DEBBI BURCH. FORMATIVE PSYCHOLOGIST. SOMATIC THERAPIST.

I am as passionate about connection now as when I started as a therapist in 1997.

We all know when things aren’t right.

We might not know it’s because our connection to our own nature is broken or weak but usually, in my experience, that’s why.

When as adults we are connected to our nature, we know and respect what we need. We are naturally our most authentic, loving, purposeful and selfless selves.

Because we have normalised this connection there is an ease, a natural perception of the resonance between the world in and around us.

 

The problem is, when things aren’t right, we tend to think we are the problem. So we turn away from ourselves.

We look to that person, that place, that job or that group of friends to give us validity. We adapt and perform.

When all along, nature is here in us, calling.

It might call as frustration, sadness or anxiety. Or perhaps as loss, panic or depression. Or perhaps as a nameless, haunting melancholy that tells you there is some place better than here.

The very experience we think confirms our not-rightness is nature trying to remind us that we care, that this life in us matters and that we have these dreams.

The world in us – this nature – informs us through our instincts, insisting on these simple requirements in this order:

– our bodies want somewhere to live – to have a safe space of our own;

– our hearts want some-one to love – to have our nature unconditionally accepted by someone we respect;

– our minds want something to do – to make something unique and bring it to the world.

People and cultures both go through these evolutionary stages.

A baby’s priority is its body. A child’s priority is belonging. An adolescent’s priority is his or her individuating mind.

Once we have reached maturity we need to use this newly creative mind to craft a wholeness – a synthesis of body, heart and mind – which is a new evolutionary stage in itself.

This new wholeness in us allows us to perceive wholeness around us in a completely new way.

But if we find that we are not connected to our own nature then our perception of wholeness where outer and inner naturally resonate will elude us. We will know that things aren’t right.

Luckily we now understand that every instinct we have learned to ignore is right here, singing louder than ever, to get our attention.

The song of rage, terror, jealousy, unnameable darkness or any other experience is simply our instinctive voice.

There are no bad instincts. I know how audacious that sounds.

Being greedy is only needing food or a safe place.

Being jealous is only needing love.

Being controlling is only needing to make something and bring it.

The problem isn’t the instinct. The problem is when the instinct isn’t validated so satisfaction is impossible.

As we recognise this song as our need to grow – to become whole, to shine like the sun and break open like a seed, we see there is no song in us that is not part of wholeness.

Our song then burns freely in us and radiates from us – no longer trapped in shame or thrown in rage, this splendour spills into the world that we can now recognise as this same nature.

This nature in us that has been passed from seed to seed since the beginning of time can now be consciously reunited with Nature itself, through our conscious experience.

What a homecoming. Everything you thought was wrong in you turns out to be splendid.

I am in my element helping you be in yours.

Every flower  just wants to bloom.

Loneliness

Yesterday my husband went away for a week. When I got into bed last night I was struck by the space beside me where he usually sleeps. I might have said I was lonely, but if I had simply decided I was lonely and listened to the stories in my head about who and how much I was missing, I would certainly have felt more lonely. Instead I explored further, opening deliberately to my experience of his absence – not what I thought or felt about it, but the actual space. As I did I felt a delicious and surprising sense of space and expansion in myself. I felt content. I remembered a conversation I had with an architect at a wedding last year. He said: “the structure of a building is not what makes it beautiful, but how the structure relates to space.” Likewise, the moment I resisted the impulse to decide my husband’s absence was a bad thing for poor lonely me, but instead brought my experience to the actual space, any sense of separation between my presence and his absence melted into one simple experience of, well, beauty. How could I be lonely then? People tend to experience loneliness as a consequence of two types of behaviour. Both tendencies reflect the struggle to balance structure and space within themselves and their lives. The first tendency is to isolate oneself through fear of overwhelm and loss of space and autonomy. We avoid meaningful connection with others so we end up with too much freedom and not enough of the commitments & responsibilities that give us routine and a... read more

Waking Up

Waking Up In my work with clients, I’m passionate about the flow of life energy and how we humans learn to resist this life force in us. I am endlessly in awe at how the meeting of resisted energy by a clear awareness in an openhearted, present body can wake us up to being here fully and bring us back to life. By reconnecting to the physical ground of our own bodies, we come back to our longing. How can we feel we belong if we are not being our longing? Right now it could be said that things in the world are looking grim. Maybe we don’t want to feel powerless, frightened, ashamed or enraged. But what if the very pain we think we don’t want to be in is our memory of a forgotten current of wholeness? What if our helplessness and despair are the voltage of the longing that informs us about what is required of us next? What if this long wave of nature has all the wisdom that the short wave of our thinking minds is just not designed to find? Maybe we can claim defeat, rather than admit it. Maybe a new way of being is claiming defeat over one that is just no longer our best tool. Maybe being defeated is real. Maybe it’s ok. It doesn’t mean we have to collapse, fight or turn away. Our first bonds In our early formative years, we are not a ‘self’; our experience is of the bond we have with those looking after us. The wave state of this bond is our felt identity.... read more

An Instinct to Return

An Instinct to Return I am often very moved by clients’ telling of their journeys with all the associated joy and pain. I am also often amazed by the unerring direction these journeys take to return us to where we started and bring us back to our beautiful broken hearts which we then realize have only been broken open. The following is one such moving example. Names have been changed and permissions given. Clara was nine when four-year-old Michael came to live with her family. Her brother Stephen was six. Clara and Stephen welcomed Michael and set about adoring him, beckoned by the beacon of his hunger like sailors heading for fire on a beach. They were old enough to know that he’d come from somewhere troubled but not old enough to know he wasn’t robust. One Sunday afternoon as they played on the stairs, Stephen held Michael tight from behind. “I’ve got you. I’ve got you. Clara, I’ve got him.” Clara rushed into the kitchen and grabbed an implement. It was something she described as a cross between a knife and a potato peeler, maybe one of those things you core and peel apples with. She ran back to the stairs, flushed with blood-crazed joy. “Now you’re in for it!” she cried, raising her arm high as if to stab, “Now you’re really in for it!” Michael crumpled, folding himself into his terror like a building detonated from the inside, skin meeting skin as the core implodes. His fear went far beyond any territory charted by these innocent pirates. They rushed to his broken, sobbing body and tried... read more

Ten reasons why your anger is good for you

Ten Reasons Why Your Anger is Good For You.  1. Your anger is not wrong The feeling of anger, jealousy or frustration cannot be wrong – it’s an experience you’re having in your body. Your behaviour may be problematic, but it’s important to not judge the experience, however much you might want your behaviour to be different. Some people project their anger outwards and explode, whereas others hold their anger inwards and seethe. Others disconnect from their anger altogether, but if this is you, there will be a sign. You may do things that you don’t really feel good about doing, even though you may try and fool yourself into thinking that these things feel good. Anything you do regularly to excess is usually a giveaway. 2. Your anger represents a need We are born fully connected to our instinctive selves. We scream when we need something, trusting that someone will come and meet our need. In the process of the need being met, we learn to trust our own experience of having needs, of experiencing our energetic self. If our needs are not met when we are young, we will have not yet have developed sufficient awareness to understand that other people’s behaviour towards us is not personal. Of course, the impact is felt personally, but the lack or inappropriateness of the other person’s response is not about us, however much we might be told it is. It is of course usually not malicious on their part and the need not being met is not the problem. Our movement away from our experience of the need is the... read more

How time bends for love

How time bends for love. The human brain can learn to re-fire, re-wire and re-inspire. This is truly exciting – growth is possible, essential, inevitable and down to us. We are not stuck, and we are in this together. We choose and the brain follows. What is spoken less of is the plasticity of the brain we are living inside. So this is a story about time re-wiring itself inside the bigger brain – the one we all live in. Many years ago, between marriages and boyfriends, I was on a plane coming back from New Zealand. The guy sitting next to me was a sword swallower and fire-eater with (I later discovered) a dragon tattooed down his back. To swallow fire and swords, you’ve got to be grounded. You can’t ignore your body when you’re asking it to do things like that. Why you would want to do that to your body is another blog post, but to do it, you need to be present. Because he was so grounded, and at the time I wasn’t, he kind of didn’t thrill me. If a fire-eating sword-swallower doesn’t thrill you, you’re probably high maintenance, but there you go. I was. We played gin rummy for about 12 hours straight. He had a friend, an Irish poet, who came up the aisle to visit him on the plane. We said hello and that was it. But when we all changed planes somewhere – Abu Dhabi or maybe Bharain – he charmed me with his Irish eyes and poetic lilt. We got to London and I arranged to meet Dragon Man... read more
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