Transpersonal and Experiential Psychotherapies ~ Episode 34 ~ My Conversation with Patrica Nolan

Heart of Connection Podcast
Heart of Connection Podcast
Transpersonal and Experiential Psychotherapies ~ Episode 34 ~ My Conversation with Patrica Nolan

Heart of Transpersonal & Experiential Psychotherapies

Mark [0:00] Patrica Nolan it’s an honor and a privilege to be sitting here at Steele Island at the ATEP bi-annual conference or gathering. My name is Mark Randall as you know, I’m the host of the Heart of Connection Podcast. It’s a lovely opportunity to sit here with a doyen of the ATEP an elder of the ATEP community. Just by way of introduction, could you let listeners know, who you are and how it all came about?

How Inner Journey Work Started

Pat [0:41] Yes, I’ll do my best. As far as the inner journey work goes, I was working in a New South Wales in a small country town, with the indigenous community there. I and two others on the team work together. We did just walked along with the people and listened to their dreams and helped them put into form some of those dreams.  Until about, we’d been there for about 10 years.  They were up and active and had some of the association’s operative. We thought it’s time for us to move out. If we stay here, we will remain the kind of the focal point. They need to have that for themselves. So at that point, I had lots of inner reactionary material.  Particularly about racism in the town.


Stanislav Grof & Holotropic Breathwork

I went and heard from a chap who was a Jungian analyst, who had come north to run a dream workshop. He spoke about breath-work that he had learned about from a woman in Sydney, who had been to America, learned it all from Stanislav Grof, who was psychiatrist from behind the Iron Curtain. He got out from there to America and was practicing in America. She eventually found him and did her training with him. One of the things she heard was, in one of her sessions, heal the planet and she freaked.

He said, it just means, take step one.  Take this work back to Australia.  She did that and started Euro house in Balmain Sydney. Until she heard another directive in one of her sessions which was go to the Blue Mountains. So John Jensen, she’d met up with him, the two of them went to the Blue Mountains looking for a place to establish what we now call. “The Work.” She had also formed a new relationship, with a man who was a bodyworker. They found a place called it, “The Living Waters Centre” and people in those days, which was, think the late 70s, if not, and very early 1980’s.  They began putting together ‘inner journey’ work really. It was an eclectic model, of breath-work, meditation, dream work, sand-play therapy, and voice dialogue came later.

Non-Ordinary States of Consciousness

Mark [5:16] How would you describe the role of inner work, to connect to self?

Pat [5:26] So in, particularly, in the breath-work, which was the deepest process of all. People lead, they have a person with them, but the lead into a non-ordinary state of consciousness. Breathing deeply, and letting themselves be taken into another realm if you like. Sometimes the body is the part of them that leads them on the journey. Sometimes, it’s imagery in their mind. Sometimes it’s words. Whatever comes, they’re encouraged to go with and see where they have taken, what they are shown, what they hear. To experience that, and to, at the end of it, at the end of the session, see what that has to do with the ordinary life. There will always be a connection. Out of all of that, we learn, along with doing sand-play, or some of the other modalities. We go from the conscious to the unconscious, and back again. Whether that’s dream work, whether it’s sand-play therapy, whether it’s voice-dialogue, drawing, gestalting, all sorts of modalities.

Inner Lover, Inner Healer or Inner Divinity

No matter what it is, we discover along the way, that deep inside each of us, there is what I call an “inner lover.” A part of us that loves us, more than we could ever love ourselves. Sometimes we call it, “The Inner Healer,” the “Inner Divinity,” whatever name, it is a part of us, and energy within. It’s spiritual, of our soul, it’s of our essence. It only wants us to make a journey that we call the “Inner journey.” To make that journey toward becoming our true self, our whole self. Along the way, we meet our shadow. All the parts of us that have if you like negative energy.

Transpersonal and Experiential Psychotherapies ~ Episode 34 ~ My Conversation with Patrica Nolan Click To Tweet

Mark [8:39] Those negative energies, the shadow, they’re still there to protect a part of the self.

Pat [8:45] Yes

Mark [8:46] Whether we like it or not. That’s the role. I assume those roles might be part of our DNA, it might be part of our social conditioning, part of our family origin conditioning.

Pat [9:01] Or even further back. The collective unconscious, carrying stuff from way, way, way, way, way back. A lot of people come to get rid of that. But what I find is, it’s better to make friends with it.

Mark [9:24] Connect to it. Connecting to our positive and our shadow is transforming

Pat [9:25] Connect to it and express it and in that, it transforms, changes its form, from so-called negative to so-called positive, but it’s all part of us and part of your wholeness.

Mark [9:43] Does that enable us that connection to our shadow?  Does that enable us, to then, be in a more empowered position to observe or to witness it?

Pat [9:57] Yes, we’ve all got a part of their mind that we encourage the development of, called the witness part of our mind. It’s not involved in any action, it’s simply observing, remembering, allowing.

Mark [10:24] How does that then help the “inner work” to connect to your Soul and how does that help you then, in connection to others?

My Connection to Others

Pat [10:40] Well, there’s two, in connection to others. I suppose these three states inner states we can come from. One is we could be in reaction to them. So the connection is very fraught with judgments or expressions of hate or whatever. The other is a response, rather than a reaction with compassion and heart, an understanding. The heart is involved in that.  There’s another part of us, that even more than those two. That is that essence part that – the “Divinity Within” all those words I mentioned a while ago, that is able to simply ‘Be’ and help us to be with another.

Mark [11:57] When we’re being connected to other in that, what do we – is there an energetic, a sharing of energy, a sharing of the similar space, sharing of the essence?

Pat [12:11] It can be? It depends a little on the other. Let me, I’m known for being a storyteller (LOL). When my husband, Steve, who worked with me with the indigenous. Later on, we married, and together, we’re sought out by people wanting to do this work. Eventually, they started asking us to do their training.  When Steve and I married, we wrote our own marriage vows. The crux, for each of us – to the other was, to help the other become the best person they could be or the person they are in their essence. So, I’m not saying we were always doing it and we were perfect, we weren’t. But it was there as a base in our love for each other.

Responding rather than Reacting

Mark [13:33] When you both work through the reactions, and responded, and your essences met, how would you describe the meeting of your two essences and the connection it had or they had?

Pat [13:51] Well to start with? Different each time I’d say.  Sometimes still, a deep stillness in the other presence.  A deep peace or a deep love that was more than human?  It came from that ‘Inner Divinity’ and yes, out of that, we, as a married couple, would make love yet, in a sense, the love was already made and we were just expressing it. You there now? Yes.

Sometimes still, a deep stillness in the other presence. A deep peace or a deep love that was more than human? Click To Tweet

Mark [14:51] As you’re sharing the story with me, as your energy – are you reconnecting to your essence?

Pat [14:56] Well, I don’t know that I was conscious of it, but I know, it’s there. I was thinking about this today. I’m 81 now for benefit of my listeners. I know, um, I don’t need to do lots of personal work as such now. Because I know, at any moment, I can just turn inward and I know that I’m in – connected to the Divinity. So, that fills me with an amazing sense of gratitude for all the years of clearing out my problematic self (laughter), I could use another word.

Freedom of my Essence

Mark [15:52] Oh please (laughter) don’t swear. When you hit the essence, what happens, can you describe what happens to your sense of self?

Pat [16:15] I’m free in myself. Really, it doesn’t bother me what people think about me, or I try to meet people in it, and communicate properly and hopefully meet them. If they don’t understand or they disapprove, or they come back at me as if you know, what are you on about? That doesn’t bother me. It’s like, I know that truth. I know me and where I’m coming from.  I am aware that it’s all right to say what I’m saying.

Mark [16:55] Does the sense of “I” – this might be more of a Buddhist concept but the sense of “I,” when you’re in that essence does the sense of “I” dissolve?

Pat [17:04] If, I’m not sure about Buddhist theories, or beliefs or whatever, but initially, no, I want to go right back.

Mark [17:21] Yeah.

Pat [17:23] I was the fourth in a family of seven. The sister above me was five months old when Mum realized she might be pregnant again. And she, my experience of it was, she went, oh my God, I hope I’m not pregnant again. And in that, I felt her energy go away from me. Later on, when I had a brain and I could look back on it, and experience it all again. I put on it, I’m not wanted, or there must be something wrong with me. “I’m not good enough, all those kind of beliefs. So, my egoic self, the “I” of me, always was trying to be better. If something happened, that I did, and I was getting praise for it, Iike at first I’d lap it up. But then, later on when I learned about the ego and about the mind and about the other aspects, more spiritual, deepest self. I had to watch my ego because it would grab it anything like that. But that was because it was in cahoots with what we call, the hurt inner child. That’s a big part of the work, helping people to deal with their reactions and defenses. To see where the origins of them lie, and what the pattern in their lives is around that particular issue.

Inner Child Hurts

Mark [19:24] When you touch into your divine essence, can you describe what you experience happens to your hurt inner child?

Pat [19:33] Um, it’s not there. No, it seems to go off stage (laughter)?

Mark [19:42] Or is it dissolved into the essence of the energy of your ‘divine essence’?

Pat [19:50] Hard to answer that, it’s like, Mark, I’m sorry. All I know is, that when I’m in that state, the hurt inner child is not on the radar.

Mark [20:08] When you’re in that ‘divine essence,’ can you describe what the energy in your body’s like?

Pat [20:17] Um, well I’m sorry you can’t see me (laughter) because I’d to go “aarrghh” into a very quiet, deep, relaxed, happy, peaceful. Often, even none of those things. It’s like, a nothing place, that is good, though. Like nothing to the child is terrible. But in the essence, nothing, it’s deep and beautiful.

Mark [20:59] Is that essence beyond the person, does it take you to the “All That Is”?

Pat [21:05] Yeah, it takes me to it.

Mark [21:09] Takes you to it?

Pat [21:12] Yes.

Connecting to my Inner Divinity

Mark [21:13] Through you connecting to your ‘inner divinity’ takes you beyond?

Pat [21:22] Yes, umm.

Mark [21:36] Hard to put into words.

Pat [21:37] It is.

Mark [21:41] It is, isn’t it, to put into words.

Pat [21:44] You know the word, God. Yeah. And I’m Catholic, so that’s pretty common to me. It’s my understanding is that word means the unknowable. So, being in the presence of that essence, that divinity, allows me to be happy, content, peaceful, in the mystery.

So, being in the presence of that essence, that divinity, allows me to be happy, content, peaceful, in the mystery. Click To Tweet

Mark [22:21] What a beautiful place. One of the things I’ve been – a question I’ve been asking people as part of the podcast is. As we heal ourselves, are we also then healing Mother Earth?

Mother Earth’s Healing

Pat [22:54] Yes, because we can’t be in that space, we can’t truly be in it, I think aren’t. We wouldn’t be truly in it, if we were denigrating Earth, or you know, causing harm to Mother Earth. If we’re engaged in that, well, we haven’t quite got there, into essence. Sometimes we’d be a long way from it, depending on what we’re doing. I had a breath session in 2017, where, this was after my husband died. It was about the thin spaces between this world and the next world. I could see this gray, misty, cloudy, whatever was, coming down. I knew that this world was in that world, and that world was in this world. Then everything turned green and I have Irish roots on both sides. So it was like, I’m in Ireland, but I’m here and I’m here but I mean Ireland. Then everything turned red, and I was in the center of Australia, in the red center and it was here, I was there. That was wonderful. Then I felt myself wanting to push, well I got my sitter to put pressure on my chest. When he did, I went into the earth, walking around in the earth. It was very malleable. I could, you know – in non-ordinary states, that’s not a problem. So, I’m walking, or I don’t know if I was walking, I was moving around anyway, within the earth. This thought came into my head.

My Father Farmed sustainably

My Dad was a farmer and he plowed the earth and did that hurt it? Perhaps he shouldn’t have done that.  With that came this very beautiful and clear understanding and knowing, the Earth saying, I want to give.  It just was the most beautiful understanding of yes, the Earth can be a duck, or plowed or whatever, for the benefit of humans, but not exploited. Dad only plowed it to grow vegetables for us or grow crops for the cows and calves. There was a purpose and it was a very minimal kind of purpose.

Mark [26:36] Are you confident, that through the inner work of reaching that ‘divine essence’ – Does it become easier? The more we do the inner work, does it become easier to access it and connect to it?

Inner Journey Work to reach our Divine Essence

Pat [26:54] Definitely.  Yes.  If it’s not easy, there’s some resistance in us.  The beautiful thing about resistance is it an indicator that something is wanting to come through.  We can stay in the resistance and fight whatever it is that wants to come through. But it will win out in the long run. It will come at us through the back door when we’re not expecting it.  It’s coming from that ‘inner lover’ place, the place that loves us and wants us to have everything that we need and who we are.

It's coming from that ‘inner lover’ place, the place that loves us and wants us to have everything that we need and who we are. Click To Tweet

Mark [27:39] How healing is that ‘Inner Lover,’ just as you share that with me. Just to connect with you, the energy through our eyes is just incredible, just to sit and be present to that.

Pat [27:52] Yes. Yes.

Mark [27:54] To be able to share that.

Pat [27:55] Yes, and I honor the essence of you Mark.

Mark [28:00] And I honor the essence of you, Pat. Thank you.  We are near, getting close to finishing the Podcast. Is there any advice that you would like to offer, listeners, young listeners coming through. Eighty-one years of experience built a beautiful association of inner healers, inner work through the breath, work, etc. What advice would you like to offer (laughter) in one sentence?

Heartfelt Advice

Pat [28:38] Well, if somebody stood with me, and said, I don’t like who I am, or something like that.  Suicides a terrible thing these days, and if somebody was near me and saying they wanted to give up their life. I would meet them where they’re at first, that’s the first thing. I hear you.  Then I’d be aware of their ‘inner lover’ place and my ‘inner lover.’  My ‘inner lover’ wants to act through me. In a sense, I don’t do anything. It’s the inner divine energy that operates through me or whoever has done this work and is aware of this. So aware of both of those, what I would say would be given to me. Just now off the top of my head, not being in the presence of one. I might say something like, “I hear you and I just want to say to you, you’re worth a lot more than that, and I could help you find that place in yourself.”

Then I'd be aware of their ‘inner lover’ place and my ‘inner lover.’ My ‘inner lover’ wants to act through me. Click To Tweet

Mark [30:15] Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to be a part of this Association and for the growth that I’ve achieved by being a part of your work.

Pat [30:33] I honor that you have followed that impulse from deep within yourself, Mark.

Mark [30:40] Thank you.

Pat [30:40] Yes

Mark [30:41] Namaste

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