Connection Deepens through Self Enquiry
Mark [0:00] Connection of the Heart are deeply essential and it is wonderful to welcome Jan, to the Heart of Connection podcast. I’m your host Mark Randall and it’s wonderful to reconnect with you down here at Steele Island, in Tasmania for the Association of Transpersonal & Experiential Psychotherapists (ATEP) bi-annual gathering. Just by way of intro Jan, would you mind giving a short brief introduction of where you fit into the picture?
Jan [0:23] Okay, all right. Well, hi Mark. It’s great that you put your hand up and joined us down here in downtown Carlton Steeles Island. Right here, right now, I’m a 68-year-old, who’s been part of an organization, which is now called Association of Transpersonal & Experiential Psychotherapists (ATEP). I put my hand up 18 months or so ago to coordinate our next gathering, conference gathering. I’ve been part of this community for close on 30 years now. There are 30 odd people have come from all over the country flown in. There is a number from Tasmania because its’ down here in Tassie, just outside of Hobart.
Psychotherapist & Now Retired
I have worked within or under this organization – under this banner, as a full-time psychotherapist. I was a co-director of an organization that did personal and professional development, over a number of years. I’ve sort of retired, but from this gathering, I might be coming out of retirement (laughter). Which is a bit scary, apart from, I’m thinking quite selfishly, I don’t know how much I want to give of myself again. So it’s an interesting question.
Connection to our Community
Which possibly leads me into the heading of your podcast about Heart of connection and what that means for me. Yeah! So, it is a new wording. So have any had a few minutes to get my head around it, and possibly my heart. So I am thinking about it and right here, right now, I’m really connected. One of the delights, I guess, of, in this case, putting my hand up to coordinate this gathering.
Fortunately, 3 others, my partner and two very close friends, said you we’ll support you. So it’s a four-person gathering or four-person facilitation. One of the delights is the fact that I do reconnect with people who have really been part of my hearts journey. I feel really moved for that. So from a selfish perspective, or self-interest, this, even though there’s been quite a lot of work in organizing this, now that we’re here, and it’s all happening, this is a pretty good mob! Our hearts are really important places for us to go to, and to be aware of.
Mark [3:26] Is the Heart an important place to connect?
Heart Not Connected ~ Not connect to me
Jan [3:32] For me personally, when my heart is not connected, then I’m not connected to myself. I know enough about my body energies now and about my habits and patterns of thinking that I know, when my hearts closed. I have a certain way of being in the world. I have reactions to things that are happening and the way I’m responding to people, the way I’m responding to situations. That is informing me but that my heart is closed. Mark, it’s interesting that you have asked me to do this podcast, because the older I get, the more important, I was going to say it’s vital for me to keep on opening my heart.
I feel really moved, when I’m saying that, because what it does, is not only open my heart to me, but I have the capacity to be there for others. Our world will not change unless we have the capacity to give to others. Unless we, unless I, keep on giving, my world is shrinking, and others are shrinking because of that.
By nature, I’m gregarious, by nature, I’m an extrovert. I have people quite a lot of people in my life, I do volunteer work now with others. I enjoy the interaction and my heart has to be open, to being honest to those people,
Reconnection to my Heart
Mark [5:20] When you observe or notice or sense that your heart is closed? How do you reconnect to your heart, to reopen the space of your heart to self and others?
Jan [5:33] So, I’ll just give you a little bit of the framework of the work that is under the banner of Association of Transpersonal & Experiential Psychotherapists (ATEP). The work incorporates the transpersonal and we learn a lot about ourselves through the experience of ourselves. So there’s a lot of body focus. So the awareness of what the body is doing, in my case, my own body and working also, as a psychotherapist, I’m very aware of body energy in other. This is particularly when I’m working with them and there’s an energetic exchange between them and I.
There’s also an energetic envelope that I am navigating all the time and in myself. So when I feel closed, I can feel myself hardening. For me, hardening in a way was the way I grew up.
Mark [6:35] When you harden, what do you notice happens in your mindset, in your mind and your thinking? Is there a parallel process happening there?
Judging Myself & Others
Jan [6:43] There is. Good question. There is absolutely and often it’s the judge and I’m actually judging the situation of, other or judging that person and putting them at fault. I’m surprised how often, I internally think that it’s somebody else’s fault. That’s a clear indication for me that I’ve hardened. The next step to that is when I get the awareness, which sometimes happens quite quickly and sometimes much slower. I can be caught up in my judgments and my blaming, and I’ve got a fairly forthright and direct manner, which I quite like. If it holds judgment, then I can actually be quite insensitive.
Mark [7:40] When you get awareness, could you describe where the awareness comes from? Is it just an intellectual awareness or is it a deeper awareness than just intellect?
An Inner Journey of Personal Work
Jan [7:51] I think, I think at first. I do think that I think about it. My words to myself, because I have been working on myself for want of a better way of saying for quite a long time. I’ve been actively sort of open that door of personal journey work nearly 30 years ago.
So I get my behavioral patterns, I can see what’s happening. So that’s a thinking thing. And always a question is to myself, “what am I hardening myself to? What is it? In our work, we call it vulnerability?
For me, it’s like, what aren’t I allowing to come through, that makes me feel a bit scared or a bit hurt or feeling out of my depth, or not understanding, which I’m covering up through that sort of habitual behavior of, you know, being a bit tough, being a bit hard, being a bit confrontational.
Softening to my Tears
Mark [9:01] When you – the opposite to hardness is softening. When you soften, what do you experience?
Jan [9:08] Often tears. That’s my first – from that particular scenario. If I’m catching myself, being in that hardness, I will often find the tears of something that I’m hurt by or something that is making me feel uncomfortable. Something that is making me go into something that I’m not been aware of before. So, something into the unknown, so I feel vulnerable.
My Tears are a Blessing
Mark [9:49] How do the tears respond, to when you connect to them?
Jan [9:56] The tears? For me, my tears are a blessing. I didn’t cry, I don’t think I cried once until I was 40 plus. I don’t recall cry. I’ve had some difficult episodes in my life but I would always respond with anger, and defensiveness and the hardening. So for me, my tears when they first came, were an absolute gift.
Always for now, when I can find my tears, it allows me to soften to myself. And that is such a rich gift and it’s still a bit scary.
Mark [10:43] But in that gift, it sounds like, and feels like, are you connecting to yourself as soften…? and issues so…
Connecting to myself as I Soften
Jan [10:50] Completely. It’s nearly like a physical manifestation. It’s sort of, we’re on a podcast, but my fingers have gone to my heart area. It’s just like, the tentacles are opening, you know, instead of the close tentacles, it’s sort of opening up. I physically soften, my shoulder softens, my belly softens. I feel more grounded in myself. My bottom sort of goes, in this case on the chair, I want to put my feet down now sort of on the ground. For me, it’s a strong physical thing. My life, I am a physical person, I have a strong physicality.
Mark [11:37] Does it allow, as you’re sharing that story? In your essence, in your presence, the word that dropped into my consciousness was just a space of love.
Jan [11:50] Yes. So that’s still not easy for me to say.
Mark [12:01] She is being held in there?
Word Love incredibly Precious
Jan [12:03] Look, I – the words love, for me, incredibly precious. I see the word love uses so lightly these days. So many people finish your conversation, “I love you,” and get off the train or the tram or the bus or something. “love you.” They put the phone down, “love you.” It’s, for me, when I express love it’s like, yeah, it’s a very moving experience for me. I think that’s something to do with my age. My first experience of telling anybody I love them was again in my 40s. Even though I’ve been married, and I’ve been in numerous relationships, I never really understood love.
So I don’t – it doesn’t come without a real depth of feeling. So, for me to actually answer you by saying, does a feeling of love come, I think it is love. It’s hard to even say to you, yes, that’s love.
Mark [13:26] I am just to observing and obviously, mindful of projection when I’m having conversations with people. When you’re talking about that felt energy down there, what happens to your being your well-being when you touch into that felt energy, let’s take the word love out and just use that word energy?
Heart of Connection – I’ve become connected
Jan [13:48] So for me, you know, you’re talking about the word heart-connection, and it feels like that I’ve really become connected. I can hear the sound of the trees more. I can, it’s a bit like, we do various processes here and feels like I’ve come out fresh from a deep process. So I see the clarity in the sky and the clarity in the trees and the person that I’m engaging with. The person I am engaged with sorry (laughter), a bit of editing there.
Mark [14:21] No, just let it go.
Connection, I fully engaged
Jan [14:27] It feels like I am engaging, I’m fully engaging. Yeah, and in some ways, it is quite a joyous, sort of – I just feel so much more in myself, that I’m doing that.
Mark [14:45] What does it do for your well-being?
Jan [14:47] Well, for a start I think it takes a lot of tension out of my body, which is really good (laughter) because I become more conscious that I hold myself tight. I am quite a tight person in it.
Mark [14:58] Does that take energy to keep that tightness there?
Jan [15:01] Yeah, I reckon. I reckon it does.
Mark [15:04] When you were talking before about coming out with that clarity, do you experience like a different dimension? Are things clearer? You’re in a different space?
Jan [15:19] I’m in a different space. I mean, I could use the words. It’s not a word that that feels or I can relate to when they say dimension. The first thing that comes to me, in terms of a different dimension, would probably be – through a holotropic breathwork session where I’ve moved into a transpersonal experience. So that feels a little bit more like a different dimension. I wouldn’t have that. It wouldn’t be so gross or something, when I realize I’m coming connected to myself or I’ve been defending myself. It’s more, a “yay.”
Mark [15:59] When you come out and see and that clarity? Is that like an, “aaha” moment?
Jan [16:05] Well, it’s like, “great Jan,” that you’ve – that you’re connected to the interconnection of everything, instead of being driven by my ego.
Mark [16:18] And that interconnection, would that be a connection to ‘All that Is’?
Connection to ‘All That Is’
Jan [16:22] All, absolutely, it is. When – it’s impossible not to know that everything is interconnected and I forget it all the time because you know, just get caught up in my stuff. I have reactions and judge people and get driven and feel pressured. There’s too much to do and you know, the everyday things of life. So, it’s just a really, it is a lovely feeling to soften into something that is bigger than me.
Mark [17:05] How do you, do you make a point to connect to that bigger than you, during your day? Do you have a ritual or practice that facilitates that reconnection to the interconnectivity?
Jan [17:17] I do and it fluctuates with my life. I’m hopeless at discipline, hopeless at routine, the only routine that I just about have every day is my first two cups of tea in the morning.
Mark [17:29] Is that a judgment?
It’s who I am
Jan [17:30] (Laughter) not a judgment just like, this is who I am (Laughter). You know, I like, I’m not very disciplined. In some areas, I may be disciplined. Disciplines not high on the adjective list of my personality. So, you know, it fluctuates. At the moment, I’m actually and I haven’t done it at all, since, these last three days, but I’ve got a meditation practice. I start the day with and you know, that meditation practices is used fairly loosely. I can still stay in the business of that and I have an intention, to come back to that connectedness a lot.
I’m very fortunate, I’m in an intimate relationship with a woman who has the same language as me. I can feel that connection or lack of connection. I am able to say, I’m actually being able to say, “I don’t feel the connection between us” or, my heart feels close to you. What is happening between us? I am able and I am very, very fortunate to have that in my life, where she will often reflect back as to, give me the awareness of what’s going on for me. I’m deeply grateful for that.
Awareness Opens me to Enquiry
Mark [18:58] When the awareness comes back, does that then open your heart and mind to check in, drop?
Jan [19:09] It opens me up to the inquiry as to what’s going on. I’ve gone into a habitual pattern of defending myself. Sometimes it’s quite easy, sometimes it’s actually quite hard because it does require me to say something that I feel quite vulnerable about. I might be a bit scared to say it, in case there’s, something negative comes back. It might spoil the sort of the way that we are connecting to one another, which is really not as heartfelt as I would like, but at least we’re not having a fight or, I’m sort of, in some ways, we’re both pretending.
Mark [19:53] The process, when you disconnect but become aware of it, you start that inquiry, and you soften, does that then bring the connection back?
Awareness Brings My Connection to Me
Jan [20:02] Always every single time. I start, I get connected to myself. When I can be really honest with myself to say, whatever it is, that I’ve had defended myself from. If it’s with other, and I’ve actually put it out to others and this case I’m thinking about my intimate relationship. I’m always met in that, because I’m not defended and can hear, a genuine inquiry or a genuine hurt or a genuine opening to something that we may not even understand. We have tools available to tease it out.
Mark [20:51] When you start to soften and reconnect, and the heart opens. Do you start to radiate? Just as your sharing, in your eyes and as your sharing your story there is the story, there’s a real essence of radiance?
Connection Sparkles through my Eyes
Jan [21:08] Well, it’s interesting, it’s not a word that I would have used about myself. I think when I’m connected to myself, I’m actually a bit of a pixie, and I’m fairly joyous sort of person. I’m sort of, again, quite gregarious and when I’m really genuinely connected to myself, I am connected to other. I think the other, feels that. People have said to me, you’ve got sparkling eyes, Jan, and you got a big smile. So, you could use the word radiance, it’s not something…
Mark [21:43] It’s really sometimes what I’m finding with these conversations, the language, the cognitive language is just not equipped enough to do justice to what we experience at that felt level. The greater connection to the ‘All that Is,’ – when you have that connectivity, what happens to the sense of self, the sense of Jan? Does Jan just merge into the cosmos or when she’s the Pixie, does she just burst into cosmos and can you share a little bit about her?
Laughing at the Trivia
Jan [22:21] Alright, I think different things happen. One of the things for me is that I can laugh a little bit at the trivia that I get caught up in. So, myself sort of gets laughed at. In quite a heartfelt way. So, that helps a lot just in everyday situations. We do have many interactions with others throughout our day, even if I’m driving, I do a lot of driving, even if I’m driving and then I get cross with another driver. It’s like, once I realize that, I, that I’m actually connected to that other driver, it takes the pressure off me.
I just become a minuscule of, the breadth of what this existence is.
Mark [23:25] Do you become free?
Jan [23:26] A lot freer, much, much freer.s
Mark [23:30] What’s that like?
Jan [23:30] Oh, it’s great. (Laughter). I think that’s why I like personal work, you know, learning about myself because obviously, there are great rewards in it. Yeah, sure, there are some challenges. You’re sort of challenged when you’re not aware as well. You know, and it’s lovely to soften.
Mark [23:54] Where does that freedom take you?
Freedom within my Loving Heart
Jan [23:56] Well, it does take me into a loving heart. Does, a real opener to others, and to everything and I really value that. I think, to be truthful, I think I’ve got something to give then.
Mark [24:12] If more and more of us human, you know, we humanoids. If we were to do what you just did and just shared on a collective level, what do you think that experience would do for Mother Earth?
Compassion to Mother Earth
Jan [24:27] The compassion that we would gain with each other for Mother Earth is that we would say that she needs some Tender Loving Care (TLC). The more TLC that we can give her, because we are treading very heavily on her. The more that we can see, give her some TLC, we will look after her. I mean, the TLC is looking after her, and we will help her, to help us. I genuinely believe we have to do develop some more compassion for the planet that we’re sitting on, and we’re standing on and stomping on.
Mark [25:07] One of those ways is, first of all, to become more open-hearted to ourselves and to each other?
Jan [25:14] The more open-hearted we are to each other, the more than where I’ve been had to do everything.
Gift of Open Hearts
Mark [25:20] What a gift?
Jan [25:21] Absolute gift!
Mark [25:25] I haven’t got words to describe. Yeah, and really, that’s one of the beautiful things about hearing from everybody. That’s a very common thread that’s coming through the conversations in this podcast is that connection? Yeah, the more we ‘heal ourselves’, we are then opening our hearts to heal, Mother Earth.
Jan [25:47] Yeah, I agree. That’s all we can do in a way because in a way, it’s too big. I mean, Bob Brown, “think globally, act locally.”
Mark [25:50] Can you say that again?
Think Globally, Act Locally
Jan [26:00] “Think globally, act locally”. Within myself, it’s the only person I can really heal is me. I have, I’ve experienced that when I can heal me and open myself to me when I connect to my heart that somehow it softens the way that I’m interconnecting with everything.
Mark [26:29] And the freedom that brings? It is just wonderful to watch and experience with you just now that freedom and how do we share that? The more we share that, the more we all grow and give back to this beautiful Mother Earth.
Jan [26:48] Absolutely.
Mark [26:49] And she holds us.
Jan [26:50] Yes, she does.
My Advice to Young Women & Men
Mark [26:52] Let’s, give back to her. The other thing I’ve been asking people is – Is there a piece of advice from your experience, the inner journey work you’ve done over the years? Is there a piece of advice you’d like to offer the young girls following your footsteps, young girls and boys that are following in your footsteps? What would that piece of advice be for them at this point?
Jan [27:20] I see a mixture of young girls. I was very influenced by peer pressure. I am a twin and my twin sister didn’t seem to be as influenced by peer pressure. What happened to me with peer pressure, I think was that I gave myself away. I didn’t stay true to myself. A piece of advice that I would love for young women to hear, is, ask yourself, does this feel right for me? Does this feel right to be doing this? If it feels right, then go ahead with it.
And it might be you know, smoking, you know the drugs or taking alcohol or being sexual with your boyfriend or sexual with your girlfriend. You know, it could be any of those things. See if you can ask yourself the question, does this feel right for me? Or am I doing it for someone else and it doesn’t sit with me. That’s the sort of advice I’ve given. I did some things now. I don’t regret them because I just wish I’d stayed a little bit true more to myself. I was very influenced by others and I did myself a disservice and I had a lot of suffering because of it.
Mark [28:42] What’s it like now, to be coming home to your truth?
Jan [28:48] That’s what I said, to you before we went on the podcast, it’s great getting old. It’s great, I am not nearly as influenced by how I should be and what I could be doing. And you know, what others expect of me and all of that and that’s beautiful. I love that sort of softening into, well, this is a package. I made up of all my humaneness and yeah, sure, I have to be careful, sometimes as I still can be quite insensitive. Sometimes I’m a bit too confrontational. It’s alright in the scheme of things and the more I stay true to myself the better I am.
Loving Compassion for all those parts of myself
Mark [29:32] It’s like just as you’re sharing that, I’m wondering, the more open-hearted you have become, is there more acceptance of the insensitive, the part of you, that is a bit insensitive or can be. Rather than fight it, it’s just aware that it’s there. Okay, thank you for being there, now you’re a signpost that needs to look at something a bit further behind you?
Jan [29:56] I am, I really think that I often I do feel some compassion for those parts of myself. It’s more the having, the more I learned about myself, which is part of getting older as well, is that I’ve got the ability to change it. It’s fantastic with awareness.
Mark [30:19] We are so fortunate.
Jan, thank you for the connection that I’ve had to you for many, many years ATEP, this association. It’s been an honor and a privilege to have that connection with you. Thank you for sharing your story with others, through the Heart of Connection podcast. I really appreciate it.
Jan [30:40] Namaste. Thank you
Transcribed by https://otter.ai