The thing I struggle with most in my work is having to experience the prevailing emotional/mental energies of the culture in which I am living. I can’t seem to do this in a state of separation but have to be fully immersed in it. This can be either wonderful or extremely depressing! The type of healing I do is very much about the collective rather than the individual. I feel ‘plugged in’ to the consciousness of the country and its people. In this way I experience every nuance of emotional energy, and its blockages, within my own feelings. The only way to understand emotional energy is to experience it! This is how I was trained to work as a psychodynamic counsellor and how I learned to read the emotional energies and their patterns. It is difficult work and it involves also learning to separate personal energy from other’s emotional energy.
Now, I no longer work with individuals in the same way, but work with cultures. I had to learn to ‘swim’ in the emotional currents and learn to understand and ‘name’ the energy-current I was experiencing! It has taken me years and even more years to trust what I perceived. I had to completely trust what I was feeling rather than what came out of someone’s mouth. Actions speak louder than words!
So, having trained all of these years and having to trust myself completely I am thrust into the unconscious dark-lands of Egypt! It has always been in my nature to go into the dark places. If I was afraid of something and I didn’t understand why, I would go into the situation or experience in order to understand it and clear the fear. In retrospect this has been easy up until now! About six years ago ‘upstairs’ (what I collectively call my guides!) told me that I had healed enough of my own wounded male energies and therefore was now able to work with wounded men! Really?? Sure didn’t feel like it!
Having been on the receiving end of wounded male energies for most of my life I now found that I was helping them to heal themselves! It really has been about going into the dark places and has been very challenging as I continued to hone my perceptive skills and to completely trust myself, even in the face of huge opposition. Now, here I am in Egypt doing it again but this time it is working with the collective male energies, assisted, naturally, by my husband who holds all of the beliefs of his culture but who is also a gifted healer himself. Often it feels like I am walking a tightrope through a sandstorm, but when the dust clears I understand more about the power dynamics which exist here in this Islamic country and I am glad to have the opportunity to explore it, even if it feels like mountains have to be traversed before I ‘get it’.
Living in an Upper Egyptian household gives me an opportunity to experience first-hand what life is like for Egyptian women…and men. On an intellectual level this is great but from an emotional perspective it often feels like torture! I often feel completely swamped by other people’s emotional ‘stuff’, so much so that I can barely keep my head above water. I completely lose my sense of self and have to work hard at keeping my own centre. My own needs become overtaken by the needs of those around me which, to me as an Irish woman, used to the freedom of choice, feels stifling and depressing. I will share my own experiences as they are my roadmap to how other people experience life here, emotionally and unconsciously. I will also put subjects under their own headings, even though some of these areas over-lap. But it will give you some idea of life here and how people live. How their unconscious dynamics in life, relationships, and money operate.
I will also give you some examples from events which I have been part of so that you get a feel for how it is for people here. Hopefully this will provide you with a picture of life within a village community rather than the life you see as a visitor or tourist. For those of you who live as foreigners here you may recognise much of which I write so feel free to add your voice and experiences. I can only give you my personal experiences and viewpoints but I will try to express what I feel here as opposed to what I think, although sometimes it is difficult to separate my own beliefs from what I see around me. I am learning to be objective here and to stand back and watch rather than try to rescue but I will share this struggle too as it is part of my experience here. I hope you find it useful.
Headings: Women, Men, and the Home.
Relationships, Marriage and Divorce.
Religion and Culture.
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.
Egyptian Men and Foreign Women.
Mothers, Sons and Daughters.
A Changing World.