Self Discovery: Bridging the Gap to Faith in Self

By Val Vandernaald - July 2012

As a long time student of self growth and life long seeker of truth, I began studying the Enneagram several years ago.  The Enneagram is a personality typing system that enables broader self awareness moving from the perspective of fixation to health. Explorations include knowledge of  the nine personality types, and specifically our individual type.  The Enneagram teaches self observation.  We observe self acting from habit during times of pain, stress, fear and/or general unconscious behavior. This work encourages greater self understanding and alertness, promoting a continuum of spiritual growth as type “loosens”.   Once aware, we can make conscious choices, to change behaviors or thinking patterns that were habitual and keeping us stuck.  Increased awareness allows us deep connection with Self/Essence.

The nine types are divided into 3 groups of basic types, head, body and heart.  Each of us has components of all nine types within us, and as stated we generally fixate at one point.  My point of fixation is Type Six, Phobic. This means I am a “head type“, ruled internally by fear, seeking external direction and guidance as my authority. In general, type six has a basic fear/mistrust that the world is not a safe place.  “Safety” and knowing/truth, is sought outside ourselves and nothing feels trustworthy, not even self.  

Professionally I work as an occupational therapist, assisting people to achieve their highest potential functionally. We say we treat the “whole” person, however no insurance will pay for our services regarding emotional/spiritual healing.  Personally I practice yoga & meditation, utilizing those disciplines to bridge my head/”thinking” with my body/spirit.  Body work helps slow me down and connect with my physical self. As a result of long term mental habit and avoidance of pain, awareness of my heart space (feelings) has been a challenging and painfully slow process.  I have continued to search for “something” to help me realize greater connection with “all that is” or my essence.

When I experienced my first zero balancing session in Jan, 2011, I knew I had found an amazing and powerful modality.   My Zber was Therese Sullivan, an OT  from South Bend, IN. who was doing ZB, treating the “whole” person, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Initially, I was amazed how this gentle “technique” could help me feel better.  I experienced greater range of motion in my neck, hips and my chronic SI pain was lessened.  Not only that, I felt more relaxed, grounded and had energy to focus!   ZB felt like the missing link in my professional and personal practice.

Zero balancing has been transformative for me.  The changes were subtle and profound. I was moving forward into unknown territory, and was not second guessing my decisions.  Not usual for me!  Note that for my generally distrustful ‘six’ self, I paid for my first class, signed up to room with a person unknown to me, (Deanna Waggy), and made another trip to South Bend to visit Therese.  In that next month I initiated several life changes, moving forward with ZB study & possible certification. I updated my resume, found a job & a place to live in Cincinnati.  My spouse was retiring in Aug of 2011 and we agreed that ZB  was worth exploring.  Cincinnati had no certified ZB folk and my community from the Conscious Living Center in Cincinnati, was most supportive.  

I am generally not at “ease” pushing my own agenda.  With ZB I have had to bridge my comfort zone to reach out and  practice with folks of all sizes and stages of self awareness.  It has been a process learning to accept clients positive responses.  Also, I am learning to trust the healing power of ZB itself, when client responses/feedback was unclear. I have grown from “thinking” my way through sessions, to becoming more grounded and trusting what I feel. With continued practice, I am learning to hold the space for my client and myself and breathe with what is.

I found willing participants among my immediate and extended family members.  With those sessions came a powerful awareness that ZB touch transcends time and space.  The process of session write-up’s was helpful in allowing me to look at these relationships through a different lens. I was able to let go of habitual thought patterns of judgment that no longer served me. Through physical touch I experienced non-verbal communication of caring and greater acceptance. My relationships are more reflective of building bridges and connections with love, and I am grateful.

ZB has been an amazing tool in helping me experience a different reality.  To know in my head I “need to let go” or “forgive” or “accept” is one thing.  To experience surrender, forgiveness and acceptance is quite another!  I have received many powerful ZB sessions and the growth feels cumulative. I would like to highlight a session I received from Mary Murphy ZBHA faculty. The session followed a feedback session where my delivery was tentative and not trusting myself/my instincts.  My old habit/companion “fear” was just under the surface.  My expressed frame was for confidence.  Mary clearly stated that, “I needed to own my power and trust what I felt”.  All I could do was cry.  So long has been my habit of self distrust and searching in vain outside of self for power and self authority. Mary shined a light on my “shadow”.  The ZB session was very powerful.  I felt held and “heard” in that vulnerable space. I experienced being completely supported, and deeply touched with compassion and love.  I felt a profound shift, experienced inner bridges grow and my chest expand. A deep inner connection was made to more fully trust my truth/higher Self .  My ZB delivery has not been the same since!

Along this ZB journey has been the consistent thoughtfulness and perseverance of my mentor Diane Tader.  I am grateful for her encouragement, support, insight, caring and sense of humor!  As my ZB support “team” was based more/less in the Chicago area, Diane graciously  kept connected by phone.  A mantra she shared (via Fritz Smith) was:  “I love me.  I’m sorry for harm caused to me.  I forgive me.  I thank me.”  This mantra continues to ground me at the ZB table and in all aspects of life. It combats all manner of mental misery I cause myself, including habitual thoughts that no longer serve.  Diane has helped loosen my fear of asking questions, of not being perfect and learning by experience.  Thank you Diane!

Since my first experienced ZB session it has been my mission to work with folks who are on a conscious path toward wholeness. It has been such an honor to be present with persons, as they build their own bridges toward their next right action.  I personally have felt such a shift within myself from my habit of  “head” awareness, to feeling my body and now feeling feelings within myself.  My heart space is actively expanding and I am more whole.  For me to have the opportunity to encourage and support others on the path of healing and wholeness continues to be the true gift of zero balancing.

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