Health and Well Being

Race and Racism in Australia.

Race as a social construct came into being alongside capitalism.  When European colonists arrived in Australian with their ethnocentric ideology, racist foundations became the building blocks upon which inequity and institutions were built. As a result, the trauma and inequality created for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders by colonialism has, and continues to, impact detrimentally on their health and well-being despite Governments expending large sums of money on programs and services to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous outcomes in relation to health. The colonialist mentality of racism in Australia towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is maintained by three main forms of racism; institutionalised, interpersonal and internalised. Institutionalised racism, particularly within the health system, is creating a plethora of inequity issues which are resulting in high mortality rates amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The publication of The Origin of Species, written by biologist and philosopher Charles Darwin in 1859, led to eugenics, phrenology, ethnocentricity and Social Darwinism, and subsequently race and racism began.  Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection proposed that differences between human beings, such as skin colour, equated to different races of human beings existing and therefore those who did not have the same attributes as Europeans were classified as being of a different species, or race (Hollinsworth 2006, p.32). His theory added scientific credence to, and fueled the fire of, the political, social and medical discourses being espoused by Herbert Spencer, an English sociologist, biologist and prominent liberal political theorist (Hollinsworth 2006, p.32). Darwin’s theory led to Social Darwinism being established within European society (Hollinsworth 2006, p.32). Race and racism was therefore founded on the politics of eugenics and the medical and political discourses which spread globally during the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century (Bastos, Harnois & Paradies 2016, p.209). Eugenics is the science of controlling breeding within populations so there is an increasing manifestation of the required genetic characteristics (Galton 1904, p.1). Indigenous Australians were seen by European colonists to be situated at the very bottom of a hierarchical ladder which Europeans existed at the summit of (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 284). This mentality was known as ethnocentricity which is when a belief exists that your own culture or ethnic group is superior to another (Bizumic & Duckitt 2012, p.887). It was also seen by Europeans that Indigenous people were inferior biologically due to the pseudo-scientific theory of phrenology which equated skull size and shape as being able to determine a person’s character (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 284).  With eugenics, phrenology and ethnocentricity firmly implanted in the minds of the colonists who invaded Australia, it takes little sociological imagination to understand why European colonists behaved as they did towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

When the invasion of Australia by the British occurred in 1770 they brought with them fixed mindsets of capitalism and Social Darwinism and the colonisation of Australia began. Colonialism relates to a system being implemented whereby an individual or group of individuals seek to dominate others (Horvath 1972, p.46). Sociological theorist Pierre Bourdieu referred to colonialism as a forceful system of oppression based on racist beliefs which seeks to reorganise social kinships and at the same time establish a crossbred society (Go 2013, p. 49).Colonialism is also a powerful and aggressive action taken by people to possess land and exploit it, along with the Indigenous people who occupy that land, with no regard to the original inhabitants, their culture or their existing laws (Horvath 1972, p. 46). Karl Marx believed this type of domination occurs out of an economic basis and is a symptom of capitalism (Horvath 1972, p.46). Horvath states colonisation creates and perpetuates social injustice (Horvath 1972, p.46). Colonists were of the fear-based view that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were savages who were dangerous, yet childlike (Hollinsworth 2006, p.33).As such, great measures to establish and maintain superior paternalistic power and control over Indigenous Australians began because of unconsciously based scientific racist beliefs (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 34). This fear-based power and control continued to have a stronghold in Australia into the later part of last century (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 34). Because of Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Indigenous Australians were seen to be a separate race of people who colonists believed were destined to die out anyway (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 35).It was often the situation that anyone who protested the horrendous treatment Indigenous people received whilst colonisation was occurring, were met with rebuttal (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 35).It was also seen to be worthy of celebration by colonists, not lamentation, that the extinction of an inferior race was occurring, with their help (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 35).  The attempted assimilation which occurred of trying to change the genetics of Indigenous Australians was a direct result of eugenics. It was these underlying beliefs colonisers held which established Australia’s institutions and created the systemic racism which still exists within those institutions today.

Institutionalised racism lays at the core of all of Australia’s systems and is closely linked with capitalism. Race and racism in Australia can be understood as being maintained institutionally when looked at through the sociological lens of Foucault’s theory that governmental control occurs via the power maintained in institutional systems, which then becomes internalised normality within society (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 287).From a Marxists perspective Governments would not want to change the existing institutionalised racism because to do so would alter the balance of power which would no longer serve the interests of capitalism (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 287).  Racism is defined as a discriminatory dispersal of chances, assistance or capital implemented by the dominant culture over minority groups of different race or ethnicity (Paradies, 2018, 0.42 – 1.44). Institutionalised racism has been defined as having its basis in historical social scenarios which continues due to frameworks that preserve prior discriminations (Jones 2001, p.1212). Institutionalised racism is often seen to be legalised and lays within the policies and practices of institutions, whilst also being apparent when procrastination occurs, instead of action, in relation to needs not being met (Jones 2001, p.1212). Evidence shows that racism, whilst not a set target in the Close the Gap Report 2008 (Parliament of Australia undated, p. n/a), has been recognised by the Federal Government in the Close the Gap Report Review 2018 (Australian Human Rights Commission 2018, p.3) and in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 (Australian Government Department of Health 2013, p.8). Due to institutionalised racism, which has become the societal norm, many Australians do not see their unconsciously conditioned biases perpetuate not only the racism the country’s systems were built on, but also that they serve to maintain the inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians which began over two hundred years ago.

Interpersonal racism, along with institutionalised racism and deficit discourses within politics and the media are having an adverse effect on the mental and physical health of Indigenous Australians. Interpersonal racism can be conscious or unconscious and appears in society by way of stereotyping, lack of service, ignoring, lack of respect and devaluation (Jones 2001, p.1213).Institutionalised racism, combined with interpersonal racism lead to internalised racism, which involves taking on the limiting beliefs about oneself which have been projected by the dominant culture onto the minority group (Jones 2001, p. 1213).Internalised racism can also lead to a lack of self-worth, lack of belief in peers and in one’s self (Jones 2001, p. 1213).  The general dominant political and media discourse in Australia is increasing the inequality many minority groups encounter from the dominant culture (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 246). Since 1996, when the Howard Government came into power, there has been a steadily growing manufactured erosion of social justice and equal rights occurring in Australia via an official discourse being implemented through laws based on fear and envy (Hollinsworth 2006, p 246). This stance will only lead to increasing inequality, endangering existing social structures and possibly result in an increase in violence occurring (Hollinsworth 2006, p. 246). Combined with these deficit discourses created by non-indigenous media and politicians in Australia towards Indigenous Australians, racism has been found to be detrimental to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders health as they all impact adversely psychologically, emotionally and in relation to their overall social wellbeing.

Perceptions of race and racism within Australian have been shown, through a variety of micro and macro level methods, to reveal health care barriers exist for Indigenous Australians which do not exist for non-Indigenous Australians. Systemic racism not only has detrimental outcomes such as depression, suicide, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder for Indigenous Australians, but it also creates significant economic impacts on society (Paradies 2016, p.1). In 2016 it was estimated that racial discrimination cost the Australian economy approximately 37.9 billion dollars per annum (Paradies 2016, p.1). A study conducted during 2012 and 2013 revealed thirty percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer from extreme psychological and emotional occurrences of depression or anxiety (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015, p. 71). This figure is extraordinarily high when one considers that Indigenous Australians make up only three percent of the national population (Bastos, Harnois & Paradies 2016, p.211). Further, it was revealed in 2012 that Indigenous Australians experience higher rates of suicide than non-Indigenous Australians with deaths being predominantly higher for males between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-nine (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, p. n/a). The statistics of deaths based on a scale of one hundred thousand per population for this age group show that non-Indigenous male deaths by suicide peak at twenty percent and Indigenous males peak at ninety percent (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, p. n/a). In 2014 a General Social Survey was conducted to determine the degree racial discrimination intersects with other areas of discrimination such as, gender, sexuality, class and age within Australia, in creating access barriers to health care (Bastos, Harnois & Paradies 2016, p.209). The results concluded perceived racism was a major factor creating a barrier in accessing health care, particularly mental health (Bastos, Harnois & Paradies 2016, p.216). There is ample available research which indicates that the social construct of race is responsible for the ongoing high mortality rates occurring within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Racism in its various forms is not only creating barriers to accessing health care but creating ongoing psychological and emotional distress for a large percentage of Indigenous Australians.

According to sociologists, Australia has moved into a time of post-modernity and post-colonialism, but the evidence clearly shows the social construct of race and the racism which stems from it continues to be maintained by way of institutionalised racism. Post-colonialism came into being late in the twentieth century (Eagleton 2011, p. 222).It is defined as a time when physical violence is no longer being perpetrated to take land (Hollinsworth 2006, p.246). This may be the situation; however, it appears that a new form of racism has taken the place of the past brutal dispossession, assimilation and genocide. Known as new racism, this form revolves around the structure and appearance of racism in relation to pecuniary and socio-traditional variances which exist between the overriding and minority cultures within a country (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 287).Post-colonialism studies look at the relationships between oppressors and oppressed existing in countries that have been colonised (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 287).Indigenous identity, which post-colonialism also concerns itself with, has been revealed via various institutional policies to have been manipulated to implement and validate dominant policies (Germov & Poole 2007, p. 288).Colonialism was rooted in racism and whilst many perceive both exist historically and are no longer apparent, both still exist within capitalism as the Western thinking of those in power continues to be based on the taking of other people’s land who are not in positions to stop them (Jureidini & Poole 2003, p.246). It is in the continuation of institutionalised racism and subsequent racist policies and practices, by those in power within the Westernised political system, that inequity continues to grow and create an ever-widening gap between capitalist politicians and those who they deem to be inferior.

Race and racism are social constructs designed by the political upper class in Europe in the late 1800s based on ethnocentricity. Institutionalised racism has created discrimination, exploitation, distress and inter-generational trauma which is still impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Whilst State and Federal Governments have spent voluminous sums of money on programs and services to bring about more equality between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians in relation to health, they have failed. Up until 2013 they did not recognise that systemic racism within Australian institutions is responsible for the lack of equity, agency, health issues, self-governance and self-determination Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have been and still are experiencing.

Copyright: C. O’Connor, November 2018.

Reference List

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths overview, viewed 21 October 2018, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/40080452773CE5D5CA257A4500045E5F?opendocument

Australian Government Department of Health 2013, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, p. 8, viewed 18 October 2018 http://www.health.gov.au/natsihp

Australian Human Rights Commission 2018, A ten-year review: The Closing the Gap Strategy and Recommendations for Reset: Close the Gap 2018 – Human Rights, p. 3 viewed 16 October 2018 https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/document/publication/CTG%202018_FINAL-WEB.pdf

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015, The health and welfare of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s, viewed 22 October 2018, https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/584073f7-041e-4818-9419-39f5a060b1aa/18175.pdf.aspx?inline=true\

Bastos, J, Harnois, C & Paradies, Y 2018, ‘Health care barriers, racism, and intersectionality in Australia’, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 199, pp. 209 – 218. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.05.010

Bizumic, B & Duckitt, J 2012, ‘What Is and Is Not Ethnocentrism? A Conceptual Analysis and Political Implications’, Political Psychology, vol. 33, no. 6, pp.887–909. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2012.00907

Eagleton, T 2011, Why Marx was right, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Elias, A & Paradies, Y 2016, ‘Estimating the mental health costs of racial discrimination’ BMC Public Health, vol.16, no. 1(1), p.n/a, doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3868-1

Galton, F 1904, ‘Eugenics: Its Definition, Scope, and Aims’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 10, no. 1, pp.1–25. doi: 10.1086/211280

Germov, J & Poole, M 2007, Public sociology: an introduction to Australian society, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W..

Go, J, 2013, ‘Decolonizing Bourdieu: Colonial and Postcolonial Theory in Pierre Bourdieu’s Early Work’, Sociological Theory, vol. 31, no. 1, pp.49–74. doi: 10.1177/0735275113477082.

Hollinsworth, D 2006, Race & racism in Australia 3rd ed., Thomson Social Science Press, South Melbourne.

Horvath, R 1972, ‘A Definition of Colonialism’, Current Anthropology, vol. 13, no. 1, pp.45–57. doi:10.1086/201248

Jones, C 2000, ‘Levels of racism: A theoretic framework and a gardener’s tale’, American Journal of Public Health, vol. 90, no. 8, pp.1212–1215. Doi:10.2105/AJPH.90.8.1212

Jureidini, R. & Poole, M 2003. Sociology: Australian connections, 3rd edn, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W.

Paradies, Y 2013. ‘A Culturally Respectful and Non-Discriminatory Health System’, Viewed 26 August 2018, https://vimeo.com/11864669

Parliament of Australia, Social Policy, undated, viewed 20 October 2018, https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook44p/ClosingGap

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Living In Now

It seems to me for many of us living in right here, right now is one of the greatest challenges we all face given our conditioning.  For most of us who have been brought up in western culture we think in lineal terms of past, present and future.  We think in terms of what has been, what is next, where we are going, what we want to achieve and many of us like to make plans, be organised and know what we will be doing from one moment, one hour, one day, one week to the next.  All of which really just becomes a story we tell ourselves we become attached to and often re-act to, if it doesn’t go according to our little plan or story we are creating around it all.

My mum, bless her, was the Queen of Organisation as I was growing up.  She had to be as she worked and also ran a home consisting of herself and five other people.  We all had our set jobs and times/days when they were to occur.  Her week was mapped out and ours with it, so I was brought up in a very well organised environment where we always knew what we were doing from one minute to the next, generally speaking.  Being organised and knowing what I would be doing, whilst many curved balls occurred, was rather comfortable.  I grew to see the more organised I was, the less stressed I became when I myself became a mother.  This flowed into my work and whilst I am not as rigid as my mother felt she needed to be, her influence couldn’t but help rub off on me.

Working in the legal industry for nearly three decades also reinforced my organisational skills.    For many years I too made plans and was set in an automatic daily rhythm, which gradually turned into a rut, ultimately boring me silly and sapping me of excitement and joy for life.  I also began to see that organisation, whilst it alleviated stress and helped me achieve goals, when it was out of balance and too rigid, was a form of needing to control.

As I started to become more aware and more conscious of time not really existing, of all time being now and of there only truly being one time anything can occur, that being the right time, life became easier, disappointment and emotional re-actions became less as I learned not to expect anything and I began to experience detachment to ever so much.

Less plans were made and I moved from what many of us term “going with the flow” to becoming one with the flow of life.  I became less attached to things, to people and to outcomes, more open to spontaneity and realised the most I could ever have in terms of plans in place was a very basic skeletal plan for one day at a time, no longer for a whole week and certainly not as is often asked in job interviews – where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years time?    How can we honestly even know that?  That we put pressure on ourselves and our children with a question such as that or one like – What do you want to be/do when you grow up – is so very indicative of our cultural conditioning and it is conditioning which so very often robs us of the moment of now, along with the infinite possibilities that exist, by becoming set on a fixed direction or plan for not only our day but also our lives and anything in our lives we are wanting to achieve.  I learned the hard way that plans NEVER go according to plan.

As I moved more and more consciously into the moment of now, anything that didn’t feel right to do or wasn’t working I would let slide and move onto whatever was next for it seemed and still seems senseless to me to get myself all stressed, frustrated etc., if I am wanting to do something and everything around that thing is just not working.  I began to see how very stressed and distressed folk often become if things don’t go according to their plan and how the expectation of their plan manifesting leads to major disappointment and sometimes even angst which creates barriers to come up with other folk in their lives.  I also began to see that if something isn’t working as we want it to, it just means something else needs to fall in place which will make it even better than we thought it would be.  Until all the pieces of any puzzle are in place and until energy matches up the time is just not right for whatever to manifest in the physical.  Often too if we want to do something and it just isn’t happening, we are actually being protected.

I “thought” I had “got” this whole it’s okay to have a skeletal plan and to just be one with the flow of life, being fully present in each moment without any thought of what was next, to do list and calendar in place so I wouldn’t forget anything important which needed to be done, as it all seemed to be working just fine and dandy, until this week.

I was in a situation where communication hadn’t happened effectively and I didn’t know what it was I was “supposed” to be doing next.  I started re-acting as I’d been told one thing, which suddenly changed and now I was floundering and getting frustrated.  I was also totally confused.  This lack of organisation wasn’t sitting well with me and I could feel myself starting to get really annoyed as my head told the story of how it would be so much better if communication had of been clear from the outset which would have alleviated my thinking I was doing this thing, then suddenly I was doing something entirely different, that I wasn’t really expecting or prepared for.   It was all pushing me out of my own little comfort zone, what little there is left of it.

Along came the wisdom of another and the lesson they were giving me.  Seriously what did it really matter what I was doing next?  Just because I “thought” I was going to be doing one thing which then changed and I was clueless and confused, who was really creating that confusion?  The person who had not as far as I was concerned communicated effectively?  Or me for having a story in my head of what I thought I would be doing next, which was pushing me into future, into an emotional re-action and out of being fully present in the moment?

I couldn’t help but laugh at the simplicity of the wisdom, the lesson or the very effective way in which this other person had actually taught me this lesson of all that is truly needed by any of us, is to just show up, do whatever is needed in the moment and truly enjoy each and every moment of now without any thought of what is next.

 

Cheers, Cheryl.

© Cheryl O’Connor 2015.

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DREAMING TRUE – A FREE INTRODUCTORY DREAMWORK WEBINAR

I have now finalised all I need to so that I can present the first in a series of webinars I am putting together which will be hosted in The Wellness Universe Lounge at the end of January.

This class is a prerequisite class for all future classes and I invite you to  join me by registering at Dreaming True as it will be informative and fun. If the time and date doesn’t suit, once you have registered you can watch the recording when it works for you. The AEST time given is for Brisbane, Australia. EST (USA).

It will be an interactive 60 minutes during which we will be exploring how you can use Dreamwork to assist and empower you 24/7 whether you recall your dreams or not.  All you need will be an open mind along with writing and drawing materials.

If you have any questions please contact me. Cheers, Cheryl.

 

© Cheryl O’Connor 2016.

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ADDICTION FROM A SHAMANIC VIEWPOINT

It is becoming clearer to many that addiction is a disease or illness, not a choice we consciously make that we should be punished for. God knows we punish ourselves and suffer enough in this life without “society” and law makers punishing us further simply because we are not well. A very long time ago I read that all disease could be seen as dis-ease i.e. not being at ease or at peace with ourselves. So is addiction to anything actually really just dis-ease? The roots of which lay in learned behaviour?

Addiction is, from my perception, certainly a symptom of a far deeper cause than that which lays on the behavioural, psychological and physiological surface.  Western medicine primarily always looks at symptoms and what can be seen, attempts to treat that solely usually with chemicals or surgery and rarely does it look for causes that to the naked or microscopic eye are unseen. Yet when we find and heal cause within ourselves of physical symptoms, dis-ease, or behaviour we do not find acceptable, would like to not be experiencing or are subconsciously participating in, the symptoms just simply no longer exist. From birth we are taught to seek outside ourselves for what we need to make us feel good – love, encouragement, nurturing, guidance, cuddles, belief in ourselves etc.

As the child of an alcoholic step-father and cigarette smoking mother their addictions became learned behaviour for me so it stood to reason that as they were the two main ways in which I was shown adults behaved and coped with whatever they were trying to cope with, that I would naturally follow in their footsteps. As a teenager from about 14 onwards after a rape situation occurred I began to consume cigarettes. Not long after when I left home due to the situation I was living in there, I began to consume alcohol and drugs to the point I damn near killed myself. Surviving on little food, drugs, cigarettes, coffee and alcohol was not at all healthy, nor was it a good mix, reducing my weight so dramatically after six months, the only clothes I could wear were size 16 children’s clothing and I was so unwell that not even my own mother recognised me.

I didn’t feel that anyone cared about me, so why should I care? What did it really matter whether I lived or not? All I wanted to do was have a good time and feel better. I did not want, at all, to feel the pain and sadness of not feeling loved, cared for, cared about or understood, of being hit, yelled at, controlled, nor the fear of the alcoholic induced, often physical, arguments and abuse I had been living with since about 6 years of age on a regular and totally unpredictable basis.

To say I, like so many people in this world, grew up in a dysfunctional environment is putting it mildly. My consumption of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes lessened for a short while after another whose love for me quite literally saved my life by showing me they were the only person in my life who did care which gave me the gift of hope and I once again started ingesting regular meals.   I then slid back into copious ingesting of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes whenever I got the opportunity to do so after I was involved in a fatal car accident at 17 in which the young man I had been living with for six months was killed. Back in those days there was no counselling available like there is now.

There was also no funeral and no grave for this young man who lost his life to a drunk driver at only 23 years of age. I was seriously injured and it took a good six months for me to learn how to walk again. The only words I heard at the time from my step-father were “Write down how much pain you are in each day so we can get more money.” The only people in my family who even said they were sorry I had been injured and this young man had died was my mother and one of my step-brothers.   For everyone else in my immediate circle it seemed to me to be a case of suck it up buttercup and just get on with your life.

Drugs, cigarettes and alcohol became my friends, they numbed me from feeling all that was going on inside me. They distracted me and they became my “pain killers”, my “feel good medicine” of choice because I simply had no knowledge of other coping skills I could utilise. The catch being, as all addicts know, is that once we start down this path our brains and our bodies tell us we need more and more “feel good medicine” and “pain killers” to maintain that feel good state of being, to actually cope and survive, to not feel all that pain, anger, grief and sadness living within us that is so very real and raw and it is a very slippery slope we travel until eventually we either kill our bodies or our lives fall apart so badly we hit rock bottom.

We have two choices if we actually do survive and hit rock bottom, continue as we have done and physically die, or trawl the depths and start to bounce back from what feels like the bottomless black hole we have been sucked into that also very much feels like a literal hell or nightmare there often seems to be no escaping from.   Thankfully I was one who chose to trawl the depths and bounce back when in 1992 at 28 I was again faced with my own impending physical death.

What I came to understand as I started to walk the path of the Shaman which was a path that at the time I had no clue I was even walking, was that I, like so many other folk in this world, was actually experiencing what in Shamanic terms is known as Soul loss.

Soul loss can best be described as us becoming like the walking dead, merely surviving, not living and thriving as was intended, simply because who we truly are is not fully present in our bodies.  Parts of us that have not wanted to feel grief, trauma, fear, shock, loss or pain have fragmented off into the subconscious abyss and in very simple terms it is like we are not fully at home in our bodies when we are ingesting substances or distracting ourselves with addictive behaviours or by external means in order to make us feel better or not feel our pain. It is literally like we have huge energetic holes in us, great gaping wounds that we defend, need others to fill, or don’t want to feel the pain of because they are so raw and we are so very vulnerable.

These energetic holes we have, we attempt to fill with external substances or means which consequentially then just make our bodies and our minds very sick indeed. We behave in ways not previously known to us once we start on the road of addiction and it is also not behaviour that those close to us know from us as being “normal”. How many times does the drunken or high person just not seem to be themselves? It is like we become totally different people, often aggressive, angry, totally uncaring and hurtful towards others simply because we are hurting and we just don’t give a damn. We become harmful to ourselves and others and we often have absolutely no memory the next day of our behaviour.

Our behaviour however is NOT us, it is a symptom or cover up if you like hiding whatever we have experienced or been conditioned to believe. How many times does the drunken or drugged person lash out in Jekyll and Hyde fashion?   You never really know what to expect but you just know that who you know that person to be is no longer present in the body in front of you.   This is because we are definitely NOT ourselves at all. Who we truly are is no longer contained in our bodies. What primarily happens with ingesting alcohol and drugs is that when who we truly are checks out of our bodies it’s like an empty house and other “darker” energies with perhaps not so good intentions take over.   This may seem like a very strange and far-fetched concept to many but perhaps for those who have lived it, seen it in others, you will know precisely what I am referring to.

So… how do we heal these gaps and holes we try to fill by external means? How do we stop this happening? How do we change our behaviour? How do we become fully present in our bodies and become whole, well and healthy again?   There is only one way I personally found and that was firstly to make a decision I didn’t want to be that way any longer given that I was so out of control at times, often very re-active, aggressive, defensive, angry, miserable, depressed and more times than not, suicidal.

I did not do the whole re-hab thing, nor did I do AA or have any other types of support in place similar to those, I just said enough when I was faced with my own impending physical death, for the fear of death at 28, which I no longer carry, put the wind up me, literally, and I prayed like I had never prayed in my life prior to be free of it all and to feel nothing but peace, love and acceptance within me.

What ensued was 10 solid years of feeling ever so much grief, trauma, pain, confusion and sadness as I firstly turned to alternative therapies to help heal my body because all the doctors I saw over a six month period all said there was nothing wrong with me – here have some Prozac, meanwhile my body was shutting down more and more each day.   I uncovered and discovered all my physical symptoms were due to constant abuse and unfelt emotions, which I also discovered did not just come from this lifetime but past lifetime experiences as well, all of which had resulted in symptoms associated with having a blocked small intestine and kidneys that were barely working.

I trusted all I was drawn to and underwent attunement to Reiki/Seichim, learnt how to work with my dreams, attended many courses, began walking, meditations and yoga, ate better, studied for two Diplomas in Counselling, one Holistic, one standard that also included some alternative modalities. I read all I could get my hands on, discovering along the way many fragmented parts of me, along with many gifts and skills I never even knew existed within me. Gradually my addictions abated but always there is work to be done.

Physical pains were always linked in with emotional pain, the true cause and source of which came to me either via dreaming or during meditations (which is really the same state of consciousness) and it truly was only in the fully feeling of ALL the emotions that bubbled up from within me and by integrating/re-membering i.e. bringing into being, the fragmented parts of me I re-connected with in The Dreaming, that eventually there was peace. I came to see that time did not exist as we know it to exist, that past definitely has an impact on the present until we heal it by fully feeling it and releasing it (shutting the door on it and just saying past is past, forget it and get on with your life, simply does not work) and that the emotions which came with memories or in the dreaming, meditations etc., were just energy passing through.

Rather than numbing those emotions, once felt and released, with each and every process of integration and release, a strength, love, acceptance, understanding and peace began filling me up like nothing I had ever experienced before. There is an old saying you may have heard of – The cup must be emptied before it can be filled.   This was certainly the case for me and I began to live by the motto which Jamie Sams brought into the world “To feel is to heal.”

Emotional pain is the LAST thing any of us want to feel – we do everything we can to avoid it yet it is only in feeling it, that we truly do heal it and are free of it. Was it easy work?   Definitely not.   Was it lonely work? It certainly was. Was it worth it? Without a doubt. For I learnt the hard way that no matter what I chose to ingest that was external to me, no matter how much I sought love and acceptance externally from others, no matter what I did to feel “better”, and no matter how “strong” I had been to just carry on Columbus and survive it all, the real strength came when I turned fully inward to find, eventually, all I needed was already inside me for me the love, peace, wisdom, knowing and acceptance I was seeking only came when I paid attention to what my dreams and daily life were showing me and what my memories and emotions were telling me about myself and about life. As I uncovered who I truly was I also discovered there would never be a need again for me to re-cover my Self.

To free ourselves from addiction is a huge undertaking as there is so much in this world we can become attached and addicted to. It is however achievable if we have the courage, faith and trust needed to turn inward, face our fears, grief, pain and trauma, feel it all fully and be free of it once and for all. Many of us are so busy telling our stories, which whilst important, does not enable us to actually feel the emotion contained in those stories for our stories come from our heads.

No-one can do this work for us, it is something we all must do for ourselves for it is only in doing for Self that we become more Self-aware, more Self responsible, heal and become more Self empowered. It is not at all selfish to do this work for it brings about self-centeredness, balance, peace, love, acceptance, respect for all life and an awareness of our wholeness with all life, like nothing else we have ever experienced can, all of which is then reflected back to us in the world.

The choice whether we do this work or not is entirely ours to make. We can keep going as we have been or we can quite literally turn our whole world and reality around by coming from the inside out and in doing so move out of the nightmare of externalism, blame, victim mentality, attack, defence and addiction.

Much love and peace to all.

Cheers, Cheryl.

Copyright. C. O’Connor.

Grab your free copy of my Dreamwork Booklet at http://bit.ly/CheocoNews when you sign up for my monthly Newsletter.

*´☾☆☽`*•

#Cheryl O’Connor.
#Holistic #Counsellor, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in #Dream #Analysis/#Conscious #Dreaming & #Shamanic Journeying.
* #Reiki/#Seichim Treatments & Attunements.
* Isis #Meditation.

Website @ http://www.cheocoenterprises.com

My book The Promise, Skype & Email Consultations Available – bit.ly/Cheocoshop

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Proud member of The Wellness Universe: www.thewellnessuniverse.com #WUVIP

Image credit: Pixabay.

I HAVE MOVED

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We’ve all heard that old saying one door shuts and another opens and it was very much the situation for me this past week.

The same week my contract with Earthlee Angel Therapies at Burpengary came to an end and I chose not to renew it,  I was gifted with the offer of using the space of the Signal Room which is part of the Railway Station, located in the South West corner of the Park at Old Petrie Town, North Pine Country Park, Dayboro Road, Kurwongbah by my lovely friend and family member, who has always been supportive of me and my work since the first day I walked into his Gallery in the park some 20 years ago now, Mr  Terry Saleh, Spiritual Artist and Healer of Terry Saleh Art Global Enterprises.

The Railway Station was originally North Pine Station, opened in 1888 and it served as a Cobb & Co Station and Railway Station for over a century.  It was later re-named Petrie Station after pioneer Tom Petrie.  In 1992 it was moved to the park and it was officially re-opened by The Honourable Leneen Forde AC, Governor General of Queensland at the time in 1993.

With the help of my Warrior Woman mum, in less than 24 hours over a two day period, we cleaned and transformed the inside of the building and set it up for me to start practicing in as of this Sunday.

To have a space of my own to work from and create the Steiner Based Dolls and Toys in is just the most blessed gift I could have received this coming Easter.  No longer will I need to cart boxes of materials and supplies constantly, loading and unloading my ute, or having craft materials scattered throughout my house which is where I have been making the dolls and toys from.  Absolutely chuffed, excited and delighted is the only words close to how I was feeling when I accepted Terry’s offer.   Filled with awe inspiring gratitude when I sat quietly in the space on my own yesterday also comes somewhat close to that experience.

Please note change of availability with this move starting this Easter Sunday:

Sunday:  8am to 1pm  you will find me in the Signal Room.

Monday to Wednesday: 9am to 3pm at the Signal Room or at Lawnton.

If you would like to make an appointment please send me an email at cheoco99@yahoo.com.au

I have a vision in my head of things I  would like to do with the space in due course but really didn’t think we could get it ready as quickly as we have done, so I am pretty darn pleased with the transformation so far.   If you are passing by or just want to come and say hi – you are most welcome to do so, have a cuppa with me and lap up the peace and beauty of this space whilst you are at it.

Cheers and for those who celebrate it – Many Blessings for your Easter too.

Cheryl.

 

FORGIVENESS – IS IT REALLY NECESSARY?

Like many I was brought up with a belief that it was necessary to forgive others who I perceived created trauma, heartbreak, grief etc., for me and were hurtful and/or abusive towards me. There were many to forgive in my life and I saw the only way to find peace and acceptance within myself was to do the inner work, feel the pain, shock, trauma etc., and to literally “let it go” and in doing so forgiveness came.

Letting go doesn’t appear to me to occur just in the mind by thinking you should let it go or trying not to think about it, if something is coming into your mind it does so for a reason and for myself letting go only occurs with releasing the energy of whatever emotions have been stored within the body and subconscious from the experience that haven’t yet been fully felt. This combined with “Forgive them for they know not what they do”, which had been drummed into my head as a child, all worked fine and dandy until recently.

There is much written about the necessity of forgiveness and for a while I saw forgiveness as being for giving to self and others.  That worked too for me but as we are all works in progress “stuff” comes up and into our awareness and we also gain more insight and understanding as “time” goes on, becoming more and more conscious.   Things we may have thought 10 – 20 years ago for example no longer apply to so many of us for we are forever evolving and learning. For myself I’ve always been learning, growing and changing and may I never stop doing so.   Much I was sharing some 20 years ago with folk, who thought I was nuts, is now very common to read or over hear being said.

An event had occurred in my life way back that bubbled up emotionally yet again for me to explore.   Of all the events in my life I would have to say that this particular one has had the greatest impact on my life and my heart since it occurred. Many say the past is in the past so just move on, forget about it, let it go, that whatever just wasn’t meant to be and I have always struggled with that concept particularly around this specific incident for I am very aware that past, present and future all exist in now and that the energy of what we label past has a huge impact on ever so many of us.

If it didn’t cultural traditions for better and sometimes yes for worse would not be handed down, people would no longer re-act to things others say and do, there would be no need for “protection” by way of the military or arms and so it goes on.   How often for example does it occur that we have a gut re-action of anxiety, fear, defensiveness or attack, which is purely based on a past experience that is merely being triggered by a present situation?

This particular event in my life is one that wounded my heart very, very deeply. It is not something I will ever forget. It has been something that I have just had to learn to live with and allow the grief to surface and be released as and when it needs to be and so as I found myself re-visiting it yet again, as we do when something is so traumatic and overwhelming that to process it all in one hit is just way too much to cope with, I had the thought and feeling that I needed to forgive behaviour which I found totally manipulative and one of the worst behaviours imaginable to me. Forgiveness had come easily with ever so many folk yet with this particular event I was struggling big time.

I could see the gifts that had been received from the event as my journey through life would never have been what it was if things had of been different and there were ever so many gifts and so much to be grateful for.   Yet forgiveness just was not coming and I started beating myself up about it not coming.   Dreams were indicating that something really yuck and awful was on its way out and physically I became ill for two weeks with flu like symptoms as I was processing it all. My bones ached to the very core of them and I just had to shut down and off to sleep, dream and rest my body.

I then stumbled across a poster that Mena of Mena Canonico DARE to be REAL had shared on Facebook and it was along the lines of there being no need for forgiveness unless we see ourselves as a victim. A light bulb went on for me in the moment of reading that poster and the truth tingles ran rapidly through my body. I was SO delighted to have this come my way as it made perfect sense to me of why I had not for a second been able to feel forgiveness towards others who had created so much grief for me and for another, with their manipulative lies. It was indeed to my heart and head an unforgiveable act of manipulation and certainly not something I would or will ever forget or forgive.

It did however send me off on a tangent at a young age that without the gift of it I never would have taken.   I could clearly see that at a Soul level if you like my path was just meant to be what it was and that these particular people had played their roles beautifully in ensuring I stay on track in order to achieve what I was here to do for myself in terms of healing and learning so that ultimately I could provide a safe, nurturing, validating and sacred space for others to explore themselves in.

Mena’s poster was a life changer for me because it is so very true that when we can see the lessons and gifts, can feel gratitude for all we have experienced and do experience, the good, the bad and the ugly, we gain acceptance and peace and we learn that truly there is nothing to forgive ourselves or anyone else for when you know with every cell of your being that you are NOT a victim, that you chose at some part of you to experience what you did and do experience for your own growth and learning.

This then led to another conversation with a longstanding and very dear friend about blame and judgement and we concluded for now that those too are all part of the Victim mentality. Of things being done “to” us rather than us taking responsibility for our part in the experience and seeing that nothing is ever done “to” us without our consent and permission at some level for we do indeed choose to participate in whatever we experience for our own development and evolution.

There is also much talk about forgiving yourself – for what exactly? For learning, for growing, for becoming the person you have become or are still becoming due to your lessons and experiences? What is there really to forgive yourself for? Why not just work on loving and being proud of yourself instead for being so brave and courageous to choose to experience ever so much that we all do here to ourselves and others, usually in ignorance, in this physical world.

Cheers, Cheryl.

Copyright – C. O’Connor 2015.

•*´☾☆☽`*•

#Cheryl O’Connor.

#Holistic #Counsellor, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.

* Creative & Artistic Therapies.

* Specialising in #Dream #Analysis/#Conscious #Dreaming & #Shamanic Journeying.

* #Reiki/#Seichim Treatments & Attunements.

* #Isis #Meditation.

* Proud member of The Wellness Universe – www.TheWellnessUniverse.com #‎WUVIP

Newsletter Subscription @ bit.ly/CheocoNews – All subscribers will receive a 10% discount on their first initial consultation for any of my services along with 33 awesome tips and tricks to help you start deciphering your dreams, as well as the symbolism of what appears to you daily.
My book The Promise, Skype & Email Consultations Available – bit.ly/Cheocoshop

GIVE AND TAKE, OR ………….. GIVE AND RECEIVE

Much of the conditioning many of us were brought up with appears to me to be rather somewhat flawed. Is this because of the natural evolution of consciousness or is it just because many who came before us and many of us even now still don’t stop to question what we have been told and believe to be true?

I don’t know the answer to that question for everyone I only know for myself I have always questioned all I have been told because experience tells me that somewhere in between what two or more people believe to be a truth, lays a truth, neither have yet seen.

We’ve all heard the phrase that relationships are a matter of give and take but are they, really?

This implies to me that when we give we believe that we should also take i.e. that if we give to one person then that person is obliged to give to us in return. Often if they don’t, those with a give and take mentality and expectation they will receive land up being disappointed or re-active with a well, what about me attitude.

I was instilled with certain things when I was younger, things that I became conditioned to believe and some of those things I adhere to like manners for they cost nothing and it never hurts to say please or say thank you. It is polite and to me it is respectful and it feels very right in my heart to use those words.  Apart from those two things much of what I grew up with I had to question and this whole give and take mentality was one such thing that never quite rang true with me. It still doesn’t.

So many times I have seen folk who give with the expectation of receiving – it rarely turns out well for when they don’t receive from who they expect to receive from, they become disappointed, resentful and think well why the heck should I help you in future when you need help, when you can’t be bothered to help me.   Often this turns into a situation of people feeling obliged to help so as not to create difficulties in friendships, lose friendships or lose connections with other folk, or for whatever other reason people have for feeling obliged and acting out of obligation, not for the love and passion of doing something.

It is a rather interesting exercise therefore to just give for no other reason than your heart or your consciousness or whatever other part of you gives you the impulse to help and expect absolutely nothing in return. The more you practice this the more awesome things happen in your life.

Not so long ago a very dear friend was not feeling too well, they had been pushing their body really hard in relation to long hours and were feeling rather fluey. Their muscles were aching and they asked if I could give them a quick massage – sure no problems was my response. I also landed up giving them some Reiki/Seichim. During the course of this massage and healing session there was nothing more than just the act of giving with love to someone close to me who needed me to assist them so their body could feel a little better. It wasn’t until after the session that an offer was then made to me that would prove to be very beneficial to me and my work.   I was so chuffed with the offer I took them up on it. It was the last thing I expected for the thought of what they offered me had not even entered my head.

Other times I have seen rewards given to others in many different environments for things they have done which they did willingly and usually out of their own initiative. When rewarded others have gotten their noises out of joint and come from the attitude and mentality of well what about me I did this or I did that, where is my reward?

I am not sure if this is just something that is part of human nature or if it is actually just conditioning we have become accustomed to but I do know this from many experiences …… when we give with no thought of reward, with no expectation that we should take in return or be rewarded in some way for what we ourselves choose to give to another or others, awesome things happen in our lives, usually when we most need them to and we do indeed receive, rather than take.

Cheers, Cheryl.

Copyright – C. O’Connor 2015.

•*´☾☆☽`*•

#Cheryl O’Connor.

#Holistic #Counsellor, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.

* Creative & Artistic Therapies.

* Specialising in #Dream #Analysis/#Conscious #Dreaming & #Shamanic Journeying.

* #Reiki/#Seichim Treatments & Attunements.

* #Isis #Meditation.

* Proud member of The Wellness Universe – www.TheWellnessUniverse.com #‎WUVIP

Newsletter Subscription @ bit.ly/CheocoNews – All subscribers will receive a 10% discount on their first initial consultation for any of my services along with 33 awesome tips and tricks to help you start deciphering your dreams, as well as the symbolism of what appears to you daily.
My book The Promise, Skype & Email Consultations Available – bit.ly/Cheocoshop

LAUNCHING THE WORLDS FIRST WELLNESS UNIVERSE WEBSITE DIRECTORY

Many of us no doubt wish there was “something” we could do to change much in this world which we see “society” as being responsible for, yet the reality is we are “society”.  Many of us may feel that there really is nothing as individuals we can do other than to wish that change would occur and that humanity as a whole would become more peaceful, compassionate, understanding, respectful and caring individuals when it comes to some of the behaviour we witness occurring courtesy of the media, in our daily lives and via some social media towards others, towards animals and towards the planet we all share.

We come to realise that the only thing we can every truly change is ourselves.  As we change ourselves, so too do we change the world around us, for the changes in ourselves ripple out and touch all we come in contact with.  It can however often be a slow, tiring and painful process to want change to occur all over the world and to still witness behaviour that has been happening on this planet for eons due to greed, blame, resentment, control, power over and manipulation along with a mentality of it’s not impacting on me and my life so what do I care and what really can I do about all of it anyway?

Yet many of us KNOW it really doesn’t have to be this way.  Many of us also want to change ourselves and our re-actions, behaviour, habits etc., but have no idea where we find the resources we need to assist us to do this. For over two decades now I have been putting what I do “out there” and it has been only in more recent times that I have had a Facebook page to do that from.  I don’t have the massive amount of likes at my page some folk have but I have witnessed an increase of over 1,200 “likes” in perhaps 8 months due to the networking I have been doing there and the groups I have become involved with. One such group is The Wellness Universe.

There is no competition in this group, there are no politics, there is only beautiful collaboration, a heartfelt desire and a Soul purpose to live the truth of what we love to do and to assist in bringing change for the better into the lives of those our messages reach, into this world.  There is in this group also only a desire to help each other with information, resources, networking opportunities, sharing and support  and well… finding this group of folk on Facebook for me was like finding my tribe at an oasis after a very long dry, dusty and tiring trek through the desert on my own. For the past twelve months behind the scenes at Facebook, as admins of this group, three very special women Anna Pereira, Sheila Burke and Shari Alyse have been working solidly, assisted by others also, to bring together a World First Website Directory that will showcase the best of the best Facebook Wellness pages (based on certain criteria that is needing to be met).

The impetus for this Directory is that Facebook is pretty much a case of not knowing who is using that platform and what is actually available to you unless you just happen to stumble upon it. My page Cheoco Enterprises,  along with many other pages has been selected as a Top Resource for The Wellness Universe Website Directory which these amazing women have been creating and which you can find here www.TheWellnessUniverse.com It is a Directory of Resources to Expand Your Well-Being and this Friday 23 January at 11.11am (New York time – which is 2.11am here in Brisbane on Saturday 24 January) sees the SITE GOING LIVE! The birthing of this baby being ushered into the world by these very special ladies who have poured endless time, effort, energy and their own funds into during the past 12 months has been in order to provide you  with a Facebook Directory that will showcase the best of the best Wellness Facebook pages by a huge variety of admins, all of whom are movers and shakers and whose Soul purpose it is to assist in creating a better world for all.

As one person no there isn’t a lot many of us can do to help change the whole world but as this group has proven change begins with us as individuals and when we all come together and work together the most powerful, beautiful and amazing changes in the world can and do happen. Personally I have been flat out like a lizard drinking behind the scenes just trying to keep up with it all as these women are a combined powerhouse of ideas, talent, joy, excitement, passion and they are doers.  Which yes is right up my alley 🙂

So please do join us at www.TheWellnessUniverse.com for the launch where you truly will find resources you may never even know existed because the change in this world so many of us would like to see begins within each. From me, here in Queensland, Australia I sign off with a massively huge round of applause and much gratitude in my heart for these 3 women, for achieving such a mammoth task which  was organised so efficiently, ethically, methodically and with such joy, love, enthusiasm and passion for humanity and the beautiful world we all share.

Cheers, Cheryl. Copyright – C. O’Connor 2014. •*´☾☆☽`*• #Cheryl O’Connor. #Holistic #Counsellor, Author & Writer. * Cognitive & Body Based Counselling. * Creative & Artistic Therapies. * Specialising in #Dream #Analysis/#Conscious #Dreaming & #Shamanic Journeying. * #Reiki/#Seichim Treatments & Attunements. * #Isis #Meditation.

* Proud member of The Wellness Universe – www.TheWellnessUniverse.com
#‎WUVIP
Newsletter Subscription @ bit.ly/CheocoNews – All subscribers will receive a 10% discount on their first initial consultation for any of my services along with 33 awesome tips and tricks to help you start deciphering the language of your Soul, your dreams, as well as the symbolism of what appears to you daily.Website @ www.cheocoenterprises.com
My book The Promise, Skype & Email Consultations Available – bit.ly/Cheocoshop

HEALING PARENTAL WOUNDS

We all know children do not come with instructions and that we receive no prior “training” in order to become a parent yet for any other job or activity we undertake there is a period of learning before we are deemed “qualified”.   It is very much a learn as you go experience and no-one can really tell you how to do what ultimately becomes the biggest task in your life, nurturing, being responsible for, guiding and teaching another person to an age and a stage where they can and do look after themselves totally and are totally responsible for themselves and their lives.

In times gone past a tribe would be involved in the upbringing of the young ones, then we moved to large family units being involved in their raising but more and more over time we have moved to the reality of just one or perhaps two people taking on this mammoth task of raising young folk and for many who are in pursuit of obtaining adequate housing and lifestyle that is in keeping with the “societal” standard more and more parents are working full time, mostly to pay off debt they incur to live the societal lifestyle standard, whilst leaving their child in another’s care who they do not really know but who has apparently received adequate training in caring for children.

It has me a bit baffled that in order to leave a child in another’s care in day care centres those others have to undergo a lot of training, cannot turn up to work drunk, cannot be abusive emotionally, mentally, physically or sexually, and yet we parents undergo absolutely no such training, nor do we have to meet such criteria.  Our training is usually on the job, in the moment learning.

For others such as single parents it is also often the case that they simply must work in order to keep a roof over their and their children’s heads, clothes on everyone’s back, pay the bills and have food on the table.

It’s a huge task being a parent, often tiring and often stressful as we juggle work and family commitments all the time just winging it as we go.  We all do the best we can with the awareness we have at any given time and really cannot expect much more than that from ourselves, given our lack of preparedness and training for the job.

Many children, like myself, grew up in environments where alcohol abuse, used as a medicine for coping with whatever stresses were being experienced, was common.  We also grew up in an era where copping a flogging was the norm, being told not to behave in certain ways when we got angry, thereby squashing down our emotions or were projected onto by unresolved issues our parents had etc., and today much of what we grew up with would be considered child abuse.

Many of us grew up with wounds being inflicted upon us by our parents behaviour and lack of self-awareness, lack of ability to cope and in dysfunctional families, and many children still are growing up in similar environments being yelled at, put down, living with alcohol or drug addicted or abusive adults, being treated in ways that no doubt are creating wounds for them and forming patterns of behaviour which their parents are handing down to them, just as those who came before them have unconsciously done.

For myself the most mammoth task of parenting came when I would say or do things and think oohh my goodness that is not me, not really, that is my mother.  My first born was a catalyst for me to become aware of and heal many wounds that had been inflicted on me as a child and for that I will always be ever so grateful to her.  In the process though there were wounds unconsciously inflicted on her by me as I juggled full time work, often getting up at 3.30am and not getting back to bed until 9 – 10 o’clock at night.  I was not in a position for several years where I could just not work, it was a necessity to our survival and yes it was exhausting.  The only support available to me at the time was that provided by the day care centre she attended and some assistance from my own grandparents.  For myself I have been working full time 90% of the time since I was a young teenager.

I was not the type of mother who would leave my child and later children on their own and go out clubbing or pubbing.  I did not bring an endless stream of men home nor did I drink alcohol or wipe myself out on drugs.  My child/children have always lived in nice, clean, lovely homes, always been well dressed, never gone without a meal or anything they have really needed.  Luxuries have never really existed and there are many things I would have liked to have done for them or with them but just had no money or time to do those but yes good budget management has no doubt been learned along with many other necessary skills.  There has been the odd holiday here or there locally but for the most part the past 25 years of my life, being an 80% of the time solo parent, has been devoted to raising two children whilst doing all that needs doing at home as well as working mostly full time with just the odd break to that here and there.   Was I a perfect mother, far from it and I never will be.

I spent 10 years in and out of depression and on a mammoth journey to rid myself of all that was no longer serving me or making me happy, whilst going through what is known as a Spiritual Crisis.  I worked solidly on healing the wounds which had been inflicted on me by my parents –  abandonment, abuse, alcoholism and essentially I did the very best I could do given my situation and my need to be responsible for myself and my child/children, just as my parents had done before me.   It wasn’t until I stopped focussing on the self indulgent hard done by mentality and started digging into my parents stories that I uncovered the why of how they had behaved towards me.  I came to realise, with age, that no matter what a parent does for a child, teaches a child to do for themselves, no childhood is EVER going to be perfectly how we as children would like it to be.

I am 50 now, still raising one child on my own and I have two grand-daughters.  For the past two years since a work contract ended I have been working my butt off, often up to 18 hours a day, 7 days a week to study so I have the mainstream qualifications necessary to tie up in a neat bow that which I love to do whilst also establishing a business out of what I love to do, not just doing any longer what I have felt I have needed to do to survive since I walked out of home at 14.  My whole parental life has been a situation of my children are part of my life but they are not my whole entire life as I saw ever so many women whilst I was growing up who made their children their entire life and then once the children had left the nest, as children rightly do, they were lost and had no sense of identity other than being someone’s Mum.

One of the greatest gifts given to me on this journey was seeing how patterns of behaviour have been passed down through the generations and how at some point in every child’s life it is a totally necessary part of growing up and taking responsibility for themselves that they do whatever is needed to also heal the wounds their parents unconsciously inflicted on them and learn to totally stand on their own two feet.   That they cease to blame or accuse their parent/s for whatever they feel or think the parent has or hasn’t done which is not to their liking.

It is said children choose us, we do not choose them and from my experiences with my children that was very much the situation.  Children come through us, they do not belong to us.  We give them the gift of life out of love, what they ultimately do with that life is entirely up to them but there must come a point in all our lives where we stop attacking, blaming and getting our knickers in a twist because our parents didn’t or don’t do what we believe as children or even as adults they “should” do now or should have done way back when, or what we expect them to do.   We all at some stage reach the point where we simply have to start parenting ourselves.  When we love others, truly love them, we have no expectations of them.  We don’t chuck hissy fits at them, nor do we ignore them or be rude to them simply because they are not doing what we think they should be doing or what we want them to do.

Many children these days seem to expect that their parents, after they have raised them and they have children of their own should be there to constantly offer support and guidance and to look after grand-children whilst they go off and do whatever.  Guess what kiddies, many of us grandparents are tired having raised our own families and whilst many of us dearly love our grandchildren and enjoy spending time with them, we have reached an age where we also enjoy our quiet time, when we can get it.

We don’t have the energy we once had nor do we much have the tolerance for noise we used to have.  Life moves, finally, at a bit of a slower pace for us and we have learnt the hard way that having expectations of anyone is just a recipe for heartache and disappointment.   We can no longer be bothered engaging ourselves in the dramas of youth either with your relationship issues and we live very much in the moment of now for we know there truly is no guarantee of tomorrow for any of us.  We’ve learnt that whilst having goals is essential if we are to create and achieve what we would like to experience in life, it is futile making set in cement plans.  Plans rarely ever turn out how we plan and so we move more easily in the flow of life rather than constantly battling with that flow.  Our emotional life has become much more stable, we don’t suffer the highs and lows that we did like a pendulum at full pelt swinging from one extreme to another at a younger age and if things pan out according to skeletal plans made they do, if they don’t we don’t get in a fluster about any of it much anymore.

We all come here to learn and grow, not to have everyone do what we think they should do.  We come here to experience ever so much and we cannot ever expect that one person is going to be able to give us all we need.  As I have always said to my two – you have one father and mother but if you are really lucky you will meet many who will fulfil the gaps in those roles because neither I nor your father will EVER be able to give you all you need or want.

So regardless of our ages if we haven’t yet healed our parental wounds we are still acting out of them with barriers and defence mechanisms and having re-actions rather than responses towards our parents and also towards others.  We all have them, there is no escaping them but ultimately at the end of the day it is OUR responsibility to heal them, not our parent’s responsibility to do that for us, nor can we blame them for what we think or feel, nor the lessons we have chosen to come here and learn which they have so beautifully provided for us to learn by giving us the ultimate gift, the gift of life.

Cheers, Cheryl.

Copyright C. O’Connor 2014.

Image sourced from Pixabay.

 

•*´☾☆☽`*•

‪#‎Cheryl‬ O’Connor.
‪#‎Holistic‬ ‪#‎Counsellor‬, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in ‪#‎Dream‬ ‪#‎Analysis‬/‪#‎Conscious‬ ‪#‎Dreaming‬ & ‪#‎Shamanic‬ Journeying.
* ‪#‎Reiki‬/‪#‎Seichim‬ Treatments & Attunements.
* Isis ‪#‎Meditation‬.

Newsletter Subscription @ bit.ly/CheocoNews – All subscribers will receive a 10% discount on their first initial consultation for any of my services along with 10 pages of awesome tips and tricks to help you start deciphering the language of your Soul, your dreams, as well as the symbolism of what appears to you daily.

Website @ www.cheocoenterprises.com
My book The Promise, Skype & Email Consultations Available – bit.ly/Cheocoshop

FB: https://www.facebook.com/cheocoenterprises
Skype: cheryloconnor333

Twitter: Cheryl O’Connor@Cheoco99
Email: cheoco99@yahoo.com.au

MENTAL ILLNESS OR… SPIRITUAL CRISIS?

For many years now people everywhere have been and still are “… undergoing a profound personal transformation associated with spiritual opening. Under favourable circumstances, this process results in emotional healing, a radical shift in values, and a profound awareness of the mystical dimension of existence. For some, these changes are gradual and relatively smooth, but for others they can be so rapid and dramatic that they interfere with effective everyday functioning, creating tremendous inner turmoil. Unfortunately, many traditional health-care professionals do not recognise the potential of these crises; they often see them as manifestations of mental disease and respond with stigmatising labels, suppressive drugs and even institutionalisation.”

Personally, I see what is occurring for many as being part of our evolution as human beings. It is like we have all been sleep walking for a very long time and slowly, one by one, we are all starting to be shaken up in order to wake up.

In 1992 I faced life threatening illness and all medical professionals seen for a period of six months kept reiterating that there “is nothing wrong with you”. I was experiencing many physical symptoms that eventually led me to a diagnosis by a naturopath and acupuncturist of “a blocked small intestine and kidneys that were barely functioning”. What accompanied my many physical symptoms of migraines, shortness of breath, constant exhaustion, welts emerging like hives all over my legs, chronic lower back pain, menstrual cramping that put me to bed, fluid retention in my body that created so much pain it brought me to tears when I took my bra off at the end of the day and made walking difficult due to the swelling in my feet, insomnia, a total inability to eat more than one very small meal a day and chronic constipation, were nights and sometimes days full of the most bizarre lucid dreaming experiences and waking reality visions I had ever had.

I was also experiencing major depression, suicidal ideology, was very re-active and angry and I was experiencing waves of enormous grief for no particular reason. Further, I was also experiencing hearing voices. There were many days when I did actually think I was going “insane”.

Now…. for someone whose whole conditioning had been you go to a doctor when you are not well and they will help you it was a huge challenge for me to even consider there may be an alternative but after six months of just hearing from several doctors, most of whom treated me like a bored housewife with nothing better to do than waste their time, “there is nothing wrong with you, here have some Prozac” it was all pretty hard to swallow. It was out of pure desperation, knowing full well something was definitely not right and feeling like I was indeed dying, as my body was shutting down more and more each day that I chose to consider an alternative to western medicine in the form of acupuncture and naturopathy.

That then led me to a huge range of other natural healing modalities over time that worked brilliantly for me as I went through healing process after healing process. Some days during the six months it took for me to find someone who could and did actually help me though, it took all my will just to get up each morning and get my daughter to school, after which I would come home and return to bed as the effects of it all were so very debilitating.

It was also at this time, due to the visions, the voices and the bizarre dreaming experiences that I sought the assistance of a Psychologist. That too proved to be a costly useless exercise that lead me nowhere fast. Several folk claimed I was experiencing “hallucinations” or would ask “what drugs are you on?!”, and the whole deal for me from the western psychological and medical viewpoint was not only was there nothing wrong with me but that I needed anti-depressant medication to “fix” the nothing that was wrong with me. It all didn’t make much sense to me and so an alternative choice, if I was to survive all this, was my only choice. It was also an extremely lonely time as no-one I initially sought help from seemed to have the vaguest idea of what was happening to and for me.

What emerged from it all was what I can only describe as being the wildest ride of my life. The lucid dreaming increased in frequency, as did the waking visions and the voices and I became aware of a far greater and more profound reality than the one I had been conditioned to believe existed. Essentially whilst I had many physical symptoms I had to dig really deep within myself to find cause, not just treat symptoms, for true healing to occur, which did occur over time not just physically, but emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

It was at this time I came across the only book that shed any light whatsoever on what was truly going on for me, The Stormy Search for the Self – A guide to Personal Growth through Transformational Crisis (Understanding and Coping with Spiritual Emergency). This book has been described as “A valuable tool for therapists and an aid to explorers” by Brain/Mind Bulletin; “A brilliant and practical guide to inner transformation” by Jack Kornfield, Buddhist teacher, author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and “A fascinating account of transformational processes. Essential reading for anyone interested in creative personal and social change” by Frances Vaughan, Ph. D. co-editor of Beyond Ego. For me, the wealth of wisdom and knowledge it contains is so very valuable it still sits in my library today.

It was by reading this book that I discovered what I was actually experiencing was what is known as a Shamanic Crisis. It is a crisis indeed because it took every ounce of my will, determination, trust, faith, intellect and courage to come out the other side of it. ” Anthropologists refer to the dramatic episodes of non-ordinary states of consciousness that mark the beginning of the healing career of many shamans as the “shamanic illness”.

“This experience of total annihilation is typically followed by resurrection and rebirth….” “Also characteristic is a rich spectrum of transpersonal experiences that provide profound insights into realms and dimensions of reality that are ordinarily hidden to human perception and intellect. Some of them mediate profound connection with and attunement to the creative energies of the universe, the forces of nature, and the world of animals and plants. Others involve various deities, spirit guides, and particularly power animals – helpers and protectors in animal form.”

The death pull of the crisis and all the processes I was going through were almost overwhelming as I experienced many a “Dark Night of the Soul”. Death was so very real and also very necessary because I, as I had known me to be for 28 years of my life, was indeed dying. All that I had previously been told was real and true about myself and about life wasn’t. It is therefore, in my mind, quite understandable that someone experiencing such a profound transformational crisis as I was experiencing may indeed think that physical death is the only solution they have. For it took every ounce of strength and will I could muster not to succumb to and act on the pull of death physically.

Whilst it is our western mainstream conditioning to deal with depression, suicidal ideology, what we term as hallucinations, hearing voices and awareness of non-ordinary states of reality with drugs or by institutionalising those who are experiencing something like this, if you are experiencing anything like it, or you have a client who mentions any of these types of things to you I strongly urge you to read “The Stormy Search for the Self” if you are not already aware of it, purely because in my opinion and from my perspective of all that I have personally lived through and experienced, masking symptoms with drugs, which just makes these processes take longer and does not treat cause, or by shutting people away who are experiencing “Spiritual crisis” is doing them way more harm than it is good.

© Cheryl O’Connor – Holistic Counsellor 2014.

Quoted excerpts taken from
Christina & Stanislav Grof, M.D – The Stormy Search for the Self -1990
Published by J.P Putnam’s Sons
200 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 100016

© Cheryl O’Connor 2014. #Cheoco

•*´☾☆☽`*•

‪#‎Cheryl‬ O’Connor.
‪#‎Holistic‬ ‪#‎Counsellor‬, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in ‪#‎Dream‬ ‪#‎Analysis‬/‪#‎Conscious‬ ‪#‎Dreaming‬ & ‪#‎Shamanic‬ Journeying.
* ‪#‎Reiki‬/‪#‎Seichim‬ Treatments & Attunements.
* Isis ‪#‎Meditation‬.

Newsletter Subscription @ bit.ly/CheocoNews – All subscribers will receive my Dreamwork booklet to help you re-connect with your dreaming reality, give you practical tips on working with your dreams, as well as the symbolism of what appears to you daily.

Website @ www.cheocoenterprises.com
My book The Promise, Skype & Email Consultations Available – bit.ly/Cheocoshop

FB: https://www.facebook.com/cheocoenterprises
Skype: cheryloconnor333

Twitter: Cheryl O’Connor@Cheoco99
Email: cheoco99@yahoo.com.au

KILLER STRESS

Image

It seems fairly acceptable in our society these days to accept stress as “normal”. Technology designed to make life easier has in fact made life busier with a constant flow of information, requests and demands on our time and things to attend to all run by numbers on a calendar, in a bank account or on a clock that our thoughts about them react to.

More and more automated voice options on phones that don’t get you where you need to be to actually speak to a human being does not add relief to our stress levels as they provide less and less customer service along with more and more frustration. We have less time to grow and cook good food and less time with loved ones because we are all so “busy”.

Whereas once upon a time you wrote a letter, wandered down to the post box and posted it, it was received and you then waited for a reply these days as soon as an email arrives there is an inclination to attend to it almost immediately in order to continue on with what you are doing or to attend to some “urgent” matter that has suddenly arisen. It seems too that being more and more productive is constantly pushed by bosses in the name of profit and greed. Combined with that the volume of information available these days on the internet can be and often is quite overwhelming.

Where once upon a time you only heard local or national news now you are bombarded with news about disasters, insanities and atrocities from all over the planet wherever you go which generally speaking you are helpless to do a damn thing about other than to either feel empathy for those involved, have a re-action to which is usually either anger or sadness and be ever so grateful for your own situation in a country such as Australia. Or you can always just turn it all off.

The push for more and more productivity, more and more profit driven greed is massive though and as the planet’s health is affected by it, so too is ours. If we have a day where we simply can just take in no more information, where all we want to do is just roll the rock over the cave entrance and hibernate, stay in our jim jams and sloth about simply because we just cannot be bothered with any of it or we feel like we just cannot do anything more without some shutdown time, our conditioning is, generally speaking to think we are lazy or are being self-indulgent. In recent days even our government here in Oz has decided it’s a damn good thing if people born after a certain year now continue working until they are 70 before they will be able to receive any government assistance by way of a pension.

When folk get snappy at others it is usually because they are rushing around frantically with a million things in their heads all screaming for attention, they are not present at all. They are in fact either living in the past in their heads or living in the future and so the reason usually given for a snappy or rude attitude and tone of voice is in many situations tied in with stress.

We, as humans, are not computers where buttons can just be pushed and information is rapidly processed, yet by many and perhaps even ourselves we have become conditioned to expect we can. However even the best computers need de-fragging and deletion of old files when they start to run slowly. Many people too are so busy talking about all their dramas and stresses or whinging and gossiping about other folk there is simply no space or time for self-reflection or introspection. As for self-nurturing well that is just something many don’t have “time” for.

A typical day for most of us (not exactly in this order but you will get the gist of it) is being rapidly brought out of sleep by a screaming “alarm”, so we are “alarmed” before we even get out of bed, a frantic rush out the door to get to where we need to be trying to make sure we have all we need, a day being bombarded with “stuff” by much and many, a frantic rush to get children where they need to be (if we have them), a frantic rush home to do whatever needs doing that night and then a run around situation on a weekend just to get ready for the following week. Folk work incredibly long hours to maintain jobs many really are not even happy doing, to either just survive or to pay off debt they have acquired to buy “stuff” they are usually so busy working to pay for they don’t get much time to enjoy the “stuff”, nor do they get much time to spend with those in their lives who they love and care about.

It all seems like total insanity to me and always has done even though I too have participated in it for several decades.

At some point in our evolution we have gone from a day that consisted of a natural rhythm of waking up at sunrise, washing and gathering our food for the day, making things we needed, not wanted (there is a massive difference) all of which nature provided us with the resources to do, spending time with our “tribe”, cooking, laughing, planting, caring for each other, telling stories, making music, harvesting crops and living a very simple but way more fulfilling life to my way of thinking than we all presently have and then going to sleep not too long after the sun went down. What we call “stress” has been part of humanity forever for it actually comes from the fight or flight response we all contain.

When “stressed” the adrenal glands create adrenalin which then makes our hearts pump faster and harder so that blood can be moved to our big muscles in order that we have enough oomph to either fight, literally for our very lives, or take flight rapidly to save our lives. We also breathe rather shallowly when stressed so not as much oxygen is available to pump our blood. The whole purpose of “stress” and the impact it has on our bodies is purely about survival and was designed to last for only a very short time to keep us safe. I became aware recently that it is seen to be a 15 minute maximum scenario.

So, what happens when we are “stressed” constantly – high blood pressure happens, sore throats happen if we are not speaking our truth, anxiety happens, nervous disorders happen, lack of sleep happens, headaches happen, muscles ache and so many other horrid impacts to our body, emotions and minds happens and whilst we all know stress isn’t healthy for us and we tout it is a killer – it is indeed very much a killer by nature of the human body when experienced on an ongoing basis. It is very often the case that unless or until it makes us really sick we just carry on Columbus with it as a constant companion.

I am speaking from hard learnt experience here and often it is the case that you really don’t realise just how stressed you were until you move into a space of not being stressed. For a time it is actually a really weird feeling to not be stressed, to not be racing around like a lunatic and to not be constantly achieving or producing. Many people when they start experiencing stress symptoms like digestive disorders and other apparent signs like I have mentioned above have the inbuilt conditioning to go see a doctor and get some pills so they can “carry on”. The pills they take have possible “side effects” which aren’t really things that happen on the side and are in fact effects and whilst yes for some pharmaceuticals are the answer for more and more of us they are fast not becoming the answer. The western medical system is a whole other topic and for some it works, for some it doesn’t. This article is not about that particular system for better or for worse or about my giving anyone advice. Essentially though what I have learned is that whenever we aren’t feeling well it is always a sign that the body wants and NEEDS rest and that in all situations where my own body is concerned there is a blockage of energy that needs releasing.

So what causes stress? Quite simply our own thinking causes the bulk of our stress. As an example I once was travelling to the city to work, the train was delayed due to an electrical failure totally out of rail employee’s control. They took action to get the fault repaired, they called for buses to take stranded passengers to where they needed to go and they informed all passengers what was going on.

There were well over a couple of hundred folk who this electrical fault impacted on. There was quite simply nothing more the rail employees could do about any of it and people just needed to ring their employers, inform them they would be late and wait for the buses. Most were fine with that but several became so anxious and extremely rude, loud, aggressive and obnoxious towards the rail employees simply because things hadn’t gone according to their plan that morning and so yes now they would be late for work. Their thoughts about whatever they were now going to be late for and perhaps how their own bosses would re-act to them being late were a trigger that created such a scene many fellow commuters were embarrassed by their behaviour and it led to many feeling and expressing empathy for the railway employees.

There is a story in Women Who Run With The Wolves. You can find it on page 328. If you don’t have a copy of this incredible and always life changing book of many stories for those who have read it, I do suggest you track down a copy, you will not regret it. I’ve had my copy since the early 90s and I still find such a lot of information, wisdom and inspiration within its pages.

The story I am referring to is called The Three Gold Hairs. It fits extremely well into the scenario of stress in our “modern world” and its impact on us. We actually become the old and withered dying man in that story as more and more stress envelops us until there comes a time where we simply cannot go on any longer with the pressure of the work “force” sucking away at us and impacting on us as we stagger through the dark forest with stress as our companion, primarily due to this whole work till you drop, constantly achieve and produce mentality that has become the norm for so many of us. We are really beings not doings and whilst yes there are things we need to do it appears to me we become healthier, more alive, more patient, more accepting and more energised when we do what we love to do, not what we feel or think we have to do.

It is a very necessary part of the feminine nature of life regardless of the sexual gender of our bodies to stop, to rest, to restore, to sleep, to dream and to nurture ourselves and to not allow our thoughts or the energy of others to create stress which engulfs us, for we are a bit like freshly baked juicy apple pies – steaming hot out of the oven and all will want a piece of us – just remember to always leave some for yourself and to bake yourself a new pie before you run out.

Cheers, Cheryl.

© Cheryl O’Connor 2014.

•*´☾☆☽`*•

‪#‎Cheryl‬ O’Connor.
‪#‎Holistic‬ ‪#‎Counsellor‬, Author & Writer.

* Cognitive & Body Based Counselling.
* Creative & Artistic Therapies.
* Specialising in ‪#‎Dream‬ ‪#‎Analysis‬/‪#‎Conscious‬ ‪#‎Dreaming‬ & ‪#‎Shamanic‬ Journeying.
* ‪#‎Reiki‬/‪#‎Seichim‬ Treatments & Attunements.
* Isis ‪#‎Meditation‬.

Newsletter Subscription @ bit.ly/CheocoNews – All subscribers will receive a 10% discount on their first initial consultation for any of my services along with 10 pages of awesome tips and tricks to help you start deciphering the language of your Soul, your dreams, as well as the symbolism of what appears to you daily.

Website @ www.cheocoenterprises.com
My book The Promise, Skype & Email Consultations Available – bit.ly/Cheocoshop

FB: https://www.facebook.com/cheocoenterprises
Skype: cheryloconnor333

Twitter: Cheryl O’Connor@Cheoco99
Email: cheoco99@yahoo.com.au