Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Letting Go and Letting God

Last night I had my 4th HypnoFertility session. First, I need to address something about this.

My mother, one of my sisters (the only other practicing Catholic) and I had a discussion on Mother's Day about the Vatican's ruling on Reiki as "too New Age" of a practice. Without divulging too much about what I was doing, I asked them why the Vatican had determined Reiki to be too "New Age," and what exactly that meant. In their interpretation (based on an article our parish priest had published in the bulletin), when a "healing" is based upon energy or power coming from or through someone other than God, it is too "out there." We cannot separate healing from Jesus' all-powerful healing. Obviously. I never practiced Reiki, but I know that not too long ago, they were offering Christian Reiki courses at the Catholic retreat centers around here, so this is probably what prompted the new Vatican direction on the topic.

Now, of course, I began to wonder... was HypnoFertility in the same classification?

Before I even signed up, what I had read into this is that Hypnosis for fertility or for birthing is a method in which you learn how to self-soothe and self-heal. No outside force is channeling any energy into you, and instead, you just learn how to get the meridians flowing properly yourself, like needleless acupuncture. So, in no way trying to "defend" my choice, I honestly feel like this is along the lines of the Bradley birthing method, or Lamaze, etc. and NOT New Age.

Before I begin talking about my latest session, I wanted to clarify this. I hope that you other practicing Catholics out there weren't under the impression that I was willingly participating in something the Vatican had just ruled against.

OK, on to last night's session.

We began with a "tapping" exercise (hard to describe exactly), where we tap a negative thought or fear of mine that is still very strong into different points in my body. This acknowledges the fear, and gets it in circulation so that we can then translate it into the positive statement. Well, one of my final fears (we've already worked on all the others) was that I'm STILL afraid that even if everything is medically fixed, and all of the negative stuff going on in my life calms down, I still will not be able to get pregnant.

I'm sure you can all relate to that one!

Well, as we tap the fear in, my therapist says it's like peeling an onion, because often times there will be many layers that appear underneath the basic fear. So, we tapped it in, and then she asked me to think of the positive statement. (Most positive statements are along the lines of, "I completely accept and love my body the way it is..." so, for example, and entire statement may be, "Even though I fear that I may have hydrosalpinx, I completely accept and love my body the way it is.") When she told me to think of a positive for the fear of never getting pregnant, even if everything is perfect, I began to get choked up, and I said... "I am just not ready to say that I love and accept the fact that I can live without children."

The therapist thought this was very interesting. She said, "Oh, no! I wasn't thinking along those lines at all! I was thinking of, 'I trust my body to do what it was designed to do.'"

A layer was being uncovered. She said my 'positive' statement (which wasn't really positive at all) sounded to her like I felt defeated. She asked what else I was feeling that prompted me to say that. I said, "controlled." By what? Everything outside of my mind. My body. My in-laws. My DH's job situation. Finances. (The last 3 are all kind of tied together, and to a certain extent, I often feel like those last 3 greatly affect my physical body.)

At this point, I was pretty emotional. When asked to rank this feeling of control/defeat on a scale of 0-10, it was a 10. She asked me what I could change about my feeling controlled in life. I said, "Good question, please tell me!!" She then asked if I knew the Serenity Prayer. I recited it (after some fumbling of the exact words).

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."

She asked me again. What can I change about my feeling controlled. I can change how I FEEL about it. My attitude. My reaction. But like someone sinking in quicksand, the more I resist and fight, the quicker I sink. If I stand still, I am in a much better position to be rescued with a rope - - a rope that I can throw to myself.

For some reason, this analogy REALLY put things in perspective for me. I mean, totally. Maybe because I am SO incredibly resistant to the problems I have with the in-laws, with DH's job/money issues, etc... and I have seen over the years that the harder I fight it, the worse things seem to get. Yet, I can't help but fight it!! How can I just sit back and take it?

But then I imagined God, trying to reach down His Holy hands to save me from all of this, and there I am, flailing and writhing all over the place! How can He possibly pull me out of this ditch while I'm running around in circles like a madwoman?!!

We began to work on more positive statements, to combat the fear of never getting pregnant - powerful statements like, "Every day, my body is becoming stronger, more hormonally charged, and more able to carry a healthy, full-term pregnancy, birth, and child" and "I choose to get pregnant" and "It is safe for me to get pregnant." We worked on an energy flow technique to put these statements into circulation and replace the older, negative fears. And afterwards, I can honestly say, I felt resolve! When I am in the state of relaxation, the therapist asks me to envision myself throughout the pregnancy (month by month), through a natural childbirth, and then a couple years later, with a beautiful, healthy toddler in my arms, thinking back on my journey to motherhood. She asked me to "still-frame" the image of me with the toddler in my arms while in my relaxed state, so that I could come back to that image in the future, and without even consciously thinking about it, my image was of me with a toddler in my arms, fully pregnant again!! (The toddler, by the way, was a boy this time. Usually my dreams or other people's dreams about my first child are of a girl.)

Of course, this "letting go and letting God" idea is not new to any of us faith-filled infertiles. We've been attempting this since our earliest year of infertility, maybe even the 2nd month of trying (when we were, of course, shocked that we didn't get pregnant the very 1st month we tried). But the operative word here is attempting. Have we really been letting go? Have we been letting God do the work for us?

Of course, this doesn't mean we need to take a back seat to the whole baby-making process. There are still things that we can do, and that we can change. BUT, there are certain things we just cannot change- in infertility, and in life itself - and yet, we drive ourselves crazy trying to gain back control when we feel like we've lost it. Why? Why put ourselves through that?

I can't accurately describe the feeling, but right now I am just so relieved to know that I don't need to fight anymore! I don't need to constantly worry, and grasp for any little piece of control I can get over my fertility (not to mention all the other areas of life). God can do the work. And who is more capable than God, anyway?


Kathryn said...

I don't know how you feel about non-Catholics commenting . . .

I'm a massage therapist, & a Christian (Anglican now attending a Lutheran church). My husband was raised Catholic & my in laws still attend a Catholic church.

I have used "energy work" based on Reiki work, tho the class i took was not specifically Reiki. I pray over the person i work on as i'm doing any type of energy work. I invite God the Father in heaven, Father of Jesus & the Author of all healing & energy to flow thru me & heal the person on whom i'm working.

Also, when i do the tapping you are mentioning (it sounds like EFT to me) i often add "as a child of God" to the end of the "mantra." "I fully & completely accept myself as a child of God."

I recognize healing coming from God. He is the creator of all our world. If new age uses healing power, it is my belief they experience a part of God in our world but they are confused about the origin of the power to heal.

I am not under the Vatican, therefore perhaps my experience does not have any weight.

the misfit said...

(Have to say to Kathryn - I know nothing whatever about New Age, but I can't see why the thoughtful analysis of another believer wouldn't have any weight!)

As to the letting go...well, that all just made perfect sense to me. But I'm not willing to let go! I mean, there are parts of my life I'm willing to abandon totally, and I've been very proud of myself for that. I've let go of lots of things I don't need to be manic about. But I won't be a failure, and until I'm willing to be, I suppose my death grip on my wretched life isn't going to loosen. I am, as usual, very impressed with your open-heartedness, though!

Praying for Hope said...

I agree with Kathryn's take on Reiki. Although I've never had a connection with it, I assume that the healing power comes from God and we misinterpret the origin, assigning it to other things. All things good are from God, yes? Healing is from God, so . . . . Just my two cents.

Letting go and giving it all to God is probably the most difficult thing I've ever tried to do. I fail on a daily basis, but I continue trying. Like misfit says, I don't think I'm ready to let everything go. It's a process, probably life long.

Vent-ilation said...

Okay... this is weird. I didn't even turn my computer on yesterday, but yesterday I was thinking, I'll have to e-mail TCIE and see if she's had any more hypnosis. Freaky!

Also, I just read an article about Reiki in the monthly Catholic newspaper I get, and I have to admit, I've never done it, but as I read the article, I found myself disagreeing with the ruling. I believe there is a huge mind-body connection. Spiritual, too, and that our beliefs are that God is the ultimate healer.

Here's a link that explains the Church's stance -- it's not exactly the article I read, but it's close.
(I don't know how to add live links in comments, so you'll have to copy and paste if you want to read it. Sorry!)

JellyBelly said...

i had no idea that i was sinning when i went to reiki! i really don't understand why it would be sinful -- i go to a massage therapist and a chiropractor. i've also visited an osteopath and i used to see a therapist. all of these various practices have helped me in so many different ways. both times that i saw my reiki practitioner i prayed while she worked on me.

i also have a friend that has told me that practicing yoga is sacrilegious. my practice is wholeheartedly for physical fitness. i do chant, but it's more for the breathing work. AND my jesuit brother-in-law practices as well!

i know it's so hard to surrender all things IF to god. i worry so much about why my body has let me down and whether or not i'm worthy of becoming a mother. letting go is a lesson that,i think, that many of us have to learn!

Amy @ This Cross I Embrace said...

I agree about the healing practices of yoga, Reiki, etc. I think the Church's ruling is more for the feeble-minded (those who are "soul-searching," and trying to find their spirituality through other venues), than for those of us who are solid on our faith and realize that all healing is from God.
And Kathryn, I certainly welcome your comments! You're right, I was doing EFT; I just didn't think any of my regular commenters would know what that was by name :)

Percolating Petals said...

TCIE, my sister in Christ, please be careful. It's nice that she's bringing God into the session, but making you say things like "I choose to get pregnant" seems to point to human power more so than God's. Some seemingly harmless practices (like reiki) can open the door to evil. Check out CCC#2116: "All forms of divination are to be rejected..."