Following Back Along the Bread Crumb Trail
By Julia Star, RCC
The story about Hansel and Gretel tells of two children who are taken into the forest to be abandoned. They and their father and step-mother are starving so rather than have all four people starve to death, the stepmother connives to leave the two children in the forest to fend on their own. Hansel has the sense to take some white pebbles which he drops along the way. The first time they are abandoned in the forest, they are able to find the pebbles and follow them back home. The second time they are abandoned into the forest, they drop bread crumbs which are eaten by birds and so they become lost and meet their adversary, a hungry ghost witch. This story has many deep metaphors which we can understand in World Metaphoric Transformation. It is like a dream which expresses wisdom on many levels and its universal symbols speak to all of us in similar but unique ways.
Becoming lost in the forest is how we all become lost in the maze of our lives, in the busyness and productivity of our lives.
Or we become lost in our own addictions, relationships and other unresolved experiences. They haunt us daily and even in our dreams, but still, we wander in our own inner landscape, lost. But each time we become lost, there is always a way home . There is always a bread crumb trail that leads us back to the place where the unintegrated experience began, back to the place where we can utilize our own healing power and regain wholeness.
World Metaphoric Transformation describes this method which is simple but not easy.
First, we begin with the obsessive story or chronic discomfort. In some cases, the body becomes the Other-that which reflects all that we are not recognizing, all that the ego is denying because it is too dangerous to its sense of identity. If the mind continually denies the presence of unintegrated experience, then over time, with the same obdurate nature, the body will present the problem in its own way and with its own language and demands for healing.
The theory of this method is simple-the body records experience in accordance with the mind and memory.
I often compare the body to a filing cabinet-if something happens which is beyond the capacity of the ego to fully understand and integrate into the wholeness of the sense of self, then it is filed away for later. It is usually filed in a place that it can be found later when we are stronger, wiser and better able to cope with it. The traumatic experience is filed, as any good office manager will do-in a logical place. So trauma about sex will be stored in the sexual organs, traumas about digesting experience will be stored in the digestive organs, trauma about life and death issues will be stored in the lower charka or lower back…each person’s office manager will store the un-integrated experience in a slightly different way and with a slightly different filing system, but because we have many physical elements in common, there are usually common ways for filing traumas. The World Metaphoric Transformative counsellor can help you identify the true causes of these dis-eases. Anger can be filed in the bladder (I’m so pissed off), helplessness and concerns about survival will be stored in the middle of the back, in the joints between lower and higher aspects of self. It is the journey which each person must discover on their own to find these hidden unintegrated aspects. We can do this by a technique called Following Back.
- Bring to mind an event that is troubling you at present. Most probably it is about something outside of yourself, a relationship, an event, a difficulty of any kind.
- Summarize the difficulty in a simple sentence. Simplicity will help you trace this problem back to its source, like a bread crumb trail left by a wandering child along a dark path. For example, “Right now I am struggling with something that happened at work, a co-worker complained about me”.
- Sit with this statement. Be sure that is it simple and write it out in personal terms, not in terms of other people or other influences. For example, “Right now I’m really angry at X because she said …” will not be helpful. The statement, “I’m feeling really completely misunderstood, despite my best efforts to get along with X.” is a better way to follow back to the true difficulty. Now follow back to the difficulty in the corresponding area in your body. E.g.When I think about this situation, I feel a tightness in my throat area.
- Now for the courageous part! Only you can answer the next part, honestly and with complete confidence in your own abilities to transform your life. Now you ask, “Where else in my life am I feeling ________?” And then keep going to wherever that question takes you. Whatever images, memories or words that first come to you. Pay attention! Then follow back, follow back, see where each image or memory takes you. This question will begin the bread crumb trail back to the essential you. E.g. When I focus on my throat it reminds me of when I was kid at home and because I was the youngest, no one ever listened to me. I never ventured to express an opinion because everyone else was smarter and older than me and so I learned to be quiet. I get the same feeling from that situation- that no one listens to what I have to say.
- When you reach the home place of the un-integrated experience, you know you have reached the place where you can transform yourself. You will feel relieved, empowered, but also compassionate both towards yourself and others. E.g.Alright-I have to remember that this person really doesn’t know who I am and she is speaking from her limited experience. She isn’t being personal here, she just knows what she wants and she is trying to get what she wants by saying these things. I have to listen to her and then respond to her, not to my own hungry ghost about being the youngest in a loud and rancorous family. Then I can go forward from there without the stickiness of my own issues getting in the way. Plus I just learned something new about myself!
Remember, the story is never about the story and the story is always about you!
Julia Star, RCC – I am a holistic counsellor working in the Cowichan Valley. I incorporate your beliefs into the counselling sessions, giving a deeper meaning to your life-physically, emotionally and spiritually. I use a unique theory of counselling which I have developed over twenty years of counselling called World Metaphoric Transformation. This therapy comes from my years of study in a variety of spiritual traditions and from new findings in quantum and brain research. I have the perspective of an interconnectiveness of all being and invite environment to be a mirror for the soul. www.longboatcounselling.com.