Who would think one can coach a ghost? Not Carolyn, even though she is becoming a life coach.
The first time when Carolyn contacted me by phone, she told me that she needed to work on her anger issue. I said normally prolonged anger indicates something else is going on, and Carolyn said, “That’s why I’m calling you. I’ve been thinking about hypnotherapy for a while now. I’ve seen psychologist before, to treat insecurity and self-confidence. I know the anger is connected to high expectations of myself and others. I just don’t know how to let go. Also, I want to look deeper into the emotional and spiritual causes.”
Spiritual causes? If my ears are my radar, they certainly know certain words to detect, and “spiritual” is one of them. What do they mean when they use this word? I have to know more, because, spirituality is the foundation of person’s life. If a person doesn’t have any spiritual beliefs, that itself as “non-spiritual” is a foundation too. Knowing it gives me the right avenue to drive a session into, as I normally can’t predetermine where a certain emotion is originated.
Carolyn shared with me her belief in life beyond death, even though she is not religious at all. “Coming back” as in reincarnation theory makes more sense to her than not.
After we agreed to set up a series of sessions, I asked Carolyn if she had more questions. Carolyn asked, “Will I have to share everything?”
Interesting… “No, you won’t have to.” I said. “You sound concerned.”
“Well… I keep wondering about it.” Carolyn said, “I’m not sure if in hypnosis things that I’m afraid to tell you will come up.”
I thought to myself, “But I’ve heard it all – be it strange, weird, unbelievable, out of this world, cruel, or embarrassing.” I asked Carolyn, “You mean, like embarrassing things?”
“I don’t know. Maybe in hypnosis I’ll lose control. Maybe I’ll say things that I may not want to say.”
I still didn’t quite understand what exactly Carolyn was referring to, but I told Carolyn content-free hypnosis was completely possible. Besides, her subconscious mind is that protective mind. It will not say things to me that she was not ready for. Subconscious mind is even good at blocking things from ourselves, let alone another person.
After Carolyn expressed some interest in past life regression, we hung up the phone, and I knew another venue was open for us to explore.
Carolyn is the exact kind of client I enjoy working with. Being a life coach, she has a great deal of self-awareness and insights. The first session is normally diagnostic. Through the ideomotor movement, her subconscious mind told us there are past lives to look at.
On our second session, Carolyn felt fear as we started the hypnosis process.
“What is the fear? Fear of being hypnotized?” I asked Carolyn.
“Embarrassment, but it’s not the right word. It’s difficult to voice it. It’s this darkness that sometimes I feel around me, like a hollow. And sometimes I feel… it is inside me. What if the darkness comes FROM me?”
“So you are afraid that hypnotherapy may confirm that feeling for you, is that it?”
I have my own opinion about “darkness”, but I feel at this point Carolyn simply wanted to be assured of safety and security in the process. So instead of launching into a lecture on so-called darkness, one of my favourite subjects, I told Carolyn that she was always in control, in and out of hypnosis, and that we would not go anywhere that her conscious or unconscious mind did not want to go.
An interesting fear though – the fear of being dark force herself. Doesn’t the fear itself already show her that she is not dark? For if it’s your true identity, there is nothing else but the acceptance of it. It is like if I have to be told that I am “bad”, I must not be bad, because if that were my identity, I would not need to be told.
The Greatest Life Coach
Carolyn came back every week reporting the anger was lessening. I kept in mind what she was concerned about, but didn’t want to bring it up until I knew the time was right. Through the years working with clients, I understand there is timing for everything. Too pushy wanting to “heal” a person too early before the readiness is in place could backfire.
It was not until the third session where after a past life regression, we went to the interlife and I spoke with Carolyn’s spirit guide Gladys, that I got to ask a lot of questions. One of the questions I asked was, “What was this darkness that ‘came from’ Carolyn?”
After a little pause, Gladys said, channelled through Carolyn, “There is no such a thing as darkness.”
I thought great. Now it’s time for Carolyn herself to hear it. Upon emerging, Carolyn did tell me she remembered it all, and in that particular moment, she felt a great clarity.
On her fifth appointment, I felt that we have built enough rapport with each other, she has gained enough trust in the process, and she has built enough spiritual muscles to face the fear.
Carolyn brought up the idea of managing other people’s expectations, her own expectations towards others, and how certain individuals treating her as if she hasn’t grown up. Carolyn didn’t sound very confident when I encouraged her to challenge her own beliefs. But when she said she was a very good coach, and right before she came to see me, she had a good session in her practicum, I told her she could coach herself, setting up two chairs at home, changing chairs back and forth to play the roles of a client and a coach.
“I don’t know how serious I would take myself when I became a coach in those chairs.” Carolyn laughed at this idea.
Wait a minute! Wasn’t it one of the problems, not being taken seriously by others? I told Carolyn maybe others didn’t take her seriously because she didn’t take herself seriously. “If you couldn’t do it, that must not be easy. Now at least you can understand others for not taking you seriously.”
I told Carolyn it might be helpful if I taught her self-hypnosis, so she could do the role-play in hypnosis – Less conscious interference therefore less embarrassing, for herself.
We practiced self-hypnosis a couple of times. Carolyn could go in easily. As we were practicing, Carolyn asked me, “What if I can’t snap myself out of hypnosis?”
“You can always count yourself from 0 to 5 out of hypnosis.” I told her.
“Another question,” Carolyn asked, “What if when I practice the self-hypnosis on my own, I go to a bad place?”
That was it. On this fifth session, I could sense our mutual trust has been strongly built and Carolyn was ready for something.
So I told Carolyn that we’d address that in a moment, but for now, we’d practice self-hypnosis more. After she put herself into a deep hypnotic state, I told her,
In a moment, I’ll ask you to open your eyes. When your eyes are open, you will stay in this state. You will stand up, move yourself across the space and take the chair I’m sitting on, as I will stand up and take the seat you are on. When we have shifted the seats, the moment you sit down on this chair, you will instantly become the life coach Carolyn. You will speak with the person in front of you, and she has a problem of not being taken seriously and growing up and meeting other’s expectations. You as life coach Carolyn will start to speak immediately, and you’ll know exactly what to say to help the person in front of you.
Then we did the switch. The moment Carolyn sat down on my chair, and I sat on the couch mimicking Carolyn’s posture, Carolyn started to speak. The insight I was looking for came right through. I was so delighted. I asked Carolyn to count, right there, herself up from 0 to 5, and out of hypnosis.
“Did you remember what you just said as Life Coach Carolyn?”
“Yes I do.”
“That was the missing piece, wasn’t it?”
Carolyn’s face was beaming.
Diving into the Darkness
After practicing Self-Hypnosis one more time, Carolyn very quickly put herself into the trance, I ask her to “now dive into the dark or hollow, within you or without you.” And I assured her, “Every step on the way, my voice will be there with you.”
Carolyn went all the way through… “Where is it? Inside you somewhere or outside of you in your auric field?”
“It’s like a very dark place, like a cave.”
“Let’s go there slowly. First let’s pause at the cave entrance, because only when our eyes are used to the darkness, can we start to see… Now when you can see, what’s there in the cave?”
“I can feel movement, like shadows, but I don’t know what it is.”
“Just continue walking. My voice is with you all the time. Can you hear anything?”
“So it’s quiet. In this quietness, what do you feel?”
“I feel there is a presence, to my right. It’s very dark.”
“What else do you know about this presence, rather than dark? Is it shorter or taller than you?”
“Taller. Good. Is it a male or female?”
“I feel it’s a female.”
“So she’s following you?”
“You can pause, and ask her, ‘Who are you? What do you want?’”
“It…” a long pause, “Its job is to scare me.”
“It sounds like she’s doing a good job.”
“I think so too.” Carolyn gave a little nervous chuckle.
“A lot of times she’s doing a good job scaring you, but this time it’s different. This time I’m there with you, so let’s pause for a moment. You stop. And she stops. And you turn to her and ask her, ‘What do you get to scare me?’ Allow her to say it.”
Carolyn was pausing. Nothing came up.
At the beginning of a scene, normally I don’t give a client too much a pause, and move faster as the story line hasn’t developed yet. It’s very easy for them to activate the analytical mind when they try too hard, so I keep talking, even though I haven’t received an answer to the previous question, “You know, in a scary movie, there are always sound effects as well…”
“Just voices, and visions…”
“What kind of visions?”
“It’s almost like the sensation of being in a very busy crowded room, feeling flustered… No not really that crowded. I feel crowded because they are on top of me, or they are raising their arms, making me feel that I am… inside… like they are suffocating me.” Carolyn had a hard time conveying the sensation.
“When this is happening, where’s that presence?”
“She’s further right, instructing the crowd.” Carolyn got annoyed.
“Who are those people? Are they both men and women?”
“Both. But they are more like shadows or spirits. They are not physical.”
“They are not physical… That makes you wonder what you have done to deserve that, doesn’t it?”
“Umm, now I feel like I want them to go away.”
“You want them to go away, because…?” I could sense the empowerment in Carolyn’s voice.
“I just want to keep walking.”
“Certainly you can do just that.” I wanted to find out more of the purpose. “Since they are given instructions from the presence, does she want them to go away?”
“No, she doesn’t.”
“There is a good reason for that. We need to understand that reason why she doesn’t want to leave you alone. I want you to connect with the inner knowing. From there allow yourself to know, who she is, what you have done to deserve that, why you, not anyone else… Was there any previous agreement?”
“I feel like that I was supposed to do something that I didn’t do.”
“So this is like punishment?”
“I think so.”
“Speak to the presence directly now: What was it that Carolyn was supposed to do that she didn’t do?”
“Acknowledge her?” Carolyn was a little surprised by this answer.
I felt a relief. “Something you have not acknowledged her. Fair enough. We can do that. But we don’t even know who she is. How can we acknowledge that which we don’t know? Ask her to introduce herself so we can know what we are acknowledging.”
“I… I see a cemetery… like she passed away… a long ago… if that makes sense…”
So far nothing made sense, but part of hypnotherapy work is to deal with what doesn’t make sense. In that sense, it did make sense.
A “Witch’s” Death
I gave my best sense-making attempt, “Cemetery… What’s that? You stepped onto her grave when you were younger? That’s what you need to acknowledge?”
Carolyn corrected me, “I feel like not this life.”
“Okay. She wants you to acknowledge her, and she is helping you right now, to go all the way to that moment. She’s showing you how she passed away. Did you know each other?”
“Umm. I… am a woman. I think she’s about to be burned at the stake. I know her, but I’m not admitting.”
“Is it for your own safety you are not admitting her?”
“You are not admitting her, but you know you know her. How did you know her?”
“We are… at work together, or we live together…. She was teaching me.”
“How old are you when she’s teaching you?”
“About mid to late twenties. She’s about mid thirties.”
“How did this all start?”
“I wanted to learn. And she wanted to teach me. It’s also about learning together.”
“What is it that you are contributing?”
“I have an ability with plants, knowing them, and finding them. And she’s good at making medicine out of them.”
“What’s your name? And what’s her name?”
“My name is Barb. Her name is M-A-T-I.” Carolyn spelt it out.
“Go to the moment that Mati was caught. What’s the crime? Why did they do that?”
“Someone died. They thought she was witch. She was guilty.”
“But don’t they know that you work together?” I was not sure how Barb got away.
“Yeah, but she’s more in charge. I acted as an assistant.”
It was 17th century. Barb stood in the crowd. Mati gazed at Barb, with expectation. Barb first felt as if Mati was expecting her to do something. Some village people felt sorry for Mati and anger for all this, but Barb was not feeling any of those in that moment. She could feel Mati’s helplessness, and her own utter helplessness. Barb was standing there, feeling completely numb.
I was not sure which one was feeling harder there, Mati at the stake, or Barb in the crowd. All I knew was intense emotions welled up with Carolyn and tears streamed down her face. Overwhelmed by the emotions, Carolyn had a hard time listening to me. Past life regression is a beautiful form of therapy. Carolyn was processing emotions that Barb could not process in that public moment. That’s how healing can take place.
A Belated Acknowledgement
After letting her emotions run for a while, I guided her through, “At this moment, you are standing there Barb, watching this. All you can do is to allow yourself to feel deeply, feel for her, the helplessness, feel for your own helplessness and hopelessness, feel for the deepest love for her. You did enjoy working with her, didn’t you? And you do love her, don’t you?”
“So that you can let her know that it’s okay. It’s going to be over very soon. You’ll be free. Send that idea to her. You’ll be free very soon. It’s alright. Tell her ‘I would help if I knew how, but I couldn’t. I don’t know how.’ Allow her to know you are feeling the same powerlessness and helplessness, but it’ll be over very soon, and she will be free. Let her know she’s been a great teacher and companion. She can release that life now. She can release all the pain. She can release all the sorrow. She’s been a great healer. Sometimes not everything can go as we plan, but that doesn’t change the fact that she is so good at what she does. Yes, let yourself acknowledge her now. You do acknowledge her, don’t you? – With all she is. And with all she has been.”
Carolyn gradually calmed down. She as Barb was doing the acknowledgment. I brought the burning scene to an end. “Now Barb, allow yourself to know what life is like for you after that. Will you still be able to continue? Or maybe you stop?”
“What do you do then after you stopped?”
“I… take care of people, but in a different way. ”
“How are you doing emotionally after Mati was gone?”
“I feel lonely, and empty, but kind of accepted it, I guess I receded.”
“Any guilt feeling at all?”
“A little bit.”
At this point, I felt Mati was an unfinished business, “Allow yourself to access now, after this, is Mati able to come back and reincarnate at all?”
“No. I don’t think so.”
Mati became a haunting ghost, at least throughout the lifetime of Carolyn. Now it all makes sense, with Carolyn’s fear of dark places and embarrassment.
Coaching the Ghost
Mati, who is still full of resentment, needs to be coached, “So let’s come back here now, this cave-like dark space. And she’s there on the right hand side, slightly taller than you, causing the crowd to squeeze you. Let her know that we are here to acknowledge her. Does she have anything to say at this moment?
“How is she now?”
“She is… still processing, but calmer.”
I remembered Carolyn was obtaining her life coach practicum. I was not sure if coaching a ghost would count in her practicum logbook, but that might be a good practice anyway. “As if you are the best life coach, you can coach ghosts too. Never knew that, eh?”
Tearful Carolyn laughed.
I gave Carolyn a two-minute long pause before I started, “One of the things you can tell her is that all has happened has happened. Everybody has moved on. And you have moved on, taking another life, in another time and space, so can she, because she is free now. She has been free. And yet what’s the use of freedom if she can’t let go of the past? That is to become the prisoner of the past, using her freedom to choose to imprison herself. There can be a better choice, and she can if she so chooses, coming back having another life. Now it’s different. Now people respect those who have healing abilities. Time has changed. And there is no true value to hold on to the grudge from the past, because that way surely she can’t realize her own gift. She has a gift of course. Back then in the 17th century, nobody could acknowledge and recognize her gift, but regardless, she has a gift. Tell her, you are willing. And you have already acknowledged her. That was what she was asking. Is there anything else you can do for her? Tell her you’d do if it’s within your ability. But for her, there’s a better way to be. Today your tears are the proof that you can feel for her and you care, but you have already moved on and so can she. And it’s the better timing now to help each other, as if you are still sisters. Tell her you have missed her. I know she’s still processing…”
“But she looks much better now.”
“Now share with her what life was like for Barb after she was gone. You felt so lonely and there was no fulfillment at all. You stopped doing that all together, because together you were a very good team. So maybe, if she so chooses, she can help you in this life, in some way shape or form. Together you do good things, as a team. Eventually she can come out of the cave. She can be that shining bright light. The fire burned the body, but who she truly is, tell her, nobody can destroy. But I suppose she always knows that.“
A long silence. Carolyn was doing her coaching, tearfully.
I wanted to do a final check on Carolyn’s fear. So far Carolyn has learned self-hypnosis techniques to practice on her own. “Now that we have explored this dark cave in this session, is that fair to say when you do your self-hypnosis, there is nowhere that you can’t go?”
I had a feeling Mati could be of great help in different ways in Carolyn’s life, after all the lifetimes, sisters can be reunited in a very meaningful different way.
So I said, “Good. You know you can just go there; curiosity is all you need. Next time when you go there, she may meet you, and you can continue to heal each other, because after all, once upon a time, you were sister like. It’s good to be together. It’s good to acknowledge her, never too late. It’s good for her to be helped as well, because after all, she wanted to be helped, after so many years now it’s never too late, you are helping her, knowing in this session you have done tremendous help. Now you ARE officially Carolyn the greatest life coach. Not only can you coach human, your hypnotherapist, yourself, but you can coach a ghost. You just can’t help but being who you are.”
Carolyn was crying and laughing at the same time. With that I brought Carolyn out.