Jessica felt stuck in both her career and her marriage, but didn't know what to do to feel better. Both her job and her marriage appeared fine on the surface, plus she
had an active social life and many friends, but Jessica felt dissatisfied and restless all the time. As we talked,
it became apparent that much of Jessica's energy was devoted to maintaining her environment in a very orderly fashion.
Her home was arranged the way she wanted it and contained primarily her choice in furniture. She and her husband
attended the social events which chose to attend with friends she enjoyed. Jessica's husband did not seem to resist
her organization of their life, and Jessica experienced a lot of anxiety when her environment was disturbed, so
both she and her husband were accustomed to Jessica running the show. In her teaching job at school, Jessica was
dedicated and received a lot of reinforcement for doing a good job. However, it was apparent that Jessica experienced
some anxiety when things did not go smoothly at school. Since it is pretty hard to control middle school children,
Jessica always had a sense of unease at school, which she dealt with by exerting more control at home. The resulting
predictability on the home front helped Jessica to feel more secure, but she was paying a high price for this security
because her marriage lacked vitality and she felt shut down in almost all areas of her life.
Jessica moved easily and comfortably into the
visualization process where she saw immediately that she was choosing a small, well managed life rather than a
larger, more exciting one. In addition, we
discovered that her attempts to control her small environment were actually an attempt to deal with a lot of underlying
anxiety. It was apparent that her sense of unrest in life was due to a combination of anxiety, attempts to control
that anxiety, and a sense of constriction within the small safe world she had created for herself. Her solution
had actually created a bigger problem for her.
We were able to trace her anxiety back to her
unpredictable childhood, where her alcoholic
father caused chaos in their home. Jessica was able to understand that her anxiety stemmed from her past and did
not pertain to her present. She was able to understand her irrational emotions and to adopt techniques to clear
them. We instituted new thoughts and actions which helped her to feel more secure without the need to control her
environment to create that security. Once her underlying anxiety was addressed, she was able to metaphorically
look up, so see what else life had to offer her.
She contacted an inner guide in the form of
a panther who turned out to be a power animal for her.
She was able to communicate telepathically with this animal and its strength and power were very grounding and
reassuring for her. Its far reaching vision also began immediately to open her eyes to the possibility of feeling
safe in a larger world. The panther invited her to ride him, so she was able to have a visceral experience of tremendous
power and confidence which provided a stark contrast to her own insecurity. She was able to adopt and slowly transfer
this feeling of power and confidence into her own daily life, and as a result, she could begin to relax. She visualized
being with the panther everyday, first thing in the morning so that she took his powerful energy into her day,
and last thing at night so that she went to sleep with a feeling of safety.
This new energy in Jessica was a big surprise to her husband, but he liked it very much. It caused him to feel
differently toward her, and resulted in their relationship taking on a different dimension which was more satisfying
to both of them.
Jessica discovered that she had many gifts and talents which she had not been using. As she began to explore photography, music and the arts, she felt a deep sense of relief, happiness
and freedom she had never before experienced. Her life began to open up, and she was able to let go of the need
to micro-manage her home environment and her husband. The increased freedom he felt led to a much more flexible
relationship, and they began to feel again some of the love they had felt in the early years
of their marriage. Jessica remained in the teaching profession, but expanded her horizons with many outside activities.
She has pursued music extensively, and feels a great deal of joy from this medium. Most importantly, she feels
a sense of relaxation in her life. When and if the anxiety recurs, she has tools to cope with it and clear it.
|"Life shrinks or expands according
to one's courage."
~ Anais Nin
|"When I started working with Susan,
I was scared about who and what I'd be when I came out the other end. I had to be willing to let go of the outcome,
to leap into the void of the unknown. I've never forgotten that day, it changed my life."
~ Valerie Simonson
read Valerie's account of
finding her calling in her book, Orange
Socks Lead the Way: How a Yuppie Goes Yogi