Dianne Bachman, LCSW

Psychotherapist

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Walking the Labyrinth

Posted on May 29, 2019 at 3:50 PM

Today was the perfect summer morning in Staunton, Virginia.  The sun was warm, the breeze felt cooling and the courtyard at Trinity Episcopal Church welcomed us with the promise of solitude in the midst of a busy little city.  I have known about this labyrinth for a while and today I finally had the opportunity to visit--what a treat!

I entered the labyrinth with quesitons about upcoming change in my life.  As I entered I tried to remain open for inspiration, clues, answers. 

 

There was a delicious peace about this place and it felt comforting.  I usually find that when I can calm my mind, quiet the thoughts, answers or inspiration find me, and this was one of those times.  About half way through the walk, I spotted this poor fellow.  Upon examination, he was dead and there was a single, small ant (about a tenth of his size), pushing, pulling, tugging at the bee.

I paused for a while when I got to the center of the labyrinth, giving a big thanks to such a special setting.  On my journey back to the beginning, I spied the ant and the bee again.  I now realized that there was not only a bee, but he passed over while eating a ladybug!  My mind went to the idea of struggle in my life....Struggle with my thoughts over things I perceive as being much bigger than me.  The ant was persistent.  Will ant call upon fellow ants to help?  Will ant leave the bee, knowing that it is just too big to tackle?  And, even though the bee bagged the ladybug, there were no guarantees that he would finish his meal before succumbing to.....the great beyond.

So, my personal take away quesiton was answered with a bigger question:

How will you approach one of your biggest challenges? 

Change: You Are Here

Posted on November 15, 2018 at 10:55 AM

I am one who.....

......Stands at the beginning of something much larger than my Self

.....Anticipates, contemplates, sometimes resists entering the thick maze that is change in my life

.....Feels the energies surrounding me, leaving me vulnerable and empowered, all at once

.....Seeks to draw on wisdom and courage in the face of fear and challenge

.....Could be snatched up by the sharp beak, the powerful claws and eaten or could surrender to the numinous

.....Is learning to trust, explore, a wisdom that is much greater than my own, a natural order, an elegant timing that is the universe


Change comes whether we want it or not! I can’t tell you how many times I have been at the threshold of something new, feeling like I want to kick and scream in order to be dragged into the unknown. Part of this is the illusion of control I have maintained in certain periods of my life. Part of it is that I am used to certain rhythms and change comes in and disrupts the beat, adds an unfamiliar pattern. So all of this change stuff is stressful—even the “good” stuff, like new jobs, having babies, starting a new venture, getting married or getting into a new relationship, moving to a new city.....

During these times of excruciating change, I admit to being part of the 3 a.m. club—waking with a pit in the gut, sometimes sweating, and definitely  with an un-still, worried mind. I’m sure what I am about to suggest is nothing new to many people, but I am one who learns through experience. So, even if I am clued in to something helpful, I have to learn it, to trust it, before I fully accept it. My process goes something like this:

Focus on what might replace the ugly, scary, wart ridden images .... a healing, alternative image......the bird of prey becomes a beacon of wisdom.....the 10 foot burly, hairy bear with big claws and sharp teeth becomes courage that has my back.....It takes a some courage and a willingness to be creative--there are no wrong images.  Breathe, ask, “is this thought/image life deadening or life affirming?"   If it is life deadening, is there a reason for me to entertain this image (something for me to learn from it)? If it is life affirming, then see if you can feel the knot in your gut relax a bit. Put one hand over your heart and the other on your solar plexus and continue to breathe...breathing in love.....breathing out fear.....breathing in love...breathing out fear.....As I write these words, I realize that this process is similar to birthing, where we become the midwives for our future.  Name it, protect it, nurture it, give yourself the gift of love in this process.





An Important Find Right in My Backyard

Posted on October 25, 2018 at 11:30 PM

Yesterday while I was giving my dogs a run in the back yard, I spotted a small object sticking out of the dirt. As I got a closer look, I recognized it as a barnacle. I have seen many barnacles while visiting the beach, but my house is quite a distance from any large body of water. I picked it up and placed it in the center of my palm. Yes, it was indeed a barnacle!

Later in the afternoon I did a google search on barnacles as this was a curious find and felt rather synchronistic. I discovered that barnacles are marine crustaceans with an external shell and they attach themselves permanently to many different surfaces. On a scientific level I was satisfied, but my Scorpio ascendant always urges me to look deeper, to go further, to find some meaning. So....I found that barnacles can be a symbol of those things or people in life that slow us down, impede our progress, cause friction, create sticky situations.

My thoughts drifted to several recent business situations that have been nagging at me, making me question whether I am honoring my authentic self. These situations would require me to compromise either my values or my intuitive sense of what is right for me. They take up space in my mind, create tension, make me feel frustrated and tired. Barnacles!!!!

It is funny how one little dead crustacean can trigger so much thought, kick up so much dust. But I am thankful for my little barnacle. She presented herself at just the right time. I am able to recognize an energy sucker for what it is and let go, honor that which I know to be true for myself. And I will keep my little barnacle close by to remind me to to let go of that which no longer serves me well.


The Second Saturn Return

Posted on July 10, 2018 at 11:20 AM

Time is such a strange construct. As I near my second Saturn return, it feels like I have lived many lives in this one. Though there is the same, common thread that is ‘me’ throughout the decades, I have this sense of having been on a journey through many foreign lands. On this journey I have built a family and seen them through their many phases, from births to deaths and all the bittersweet in between. My career has taken many twists and turns, from traditional to alternative. I’ve met many good people (and some bad ones), seen the beauty nature has to offer as well as the yuck we humans can create when we are driven by something other than love. And still, through it all, I feel that spark of anticipation….The ‘what’s next?!’ The ‘what’s next’ for me is a promise I’ve made to myself to be less afraid and more genuine, to be more grateful, to be more present.

Almost twenty years ago when I began a psychotherapy practice, I was aware that some colleagues made fun of me. I talked to clients about things like ‘meditation’ and Reiki. I feared that I would lose my good reputation not because I was doing something wrong, but because I was being honest about sharing what I knew could be healing. It did not fit into the traditional psychotherapy being offered in my community at the time. I did it anyway and I have no regrets! It seems as if I made the only choice I could, and now many mental health professionals are advocating for their clients to meditate, practice yoga and follow a path of mindfulness.

So, with the second Saturn return I am once again stepping into the realm of the unknown, but with a sense of knowing that it will all be o.k. I am now offering evolutionary astrology as part of what I feel is cutting edge toward understanding the self, the psyche, and the world around us as we change and grow. Who knows….maybe in another twenty years or so many other therapists will follow suit and use depth tools such as astrology to assist the people who trust them to advise and help heal.

The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed. It is just these intense conflicts and their conflagration which are needed to produce valuable and lasting results. Carl Jung


Freedom

Posted on May 3, 2018 at 10:40 PM

I found myself with a some free time last Wednesday, so I pulled out a stack of images and begain flipping thorugh them. This is the SoulCollageIR) card that evolved and I have tentatively titled it "Freedom".

Lately, the world has seemed so filled with conflict and uncertainty and confusion! I suppose this card grew out of my need for a gorunding rod of sorts. The themes seem to point to balance with the land and sea, male and female images.

Here is my initial dialog with this newest SoulCollage friend:

I am one who......

....Has been present on this earth longer that the myth of what came first

....Brings you the soothing, fluid rhtyms of the deep blue ocean, the granite matrix of the tallest mountains, flexible yet sturdy

...Nurtures, contemplates, invites you to imagine what if.....What if you loosen your grip? Where will those untethered wings take you?

...Invites you, compels you to go within, to honor that which is constant in the face of change

So....in the midst of what seemed to be a very busy and somewhat chaotic day, my SoulCollage(R) practice allowed me to dip into the well of my inner healing waters. There are many ways to tap into this wise and nurturing place we call flow, the inner healer, soul....Ancient, ever present, always willing to sit beside us and witness, calm and renew.

May you find peace and renewal in your world today.

Namaste

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Posted on April 23, 2018 at 5:30 PM

Though I have created several dozen new SoulCollage cards since my last blog post one year ago, this particular one caught my attention today.  Summer....vacation....journeys.....this card certainly speaks to those.   "Where are you headed?"  I want to ask.  The beach, the mountains, on an airplane, on a train, by car....We are all headed somewhere.  And having plans to look forward to adds that spark of magic on a gloomy Monday when it is tough to roll out of bed.  "Let's see...in one month from today I will be looking at a different sunrise or sunset."

But more than the seasonal travel that holds a known destination and a soft pillow at the end of the day, I am called to ask the quesiton again.  "Where are you headed?"  There may be worries, hopes, fears, crises in faith, leaps of faith, confusion.  So many distractions, so much chaos and uncertainty in our world these days.   It is easy to cue up with the drama of the day...the bad news....who is fighting with who.... who blames what for God knows what.....  

So, the true challenge is to be present, to be in the world and not succumb to the mindless chatter that circles around us like greedy pirhana.  We are invited to open the windows, to take our shoes off, to walk in the cool grass, to listen to the sound of wind tossling the wind chimes.  These moments are nourishing, these are sustaining, these are what ground us.  And in sitting with our deep selves and welcoming whatever shows up, even though it may be surprising or overwhelming at first, we acknowledge our human experience.  This is where we are headed, through the senses,in this moment, one breath at a time.

Finding the Inner Healer....Again

Posted on March 14, 2017 at 9:45 AM

I am always in awe of the insights my SoulCollage cards bring forth as I journal with them.  This one is from the Committee Suit and is named "The Inner Healer".  Below is my dialog with this dear friend:

I am one who….

……Has grown somewhat soft over the years, giving way to my complacent self

……Knows what things I need to do to keep my body healthy and strong, but often accuse time of robbing me from these vital bits of my daily regimen

…..Can become overwhelmed with all the advice about what is good for the body, what is bad, and all the things I need to avoid or embrace

…..needs to be gentle with herself and come back around to sticking with a plan that includes eating the veggies, getting rest, drinking enough water, and exercising the body and mind

I am struck by how easy it is for us to forget those things that help us feel better and thrive. A brief period of illness, a vacation, a challenging life event, and *poof*, those habits commit themselves to a kind of temporary amnesia. That is, until we wake up one morning and realize we are in a rut again. Often times we just need to take stock of what is missing so that we can fill ourselves up with the nurturing balm of our own good self-care.

So…..if you are finding yourself in a rut today, take a moment to turn off the TV, the phone, and unplug. Find a place either indoors or outdoors, where you feel comfortable to sit for at least 15 minutes. Grab something to write with and begin to think back to times in your life when you felt better, more physically or mentally fit, healthier, etc. What were you doing differently? Think about how you might nourish your body and your soul. Introduce more music, more art, more laughter, more meditative time, more nature, nourishing food……whatever it is, just give yourself permission to ponder this and reflect. You may discover that the Healer within is just waiting to be consulted, to be heard, to be honored......

Namaste

 


Card of the Day: The Journey

Posted on March 24, 2016 at 8:00 PM

This morning as I was writing in my journal, I decided to work with my SoulCollage(R) deck to gain some insight into the weeks ahead.  Sometimes I will choose a random card for the day and sometimes I will draw one with the intention of seeking guidance.  Today was one of those days that I wanted to pull in a bit of insight in considering the process of change. I will be moving into my new office on April 1, and though it is an exciting time, it is also a time of upheaval.   Change is not always easy, especially since we can never truly forecast what kinds of people and circumstances  a choice might bring into our lives. 

I smiled when I turned this card over--I call it "The Journey".  The labyrinth with all of its twists and convolutions is laid out before a pair of hands.  The hands hold three eggs and off to either side of the hands is a moth in flight, headed toward the labyrinth. The eggs remind me that there is potential at the beginning of any journey.  The potential must be nurtured, cradled until it is ready to reveal itself.  The moths fly ahead, hinting at the presence of mystery and the bringing of light and life into the darkness. 

I love to walk the labyrinth and someday I hope to construct one in my backyard.  The walking brings a time of meditation and openness for me.  Whether it is the cloth labyrinth at my church or the red rock labyrinth at the Ghost Ranch in Abiqui, New Mexico, I have come away with a greater perspective of the old saying, "It is not the destination that is so important, it is the journey that counts the most."  

I always seem to be gifted with a sense of peace when I hang out with my old, dear friends, the SoulCollage neters!  I know it will all be fine--or not!  The move is a leg of my journey yet to be revealed and all is well.  There lies an opportunity to learn and to add to wisdom, no matter what!  So, bring on the boxes and packing tape!  I'm ready to negotiate the terrain around next bend and into my future!





Card of the Day: Trained Extrovert

Posted on March 1, 2016 at 8:55 AM

Today is Tuesday and typically I take Tuesdays and Wednesdays for myself.  It is my rejuvination time, my time away from phones and emails and the demands of a busy psychotherapy practice.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY WORK.  But for me, as an introvert, I must be careful about balance in my life.  I absolutely need a measure of solitude to keep myself on an even keel.  As I grow older, I am more keenly aware of this.

So, the card I drew this morning is a Committee card.  I call her my "Trained Extrovert".  Here she is hunkered down on the couch, nose to the pillows because the extrovert in her, once again, has overstepped the bounds of what is tolerable.  Even the extrovert, dressed in her short sleeve, boardwalk garb is out of her element here in the snowy forest.  One says, "Oh, coffee at 10?  I'd love to!" and the other says, "Oh, please.....clear the room because I am shutting down. I need some quiet space!"

I find this dynamic at play within myself  when I have ignored my instincts and over extend my schedule.  There is part of me that wishes I could go dancing after a long day at the office, or chat for hours, or tolerate the shopping mall for more than 30 minutes.  But then there is the introvert who so needs space and time to smoothe the feathers, shake off the dust and generally refuel.  I am glad to have both in my life, but the key for me is calibrating my activities so there is a balance, a lovely dance of energy that ebbs and flows but respects and nurtures the source of my social self. 

I am celebrating balance today--good morning, Trained Extrovert!  We are off to an excellent start.

Chronos: Card of the Day

Posted on April 15, 2015 at 8:40 AM

Sometimes I am really blown away by my SoulCollage(R) readings and this morning was one of those times.  All morning I was feeling rather wistful, thumbing through the mental list of all the things I would enjoy doing today, thinking to myself, "there doesn't seem to be enough time...."  So, I sat at my table in the studio, cleared my mind, and asked my deck to give me guidance and inspiration for the day.  This is the card I drew!  My deck now consists of 61 cards, so

When I created this card back in January, I titled it "Chronos" and it belongs to the Council suit.  To me, it speaks to all the cubby holes in my mind and soul, filled with interesting things to explore and the overarching concept of time that flows and flows. Time slips away, stacks up, creeps up...... There is always that dillemma between things we must do, the time,  and things we need to do for ourselves. 

So, today I will honor Chronos, carry her with me and soak up her wisdom and message through the process of my day.



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