Connection to Community & Nature ~ Episode 40 ~ My conversation with Janine Taranto

Connection to Community, Home Grown Food & Nature

Mark [0:00] Heart of Connection – Janine, welcome to the Heart of Connection Podcast.  I’m your host Mark Randall and it’s a real honor to have you as a guest and sitting outside at Steele Island in Tasmania.  A gorgeous sunset.  It is indeed and we have been very privileged with the weather we’ve had here.  Janine has a psychotherapy practice called Being U Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Just by way of introduction Janine, would you mind sharing a little bit about your story?  How does it flow?

No Connection to City Life

Janine [0:29] Where do I begin?  I was brought up in Melbourne.  I was from a wealthy family and never really felt connected to being in the city, or to have a vocation and such like.  I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up.  I tried a little bit of university, but I found the 70’s far more exciting in terms of protest movements and having fun than studying.

Connection to Community in North Queensland

I met some people who came down from North Queensland and had been living in the rainforest, on a community.  That was like, I’m going there.  It’s warm, there are trees and forest and water.  Straightaway, I knew it was my place.  I dropped everything brought a backpack and hitched out of Melbourne and headed to North Queensland.   I think that really shaped my life, I’ve lived up there for 15 odd years, something like 12 or 15 years, I had my children up there.  Living in community, growing a lot of our own food.  There was a lot of connection in that, particularly connection with nature, connection to food and something that we grew and cultivated with love and watered and harvested and then prepared meals from.  Meals were solely prepared with the food, we grew pretty much, apart from supply runs.  We’d either have an abundance of things from outside or very little.

Connection to Cooking

So we learned to manage with what we had.  Henceforth, I became quite creative with my cooking. That’s something that has taken forward in my life – as I’ve been a cook for training groups in the ERC and TERC training programs.  I have been a cook in some of those programs, as well as other events and things.  l have a strong passion for good food and good cooking.  A lot came from there.  I certainly have a passion for being in nature as much as I can.  I have always lived – after I left that area, I moved back to Melbourne for a little while to reconnect with my family.

Then I wanted to buy land, it was the first time I felt that I wanted to actually own a piece of land.  I never felt that before, I thought why would you?  You can just go and live in amazing places.  I think it was the, having to move because I wanted to grow trees and see them, harvest the avocados, harvest the produce and you can’t do that when you move around.  So that prompted me to want to put down some roots

Connecting to the Land

Mark [3:37] To connect?

Janine [3:38] To connect with the land.  To connect with particularly what I grew – the food that I grew.  Probably too, in retrospect, I think it was to develop a community around me to become connected to a community and stay in one place.  That’s certainly been the outcome of that decision.  Where I’ve lived in – I bought land west of Port Macquarie in Ellenborough in the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau, which was like 1000 acres of forest with waterways and just very little cleared land and it was a shared property.

Myself and my partner were really the only ones who lived there.  Quite isolated living in some ways. Going to town was like a once a week or once a fortnight thing for a bit of socializing and some food.

Connection to Patrica & Steve Nolan

It was from there that I heard about Patricia and Steve Nolan – I was driving past their place to go into town.  I don’t know if your listeners know, through other podcasts of who they are, Patrica and Steve Nolan.

Mark [4:57] Probably not, to be quite honest.  There have only been a couple of other ERC people, Andrew, and Vicki that have talked about the inner journey work with ERC.

Patrica and Steve Nolan lived on a property on the way out for me to go out to town.  I heard that these people who lived in this place and did some kind of healing work.  I was doing massage at the time and going to town to message people.  I must call in there one day and see if I can use their place to do something with them.  So one-day being winter, and it’d been dark and was going past one day and the car basically just went – we’re going down the today.  They just happened to come home from town themselves.  We went and sat on the deck and talked and it was through my actual cooking at just talked about what they said, “oh, you cook do you”?

Connection to my Journey of Inner Work

So they got me to do some cooking for the training program – because they were running training for inner work – inner journey work.  So that was my first association with them was to do some cooking and very soon that broaden out into my own journey of doing my own personal work and joining the training.   That’s blossomed into a long association over 20 years now or 22 years.

Mark [6:00] Can I just ask, the inner journey work that you’ve done?  How is that facilitated? The connection to yourself?

Connection to Osho Meditations

Janine [6:49] I have to say a word like hugely or something.  It’s like the first morning that I was there doing some inner work and we did an Osho (Kundalini) gibberish meditation.  Which meant we turned around to face the wall and just gibberish – just blurted in gibberish.  My eyes were – I was just sobbing and I was apologizing to my children, for various, for basically what I was perceiving as bad mothering and not being present to my children.  I just felt so touched and what was so profound for me was a particular group of people was how met I felt.

It didn’t matter what was going on for me whether I was angry, sad, whatever, I was met for who I was, for what I was feeling. I was understood, supported, I was held.

Mark [7:32] Connected?

Connection to Myself through Inner Journey Work

Connected, deeply connected.  I began to deeply connect with myself.  Click To Tweet

Janine [7:48] Connected, deeply connected.  I began to deeply connect with myself.  At that stage, I was feeling very inadequate, I was feeling very – I’d been with a man who put me down so much in a very subtle way that I didn’t have very much self-worth.  I would kind of just disappear inside.  It was a long journey of finding my worth and beginning to love myself and feel connected to myself and connected to others. To learn and to feel that we all are wounded and we all hurt.  We can all hold each other and support each other and we have the times where we do that.  Then we have the time for good times where you can celebrate.

Connection to my Disconnection

Mark [8:48] When you experience disconnection, how do you bring yourself back from that disconnection to reconnection to self?

That took the time to find ways to do that.  For me, it felt a bit like going down a sinkhole or something. My energy, I would perceive that I – In the work that we do, we talk about patterns in our life. Patterns of the way we learn to behave and respond to life events that come out of our childhood.  Even earlier than that, in our birth – in what Stan Grof – Holotropic Breath-work calls, the birth matrix (BPM), where we live in the womb.  The actual process of birth, establishes our patterns and all the other various modalities of work within this framework of ERC – TERC that – I think one of them, like the process called Voice Dialogue.

Connecting to my Vulnerability

Where I could really feel that very vulnerable part of myself where I didn’t feel valued, didn’t feel good enough.  I couldn’t do things as other people could do them.  I wasn’t, I can’t, I can’t do that-that was very strong in me.   As I grew in other ways, through doing the work, I knew more about myself than just that.  I knew that I was valuable, I knew that I loved deeply and I cared deeply for people.  I had skills that were valuable and so that would help me connect back to myself – my true self.

I knew that I was valuable, I knew that I loved deeply and I cared deeply for people.  Click To Tweet

Mark [10:26] Would you connect to your heart more from that space?

Connecting to my Heart

Janine [10:46] Definitely, have the heart of myself.

Mark [10:48] Have a heart for yourself?

Janine [10:49] I think when the most profound experience through Holotropic breath-work one time. In the breath work, we hear, you should love yourself.  You can’t love yourself, you cannot love others.  It’s like a mantra, it’s like something we’re all told.  In this particular breath work, my heart just expanded for myself.  My fingers caressed my face, and my neck and my shoulders.  I caressed myself and held myself and just had so much tenderness for myself.  I still remember that really strongly and I can connect back to that.

Mark [11:28] You connect back to that, so that’s a memory now that’s there and you can really tune in touch it?

Janine [11:35] I connected back to it really strongly just last week.

Mark [11:40] The connection to others how that – how do you create or what happens for you as you connect and bring presence to others?

Connections to Others is the Juice of Life

Janine [11:50] To me, that feels like the juice of life.  It’s like, I’ve become a facilitator in the work that I do. I’ve become an Association of Transpersonal & Experiential Psychotherapies (ATEP) trainer in the work that I do.  It wasn’t until I started – I was in my 40s when I began to do that strong inner journey work. I’ve done other things, but it was the real, intense inner journey work that I started to do in my 40s that began to really connect me to myself and to grow.

It was only then that I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up.  Like in this work because in the training and this work, we swap roles, we support each other, and there wasn’t anything better than that for me.  There still isn’t – to walk with a client, to facilitate a workshop – just to be with people when they need.  To be in a position to hold space for people.

Mark [12:52] Are you ‘holding space’ now as you share the story?

Connecting to ‘Holding Space for this Space’

Janine [12:59] Yeah, I think so ‘holding space for this space.’

Mark [13:01] Yeah, it’s like that sense, that felt sense that it’s there.  It’s an amazing space, (laughter) we are so blessed to have had this community this TERC now know as ATEP. I just want others to have the opportunity to experience what we’ve experienced.  The connection to self and others, when you disconnect – when there’s a disconnection or the sometimes I describe. it like the “invisible elephant” in the room we are tiptoeing around the invisible elephant – How do you work to move through that disconnection to others?

Janine [13:37] When I feel it?

Mark [13:46] Yeah, when you feel it or sense their feeling it or whatever the case may be?

Connecting to Nature reconnects me

Janine [14:05] If I sense they feeling it, I move in towards them.  I might try to connect to them in some way.  Even if it’s just going and sitting near them.  Asking questions, maybe just giving people a hug sometimes giving people hugs.  It’s a beautiful way of making people feel loved, feel received, you’re met in some way. 

It's a beautiful way of making people feel loved, feel received, you're met in some way.  Click To Tweet

If I feel disconnected, I’ll often go for a walk in nature.  That really helps me connect back to myself and to the ground that supports me like the earth I know really supports me.  I think I’ve learned to really to reach out, to ask for help, to ask to talk to somebody or connect with a friend.

Mark [15:04] To be held (Energetically)?

Connection to ATEP (TERC) Community friends

Janine [15:05] Yeah, to be held or just to talk.  I’m privileged to have friends who are also trained therapist as I am, we can do I work together.  I can reach out and say I look I really need to work ‘a reaction’ was something at the moment because I’m not doing too well.

Mark [15:25] The awareness that you’ve got – at the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, does that thing give you that awareness to sense I’m “in reaction”?  I’m noticing I’m in reaction?

Janine [15:36] Definitely. Self-awareness through the work grows exponentially you can really see and I can sense in myself – if my energies going sideways, or if it’s elevated like I’ve become angry or controlling or something like that.  I also can sense it in others.  I can see what might be going on for them.  I think one of the beautiful things is that that gives me compassion for people, more compassion for people because I see beyond the behavior.  I see the hurt that’s driving the behavior, taking the judgment away.

Connection to Compassion from our Hearts

Mark [16:20] I just want to ask a really basic question.  Does compassion come from the intellect or does compassion come from the heart?

Does compassion come from the intellect or does compassion come from the heart? Click To Tweet

Janine [16:29] The Heart, I can’t imagine it coming from the intellect (laughter)

Mark [16:37] Funny that isn’t it!

When you connect to your heart, and you’re traveling in that beautiful connection of your heart, what do you experience happens to your well-being and your mental health?

Janine [16:58] (Silent Reflection)..

Mark [17:02] I’ve worked in the system for a long time (laughter).

Connection to my well-being

Janine [17:08] I have – I just, you know, in more recent years who have done a lot of work, over a lot of years, I just have a very strong sense of being well. Like well-being and care for myself, like I do a lot of things to care for myself, like meditation, yoga, good food, seeking out what I need in those kinda ways.

I think my connection to others, my deep connection to others, not just kind of superficial connections, but really deep connection with friends and colleagues and even clients, you know, nourishes me, it nourishes my heart and my heart nourishes my body.

Mark [18:00] When you connect to nature, do you go beyond the Self when you connect to nature?  What happens to your heart when you connect to nature?  Can you describe?  Is that the ‘All That Is’ do you go beyond that?  What happens?

Connection to Mother Earth ~ Feminine Spirituality

Janine [18:15] Yeah, I have – it’s Mother Earth. I have a strong, feminine based spirituality. The mother goddess, the Earth Mother, the mother that holds me, the bigger Mother.  I’ll often walk and talk to her.  I feel connected to her in lots of little ways, like the shape of a branch or something.  Today just standing in the river, as the tide was going out, and there were little tendrils of weed that were floating past me and their roots, with roots hanging off them.   It was like, this little piece of seagrass I suppose it was – it was looking for a place to find roots.  It’s kind of a metaphor, for some people who don’t have anywhere to belong, they don’t belong anywhere yet.  Looking for belonging or connection.  So I just tapped into that, just through that little moment of having my feet in the river and watching the seagrass, float by.

Mark [19:26] Did your sense of Self join with that – connect to that?  Where did the “I,” the sense of ‘I’ go? The “me,” the “me,” the “I” did that dissolve or was that still present?

Janine [19:38] In that case, it was still present.

Connection to the ‘All That Is’ through Holotrophic Breath-work

Mark [19:40] Have there been times where you’ve connected to the “All That Is” whatever that is to you – where the “I” has sort of – you’ve merged in with the “All That Is”?

Janine [19:52] Definitely. Particularly in Holotropic breath-work. I’ve experienced myself as the earth, as the rivers running in my blood, my veins are the rivers, I feel my breasts as the mountains, the shape of me as the shape of the earth, things like that.  I’ve connected to ancient cultures and being a member of within those cultures and the “I” as I know myself to be isn’t present.  It’s more an I’m a tribal person, I’m walking off the land with the Native Americans.  They were sent off from their country, that kind of thing.  So yeah, being a part of something that wasn’t me.

Mark [20:41] One of the things that have been a sort of theme and a thread that’s coming through is and I’ve posted a few times is. “Healing thyself, if we heal thyself, we heal Mother Earth”.  Is that something that you would experience your inner journey-  that the more you’re connected to yourself, the more you’ve resonated with Mother Earth, or is that always been there?

Click To Tweet

Connection to Healing myself ~ the more I heal the Earth

Janine [21:11] No I think it’s grown to become more and more aware of, confident of really. It is also the other way around, it’s like, “the more I heal myself, the more I heal the Earth,” as we are expressions of her.  Or the more than.  As we are expressions of the fragment, the fragments of us becoming, or of me, in my own experience, I’m becoming more growing more towards the good, the true, the beautiful, and as an expression of the Divine, something like that.

Click To Tweet

Mark [21:54] One of the things I’ve been asking people as we talk about the Heart of Connection and particular in the conversations, moves into exploring the “All That Is” the greater the divine etc., Is to that Heart of Connection and we’ve asked the question, how would it be, if we had a World Heart of Connection Day?

Janine [22:18] Phew.

World Heart of Connection Day – September 4, 2019

Mark [22:20] Whereby we – what reminds – what really triggers that for me is the Tsunami that hit in 2004.  The love and compassion that was in the world.  I could – I just felt it.  What I love this World Heart of Connection Day to be is to replicate that, but not through tragedy.  I’m wondering, how that resonates to you?

World Heart of Connection Day – September 4, 2019 Click To Tweet

Janine [22:46] Very strongly.  You’re talking about the Tsunami day but when those kids were trapped in the cave in Indonesia, similar kind of thing.  People from all over the world, we’re coming to help.  Mothers were cooking and the people who pumped with a pump to the water out of the cave.  It was just the most beautiful global expression of people coming together to do whatever they could to save these kids.

Connection to the world’s love and compassion in tragedy

Mark [23:15] I wonder whether the love and the compassion and the energy in the world at the time, somehow unconsciously or universally did help save those kids.  We can intellectually or academically prove that.

Janine [23:30] For sure.  I think energetically, those kids will heal by the world, by all of us.  So were all the people that were doing their best, because we also cared.  We all cared for them and that they would succeed.

Mark [23:48] When you’re in that deep connection do you merge with the world, you merge with the universe?  What or is that more at a Holotropic breath-work level?

Connection to Feel the Mother’s Love

Janine [23:56] No I think I do.  I can feel the love of all those mothers doing the – preparing all that food?  Their anxiety for their kids or their care for the – they might not have been their kids particularly.  They were their neighbor’s children. I could feel that – (silence) I think we were merging, we’re growing into a species of people who care and need to care more.  The need to care more – the need for us to care more is starting to push us more into caring more? I don’t know, I don’t know how to kind of phrase that.

Mark [24:49] Some of the conversations, it is difficult to put words to.  A lot of it – is it unconscious?  Is a non-conscious do we have the cognitive language as it has its limits.  It is like an energy, powerful energy sometimes it’s just there and can’t put words to it, but can sense it, can feel and just be in it.  It’s really powerful.

In terms of young women and young men walking in your footsteps?  What advice would you like to share with young women and young men embarking on the journey of life?  Perhaps the inner journey?

Janine [25:44] Well, its thing that gives me a lot of joy and juice when I see young people and I do see a lot more young people who are becoming more conscious, becoming more wanting to connect more with seeing themselves to heal themselves to work with others.  I’m getting a little bit distracted by some stuff, what’s going on outside?

So can you say that again?

My Advice of connection to young people

Mark [26:22] Yeah, the advice that you’d like, too young women and young men walking behind you – their path is – you’ve led a path and they’re following – they’ve got their own path, but they’re also following others paths?

Janine [26:39] Yeah, I think, I just really want to encourage them, because the results, the rewards are so great.  When you can take the time out to come to really know ourselves, to heal our wounds, to shadow stuff, so that that’s not projected out into the world.  I own my bitch, I own my, the part of me that gets impatient and angry.  I don’t just see that person out there is the one that’s doing that and I’m not – I’m all squeaky clean? I think I would encourage them to just, it’s a way of just having a better relationship with themselves and with each other,

Mark [27:32] A better connection to themselves, and others and to “All That Is.”

Janine [27:37] To “All That Is” (laughter)…

The “All That Is”  to me, feels like it’s just waiting and wanting our connection to it.  Just it’s there waiting to want us to…..

Connection to the Heart of the Universe

Mark [27:44] Is that the Heart of Mother Earth?

Janine [27:53] Yeah or the Heart of the Universe.

Mark [27:58] Just what came to my consciousness as your sharing.  It is waiting, isn’t it?

Janine  [28:04] It’s always there for us.

Mark [28:06] It’s always there for us and it seems like there’s such a movement happening.  There’s an energy shift? I don’t know if I’m reading it right or sensing right but I do feel there is a shift.  What a beautiful thing we could do to heal ourselves and by healing ourselves that inner journey will have a flow-on effect on Mother Earth.

Janine [28:34] A more conscious beings, more caring being, more considerate and more loving?

Our connection to becoming more conscious beings

Mark [28:40] When you’re talking before about that – loving us like,  I’m wondering until we drop into our hearts and do the healing of all the pain and all the wounds or, as best we can – that we embody that.  It’s the embodiment of that love rather than the intellectualized?

Janine [28:59] Yeah, definitely.

Mark [29:00] That’s – what an amazing connection that has for us.  Is there anything else in terms of Heart of Connection that we’ve missed or not shared or not touched on in this short conversation?

Our Connection is our evolving

Janine [29:19] I just think it’s part of our – as a species, as a people were evolving into something that’s integral. We’ve done so much as a species, we’ve done so much damage and harm to the Earth and to each other.  Through wars and was hatred and fighting, blaming – all those kinds of things.  I think when we can work on ourselves, and we know that we hurt, and we know that others hurt, and we can connect, to love our own selves, we love them more.  We understand others more.  We have a heart for them more. I think as a species, that’s what’s evolving in us more. I think we’re growing towards that as a new thing on the planet.

Mark [30:10] Beautiful. Janine thanks so much.  It’s lovely to have this conversation and thank you for your connection over the years.  I recall being in the first year you came down.  You must have been visiting Melbourne and Corrie got you to come in and do some work in our first year.

Janine [30:27] You were breathing weren’t you?

Mark [30:28] Probably, climbing walls probably (laughter)…

No, I really appreciate the connection and thank you very much.

Janine [30:38] Thanks Mark for the opportunity. Okay.

Mark [30:40]  Cheers – Bye.

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