Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ghost Whisperer

Why did I include a mini rant on the issue of whether it's "okay" to be paid as a healer in my last blog? I woke up feeling embarrassed by that and thought I'd take it down. But, no, it's going to stay because I think it's worth addressing. I wrote that blog because I was still upset about what I saw on "Ghost Whisperer" on Friday night TV.

"Ghost Whisperer" is a show in which the main protagonist Melinda "sees" dead people and assists them with resolving some left-over issue so they can finally cross over. She's an idiot, knows nothing about how to handle her ability, and allows herself to be constantly harassed, terrified, and put into grave danger (pun intended) by ghosts who wreak havoc with her life and make her and her family members basket cases. She gets to play the damsel in distress wearing sexy lingerie (or, creepier yet, little girl clothes) and has to be rescued almost every week. I hate it! A whole generation of people who believe in this stuff being given an image of out-of-control psychic abilities being glorified (by show's end) and being given the idea that this is the way someone who actually has these abilities would have to be. The show "Medium" does the same thing. Neither one of these shows does a good job of letting people know that these choices can be made another way (more on that in a minute).

Anyway, I often wind up watching "Ghost Whisperer" because I'm a fan of the vampire show with the really cool vampire private detective that comes on afterwards and because I'm confused by James Van Praagh's (a person who used to get paid as a real ghost whisperer) decision to lend his name to it. Paul and I keep wondering why he's allowed this show to be turned into a horror series when it has so much potential for doing some good. We do this stuff, after all. And I have helped ghosts cross over. Just like the show depicts (at the end), it can be a moving and profound event. (Back to that in a minute.)

But I was on the topic of last Friday night's show when Melinda and family go to see a well-known psychic passing through town giving a demonstration of his abilities. His name was Casey Edgar. Edgar Cayce, by the way, was the name of a well-known unconscious channel who became famous for giving accurate medical advice when he was asleep although he had no medical background in his history and couldn't answer the same questions when he was awake. In the TV show Casey Edgar comes across as very intelligent and quite capable of reading beyond the obvious. He's depicted as knowing things the average person wouldn't know but he made a mistake on an item significant to the story line (whether a missing person was dead or alive) and that's where Melinda jumps in and accuses him of being a fraud. And what really cemented that belief in her mind was that he dared to actually get paid for his work!

Of course, it turns out Casey wasn't accepting money for this particular role and, while he does wind up having a blind spot Melinda helps him with, he helps her with something every experienced psychic figures out eventually: Psychic information comes in as metaphor an awful lot of the time. And, even when it doesn't, there can be metaphoric levels of meaning embedded in the most mundane information received. The metaphor is what makes the job challenging and where even the most successful psychics can get stumped. That's why mistakes do get made. Our blind spots can and often do get in the way of reading those clues successfully.

So, good points were made on the show Friday night and I appreciated Van Praagh for coming out with some of these things. I only wish Casey would come back on the show and teach Melinda to use intention to shut her ability off when she doesn't want to wake up in the middle of the night screaming. It's not like an "on-off" switch but you can use intention to choose when you listen and when you don't. And you certainly don't need to be bedeviled by spirits wanting help. I have had that experience -- I guess I grew up afraid of seeing and hearing ghosts myself -- but I refused it. I chose another approach.

What I Want Melinda to Show People How to Do

I had to learn to do this. Nobody taught me -- I taught myself. But I was unwilling to let disembodied spirits muck up my life. One thing I've gotten in this life I'm living is this: what you're afraid of (whether it's ghosts, your boss, or the so-called "wolves" at your door) can and will bite you on the ass IF you give it the power to do so. The more you focus on what you fear, the bigger your fears become. And the more you attract the Melinda "Ghost Whisperer" type of experiences to you: more and more of the worst kind of crap!

But you CAN close the door on this trap. If you're attracting the same problems over and over again, take a look at your own life. What messages are you telling yourself and then manifesting in your outer life over and over again? "My life is out of control?" "I'm powerless over my feelings and emotions?" I'm so afraid of thus and so?" What you focus on gets bigger! You have to focus on what you want instead. AND believe you can have it and know you deserve it.

Sometimes it's really as simple as that. Maybe it always is. But sometimes those fears and societal conditionings have an insidious way of getting into a person's head. It's like the ghosts on "Medium" and "Ghost Whisperer." So I don't want to make light of the intensity it takes to kick the ghost habit when you're in the thick of such a thing. You really have to mean business and know you can get what you need.

I keep wondering if I should talk about where I learned that. All old patterns and beliefs that haunt our lives are like ghosts stuck between worlds. They have no place here but they don't think they can move on.

When I was a lot younger I was raped by a man I was dating and believed I could trust. And I knew I couldn't tell anyone in my hometown because the news was full of reports of another young woman who was raped on a pool table in full sight in a local bar and everyone in my family and many of my female friends, too, said she deserved it for going into a bar alone in the first place! Jody Foster played the role of this young woman in a very intense movie made of this incident several years later.

But I also knew that most women who are raped are led to believe they'll never get over it and I said "NO! He might have gotten three minutes of my life but he wasn't going to get the rest of it!" That's a little something you should know about me. I can be pretty meek and demure and sweet like any Libra personality you might know but when it comes to protecting myself or someone I care about that Libran archetype (the symbol of justice) carries a sword and she can kick ass and take no prisoners if she has to!

Anyway, whenever the picture of that guy came into my head, I'd kick his ass. I would, literally, imagine him sitting on my bed and kick him or whack him with a stick as hard as I could and then turn my attention to something I wanted to do instead. It didn't completely work. I just succeeded in pushing the incident away. But that was a GREAT beginning! It seemed like it worked at the time and that's what mattered to me then. But I came to find out later, when I was counseling someone else who had almost been raped and was acting like it was the end of the world, that my own distress was just hiding in the shadows waiting.

By then I was steeped in the belief that I could heal just about anything, though, so I used the take no prisoners approach AGAIN. I said I can and I will be healed of this and I used my intention and the strength of my belief that I deserved to have this part of my life back to go after the ghost of this creep in my consciousness and rid myself of it for good. It took persistence. It took work. I finally told people what happened, resolving that piece, and then realized that there were unconscious choices I had been making all the time to avoid feeling this pain. I never let myself be alone in a room with a man, for instance, even at the doctor's office, if I could help it and was very cautious about men I let into my life in any way.

But I wasn't going to let this ghost run the show anymore. I systematically chose to counteract the patterns this incident (and others like it) had manifested in my life. I wasn't willing to continue avoiding half the human race. That was unacceptable to me and I think it was the intensity of this commitment that allowed the change I wanted to happen.

I was a leader in the Re-evaluation Counseling (co-counseling) community back then, a group that teaches people basic counseling skills so they can trade counseling assistance with each other. I was a teacher in the community and, like all co-counseling teachers had very few men in my classes. I decided I wanted to change that. I decided to learn whatever I could about men's conditioning and learn to counsel with men. I chose several of the men already in the community as counseling partners and worked through a lot my feelings with them. Then I decided I wanted 50% of the people who took my classes to be men, put out the word and it happened.

Years later, when I was teaching a class for the teachers in the local community, it turned out that none of the female instructors could make it that day and only the men showed up. There I was alone in a room filled with men and I felt perfectly safe, loved and appreciated. I had made it through and I knew it and it was a touching moment for us all.

Later, when my psychic abilities opened up for me I went through a Melinda the Ghost Whisperer period. As a conscious channel I can hear guidance from the other side and, because I had another healer in my life who had been trained to believe that "attached entities" were an integral part of what she was trained to heal and I was frightened of that, those entities started to attach themselves to me and I didn't know why. It would freak me out and I'd get mad. I'd figure out how to be rid of one and another would come in the very next day. I learned to dispatch spirits to the other side but I wasn't loving and kind about it all the time (sometimes I was touched by them) and I got read the riot act by my guides for that. But I was furious that I was being "called on" to do this in the first place especially when I didn't want the calling.

I learned a lot of things but in the end I didn't want it. It was ruining my life and, like the rapist who came before, that was unacceptable to me! At first I worked hard to pull my attention away from worrying about spirits all the time. Then it stopped happening except in session and now it rarely happens at all anymore although, now that Paul's at my side to help, I'm less afraid. I still don't love and want to do it though unless it's something very specific to what a client needs to heal their lives now. But that's a choice I know I can make and that's the whole point of what I wanted to say.

If I wanted to make helping spirits cross over to the other side my mission in life that would be a beautiful thing but, and here's the important part, I get to set limits and boundaries on when and how often that happens. Otherwise, like Melinda is going to be if she doesn't get help with this, you're just another damsel in distress. And that's not a good thing.


Margaret said...

Can you describe how you help spirits cross over? Is it like it happens on the show, or entirely different? Thanks

Sheryl Karas said...

Most of the show is ridiculously trumped up for the ultimate dramatic effect but the last part of every evening -- when the ghost crosses over -- can be pretty much like that. When I've done it it's always for healing effect so there's always a component of that in it. The people and ghosts involved have some agreement to resolve, something left over, maybe a verbal contract to watch over one another or a conscious need to be watched over. The event usually clears any unclarity about this agreement out of the way if it's not beneficial. One or the other usually has something left over to say. "I forgive you", "I need you to know I never meant to hurt you." etc. When all is said and done that's all it's ever really about. Then the ghost goes on its way. Quite beautiful in its healing intent when that's what needs to be done. But I've seen clients decide not to release a relative right away and there are even some cultures where there's no such thing as "crossing over into the light" so to speak. The ancestors are supposed to stick around and even become deities of various kinds. The Ghost Whisperer crossing over effect appears to be a cultural bias at this place and time. What do you think about that? They sure haven't addressed that one on this show just yet.