This is the last in a series of guest blog posts about psychedelic integration. See here for an introduction to this project, here for the first case study and here for the second case study.
It's hard to know where to start in summarising my experience of psychedelic-assisted therapy and Zero Balancing as, in James' words, 'the healing potential of psychedelics is so incredibly broad'. The reality of the healing experience, for me, was also incredibly broad. So much to consider!
I was both honoured and excited to have James invite me as a volunteer to help him with his exploration into how Zero Balancing might benefit the integration of psychedelic, or any plant, entheogenic or psychotropic healing experience. It felt, to me, like together we were doing something for the greater good.
I had two entheogenic healing experiences last year, the first MDMA, and the second ayahuasca. Both were held in a therapeutic and safe ceremonial space with either a psychotherapist or a shamanic practitioner guiding.
I'd been on an energy healing journey for about a year when it was suggested to me that I might be interested in trying MDMA. MDMA isn't a psychedelic, nor is it a plant, but due to its make up, and when used with care, respect and consideration, it has considerable healing potential. In research studies it has been achieving significant and long-term healing results for war veterans, freeing them from PTSD in one, two or a maximum of three treatments.
My own experience with MDMA was profound. So deeply profound, so devoid of ego and judgement, so beautiful and accepting of everybody and everything, that I didn't want to return 'here', to this every day state of consciousness. I saw (sensed) so much of my life, like a story, and gained a deep inner knowing, a true understanding, about why some things had happened the way they did and the reason for some pretty negative life-long belief systems and thought patterns.
My first session with James was a few weeks after that ceremony. I was aware that James spent quite a lot of time asking me just a few questions, but really listening to my answers, and letting me relive what I needed to relive of the experience. He then does a really wonderful job of summarising your story, which is a true skill, particularly when your story comes out as a kind of mish-mash, and reflecting it back to you, allowing you to see it more clearly and any links or relevant connections you might have missed. He then asks you what your intent is for this particular healing session.
The treatment is very soothing, very relaxing, very calming, with maybe an occasional subtle feeling somewhere that James might just have hit on something, but no pain, no discomfort, just ease and surrender. As he goes about his work, I found I gradually felt very settled, my breathing slowed down significantly, and as is usual for me, I released and shifted energy blocks through very deep breaths and yawns. After my first session, I felt very light in weight, very slow, a bit low on energy, a bit spacey, but like a beacon of bright light walking through Edinburgh, and although I don't like cities, I was calm and unflappable, even in the chaos around the town. An important thing James had said at the end of the session was that 'it starts here'. I wasn't to make any preconceived notions or judgements about what I felt or didn't feel. I was just to allow and observe.
Between my first and second Zero Balancing session, I participated in an ayahuasca healing ceremony. It was a bit like the spirit of that ceremony, the 'mother', knew what had happened at my first ceremony and gave me 'part 2', or the next stage, of my healing journey. Everything was consistent and related to the experience I'd had with MDMA. James wasn't surprised there was consistency, he said that once you've opened up your energy to the extent that I had, the connections in spirit, in plants and across everything are finally able to properly reconnect and that's when you really start to reach the truth.
The session was the same structure, with a very fulfilling chat first. I noticed one of the other volunteers described James as a calm still pond, that he had no ripples converging with her ripples, there was no muddy pond of information or emotion, she knew everything was hers. And that's exactly what it's like with James. The benefit of that initial chat is absolutely significant. He creates true, personal, loving space, holding you in such a revered place of dignity and respect that that alone, I found to be incredibly healing. It's a rare and beautifully nurturing quality.
I felt more energised after the second session than I had after the first. When James finished the treatment, I was lying on the bed feeling like a vibration. Like I was just energy - which I am - but I had no feeling of a body mass or density, it felt like I was just aura, fractal patterns and frequency.
James offered that he felt I was much more present and grounded during this session than I had been at my first. At my first he'd felt I was a bit up in the clouds (these might be my words), and totally not grounded. This actually made sense to me, having really felt the integration experience subtly taking place in my life (with and without my assistance) and me stepping up and out into things I never would have before.
Again, James had asked me what my intention was for the session, and this time I surmised that it was to help me naturally adapt to the complete change of direction my life seemed to be taking as a result of my introduction to psychedelic therapy and Zero Balancing.
The day of my third and final session sadly arrived (each of my three sessions were ten days apart), and I described to James a seething anger I had experienced, and heavy flatness for a couple of days preceding the final session. We talked through that. My anger wasn't a rage and throw-things-around anger, it was a deep, emotional, raw pain that produced hard tears which, on hindsight, I think were a lot related to both clarity and confusion.
The psychedelics took me to my expanded consciousness, they took me to a place of deep truth that was profoundly and authentically me. By the time my angry day came, I'd spent weeks consciously integrating this 'loving authentic me' and these knew 'knowings' about myself, as best as I could into my life and the reality of our world. I'd been being aware, becoming enlightened and realising a new perspective, realising that my now broader, more conscious awareness could see the world, the system that we live in, even better than I used to be able to see it - and oh my goodness, it was scarier than ever. I also got angry because I'd seen my life, felt my life, been guided in my life from a place of absolute and pure acceptance and unconditional love, and here I was, these few weeks on, feeling as much in my ego as I'd ever been. I felt that even having been prepared for it, known the significance of it, I'd been naive about how the integration of my two experiences into everyday life would work. At first it had been so easy. Then it got harder, I had to be more conscious, I could feel the spirit, the beauty, the ease leaving me, but as it left me it didn't take with it the memory or the feeling of being in that place, being that person, and I got angry at how hard it was to naturally create - or even unnaturally, with a lot of effort, create - that authentic person and that truth in our thick and heavy third-dimensional existence. I got angry because I could and can now see the extent of the hideousness in the world and I find the enormity of that hideousness scarier than I ever did. Before, I couldn't really see it or understand it properly. I still don't, but I do know not to trust it and that I have to rise far above it, shine that beacon of light I felt after session one, and help others to do the same. Yet having experienced the truth of love at the highest frequency, it pains me to be able to use that experience only as my learning ground.
Anyway, James helped me to validate and accept these feelings as a huge part of the integration process, also suggesting that they were showing me something about myself that I either no longer needed, or that was giving me a message in some way. This third session was, for me, the most significant. Perhaps by this time there was something soothing in the familiarity. In the third session, as James released some dense energy in my chest, my right hand felt like it went numb and I got the sense of a black splot of tar moving out of the front of my body. James then gave my right arm and hand some attention, the numbness changed to pins and needles and then as the session continued my hand was very cold. James told me after the session that he felt we'd reconnected my head and my heart, and he also gave me a message about my expectations of love which, later on when I had the chance to process the message, made so much sense and which I went on to discuss with my partner. This was a new understanding, something that hadn't come up anywhere in my life until now, and it explained to me a lot about how my emotions had been recently, and perhaps for quite some time. I felt very tired after this session, but so very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet James and become a little bit more whole from these sessions.
Yet where does integration end? Does it end? As I continue into a new year, the onslaught of new ideas, awareness, recognition of myself and wow moments continue as a conscious unfolding into the every day. My summary, I feel, would be portrayed well in a graph where we started on, say, 5, travelling along in life at 5. Then after psychedelic medicine we go up, wow, maybe to 8 or 9, yes, life is good, life is different, wow. Then take a nose-dive down to 2 or 3, where life's a bit hard again, harder than it was 'before', these were my angry, down days, and then eventually you settle into something that's around 6 or 7. I really do believe that if you focus on the integration, your level of consciousness is going to expand, and your energy 'constancy' is going to rise. Zero balancing doesn't do it for you, you must be the leader, but it most definitely helps in a number of ways.
Initially I expected that Zero Balancing was just a hands-on energy-healing treatment (maybe it is with other practitioners, I don't know) but with James it's so much more. It wasn't till after I'd finished the series of three sessions that I realised the significance of that initial focussed chat. It's like you get 2-for-1, a mentor as well as an energy healer. For me now, I see the session as being a conglomeration of two parts: part one the coaching, part two the treatment. First of all James listens, asks and validates, summarises and then doesn't so much link this information to the treatment but uses his absorption of this knowledge to allow a better 'whole', a 'wholer whole', as he invites back the flow of energy through the energies and joints.
I enjoyed the trio of sessions too. It was like you were involved in something, committed to something, like you had something to check back on and follow through on, to check progress on, at each session. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the honour and opportunity to participate James. You've not seen the last of me!
PS: I mentioned above that I'd ventured into new and unknown territory as a result of taking psychedelics. This new and unknown is related to something that happened in both my MDMA and my ayahuasca ceremonies. It was the resounding call for me to get my mask off and share my truth. To cut a long story short, I was drawn by the spirit of consciousness to sign up with and volunteer with an exciting new global movement called #ThankYouPlantMedicine so that I can share truth to a world that is in badly need of the truth. ThankYouPlantMedicine is a gratitude campaign that's calling for 100,000+ people to tell their healing or transformation story on 20 February 2020, the intent being that the stigma and discrimination behind the use of these healing medicines can be dissolved. If you're interested in finding out more or joining in, there's more information here. Thank you James, for allowing me to share that here:
What follows is a guest blog post from psychedelic integration volunteer #2. See here for an introduction to this project, and here for the first case study. A third case study will be published in the coming week.
I'd recently taken psychedelic drugs (psilocybin mushrooms) as a therapeutic aid and was looking for a way to integrate the experience into my everyday life. This opportunity to work with James was recommended by a friend.
Prior to this, for the last 20 years, I've been a very traditional businessman working in sectors where "feelings" are consciously suppressed. Much of the terminology of Zero Balancing was meaningless to me, for instance "bodywork" is the panelling on my car. So please forgive any naivety in the language of this report, I hope it's readable to all.
My interest in all of this is my need for self-development. I want to improve my life, change harmful behaviours and patterns that I see playing out repeatedly in my relationships, and ultimately to move towards self-realisation.
I spoke with James about my recent psychedelic experience, and also about my nicotine addiction (as I'd heard that psychedelic experiences could be useful in helping to quit). We noted other health issues that centred around my throat including thyroid issues. I hypothesised that I had been subconsciously blocking emotions, stopping them from arising in my awareness by "clamming -up" with physical tension in my throat and upper chest - possibly leading to illnesses centred there, and that this might explain my keenness to feel the nicotine "bite" at the back of my throat. (A little physical pain might stop me from feeling anything deeper.)
In this session James quickly gained my trust and I gained an introduction to Zero Balancing. James was incredibly calm, providing a space into which I could consider and speak about my own thoughts.
Immediately after the first Zero Balancing session I felt calm and focused. Within the following days I set myself a date to quit nicotine.
In the week between session 1 and 2, I took a second psychedelic dose where I had a vision of a sub-conscious block, heavy and multi-faceted that was hindering my self-development. I'm unable to explain this feeling further, but I can say that one of the facets of this block was my own nicotine addiction (which appeared to me as a sickening, writhing, dark mass), and that the block, as-a-whole, was centred on my throat and upper part of my chest.
We discussed the recent psychedelic experience and during the session James paid additional attention to my neck and upper chest. He located a painful area in my chest that I hadn't been aware of until his touch pointed it out. It felt a little like taking boots off that were too tight, I felt pain, but a pain that I now realised had been there all along. I felt great relief.
After the session I could only describe how I felt as "like a jar, who's lid has been loosened".
I didn't have an overflow of emotion, however in the following days, at odd moments, new memories (previously never remembered) came to me from my childhood - mostly happy ones.
Later in the week after session 2, I gave up nicotine.
In this session again I asked James to put additional focus on my upper chest area, I consciously tried to allow any emotion to surface, but little came. As soon as James shifted focus away (to my left leg) I felt clear and sudden emotion rising in me. I imagined the emotion itself as an object that could travel up through my now unblocked chest and throat (where previously it had been restricted) to my head, allowing me to 'feel' it with precision. My mind, now free to grapple with the new emotion then related it to thoughts and memories of my father (I felt angry with him for not being with me in my childhood, and sadness for my younger self). It was entirely new for me to experience feelings of anger towards my father, I'd previously held him in high regard. Even so, I was able to calmly inspect and feel the emotion without becoming overwhelmed.
Since the session, many new feelings have emerged, including new clarity on how I, as a father, relate emotionally to my own son. So, for the good of everyone, I'm once again moving strongly forward on my self-development path.
I feel that Zero Balancing, hand in hand with psychedelics has helped me to remove subconscious blockages, allowing me to feel long buried emotions. The result is more balanced emotional responses in my daily life. I was lucky in that my psychedelic experience had already identified a specific area of my body on which to focus treatment.
Zero Balancing may also have been instrumental in helping me find the courage to quit nicotine.
I believe that Zero Balancing has helped me to rapidly integrate insights from Psychedelic therapy and provided me a way forward that otherwise may have taken months or years.
And finally, I thank James for his kindness and patience.
To celebrate the new decade, I'd like to offer everyone (existing clients included) three Zero Balancing sessions for the price of two!
Get in touch before 31st January to book the first session and state your intention to take advantage of this offer by quoting 'JAN2020'. Pay Â£90 upfront and you'll get three sessions for the price of two :)
The only condition is that you have all three sessions before 31st March.
Book by calling 0131 210 0131 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you happiness, health and abundance for 2020 and beyond,