Ridicule & Shaming: Taking Us Further away from a Healthy, Civil Society

Ridicule and shaming are indicators of social disfunction in our society. How did we get here? How did we become a society of people who tolerate and participate in this kind of behaviour? My childhood was chalk full of shaming. It was a consistent aspect of the social atmosphere of both the Catholic school and church experience for me in my early years. Ridicule was also common in my social experience at home and at school from not only siblings and classmates but also teachers and other adults. It’s not surprising that children who are influenced in this way sometimes end up either considering it to be normal or behaving this way themselves, but this influence goes so much further back than that. This is a form of bullying and it’s an ancestral legacy that we perpetuate but we definitely have an opportunity to end it.  If we choose to do so, it will take awareness, intention and conviction.

How do we form awareness, intention and conviction? We do so through discovering the harm these behaviours cause and the benefits that come from changing them. Part of seeing the harm is to understand how/when this began in our lives, under what circumstances, and how it impacted us. This helps us to get a glimpse of how it may be playing out in our lives today. Once we see this, we form a better understanding of these social dynamics, and with this also comes the innumerable possibilities that could be played out in these scenarios in the absence of this behaviour and its inevitable reactions/repercussions.

My son attended a school that had an excellent reputation and wonderful teachers, but when he began to experience bullying, somehow, things fell apart. In this school, like so many others, there were posters lining the walls that made statements indicating that the school does not tolerate bullying. There were also campaign days against this behaviour. On these days, the students were meant to wear certain coloured t-shirts to support this anti-bullying sentiment. Yet, when I called my son’s teacher about the bullying he was actually experiencing and suggested that we all get together and talk about it – with the kids and their parents – to try to understand what was happening and why, it was not something that was the done thing apparently. This surprised me. The teacher was honest about the reasons – related to her workload – and I know that teachers put in a lot of hours both at school and at home. However, it left me with the understanding that this was not going to be addressed. The teacher agreed to keep her eye out and I let my son know this but I knew that this was not a good message to send to him – after all – bullying like this rarely happens in the presence of a teacher, which is why it needs to be reported. What was my son learning through this experience? There was a complete contradiction between the message of the posters and his lived experience. Despite the posters and campaigns, the actual event itself was not considered important enough to make time to discuss and yet his grades were of great importance. Unfortunately, this is not an unusual experience in this world.

When I attended elementary school, bullying was common among both students and teachers, but if the bullying got really bad, teachers at times did bring the students involved ‘to the office’ to discuss it. There was almost always shaming involved in trying to resolve the matter. Both parents and teachers shamed the child who was doing the bullying to illicit an obligatory apology.  This of course made the child who did the bullying (clearly in need of help) feel even worse and more likely to want to take it out on the child who had been bullied (or themselves – probably both). The child or children who had been bullied were further distressed by all of this and all children involved were learning that this is the way to address/resolve these issues. It was no solution and a clear indication of the social disfunction of the time. Today, in this example with my son, there wasn’t even a discussion, and this is at a time when we are apparently more socially aware of this kind of problem (bullying) than ever before.

The upshot of this is that, in these meetings of my childhood that were meant to resolve these issues, we really never got to the point where we undersood what was motivating the bullying. We didn’t get to that point, because there wasn’t an open and warm atmosphere within which to do this. Instead, there was more intimidation and bullying (shaming) which only perpetuates this behaviour.  This happens in a subtle way, in adult circles as well (or not so subtle online). It’s an old inner reaction of defensiveness or learned behaviour that is sparked or ‘triggered’ by something we experience. Then we witness and participate in scenarios where many reactions are played out without ever getting to the root of the matter because we’re allowing these reactions to dominate the situation rather than leaving room for us to explore inner motivations and to express them outwardly. There are hostile social signals and cues that indicate it’s not safe to do so. Only the most determined and courageous individuals, under these circumstances, manage to tap into and express authentic responses in these situations. This is a powerful thing when it happens and I believe it’s what is changing this world today, little by little, but with immense impact. It has this impact because it changes the tone and possibilities of these situations immediately and that is a wonderful thing to witness and experience. What comes out of these experiences helps us all learn about ourselves and each other and can bring us closer. It gives us all a different kind of behaviour to model and inspires us to explore these possibilities moving forward.

Today we speak of mental health and wellness and I think it’s important to understand what it means to be well so that we may identify ill health, socially, in this regard. When we talk about mental health these days, thankfully, emotional health is often implied but why isn’t it openly stated and demonstrated? I think we’re really in our infancy in understanding what it truly means to be well and this definitely involves everyday behaviour and the way that society functions or disfunctions. I mean, it does function but does that function serve us well and create wellness? Is that what we mean by functioning well? If our body functions well, does that mean that we are well? Are we only bodies in this world?

Unfortunately, I think most systems, institutions and organizations have been set up based on this premise: that we are bodies and brains. It is only recently that emotional abuse has been acknowledged. Now that we acknowledge this, let’s try to understand and identify it in our midst. When someone is ridiculed, what is the motivation behind it? Is it habit? It’s more common than we realize and I think we can all understand and appreciate the reality of social habits. These are strong characteristics of the social dynamic. We become accustomed to the behaviour of those around us and adopt much of it; sometimes, without even being aware of it. This is how mindfulness, or awareness, can play a strong role in making positive social change.

If we took time before reacting in many situations and thought about it or examined our feelings, we probably wouldn’t behave as we sometimes do. When we ridicule others, we shut them down and aren’t creating space to understand or appreciate other people’s unique perspective or situation. We are narrowing our social understanding rather than expanding it. Not only is this a form of subtle bullying, which diminishes others, it also reduces the possibilities that may exist in expanding our own intellectual, emotional and social horizons. The more we expand in this way, in understanding or empathizing with others, the more compassion we have in general – for ourselves and for others. When we shut down others by ridiculing them, we create an understanding within ourselves that if we have an opinion or idea, that may be ridiculed by others, it’s not safe to explore it or express it. Imagine how many potentially important ideas get shut down in this way. This is not a progressive or beneficial atmosphere to exist in – inside or out. This is how we know that the way we behave towards others, impacts us as well.

Our current understanding of health and wellness is expanding to include an emotional state of wellbeing. We know that our emotional wellbeing profoundly effects our physical wellbeing. Look up the ACEs study to see the truth of this laid out in a compelling way. Adverse (harmful) early childhood events impact our health for life. That is, unless we actively begin to discover them, heal and change. How many of us, including teachers and leaders in our society, have had some kind of adverse early childhood event that is still unacknowledged and unhealed? Not only do these early experiences ultimately impact our health, in terms of the likelihood of us contracting certain kinds of health conditions in the long term, it also affects our behaviour, which in turn impacts others and makes up our social environment.

In our society, ridicule and shaming are not uncommon.  Our daily political and social world is full of examples of ridicule and shaming which leads so many to follow suit without thinking. It has been normalized. If this is a common element of the social realm of those who lead society, what can we expect of society on the whole in terms of wellbeing? Is this what we want our children to model? We discourage children from bullying, and yet, if they witness us shaming or ridiculing others, we are sending the message that we can say that certain behaviour is unacceptable – bullying in it’s many forms – but it’s ok to continue to behave this way. This contradiction of professed values and behaviour, also becomes normalized. Perhaps it’s time to do the work of dismantling this for all of our sakes. It’s time to be courageous enough, to start to change this and it does take work. It also takes patience and compassion, for ourselves and others. Compassion, patience and openness are powerful tools to use to evolve.

Think of the many people in history who were initially ridiculed (and some imprisoned) for suggesting things like ‘the world is round’ or that the Earth revolves around the sun or the simple fact that for physicians and others, washing hands can save lives. Progress has been thwarted time and again due to the practice of ridiculing which fuelled the widespread rejection of these ideas for so much longer than they would have been if instead they were responded to with open curiosity or at the very least, tolerance. For the love of our children, for the love of ourselves, this world and to create a better atmosphere, inner and outer, let’s consider taking a more open and gentle approach to responding to one another and a more considered approach to evaluating our own reactions.

Genius: Your Inner Genie

Recently, I wrote about the genius in all of us. There was quite a divided response to this article which indicated the doubt so many have about our own tremendous inner capacities, and this inspired me to delve further into what the word ‘genius’ actually means. I don’t believe that this is the exclusive club it has been perceived to be and it may be expressed or experienced differently for each of us. When I embark on this kind of inquiry, I always look up the etymology of the word – it’s origins – and although it sheds some light on the meaning, we can also use our own inner knowing to discover what it means to us personally and this, I believe, is the most powerful and empowering aspect of this kind of inquiry. It is the first rule of using your inner genie. It is an inner exploration as well as an outer one as our beliefs and understanding are a personal matter.

Let’s begin with the word ‘genius’. This is just one account of its origins but I think we can glean a lot from it.

genius (n.)

late 14c., “tutelary or moral spirit” who guides and governs an individual through life, from Latin genius “guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation; wit, talent;” also “prophetic skill; the male spirit of a gens,” originally “generative power” (or “inborn nature”), from PIE *gen(e)-yo-, from root *gene- “give birth, beget,” with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups. Sense of “characteristic disposition” of a person is from 1580s. Meaning “person of natural intelligence or talent” and that of “exalted natural mental ability” are first recorded 1640s.

The above description of the origins of this word would seem to indicate that it is not from the outside world of knowledge that one gains this kind of distinctive and highly regarded intelligence. I would agree with this. It points to a guiding spirit and this is something I now experience and connect with daily. It has improved my life and my understanding of it substantially, and I believe we all have this capacity. This connection leads to phenomenal insight, rather than being so completely influenced by the mass dissemination of information from the outer world, which is not often driven by this deep source of understanding.

I will comment on one part of the above description of the origins of the word genius; specifically, this statement: “the male spirit of a gens”. I have not found any other reference to this so far that indicates a specifically male aspect but many references of ‘gens’ related to Jinni or Genie interestingly – more on this later. We all have both masculine and feminine in us and although we may experience a presence or spirit as masculine or feminine, they have both of these qualities as we do. The polarization of these masculine and feminine qualities has created a harmful social divide. Through my own inner spiritual connection, I have been moving into a more harmonious state which involves an awareness and balancing of these masculine and feminine qualities in a way that is ideal for me. I see the potential for all of us to do so. It doesn’t mean that we will all have the same opinions or experiences; it just means that we will be able to live peacefully in this diversity of life.

When I looked at the root words of ‘genius’, I couldn’t help but think of the word “genie” and see a connection. Whether or not the writer of this recorded etymology agrees with me, to me, it seems there is a very clear relationship between these two words. One that not everyone will be comfortable with but this is often true when we make discoveries that change our worldview or understanding of how things are. I know this from personal experience. Above all, I always recommend that when determining whether or not you agree with this, to consult that inner knowing/genie/genius.

Definitions from Oxford Languages 




mid 17th century (denoting a guardian or protective spirit): from French génie, from Latin genius (see genius). Génie was adopted in the current sense by the 18th-century French translators of The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, because of its resemblance in form and sense to Arabic jinnī ‘jinnee’.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? These two descriptions are very similar to the description of the word ‘genius’ and the beauty of this is the potential for each of us to discover this magical resource within us. The classic representation of the ‘magic carpet’ associated with the ‘genie’ can easily be interpreted as a prayer rug (yoga/meditation mat?) and if one goes into a deeply meditative state, it can certainly take us on very magical journeys that can provide us with deep insights and even help us to achieve our goals and to prosper if that is one of the goals.

Now below, is the definition of jinn  – the origins of the word ‘genie’.  In this description, the theme of spirit continues and of course, there is also a mention of ‘demons’. Do not be deterred! We will explore this word further and it may help to put this fearsome concept into perspective.

jinn (n.)

1680s, djen, from Arabic jinn. It is a collective plural, “demons, spirits, angels;” the proper singular is jinni, which appears in English occasionally as jinnee (1840) but more frequently as genie.

LAST STATEMENT FROM ABOVE DESCRIPTION: Similarity to genius is accidental.

Again this theme continues and yet, there was a statement at the end of this description/definition that I do not agree with at all. I can see that this is an opinion rather than a statement of fact. My inner genie is quite adamant about this. Now, do I have to consult an inner voice each time I come across something like this to decide what the truth of it is? I do not. Once I read it, I could see that it is a point of view that for me, does not hold up at all. I felt it right away (my inner genie at work) and looked back at the other definitions/etymology and descriptions and I see very clear connections that perhaps you do too – or perhaps not. We can all use our inner genius to draw our own conclusions. Even if we don’t always conclude the same thing, it doesn’t mean that battle must commence to determine the truth for everyone. We may use our knowledge for ourselves or share it with others if we feel inspired to do so and come to peace with the idea that people may use their own inner knowing to move them in whatever direction is appropriate for them.  This is the essence of freedom. It is also the essence of peace.

Now, onto the word ‘Demon’ (also damon/daimon) which is an interesting exploration that reveals lots of influence and we can decide for ourselves how this affects the meaning of this word for us:

demon (n.)

c. 1200, “an evil spirit, malignant supernatural being, an incubus, a devil,” from Latin daemon “spirit,” from Greek daimōn “deity, divine power; lesser god; guiding spirit, tutelary deity” (sometimes including souls of the dead); “one’s genius, lot, or fortune;” from PIE *dai-mon- “divider, provider” (of fortunes or destinies), from root *da- “to divide.”

The malignant sense is because the Greek word was used (with daimonion) in Christian Greek translations and the Vulgate for “god of the heathen, heathen idol” and also for “unclean spirit.” Jewish authors earlier had employed the Greek word in this sense, using it to render shedim “lords, idols” in the Septuagint, and Matthew viii.31 has daimones, translated as deofol in Old English, feend or deuil in Middle English. Another Old English word for this was hellcniht, literally “hell-knight.”

The usual ancient Greek sense, “supernatural agent or intelligence lower than a god, ministering spirit” is attested in English from 1560s and is sometimes written daemon or daimon for purposes of distinction. Meaning “destructive or hideous person” is from 1610s; as “an evil agency personified” (rum, etc.) from 1712.

The Demon of Socrates (late 14c. in English) was a daimonion, a “divine principle or inward oracle.” His accusers, and later the Church Fathers, however, represented this otherwise. The Demon Star (1895) is Algol (q.v.) .

I find it interesting how the meaning of this word involves divine power, genius and also the root: da “to divide”. I think it’s important to consider this in a society that is becoming more and more socially divided. However, I don’t think these divisions are a result of us consulting our inner, higher realm of understanding. Another part of the origins of this word ‘demon’ involves “one’s genius, lot, or fortune”  All of these themes seem to be intertwined and imply that these inner spiritual forces have a lot to do with our intelligence and our fortune or destiny in life. The first view, as presented above (evil spirit), is one that differs widely from the view presented at the end of this description offered by Socrates, which provided a meaning for ‘daimonion’ as a “divine principle or inward oracle.” This was Socrates’ word for his inner spiritual guide. He lived in the 5th century which preceded the more negative definition provided at the beginning of the above account of this word’s etymology. This would seem to indicate that the meaning of this word, or how it was interpreted, changed later on and it’s not difficult to see how this concept of each person having their own, direct spiritual connection might seem to pose a threat to religious rule and other crowned rulers who were considered to have a closer connection/relation to God. Another interesting part of the above description of this word involves “god of heathen, heathen idol”. Heathen means not belonging to a widely held religion. This reminds me of pagans who were considered to be heathens. Pagan etymology/origins: Latin paganus ‘villager, rustic’, from pagus ‘country district’. Latin paganus also meant ‘civilian’. Pagans were civilians and country folk who had their own beliefs and traditions and were persecuted for it – one might even say ‘demonized’.

I’m sure the rabbit hole goes deeper and involves religious influence as well as political and it naturally involves the ideology of those who record these things as it always will. The religious experience at the time of c. 1200 was not from most accounts, an empowering one or one that advocated independent thought. Instead of tapping into one’s inner spirit/knowing/genius, most were encouraged to follow the teachings of officials and religious leaders or the records of those celebrated people who made their own spiritual connections long before and most importantly of the official interpretations of these recorded experiences. Some of the stories that arose from these early spiritual experiences are inspiring and still inspire people today. However, there are now, more and more people discovering that they may have their own lived experience of their unique, personal spirituality and I believe it was experiences like these that inspired so many people who were considered to be geniuses of their time as Socrates alluded to using a word that ironically came to mean something evil. I believe there’s also an interesting connection between these words and the word ‘gene’ which we have come to understand as being an essential aspect of our unique physical being. Here’s a short excerpt of the origins of this word:

From German Gen, from Ancient Greek γενεά (geneá, “generation, descent”), from the aorist infinitive of γίγνομαι (gígnomai, “I come into being”). Coined by the Danish biologist Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen in a German-language publication, from the last syllable of pangene.[1]

The statement that stands out the most from the above description is “I come into being”. This is a far more profound and meaningful statement than I have ever heard in scientific discussions around ‘genes’. I think all of this reveals a deeper mystery surrounding who we are, what our true potential/capacities are and how that relates to spiritual guidance and our relationship to our own spirituality. What I have gleaned from this exploration of the word ‘genius’ has confirmed what I have learned from my own experiences which is that this inner connection is a fundamental aspect of who we are and being separated from it, causes suffering. We are so much more than our physical selves. Now that so many people in the world suffer from anxiety, depression, addiction, ill health etc., it’s important to get back to some essential idea of who we really are and begin to build from there. This has been an essential aspect of healing for so many of us who have been on the path of physical/emotional healing and personal growth.

Amidst all of the turmoil in the world today, and perhaps because of it, there is an emergence of practices that allow people to connect with their own inner spirit and inner knowing. It is creating a shift that holds great promise for our future and one that is truly empowering to every individual. With this inner exploration, not only may we encounter/connect with our inner spirit/genius, we also discover the darker inner elements within that create suffering (it was suggested to me that the word ‘jinn’ or ‘jinni’ may be associated with these darker aspects). Each of us may decide what to do with/about these darker elements. There are many tools for us to discover and heal and if we focus inward, we will know which ones resonate with us as individuals. Delving within can teach us a great deal and help us tap into our own inner genius. This inner connection can help us form a better relationship with ourselves, with others and with the world around us. It can help us create a life that is an expression of this deeper, wiser, more authentic part of ourselves – one that is conducive to a happier and more harmonious existence.

If you would like to learn more about working with me to access your inner genie/genius through hypnosis, please contact me at rebecca.hayden@gmail.com to arrange for a free discovery call.

Honour Your Inner Genius

My Ayahuasca experience in the summer of 2018 provided insights that may help us to peacefully navigate the rising social divide. I wrote about this experience right afterwards and the account below is a combination of journaling and auto-writing the lessons and messages that came through during ceremony.

This experience was all about beliefs, agreements, consensus and conflict. Aya showed me how these things converge in my experience and in humanity. She told me how very unique I am and because of this I would often do things differently than others and that this is good. Others may not agree and try to make me feel that I should do things like everyone else and it’s important for me to not participate in their belief systems around this. Once I begin to participate I am no longer following my own beliefs; I’m following theirs instead and working against myself. I have done this often in my life and I have formed some harmful agreements as a result. I have a broken those agreements now. During ceremony I was given an opportunity to demonstrate this.

This small, private ceremony had a religious context and initially I was concerned about this only because I knew that I approached this work differently so I asked in advance if it was required that I participate in all aspects of this ceremony. I made it clear that it was my intention to just go into my own experience as I always do with Ayahuasca and I wanted to make sure that this was ok and that by doing this, I wouldn’t be disrupting others or if this approach would be unwelcome in any way. I was assured that all activities were optional. During this ceremony there were instances where I was urged and pressured to do things that were expressly against my own healing experience. Aya advised me to continue with my own healing work that was underway and vital to my personal well-being. This involved having to say no several times throughout the night to those who continued to interrupt this process. It was quite a challenge as during the evening there was mounting pressure to participate in activities that others were doing and Aya continued to remind me of the importance and significance of doing what I had chosen to do despite this increasing pressure that ultimately became coercive as it was implied that by simply remaining peacefully in my own experience, I would negatively impact others. I remember feeling so uncomfortable and asking Aya “Isn’t what I’m doing disrespectful?” The response came “That respect goes both ways”. I looked into the eyes of the woman who persisted in the requests I had respectfully declined several times, I saw shifting patterns on her face, and I remember saying to her “There’s no point in me taking this medicine if I ignore what it’s teaching me”. It was a perfect opportunity to integrate the lessons I was being taught about honouring my own experience and not participating in others’ belief systems instead of my own. I want to make it clear that I doubt very much that this is reflective of most or any religious based Ayahuasca experiences. In fact, I’m sure there are many who go to this same center/place and have positive experiences. My unique experience was designed to help me overcome this personal issue and I’m grateful for it.

That night, I continued to learn about the different ways that I would heal and the importance of allowing for my reality as well as the reality of others. It was clear that there is room for more than one reality. It was also clear that although I will use my voice to express what I’ve learned and that it may resonate with some it may also be contrasted by others’ beliefs and opinions. This doesn’t mean that I will be sitting in opposition to others. That was a misconception of my own and perhaps of others. I do not have to participate in that misconception. I can invest in my own beliefs, appreciate and respect others’ beliefs and espouse acceptance of all of this in a harmonious way. The only way to do this is to not insist that because my way of thinking and believing is good for me and others, that everyone else must believe this too.  There is room for all beliefs. If we insist on consensus we are inviting conflict.

One of the ways my own healing work may differ from the work many others do has to do with internal interference in the form of dark or harmful energies. During this particular ceremony, the shamans/facilitators were talking about making friends with these darker energies and in so doing turning them into allies. They both removed dark energies and encouraged work that involved befriending some of these elements at work within. Aya pointed out to me that sometimes, with this work, it is an endless attempt to subdue something that is naturally dark and make it something else that is light. Often this existing darkness that is turned into lightness for some of the time, inevitably goes back to darkness at times and this is the struggle that we engage in when we do this work.

What Aya told me that we would do instead would be to say goodbye to the darker energies within and do so with love so that they would dissipate and be replaced by spiritual allies whose nature is love. She asks me to acknowledge my harmful behaviour and look at the reasons for this behaviour and the source or motivation for it.  What we discover are fear-based beliefs that result from the influence of the past and of harmful energies or entities that I have created or attracted as a result of these experiences in my past. These creations or entities are not part of who I am. They are a result of wounds that I may heal and once this healing takes place, these entities or creatures of my creation Will dissipate as long as I Will it to be so.  I can then use my energy to heal other wounds rather than cultivating a friendship out of these darker energies. It is a choice to do this work in this unique way that is the best way for me as an individual. It does not mean that everyone must do it in this way. It does not mean that people who do it in another way are not valid in doing so. It simply means that this is the work I must do to be well in my own way.  This may resonate with others too.  We are all very unique and we must all find ways to heal that suits us individually and honours our uniqueness. These ways of healing may differ one from another. This is part of the ecosystem of humanity.

Most of the lessons and messages this night had to do with my tendency to invest in other people’s belief systems over my own and this causes self-harm. We are all geniuses.  We form beliefs and find evidence to support these beliefs.  Our genius may lie in our ability to discover the genius in others that resonates with own genius. But when we decide that someone is a genius based solely on status, credentials and accolades alone, we are not honouring our inner genius.  We are then agreeing that only a limited number of people can be geniuses and that we must choose among them to determine our own belief systems. We are creators. We create our own reality. If you create a reality that you don’t like it is not healthy. If you decide that you must agree with a reality because of someone else’s impressive sales pitch rather than your own impeccable inner knowing, you have created a breech that causes suffering.

If you choose to follow your own inner knowing, you can embody this by stepping into your power and living this reality – simply being the change. If you do this without being drawn into other opposing beliefs, you will deflect harmful and negative reactions of others who may hold different beliefs. No need to defend yourself when you’re standing firmly your power. All this work must be fuelled by love for it to be effective and authentic.  It is born out of self-love.

Altered States, After Life, ET Encounters & Us

For a long time now, I have noticed startling similarities between near death experiences, plant medicine or psychedelic journeys, hypnotic experiences and descriptions of encounters with Aliens or ETs. Many of us who have had plant medicine experiences have had connections with what we might consider to be spirits or sometimes we refer to them as entities. It can be a very nuanced experience but sometimes there is a ‘knowing’ involved – a natural understanding of what we’re experiencing. Lots of people have seen or had contact with what they know to be alien entities during plant medicine journeys. There are many unique experiences we have with plant medicines that are beyond description. I’m sure the same is true of near death experiences and encounters with ETs but some of us who have had such extraordinary experiences feel compelled to share them none the less. And as more and more people share these stories, a fascinating bigger picture is emerging.

Although it has been out there for a while now, I just recently came across an account of an alien encounter by Emily Trim who was attending school in Zimbabwe in 1994 when aliens were reported to have landed in the schoolyard during recess. In her description of this encounter, she explains that the aliens communicated with her telepathically and that she was flooded with images. These experiences of telepathic communication and being flooded with images are very common with plant medicine and psychedelic experiences. Emily went on to explain that the aliens communicated an important message about how we’re using technology – that there are good and bad ways to use technology and that we can do better. In the end, after receiving a lot of questions about the physical nature of the aliens and their ship, Emily emphasized the importance of what they were saying rather than how they looked. This struck me as so familiar as it’s a point I have made myself so many times. I have a presence (entity/spirit) that I dialogue with telepathically on a regular basis and I speak openly about these experiences. It began with shamanic journeying and continued in a more pronounced way after my first Ayahuasca retreat (with other plant medicine experiences in between). Lots of people asked me questions about this presence or voice/voices, about who are they and where are they from and I almost always respond by emphasizing the importance of the messages they are conveying and what I am learning from them rather than focusing on other aspects, which are not as important. The messages I receive are often ones relating to my own personal growth but sometimes, as with Emily Trim and the message she received from her alien encounter, these messages are about humanity and how we can improve (click here to read some of these messages).

In addition to finding similarities between plant medicine/psychedelic experiences and those of ET contactees, I also found myself relating to many of the near death experience stories published on Youtube as many of them are similar to plant medicine experiences. One of these NDE talks was given by Bill Letson who spoke about his encounter with an alien like being during his near death experience. Near death experiences take place during the time after a person is pronounced or presumed dead and before they are revived or discovered to be alive. After his NDE, Bill also experienced Ayahuasca. Sometimes, the Ayahuasca experience is referred to as ‘the little death’. Many of us come out of these experiences, no longer fearing death as we realize that our existence extends beyond this life. There are a wide variety of other impacts of plant medicine experiences and again, the reports are similar to the kinds of things that happen after NDEs but they also vary because the effects are as unique as we are. The similarities exist in that they change people’s worldview, improve their emotional state and sometimes leave them with special abilities they had not tapped into previously. Most people receive teachings/messages that are profound and again, they are often a mix of personal messages and those intended to help humanity.

During my first experience with Iboga, a powerful African plant medicine, like so many others, there were many images coming at me all at once. This is a very common experience to have with Iboga and some have experienced the same with psilocybin, Ayahuasca and psychedelics. In one of my Iboga experiences, I ended up in the stars and had such a tranquil experience there. It was such an enjoyable experience that I have often intentionally returned there in hypnotic journeys, just to have that wondrous sense of floating freely amongst the stars again. Before my experiences in shamanism and with plant medicines, although I loved to look at the stars, the idea of being in space scared me and seemed cold and lifeless. All of that changed after my first shamanic journey. My first ever visual during a shamanic journey was one of being in the stars. Little did I know where it would lead. It was this first exploration into shamanic journeying (with sonic drumming) that facilitated my connection with a presence that made itself known to me during that time. This changed my life dramatically and for the better. I had been depressed leading up to this experience and coming out of it, I knew that things would be different and that I was now on a path to a much better life.

After spending years learning from this presence and integrating these experiences, I wanted to share it in a way that helped others. I was doing this through my podcast and talks but so many people came to me and asked how they could make the kind of connection I was experiencing and be guided by it as I was. I had to think about this for a while as I intended to come up with a solution that was just as empowering as I felt my own experience continued to be. Eventually, I settled on hypnosis. I discovered that it’s just a method of us tapping into those inner capacities we all have – capacities that are also accessed through all of these other experiences – psychedelic/NDE etc. I knew that hypnosis would be a good journeying tool and I also discovered that it could help people who had ET encounters, to recall details about these events. It’s very helpful in integrating plant medicine experiences and most importantly, it can help people make connections with entities and spiritual allies that offer guidance by providing them with important messages. Seeing the dots connect?

Some time ago, I came across reports about alien encounters where people were receiving messages through songs on the radio. I had this experience often after returning from Peru while I was cultivating my relationship with this wise presence. Is it an alien? Is it a spirit? Does it matter? It doesn’t matter to me but what I do find intriguing is the blurring lines between these kinds of experiences and the implications of this for all of us. These connections, experiences and encounters are helping us to understand ourselves better. They also reveal to us something about our possible origins. With plant medicines, psychedelics and NDEs we have experiences beyond our bodies and even in our bodies, we connect in profound ways beyond our perceived limits of this physical realm. Any entity or ‘being’ we encounter that is not ‘of Earth’ we consider to be alien or spirit but if we agree that our existence did not begin with our birth on this planet, then I guess we can all be considered to be aliens or spiritual beings. These experiences present an expanded idea of who we really are.

We’re often deeply moved by the magical nature of these experiences that offer us very different existential perspectives and often change our worldview for the better – sometimes, many times over. This seems to be a necessary aspect of healing as many of us approach plant medicines, psychedelics and hypnosis for healing or to achieve positive change of some kind. Even the scientific reports of therapeutic use of psychedelics conclude that people who have had mystical experiences during their ‘trip’ have more positive long-term outcomes. This also seems to be true of those who make these connections via hypnosis as well. Just having the experience of being connected to something bigger is important. It’s more than a concept or belief. We’re having lived experiences of this now in so many different ways. And those ways are becoming more and more accessible which is changing us collectively for the better and bringing about a sort of accelerated evolution. It is moving us beyond our limited notions of what’s possible and this is changing everything.


Zimbabwe UFO Child Conactee Speaks Publicly For The 1st Time

The Mystical Experience is Critical for the Therapeutic Effects of Psilocybin

Griffiths R, Richards W, Johnson M, McCann U, Jesse R. Mystical-type experiences occasioned by psilocybin mediate the attribution of personal meaning and spiritual significance 14 months later. J Psychopharmacol. 2008;22(6):621-632. doi:10.1177/0269881108094300

Griffiths RR, Johnson MW, Richards WA, Richards BD, McCann U, Jesse R. Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences: immediate and persisting dose-related effects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Dec;218(4):649-65. doi: 10.1007/s00213-011-2358-5. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Griffiths RR, Johnson MW, Richards WA, Richards BD, Jesse R, MacLean KA, Barrett FS, Cosimano MP, Klinedinst MA. Psilocybin-occasioned mystical-type experience in combination with meditation and other spiritual practices produces enduring positive changes in psychological functioning and in trait measures of prosocial attitudes and behaviors. J Psychopharmacol. 2018 Jan;32(1):49-69. doi: 10.1177/0269881117731279.

Study comparing DMT experiences with NDEs


Telepathy, Consciousness and Collective Healing

We hear it said so often “We’re all one” or “We’re all connected” and I think for the most part, many of us accept this but there is still such a mystery as to how this plays out in our daily lives. I know that there are many ways in which this happens and one of the ways this ‘oneness’ can be revealed is through telepathy. My work with Ayahuasca, psychedelics, shamanism and subtle energies has resulted in some profound telepathic experiences in my every day life. It’s not surprising that most of these experiences involve my son as I have a closer connection to him than anyone else in my life. The first time I experienced this telepathic connection in an overt way, was long before I delved deeply into plant medicines or psychedelics but it was after my initial foray into the world of shamanism. Sometimes there can be hints at future events in our lives – like the foreshadowing we see in movies.

My first experience happened on a day that I went walking with my mother and son on a trail that was unfamiliar to me. We were visiting from out of town and during this walk, I began to take some photos. I became immersed in my photography for a while so my mother and son walked ahead. I said I’d catch up but I guess I waited too long and they must have been almost at my mother’s home when I realized that I really didn’t know which way to go to find my way back to them. I began walking in one direction but it felt more and more unfamiliar and a while later, once I realized that I was truly lost, I heard my mother and son calling my name. I soon caught up with them, and my mother explained that my son knew that I was lost. Before they arrived home my son insisted on coming back for me and told her that I was lost. He was maybe around 4 or 5 years old at the time and when I asked him how he knew I was lost he said “I know your heart”, “I was in your tummy”. Both my mother and I were very moved by this experience and it really began to change how I saw our connection. I am still discovering the depths of this connection.

The second time I became aware of this connection in a pronounced way was quite some time after I had begun working with plant medicines and psychedelics. I engaged in shamanic practices before I worked with plant medicines and through shamanic journeying, I experienced an inner connection with a guiding presence. I experienced this guiding presence as a sort of telepathic communication but it was more like insights, downloads and visions rather than the dialogue it became after Ayahuasca. This wise, guiding presence helped me in many ways right up to the point where I began to work with Ayahuasca. After that, this connection became a more pronounced dialogue that has been a guiding influence in my life ever since. I connect with this presence daily and it ‘speaks’ to me very clearly at times and especially, in the middle of the night and through my dreams. All of this led up to my first experience of conscious/intentional telepathic communication with my son.

One night, I was woken up in the middle of the night by this guiding presence/voice and it was responding to the intention/question regarding my son that I had posed earlier. It was suggested to me, that I speak to my son about my concerns. My telepathic reply to this inner voice pointed out the very practical issue of it being the middle of the night and my son was asleep in his room down the hall. The guided response urged me to speak to my son as I was speaking to this presence – to reach out to him telepathically. I did just that and I had only begun to do this (in my mind) when I heard his door open and footsteps coming down the hall. My son came into my room and I was so surprised to see him that I asked out loud “Honey what are you doing here?”. He replied “I couldn’t hear you” and crawled inside my bed and went to sleep. Obviously, he had ‘heard’ me but in a different way. He knew that I had reached out to him telepathically and this was his response.

A few years later, a friend of mine invited me to participate in a scientific experiment (learn more about that here) exploring the phenomenon of telepathy. In this experiment, participants were asked to meditatively connect with hypothalamic mouse neurons. There were sensors attached to these neurons that translated into data that we could see on a computer screen once the attempted connection was completed. My friend, who was also a hypnosis client at one point, gave me instructions that were most unexpected. He asked me to send signals/thoughts to these neurons that were disturbing/upsetting. It was the opposite to what I had anticipated. All of my practices of this nature have involved more peaceful/healing themes and this was quite the challenge. So, once I was set up and left alone to make this telepathic connection, I used my own hypnotic techniques to achieve a deeply relaxed state and reached out in my mind to this wise presence that advised me to make a game of this exercise and enjoy it, reassuring me that I would not harm these neurons. While in this hypnotic/meditative state, I imagined myself as a fiery cartoon character from a popular animated film called Moana.  I became this large character walking around the petri dish and singeing the neurons with my feet. I experienced the neurons recoil as I singed them. I did this for the allotted time and once the exercise was over and before we looked at the results, my friend sat down with me to share with me the reason for his request (to ‘upset’ the neurons). He said that many participants had used loving kindness type of meditative thoughts in this experiment in the past without much response but one day, when one of the participants happened to arrive in an angry state, and went ahead with the process none the less, there was a very marked response from the neurons. He showed me the computer screen, displaying the sensor’s output, which looked like the kind of graph they have on machines in hospitals showing someone’s vitals.  It represented the results of the entire experiment to date. For the most part, it was flat but there was a large, jagged line going up at one point which was the result of the connection with the angry participant. Then the line was relatively flat until again until it spiked at the end. This time, the line wasn’t jagged, it rose smoothly upwards and this was a result of my little singeing game with the neurons. It was a marked response.

Throughout my relationship with this presence, I have learned a lot about the importance of thoughts, awareness of how they are directed and the impact they have. Typical everyday inner responses impact not only our own experience but they have an effect on others as well. I remember one day as I dropped off my son at school, I walked away with a feeling of heaviness and a kind of worried attachment to him. I remember this wise inner voice saying “leave him be” and I understood that again, this was having an effect and not a positive one. It wasn’t a reprimand, and this heavy feeling I had was an important part of what I was moving through and healing at the time. I was made aware of the fact that I was directing it towards my son in a way that previously, I may not have been conscious of doing. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that this could be harmful but now, given my experiences and discoveries, I realize that all of it has an impact. This is what is meant by the phrase “the energy we’re putting out there”.

The fact that we’re using these phrases suggests a deeper knowing within us. We do know these things on a deeper level. I know now that when I realized that my son knew that I was lost, there was and is a deeper meaning to it. Our children and those who are closest to us, pick up on our feelings, thoughts and moods. I think we all know this but there is more to discover about the nature and degree of this impact, and it’s importance and significance in our daily lives and how things unfold in our world. We are not separate and as much as we’d like to think that we can keep things from one another, on a certain and crucial level, we all feel it. Early on in my experience with this presence, it illustrated this idea by asking me to imagine my thoughts as a digital screen on my forehead so that everyone could see all of these thoughts running through my mind. It was a very effective bit of imagery that taught me a lot and helped me become more aware of my thoughts. Although we may not all be ‘reading minds’ in a literal way, we certainly pick up on quite a lot and the more conscious we are, the more we are doing this. It is an energetic reality that is permeating our experience and once we harness this energy in a positive way, the sky’s the limit.

This understanding of our telepathic connection to one another makes it clear that when we begin to heal and grow on an individual level, it has a very positive ripple effect in our world. For those who are working to improve their relationships with their children, partners, family or colleagues, recognizing this is a good way to start and continue this work. Delving within is a powerful approach to solving most problems in this world. What we sometimes discover is how disconnected we are from ourselves and with this discovery comes the opportunity to change. And when we do, this greater connection to ourselves and to the world around us becomes more evident.  Ultimately, what we discover is how just how powerful we are and how to use that power for our personal and collective good.

Imagination, Beliefs & Healing The mind

When I first began to explore the world of shamanism I had been deeply depressed for a very long time and came to a point where I was willing to do anything to relieve my suffering.  I had tried conventional methods of addressing depression but they just led me into a deeper state of despair. I found the idea of being dependent on daily and nightly medications to be extremely disempowering and I struggled with this and other ideas that all related in one way or another to this basic concept of dependency versus personal power.  This period in my life was an important one as it was the beginning of a deeper struggle, one that I had experienced for years in different forms, coming to light. This situation, in and of itself, provided me with an opportunity for growth and like many such opportunities, it was not apparent to me at the time but crystal clear in retrospect.

At the time, I didn’t realize the nature of this deeper struggle but was keenly aware of the struggling itself which became so intense that it motivated me to open up to all possibilities of relieving it. This open state was the key to my own healing. Once I arrived at this open state, I began to find alternatives that I simply wasn’t aware of before because I was not open to them. The first was energy healing, which led me to shamanism, as energy healing has its roots in shamanism. Since I had begun to experience positive change with energy healing, I wanted to know more about it, its roots and the possibilities for deeper healing that shamanism had to offer. At the outset, I just knew that the kinds of concepts I would be introduced to would challenge my existing beliefs, but again, my open state helped me to overcome these challenges, as healing was more important to me than hanging onto my beliefs. Even then, I began to consider the fact that if my beliefs were healthy ones, they would not have led me into such a troubled state.

The idea of spirits and the use of my imagination were both challenges to me and it surprised me how quickly I overcame this. Pain is quite a motivator. I think originally, I regarded the idea of spirits to be as illusive as the idea of God so I just accepted what was being said about them as a possibility outside of my experience at the time and focused more on my own experience. The challenge then was to become acquainted with my own imagination as a vehicle for healing. This required me to think less, which was such a blessing and a beginning of the healing itself but no small task. Thankfully, I was truly desperate to get well and miraculously open which was a gift that paved the way towards achieving my goal.

As it turns out, the world of the imagination was not as foreign to me as I thought it was but it certainly seemed that way to me at the time. We all use our imagination on a daily basis and often in ways that are not serving us. This too was a new concept to me – the idea of self-service. This was a concept that I found far more appealing and it has been a prevalent theme throughout my shamanic experiences. My daily use of my own imagination often happened in ways that were harmful to me. When presented with any number of possibilities, the images and ideas that would come to mind were usually, overwhelmingly negative. I often put up barriers to all kinds of possibilities, which made me feel isolated and discouraged. When I contemplated positive opportunities, my imagination would create all kinds of barriers – seemingly logical and realistic ones – that stymied my attempts at imagining a better life for myself. We think of this as logic or reasoning but really, it was my mind responding to ideas (fuelled by influences past and present) and rationalizing in a negative direction with the use of my own imagination. I imagined all kinds of ‘reasons’ why good things couldn’t or weren’t going to happen to me. They had a life of their own in my mind and I supported this life – this very animated life of seemingly ‘reasonable’ barriers.

In the shamanic world, I was asked to move beyond this kind of thinking and into a creative state that soon, after I practiced and continued to open up, became a two way street. Eventually, it was not just me ‘creating’ although this was powerful enough in and of itself, it also took on a life of its own and became a state of being that offered insights that were presented to me in creative, imaginative ways.  A world of possibilities opened up in this creative, imaginative state in my mind where previously, there was a hostile and very closed environment. I began to work inside this space in my mind to change the environment using my imagination in a different way than the debilitating way I had engaged it previously without knowing it.

Initially, I believed that this creative, imaginative space in my mind was a new place that I was exploring and because it was so different than the one I was accustomed to, it was indeed very new to me but it had been an atmosphere I lived in for a long time. It is a space that I began to know more deeply through further shamanic adventures of my own and through experiences with plant medicines.  Through plant medicine ceremonies, shamanic journeying and spontaneous spiritual experiences after Ayahuasca, I began to understand that the imagery in my mind was a powerful vehicle for healing and change. I had experiences that seemed so strange to me initially, some involving objects being removed from my body and healing energies entering my body taking different shapes and removing bits and pieces within me that I knew represented or were in fact energies that caused problems. When this occurs within ceremony, under the influence of powerful plant medicines, many of us have a sense of the healing that is taking place and experience a ‘knowing’ that we are being changed for the better. When we begin to do these things in our normal state of mind, we can experience doubt.

I had some extraordinary, very animated healing experiences even in my so-called ‘normal’ state of mind and still, I had doubts. I had these doubts at times even after feeling the benefits of these experiences which often came a while afterwards. This led to more doubt but because of the fact that this healing work was becoming a regular part of my life, I allowed the doubt to pass and didn’t invest so deeply in it anymore. I had learned to do this through my shamanic and spiritual practice. This was one of the many gifts that shamanism has taught me – that we have the power to order our thoughts and to choose not to invest in ones that don’t serve us.

I became more and more focused on empowering methods that involved the mind and taking a more active role with respect to my thinking. People often told me that I was ‘too much in my head’ which was true for much of my life. Thinking and the mind was a focus for me and the way I was in my mind was becoming more and more harmful. However, now, coming to peace with my relationship with the mind and the power of it, I sought to use this focus in a positive way. Plant medicines and shamanism helped with this a great deal and continued to improve my life in every way. It was such a unique and personal journey and as Ayahuasca had encouraged me to do, I have been sharing these experiences with others. I felt compelled to help others and yet, I hadn’t come across a way that provided access to that unique inner space and one that resonated with me until I discovered hypnosis.

I say that I ‘discovered’ hypnosis because my preconceptions of it were mostly negative, which is not surprising given how it has been represented for years and often in the media. It has been presented as a tool that offers power to the person using it on or over another. This of course would never have appealed to me in any way because of my deeply held aversion to dependency or control of one over another. So it was very surprising to me to discover that this tool is not only very empowering, it also provides access to that space within that I had become so familiar with through shamanism and plant medicines. I began to discover that there are powerful opportunities to use hypnosis as a protocol to intentionally experience some of the same healings and insights that I had previously experienced spontaneously and through shamanism and plant medicines.

This was quite a revelation as I had been looking for a protocol to help others to experience this self-discovery and self-healing in intentional ways and here it was. There are hypnotic sessions I went through in my training that I had experienced spontaneously through this ongoing relationship with Ayahuasca and shamanism. It is a vehicle to not only explore within but to make changes there for our highest good. We have seen the effects of powerful influences outside of ourselves. Some of these effects are the wounds we are now working to heal. These influences could not have been so impactful unless somewhere inside of us, we allowed this to happen. This is where deep change is possible. We may now agree to become the powerful influence that is the guiding force in our lives. I invite you to go within and discover your own, wise, guiding voice and engage all of your capacities to heal, grow and thrive.

If you would like to learn more about working with me to discover your inner resources through hypnosis, please contact me at rebecca.hayden@gmail.com

Please note, I work remotely via Zoom which will require a computer with a camera and a built-in microphone (which most computers have).

Ayahuasca: The Grandmother Who Helped Me to Become a Better Mother

Ayahuasca is a South American Medicine that takes the form of a tea usually brewed from two different plants but variations abound. Ayahuasca is often referred to as a plant medicine, an entheogen and a ‘teacher plant’. For me, this last description resonates deeply. Ayahuasca is used in ceremonies that are conducted in a shamanic tradition that dates back thousands of years. It is now used also in religious ceremonies and many other kinds of ceremonies that are often influenced to varying degrees by shamanic traditions. It was originally only drank by shamans who would do so as a means to cultivate their own skills as healers, leaders and wisdom keepers. The shaman would drink the brew and ‘journey’ – enter an altered state of consciousness – to gain insight into some issue or to receive guidance as to how a problem or condition might be addressed. Shamans might also do this with many other intentions. There is a whole world of variations when it comes to this practice and the intentions and nature of the shamans involved in it. They are human and come from many different tribes and communities worldwide with varying traditions, histories and ideologies.

Today, there are many people worldwide, many from the West pursuing this form of medicine. People are drinking Ayahuasca and having transformational experiences. There have been many fascinating stories about spiritual visions, physical and emotional healings and profound insights. These are important stories that only begin to scratch the surface of what is possible when we open up to this higher intelligence or source of wisdom – whatever description resonates with you would be the one to follow. If I’ve learned anything through my own extensive experiences with this medicine, it’s to not get hung up on these words.

I pursued plant medicines to address a very deep depression I had been suffering from for years. I had suffered on and off from depression throughout my life to varying degrees and many people can relate to some of the experiences I’d had with it. Then came the deeper version that devastated me. Ultimately, I became reclusive and had shut down. Far too many people can relate to this state these days and I think that this is why people are flocking to the jungle to try the medicine that addresses these conditions very differently than prescriptions that attempt to mask the problem. The reason why shamanic medicine is so unpredictable is because it seeks to address the deeper issues behind the conditions that are actually symptoms telling us that something is wrong. Ayahuasca reveals very clearly just how unique we are and what very personal issues we need to address. It is just the beginning of the healing journey.

Underlying these very personal, unique issues, are some universal messages that deep down, we all know. The message of self-love and of approaching the world with love and that our world is what we make it. These things, deep down, we know are true. What each person needs to understand and address in their own lives so that they may live the truth of these messages, well, that’s the adventure we call the healing path.  It has been and continues to be one of the greatest adventures of my life. In fact, it has turned my life into an adventure because for me, the experience of Ayahuasca continues daily.

In 2013 I began my shamanic training which at that time, did not involve plant medicines. It involved journeying and connecting with a higher level of consciousness that began to teach me about myself which helped me to prepare for my work with plant medicines the following year. In 2015, after having begun my work with plant medicines a year before, I realized the power they held and decided to continue this journey. I had already experienced an African plant medicine called Iboga and as a result of my experience with it, I managed to pull myself out of depression enough to make some huge life changes that took a great deal of energy and courage. Once this was done, I knew that I had only just begun. I explored another powerful plant medicine, Peyote in the Mexican desert and after returning home from this experience, I began to make plans to attend an Ayahuasca retreat in the jungle in Peru. As I began the considerable preparations for this trip, I started to think about the kinds of things I wanted to know. I had enough experience with these medicines to know that there was a phenomenon at work here that provided me with an opportunity for the kind of learning that just wasn’t available to me through any other source. As I wrote down my ‘intentions’ – the things I wanted to accomplish through this retreat which of course were all healing oriented intentions – I also had questions rolling around in my head at this time. These questions pertained to the nature of reality. Was it possible to discover the nature of reality through these experiences?

When I arrived in the jungle, I felt that I had come home. I immediately wanted to go barefoot and after grappling with my own hesitations about doing this the ants came to the rescue. They took over my shoes which forced me to go barefoot for three days. I loved this experience. I loved the feel of my feet connecting with the earth through the soft jungle floor. I loved the lizards and the frogs and the atmosphere of wonder all around me. I loved the warmth of the people and the mystery surrounding the medicine experience. I loved the hug that Ayahuasca gave me when she showed up in my first experience in the form of a large, magnificent insect with wings and six legs that she used to give me a warm and thorough embrace.

A dialogue quickly began between us which started with her response to the question I had in my mind about the nature of reality weeks earlier while I was writing out my intentions for this retreat. It was my first lesson in a way. Before the retreat, I was writing out the kinds of intentions I thought I should have but in my mind, my deeper desire and natural curiosity about reality was what Ayahuasca responded to. Our thoughts are powerful and Ayahuasca responds to them. In fact, I have come to understand that our experiences in life are very responsive in this way. While in ceremony, it soon became clear that my connection with Ayahuasca had existed for quite a long time before this first night of drinking the brew. Ayahuasca, which is often experienced as a feminine presence and referred to as the ‘Mother’ or ‘Grandmother’, took me into a dream that I had a long time ago and showed me that we had interacted in that dream, much like we were doing in ceremony. Our dialogue continued throughout the two weeks that I was there in the jungle and thus began my real education. Little did I know then that this would become my new, everyday reality.

After returning home, I was in the shower looking at my feet, and contemplating something one of the facilitators had told me while I was in the jungle. The facilitator had noticed that I was going barefoot and she told me that we have more pores in our feet than anywhere else on our body. I was thinking of this interesting fact in the shower while looking at my feet and suddenly I heard “that’s how they knew how to get home”. It was an Ayahuasca moment. I knew that I was receiving a history lesson (something that often happens in ceremony) about how early indigenous people navigated their world. My dialogue with Ayahuasca had commenced again and continued daily (and nightly) for me ever since.

It’s one thing to receive lessons, insights, wisdom and advice while in ceremony in the jungle and quite another to receive these on the spot lessons while living your life and making all of the ‘mistakes’ that we often make in the course of a day. Of course they aren’t really mistakes and that’s one of the many lessons that I continue to learn. I’m grateful to have this guidance in my life but it is an enormous challenge at times and although I would never wish it away, it has often been something I felt I couldn’t quite live up to. These are the kinds of thoughts that I am learning to dismiss in favour of being more self-supportive so that my life is a reflection of this more self-loving state. One of the responses Ayahuasca gave me to the question of the nature of reality was “Your reality is due to your state”. Ever since then, we’ve been working together on improving my state and in so doing, improving my reality.

In the following weeks and months, I discovered that not only did my state affect my own reality, it affected my son’s reality profoundly. This was one of the great motivations I had to heal – so that I could become a better mother to my son. I had been depressed on and off since he was born and fell into a deeper and deeper depression during his early years. I had a harrowing experience in the hospital both during his birth and afterwards. At one point, I knew that there was a chance that I wouldn’t leave the hospital if I didn’t take matters into my own hands. When I did, things improved to the point where I could leave the hospital and finally be with my newborn son who had been separated from me at birth. I experienced that very same conviction just before I began to move out of my depression – I had to take matters into my own hands.

I had been living separately from my son’s father for six months before I took my trip to Peru and our son was living with each of us half the time. It was a huge adjustment for all of us and I now had the greatest support of all – the support of the Grandmother. At the beginning, I had to take matters in hand in terms of letting my son know that I was his mother and that he needed to acknowledge me as a firmly guiding presence in his life. This was not easy as I had been so much in the background before then, while I was ill, and all I wanted to do was to be with him in a way that was not so challenging. That wasn’t working out so well as I discovered and the challenges were going to be there regardless of how hard I tried to ignore them.

Both my son and I went through a long and ever changing period of growth together. It was humbling, rewarding and astonishing as I was continually guided through these changes. It continues to this day but becomes different as we grow. I always let my son know that I’m learning too and growing with him. Never in my life have I felt more like a child than I have since the presence of Ayahuasca entered my life. I’m constantly learning about things I need to do differently and asked to be compassionate with myself about what I perceive as ‘mistakes’. I am continually encouraged to do better and always counselled with love. I pass this onto my son as much as I can so really, I am both child and parent.

I became a better parent when I began to recognize my own need to learn and grow and to acknowledge when I was doing things that were not helping me to move in the direction I wanted to go. I’ve passed these lessons onto my son and this takes time, conviction and patience. Time is something that parents seem to have less and less of in the kind of 9-5, highly scheduled life that has been the norm for so long but now, many of us have an opportunity to create a different schedule. I never went back to that 9-5 schedule after plant medicines and my life and relationships improved substantially as a result.

I’ve had to prioritize time over schedule to accomplish some of the things I needed to do to teach my son in a way that I felt good about. It came to the point where I knew that punishing my son (in any way) was not only ineffective, there was a reason that I felt so bad about it. After the insights I had gleaned from delving into my own issues that were born out of my past, I realized that I was laying down the blueprints for my son’s future relationships. Would I punish him for doing something that was ‘wrong’ or would I sit down with him and have a discussion that could teach him in a way that helped him to discover that this behaviour did not serve him? I was being gently guided in a loving way and I was certainly going to do this with my son no matter how much it might interfere with a schedule I had no hand in creating. Time to begin to create a new schedule.

As a parent, when I became involved in addressing my son’s behaviour, I was surprised at the power of the pull towards mimicking my parent’s methods. This happened sometimes before I had a chance to think. My mother’s or father’s words would come straight out of my mouth in response to something my son was doing and it was frightening. I began to wonder how often this had happened with my parents too. After all, they had five children. Did they ever really have the time to reflect on any of this? I know that once they took time out it was for each other, to save their marriage and in the end, I know that they did this for us too. Even so, there were repercussions. Taking time for themselves (which translated into ultimately helping others in similar situations) meant that they were away many weekends during which my older brothers had free reign at home and they were not ready for this responsibility to say the least.

I know that I’m not alone in struggling at times to achieve a healthy balance between the needs of parent and child. Not everyone’s needs are the same and that’s the reason why it’s sometimes difficult to achieve this balance in a system that is normative based. What this spiritual grandmother has taught me is that if I base my future behaviour on what I considered to be normal in my past, I was not going to grow (or thrive for that matter). The simplicity of these lessons is one of the many humbling aspects of this journey. However, easy as it seems, what’s difficult is applying it in your life when all around you, the norm prevails. This is where the warrior steps in.

Many use the term warrior to describe those of us who have embarked on this unique journey of personal growth.  I balked at this term initially but as the challenges presented themselves, one after another, I began to warm to the concept. How else was I to describe the strength it took to continue when everything seemed to be against me except for these words of wisdom and this deep, aching desire for change? It takes courage to continue on this path and this is why I now embrace the concept of the warrior. Mostly it’s a courageous aspect of myself that acknowledges the battle within the mind and within oneself. To me, the warrior represents the strength it takes to move through the changes that are required to achieve a better state. Instead of focusing on what isn’t working, I’m asked to focus on creating what I do want and to move towards it in my mind, in my heart and in my actions. Essentially, I’m asked to be the change I want to see in the world and in my life. If I ask my son to do this, I must be willing to show him how it’s done and to admit it when I find myself veering off the path.

It’s been and continues to be a challenging, rewarding and magical journey with mother and grandmother Ayahuasca. It tests my endurance, courage and strength but always gives me more strength, courage and a greater capacity to endure and most importantly a greater capacity to love. The nature of the education I have received and continue to receive from Ayahuasca goes beyond pedagogy and becomes a sort of way of life. Our lives are the ceremony if we open up to this possibility. This whole experience of life is an opportunity to learn and grow which often involves moving beyond the conventions set down before us and creating more dynamic lives that reflect and honour our unique individuality. Our lives can be an expression of love and respect for ourselves that radiates outward. I’m convinced that this is what will really change the world for the better. If we intend to make positive change in this world, we must begin with ourselves.

If you would like to learn more about working with me to delve within, heal and grow, please contact me at rebecca.hayden@gmail.com to arrange for a free discovery call.

Coming Out

When I came out about my Ayahuasca experiences it felt like such a dramatic step, probably because it was. I had not been on Facebook socially for years and had been so isolated that it was a shock to the senses to even contemplate this kind of personal exposure to the masses in general let alone coming out with such a wild story. But this was only the beginning for me.

First I had to get over my own misgivings about talking openly about my experiences – sorting through them and understanding them. Did my misgivings have to do with the stigma around ‘drugs’? Or was it the stigma of others’ preconceived notions about spirits? Talking plants? Inner voices? There were many things I had to consider myself before coming out in a way that didn’t reflect my own inner barriers.

I had to sort out how I felt about it and I did that initially through writing about it and exploring my thoughts and attitudes about all of it as I went. This was a valuable process in and of itself as it taught me a lot about myself and helped bring to the surface some unhealthy attitudes that had to change – not just to help facilitate my ‘coming out’ but to help support this new, more healthy person I was becoming.

Once I had worked through a lot of my own ideas about it, I wanted to focus on the outcome of these experiences – the inspirational stuff – the stuff that all human beings can connect with and are looking for: peace, insight, connectedness, wholeness, healing, wellness & meaning. These were the most important pieces of the story and talking honestly (for me) about where I was at before I had plant medicine experiences. These were the aspects of the experience that others could identify with and there were elements of this story that held so much promise for what others wanted in their lives and what they could achieve. It was the same with me when I heard others speak about these experiences. I knew there was something there for me but I didn’t realize the full extent to which this experience would change me and continue to change me in ways that were not always comfortable to say the least.

Another thing I had to consider was my own motivations for telling my story (other than the fact that Ayahuasca was urging me to do so ;-). I have heard others speak about things (especially spiritual or even ‘cures’ or natural remedies) where their attachment to outcome came through so strongly, it turned me off. I felt their agenda and rejected what they had to say not because of the content but because of this control factor. It was uncomfortable. So, I had to figure this out about myself. Did I have an agenda? What was my purpose in telling my story? Did it come from an attachment to a desired outcome or was it because I had a more authentic motivation? Did it matter whether or not people believed me? That was a big one. For me, at the beginning, I was so moved by what had happened to me that I felt a deep and natural desire to express it. In the heart of my experience with plant medicines, there was a truth that was so profound it deserved to be expressed. That was all. However, I had to take the journey of exploring all of the other things to get to the point where I could do this and I grew through that explorative journey. It was an integrative process. I confronted my inner barriers and discovered the reasons behind my concerns about what people might think. I explored my own ideas about plants, spirituality etc before and after plant medicines and made that part of my coming out story. That part was authentically me – a person who thrives on exploration of these matters. It’s not necessarily everyone else. If it wasn’t part of who I was, it may have come off more like I was defending some uncontested story.

So, coming out is a journey and for some of us, it may require some prep. If we search ourselves for any agendas or fears, this prep can be an opportunity for some personal growth and healing. What I have discovered is that there’s very little, if anything in life that doesn’t present this opportunity.

Personal Growth & Healing Through Hypnosis

The word ‘hypnosis’ often conjures up images of stage performances where people end up clucking like chickens in front of an audience. What does that have to do with personal growth & healing? More than you think. Although hypnosis stage acts may be performed for entertainment purposes, the possibilities that exist within the process behind the act are endless when applied in creative ways for the purpose of healing and assisting us along the path of personal growth.

When we begin to work at improving our lives, our relationships and achieving our goals, we often discover that the real barriers to achieving these goals are not external, they are internal. For those of us who make these discoveries and embark on the path of personal growth, we also learn that much of the harmful programming that was instrumental in creating these inner barriers, began and took hold at a very young age. Most of us are by now, well acquainted with the concept of childhood programming and it’s effects. Throughout early childhood (especially from 0 to 7 years old) we learned things about ourselves and our world that created beliefs and attitudes that affect our outlook and self-esteem to this day.

As it turns out, a lot of this early programming occurred when our brains were in the ‘Theta’ state. This ‘Theta’ state happens when we begin to fall asleep, intermittently throughout the night and before we fully wake. This state is also available to us through hypnosis, which provides amazing opportunities for us to make changes to deeply imbedded programming. In addition to changing our programming, we also have an opportunity, through hypnosis, to access self-knowledge. This can be truly transformative.

If we’re going to make big and lasting changes in our lives, we need to know more about the most crucial and consistent aspect of all of our lived experiences: ourselves. Many philosophers and spiritual leaders over the years have made reference to innate knowledge or the understanding of the soul. They believed that all knowledge exists within us. Hypnosis is a gateway to this innate self-understanding that helps us to improve ourselves and in so doing, to improves our lives. This deeply held awareness is the key to unlock our greatest potential.

I’m sure many of us have heard the phrase “Everything you need is inside of you”. As it turns out, this is true and hypnosis is a powerful way to access these inner resources and to use them to change our lives in profound ways. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is an empowering tool. Instead of controlling us, hypnosis allows us to explore and change the kinds of beliefs and programming that controlled us for years. This powerful process of self-discovery & healing transforms our inner environment, which reflects outward and impacts our lived experience in meaningful ways.

Although there were powerful influences in our lives when we were children, the power that these influences continue to exert over us is internal. We have internalized these attitudes, beliefs and ideas and this is where change is possible. We have the key. Even our impressions of the past can be altered if we’re open to change. The intention to explore this inner environment is a powerful first step in making these changes a reality.

To discover more about personal transformation through hypnosis, please email me at rebecca.hayden@gmail.com

Please note, I work remotely via Zoom so you will require a computer with a camera and a built-in microphone (which most computers have).

Round World Taking Shape

My son was chatting away to me as I went about some tasks and caught only a bit of what he said when he said “..in a round world..” and suddenly I perked up. I asked him about it and he explained, I realized that he was talking about a video game with a race called ‘Around the world’. “Oh” I said, a little deflated. I told him that I had been excited when I thought he said “in a round world” because I had suddenly imagined this cool story about a ‘round world’. You know, where there are all of these round people, rolling everywhere. My son caught on immediately and we both giggled about this concept so we continued with it in a sort of story telling game that we made up years before when shopping became tedious for him. I began to tell him a story – making it up as I went – and we agreed that we would share the story telling. So I would begin and he would tell the next bit and so on until we came up with a spectacular ending.

So, this story began with a round world, with round, rolling people whose babies literally bounced! But of course, there was one person who didn’t fit in.. Fred.. he was square. He had lots of round friends who would help to ‘roll’ him to parties and events and they accepted him but outside of that circle of friends, there wasn’t as much acceptance of him and his unique shape. My son took over the story and told about Fred’s childhood and how he was teased by some of the round students in school. And that now, as an adult, he came across these same people who he used to think of as ‘bullies’ making fun of a.. he couldn’t believe it.. there stood a triangular female! They were making jokes like “I’ll bet you don’t get around much!” In comes Fred who was taking all of this in and interrupts by patting one of his old classmates on the back “I remember you..” They all turned around, surprised to see their old school mate. Fred was looking, surprised as well at this wonderfully unique female. Fred said directly to her, “They wouldn’t understand someone as unique as you.” As those who were gathered around her parted, Tina, the triangular woman came forward to join Fred. They walked and talked and got to know one another better.

Of course they married! And then set about making a trip ‘around the world’ looking for other uniquely shaped people to hear their stories and combine their skills to help one another and to demonstrate their own unique abilities. As time went on, more and more round people began to mingle more and more with people of different shapes and the world was richer for it. Eventually, Fred and Tina had their first child who was shaped like a soccer ball (technically called a truncated icosahedron). This girl had many facets and could roll and bounce! She also had many magical gifts and the word soon got out about these gifts and many people came to see her and to experience these gifts for themselves. In her presence, people felt like they began to understand themselves better and felt an overwhelming sense of love. Soon they understood that this love was really who they were.

Then they had a boy who was a decahedron…. He was the fastest creature in this world and spread joy throughout the world. This was a rare gift that spread even faster once it caught on. It had been in short supply in this world so everyone welcomed this refreshing presence that was changing the world for the better.

Eventually, the people in this round world realized how much they were missing before they began to fully appreciate all of the different shapes and possibilities of their world. This was the greatest gift of all. Now, adults and children grew in a different way, they discovered how they all fit in as they appreciated their differences and how those differences created a sort of beautiful eco system within their community. All of this growing helped change this round world for the better and it still is today.