Connection of the Heart – My Life’s Thread
Mark [0:00] Connection of the Heart. Pat, thank you for the opportunity to speak with you as a guest on the Heart Connection podcast here at the Association of Transpersonal & Experiential Psychotherapist (ATEP) national gathering. I’m your host Mark Randall. It’s lovely to have an opportunity to talk to someone who has had such a history in the emotional release and transpersonal work over many, many years. It is an honor to be sitting here with you to have this conversation. Just by way of intro, would you mind giving a brief introduction on, how it came to be and how Pat got into this work?
Heart of Connection is my theme
Pat [0:32] Well, it’s a bit of a long story, really. When you mentioned about heart connection, I thought, really, that has been the theme that has run right through my life. At 79, it’s been a reasonably long life so far. I haven’t got any ideas of going away at this point of time. It probably all started back with my family of origin. While my parents did have the limitations, I knew that I was loved and I was an only child.When you mentioned about heart connection, I thought, really, that has been the theme that has run right through my life. Click To Tweet
Loving God at 13 years old
At the time of about 13 years old, I came to the realization that I was really loved by God. Believe it or not, I then fell in love with God. I wanted to spend a life of love and I thought at that time, the best way to do that was to become a Catholic sister. So I started to think about where I would go and which group I would join. At the age of 17, I had found the place to go.
I might say something about something that happened to me at 13 years old. I was at secondary school in Melbourne, Santa Maria. We had a retreat for three days and there was a priest called Father Sylvester, he was German. He came and he preached a number of times. Every time he started his preaching, in his heavy German accent, he would say, “find the source of love, and be yourself all love day by day.” Now those words have never left my thoughts. I knew that that’s what my life was going to be all about. Finding God the source of love, and being a loving presence to other people throughout life.Click To Tweet
So I joined the sisters at 17 years old and in all these years, I have never regretted the life path that I was on.
Mark [2:52] The sisters were just back in Tasmania not long ago, is that is correct?
Mark [3:30] The Heart of Connection? How do you connect to your heart? How do you connect to yourself in that process?
Heart of Connection my Passion for Self-knowledge & Self Awareness
Pat [3:42] I guess, I’ve always had a passion for self-knowledge, self-awareness. I think right through my adult life, I wanted to understand more of what was inside me. I took every possible avenue I could and they were a bit limited back in those days as a religious sister. You didn’t have buckets of money to go and do things. Anything that I could get within reach and that was reasonable. I did it, as a way of trying to get to know me. I was very fortunate when I was 39 years old. My religious order gave me the opportunity to go overseas to study. In that course, I learned a lot more about counselling skills and supporting people in their finding connection with themselves. Of course, I was always wanting a deeper connection with myself.
Then when I came back from overseas, I went to a place called Living Water Center in the Blue Mountains. There I found certain methods for exploring one’s in a world that I had not met before. That took me into a much deeper understanding of myself. So that connection with self seemed so important and it hasn’t stopped. Like at 79 years old, I am still passionate about really knowing myself and really connecting with myself.
Connection to my Foundation ~ My Relationship with God
Mark [5:19] When you do connect yourself, what do you experience in there?
It’s sort of like, connecting to my foundation. For me, and I know it’s not for everybody, but for me, my relationship with God is really important. Really quite significant and even though I’m not thinking about God all day, not at all. When it comes to the crunch, that’s the base that I go to, and to me it feels like a solid base.
Energetically when you’re here that base, when you touch that base, what happens to you energetically? Can you describe what happens to you energetically?
Pat [6:08] Its a sense of sureness, clarity, at a certain level of peace.
Mark [6:23] Is there freedom?
Pat [6:26] Oh, yes.
Freedom to know my Truth
Mark [6:27] Whats that freedom like?
Pat [6:29] Well, it’s freedom to know my truth. It is not the freedom to just do what I want. Like, being a member of a religious order, you can’t just, I can’t just say, oh look, I’m going to go on a trip around the world. So it’s not about just doing what, what might be momentarily attractive. It’s really about doing what meaningful.
Like somebody said to me, now that you’re getting older, you don’t have to do all the work, you are doing, all those counselling work you’re doing over the years. You could just play croquet or play cards. I’m thinking to myself, why would I do that? I want a meaningful life and to me, it’s about service. The group that I joined, are called Missionary Sisters of Service.
It’s like services in my veins and I meet a professional woman at the pool regularly. I go there into a therapy pool to keep more mobile and she’s a lovely lady. We have lots of sharing of ideas, but she’s always asking, ‘what’s happened for you today’? I tell her all the things I’ve been doing and then I say to her and what have you been doing? She says, ‘nothing really just sitting in the house with my cat, I love being with my cat.’
I served people for 25 years and she did. She did a wonderful thing serving people. She said, ‘I did that for 25 years and now I don’t have to do anything.’ I don’t say anything to her, but I just think to myself, what a wasted life. You can at least pick up a telephone and connect with people. Even if you don’t physically want to go out of the place. There are so many ways, you can do it on the internet, you can do it with your emails. You can connect with people, and you can support people, but then that’s my DNA, and it’s not her DNA.
Connection Within Self to be Present
Mark [8:46] When you’re counselling, in that presence, is there a connection in their presence?
Pat [8:54] Yes. That does require almost like a 50-50 attention span, that I really need to be present with the client, really listening to their story. Then also being connected with myself and that’s really important because if I’m disconnected from myself, my agenda could actually inhibit what can happen for the client. It’s like connect psychology in a way. So I need to be self-aware. If they are talking about a challenge that they’ve got in their life and I’ve got a similar challenge might be in a totally different way I need to be really registering that. I need to think, I could have a bit of bias there. I need to be a bit careful, that I don’t impose my story on theirs. That can happen and that happens with friends, doesn’t it?
Mark [9:58] When you’re listening is your heart listening?
Connection & Listening from my Heart
Pat [10:01] Oh yes. In fact, over the years, I’ve been the director of a counselling center where we trained counsellors. There were probably about 200 people over the years who graduated from that course. A wonderful course, where they not only learned counselling skills, but they really explored their own depths, they came to understand themselves and the dynamics of what was going on inside themselves. We also, we taught them that this is a lifelong journey. That you don’t get to the end of a three-year training, and suddenly you’re enlightened, and you know everything about yourself and everything about everybody else. Rather, it’s all part of your journey. I would say to them, at the end of the three years of training, you have learned so much about yourself. You have learned so much around counselling skills, and how to be with clients.
I can reduce all that you’ve gained into a simple phrase. Be a loving presence, to people. That’s what I think it’s all about. A loving presence. Really, as I think about it, it doesn’t really matter as a counsellor what techniques you’re using. If you are there as a loving presence, the client will experience that and they will trust you. They will feel safe in exploring their depths and resolving their issues.
Mark [11:40] Do they connect to that loving presence?
Being a Loving Presence
Pat [11:44] I don’t know, but I just think well – just be a loving presence.
Mark [11:50] It’s creating a loving space?
Pat [11:52] Yes.
Mark [11:53] Its like a holding space. Yes, for them to feel safe and to explore the wounds that inside?
Pat [12:01] Yes. Yes.
Connecting to and Healing our Wounds
Mark [12:04] Is it important for us to connect to those inner wounds?
Pat [12:07] Oh, yes. If we don’t, register what our wounds are, we’re actually going to affect other people in negative ways, and particularly if we’re counsellors. We need to know our own wounding and sometimes that takes years to heal those wounds. It’s not something that happens in five minutes.
Mark [12:40] Yeah, the quick fix scenario?
2:42] Oh, yes, there are so many courses today where people could just do a weekend and they think all their life wounds are healed. That’s not going to happen overnight. It takes years.
Mark [12:59] The more, you’ve experienced the healing of your inner wounds, has that transformed your connection to yourself, to others, and to God?
Healing my Inner Wounds has transformed my Connections
Pat [13:10] Oh, yes! Only, just recently I was on a nine-day retreat, a Silent Retreat. I like to do a lot of writing. It just helps me with my reflection. As I was writing, I realized how much has happened within me in regard to my mother. My mother was a very broken person and she had a tragic childhood. That really shaped her life’s journey and she was very wounded. Even as a small child, with my father away at war, I became her primary carer and support and that was very challenging. I think was quite wounding for me, but what was interesting was, I learned so early, to be attentive to the other and to support the other.
I’m sure that’s what took me into my vocation really, about caring for other people and supporting other people. I realized in this most recent retreat, I thought, all that healing around my mother in regard to my relationship with her, and how that impacted on me. All that healing is done and all I can feel, is love and appreciation for her and for her, in her woundedness. If it hadn’t been for her woundedness, I might have grown into a very selfish adult. Instead, I agree with to an adult who wanted to serve others.
Mark [15:04] Wow, what a lovely story. How is the connection, as the term ‘All That Is’ – it can be God, can for some people can be a Universe. How had the inner journey work helped your connection to, the God that you fell in love with 13years old or 17 years old?
Holotropic Breathwork & Ecstasy of God’s energy
Pat [15:23] Oh, quite profoundly, quite profoundly. In fact, the only times in my life that I’ve actually known ecstasy has been on a few occasions in sessions of Holotropic breath work. When I’ve actually felt God’s energy running right through my body, and I was in total bliss, wishing for that experience never to pass, but of course it did. It was in a short span of time. To me, I could have stayed there for a lifetime. It was in that very deep inner work, that I found God at a level that I had never experienced before.
Mark [15:45] Did your body radiate with that, did every cell in your body radiate?
Pat [15:50] Definitely, definitely.
Mark [16:23] What happens – can you describe what happened to your sense of self, in that space?
God Love radiating from me
Pat [16:30] It was, as if I was totally possessed by God, and radiating out God’s energy. Yeah.
Mark [16:40] God’s love?
Pat [16:41] Oh, yes-yes.
Mark [16:46] If we were to radiate that energy out, what would that impact have on Mother Earth?
Healing energy for Mother Earth
Pat [16:57] Oh (laughter), it would transform what’s happening to Mother Earth. I feel so much sadness when I look at the destruction of Mother Earth, the rape of Mother Earth? Where, what seems to drive, that sort of energy is really about finance and power.
Mark [17:24] Are we about to change that?
Pat [17:28] Well, I would love to change the whole scenario, but all I can do is, do what I can in my small radius. As Carl Jung said, ‘if we want to transform the world, we start with transforming ourselves.’I would love to change the whole scenario, but all I can do is, do what I can in my small radius. As Carl Jung said, 'if we want to transform the world, we start with transforming ourselves.' Click To Tweet
Mark [17:50] The transforming of self? How do we invite people to start that or is it up to the individual to invite themselves to start that process?
Self-Transformation through different doorways
Pat [18:00] Well probably both ways. Sometimes a person will come along to a counsellor, and they will have some initial issue that they want to deal with whether it’s, it might be a broken relationship, it might be a death of somebody close. So they’re just looking for something that is short term, to fix a problem. I can remember a woman coming to me once and she said, “look I’m in this terrible relationship,” but she said, “you’re the expert and you can tell me all the things to do, so that I can deal with this man.” In other words, so that I can control him. I had to try and explain to her that my role was simply to help her find her own answers. I didn’t have the answers to, you know, to all her problems. I would try and support her in that.
Repeating our Inner Wounds
So initially, people come maybe with a certain issue, most people come with an issue. Once they sort of start to look deeper into that, and they will sometimes come to the realization that this current issue, which they’re having in their adult years, is actually connected back to some of their life story when they were children. That somehow, unconsciously, they’re repeating the same sort of wounding that happened back there, in the current relationships in their life. Once they start to realize that they know that they need to do more. They need to do deeper work on themselves, that it’s not something that’s going to be all over in a weekend workshop.
Mark [19:54] The deeper you go, and that connection. Do people then radiate often (come alive?) and does it becomes a sort of – a joining of the presences and the connection?
Pat [20:18] I don’t quite know how to answer that. I’d say in my own life, I’m so much more peaceful now, in my life, and more connected with myself.
Peacefulness a Gift of my Inner Journey
Mark [20:34] In that process, what impact does that have on your wellness?
Pat [20:40] Oh, certainly yes, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, is it’s very positive. Yeah.
Mark [20:51] Free, peaceful?
Pat [20:53] Oh, yes.
Mark [20:55] Does that then enable you to connect to your source, your essence, your spirit essence?
My 9 Day Silent Retreats
Pat [21:02] I think so. That’s what gives me such joy, to go away to a retreat, which I do each year. I choose to do that for nine days and that is a golden opportunity. I guess I would really encourage people to keep a journal, at least that. So that they’re connecting each day, they think back over the day, and they think about the events of the day. It’s not just writing about the external events like I went to the supermarket, and I did my shopping, but meaningful encounters, events that have happened that have touched them. Yes, it’s more things that have had some inner impact. That’s the beginning to get to know yourself and your responses.
Mark [21:57] The more you know yourself, are you then able to let go those responses?
Pat [22:02] Of course?
Mark [22:06] What’s the energy? Is it a source beyond yourself that comes through to help us let that go?
God my Source beyond Myself
Pat [22:16] Well, for me, I would see that as God. I don’t preach that, like, my work over the years has been to, welcome everybody, whatever their path. Whatever their belief system. They might be atheist, but to welcome them, because, to me, it’s about each person finding their own spiritual self, in whatever shape or form that takes. Yeah, their own spirituality. I don’t, I never try to impose mine, on people and I’m very slow, at times to even use the word, God, because, for some people, they are uncomfortable with it.
Mark [23:07] What’s it like for you, having started at the Centre, to watch that transformation as people is painful as you started to witness and observe people reaching that essence, that spiritual essence of self?
Witnessing and Observing Student Self-transformation
Pat [23:20] Its been absolutely amazing. I’ve noticed this, like, sometimes, I met a woman once, who came up to me, and I’d forgotten that I even worked with her. I think she had a couple of sessions with me and she said, “you know, ever since I came to see you, my life has totally changed for the better.” My God, in two sessions, I could hardly believe that. It’s when people have done more intensive work on themselves. I noticed this, particularly for those who were doing their three-year counsellor training course.
A six-month course & three-year training
They started, they began that with a six-month course of getting to know themselves and then they
entered into the three-year training. A number of those people said to me as they graduated, Pat, “you’ve given me back my life.” That is so rewarding to hear that. I haven’t done it, but I’ve provided the venue, the space, very good staff persons and a sense of safety. Where they have actually made their own journey and they have found themselves, ‘you’ve given me my life.’
Trust in my Therapeutic Team
Mark [23:37] What’s in that, can you describe what’s in that safety?
Pat [24:57] Safety is about having a team that people can trust. So, I’ve always been very selective about who might be on the team. It certainly means having rules and regulations, when you’ve got a crowd of people gathered to make sure that the timetable goes to time. I mean, that might sound trivial. To me, it’s really important to have a container, where people can be sure of what’s happening and when it’s happening.
Connection & Follow-up Support
Also being very sensitive to the people, like as a team, as a staff team, we would gather, at the end of a workshop, at the end of a training workshop. We would gather and we would talk about what has been happening. We would debrief with one another and really make sure that that the right steps were taken. If we needed to follow up on something. I felt it was really important that people would have our phone number so that, if three days after a workshop, they started to feel rather vulnerable, that they could ring up and get a bit more support on the telephone.
I felt that that ongoing connection was really important. Like you see, sometimes, people come in from even from international people fly in from another continent. They run a workshop and take people very deeply, and then they disappear off the planet. Those people can sometimes be left in a very open space and they really need that follow up. So I have felt that that has been extremely important.
Mark [26:59] To just be able hold that?
Pat [27:01] Yep!
Mark [27:03] An incredible presence?
Pat [27:04] Yep.
My Presence is the Foundation of who I really am
Mark [27:07] How rich is that presence in you?
Pat [27:11] Well, it’s the foundation of who I am really,
Mark [27:15] Do you shine in it?
Pat [27:17] I think (laugher).
Connection and shining in my Heart ~ My Inner Glow
Mark [27:24] You think so? If I asked your heart that question, how would your heart answer that question?
Pat [27:29] I would say yes, definitely (laughter together).
Mark [27:34] It would say Yes. Just that inner glow, that inner essence?
Pat [27:38] Yeah.
Mark [27:39] What a beautiful connection. What a gift and thank you for sharing that gift with thousands and thousands of people. Pat, in the podcast, have asked people, Is there a piece of advice that you would like to offer, young girls following in your footsteps, young boys following your footsteps? What would that piece of advice be?
My piece of Advice ~ Get to Know Yourself
Pat [28:08] It would get to know yourself. That’s where to start.
Mark [28:17] Getting to know yourself, the positive aspects of yourself but also the not so positive aspects the shadow side of our self?
Pat [28:25] Thats right.
Mark [28:28] All the different sides of the self, whether they’re positive or negative. I assume from my experience of it, they are designed to self-preserve the sense of self.
Pat [28:37] Yes.
Mark [28:38] That fragile, vulnerable aspect of self.
Pat [28:40] Yes.
Mark [28:41] Rather than react from the shadow, the negatives that we put – its how do we bring a presence to them. Open our heart to them, without judgment, to bring forgiveness and the essence.
Mark [28:59] Pat Quinn thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity to have a conversation to you about the Heart of Connection.
Pat [29:06] Thank you.
Mark [29:07] Pleasure.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai