of the refrigerator in the house where I grew up. I was about four years old. I had just spilled the milk and in my house spilling the milk was a very big deal.
Steve told me to tell the little girl that even though she had spilled the milk, she was still lovable and that I loved her.
I was aware that spilling the milk really wasn’t such a big deal. I knew I needed to tell the little girl that she was okay, even though she’d made a mistake. I knew I should tell her that she didn’t need to be perfect to be lovable. As a practicing psychologist, I had told my clients such things countless times.
Instead, I felt absolutely and very painfully stuck. I couldn’t offer consolation and support to this little girl. Instead I shared her horror at what she had done, all the while realizing how ridiculous that was.
Suddenly, out of nowhere and completely unbidden my Heart Animal, which is an Eagle, appeared and wrapped its wings around the little girl, consoling and protecting her. Eagle assured the little girl that she was lovable and loved. I was overwhelmed by enormous relief coupled with the pain of recognizing years of self-hatred.
It was simply the most powerful healing experience I had ever known. Since that time, the work with Interactive imagery has been my own path for learning, healing and growth and has been the most powerful and effective tool I know for helping clients.