I have re-connected with Belleruth.
I was first introduced to Belleruth Naparstek some years ago when I was in therapy. My psychiatrist was doing a lot of work exploring the connections between mind and body and using some guided imagery, based on Belleruth’s work.
I should probably clarify that I have never met Belleruth. But her work for me was profound. Belleruth has done a lot of work with people coping with PTSD and depression. And she’s had good success in helping them work through their problems. Guided imagery is a major part of it.
When my psychiatrist first suggested it, I was more than a little skeptical but was willing to “give it a whirl”, as Sweetie would say. (Sweetie was more skeptical than I but has a ‘live and let live’ philosophy to most things in life. If it helped me, he was glad. C’est tout.)
Since those first forays using Belleruth’s scripts, I have returned to guided imagery on many occasions – to reduce stress, to allay fear, to work through depression when it resurfaces. I’ve also learned to meditate, sometimes with a simple mantra, sometimes using a recorded guided meditation.
My psychiatrist moved on to further his research into mind-body connections when he was invited to teach at a university in the southern United States. When I resumed therapy with a new doctor, guided imagery wasn’t a part of his practice – although he shared Sweetie’s view on my use of it. He also talks a lot about mindfulness, pointing me to an assortment of zen meditations. So he’s in sync, if not exactly on the same page.
Not that I spend hours every day in a lotus position or lying down listening to gentle words and music. Life intrudes. Finding the time and the space to return to something that’s been so good for me is never easy. But it’s there when I really need it.
I’ve shared these resources with members of my family when they’ve been trying to work through struggles of their own. I suspect that they may even be coming to anticipate hearing me say, “I have a great meditation that might help you with that,” when we discuss a current problem.
For example: Yesterday, Baby Sister called to talk about the trauma of taking poor fuzzy Erik to the vet for the first time. Erik is her cat, recently rescued, and still a bit skittish. Erik didn’t take well to being bundled into the cat carrier and made terrible keening noises that were apparently quite heartbreaking. By the time they returned home, Erik was back to normal but “Mummy” was completely frazzled, talking about valium and stiff drinks. (You should know that these are not generally words one associates with Baby Sister.)
“I have just the thing,” I say. “Go to www.healthjourneys.com and you’ll find a free guided meditation aimed at reducing stress and helping you relax.”
“Hm,” she said.”
I realize this incident may seem a bit light in connection with a body of work that’s meant to be taken seriously. That’s not my intention. It’s simply an observation of connections. Of rediscovering Belleruth, finding her website with the guided imagery audio file and connecting to it my sister who was truly distressed – all within a matter of about an hour.
I happened upon the website when my niece posted the link on her Facebook page to an article about working through grief. Who would have thought I’d reconnect with Belleruth through FB?
I’ve friended Belleruth and she has graciously accepted. I look forward to catching up, reading more about her and her work. And to returning to a tool and a philosophy that’s often helped me make it through.