Jan. 18-19 2014, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing)
Marti with Dr. Allan Botkin, The Center for Grief and Traumatic Loss, Lincolnshire IL:
Dr. Botkin developed this method working with veterans for 25 years. EMDR leads the brain to activity like what we do in REM sleep at night, processing experiences. It worked very fast with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but incidentely he discovered the vets were also seeming to be in actual contact with the people they had trauma with. He went on to work with this phenomena as well as PTSD. For more details see his book: Induced After Death Communication,2005, Hampton Roads Publishing Co., Inc., Charlottsville VA.
Jan. 19th. After paperwork and a description of the process, we began. Dr. B had said that usually people don’t have an experience of the presence of their non-physical loved one until the second session. We would start with healing some strong emotion we have about them. The usual emotions are anger, guilt, or sadness. He could see sadness in my eyes from the moment I walked in, and I knew this was true.
We did this. I was immediately sobbing while I followed his quick moving lead with my eyes, without moving my head. When he was done, he told me to close my eyes and experience whatever comes.
I felt myself holding my firstborn newborn little son in my arms. I felt such immense love and awe for him! But I was also aware in the present moment of my ambivalence about motherhood. I was still crying (here in the office). He then asked me to go back into that image and stay with it as we did the eye exercise again. I did this. The past and future around the scene dissolved so that there was nothing but that moment, and then it was perfect joy! Taking away the judgments about where this event was going, or whether it was the right or wrong path for my life, the moment of holding my newborn was pure joy.
Then he asked me to feel myself holding the baby in my arms now while we did the eye movement again. Afterwards, closing my eyes,
I saw my son Tom’s (adult) head He said to me, ”Mom, relax!” Then something like “Just be here, now. Just be present. You’ll never make any progress healing your back until you can learn to do nothing!” I felt him present with me, smiling. His voice sounded just like him, very deep.
Then I saw him pulling himself swiftly upward, rising up by some intention and volition inside himself. He went into an area of great light, seemed to fill himself up with energy and light and love and enthusiasm from this source, and then descended back with me. He said he can do this any time he wants to, any time he needs to. It’s like filling his gas tank. And he can give this energy away to others, too. He does it for me and for others at times.
Then suddenly he said, “Mom, I gotta go. So long! “ And he jumped on a broomstick and flew off waving to me and laughing. Then I saw he had on a witch’s hat. He waved and called back, “Tell Anne Marie!”
This was just so funny! I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so like him to be playful and silly. Plus Anne has a special interest and soft spot in her heart for witches, so his choice of this costume was particularly meaningful, and added evidence that it was really Tom.
I asked him how Aaron, his stepson was doing. He described Aaron’s situation. I knew he’d joined the army for 8 years, after having been a complete wimp, weakling, spoiled teenager who failed to finish high school for lack of effort. Tom said the army, of course, had made him physically strong but Aaron had not expected it to be as emotionally hard as it is. It’s many times felt too much for him Tom helps him, (without A’s awareness), and A is making it. Sometimes A thinks about Tom with embarrassment because Tom was a Quaker and pacifist, but often with gratitude for Tom’s love and example
I asked him if he wants me to continue being in touch with the high school students he taught or those who were in his robotics club. He said, “If they respond to you, continue to stay in touch with them (if you want; if you enjoy it.)
I asked him about his cat, Julius, who’s getting really old and ailing. He said Julius and my other cat, Deuce, will both stay with me as long as I want them. (within some normal limits of cat life.) i.e.there’s no reason now to worry about them or to consider “putting them down.”
I asked him if he knows what his dad is doing now. (my first husband, who passed away in 1987.) He said he honestly doesn’t know. When son Tom first passed over, his dad was there to help him; his dad showed up in dreams at the beginning of his diagnosis and a few nights before he died. But since Tom has adjusted, he hasn’t seen his dad at all. This is interesting to me because a psychic/medium had told me various things about people with whom I was close who passed on, but she could not find anything about what Tom Sr. is doing. Perhaps he’s taken on a new form?
2nd session, Sunday morning, 1/19,2014
During the night I had thought about what I might want to do Sunday morning with Dr. Botkin. Now I’d already seen Tom and felt at great peace about him. Was there more inside me with strong emotion that I’d like to heal? What more? I thought perhaps I’d work on my relation with my Dad as I still have lots of anger toward him.
But when I said this to Dr. B, he said it would not be good to start a whole new large topic because we might not get it finished. He only works here on weekends and so we’d have to wait to finish the work until he could schedule me in.
He asked if there are any memories around son Tom’s death that are still painful. I said yes, – the last couple weeks while we waited for surgery, when he was so terribly thin and weak, and we were both so scared, he was receiving 3 pints of blood every third day just to stay alive. So Dr. B asked me to stay with that memory while he led me in the eye movement.
I felt like the wand he uses for the eye movements was like a saltshaker, somehow breaking up the image, shaking it away, shaking the image into pieces and tossing it aside. It erased the image and put the past into the past, allowing me to be present with Tom now. The memory lost its power and freed me to be present.
I was experiencing how images in our memories build up over time, as we put more and more emotion on the images, and value judgments, it’s like building a snowman bigger and bigger. The eye movements seem to loosen the buildup and allow the memory to be just one moment in the flow of time.
Dr. B and I talked. Then he asked if there was any other memory around Tom that made me sad. I shared a feeling of guilt I had. This was at the time when his four friends from the Blackfoot Lodge came to do a prayer ceremony around him. I was in the room for it. As they entered one said “What a beautiful person Tom is. You’ve done a good job as a mother.” My response was one I often gave in that situation: “Yes. And yet I never wanted to be a mother!” I had often said this. My kids knew I loved them but also knew that I hadn’t wanted to be a mother and the loss of my career hurt me deeply. But his friends were a bit shocked and later talked with him about it and then he talked with me. I had never thought about the impact these words might have on him. I apologized then but have continued to feel really guilty and yet confused about this. When people would tell me what a good mother I’ve been, a part of me wanted to protect that other part of me that had had to be left behind, to still honor it. I could not think of what I could have said that would have felt right, but I do feel bad about it.
I saw Tom standing in front of me pouring drops of warm oil on my head and down over my whole body, drop quickly following drop. It felt wonderful! But all was silent; he didn’t speak. I understood the silence. He was saying through silence that in that situation when his friends were in the room, I could have said nothing in response to their words. He was also telling me that he did not know what words would have worked to appropriately honor the two contrary feelings I had: loving my children and not wanting to spend my life mothering. In general, Tom did not know the adequate words any better than me. “But all that is past tense,” he did say. Now I don’t have to do much mothering (I still have Anne and her children, who are a joy to me, plus stepdaughters). I have greater freedom now to do with my time what I want.” He did not know the solution to the dilemma but was pouring loving and healing balm over me.
I shared this with Dr. B.and we talked a bit. I told him that the wand felt like a brush, brushing away the image from my brain and leaving this beautiful image and physical sensation of Tom pouring warm drops of oil all over my body.
Dr. B commented that many people assume that after death the departed are suddenly completely enlightened and know everything. The experiences of his clients seem to say otherwise: that they have a perspective larger than ours, may know or understand more, but they’re still learning, too. Some say they’re “in classes”.
Dr. B asked again if there were any more memories around Tom I’d like to let go of. I quickly felt aware of my body speaking; my body remembers the exhaustion of his care. Fifteen years earlier I had cared for Tom Forsythe, my second husband, when he was completely paralyzed from a stroke. That had almost killed me! But now I was age 65 and I felt my age; it took all the energy I could muster to stand on my feet and walk back and forth kitchen to bedroom preparing his meds and food and sanitizing everything and staying up when tired. Then shopping, taking him to doctors and hospitals, etc I could barely do it, and I had very little energy left to offer Tom emotionally. I tried to get others to come and counsel him or be with him; some came but many didn’t realize how fast he was deteriorating. Of course, I didn’t know either how close we were to the end.
I also mentioned I feel the loss of time. Each time a loved one has died in my life it has taken years of my time to get rid of all their possessions! I haven’t finished with my son’s yet after four years. I do feel sadness over this loss of energy and time.
Dr. B had me hold my awareness with this feeling of loss while he led me in the eye exercise. After, as always, he told me to close my eyes and be aware of whatever happens.
Here I had a strong experience that was a surprise. I felt Tom filling my body up with light and energy, with life and warmth. It just kept coming in, like filling a gas tank, like he had shown yesterday that he could do for himself. Now he’s filling me up from The Source and I’m quickly feeling stronger and younger and healthier!
I didn’t want to come out of this at all. I was aware that at some point I’d have to leave the real experience and talk aboutit, make myself and my experience into an object to look at, leaving the real experience itself. I really did not want to do this! (To leave the experience). I also realized how much I do this – make myself and my life into an object to look at, rather than just BE. I felt so solid. I wondered if I could float off, but I immediately knew I couldn’t because I didn’t feel full of air but rather I felt really solid.
Dr. B asked me to bring my awareness back and with effort I pulled myself back to the room enough to speak but I still couldn’t get myself to open my eyes for a bit. This was an incredible experience and gift to me from Tom.
Then we talked, as we had to do. Finally Dr. B. asked if , without charging me, I’d be willing to do this one more time and ask Tom a question for him(for Dr.B). I said, “Sure”, and he gave me the question: To ask Tom what he’s exploring now.
So I asked the question and we began the eye movement. I began to get delightful images. First Tom said he’s trying to learn how to walk on clouds. I think he was being silly. I saw his foot go through one and he laughed and said it’s harder than it looks. Then I saw him playing with his friend Robert. Robert had been introduced to me through two completely separate mediums: an old friend of Tom’s, they say, and now the two do a lot together. Robert has a jazzy feel to him. Tom said he and Robert play around trying to exchange identities, and sometimes try being together at the same time in one identity.
Then they often travel around our world, seeing things they never saw. They have a particular interest in Thailand and southest Asia, but go other places, too. They esp. like to learn about the music and dance of other countries.(Tom loved both music and dancing in this life, played piano and trumpet, did contra dancing regularly) They like to hop when they travel just for the fun of it. They don’t hop on anything, just the action of hopping.
Then Tom appeared in a white gown looking like an angel, halo and all. He laughed and said, “It’s just for fun!” Then I saw a group of people nearby, also all dressed like angels “just for fun.” I realized they are, in fact, a choir! They enjoy music (Tom had a marvelous bass voice and loved to sing) and they’re experimenting. There are 18 of them and instead of our usual bass, tenor, alto, and soprano categories, they each have their own unique comfortable voice level and are attempting to sing together, each of the 18 staying true to their own true pitch. Sometimes they try slow flowing songs and sometimes faster, fun songs or sounds.
Lastly, Tom said that “people” both here in this/my world and in his are working together on a Quantum Physics kind of effort. They’re trying to understand how consciousness develops into “matter”, as we call it, and then trying to figure out how to describe this in words. “The smallest level of existence is also a consciousness! It’s awesome,” he said. “I feel such respect for these tiniest levels of consciousness, and how they form into larger cooperations and ever more complex entities.” (Tom was a high school physics teacher, so this would interest him.)
Tom indicated that this was enough to share for now. We both seemed to sense that this had been a good and adequate sharing and I thanked him. I brought my awareness back to the room and began to share with Dr. B., who found all this fascinating.