Institute for the Study of Peak States
"Methods for Fundamental Change in the Human Psyche"
Support Newsletter #12, September, 2007

"Moving Out on One's Own"


Newsletter Spotlight

From the Editor...
Upcoming TeleClasses
Upcoming Training Classes
Certification News
News from the Research Team
Moving out on one's own
            Staying focused
            Avoiding getting caught in the story
            Healing with acceptance vs. healing with will
            Loving yourself
            Checking for counter-commitments to healing
            Adding techniques that you already know
            Re-reading workshop materials
            Working solo vs. working in groups
            Deciding what to work on
            Healing the issues specifically brought up by the learning process
            Knowing when to stop
Other questions from students
            Healing the flu
            Openness vs. Restriction in training



From the Editor...
 
Welcome to August, known as the Silly Season on my little island. Late in the month, the land, trampled by tourists all summer, looks used up; people are tired. Another two weeks and they'll be gone. We'll pick up the pieces, bring in the harvest and celebrate.
 
As usual, Grant is homeless for the summer and has taken refuge... in Hawaii, poor man. But it's disruptive anyway. With the rest of us scrambling to show up at our day jobs, it makes for scant support for the new students - and the others too. We will discuss this problem below, and some of its solutions, all of which require work, unfortunately.... I'm still looking for the magic wand and will keep you posted the moment I locate it.
 
Once again the circumstances remind me of Wes Gietz's Awareness teachings, based on the North American shamanic traditions taught by Tom Brown Jr. Wes speaks of the learning journey as a circular path, an unending cycle that has its own seasons, represented in the eight directions. Learning starts as spring, new beginnings, with ignorance but also much enthusiasm. The inspiration manifests, we get into the summer of real 'doing', and then that comes to an end. This is just like this late August, everyone's had his party, the excitement of the workshop is over, we've had a break and done something else to refresh our minds, and now there's a bit of a letdown. But where's the rest of the cycle?
 
Somewhere in there comes a phenomenon that's constant enough to be recognised by tradition as an integral part of learning. It's called the Wall of Grief. Wes explains that every time our awareness expands through new knowledge, there comes a moment when the mood suddenly shifts. The Mohawk define grief as anything that's not peace - peace being the natural state of a human being (shades of our own CPL...) It can be as simple as the strange wistfulness that happens when one leaves the theatre and the crowds behind after a good movie. And it can be major heartache and depression that temporarily takes the floor out from under our feet after a paradigm shift.
 
Wes further explains - and I've yet to completely understand this part - that the traditional way to deal with the Wall of Grief is through ceremony. Which doesn't mean one has to do a 3-day stint in the sweat lodge; a ceremony is anything that has a meaning wider than the physical actions (for example, brushing my teeth becomes a ceremony when I make it a symbol of self-care and self-love). What does this mean? That we have to take time to stop and acknowledge the Wall of Grief as a part of the circular path of learning? This is indeed what we do when we take the time to heal the emotions specifically brought up
by the training itself. And this in itself raises awareness, which raises more grief, which indicates more healing and ceremony... in a small circle of its own. But also it's time to look back and celebrate what we've learned so far. The learner's harvest feast. And then move on?
 
Move on: winter, then, dirt time, solitary work? After all this group activity, it might feel cold... but it's important. For us coordinators, winter means reviewing our methods and seeing what we can improve in the way we deliver training and offer support. And for all of us, the model talks about "looking to the Ancestors" - that is, integrating the new knowledge with the old, looking at the old ideas from the perspective of what we learned. We will look at some of the pitfalls to avoid in this stage. Winter, the North, talks of discipline, of holding the centre: both looking inwards and broadening perspective. Then focusing on emotional well being before the cycle starts again with fresh new beginnings.... Springtime, the Beginner's Mind.

 
Until next time...
Paula
 

Quote of the day...
"Every day is a journey around the wheel
Every week is a journey around the wheel
Every lesson in a journey around the wheel."
 - Wes Gietz, after John Young
 
Upcoming TeleClasses
 
Tal Laks has just announced that she will lead telephone classes for students who have already taken our Basic Peak States Therapist training and are working towards certification. Because this field is changing so rapidly, these short classes are designed for our students who want to keep up to date on new or updated peak states processes, or hear lectures useful for ISPS certification.
 
The format will be mostly question-and-answer about problems students came across while doing their 'dirt time', with clarification of the workshop material as requested. The initial topic will be on effective diagnosis. There may be a lecture from time to time, if Tal senses from the questions that there is a topic that needs a more thorough address. In such a case, we will publish the lecture's topic ahead of time on the WHH list, for people who would like to listen to it
 
Times:
Ongoing class on Wednesdays (Europe time zone). Wednesday 10 p.m. in Tel Aviv Israel, Wednesday 8pm in Scotland, Wednesday 2 p.m. in the Eastern U.S., noon in Vancouver Canada, and Thursday 5:00 a.m. in Sydney, Australia. (Note: this time will change when daylight savings comes into effect.)
 
If you are unsure about your time zone, you may find the following website useful: www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/full.html.
 
Price: $20US to be paid via PayPal.

Email teleclass at peakstates.com to sign up for these classes.
 

Upcoming Training Classes
There are several introductory talks, basic WHH and Basic Peak States workshops scheduled for Poland, Australia and Britain this fall. For a complete list of upcoming workshops, please go to the Peak States website at www.peakstates.com/upcoming.html.

 

Certification News
Nemi just got back from 2 months on the road; among many other things, she ran 3 Basic trainings, and 7 days of certifications. So we'll have a brand-new group of certified people to introduce to you in the next newsletter. Nemi will also give you an update on training and certification. People are successfully jumping through all those hoops... It can be done! Congratulations all for your hard work.
 
News from the Research Team
We have been doing research on how EFT works, as viewed from a cellular-healing viewpoint, and what occurs when it becomes reversed. The initial tests were done at the Newbold House workshop, and showed unforeseen results. Tal, Monti and John are conducting more tests. This fascinating topic should be the subject of our next newsletter.
 
Currently, most of our time has been spent getting the new clinics started in Australia, Canada and Scotland. We are grateful for the dedication and hard work of the people who are taking the plunge in these projects.

 

Moving out on one's own
 
Our Student Coordinator, Monti Scribner, writes that there are always, after any kind of workshop, two reactions in sequence: first, boundless enthusiasm, then a few weeks later a rapid falling off once people realise how very much work is involved in integrating all the material they learned. This is particularly pronounced in our Peak States groups because of the paradigm shifts involved. Monti notes that some people do keep going but move away from the step-by-step method they were given, maybe in an effort to integrate the new paradigm with the old; then they don't get results. Invariably, if she is called upon to help, she guides the student back through the basics, and it works.
 
Meanwhile Rob Egan, our coordinator in Scotland, questions whether working with peers is always the best solution, because they may be as confused as one is, and it becomes a case of the blind leading the blind. Sometimes it works out, but at other times the errors get compounded.
 
Another problem crops up when people get their first crisis since the workshop. Monti again: "People sometimes will wallow in it. They forget they have the tools, forget to work on it, forget to reach out." Again it's a matter of old habits taking back their place.
And then there are those sessions that seem to run forever with no clear outcome...
What's to be done? Ideally, mentorship with more advanced students; teleclasses; regular check-ins with an instructor. Unfortunately, we're all stretched so thin that this hasn't happened for a while (though as you may have read above, we're working on it). So what tools are there in the meantime? What are the most common mistakes to avoid? Here are a few items for you to ponder.
 
Staying focused
Make sure to write down on a piece of paper the problem you're working on, how it makes you feel, and how bad it is on a scale of zero to ten. Lots of people - and not just beginners either - forget to do this and move gradually from one aspect to the next without realizing how very much they've healed... but since they haven't fixed their whole life by the end of the session they're left with the impression that they've accomplished nothing.
 
Keep refocusing on the problem by glancing at that piece of paper every time there is a lull in the session. Your writing will retrigger anything that's left - or else you'll realise you're actually done with the issue! Yes, there will always be others.
 
Stay with the basic instructions. It's
very, very easy to forget being in-body and loving oneself in the fire of the action. I still do, sometimes, after 7 years of daily practice. Then the session drags on and on...
 
Avoiding getting caught in the story
This is more of a problem, paradoxically, for people who 'see' very well in regression. There's a tendency to get caught in watching the story or wishing things were otherwise or wondering how to 'solve' it or trying to reframe it... and on and on. Or sometimes it's all so weird, we go have a look around and find this other problem and that other problem... (I call this 'going for a walk.') Well meanwhile you're not strictly in your body, or rather you're not sitting right in the middle of the injury, as you should be if you want to actually heal the thing.
 
Healing with acceptance vs. healing with will

A lot of energy-field work depends on "doing things" to the energetic self: blasting it with white light, or cleansing it by other, active means, by the exercise of will. People who learn Basic WHH and Rapid WHH have a tendency to try that, too, especially when a trauma is almost gone and we get impatient; or when the trauma is particularly scary and we're reluctant to 'touch' it. And indeed there are visible changes that sometimes occur when one heals with one's will. Unfortunately, these changes tend to reverse themselves over the next few hours or days.
 
(For example: An advanced student who has multiple sclerosis realised that she could see her damaged nerve endings as black and raw. She started playing with the image and found that she could will the nerves to become coated with new, golden myelin. She went over her whole body doing this, and ended the session feeling wonderful and free of symptoms; however, the next morning she had returned to her previous state.)
 

What seems to work, in all our techniques, is waiting with acceptance. Yes, we suffuse the trauma with self-love, or joy, or white light; but we don't push it away or displace it with that love or light, and we don't force a transformation. It's essentially pure acceptance, with a few ingredients thrown in to get us there faster. Tina from Scotland calls it 'proactive surrender'!
 
Grant adds: "The key here is that there is an underlying reason for each problem. So if we try to heal the problem without healing the
cause, it just rebuilds itself."
 
 Would psychic healing work in permanent ways with this approach? This is certainly worth exploring, and totally outside my expertise.
 
Loving yourself
Yes, this one's the fastest way to release any trauma so I throw it in as a reminder everywhere. But remember to calibrate that love... The goal isn't to displace the unwanted emotion with love and joy, it's to overlay it, suffuse it with that simple love that has no strings attached, while still feeling that 'problem' emotion and feeling the physical injury.
 
Checking for counter-commitments to healing
If the session crawls along, make sure to check Tribal Block on this particular issue and also to check if any brains who are not directly involved have any objections to healing the issue. Monti: "There is no negotiation going on when you do this, no deal-making, no reframing, just straight acceptance." (Yes, here's that acceptance again.) Merge with whatever brain is resisting and love yourself as this brain - it is you, after all - until it calms down. Monti recommends doing these 2 steps before each new issue or process. "It does take about 15 to 20 minutes, but it's almost always time well spent."
 
Our latest research indicates that resistance from the body brain can have a huge impact on a session's outcome, so make sure to check that.
 
Adding techniques that you already know
This is part of integrating knowledge, part of the learning journey, but I do recommend delaying it until you really have anchored the basic techniques and have thoroughly proven to yourself (via your healing notebook) that they work for you. To mix techniques too early is to risk falling back into the habits of the old paradigm. Unconscious resistance sneaks in, and one seeks to explain away the new ideas with the old. This is a problem we see a lot, so please bear with me on that one. For the best results, remember the demonstrations you observed in the workshop, and stay focused on the instructions in your manual.
 
Re-reading workshop materials
One of the techniques I use after a workshop is to periodically become a beginner all over again. I sit down with the basic book and reread my ABCs and go back to kindergarten to check if I've missed something. I recopy my notes into a nicer notebook, and try to complete them. It's amazing how much clearer some of it looks - how somewhere around page 3, somewhere that seemed so elementary I wouldn't have thought to go back to it, a light will go on.
 
In fact, when I did the research for my own WHH Workbook (it's right in the publishing lineup after Grant's Peak States Vol. 2), I was surprised, after my several years of practice, at how much I learned just by going back and reviewing the most basic material.
 
Then there's the concept of 'Coyote teaching'. There are often several levels contained within a basic manual. Periodically reviewing it reveals further layers of knowledge. People report this about Grant's workshops also.
 
Working solo vs. working in groups
I think it's important to do both. See Rob's remark about the blind leading the blind... Sometimes we must to a bit of thrashing on our own. Plus, honestly, I don't see how I could keep ahead of my issues with weekly gatherings (but then I've got a lot of issues...) Again it goes back to being able to prove to yourself, on paper, that you can make it work, even when you're not in the safety of the group. Healing is a profoundly individual path, one we must scope on our own.
 
On the other hand, the collective enthusiasm of a group, the ability to share stories and hash out problems, is hard to beat. We're looking at how to set up mentorships to avoid that blind-leading-the-blind aspect. Nemi has brought up the idea of having certificated students serve as mentors if they so wish - which might suddenly make this newsletter more relevant to those of you approaching this watershed.
 
Deciding what to work on
Bob W. writes:
"It would be helpful if we could have an easy way to tell what order to go in with PS work. Some states [in the manual] have prerequisites or special warnings while others don't and it's confusing trying to sort the whole mess out.  
 "Just looking at the manual and trying to decide what peak state to work on next is like having a cookbook with dozens of delicious recipes in it.  I don't know what to make first. My mind goes into overload with all the possibilities so I end up tossing the book down and opening a can of beans."
 
I'd say the very first priority is to make sure you can make the basic techniques work for yourself. Again that proof on paper: 'I started with this issue, it bothered me enough that I wrote out a 2-page rant in my notebook, and now I can hardly remember it being a problem.' This is easiest done with current issues.
 
For the next stage, you must figure out what your goal is. Are you working toward certification as a therapist, interested in the specializations, wanting to teach? Are you more interested in personal development, in doing your own inquiry into human consciousness? Are you aiming for specific experiences or peak states?
 
On the Peak States website, if you click 'course descriptions' you get a training flow-chart. It shows the priorities for the 'official' training tracks. Brain Light and Silent Mind are constants for all tracks. Inner Peace is a good starter for improving your own life. The No-Skin state has a huge impact on quality of life as well, and on interactions with other people.
 
Another way to proceed is simply to start at page one of the workshop manual and do all the processes in order! A very methodical approach... totally unlike your editor. Read carefully the cautions at the beginning of each section; if you decide you're not ready to live with the specific risks of a process at that time, just cross it off and move on to the next one. You can always return to it later, as your level of comfort and confidence change.
 
Ultimately, most of it is a profoundly personal choice, as is this entire process of looking into the workings of Life and deciding to heal ourselves. What are you ready for? What's next in your life?
 
And as we segue to the next topic... One could heal one's mental overload and confusion at this whole mess... and see what comes out of that. Meanwhile, we will continue to work on sorting out what is best (it's not an easy decision for us at the staffing end... I remember several meetings with little cards with various processes strewn all over the floor, waiting to be sorted out into a logical progression...) and on updating the flow charts to reflect the latest research.
 
Healing the issues specifically brought up by the learning process
That's an aspect of the ceremonial dealing with that Wall of Grief, and it's a constant necessity in this work: emotions that we can readily 'blame' on the training or the trainers ("It's too complicated;" "I'm frustrated;" "I feel abandoned;" "It's too restrictive;" "It's not restrictive enough" and so on) are just emotions, like anything else that's not peace, and they are not separate from other issues. Healing anything that's not peaceful about the training opens new doors to understand and integrate the training.
 
Knowing when to stop
Even with the faithful following of the method and a careful focus on the issue, some problems run on for hours. While some issues are neat and tidy and finish with undeniable calm, peace and lightness, some are tangles of interconnected problems that run on and on like an undesirable blabbermouth. Most issues take me several sessions to finish.
 
If there's no time to finish, do the following:
 
-Quit on the win: find a breather between two storms, a short interval of relative brightness, and quit there. Try not to quit in the middle of a big trauma, because your brains might prevent you from re-accessing it.
 
-Write down what's left of the issue you started with, and anything that has come up and that you'd like to return to. Describe the body sensation and its location, the emotion, and any metaphors or actual images you perceived. You can re-read these notes to retrigger yourself when you're ready. 
 
-Use Gratitude to bring yourself back to the present: orient yourself to the room you're in, and find something, however small, that you feel grateful about. Air entering your lungs. The slant of the sunlight. The amazing jewel eyes of your annoying cat.
 
-Promise yourself that you'll go back. But for the moment, there's a life to live. Part of integrating knowledge is actually to do something else: go out and play. That's the Southwest direction in the Learning Journey. It's something we must do from time to time.
 
Other questions from students
The mailbag held a few more questions that connect with basic skills, clarifying issues or giving reminders, so I'll include them here. Some fit better with the next newsletter's topic, so I held them in reserve...
 
Healing the flu
Rob S. asked:
"Is there a Peak States/WHH cure for the flu? Heaps of people have it really badly this winter in Australia."

 
I rarely get the flu anymore; and I'm sure you can find lots of accounts of cures on the EFT website. So the short answer is yes, you can cure some colds and influenzas with WHH and EFT.
 
Where it gets more complicated is that flu symptoms, themselves varied, don't correspond to the same traumas in everyone. So the healing is very individual and follows the same general principles as any healing of physical symptoms.
           
I must also point out that the traumas are often severe. The congestion and breathing difficulties often lead to birth traumas; nausea is often related to the very beginning of labor. It's telling that I've often seen very experienced healers make excuses rather than tackle their own symptoms!
           
Gary Craig, the developer of EFT, suggested committing to at least 3 rounds of tapping every morning on whatever symptom is the most severe.
 
To regress on flu symptoms, simply zero in on the one that is most troublesome right now. Write down on a piece of paper its exact location and how troublesome it is on a scale of zero to ten. Then immerse yourself in the sensation (we're so used to skirt physical pain or avoid it...) What's the emotion inside that congestion, that raw throat, that nausea, that aching in the bones? Once you have that, either just stay inside the sensation/emotion while loving yourself, or do EFT on the combination of that emotion and that body sensation.
           
You're on your way. Refocus the session whenever there is a lull, by glancing at what you wrote: is the physical discomfort still the same? If it isn't, what has replaced it?
 
My work hasn't made me completely immune to the flu, but I only seem to catch a few of the viruses that make the rounds. When that happens, if I pay attention to my body and do what seems appropriate (in my case, take echinacea tincture and drink lots of water), the illness runs its course but with barely-perceptible symptoms. I'd say that's a pretty decent start. One past student did some research into an 'Immunity' state, on the principle that we might heal our tendency to take in viruses across the board, but her work was without conclusive results. Yet another avenue to explore...
 

Openness vs. Restriction in training
Ria writes,
"I've wanted to ask this for some time, since I took the Peak States training in Ohio. We spent all that time learning Peak States Level I; got the manual, two actually, and then were told we couldn't use it. I understand that it's experimental and can be dangerous but why give us all of that if we can't use it? I don't understand this. I can use it on myself, by myself, at home; but I can't use it on someone else. I could get hurt also, using it at home, alone. If the answer to that is that I have support people, well that is not necessarily true. I may not be able to get reach a support person when I need them. 
 
"I would really like to understand this. So now I have this amazing information, two wonderfully profound books but I can't use the tools inside them (...)  It feels very restrictive."
 
On the other hand, Thessa writes,
"I've been considering the various aspects involved in studying peak states because that's what I would like to do. So many things to take into consideration: how to explore a peak state's characteristics and abilities (i.e. unknown territory) with little risk involved for the explorers? How will ethics apply to exploring each individual state? (...) How to decide who to share this information with, or how to publish the research on it? (reminded of why secret societies, shamans, mystics etc pass down information via word of mouth and only to a select few)."
 
So here we have the two directions where the pendulum swings... We keep trying to find a balance between following the model of the planetary consciousness (there are no secrets in Gaia, everything gossips to everything else, everything is wide open) and finding the walls of societal incomprehension and irresponsibility and that nasty habit of having to find someone to blame, and to sue, and to ruin, anytime anything goes wrong. Then we're reminded of why those secret societies exist... As we try to find the balance, students who have joined us at different stages of our search get pretty confused.
 
When we first discovered Gaia command processes, then the Primary Cell technique, the intention was to share this openly with everyone. One student mentioned a group of South American shamans who, given the importance of this historic time and the peril to the planet, decided to open up all their secrets in the hope that they would turn around humanity's consciousness. This is what we would have preferred to do, and indeed for two workshops we taught 'spaciousness' to the beginners. But when Ria took her training, the pendulum had just started to swing back towards restriction: we had discovered that the neat new healing technique wasn't just a quick way to view and heal an expression of the past, it was actually acting at the cellular level in the present; we had seen that same researcher who tried for the Viral Immunity state get several serious non-viral illnesses in a row; we worked with American therapists who had learned extreme caution in navigating a culture of blame and fear; and we had reassessed past mishaps from the point of view of this new knowledge.
 
In the months after Ria's training, we saw a couple of abreactions to the new technique; we saw people leave the Institute, only to start teaching our techniques without our permission; we saw someone threaten to take over the rights to our discoveries... And so the pendulum swings: we're starting to understand those secret societies really well, and yet there's still the need to share this crucial knowledge.
 
Ria, we're learning it as we go.

And why then can you use this technique on yourself at home? Because, after Grant did his usual round of scary stories, you signed a release form that said you accepted the risks and were willing to take responsibility for this exploration of your inner self. As Bob pointed out above, some of the processes in the book have special warnings, and it's up to you to decide if you feel comfortable with each process.
 
(Grant adds: "
Unlike most other therapies, the work you learned in class is potentially dangerous. Since you're a beginner in this material and uncertified, there is no way for us to know if you really can use the material safely on clients. The restrictions we put on using the material are for your protection and our own, both from a civil and criminal liability viewpoint. These restrictions are the norm in the psychotherapy field, and are legally required in many countries. For example, EMDR addresses this same issue by only teaching it to licensed therapists, and then requiring them to use only a very defined protocol. Our certification process is there to make sure you really, really know what to do if your client has some unusual reaction that you, they and we never expected. Obvious example is if they suddenly get suicidal - have a heart attack - go into spiritual emergency - suddenly access major sexual or other abuse - the list is pretty long on what can go seriously wrong. The other issue is that many of our techniques are not adequately tested on large populations. Hence, we can anticipate that things WILL go wrong that we never expected. To be able to handle this is why we have instituted the certification process, and have backup at the Institute for our graduates.")
 
"Unlike most therapies," Grant writes above... but is this really so? Remember the story of the man who killed himself by jumping off a bridge? I knew this man; he was married to a friend of mine. He did not do any Peak States work. What he did was some deep meditation practice with a teacher from Central Canada. The work evoked an unbearable feeling of evil in his body. So it is just Peak States work that's hazardous? No. All deep inner work presents its risks. But very, very few instructors acknowledge it. Will you see warnings on the website of that Canadian meditation guru? Don't bet on it. But, in part because Grant volunteered with the Spiritual Emergency Network, he understands the extent of the problem and is not willing to turn a blind eye.
 
And it's possible that the faster the work, the more problems will crop up, because we're speeding people's development... so maybe we actually do see more oddities and dangers with this Institute work. This is why we're walking on eggs right now... These techniques are really potent.
 
Now isn't that a good thing?
 
 

We welcome your questions and comments, email: support at peakstates.com.
 
Copyright 2007 by Grant McFetridge